Thursday, May 31, 2012


Well it has finally got very hot, we were hoping to wait until June 1st before we finally broke down and turned on the A/C. But that was not to be. It reached 90 degrees plus over the weekend. We held out until Monday (May 28th) when we had visitors coming over, so we had to turn on the A/C. We have found 78 degrees to be a comfortable setting for us. It removes the humidity which is the major problem with the Maryland heat. Due to the even worse ecomomy, well as far as we are concerned anyway, we have turned our unit up to 80 degrees. This is not too bad, we dress very lightly and if someone comes to visit we turn it down to 78 which seems very comfortable. We turn it up to 80 at night. It has been cooler than that at night anyway. And if there is any kind of a breeze we turn the A/C off, or up to 85 so that it won't come on, and open the windows, which have screens, for a through draft.

News from The Lake is that we now have three Swans! This has happened before, but not for long as the male Swan has attacked the intruder and driven him (her?) off. This time however the three seem to have made a truce and are living a peaceful co-existance. Once again there is no sign of any offspring from the pair. I took one the paddle boats and one of the kayaks out a few weeks ago, along with a grandson to see if the Swan was on her nest, and she was. But I think they have given up on any hope of a young swan Cygnet. As usual I am sure that the DNR oiled the egg(s) again. Julia is very dissapointed as she would love to see some baby swans on The Lake, but I think she understands that it is not to be. They are non-native and do considerable harm to the environment, eating a lot of weed that the Bay simply has too little of already.

The 60th Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second is to be held this week in London, so I am sure that we, along with millions of other ExPat Brits will be glued to their TV's. It should be interesting and enjoyable.

Gas prices in the area continue to drop. Today at the local Giant Supermarket it could be had for $3.38 a gallon.

A scam was attempted on us today. As I was preparing my second cup of coffe,e I noticed a FedEx truck out in the road. He drove off and I went out to see if he had made a delivery to us. He had. A large FedEx envelope was laying on the porch floor. It contained a check for $912.36 with instructions for me to be a Secret Shopper. I was told to cash the check at my bank, go to Walmart, spend $50.00, note a bunch of stuff like cleanliness, helpfulness etc. Take the $50.00 that I had spent and $150.00 for myself for my trouble and send the other $712.00 on to someone in Massachusetts. As I was not born yesterday, I realized that it was a scam. Even if there was such a thing as a Secret Shopper program (Which there is) they were not about to send me the money FIRST! I called the FBI, who were not interested . "You didn't lose anything, tear up the check and forget it."  "What do you want us to do?"  My reply was "I want you to go and arrest these people. Do your job. I may not have lost anything but hundreds or maybe thousands will" I then called the FedEx tracking system and found that the package was mailed in Virginia - it had a  Canadian address on it. The check - actually a United States Post Office Money Order - had an address in New Jersey on it and I was instructed to send the balance to Massachusetts! The FedEx fraud unit is in Memphis and would not be open until 9.00am. So I called the USPS fraud people who were also not interested. "We get a hundred calls like this a day. Throw it away." They said. When I persisted they asked me to send them the FedEx envelope, the letter and the check to them. (The FBI also asked me to do the same - after I persisted too much. Later, after 9.00am, I called the FedEx fraud people who were the most helpful. When I pointed out that they were the only ones making money because they were being paid to deliver he put me staight on that! It seems that the scammers steal a number from a company that uses FedEx and uses that number to send the packages. When that company, in this case one from Canada, discovers that a bunch of packets were sent out that they did not send they call FedEx and tell them. FedEx then has to eat the charge. He explained to me that the packets did not come from Canada, or even from Virginia, well they did come from Virginia, but the scam company sends the checks labels etc to a payroll company and tell them to mail them. The payroll company thinks they are sending out paychecks. Anyway there are hundreds of these scams going on all the time. He said most likely the perpetrators are in a country like Nigeria. And it is impossible to stop them. The only way to stop them is not to send any money. If people don't send them money they will stop. If they get money they will continue. I showed the Postal Order to the bank. They said that it was a good forgery, they may or they may not have cashed it (And only if I had enough money in my account to cover it.) Later when it bounced they would want the money back from me, plus of course their charges! The Post Office said pretty much the same thing. They took the Money Order from me and would not give it back - or even a receipt for it! I said, "But the FBI want it, also the Fed Ex fraud unit want it." The Post Office employee said "The Post Office is part of the FBI" and kept it. What a lot of fun we have!