On Friday evening, the sixth day of our adventure, I decided to check our bank account online. I'm the world's sloppiest bookkeeper, so I like to check from time to time to see if I've messed anything up. We didn't have Internet at that particular motel, but I have AT&T on my Ipad, so I used that.
Our account was over $400 in the hole.
Now if I'd had wifi, I could have checked all our transactions to see what went wrong, but the Ipad, although it will let me see the balances, won't let me look at transactions. I had no way of finding out why our checking account would suddenly have a deficit. We had not even used our checks or debit card in over ten days.
The only thing I could think of was that somebody must have hacked into our account, perhaps when I was hooked up to an unprotected Internet connection at a motel.
That was Friday night. Saturday we got on the road early; as you can imagine, I had some sleepless nights. I couldn't call the bank until they opened on Monday morning at 9 A.M.
When we arrived at Mount Rushmore Monday morning, it wasn't 9 o'clock, but Cliff reminded me that we were in a different time zone. We found a bench in a quiet location and I called, scared of what I might hear.
The bank's bookkeeper came on the line, I explained my dilemma (almost crying), and she did some checking.
"Did you cash a check for (a certain amount) last Friday?"
Although this was better than having my identity stolen, my heart fell.
"Cliff," I whispered, "those people wrote us a hot check."
Neither of us could believe it. They just didn't seem like the type.
I had the bookkeeper transfer money from Cliff's tractor fund to checking, so there wouldn't be any more surprises.
When I got a chance, I wrote a snippy email to the lady with whom we had the transaction. Turns out she had even had worse problems than ours.
She answered my email saying she had been out of town to a relative's funeral and got home to find someone had written her a bad check for three times the amount of the one she had given me. So she had checks bouncing everywhere.
These are people with whom we have had previous dealings, and Cliff and I both felt they were trustworthy. Her story, as told in email, rang true. I apologized for being hateful in my first correspondance.
She replied that she did not have the total amount, but that she would deposit what she could in our U.S. Bank account the next day. That isn't our major checking account, but our other bank is local, and she wanted to deposit the money herself in a bank close to her so there would be no mixups. She said she would deposit it that very afternoon, and would touch base with me when she was ready to go to the bank.
No money was deposited that afternoon, and I heard no more from her. Cliff and I still decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Another day passed with no word, so I sent an email and said, "Please keep me in the loop."
Yesterday Cliff called both their phones and left a message.
This morning I got an email saying to check our bank account for the money at noon.
Indeed. it was there.
I still don't believe they were trying to bilk us. Perhaps they were busy putting out fires from other checks that had bounced back to them. I don't think I am that bad a judge of character.
If only there had been more communication, it would have all been different. As it is, there is a bad taste left in this old lady's mouth from all the worrying I've done for several days. It really put a damper on our vacation.
When Jody has her calf in February, its name will be Bouncer.