Friday, November 18, 2016

South State Bank...Epic Fail

Recently I wrote a blog about banks going bad. Well, South State Bank in South Carolina is an epic FAIL.

They told me I could sign a paper and get out of the escrow account. Bring it, I can budget in escrow and I know how to manage MY money. Wednesday I got a call from an assistant to the loan person I dealt with. She has only been his assistant for six months and all she knows is she cannot help me. Please email her boss.

I emailed her boss and told him to make me a happy camper they need to cut the check for my property taxes NOW as they have the money to pay them. Send me the papers to close the escrow account. The cut me a check for the remaining amount they have and I'll pay the house payment and the interest.

Today while I am in northern Ohio, Vickie Battles calls me. She informs me she is the head of the escrow department. I'm thinking good we might be getting somewhere. Then she proceeds to tell me, my loan was written so the escrow account cannot be separated from it. WTF....Yeah that's what I said. However they can take $137 and change from my principle to cover the shortage and my payment will then be $969 and change/mo.

I flipped out on her. Told her she needed to clean house and get rid of the people who cannot do their job. They should have had my taxes in front of them before EVER redoing an escrow assessment. Well, we don't have them yet. UM, yes you do. Two of your inept employees have told me they have the taxes. PAY THEM NOW!!!

We have a certain time when we cut those checks. What part of PAY THE FUCKING TAXES NOW! Did you not understand????

Then she gives me her phone number so if there is another issue with my escrow account I can call her directly. IF there is another problem with my escrow account I will be seeking an attorney and I will sue the bank.

In the meantime I am looking into who is in charge of banking in South Carolina. I want this bank audited and if I can't get someone on a state level to do it, I'll be hitting up my Congress person and my Senator. The proverbial shit is about to hit the fan. It's going to get ugly.

Anyone looking for a nice house in South Carolina??? I have one which will be on the market as of October 31, 2017.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When Banking Goes Wrong

A year ago on October 30, 2015, I got a home mortgage through South State Bank here in South Carolina. They will eventually go the way of Wells Fargo and will not darken our skies or our pockets.

I have them holding an escrow account for my insurance and taxes. In April, 2015 when the not so good hands at Allstate tried to soak me $800 extra a year for an accident I did not cause I went looking for insurance. I found some. I got a discount by switching both car and auto insurance. I paid for the new house insurance because I knew there was not enough in escrow to cover the change. The new company assured me they would NOT bill the bank. (They DID NOT bill the bank, they sent a notice of change).

The idiots running the escrow account paid for the new insurance anyway. Leaving my escrow account $600 in arrears. Wait, what? The person could not see the account would be short? They did not call to ask me about it? Nope. Just cut a check. So, my new insurance company sent my money back. I immediately called my agent. She pulled my account, no bill was sent. Notice of change in policy was sent. She called her contact at the bank. After talking to the bank it was deemed an error on the part of the bank and I needed to put the money back in my escrow account. But the account is still $600 short.

I go to the bank and deposit the money in escrow and want to know how to prevent this again? I want someone fired for this. Knowing it won't happen, I want them docked pay. Again not going to happen.

I have been watching the escrow account like a hawk. This is also the bank which does not acknowledge additional payment to the principle. It's a line item they have to account for it. It MUST show on my bill. Even my car payment which only gets about $0.38 extra a month has to show on the statement extra was paid to the principle. It has taken me six months to get them to put this as a line item.

Here comes October. They have to look at my taxes and insurance and figure out if there is enough money in the enough in escrow to pay the bills. All banks have a way to find out the current taxes even if they have not yet been billed. Once again the IDIOTS running escrow did not do this. They used a projected tax to figure out my new payment. In their infinite wisdom (insert dripping sarcasm), they determined I had a refund of $169 + change. So, they cut me a check and raised my payment $40 + change. Really???? So, I call again, because I also have the tax bill. They have figured it with an estimate and are off $127 + change. Oh, we'll do it again. Good how do I get out of an escrow account? We can send you papers to do that, please send them.

New papers on escrow account arrive Nov 10th. I now owe them $139 + change to keep my payment at $954.04 which is what it went up to the first time. Or my new payment will be $981 + change. Wait, if they had done the job correctly to begin with I would only have received a refund of $30 + change and a $38.36 increase in the payment.

I was in the bank this morning. There is nothing they can do at a branch bank because the escrow accounts are held in the Republic of Texas. Really, my local bank where I got the damn loan cannot help me with the damn loan. No one there is authorized to give me papers to dissolve an escrow account. They have to call the guy who got me the loan a year ago. He and I have already spoken on this issue once.  So, I'm waiting for Kevin to call.

