Monday, September 19, 2016

You Guys Are Like a Shot of Adrenaline to My Heart. In the Best Way Possible.

On Sunday a hacker stole $1,200 out of my bank account to buy - get this - a home security system on Ebay.

This was the best thing that happened to me all weekend.

Seriously, if you read my last post, you know I ain't lyin'.

Indeed, Mr. President. Testify on my behalf.

Let me stop right here and say THANK YOU. All of you who commented and tweeted and texted your love and support when I was feeling lower than a snake's belly...thank you. You honestly don't know how touched and gobsmacked your messages made me feel. I don't know why you keep coming here and letting me fill up your screens with my rants. But you all rock.

And I didn't mean what I said about your belly, little guy.
It's quite fetching.
Today I'm better. But yesterday I felt I had driven away the two most important people in my life - my Precocious Daughter and my darling Drummer Boy - with my weaknesses and flaws and insecurities, and, you know, the disproportionate amount of free time I spend systematically brining my brain with spirits. I wasn't just feeling sorry for myself. I mean, yeah, I was feeling sorry for myself. But I wasn't just feeling sorry for myself. I was locked in a battle for supremacy with my worst demons, and the victor was going to take the tacky, cheap prize that was my soul.

Mine is the 50-ticket level of souls.
Pretty dramatic, right? I'm treading fairly lightly on the events of this weekend only because I know how many of you understand. Yes, even those of you do a far better job than I of pretending the world is snark and roses and clever things you've pinned...I wouldn't dare expose your pain. But we understand each other, yeah?


Drummer Boy knows I am not my demons, and he's waiting for me to come to the same conclusion. Always waiting, no matter how low I sink or how loudly I roar. Because he loves me.

This morning PDaughter sent me a text that made me cry, right there at my desk. At the end of it, she wrote, "You role model for the kind of parent I want to be some day. I love you!"

Best kid ever.

That was today. But yesterday...

So there I was, feeling forsaken and alone, when I had a thought. Did I mention that my email got hacked on Saturday?

My email got hacked on Saturday. I've been using the same Yahoo email account for almost 20 years and -

Laugh it up, furball.
- and for last couple of years I've been getting more spam than actual legit mail. But I'm a creature of habit, and I had A LOT of online stuff linked to that account. Lazy, all right, I'm lazy and didn't want to mess with it.

But on Saturday I discovered that someone using my email address had signed up for about 500 different newsletters, websites, etc. All those confirmation messages were clogging up my inbox.

And there were about 6,000 more in my spam box.

I know, right?

So I finally decided it was time to chuck the leaking sieve that is Yahoo's account security and switch everything over to Gmail. I'd spent quite a bit of time on Saturday - in between bouts of self-pity and ennui - changing account IDs, changing passwords, exporting years of messages and contacts.

But on Sunday, as I was idly wondering how my current mental state could deteriorate further, it occurred to me that I should check my bank account. My email had been hacked before, but never had I actually experienced monetary loss. Still, this breach was an order of magnitude higher than anything I'd previously seen. So I logged into my bank account.

I don't really know what $1,200 means to each of you in terms of financial impact. Maybe it's a good night's poker winnings. Maybe it's your entire safety net against disaster and then some. To me, it's a not insignificant sum of money. Let's just leave it at that.

But seeing that amount deducted from my balance - when I know damn well I hadn't spent it - launched me into action. With far more energy and sense of purpose than I had displayed in several days, I quickly determined that my Ebay account had been compromised. The idiot thieves had already sent $1,200 to a seller's PayPal account, and they had another $1,200 worth of stuff in my cart, ready to check out.

I say idiot thieves, because fortunately they were thieves who were idiots. They had changed the shipping address on my account to their address in El Paso. They had also changed the email address associated with the account to their personal email, which triggered an alert to my email, conveniently including the IP address of their computer.

These are not the criminal masterminds you're looking for.
So I quickly called my bank and had the transfer of funds (fortunately, still in pending stage) halted and my debit card shut down. Then I called Ebay and had the transactions canceled and my account frozen.

I'll get my money back (I haven't yet, which is a tiny bit worrisome, but I'll get it back). I'll put all my accounts on lockdown and stop linking debit cards to them wherever possible. I'll shut down that Yahoo account (snif, goodbye dear companion...although, as my friend SuzyQ pointed out, since the name on that account was strongly linked to my marriage, it's probably a symbolically healthy transition).

The point is, being the victim of hackers and thieves (and stupid ones at that) distracted me from my overweaning sense of loss and hopelessness. By the time I had the situation somewhat under control Sunday night, I realized it had been several hours since I'd had the opportunity to brood over my emotional burdens. And I felt...better. Not completely better. But you know in Pulp Fiction where Uma Thuman ODs and then gets the shot of adrenaline to her chest and sits up and screams? She probably didn't feel better, but she was much closer to being alive than she had been a few moments earlier.

I for one am glad that "better" is a relative term.
Today I'm still down $1,200, I'm still wobbling back from the brink of a depressive episode, and I'm still pondering how I'm going to tame that 80-proof monster who has me by the short hairs.

But I got this.

And I got my Drunkards, and my kid, and my Drummer Boy.

And I'm feeling pretty rich right now.


  1. It's always darkest just before they turn on the lights. Hang in there. Rinse. Repeat.

  2. Wonder how they got the brainpower to hack you if they're that stupid. Idiot savants, maybe.

    You ought to mail them a gift wrapped box with a booby trapped stink bomb inside.

  3. Huh, I remember parting with my yahoo email, was also ending a long term releationship.
    So, normal people get haircuts and we change emails. Works for me.

  4. The indigo snake's belly is very fetching and it forgives you because it knows what you meant.
    Just like you're forgiving PDaughter and Drummer Boy.
    A round of forgiveness all around is a good thing, but not for the hackers. Even if they did you a favor by taking your mind off things there were better ways they could have done it.


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