Tag Archive | Capital One

Shine a light


Woo hoo! We have several working lights in the upstairs kitchen now, and one even has a light fixture. Progress, baby.

John’s cutting tile, so I’m taking a quick break from our kitchen-floor-laying project to shine a light on a few things on my mind, good and bad.

First I’d like to stress how sick I am of hearing our do-nothing Congress refer to President Obama as a “lame duck.” He is still the duly elected president, popular enough to be elected twice and one whom people will see in retrospect as one of the most effective ever. “Lame duck” refers to an office-holder after his replacement has been elected, which for Obama won’t be until November. Even then, he’ll still be the president with full presidential powers. #DoYourJob #SCOTUS

Fixing a hole.jpeg

I’m just dropping this in because it’s so cute and makes me think of the Beatles (“Fixing a Hole) – and Paul McCartney, whom Liz, Brent, Jude and I will go see next month.

Second, February was frighteningly warm, as far as damage to our planet goes. We’re rapidly passing the point of no return. Between that and the hideous insanity of the (much-too-long) election cycle, this grandmother has a hard time going to sleep at night. And I feel guilty; I faithfully did my Climate Reality training last September and have written letters, signed petitions, etc., but I still haven’t done any official presentations, partly because life gets in the way but mainly from reality paralysis. I’ll get out there at some point. Climate change is fact, a devastating one, not a belief system. I wish people would wake up to that.

I might as well mention how much our AT&T Uverse sucks. Our internet service cuts out all day and night sometimes cycling on and off every few seconds. Even the television service is starting to go off and onand pixelate/freeze. Makes it really hard to do anything online consistently, so it’s looking like we’ll have to go back to Comcast. But I won’t get started on monopolies/mega-corporations.

In a scary note, I mailed John’s last Capital One payment Feb. 24 – took it to the post office as always. Capital One received it yesterday (!), so the bill we got today showed a late fee and interest. I pay early in full every month for both our cards and have for years. Bad post office! Fortunately, all it took was one call to Capital One – I think the understanding woman I talked to was Sharla (I wish I’d written that down);t she was great. She looked at our record, removed the charges and fees, and put a note in about what had happened. She also said Capital One has seen a lot of problems with late mail recently.

We try to support the post office and make most of our payments the old-fashioned way, but good grief.

I’d also like to shine a light on other recent good customer service. First, we got all the tile for our upstairs at The Tile Shop on Rodney Parham. Kudos to Samatha Wicker, who helped and advised us. We’re happy campers, if a bit sore.


The beginning of the quartzite kitchen floor. Zuzu is an obstacle to be worked around much of the time, but at this point, she’s banned from the room, which she just can’t believe. She’s so big, one wrong step scoots tiles out of place before they’re dry.

I’d also like to call attention to Doug Crawford at Ferguson’s furniture store in Benton. John wanted to drive out to look at the Stressless floor model sale, and damned if Doug didn’t make us an offer we couldn’t – and didn’t want to – refuse. If you go see him, tell him Laura and John Hardy sent you. He’ll do you up right.

Under Wraps.jpeg

Our new Stressless sectional is under wraps to protect it from construction dust, but as soon as it’s safe to uncover it and put it together, I’ll show you what it looks like.

The new black couch will sit near the new kitchen – it’s going to look fab.

Looking like a floor.jpeg

Starting to look like a floor!

Lordy, just took a break from this to go lay more tile. We do pretty well for a guy who’ll be 65 in a month and a 60-year-old lady, though my legs are quivery. But we’re almost there. We haven’t argued once – not even when the tiles, which are hand cut and don’t all match in thickness, have to be taken out and adjusted.

We make a good team. And I’d forgotten how big the room is.

Speaking of teams, it’s time to get ready for Annabelle’s second micro-soccer game – I’ll pick Mother up on the way, and after that we’ll go to the visitation for an old family friend, from way back when Cathy and I were little girls. Cycle of life goes on and on.

Tell next time. I’ll end with a few more photos.


Our favorite obstacles – and two of the reasons we went with tough natural stone for the floors. Tess (back to camera) doesn’t make too many trips upstairs these days, though. She and Mother are age cohorts.


