Has Anyone Stole and Then Forged One of Your Checks?

My bank’s fraud department left me a message while speaking at a work-related Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) event about a year ago. I didn’t answer their call because I didn’t recognize the number, plus my talk was starting in a few minutes.

Checked on My Bank Account

Once my talk was through, I listened to the message and found out I needed to call my bank before 4:00 PM because it was urgent. Either I missed the part that it was from the fraud department, or they didn’t mention it, but I figured I better look into it.

I logged into my bank’s website and noticed a large check had been cashed for an amount I knew I hadn’t written. While grabbing my checkbook to see what the check was supposed to be, I viewed the digital image of the check on the bank’s website.

My checkbook said it was a payment for my water bill from March 2021. That was now changed to be to a person for ten times the original amount.

Looking at the check, you could see someone changed the date from March to April by making the three a four. Then put a person’s name where the water company’s name should have been.

You could see the last part of the water company’s name at the end of the line to whom the check was initially made. They also change the written amount in words and numbers.

After repeatedly listening to the bank’s phone number, I needed to call. I wrote it all down—many attempts later, I wrote the phone number down in pieces.

A note to others whenever I leave my phone number that is different from the one I’m using, I say it in three pieces and then repeat it slowly a second time. So people can get it the first or second time listening. In case they weren’t expecting to need to write the number down in the first place.

I then Googled the 800 number and found everything pointing out that it was my bank’s number. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t getting scammed further.

Called My Bank Back

So I called the bank and explained what I had figured out to the person that answered my call. They told me I needed to contact the fraud department, whom I thought was who I was talking to.

The bank person then transferred me to the fraud department. The fraud department then asked me a bunch of questions like the first person did to make sure I was who I was supposed to be.

So I asked them again how much the check-in question was for and the name on it. I felt more comfortable that it was my bank and not scammers since they could tell me what I saw from my online account.

Partway through the process, I decided they asked for too much information over the phone for me to set up a new checking account.

Once I got off the phone with them, I set up an appointment to go to the nearest branch the next day to set up the new checking account because they mentioned they would have to close/put my current one on hold. The bank did this so that no more money could be withdrawn from my existing account.

Headed to My Bank

I worked for a couple of hours the next day before leaving for the Metro near me to head out for my noon appointment at the bank. Once I got to the Metro, I found out the Blue line wasn’t running because the Arlington Cemetery station had been closed for repairs for a few weeks/months.

So that meant I had to take the long way on the Yellow Line to the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station and then catch an Orange or Silver line train to get to the Ballston – MU Metro station.

Of course, I missed the next connecting train by approximately a minute.

The DC Metro was not running as many trains due to some single-tracking that was going on.

The next train was supposed to be there in about 13 minutes. It was closer to 18 minutes.

So I finally got to the Ballston Metro station at noon when I was supposed to be at the bank then, which was still five or six blocks away. I attempted to call the person I was supposed to be meeting to open my new account while walking there, and they were away from their desk.

Finally, I got a hold of them and told them I was still on my way walking over because of Metro issues. I managed to only be about six or seven minutes late for my appointment.

Explained My Issues

Once there, I explained what had happened and that I needed to set up a new checking account. The person helping me told me that they could keep my account open. So any checks that were getting deposited, like my Federal Government and State government tax returns that I had sent out a few days before, using the current checking account number, or my paycheck that was due to be deposited in a few days.

So we worked through all the paperwork to set up a new checking account and a few other things. Then the bank person had to contact the fraud group to have them transfer all the money in my old checking account to my new account.

First, the person that set up my new account had to give the fraud department person a bunch of information to prove they worked for the bank. Then I had to answer a bunch of questions to which I had to move closer to the speakerphone to answer. Loads of fun to do during a pandemic and having to pull down my mask so the other person on the phone could hear me.

Once that was done, we had to see a teller and make the final transfer possible because both of my accounts were now open. Once that was completed, the bank person I was working with kept my old account open to receive the two tax refunds and a possible paycheck but closed it so that no money could go out in case the person who forged the check couldn’t do anything else.

The bank person had to call the fraud department back and tell them we had transferred the funds after, of course, both of us had to answer all the questions again over the phone.

