I am my own guest blogger!

bkc

This is a blog I prepared for the blog from my work. I hope you enjoy it!

http://www.bankruptcy-clinic.com/2014/10/23/smart-cards-new-ways-using-credit-cards/

Smart Cards – new ways of using your credit cards

You’ve probably read of the hacking of credit card accounts at Hobby Lobby recently. Other chain stores, as well as some bank ATMs, have been compromised over the past few years. You might have been affected by that – a letter from your bank or credit card company saying they will issue you a new card and pin number because your account “may have been compromised”.

Sometimes you get that letter more than once.  One client had to switch debit cards twice in a year – once because of the hacking of accounts at Target and later at her bank.

It’s a scary thought – you immediately check your balance and recent statements for debit and charges you may not have made.

The Bankruptcy Clinic PC, a Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Law Firm, has seen several clients who have been the victim of credit card fraud. This is one of many financial problems that lead them to our office for advice – along with outstanding medical bills, continuing divorce issues, suffering job loss, etc.

And credit card fraud is an issue of concern for anyone trying to rebuild their credit after filing bankruptcy.

It is an issue of concern for anyone and everyone.

Fortunately, the credit card companies and banks are taking positive steps to curtail fraud.

Most credit card fraud happens in America.  Changes that will be made by October 2015 will curtail that. It is modeled after Europe’s successful attempts to fight fraudulent credit and debit transactions.

The old “swipe and sign” method of paying with plastic will be replaced. You may still sign your name, but most credit cards will be using a personal identification number (pin) instead.

Also, instead of a metal strip on the back of a card, there will be a microchip. You will slide the card into a reader and put in your pin and/or sign (just like you do when you pay with a credit or debit card at, say, Wal-Mart).

With this new system, the information will NOT be stored by the company or business you are charging and such information is not released to the provider (and thus cannot be stolen by a hacker) by the secured microchip in your card.

This also allows for credit or debit transactions other than using a rectangular card. Your credit or debit card can be a small keychain fob (some credit cards are already using this system, but still with the magnetic strip on the back).

An exciting technological use will be your credit or debit card as an app on your cell phone or tablet – remote transfer of information similar to current apps that can read bar codes.

Businesses are encouraged to switch to this new system by October 2015. Companies still using the “swipe and sign” method may be held liable for any credit card fraud after the switch-over date.

If the success of the European model is any indication, the new “Smart Cards” will help fight credit fraud. For people who have filed bankruptcy, this will allow them to continue building up their credit after their fresh start without fear of their information being stolen from the businesses used.

If you have been the victim of credit theft – or are otherwise fighting an unmanageable debt load – please call our offices in Carbondale, Marion and Mount Vernon for a free consultation with a Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Law Firm on getting a fresh start by filing for bankruptcy.

Deep in debt? Contact a Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Law Firm

Call The Bankruptcy Clinic today at (618) 549-1100

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One last anniversary celebration! There’s no place like …

Home … Part Five

Five Years Ago Today … an Abby’s Road anniversary

 all my babies

            October 12, 2009.  

            Starting at page 180:

            “(late) On Sunday, October 11th, 2009 we were home after 23 long days away. Our life had changed irreversibly. One chapter closed and another started – as it had on our wedding day.

            We put Abigail in her bassinette and went to bed. I awoke hours later thinking the baby was choking, but it was only Mau the cat sitting on our comforter giving us a welcome-home hairball.

my mommy no MY mommy

 

            The next day Esther was on the couch with cats Fizzy and Mau jockeying for position on her lap. Abigail snuggled on my chest, Warlock the cat on my right side and Nebula the cat on my left. I sat in my comfy green chair with my feet propped high. My chair, my home, my family. Life is … zzzzzzzzzzzzz …”

***

cover

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.


Abby’s Road is available at Amazon here: 
http://www.amazon.com/Abbys-Road-Long-Winding-Adoption/product-reviews/0692221530/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending


at Barnes and Noble here: 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abbys-road-the-long-and-winding-road-to-adoption-and-how-facebook-aquaman-and-theodore-roosevelt-helped-michael-curry/1119971924?ean=9780692221532


and at Smashwords here:
 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457270

 

Copyright 2014 Michael Curry

 

 

Five Years Ago Today – familiar places and faces. We come home.

On our way home … Part Four

Five Years Ago Today … an Abby’s Road anniversary

 what the hell are you

            October 11, 2009. A train ride from Washington to Chicago to St. Louis … breakfasting with British cousins and putting up with the Australian Octomom and Captain Dig Me. Then finally … finally ….

            Starting at page 176:

            “Fond and familiar cities rumbled past: Springfield, Alton

            By six that evening we pulled into the St. Louis station.  My father was there to meet us.

            Two days before, late that frantic Friday afternoon, we called him to give him the news.  “So you’ll be home Sunday night,” was the first thing he said.             