I am closing the escrow account. I will open a savings account and put the money there and include money to cover my auto insurance, too. I know how to manage money. It's not money I had to spend anyway. I mean I'm putting away 7% of my pension to cover state income taxes every month. I know what I'm doing.

Millenials who are book smart and common sense stupid...must be the problem. No one with common sense would make this many errors on one account. I have a minor in accounting. I run a business. One would assume I do know a thing or two about how money works. The entire escrow department at South State Bank is a rip off.  Avoid them if possible. They will find a way to make your money come up missing.

Yes, I will be reporting them to the better banking soon as I find out how. They messed with the wrong person.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Finding it Difficult

Trying to get back on the diet plan. I'm finding it difficult. I know it is in my best interest for my health.

I think the issue is the amount of food in my fridge that spoiled while I was gone. It makes me crazy to throw away food. I saved some out which I thought was okay, not past expiration dates, not opened. Wrong.

The result was a mild case of food poisoning. So, I cleaned out all that could be tainted in anyway. Thursday, I will take myself to the grocery store and purchase the correct food items. Smaller quantities and plan how I am going to use things.

Now if we can be done with hurricanes, I'll be all set. I am trying to find my house and get back into the swing of my schedule here. Have a couple of doctor appts coming up. Have to get an oil changed on the car.

Need to get back to my exercises for my shoulder. Just need to sort out the mess I made in the house while scrambling to evacuate for Matthew.

It will take me the rest of this week. Then I have to prioritize the things which need to be done to make this house more livable. Which means finishing getting my office put together. Hanging wall art and painting my bathroom. The list is longer, but I won't bore you.

Blood sugars are once again coming down. This is a good thing. Time to get the crockpot out and start cooking. Also freezing the leftovers for another meal.

I got just takes time.


Saturday, October 29, 2016


I have returned to South Carolina. It has been an eventful month. First, the evacuation for Hurricane Matthew....I evacuated to Clarkston, MI.  My house suffered no damage, however I have broken limbs and debris all over the yard to deal with.

I had originally planned to stay a week to ten days. You know how plans go. Mike and I went to visit my parents on Oct. 9th. Then we stopped to see my sister, Diane, and her family. All in all it was a good visit.

Mike works days, so my mornings were spent with his oldest daughter, Stacie, and the menagerie of animals. (Three dogs and three cats.) I had plenty to keep me busy. Updating Facebook, reading and I did write seventeen chapters on the new book.

Ate out too many times, will have to restart my diet again now that I am home. Should have a better start on it before I return at Thanksgiving.

Oct. 8th in the evening I had an issue with my blood pressure so, we did not go see Mike's mom. We made up for it by going to see her on Oct 19th. I have times when for no known reason my blood pressure bottoms out. I have learned how to take care of it and avoid trips to the emergency room. Was great seeing Mike's mom. Not seen her in years.

I spent the afternoon of Oct. 15th in Mt. Pleasant, with my granddaughter, Megan. We had lunch,  picked out her Halloween Costume and just hung out. I got my CMU Grandma t-shirt and a sweatshirt as I did not pack cold weather clothes.

Oct. 21st, Mike had some surgery. His youngest daughter, Heather, and I kept each other company in the waiting room. It made for a long day for everyone. He had to be at the surgery center at noon. He was not taken to surgery until 1:45pm. He was in recovery by 3:05pm and we took him home about 4pm. He is recovering well. Well enough I could come home.

Left for home on Oct. 26th after driving to Lansing to take Jamie to lunch. Got as far as Wapakoneta, Ohio on my return trip. Texted Mike and asked him to text me the phone number on a piece of property in Kentucky...cannot hurt to look.

I called about the property when I finally reached Kentucky on Oct. 27th. Left a message on his answering machine. Called my Mom when I hit London, KY thinking I would not be able to see the property as I had not heard anything back.

My phone rang as I crossed the Tennessee border. It was the man with the property. I pulled into the rest area to get information and back tracked an hour and a half to see it. I had no real agenda. On the way, my phone battery died. Duh, forgot to plug it into the charger.  So, I  have no photos of the property or the house.

Suffice it to say the property is 125 acres of Heaven in the back of beyond. Exactly what we are both looking for. I have called the gentleman back with some questions Mike had. Nothing has been decided and if the guy gets an offer he is free to sell it. But it has potential. We shall see.

I drove the 35 miles back to London, KY...takes an hour and a half on two lane, twisting, winding, roads. Spent the night in London.  Called to let my daughter know she didn't need to send out the national guard. Mike's daughter, Stacie had been texting, too. Went to dinner, checked in with everyone and life was good again.

Rolled out on the 28th heading for Huntersville, NC to take my brother to lunch. He thought I was still in  Michigan. Oh, oops. We had a late lunch at the Sports Page in Mooresville, NC. I highly  recommend it. Burgers were great. Know the fried sweet potatoes have cinnamon & sugar on them. YUCK.