Ordered New Checks

I had to order new checks, and luckily, I did not have any bills that needed to be paid for another few weeks, so I had time to get the new ones.

Once I was done, I thanked the person for their work since it took at least an hour, if not more, to complete the entire process if my memory served me correctly.

Grabbed Lunch To Go

I then headed to the Ballston Mall to stop at Hot Lola’s to get a spicy chicken sandwich for a late lunch once I made it home. They use a blend that is part Nashville Hot Chicken with Sichuan peppercorns. So the sandwiches have some spice, some heat, and flavor along with a bit of tingling on your tongue.

Long Train Ride Home

Again, it took about an hour and a half to get home with all the DC Metro train system issues.

The hot chicken sandwich was still warm and crispy even after all that time on the trains.

Talked with Neighbors

Later talking with neighbors about my issue, I found out they had heard of others losing mail at the nearby Post Office if you put your mail in the big dropoff box outside in the Post Office parking lot.

Since then, I have made an effort after walking to the Post Office to make sure and put any outgoing mail in the mailboxes inside the building.

Good Luck Everyene

So hopefully, this never happens to you if it has sorry to hear that.

2021 Reading List

My 2021 book reading started well and continued with a slow plod through the longer books.

Total Books Read

I started strong and finished the year strong too by reading 26 books, which was three more than last year.

My plan was to read when I could and see how much I could get through.

Book Length in Pages

Like last year (2020), the books I read were both long and short and were between 120 and 150 pages, while others were over 450+ pages.

Need More YouTube Learning

To break up my reading, I continued watching YouTube to learn about different ways to cook, start a small farm, create videos/movies, ideas for a tiny house, etc. More on that likely in another post.

List of Books

Below is the list of books I read. They are more or less in the order I read them.

  • Picture This: The Near-sighted Monkey Book – Lynda Barry
  • Austin Kleon
    • Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
    • Show Your Work! 10 Ways To Show Your Creativity And Get Discovered
    • Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad
  • One Percent Better – Yearbook Five by Hiut Denim
  • Do Sea Salt – The Magic of Seasoning. by Alison, David, and Jess Lea-Wilson
  • Amoralman – A True Story and Other Lies by Derek DelGaudio
  • Charles Dowding’s No Dig Gardening, Course 1: From Weeds to Vegetables Easily and Quickly by Charles Dowding
  • The First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables: All the know-how and encouragement you need to grow – and fall in love with! – your brand new food garden (Volume 1) by Jessica Sowards
  • How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates
  • Restoration Agriculture Real-world Permaculture for Farmers by Mark Shepard
  • Do Walk: Navigate earth, mind and body. Step by step. by Libby DeLana
  • Do Make: The Power of Your Own Two Hands by James Otter
  • How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
  • Young Men and Fire: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition by Norman Maclean
  • The Backyard Adventurer: Meaningful and Pointless Expeditions, Self-experiments, and the Value of Other People’s Junk by Beau Miles
  • The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-to-Basics Guide by John Seymour
  • Fermentation as Metaphor by Sandor Ellix Katz
  • Do Preserve: Make your own jams, chutneys, pickles, and cordials. (Easy Beginners Guide to Seasonal Preserving, Fruit and Vegetable Canning and Preserving Recipes) by Anja Dunk, Jen Goss, and Mimi Beaven
  • Do Open: How a Simple Email Newsletter Can Transform your Business by David Hieatt
  • Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
  • How to Eat by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Make a World by Ed Emberley
  • The “You Don’t Know JavaScript Yet” series books by Kyle Simpson
    • Types & Grammar – 1st Edition
    • Async & Performance – 1st Edition
    • ES6 & Beyond – 1st Edition

List of Magazines

  • Growers & Co
    • Celebrating the Movement of Small-scale Organic Agriculture – Issue 01
    • A Promise of Renewal – Shaping Stronger Food Systems and Social Change in the Movement of Small-scale Organic Agriculture – Issue 02
    • A Regenerative Movement – Explore How Growers are Redefining the Agricultural System in Favor of Traditional Practices that Preserve te Health of Ecosystems and Their Communities – Issue 03

I plan to do a more in-depth write-up of the ones I liked the best in the future.

