Making the best of things, and shed order update

Hmm… I went to start this post and found a post I made yesterday was still in draft. I had used my phone to write it, since my keyboard was dying, but apparently I didn’t hit publish. That is now fixed.

At the moment, I am using my old ergonomic keyboard with the worn out keys. I’d traded with my husband quite a while ago, since he pretty much just uses the number pad and arrow keys. He can use a standard keyboard without hurting his hands, so he is now using the keyboard that came with his system. By the time we switched things up, I had not only lost the y u i o and enter keys, but also the 0 and delete keys! So that keyboard is in the recycling, to be added to the electronics garbage area at the dump. As for the keyboard I’m using now, I will just have to be really confident in my touch typing, because most of the letter keys are worn out. I know there are stickers you can get to put on the keys, but other than online, I haven’t seen them anywhere. At least not locally. And I try to avoid ordering online.

More on that later…

Yesterday morning, I’d been able to mow the south yards before things got too hot. The grass was so wet, it really should have waited for a drier day, but that was not going to happen, from what the forecasts said.

I’m glad I got as much of it done as I had, as we got some heavy enough rains last night, that we now have open water in the yard again. The areas I was able to mow tend to have the most water accumulating in them, compared to the west and north lawns. The main garden area, however, also collects a lot of water, too.

The dwarf Korean lilac sure loved the rain, though! It exploded into bloom overnight. Yesterday, it was almost all buds, with a scattering of open flowers. Look at it now! This type of lilac is extremely fragrant; more so than any of the other types. The regular lilacs are finished blooming now, and the double lilac is almost done. The white lilacs are nearing the end of their blooming period. Now we have the dwarf Korean lilac in full bloom, with one more lilac I can’t remember the name of, still budding. I like that there are so many different types of lilacs here, that bloom at different times. The ornamental poppies are also starting to bloom, and while the white roses are at their peak, I noticed the pink rose is starting to bloom this morning, too.

From the weather radar, we should be getting more rain today. The heavy rain is passing to the north of us, but it looks like we’ll be catching the edge of the system a bit.

I actually did not get a chance to do my morning rounds today. The girls made sure the cats were fed while I spent time on the phone, then had to make a quick run to a branch of my bank.

To get a replacement debit card.

There’s a reason I don’t like to order online. This is one of them.

A while back, I’d written about ordering a shed from a clearance site for garden sheds. The steeply discounted prices were due to them being abandoned orders – along the lines of things like airport auctions of unclaimed items. I was taking a chance with the order. I’d seen both positive and negative comments about the site; some places rated the site as a scam, while others rated is as legitimate.

A day or so after the order was placed (using my debit-Visa, because we have no credit cards) and I got my confirmation email, I sent an email with some questions. There was no response, so after a couple of days, I wrote again. Still no response. There was also no shipping confirmation email or tracking number, for something that was supposed to take 3-7 days to arrive (or 6-10 days under Covid restrictions, which still apply to shipping in Canada). So on Friday – 4 days ago – I emailed to cancel my order and requested a refund.

I really wasn’t expecting to get my money back, by that point. So it was quite a surprise when, late last night, my phone’s bank app sent me a notification for a credit in the amount of the shed order. Due to the hours, the line item wasn’t in my transactions yet, but the balance reflected the change. This is typical of how my bank works, and I knew the line item would appear during banking hours. Sure enough, in the morning, it was there.

However, I also got another notification. This time, for a debit from my account, in the same amount.

Yes, I got the refund – and then the amount was taken from my account again.

So I got on the phone with my bank, which pretty much always involves spending time on hold. When I finally got through, I explained the situation to the woman who took my call, and asked about having the charges reversed and to report fraud. Since we did have communication with them, however – even though they didn’t answer my emails, they did refund the amount – she suggested I email them again to ask why the amount was removed again, then go back to the site to have my data removed.

Okay. I was willing to try that.

I sent the email, then went back to the original order confirmation email to click on the link that would take me directly to my order page.

I got an error message. The usual “check your spelling” message and, if correct, run a diagnostic, message.

I tried the “go to store” link.

Same error message.

I tried going to the home page by using the link in my browser’s history.

Same error message.

The website was gone.

So I called the bank back to explain what happened.

This time, the fraud investigation was started. We went through the initial process, then he put me on hold to finish the process at his end.

While I was on hold, another notification came in; a calendar reminder that a telephone medical appointment for my husband with the cardiac clinic was due in 5 minutes. !!!

Thankfully, we finished up before then.

My debit-Visa card was cancelled, so there is no chance of more money being taken from our account. The fraud investigation has been started. We should get our money returned within 10 business days, but it would a conditional return as the investigation continues. If they find it was a legitimate transaction, the bank could take the money back again within 60 days.

The initial withdrawal would have been considered a “legitimate transaction”, since I did place the order. Basically, if it turned out they were illegitimate, it was on me for being duped. However, because they refunded the money – then took it out again – that changes things. The first debit from my account may have been an authorized transaction, but the second debit from my account was not.