            “How did you know that?”

            “Your sister called me. She saw it on the computer.” He volunteered his time working for the city clerk, and the clerk and his secretary kept a Facebook watch to give Dad all the news.

            And now here is my father waiting for us at the station. I have never been happier to see his face in my adult life.

            “Hi, Dad.”

            “Did you have a nice trip?  Where’s that bad mandolin music coming from?”

            “I’d rather not talk about it. I’d like to introduce you to your new granddaughter.”

grandpa

            He said he finally has a brown-haired brown-eyed girl; he has always wanted a brown-haired brown-eyed girl.

            He drove our car to the train station.  We had a baby seat installed for free that summer by the fire department during one of those baby-seat safety seminars they give a few times a year. When we got south of Mascoutah, Abigail cried. Esther asked us to pull over so she could feed the baby – Dad and I rode in front.

            We told her to take her out of the seat and feed her.

            “We’re not supposed to do that.”

            “No jury in the world will convict us. All we need is one mother on it…” It’s good to be a lawyer again.

            We went to my sister’s house in Coulterville. She took plenty of pictures and plenty of children looked at their new cousin. My sister held Abigail the entire time.

cousins

 

            We found out later that she was pregnant at that time – she just found out – but kept quiet for a few months to let Abigail be the only baby for a while.

            The plan was to stay in Coulterville at Dad’s house overnight. But we wanted to go home. We’ve wanted to go home for the past 23 days. Now that we were an hour away only extreme fatigue would stop us.

            We said our goodbyes, loaded up on caffeine at the convenience store and headed home.

            Our other babies, the cats, stayed in the basement this entire time. Relax, our basement was bigger than my first apartment. We asked our house-sitter to let them up from their basement home the day before.

            When I walked in with our luggage, two of them sat by the dining room table and watched who came in. I called their names. When Warlock saw me, he stalked toward me. I petted his head as Esther came in with the baby.

            By the time I moved the car to the garage and came back inside; Esther sat on the floor as the cats rubbed against her and the baby seat. Warlock sniffed at Abigail. Abigail stared back. I snapped a quick photo. The caption: “What the hell are you,” each asked the other.

***

cover

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.


Abby’s Road is available at Amazon here: 
http://www.amazon.com/Abbys-Road-Long-Winding-Adoption/product-reviews/0692221530/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending


at Barnes and Noble here: 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abbys-road-the-long-and-winding-road-to-adoption-and-how-facebook-aquaman-and-theodore-roosevelt-helped-michael-curry/1119971924?ean=9780692221532


and at Smashwords here:
 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457270

 

Copyright 2014 Michael Curry

 

 

Five years ago today: I hear the train a’coming!

On our way home … Part Three

Five Years Ago Today … an Abby’s Road anniversary

 

            October 10, 2009. We received permission from New York AND Illinois to go home. We got our train tickets and headed to Penn Station. From there to the nation’s capital.

penn station

            Starting at page 171:

            “Among the many nice things about babies is there is no need for an alarm clock. Among the many horrible things about babies is there is no need for an alarm clock. By the time the alarm rang at four that Saturday morning we had already fed and changed Abigail, showered and packed our last bits of belongings. I paid our bill (actually Capital One did and I paid them – still paying them for that matter) and pushed our luggage carrier to the motel shuttle.

            Other people were on the shuttle for the Long Island Railroad station that morning too. That surprised me – it was 4:30 for gosh sakes! It took a long time to get to the station, and the train pulled up just as we paid for our tickets to Penn Station. We found a nice niche to ourselves and settled back for the next hour or so.

            The ticket-taker walked past a few times. We laughed as men bolted the train during stops as the ticket-taker approached. They had no ticket and were riding for free. Thieves!

            Soon we were at famous Penn Station. I thought about looking around, but decided against it. It was a long walk to the Amtrak station, but the way was clearly marked. There were a few homeless people sleeping in the hallways as we passed. We don’t have much of that in our small town so it was hard for me to ignore them. I thought about the hundreds of people that pass by without as much as a glance. Are they cold for doing so? No, not really; but that in itself is also a problem, isn’t it?

            A friendly Amtrak lady checked us in and told us that since we had a sleeper car for the trip from DC to Chicago, we could stay in the VIP lounge at all three stations. We were prepared to lay on benches and wait, but instead spent our layovers on comfy couches with clean bathrooms and complementary sodas, tea, coffee and snacks.

atpennstation

            I kept Abigail snuggled on my chest while in the lounge at Penn Station. The train to Washington DC was delayed in Boston for several hours. I wasn’t worried about missing our connection – it wasn’t for another twelve hours.

            Esther took some photos of Abigail and me trying to snooze. The VIP lounge was the perfect tonic. We got to relax. It reminded me of going to Long Island – this was happening. Really happening. We are forty-eight hours from home.“

***

cover

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.