It took me from 4pm to 6pm to drive the 36 miles to the NC/SC border. Not only did I have Charlotte rush hour, I77 from north of Statesville to the SC border is torn up to widen it. Ugh. Should have stopped in Rock Hill, SC for the night, but knew I would be home in three hours so kept driving.  Big mistake. I should not be driving at night ever. My eyes are just not good for that anymore. I set the cruise on 61mph and stayed in the slow lane. There are no fast food places near me, so I stopped at BK about 4 miles from home. I will NEVER eat there again. I am so tired of them not getting the drive thru orders right. And it only made me angry and gave me a headache.

Finally crashed about 1:28am. Slept until 11:28am. Woke almost human. Showered, emptied the fridge of spoiled foods, and went to eat at Sunrise Bistro, just around the corner from me. Then I had a visit with the minister's wife. Love Meghan and Mark Hunt and their kids.  Came back home and really have not done much since.

Church in the morning tomorrow, then I tackle laundry, emptying the freezer of spoiled items, and just getting settled in again.

To say I miss Mike would be a gross understatement. To say he misses me would  be the same. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I will be home. We have Thanksgiving dinner at Jamie's, because my son-in-law, Phil is an awesome cook.


Monday, October 10, 2016

The Journey on Hold

Last Tuesday, October 4th, my world got tipped upside down. Governor Nikki Haley called for a voluntary evacuation of the sea islands and Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties as Hurricane Matthew approached.

I left early on Wednesday morning. I spent 11 hours in my car give or take a few minutes and made it as far as London, KY. Mind you while I tried to eat well on the road, it really wasn't working for me. Thursday saw me another ten or so hours driving. I landed in Clarkston, Michigan just after my significant other got home from work. I was so tired of the car I left everything in it and used his phone to call my mom and let her know I had safely arrived.

I could watch the wind and rain from the security camera on my alarm system, so knew how the front of my house was faring. Pretty much just the monsoon rains like from Floyd last year. I was smart enough to buy on high ground. So, I'm not in a flood zone. All the other areas around me cannot say the same.

Needless to say my diet has been completely messed up and it will remain so for the next couple of weeks. I knew when my power went out as my security system let me know it had gone to back up power. I knew on Sunday when the power came back, because once again I could see the view from my security camera.

I was messaged early today by my neighbor, my house has sustained no damage. He will keep an eye on it while I remain in Michigan to deal with some personal things. Once I am home again I will deal with getting myself back on track. Look for me to start posting again.

The results have been so good, I am no longer on the night time injectable insulin. I am maintaining well enough to remain off it.


Monday, October 3, 2016

The Journey Day 4

While my sugars were a bit higher this morning. I started at 131. Felt very dizzy, took my blood pressure it was 109/58. Nope not a problem there. Made breakfast and took my shower so I could go to Next Steps this morning. By the time I left home at 7:55am, I felt great! I think it was lack of sleep...that darn book again.

The rest of the day looked like this:
Breakfast, 2 eggs poached on a slice of pumpernickel bread. A cup of cinnamon tea and 16.9 oz of water.

My afternoon blood sugar was 126 so coming down.
Lunch was awesome!!!!! I sliced eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and yellow onion and sprinkled Lawry's seasoning salt on it. Then baked it for 25 minutes. When it came out and I put my portion on my plate, I sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese. I'm so glad I have enough for tomorrow. And I can use other veggies next time, like broccoli, cauliflower, the list is endless.

Dinner tonight was an abbreviated version of the Herb and Parmesan Chicken I posted the other day. I had chicken breast tenders and sprinkled them with oregano, garlic powder, and chopped basil. Baked them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and made a salad of spinach, 1 stalk of celery, and 1/2 a tomato, with 2T of Italian dressing. Again I have enough for tomorrow.

So, here's what Day 4 should have looked like. (I have learned to experiment).
Breakfast Omelet( 180 calories)
2 small eggs, beaten
2 1/4 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 of 1 red onion, diced fine
1T grated Parmesan cheese
6 fresh basil leaves
1/8 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Coat small non-stick frying pan with oil. Add the onions and cook over low heat until nearly soft (about 5 min). If they begin to stick add 1 T of water and cook until it evaporates. Add the tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes or so until they are soft. Transfer to a bowl and clean the pan.

Reheat pan on medium heat: pour eggs into pan and tilt to coat the inside evenly. Do this several times, until the eggs at no longer runny. Cook over medium heat until the eggs have set, the remove from heat and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover with tomato-onion mixture and fold eggs over with spatula. When the eggs are cooked all the way through transfer to a plate and serve hot.

