There Is No Free Lunch…

…or in this case, dinner.

I wouldn’t say that I travel extensively for work. I’m not out of town 300 days a year or anything, but I do travel enough that I have made more than my fair share of stops for food at restaurants I will likely never go to again, not because of the quality of their food or service, but because they’re four hours away.

On Wednesday February 15 I was traveling home from a business trip and needed a quick bite to eat so I stopped at a Taco Bell. In Altoona. Regardless of your thoughts on the quality of Taco Bell’s food, you pretty much know what you’re going to get when you go into one. That said, I paid for my meal with my debit card (processed as a credit card, yes there’s a difference but we won’t get into that here) so I’d have a receipt that would allow me to get reimbursed for the business expense.

The next day the $6.35 transaction showed up in my online banking as “PENDING” like most transactions do. In this case however, unlike most transactions, instead of posting to my checking account, it just disappeared. I’d seen that once or twice before, and they always showed up a day or two later. That’s not the case this time.

It’s now been two weeks and the transaction still hasn’t posted. I went to the local bank branch and they said “well, it looks like you got a free meal.” I asked them how long it normally takes for something to post and they said it should have by now, but it might show up in another week or two.

How long should I realistically wait for this transaction to post? Once that time passes, then what? Who do I call? Taco Bell? I want to pay for my meal. Heck, I’ve already been reimbursed for it. I realize this is “only $6.35” but this kind of stuff bothers me.

How Do You Keep Track Of What Needs To Be Done?

My Remember The Milk Icon From Today With 193 Incomplete ItemsI try to be an organized person. One thing I’m very good at is taking a complex goal and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. A problem I’ve been running into lately is that I seem to have too much to do. (I know, I know, we all have that problem)

I know that there are a ton of apps, websites and methodologies for maintaining to do lists. I’m a huge fan of Remember The Milk, it’s flexible, syncs with my iPhone (yes, I paid for a pro account) and does pretty much everything I could ask from to-do app (well, with the exception of tasks that are dependent on other tasks, but that’s for another time). The trouble that I’m having with to-do lists on paper, digitally or otherwise is that things keep coming up. I realize that the world isn’t going to stop so I can catch up, but at a certain point, the lists get to be too many, there seem to be too many tasks and I just give up.

At that point the tasks keep coming, but they don’t get added to lists and then things get missed, which is never good. The only solution I’ve found is to stop everything, take time to try to read through unanswered emails, sticky notes and my memory to reprioritize things and hope nothing got left out on the updated list. There’s got to be a better way. All of the tools in the world won’t help if I don’t actually use them (or use them properly).

What suggestions do you have for maintaining to-do lists for both professional and personal tasks? Do you have any tips to keep things from getting out of hand? How do you keep track of what needs to be done in your life?

Not Even Worth A No

Recently I’ve encountered something that I’m not quite sure how to deal with. In the end, I’m not sure there’s anything I can do about it, but I’d like to understand why it’s happening.

We live in an age of connectivity and just about everyone I know has more than a few ways to reach them. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Text Message, Skype, you get the idea. Why is it then, that when people are out there chatting it up, that they feel that it’s OK to not respond to a direct question? To just stop talking?

As an example, I was messaging with someone recently and I suggested we meet up for drinks. Immediately the conversation stopped. Did their phone die? Internet cut out? That’s not likely, since they went on to create other content online just moments after abandoning our conversation.

I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but it’s becoming a disturbing trend. People seem to feel that I’m not even worth saying “no” to, they just don’t respond at all. The problem doesn’t exist in person, since being face to face, the other party pretty much has to respond somehow, but why is just ignoring someone who you’re having an electronic conversation with considered OK?

I’ve tried to figure this out for months and I just don’t get it. What do you think?

Response To Comments About Proposed Treatment Center

I have to say, I am really impressed with the quality of the feedback I’ve received over my previous post about the proposed drug and alcohol rehabilitation center on Dewberry Ave. I expected a bit of opposition and some “you’re just a NIMBY” but what I got in public and private were comments that were thoughtful, eloquent and in the end, caused me to do more research into the matter.

I’m still opposed to placing a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in that location, but thanks to smart commentary I’m more educated about treatment facilities, the real estate developer proposing the one on Dewberry Ave and about the history of the proposals that have been brought up for that area.

Thanks everyone for keeping me honest and inspiring me to do my homework.

Opposition To Proposed Drug & Alcohol Rehab Center In North Bethlehem

I have strong opinions, that’s never been in question, but while I often respond to things that occur, I don’t always have anything looming that I need to express my concerns over to prevent it from happening.

It’s been brought to my attention that a real estate developer wants to open a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center at 111 Dewberry Ave in Bethlehem. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the area, I can tell you that it’s right in the heart of residential North Bethlehem and is right next door to Bethlehem Catholic High School. Let me say that again. Someone wants to put a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center right next door to a school.

I don’t oppose the idea of addicts getting the help that they need, whether it’s of their own volition or by court order, but I do have a problem when it’s next to a school. The proposed center is also within a mile of Spring Garden Elementary School and is also too close to my own house for comfort.

A concerned citizen has put together a website, northbethaction.org, that does a good job explaining the issues associated with establishing such a facility in the location being proposed. I can’t say that I support everything on the website, but I do agree that the drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility does not belong on Dewberry Ave. I signed the petition but we all know how much weight those hold, so I’ll be attending the Zoning Hearing Board meeting on Wednesday, February 22 at 6 pm to show support to those that oppose the proposed facility.

Because I’m not one to complain without suggesting a solution, if the community needs another drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility (which is debatable) why not locate it at a hospital instead of right next door to a school? Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s are both nearby and are much more appropriate for someone seeking medical treatment.

If you have an opinion on the matter, I welcome  your comments and if you want to really make your voice heard, join me at the Zoning Hearing Board meeting on Wednesday at 6 pm at Bethlehem City Hall.