Abby’s Road is available at Amazon here: 
http://www.amazon.com/Abbys-Road-Long-Winding-Adoption/product-reviews/0692221530/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending


at Barnes and Noble here: 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abbys-road-the-long-and-winding-road-to-adoption-and-how-facebook-aquaman-and-theodore-roosevelt-helped-michael-curry/1119971924?ean=9780692221532


and at Smashwords here:
 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457270

 

Copyright 2014 Michael Curry

 

 

Five years ago today – we’re coming home!

On our way home … Part Two

Five Years Ago Today … an Abby’s Road anniversary

 orig-bureaucracy

            October 9, 2009. John Lennon’s birthday. I hoped that would be a good omen …

            When we last left our adventurers, we waited for one of the most bureaucratically-ensnarled states of the union to approve the interstate compact so we could go home. It was the Friday before a three-day weekend. Oy …

            Starting at page 169:

            “Illinois is an hour behind New York, so the offices there would not open until 10:00 a.m. our time. We weren’t expecting any news from Ronnie until noon. … I also posted (on Facebook) “(t)hanks for all the prayers for us getting to go home today. No luck though. Anyone want to join me for prayers to Wotan? Baal? Any deity that will listen?”

            Noon passed. So did 1:00. Then 2:00. Then 3:00. Esther lay down in bed and cried.  A few minutes later she fell asleep. The baby was fed and she slept as well. I stayed up and played World of Warcraft and waited for the baby to wake up.

            Soon it was four o’clock our time; three o’clock in Illinois.

            Three o’clock the Friday before a three-day weekend at a government office. By now people were sneaking between the partitions and cubicles, jumping through the bathroom windows and pushing their cars out of the parking lots.  Once out of earshot they’ll start the engine and get the hell out of there. The smart ones took that Friday off months before – those left were the bitter employees who were too late to get their vacation requests approved in time.

            Ties are loosened; wine and beer bottles are opened. The radio plays. “Two more hours and we’re outta here,” someone shouts from across the room. Is someone smoking? That’s doesn’t smell like tobacco…

            I took my frustrations out on my fellow WOW gamers. When I had finished at four o’clock I started a Facebook post; I took my previous post to its inevitable conclusion:

            “Oh Mighty Baal, please strike dead those who decided we should not be allowed to go home this weekend and curse their spawn to the third generation.”

            I was ready to hit “Send” when Esther’s cell phone rang. She woke up and said hello in a groggy voice.

            It was Ronnie.

            We were approved to take the baby home.

            I told Esther to shut off the phone in case he calls back and said it was a mistake. We would crinkle some foil in front of the phone. “Sorry, bad signal – we’re already in Pennsylvania – what? What?”

            I could not have made the timing up. If I wrote it as part of a story the editors, critics and the reading masses would tear it to pieces. “What kind of melodramatic shit is this?”

            I added to my Facebook post: “ – hold on! As I type this we got our call! We’re going home!!! Jesus came through at the last minute! Hurrah for Jesus (but you cut it pretty close there, Godboy! Watch it!!)!!”

            Esther was a little more pleasant. She always is… “Praise God!!! We are cleared to take Abigail home. Thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers. We’ll be offline a couple of days. Facebook by cell phone for now. Please ignore Mike’s post.”

            Harrumph!

***

The cover of Abby's Road

The cover of Abby’s Road

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.


Abby’s Road is available at Amazon here: 
http://www.amazon.com/Abbys-Road-Long-Winding-Adoption/product-reviews/0692221530/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending


at Barnes and Noble here: 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abbys-road-the-long-and-winding-road-to-adoption-and-how-facebook-aquaman-and-theodore-roosevelt-helped-michael-curry/1119971924?ean=9780692221532


and at Smashwords here:
 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457270

 

Copyright 2014 Michael Curry

 

 

Five years ago today … a glimmer of good news …

On our way home … Part One

Five Years Ago Today … an Abby’s Road anniversary

 bureaucracy

            We spent the week after Abby was born moving to a new motel, feeding, changing and caring for our little daughter. But we were still a thousand miles away from family and friends. She had reflux, but by switching formula and giving her some medication she felt better. I wish we felt better…

            Starting at page 168:

            “Ronnie called us on Thursday, October 8th. The state of New York cleared us for interstate travel.

            “Woo-hoo!” I said, “We can take the train outta here tomorrow!”

            Nope. Illinois has to approve it, too. The paperwork is scheduled to arrive in Springfield tomorrow at 9:00 am.

            Um, wasn’t that supposed to have been done Monday?

             The timing could not have been worse. If the Department of Children and Family Services – or whoever would be in charge of such things – verbally approves our taking Abigail to Illinois Friday, we can go home.