More Reading in 2022

Here to as much or more reading in 2022 as in 2021 if possible.

Please leave a comment if you read any of these books and your thoughts.


Walked to Much on a Hot Humid Saturday

On Saturday, June 26th, I woke up at about 7:17 AM, and it was raining.

So I decided to lay in bed until closer to 8:00 AM to see if the rain would stop, and it did.

Off to the First Farmer’s Market

I got ready and left the house at 8:01 AM to walk to the Old Town Alexandria Farmer’s Market. The humidity was at 90% after the rain, which made the heat worse. I dropped off my compost there. Then gathered a few items from the market and headed back home, which is a three and a quarter-mile round trip.

Made It Home

When I got home put the items away and then ate a mixed berry tart and most of the quart of cold water to re-hydrate. Getting some food and water in me was helpful.

Once I finished the mixed fruit tart and cold water. I headed to the Del Ray Farmer’s Market and MOM’s Organic Market to drop off recycled glass bottles and jars.

Stopped at St. Elmo’s and My Second Farmer’s Market

So I stopped by St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub and ran into a few friends. One of them I had not seen since around Xmas of 2019 or so. Their children are now at least a year and a half older and have grown a great deal.

I did a bit of quick shopping for some cherry tomatoes and greens at the Del Ray Farmer’s Market.

Now Headed to MOM’s to Drop-off Glass

Then I started the mile-plus walk to the MOM’s to drop off my glass to be recycled. Of course, I missed both to the buses headed that way, so it was better to walk than wait 30 minutes in the heat.

I went behind the MOMs Organic Market to drop off my bottles and jars.

Order Myself Some Refresh Tamales

When leaving stopped for the second time at the apartment building near the parking lot exit that had a nice young lady selling fresh tamales she made. I ordered two pork and two chicken tamales. Each tamale had some green beans, potato, and yellow pepper on them this week.

After ordering, I noticed they had both a bean and all-veggie version. So next time I go, I’m either going to get one of all four kinds of tamales or, more likely, the bean and all veggie tamales.

As I was getting ready to leave, I think the young woman’s mother came out and is one that makes the tamales. I asked if they had any lemonade. She told me she was finishing up in the house and would be bringing it out in about three minutes.

So I waited and got a cold glass with ice.

They are a Great Deal

The best part is each of the tamales is only $2.00 apiece, and so is the lemonade. The tamales, in my opinion, are worth more than that, so when my bill came to $10.00 total, I gave them $15.

Sat Outside MOM’s to Eat Them

I then walked over to the front of the MOM’s, which has three metal table and connected chairs out front to eat. I ate a pork and a chicken tamale while drinking my lemonade and relaxing.

The tamales are wrapped in thick tinfoil and a banana leaf. I was able to eat them with my hands because I did not see any silverware.

Missed the Buses Back home

Once I was done, I noticed that the second bus heading towards home went by. So it was going to be another 30 minutes before the next one.

I started walking home, taking my time, and walking on the shady side of the street.

Of course, when I looked at the schedule, it looks like on the weekend, the one bus line is only running every hour, which meant a longer time to wait for it.

Of course, another bus came by because it must have been off schedule, and I wasn’t near a stop when the bus drove past me. So I continued to walk towards home.

Stopped at St. Elmo’s Again to See People Outside

As I passed St. Elmo’s again, one friend was still there like an hour and a half later with the other person’s father with their two children.

So by not taking the bus, I was able to talk to him after about a year and a half or more.

He offered me a ride home which I declined because I was way too sweaty to get in his car.

Headed Home

After a bit of talking and cooling down in the shade, I walked the mile and a half home.

It took a while, but I got home, I put all the food away and took a nap after re-hydrating.

After my nap, I heated the two remaining tamales and had them with a bottle of kombucha.

Headed for One Final Walk for the Evening

After eating and drinking then I went for another walk since I was up to eight and a quarter miles. I figure I could get to ten miles for the day.

After I got moving, I figured I could get enough steps in to get to 25,000 steps for the day. Then it became needing another 1,000 or so steps to get to over twelve miles of walking.

Read on My Back Deck

I finally got home and, to cool off, grabbed some cold water, my book, and my rockerless rocker, and a folding table to sit on the back deck to read.