Since I’m usually behind the camera, this is just for proof that I do help. This was a trial fitting of our stove – it fits and works!

Little bits.jpeg

And proof once again that the little things – like top door facings – make a big difference. John made them, of course.

Father and child reunion

The Lolly Diaries has been dark for a couple of weeks – we’ve been across the Atlantic (and the Mediterranean) for a father and child reunion and rather dreamy vacation. (Plenty more about that to come, but this is about something else.)

Paul Simon sang “Mother and Child Reunion,” of course, but that’s still the song that ran through my head, with the paternal adaptation, each time I snapped a shot of John and Marie-Noelle.

Father and daughter on the ferry to Yvoire, France.

We hadn’t seen her since December.

I can remember how hard it is as a parent not to see your kids for so long from the months that passed when Liz and Ben were in the navy.

What I can’t imagine is how hard it’s been for the years that have passed since Marie-Noelle left the states. For either of them.

Luckily their love is strong and has held on. And as you can see from the photos, their resemblance is strong too – and their mannerisms identical. Cracks some of us up to see them gesturing to each other like mirror images.

Discussing a menu in Greve in Chianti.Just seconds before Marie-Noelle’s hands were on her hips, too. I missed the shot.

Watching them together also made me wonder what it would be like to have a father as a young woman in her 30s. Or an old woman in her 50s. That’s probably what made me burst into tears Monday night after reading a tiny letter to the editor about Father’s Day in Time.

Cloudburst of tears, out of the blue, after 30 years.

Go figure.

Actually, it’s easy to figure. A father’s influence, and presence or absence – let me just quote a very smart guy who once told me, “It’s always about our fathers, isn’t it?”

I married that guy. Lucky me.

He’s Marie-Noelle’s dad. Lucky her. (And lucky me, again.)

John and Marie-Noelle – and a fabulous table in Greve.

He’s also a great father to my daughter, whose own dad is in the area but sadly missing in action. That’s the worst kind of absence of all.


On another note, but only sort of, because it’s really about family, too: I have to recommend Jonathan Franzen’s excellent Freedom,  which I read on the trip. Crazy good. The kind of book you’ll still be thinking about days after you read it.


And another another note: Kudos again to Capital One for taking another bogus charge (made to my old credit card) off my bill with no questions asked. Damn thieves are out there, people.

But the folks at Capital One really do have our backs.

I’m jet-lagged. Better stop before I say something stupid(er??). But TLD is back. Talk to you soon.

Looking alike at lunch in Florence.

Save me

I always like to give credit where it is due, so let me just take a moment to mention that Capital One popped in this week to save me from hackery. Someone used my Visa at 2:20 a.m. to make an iTunes charge of $40, and the watchdogs knew it wasn’t me. 

I awoke that morning to an urgent email asking me to call the fraud department. Since we’re leaving the country next week, Capital One also overnighted me a new card.

Customer service at its finest.

Not very long ago John got the same email when someone had use his Capital One Mastercard to charge $100 at iTunes (I smell a racket), which is especially odd because he never buys anything at iTunes. (Unlike yours truly, who doesn’t want to know what she’s spent.)

Don’t know how they’re doing it, but the iTunes hackers are out there. Beware.

What’s in your wallet?


The new issue of Newsweek came in the mail to save me from pre-Olympics fatigue. I was already bored with the summer games until the cover shot of Hope Solo reminded me that soccer was a summer game. 

If you haven’t read her story, you should. She’s an amazing athlete and has an interesting life story. And she doesn’t take any crap from anyone, which is a quality hard to come by for some females.

Not to mention she’s beautiful. But not as beautiful as her skills.

She’s a keeper. By that I mean a goalie, if you’re not soccer literate, the one who saves the team from getting scored on. But she’s a keeper, too, if you know what I mean.

And reading about Hope (whom I always want to call Han, as in Solo, another of my faves) reminded me of how much I loved coaching the North Little Rock High School girls soccer team the first three years of its existence.

Saved me from a lot of things as I was going through a tough divorce. And gave me so, so much. I love those girls to this day, especially the left fullback, who happens to be my daughter. She’s the one with all the hair in the photo.

The NLRHS Lady Charging Wildcats, spring 1998

But they were all special, every year.