Tuesday, November 24 2020

turkey, poop, and chargebacks



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. Have you checked on your turkey yet today? Following our time table, today is officially the first day of cooking something for the big day. As of last night, our family calendar is now speckled with orange blocks, each representing something that needs to go in the fridge or on the oven. If all goes according to plan, today after work I'll be heating up an apple cider brine. In the evening after it cools, I'll plunge Bob into the solution to let him enjoy his salty skin treatment overnight.

We decided to name our turkey Bob, by the way. It may not be the most creative name in the Recker family animal kingdom, but at least it will serve as a nice identifying handle while I talk about prepping for Thanksgiving this week. Consider this my final warning - I'm going to be talking about Thanksgiving a lot this week.

Along with Thanksgiving plans getting going, I also have poop on the mind - an unfortunate pairing, isn't it? Well past his fourth birthday, we remain at the frustrating nexus of regular accidents and occasional glimmers of hope. While trying to read this morning, I let the stinky distraction get the best of me, and minutes later I was hunched over my phone reading Google results.

By now, Marissa and I must have already seen every google result. We know what's out there and we've probably already tried it. At this point, I think googling the problem is just a form therapy. Reddit comments are particularly amusing. For every "my child won't poop in the potty" thread out there, the only replies are people swooping in with even worse stories. Nobody is finding any answers.

It makes you wonder how much poop a person can take. How much poop do you have to clean up before it changes you? Is there such thing as poop stockholm syndrome? Can a person go poop-mad?

While trudging up the stairs this morning, I saw Rodney's bedroom light switched on through his cracked door, and I heard him shuffling his pillow and blankets around on the floor. I peeked my head into his room to greet him. Rodney looked stunned at first, then smiled.

"How's it going dude?" I said sleepily.

"Feels good," said Rodney, spinning around with his hands on his hips. "Are you going to shower now?"

"You bet, dude," I smiled.

"First, I have to show you something," said Rodney expectantly.

"OK," I laughed. "What do you got?"

"I have to show you something on the floor," he clarified. My smile faded. In a panic, my eyes darted around his room. His blanket was balled up suspiciously at the foot of his bed.

"Rodney...," I said. "Tell me what's on the floor."

Rodney danced over to his window, flinging his curtains to the side. He gestured grandly at the window, directing my attention to a flurry of wet, sticky snow flakes falling on the grass outside.

"Snow!" he cheered. "There's snow on the floor."

Sip. How are you dealing with all the poop in your life? And more importantly, how was your Monday?

Yesterday was rough. In the morning while grabbing a cereal bar, I passed a stressed out Marissa at the computer anguishing over an email opened up on the screen. She shipped a painting to another country, and it was lost in the mail. The frustrated buyer informed her they would be initiating a chargeback.

A chargeback is the term for when a purchaser of goods goes to their bank or credit card company directly to dispute the charge. It's a perk meant to give people some last measure of confidence when buying things on the Internet. If a seller were to take my money, then refuse to give me the thing I bought or give me my money back, as a person I wouldn't have much recourse. But a bank or a credit card company does, and after they've conducted their own investigation of the disputed charge, they have the power to take their money back despite what the seller thinks.

On Marissa's side, she's working diligently with the post office. The post office can't yet officially say the painting is lost, so they can't pay her the insurance. She's also relaying all the information to the buyer, so they can relay it to their credit card company. The best case scenario is that the painting arrives before anyone's money returns. But what if the painting is delivered after the chargeback goes through? I'd assume that the credit card company's investigation is supposed to prevent that from happening, but how do they make the decision? Since it's their money and their customer's line of credit, don't they already have a bias against the seller?

The chargeback problem raises a lot of philosophical questions about how things should be sold on the Internet. Who takes the loss when something gets lost in the mail? According to ebay, it's the seller. According to Etsy, it's the buyer (but they strongly recommend the seller issues a refund).

Marissa fired off an email and slumped back on her chair. Almost instantaneously, her phone buzzed with a text message. "You gotta be kidding me," she sighed. "Our debit card was stolen." Going along with the theme of online money nonsense, Marissa would spend the final hour of her quiet morning going over an itemized list of fraudulent charges with an angry phone robot.

To finish out our terrible Monday, Rodney couldn't finish his dinner in time for Rodney time. It appears that Rodney's distaste for mashed potatoes slightly outweighs the enjoyment he gets from Rodney time. After dinner I sent him to his room to think it over. Not a great way to end the day, I could have really used a game of Jenga to cheer things up.

Kind of a tough day yesterday. I was eager to get up this morning and start fresh, and something as small as a little bit of snow on the ground gives me hope that we might actually figure out some problems today.

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope you have a great Tuesday, everyone.