So not a bad day, even though looking later in the evening, I ended up with a blister on the ball of each of my feet.

Final Thoughts

So after walking to two farmers’ markets and running into friends, I had not seen since before the pandemic. Purchasing four homemade tamales and lemonade, along with a short nap.

I walked 26,656 steps for the day. For a total of 12.22 miles over 260 minutes, 22 floors, and burned 4,402 calories.

Not something I want to do again in the heat, but good to know I can do it if properly hydrated and fed.

Broke a Tooth and Had to Take the Metro to the Dentist

A few Saturdays ago (April 17th) in the evening, while eating a salad, I broke a piece of my upper left bicuspid off.

At first, I was not sure if it was part of the salad or what it was. But after looking at the piece, I realized it was a piece of tooth.

The next thing I did was check to see where it was from in my mouth. Once I found the tooth missing a piece, I was glad I was not feeling any pain or sensitivity.

I finished the rest of my salad with no other problems.

I spent Sunday eating soft things on the other side of my mouth. At the same time, contacting my dentist friend to see if he could get me into his office on Monday. Also, I sent a similar request to his office on their website if he wasn’t checking his personal e-mail.

A few hours later, I heard back from him to contact the office on Monday morning. Then I sent work an e-mail that I needed to go to the dentist on Monday without knowing what was going on with the tooth.

So Monday morning, I called the dentist’s office. They mentioned they had recently sent me an e-mail to tell me they could get me in on Thursday. I asked if they had anything sooner, to which they replied because I had mentioned I was in no pain, they made the appointment for Thursday. I asked if they had anything sooner to make sure I could get it checked before it became a problem.

After that, they informed me they could get me in at noon on Monday. So I said I would take that appointment.

E-mailed work to say I was going to take the appointment and wasn’t sure if I would be back or not.

Now I had to walk to the metro (commuter train) to take the train for the first time in over a year, which was concerning.

Luckily for me, over two weeks before, I had gotten my Johnson and Johnson vaccine. That made me feel a bit safer to take the train and have my mask off at the dentist. Previously, I had walking pneumonia 25+ years ago, and most colds go to my chest.

Before leaving, I remembered that a block from the Foggy Bottom metro was a block from Whole Foods. So I grabbed my backpack to pick up a few things since I hadn’t been in one in a year and a half or more.

I left the house with my cloth-tying mask and then a bandana over the top of that. Along with a pair of winter gloves to use while on the train or in the grocery store.

I walked to the Braddock St. metro, which is a half-mile from the house. Then found out the blue line was not running, which meant having to take the long way into Foggy Bottom metro. So have to take the yellow line to L’Enfant Plaza and then go downstairs to catch an orange or silver line train.

Then I waited for the first train going in the direction I need to get to Foggy Bottom. I got into the first car, which I had to myself for the three or four stops I had to go.

I managed to get out of the Foggy Bottom metro stop and then the two blocks to the dentist.

I got to the dentist’s office after waiting to get in because someone was at the front desk and near the door. After getting in, I had to fill out a two-page form with a ton of questions that most of the answers were “No.”

When it was time to go in my friend, the dentist walked back to the room. After talking some, they asked me to take down my mask so they could see my tooth. After taking my bandana down, they asked if I had another mask under my cloth mask, to which I replied no.

Look at my tooth, then put the mask back over my nose and mouth while I waited for a few x-rays to check how the tooth was. Once the digital x-rays were done, they said the tooth looked solid and could be fixed. The fix would be to get rid of the old filling. Then put a cap/crown with a veneer attached to cover the missing piece.

Once done, went out to make an appointment which because they needed possibly two and a half hours. That meant they couldn’t take me until mid-May in the afternoon. The day they chose was the only day I couldn’t take because I was speaking on a remote conference panel at the time. So they then had one a few days later. But they found one a week earlier in the morning, so I took it.

Before walking out of the dentist, they reminded me to only eat soft foods on the other side of my mouth. To make sure I didn’t cause myself any issues. So no carrots, chewy bread, chips, steak, etc.

After making my appointment, I walked over the Whole Foods to do a bit of shopping. I hadn’t been in one in like two years. Once done, I put my purchases in my backpack and then caught the metro home.

