Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Shock to the System or Three

The past 24 hours have not been kind to us, but we are on the other side of it now and beginning to sort things out. It began yesterday morning with a scam on my computer for which I fell, then had to spend half the day undoing. Then, at three in the afternoon, our precious Meg suffered a pulmonary embolism. We lost her just after six pm. This morning, on my way to work, a deer collided with the front right part of my car, doing significant damage to the vehicle and killing the deer. Bad things happen in threes, they say. I am living proof. The scam began around nine a.m., when we tried to look at an “article” link to “Jane Fonda Dead.” Instead of information or misinformation about the actress, a pop-up blocked my computer access and warned me that if I did not call the number on my screen, I could lose everything in it. The man on the phone claimed to be from Microsoft Security Services. For the price of a three year security anti-virus program, $199.99, they would unlock my computer, rid it of the 1400 viruses and warnings they found inside, and make it run again. I caved in a panic – which they were counting on me doing – and arranged the purchase through a company called Allay Hub, to be deducted in ten days from my account. Then, while their technician “fixed” the computer, I called Microsoft directly and learned that Microsoft would never block me like that, that this was most likely a scam. On their recommendation, I called my bank, put a stop payment on the future fee, and changed my access information to my accounts. I called Microsoft back and that rep told me he could clean my computer up for $149, then discounted to $109 because of my stop-payment charge from the bank. He did emphasize he was not forcing me to do this, merely suggesting. I declined and called my computer whiz nephew in Holland, who guided me through making sure my system was okay and the program they installed was uninstalled. Through him, I discovered I was fully protected already and that my computer was, in fact, clean. I wrote a scam report to the Better Business Bureau. I also e-mailed Allay Hub (they do not have a webpage, oddly enough) demanding they remove the account and not make the charge. This morning an agent called me and agreed. I still will monitor my banking daily to be sure. Third bad thing second: hitting a deer is all too common in Montana, and an awful thing to happen. It is almost always fatal to the deer and always damaging to the car, even at slow speed at four in the morning Still, the first rays of sunlight came out at the insurance office when I filed my claim. The young woman who helped me suggested one body shop because the one recommened by the claims agent was fully booked into January. I followed her suggestion. This one will start work next Tuesday. Even just doing their job, people can be kind, and that is refreshing. Bad thing number two. At three yesterday afternoon, while I was on my way to pick up Xander from school, Meg cried out in pain on Diane's lap. Her legs stiffened out and she lost control of her bladder shortly thereafter, while Diane called the Vet and called me to hurry home. The Vet worked on Meg for three hours, but there was no coming back. We finally ended her misery. Four grown adults surrounded this little five pound Chihuahua, crying our eyes out. But Meg was special. She touched many lives. I think she was more popular than me. Granddaughter CharleeRose almost always says, before anything else, “Yay Meg! Yay Meow!” For her, Meg was the Queen and Jane the Queen consort, and the rest of us are staff – Meg's staff. This will be hard on her and on Xander, but it is hardest on us. It amazes me that such a little animal can cast so big a shadow over our lives. I keep listening for her bark whenever I say, “Coming!” Diane keeps checking the room to see where she is. But, as the song says, our hearts will go on, Meg firmly and permanently residing there. We received several notes of condolance, many with memories of Meg, this morning. I could barely read them through my tears, and am grateful for all the love and comfort offered. As one friend said, given the number of beautiful creatures who have graced our lives over the decades, Meg will have one huge greeting committee. And she'll run the roost. Yay Meg!

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