Arriving back late from a training conference about women's sexual health issues has left me little time to write before I do a radio interview about aspects of happiness and unhappiness that I've written about in my new book How to be a Happy Human (more details on my homepage) at 1045 this morning - eek - not so long and I have a mountain of e-mails to get through.
Will finish this later today as I've got a cracking "your e-mail of the week" to answer and post - and I've got to warn you about cheques in the post and how one addressed to me was stolen recently. Back a bit later, Pam X
Ok, so I’m back now…onto this story about the stolen cheque. About two months ago I realised I was due a payment for some consultation work (from a very reputable company, mind you, so I wasn't worried that they worry delaying for any untoward reason like having run out of money). I e-mailed my point of contact reminding them about my invoice and they said they'd get onto accounts.
I then had an e-mail from accounts saying they had posted me the cheque March 26 and I had banked it March 31. I replied that I'd flown to Cuba on March 30th and hadn't been near a British bank being 3000 miles away!
They then e-mailed me a copy of my banked cheque - and so the mystery began. I checked my bank account once, twice, a third time, and that money had not gone into my account. I began to feel a bit OCD-ish about it and re-checked a fourth time to make sure I somehow wasn't missing this amount and that somehow I had banked it without realising it.
It was not there and so began a long and painstaking correspondence between me, the accounts department, their bank, and the branch of Santander (I don't even bank with them) where my bank cheque had been banked. This went on for four weeks until Santander identified the fraudulent deposit of my cheque, into a man's account, whom I'd never heard of, with a completely different name than mine. How he managed to bank a cheque made out to me (with my very short surname) when he has a very long, polysyllabic Indian name is beyond me!?! But it happened.
Now a fraud case has began against him and the company have kindly paid me what was due. But I can tell you I immediately e-mailed anyone who tends to pay me by cheque and asked them to make a BACs transfer from now on into my account. And if there's anyone who pays you by cheque - and sends it through the post rather than handing it to you - then you need to ask them to start using BACs transfer.
I find the audacity of this thief breathtaking. As yet I don't know at what point in the postal service he stole my cheque, from the sorting office, or whether he’s a postman himself, but all will be revealed with time. I was furious because I am so time- short and had to send so many e-mails to rectify this situation, but I hope he ends up getting the most severe punishment possible for postal theft and fraudulently banking a cheque.
On another note, in today's papers there was a story that put on my conscience - and I use my experiences as a word of warning for "maybe later" parents! What was the story about? Parents having to have little time for their children - I was once guilty of this when my children were young - for a time being so career-minded that I was constantly saying "maybe later" to them. Obviously trying to ignore their disappointed little faces when I uttered those two words. Hand on heart I said "maybe later" too many times.
TODAY’S THOUGHT: I hope you can learn from my experience if you have young children. Because if I had their toddler years to do over again I would do them so very differently. This is a heartfelt warning based on my experiences - plus those of other women I've known - who don't realise it when they're stuck in the middle of this "maybe later" parenting trap.
And only realise it all too late when the window of time they have with their children's toddlerhood has been firmly slammed shut.
So please don't realise it too late - and if you can somehow carve more time out for your children in your busy life or perhaps give up a bit of overtime (I know, a tough order during a recession) then it will be time well spent.
Another interesting topic springs to mind when I read about yesterday on my iVillage.co.uk blog. In it I discussed a woman's friends, who could've had the saying, "with friends like these…" made up because of them! They were ridiculing her lovely new boyfriend in the most awful way. Take a look if this is happening in your life.
Have to go into meetings now this afternoon but tonight I will post a new "your e-mail of the week", enjoy your afternoon, the sun's trying to peek out this afternoon, Pam X
p.s. I must tell you tomorrow about the books I read on holiday - or at least the one I really enjoyed!