So here’s to things going well for my next dentist appointment to fix my tooth along with getting out more now that I have been fully vaccinated.

Vaccinated and Now I Wait

On Friday, April 2nd, I ended up being the farthest from my house in over a year to get my Johnson and Johnson vaccine. It was only two and a half miles but was the longest walk in one direction to go somewhere.

Vaccine Location and How I Got There

The vaccine location was the old Pier 1 Imports on Route  1 (Potomac Yard Center) near the old Shoppers.

I took the back way there along the walking path near the train and metro tracks. It is a nice, fairly quiet walk, even on a windy day, at least with the wind in my face.

Stopped to Shop Before

I got near the location with about 25 minutes to go. So I stopped at Target to see if they had Kewpie Mayo. I went to the condiments section looking for it and could not find it. I did find some dijon mustard and honey mustard to use as part of a salad dressing.

Start the Process

Once done shopping at Target, I walked over to sign in for my vaccine. They asked first if I had an appointment which I did. After that asked if I had a QR code application on my phone to get to the sign-in forms. Because I didn’t, so I had to use their iPad with the heavy-duty cases and a double battery. Attempting to fill out the form holding it with one hand while using the stylus. This combination made it heavy and to hold while working through many form screens.

The other hard part was it was cold out, and my glasses kept fogging up and making it hard to read the options.

After filling out the four-plus screens’ worth of information, I had to wait for the acceptance to send me an e-mail. Once the e-mail showed up, I showed it to the person near the door. They checked it and had me move along the line, following the dots on the ground, which were at least six feet apart.

Entering the Building

When I go to the door, they took my temperature. I told them my temperature might be high because of walking there. The person told me it would be between 92 F and 93 F. My temperature ended being 91.3 F. Which the person said I should be dead. I also thought my temperature was to be 98.6 F. At least they know their temperature device was off by so many degrees.

Next, I followed the dots until I got the registration table. After finding my name on the list, they gave me a post-it note to give to the person giving me the vaccine.

Time for My Vaccine

Then it was more following the person in front of me until there was a person available to give me my vaccine. The person had me fill out my card with my name, etc., while asking which arm I wanted my shot in.

I told them I would like it in my right arm since I sleep on my left side, which they thought was good thinking on my part.

I told them once I got done after my 15-minute waiting period I was going to stop at Staples to get my vaccine card laminated. I wanted to protect it because the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is one and done.

15-Minute Wait

The person giving me my vaccine informed me that Staples was laminating cards for free. So after my 15 minutes of sitting and waiting to make sure I did not have an adverse reaction to the shot.

So I walked down to Staples and waited until it was my turn in line. I then handed the person by the counter my vaccine card to get laminated. They took my card and looked at me like they had done so many already. On their way to laminate my card, they stopped to do a few other things. Once they got back with my card, I asked how much it was, and they said it was free. So I left them a five-dollar bill on the counter, which seemed to make them a bit happier.

More Grocery Shopping on My Way Home

After leaving Staples, I stopped at the Giant to see if they had Kewpie Mayo there too. They did not but picked up a few other items since I hadn’t been to a Giant in a few years.

Then I continued walking home and stopped for my typical Aldi’s trip for groceries. I figured I should do my shopping if I didn’t feel well later that day or the following few days.

Made It Home

Once I got home, I put away my groceries then had a large lunch before I could take a nap. I attempted to lay in bed to nap for about 40 minutes before hearing the kids in the neighborhood playing basketball in the street. So I at least got to rest some.

I had another large dinner, watched some videos, etc., and went to bed early to get some extra sleep.

So now, a few days later, I’m feeling fine and didn’t even get any superpowers.

Here is to the Future

Here’s to everyone getting vaccinated, and things can get back to a bit more normal.

My plan is, after the four-week waiting period to have the vaccine take full effect, to look at rental car prices. The plan is to drive to no particular place but get out of the house and into the country.

I also looked into AirBnB places in the country within an hour of my house. I found a few log cabins, another cabin or two, one place that had both a hot tub and a sauna, etc. All of them I looked at had wifi so I could at least watch movies, videos, etc. if I wanted to.

So here’s to waiting a few more weeks to get out of town for a few days.