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♫Punished good deeds, done dirt cheap....♫ - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
♫Punished good deeds, done dirt cheap....♫
They say no good deed ever goes unpunished.  We've had mixed results with that over the past few days. Most of them worked out for good, or at least better. Almost all were just functions of being in the right place at the right (or wrong) time.

Beginning with the most recent and one of biggest consequence:

Our personal checking account bank just got acquired. Again.  This is the fourth change in the 20 years since we left Rochester, as First Federal begat Marine Midland which begat HSBC which begat First Niagara and, which, now, hath begat Key Bank.  Our branch itself only moved once in all those times, from First Federal Plaza to a Marine a block away in downtown Rochester; as of yesterday, that historic bank building is no longer hosting a bank for the first time in more than a century.  I have no idea where our deposit account technically resides anymore.

None of which is relevant to the Good Deed of the Day gone bad.  That occurred at a dull '70s bank branch a couple miles from here,  built for the long-gone Buffalo Savings Bank but which has been Keyed for all of our memory here.  It's where we did our most recent refi, and is the closest to home for our former First Niagara funds, so it's where I headed this morning to make a deposit.  I did it by ATM; they have saved us grief by continuing our existing account numbers, checks, deposit slips and debit card, so we haven't had to root around with dozens of pre-authorized payment changes (yet).

But there's one obvious glitch: First Niagara, like several other local banks, programmed its ATMs to return your card as soon as it was swiped. Fewer forgotten cards that way. Key ATMs have always done it the older-school way: you get it back when you're done. People forget; Lord knows I have, including once when a remote machine swallowed it perpetually and required a replacement. So when I got up to the ATM today, the previous customer's transaction, and soon after his card, were still hanging there.  So I collected his, did my transaction, and then did the right and righteous thing: I pulled into a parking space and brought his card into the branch.

It made it.  Here's what didn't:

I've been expecting this for weeks, ever since Eleanor got the one-up version and they insisted on her getting screen protection and a case that would absorb more impact.  So today's pavement did the trick, and turned me all Hulksmash for the next several hours.

But it wound up okay.  I returned to work, got my stuff out, headed downtown to keep another Good Deed Errand; as we will soon see, little was accomplished but nothing further was broken;). Then I headed to an ATT store. (Not the one with The Bros, but on the other side of town and on my way to night court, which went well, because #dammitIwasentitled).

Yes, I've been paying for the Good Insurance all these years.  And because I'd never made an insurance claim in all those years, they cut my deductible in half to $112 and have shipped me the Next iPhone Up- essentially the same one Eleanor got a few weeks ago, for about a fifth of the cost.

Alas, I will need to replace its Mets casing (fat lot of good THAT did anyway when it fell screenside-down), and I will get a screen protector and an Otter box for it before it leaves the house, but as accidents go, this one was one of the happier ones.


Other nice things we've done in recent days, with varying results:

* That trip downtown. An online friend- who I've met For Realz for all of five minutes but is For Realz Friends with a number of different LJ-tree friends of ours- needed help with getting copies of some court records in Buffalo in a case which I never represented them in (and neither had anybody else). They've since moved out of state, and didn't know how to get what they needed.  I did, but not exactly how: yesterday, I found out (a letter from me to them, signed and notarized).  It came via scan late this morning. I took it downtown this afternoon. Good news: the man had the right form! Bad news: state courts are still firmly entrenched in the mid 20th century and will not accept scans, or faxes, or forms written-in in crayon.  So the original is being mailed to me and only then will justice prevail.

* Good and bad people at Register 21. Eleanor's had a variety of experiences working cash registers in the past few days.  First came the bad: on Monday, a customer bitching about a shopper behind her in line who had too many items for the express lane.  Absent serious metaphysical concerns, we refer to this in legal terms as "lack of standing." But then yesterday made up for it: another customer, clearly of limited means, came through and wound up short on her purchase, which included a takeout order.  It's not like she could turn back half the package; rules would require the entire order to be voided and its contents pitched.  Eleanor did what Eleanor does (as I would, and you probably would, too): she reached into her wallet and covered the shortfall. Whereupon the next customer in THAT line, who saw what Eleanor did, pulled out cash to reimburse her for the kindness and then some.  Granted we're talking five bucks here and there, and Eleanor dutifully reported both the kindness and the response, to which her boss replied, Yeah, I figured that's something you would have done.

* Forgive us our debts, unless they're for taxes. 
So I know a guy.  Met him for maybe ten minutes longer than I met the previous friend, but I continue to read his social media postings regularly and find him to be a righteous dude.  (I also met his daughter, at the same time and about for as long, and  she is also as righteous, if somewhat less dude-ish.)  You may have heard of one or both of them; you definitely have heard of at least one actor who played them in a movie based on one of his books a number of years ago.

Anyway. In reaction to the revelation a few weeks back about Candidate Drumpf likely paying no income taxes in the past decade , my friend posted about his own struggles with debt and taxation. TL;DR: he is paying the IRS on account of debts that he is no longer required to pay, thanks to a nasty Internal Revenue Code section that turns "cancellation of indebtedness" into "ordinary income" for the year of cancellation.

But. As Drumpf could tell you, rules have exceptions.  I know of one, that this friend is clearly eligible for. I sent him a message where I pointed out this exception and encouraged him to take advantage of it. The form in question is one page, requires a handful of ticky-boxes to be checked, and could easily ease his financial pain.

Nothing.  No response to the message, or note on his social media postings about it.  I've run into this issue with actual clients in the past, at least one of whom sent me a tax return which reduced a refund because of a misunderstanding about this rule and the main exception to it, and about how a simple amendment would entitle her to get back money that was mistakenly applied to an unjust debt.  No, she said: she didn't want to cause trouble.

In neither case did I expect a nickel for my analysis or recommendation. I just hate seeing people being taken. But I'm also learning to let go when I simply cannot be heard over guilt or other voices in other peoples' heads.

Besides, I'm already getting a new phone. I don't need any more goodies than that.
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oxymoron67 From: oxymoron67 Date: October 13th, 2016 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh Lord, the debt cancellation = taxable income thing nailed me back when I had my financial meltdown a decade ago.

It stung... just as I was starting to recover, the tax bill came, and *blammo*, back to nothing.

Even back then, I thought to myself that it was the deal I made to get out of the bad situation I had out myself in, but it made things uncomfortable for several months.
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