            That Monday was Columbus Day. If they didn’t approve it on Friday, it will be Tuesday. Or later.

            One of my very best friends from law school works in Springfield for the Illinois senate. “Maybe we can call him and see if he can help,” Esther said. I said I doubted that he could. We didn’t call him.

            Esther got on Facebook and asked friends to pray the paperwork was on the top of the anonymous bureaucrat’s pile.

            I was more direct: “Everyone pray that we get verbal approval tomorrow. Pray! I SAID PRAY DAMN YOU!!!! Er, rather, we appreciate your prayers at this juncture…”

            I was desperate and angry. “Let’s go home.  Who’s going to know?”

            “We’re not doing anything that will get us in trouble,” Esther said.  She was right of course. And if it came to it I would have stayed.  I just felt like saying it out loud.

            That evening we ate at a 1950s-style diner. The waitress oohed and aahed over Abigail. An older couple came over to see her, as did a small child (Abby does that now – she’s done that ever since she’s been able to walk – babies love to look at babies).

            It was a wonderful meal. It was a wonderful diner filled with wonderful people.

            It gave us no joy.”

***

cover

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.


Abby’s Road is available at Amazon here: 
http://www.amazon.com/Abbys-Road-Long-Winding-Adoption/product-reviews/0692221530/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending


at Barnes and Noble here: 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abbys-road-the-long-and-winding-road-to-adoption-and-how-facebook-aquaman-and-theodore-roosevelt-helped-michael-curry/1119971924?ean=9780692221532


and at Smashwords here:
 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457270

 

Copyright 2014 Michael Curry

 

 

Five Years Ago Today – from Abby’s Road: Our baby is finally ours…

And Baby Makes Three …

Five Years Ago Today … an Abby’s Road anniversary

             October 3, 2009. The baby is released to our custody by the birth mother’s attorney, Ronnie…

            Starting at page 156:

            “I drove the car to the hospital entrance, just as I did half a decade before during Esther’s battle with the fibroids. After a few minutes waiting, I walked back into the hospital. Esther, Ronnie and a nurse turned the corner and I led them to the car. On the steps Ronnie handed Abigail to Esther, who put her in the car seat.

            This was the baby carrier/car seat combo we got when we rented the car. We had something like that in our car at home, too. The car seat pops off and we have instant baby carrier.

            The nurse wished us luck and Ronnie said he would call us in a few days. He congratulated us and gave Esther a pat on the shoulder and shook her hand. He came around to the driver’s side and shook my hand, too.

            We stopped by Target to buy supplies and formula.  This was during the big Asian flu pandemic and I worried about someone sneezing near our little baby.  Esther said it would be all right.

            We bought diapers with Big Bird on them. Ah, the crass commercialism starting from day one, well, day three. I took a Diet Coke from the mini-fridge by the check-out counter and it was warm. Every bottle was warm – the fridge wasn’t working. The only other mini-fridge with Coke products was several aisles down, but I found a cold bottle of the stuff eventually.  We each used the restroom then back to our motel with our little girl.

first family photo

            …our little girl…

            I learned how to use the camera timer and took pictures of the three of us.  Then some photos of Esther feeding Abigail for the first time. She took photos of me holding her and mugging for the camera. For the first time – for us anyway – Abby’s eyes were open and she squeaked and cooed.

home

            She had beautiful dark eyes – nearly black.

            I tested her grasp reflexes.

            Grasp reflexes were mentioned in all those books I read months before. Abigail grabbed my thumbs tightly in her little hands. This is, supposedly, a throw-back to the days when babies held on for dear life to the hair on their homo-habilis mommas as they climbed from tree to tree; this was back in the day when the appendix and the tonsils had a purpose.

            My little Abigail snuggled on my chest. She was as tiny as the baby dolls we bought for her.

            It was October 3rd. It was exactly – exactly (even to the hour) – nine months ago I asked Esther if she would consider adopting.

            Abigail was more beautiful than she was in the hospital. Pouty lips, round nose, prominent eyebrows, deep dark eyes, feathery hair and soft skin. We’ve only had her for two hours and I already loved her. I loved her with all my heart.”

***

            And I still do…and baby makes

This will be the last Abby’s Road anniversary for many days – we have a baby to take care of!

***

The cover of Abby's Road

The cover of Abby’s Road

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.


Abby’s Road is available at Amazon here: 
http://www.amazon.com/Abbys-Road-Long-Winding-Adoption/product-reviews/0692221530/ref=cm_cr_pr_top_recent?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending


at Barnes and Noble here: 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abbys-road-the-long-and-winding-road-to-adoption-and-how-facebook-aquaman-and-theodore-roosevelt-helped-michael-curry/1119971924?ean=9780692221532


and at Smashwords here:
 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/457270

 

Copyright 2014 Michael Curry