Lunch: Spinach and Kale Soup (110 calories per serving)  This will never be on my diet. I am allergic to Kale cousins and hate cooked spinach.
6 oz ground turkey
2 quarts chicken stock
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced.
1 stalk of celery sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 oz fresh kale chopped
3.5oz pearl barley
salt and pepper to taste.

Brown turkey in 1 T olive oil. Combine the turkey, stock and barley in a stock pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Then add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and continue to simmer until both vegetables and barley are tender. Serve hot.

Dinner Savory Paprika Beef (242 calories per serving including sides.)
12 oz93-95% lean beef hamburger or 12 oz 100% lean steak, minced.
8 oz white onions, diced
1T paprika
6 oz canned diced tomatoes
1T tomato paste
2T balsamic vinegar
1tsp caraway seed
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

In non-stick pan, sauté the beef with 2-3 T of water. If it begins to stick, add more water 1T at a time. When the meat is thoroughly done, add the onions and cook until they are tender. Add water 1T at a time as needed.

When onions are soft, add the other ingredients plus 1/2 c water and simmer 30 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick or begins to stick add 1/4 c water. Simmer until most of the liquid has been reduced; server with these two sides:

#1 1 c steamed carrots, sprinkled with dried basil
#2 1 c steamed cabbage with salt and pepper (Note to self, you are allergic to cabbage do not make).

Enjoy, don't hesitate to adjust for food allergies or dislikes. Change things up so you have a variety.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Journey Day 3

The best laid plans sometimes go awry. Because no where in the plan was I supposed to be awake until 3am reading the latest John Gilstrap novel. His are pulse pounding, sit on the edge of your seat books and this one is no exception.

Today started with a blood sugar of 104, a bit higher but still within normal. I had brunch of 1/2 cup strawberries, 2 poached eggs and 1 slice of pumpernickel bread. 16.9 oz of water, and two cups of cinnamon tea.

It was more of a brunch, than breakfast. So my blood sugar before dinner was 150. I was not real please with it. Dinner consisted of  1/2 c cottage cheese mixed with spinach, 1 stalk of celery, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, and 2 T of Italian dressing, and  5 sesame Melba rounds. Another 2 cups of cinnamon tea completed the meal.

My current blood sugar is 161 which makes me sad. Giving me an average of 138 for the day. I will endeavor to do better tomorrow.  I will be making individual quiche.

Day three should have looked like this:
Breakfast: spinach with 2 poached eggs on an English muffin.*

Lunch: Baked Summer Vegetables with cheese**

Dinner: Spicy Oven Chicken***

*Spinach and Egg topped muffins(220 calorie per serving)
2 medium eggs
1 English muffin cut in half
3.5 oz frozen spinach defrosted
2T low-fat sour cream (I use the real thing because I don't want the added sugars)
pinch of nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste.

To prepare the spinach, in a small sauce pan, heat the spinach through keep tossing to keep it from scorching. When it's thoroughly heated add the sour cream and nutmeg and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste. (I would not eat this. I eat raw spinach, but hate it when it's cooked. The flavor changes to something I don't like).

Poach eggs for three minutes more if you prefer well done. Toast the two halves of the English muffin. Cover each muffin with 1/2 of the spinach mix and an egg. Serve hot.

**Baked Summer Veggie with Cheese (110 calories/serving)
2 small eggplants, trimmed and cut into small pieces.
2 medium zucchini trimmed and sliced
1 sweet yellow squash cut into strips
4 small yellow onions peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp coriander
1 T olive oil
1 1/4 oz fresh goat cheese(I do not eat this so would have to find a different cheese)
Mixed salad greens (for me this would be spinach)

Preheat oven to 500. In a large bowl toss the vegetables with the spices plus salt and pepper to taste. Coat baking sheet with olive oil and arrange the veggies in a single layer. Drizzle 2-3 T of water over the pan, then roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes until soft. Don't be alarmed if the edges are slightly charred-this is normal. Let cool slightly, then spoon over the salad greens and crumble cheese on top.

***Spicy Oven Chicken(180 calories/serving)
2 4oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 sprigs fresh basil chopped fine
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz vegetable stock (can use chicken stock or make from bullion)
salt and pepper as desired.

Pre heat oven to 400. With a sharp knife, lightly score each chicken breast in several places, making very shallow cuts the length of the breast. Do the same in the other direction so you have crosshatched the breast. In a bowl combine all the herbs and spices. Dip the chicken into the mixture then rub it in, coating them evenly with a thin layer of spices.
Place the chicken in a small baking dish and poor the stock around it (but not on top). Bake until spices are browned and crispy and chicken when fork is inserted oozes clear juice--about 25 minutes. Serve hot with  a steaming bowl of broccoli.

As I live alone, most of these meals will last two days, so my days might repeat.