Friday, May 23, 2008

Getting settled in NYC

Wow, I am actually here and actually started to get settled in my new apartment in New York City. I flew in Wednesday evening, made a trip to Bed Bath & Beyond and Duane Reade to get enough stuff for my apartment that I could spend the night. Today I opened a local bank account (at Capital One Bank, which was North Fork Bank), got my phone and Internet cable modem installed, bought and installed a new air conditioner, read almost all of my accumulated email, did a little billable work, attended a bi-weekly meeting of the local Cafe Philo philosophy discussion group, and even found a spare minute to write this blog post. Friday I may get my New York State ID, and Monday I may go down to Atlantic City for the day on the casino bus.

So, I may be close to the end of hemhoragging cash. Maybe a couple hundred dollars of minor expenses, such as keeping my old phone number on voice mail for a couple of months, a final payment or two for MSN dial-up Internet access as I transition to RCN cable access, and a few other odd expenses I am simply forgetting or things I need to do to make the apartment more liveable. And my budget for RCN for unlimited phone and cable Internet access did not include the taxes. And I need to put New York City and State income taxes in my budget as well.

With everything going so smoothly, I went and incurred an unanticipated $15 charge by running one of my credit cards slightly over the credit limit. I caught my mistake in my spreadsheet even before the credit card company is aware of the overlimit problem. All it took was a restaurant tip does not yet show on the pending charge for the restaurant. I rsuhed and made an extra payment myself online, but it will not post until Tuesday (Monday is a holiday), possibly after the tip hits my account. I called up the credit card company and after unsuccessfully attempting to get a tiny $100 increase in my credit limit, I went ahead and agreed to pay them a $15 fee to make an "emergency" payment of $100 that would post today and maybe hit my account before that incoming restaurant tip posts to my account. What a pain. Later on Friday I will call them again and ask to speak to a superviser to request that the $15 fee be waived. They actually told me that if I had simply let the account go over-limit, they would likely be willing to waive the $35 over-limit fee since I already had a payment scheduled, but I do not want my account to show that I actually did go over-limit. What a pain. The main reason I was using this account even though it was near its limit is that it pays 2% cash-back. But, they won't let you credit any of your accumulated cash-back against your balance and pending charges. How silly is that.

One pleasant surprise today was that I received a USPS Priority Mail package that I had mailed to myself on Tuesday. It contained my swiss army knife and a couple of other items that I did not want to carry on the plane and neglected to pack in the last box I shipped via UPS. Maybe I was better off forgetting to pack my knife since otherwise it would still be in transit somewhere in some fly-over state.

-- Jack Krupansky

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