As for my cancelled debit card, as soon as I was done on the phone, I then headed to the nearest town with a branch of my bank to get a new debit-Visa card.

Which I now have to set up again for online banking, on both my phone and my desktop, again. Which is not as urgent.

If this place had simply refunded my money and left it at that, it would have been the end of it. The only thing is that I would have been wondering if cancelling was the right thing to do, because if they were legitimate, we would have eventually gotten a nice big shed that would have been very useful. However, for them to take the money out again, they now have the fraud investigation happening. Hopefully, that will mean no one else will be taken advantage of.

So we took a chance and, from the looks of it, almost got burned. We’ll see how the investigation plays out. That means it might be a few weeks before we find out, and I should get an affidavit in the mail about it soon.

There is one other possible, though highly unlikely, outcome. The website said that a cancellation/refund could not be made if the order had already been shipped. It could be the money was refunded at about the same time as the order got shipped, so the money was taken again. If that turns out to be true, we obviously won’t get our money back, because there would be no fraud, and the shed will get delivered. Since I have not received any other emails from them since the order confirmation, and I can no longer access the website, I highly doubt that will happen.

The weird thing was when I was updating my husband about it, and he tried to go to the site on his own computer.

The site is still there.

My husband can browse the site all he wants, but if I try to see it using my desktop or my phone, I still get the “site can’t be reached” error message – and the “try running a diagnostic” link just gives me a pop up saying a diagnostic can’t be done. I would say there’s something in my cookies that is keeping me from accessing the site on my desktop, but until today, I’d never tried to visit the site while on my phone.

Very odd. I should see about removing the cookies and trying again. But not right now.

Aside from all that, we’ve had other changes. I should have been at my mother’s for the home care assessment right now, but then it looked like her apartment was going to be sprayed for bed bugs. So while my mother made arrangements with my sister to stay at her place, I tried to track down the home care department to change the appointment. Yesterday, the guy phoned my mom to rebook for tomorrow, because it turned out he couldn’t make it today, anyhow. As for the spraying, that turned out to be a mix up. My mother’s apartment is still on the list – my brother made sure of that, and also made sure they knew my mother might try to claim she didn’t need it, because she’s squishing them herself *shudder* – but we don’t have a date. All we know is that, some time before they show up, she’ll get a piece of paper shoved under her door with instructions. Apparently, the people who spoke to my brother on the phone have no way of knowing when that will be done. The whole thing is a disorganized and inefficient mess. Which is SOP for anything run by the government. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on the provincial level or the federal level. With my husband being in the military, then years of working government contracts as a civilian, we’ve been seeing this sort of ineptitude for decades.

I did call my mother this morning, though. While I was driving my sister tried to contact me because my mother wasn’t answering the phone. She was trying to figure out if she was picking my mother up today or not. She did get through to my husband – who was still waiting for his phone appointment with the cardiac clinic (which never came) – and he was able to update her. Apparently, my mother never told her she didn’t need to come out anymore. As for my mother, she was resting before there was a meeting in her building this afternoon, by the housing department. They used to have these regularly, until the pandemic restrictions stopped everything. The irony of that is, those “health” restrictions would have a lot do with why so many of the provincially run buildings now have bed bug problems all over the province. They weren’t caught and treated right away, and now they’re a major issue that just kept on spreading.

Bah.

So that’s my morning’s adventures.

What fun!

Not.

The Re-Farmer

Surviving the wet, and shed thoughts

The forecasts for more thunderstorms today have disappeared. Right now, we’ve got bright sunshine, it’s 20C/68F, and everything is still wet, wet, wet!

Of course, I had to check all the garden beds. Not only to see how they are surviving the wet, but to see if there was any damage caused by the deer I chased out last night!

So far, so good.

The rain has certainly been good for the beans! The bush beans between the Kulli corn are growing so fast! Even the beans at the bean tunnel, which were planted later, are growing like gangbusters.

The Kulli corn doesn’t seem too happy, though. They may still be suffering transplant shock. Hopefully, the nitrogen fixing beans will help them grow.

The first potatoes have sprouted! So far, only the All Blue are sprouting. I expected the leaves would be darker than other potato varieties we planted, but I did not expect them to be so deeply purple! I am so happy to see them. I was starting to wonder if they were okay or not. The paths between the beds had standing water in them, which means there was probably a lot of water under that mulch. If it’s too wet, they’ll just rot rather than grow.

There was no signs of deer damage, but oddly, something seems to be eating the turnip greens. The sprouts are still incredibly tiny. Areas I’d seen some sprouting earlier, now seem to have none, while the ones I do find have teeny holes in the teeny leaves. Whatever is chewing those holes must be incredibly small.

I was able to do a bit of weeding this morning. The wet ground does make it easier to pull them up by the roots – if they don’t break, first, which seems to be what happens more often. Thankfully, the winds are high enough to blow away the mosquitoes, so working outside will be more pleasant. We still have loads of soil to bring to the garden, but the area in between the pile of garden soil and where we need to take it is so muddy, that will not be easy. Nor will going through the tall grass. It’s just too wet to mow.

