Thursday, October 27, 2005

Weird mail

On Friday we got something very strange in the mail. It was in a homemade brown paper envelope, which was hardly sealed, with a Nigerian stamp on it. I know what you’re thinking. Nigeria and scam are almost synonyms. But it gets even weirder. Inside was a folded piece of black carbon paper. Folded up in the carbon paper were four $1,000.00 post office money orders addressed to my husband from someone in Chicago.

That was it, no letter, no note, no explanation at all.

I pulled it out of the mailbox, look at it, and said “What on Earth?” I’d never heard of a Nigerian scam which involved them sending us money.

So I called J., and asked, “Have you been talking to anyone from Nigeria?”

He agreed that sounded weird, but he hadn’t talked to anyone in Nigeria. Of course we’ve both gotten those junk emails from Nigeria, but we usually just delete them.

On Monday, he checked into it, to see what he could figure out about it. He called the FBI, and they told him the postal money orders were probably forgeries, and he should go to the post office to check them out. He did and they were.

Apparently the scheme is that the Nigerians get you to agree to help them process money. They send you the money orders; you keep a portion of the it, and send the rest on. By the time you discover that the money orders are phony, they already have your money, and you’re out of luck.

Two mysteries remain:

1. What they send us the money orders when neither one of us had agreed to pass it on, and had absolutely no idea where it was when we saw it?

2. What was the point of the badly sealed brown paper envelope? Why would they want to draw attention to those envelopes? If they can afford the nice printer is used to forge the money orders, they should be able to afford to buy envelops to send them. Especially if in theory they’ve got someone in Chicago who is buying the money orders. I just don’t understand it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Trip to the Zoo

We went to the Zoo yesterday. The kids had the day off, so J. took a vacation day and we all went together and had a lot of fun. N. had been looking forward to spending the whole day playing ToonTown, so he tried to be miserable. He didn’t quite succeed; there were too many fun things to do, like playing on the playground (of course) and seeing the meercats and the warthogs (Hello Timon and Pumbaa!).

Most of the animals were relaxing, of course, some of them far away from where we could see them. We never did see the lion cubs or the gorillas. The hippos were visible for a little bit, then they vanished under water. Looking carefully, we could see them maneuvering under water (looking rather like small whales). But someone just walking by probably would have thought the enclosure was empty.

Unfortunately, several things were closed for renovation, including the Red Barn (which had a lot about farm animals in it. The Kansas City Zoo has been working a lot for several years now trying to go from the traditional zoo cages to more realistic settings for the animals. Of course, this also gives the animals a lot more places to hide so we can’t see them. But there are interactive displays in many places that let you know how things work, and the type of sounds the animals make, and other fun stuff.

Friday, October 14, 2005