Where the water collects is going to help us in deciding where we want to put a foundation for the shed we ordered. If it comes in. With such deeply discounted prices, there is the very real possibility it’s a scam site. I did get an order confirmation right away. If it is a scam, they’re doing a very good job of hiding it. That they are using the Lowe’s brand and images without being shut down is also a point to consider. What we should be getting next is a shipping notice. The shed is supposed to arrive in 3-7 days – or 6-10 days to Canada, under Covid restrictions. Canada has finally lifted the vaxx mandate for flights (masks still required, which makes no sense at all) but truckers still aren’t allowed across the boarder unless they’ve been jabbed, so anything shipped by truck is still going to be delayed. That is an issue only after it’s been shipped, of course. According to the order confirmation email, we can cancel our order within 14 days and get a refund, so long as it hasn’t been shipped yet.

I really hope it’s legit. I’ll keep updating about it.

Interestingly, since I placed the order, I have started to see all sorts of ads in my Facebook news feed about sheds for sale at even lower prices, from companies with questionable names, the same photos used over and over, and quite obviously scam sites. The comments under the ads were all unfavorable, too.

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

For now, I’m procrastinating going outside. It’s now 21C/70F, which is going to make heavy manual labour quite unpleasant. At least the winds are still high enough the mosquitoes shouldn’t be much of a problem!

The Re-Farmer

Water, water everywhere

It’s rained pretty steadily all last night and this morning. Then, when the rain sort of stopped, it was wind we had to deal with. I must say, watching those 60′ plus spruce trees swaying so much and not snapping always amazes me!

Also, the “road closed, local access only” sign is back.

Water is accumulating everywhere in both the inner and outer yards. Even with all the snow melt this spring, I’ve never seen this much water accumulated here. The water extends the length of the spruce grove, though not as deep.

This is one of the highbush cranberry my daughters transplanted yesterday. In the back, you can see one of the holes dug for the silver bison berry, full of water.

Those are expected to arrive by Friday, but I just checked the tracking number, and they have arrived in the city, so they may be here by tomorrow! It’s going to be interesting, transplanting them all, with the ground so saturated.

We certainly won’t need to water them!

Even the paths between the garden bed are puddles, which we’ve never seen since moving here.

Another benefit to raised bed gardens, even if they are low raised beds. Just a few inches higher is enough to protect the newly seeded beds from being drowned out.

I checked the high raised beds, with their sprouting spinach, as well as the onions, shallots and purple peas. Everything seems to be handling the heavy rainfalls just fine. There are even new lettuce sprouts! Just the section of Buttercrunch in the L shaped bed. There’s also the spot next to the rose bush where I just scattered the last of the lettuce seeds, all mixed together, and there are sprouts there, too.

Most of the inner yard is so very wet. I’m seeing standing water where I don’t remember ever seeing standing water before. The storage house has a moat around it again, but the spot between the storage house and the corner of the old kitchen garden just keeps growing. When cats or skunks get startled, they still run through it, so I get a good idea of just how deep it is!

I’m also seeing a lot of people in the area posting photos of roads that are flooded over, both on highways and on gravel roads. Some of the gravel roads have been washed out, just like with the earlier flooding when the snow melted. One person shared a photo of a section on the side of the highway that collapsed.

As you can imagine, we didn’t do the second half of our city shopping today! I’m very glad I was able to help my mother do her shopping yesterday, because I doubt I could have done it today.

There is also a lot more water in the basements right now. Both of them. The old basement has its usual accumulation that we sweep into either the floor drain to the septic tank, or into the sump pump reservoir. There’s also water seeping through in the new basement, in spite of the new basement having weeping tile. It’s mostly in that corner my brother found flooded out and molding, when a rain barrel outside that corner was left to overflow for possibly months, before we moved here. It’s not in big puddles, like we get in the old basement, but water does accumulated in the one corner. Right now, that whole side of the basement looks wet. All we can do about that basement is put a fan on it. The only drain is in the old basement.

There were a few times when the power kept flickering on and off. I’m glad I shut down my computer. I was preheating the oven, and had the range hood light on, and I was seeing both of them flickering on and off. Of course, our internet went out a few times; according to the app, it wasn’t anything at our end that caused it.

As I write this, we are at only 8C/46F, but the RealFeel is 3C/37F. The cool weather crops we planted will be fine, though. Looking at the 5 day forecast, it’s hard to judge when we’ll be able to start transplanting our warm weather crops. They are starting to really need to be transplanted, though.

As we plant things out, and thinking of how to protect our garden beds, wind is something we’re going to need to think about, too. I find myself wondering if we might make use of the rolls of snow fence we’ve found in a couple of places. They would help cut the wind, as well as discouraging critters.

Something to consider, for sure!

The Re-Farmer