Thai ATM Horror Story

So today turned out to be a big bummer because of the stupid Thai banking system. In short, I tried to withdraw 20,000 Baht from my Japanese bank with an international (PLUS system) bank card, which is something I’ve done many times before with no real problems. This time, however, the ATM (Thai Commercial Bank) flashed an error, “Communication Error,” and spat out my card but no cash and no receipt. I figured it might be an error with this particular bank and mine in Japan (Mitsui Sumitomo), so I tried again with the ATM to the immediate right of the first one (Thai Military Bank). Same error message, same exact result: No cash, no receipt.
Then I figured I’d try a little bit later so I pulled up to a Krung Thai Bank ATM at a gas station and tried again to withdraw 20,000 Baht. This time I got an “insufficient balance” error, and a sinking feeling in my stomach (and again, no cash and no receipt). Sure enough, when I rushed home to look at my balance online, it showed that 20,000 Baht had been withdrawn today.
I immediately called my bank in Japan and explained the situation. The man on the other end was sympathetic and said I needed to talk to the banks here in Thailand first, but that if nothing could be done on this side, he could probably launch an investigation into the matter which would take weeks to find anything (if at all), but sounded much better than nothing. At this point, I was pretty sure that appealing to the banks here would end in squat.
Sure enough, both Thai banks claimed since I wasn’t sure which bank had actually made the transaction, it absolved them both of responsibility until I found out this info from my Japanese bank. Of course, by the time I received this happy reply (via Nam, who went to go find the contact info on the ATMs while I watched sleeping baby at home), my bank in Japan had already closed for the day.
20,000 Baht (68,000 yen or around $600) just disappeared into the ether, and, as of now, I have fuck all to show that this is what actually happened.
My question: At times like this is it more appropriate to hate computers, the third world, or banks in general?
UPDATE: I called my bank in Japan to tell them that the Thai banks are not accepting responsibility (big surprise!) since I don’t know which one caused the problem, and they insist that the Japan side must initiate action of some kind. The guy at my bank who is following the case advised me to wait seven working days to see if the problem is corrected automatically, then to contact him again so he can initiate an inquiry which may take a couple months to finish. This blows.

Effluvian Cycle

I never imagined such a cute little thing could poop so often. Max, when not sleeping or breastfeeding, is soiling diapers (and our clothes as well) at a highly efficient rate. I would say at this point we are going through 30 diapers per day, as well as assorted towels, blankets, and baby clothes that get soiled as well (one downside to cloth diapers is that they have no plastic layer to keep the juiciness sealed in).
My mental checklist from the past 24 hours looks something like this:
Double double (2 pees + 2 poos consecutively/simultaneously, in random order)
Very wet fart/not quite poo
Super pee (soiled mommy/daddy’s clothes as well as own)
Hot squirt from bottom when changing
Super pee
Triple double (including attempted pee in daddy’s face when changing)
Pee with small poop squirt
/end of cycle
But so far, I have to admit this is kinda fun. My boy can pass gas loudly and unabashedly, sometimes on the very hand that changes his nappies, and that is something, as a man, of which I can be proud.
Today we must make a run for wet wipes, baby laundry detergent, and food at the local mini-Tesco. The best wet wipes and disposable diapers available in Thailand (that we’ve seen so far at least) is a Japanese brand called MamyPoko (parent company: Unicharm). Mamypoko makes great products at competitive prices… We don’t take Max out very often, but when we do, we’ve decided to use disposables… It’s one less thing to worry about, and the finished product makes a great projectile for idiots who double park.
Bonus trivia: Disposable diapers no longer employ adhesive tabs! They have a Velcro-like system, but the texture isn’t rough like normal Velcro. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s magic or something!

Back Home

I have much to write about. However, I also have many soiled diapers to wash and many other chores around the house before I can do anything even resembling play.
Just being back home feels good, though.
And on the way back home, we found out that Max likes reggae.

Taco truck ban?

(I need to take a quick break from baby blogging)
As if bacon-wrapped hot dogs being outlawed wasn’t enough, it seems taco trucks are now in jeopardy on the streets of LA:

Led by District 1 County Supervisor Gloria Molina, the L.A. Board of Supervisors has passed new restrictions that will effectively eliminate taco trucks from our streets. Under Supervisor Molina’s new rules, taco trucks will have to change location every hour, or face a misdemeanor charge carrying a $1000 fine and/or jail.


Dub Thee Max

I have officially decided that his western (and therefore, most important) name is Max. Nam has yet to decide on a Thai name. It would be funny to change it at this point because we tried it out for a couple days and some of our visitors overheard us – next thing you know, people are calling up and congratulating us on “Max.” Besides, it just fits him.
Next question: To -imilian or not to -imilian. Simple “Max,” or go for a bit of flair with “Maximilian?” Come to think of it, emulating the first google hit for that name might be fairly classy: His Imperial Majesty Maximilian I, Emperor of Maha Sarakham and Protector of the Northeast. I think it’s got a nice ring to it.
What to do?
Max or Maximilian?
Either way, I’m calling him Max, or Maxie until he stops breastfeeding, at least. There’s an argument to be made that the -imilian is a useless appendage. On the other hand, I sometimes think it would be nice to have a tail even if I didn’t really use it, so I’d like to hear some opinions here.
What say ye?

Baby has a fever

They are going to put him in observation for a day because the light fever he had last night went up instead of down. He started nursing properly yesterday but milk output isn’t ideal yet. That should come along fine, though. We’re pretty sure everything is gonna be OK, and know your thoughts are with us.

Contender for Best Brand Name of All Time

See? The baby really is lucky! I went to buy a case of water at a farmer’s wholesale mart and stumbled onto the grand mother of unfortunate branding – Golden Shower Brand Sugar!
“For the perverted diabetic in you!”
I just appreciate that they seemingly got the trademark (TM) – then again, in most parts of Asia, sometimes a marking is just a marking so – maybe they just claim to have the trademark. It’s time for someone to jump on this opportunity; the Golden Shower name must expand across cultural boundaries and product lines alike!

Good Morning, Morning Glory

The phantom wireless signal never returned after I lost it last night before knocking out, so I’m taking time between washing new cloth diapers at home to post these.
BTW, the baby has expressed extreme distaste for automatic transmissions AND front wheel drive – what a little purist!. Lucky for him I have the Crown..
UPDATE: I just realized that last sentence might be a bit misleading – Nam and the baby are staying in the hospital for at least a few more days. I’m at home doing chores while Nam’s little sis helps watch the baby. Nam seems to be healing nicely since the operation yesterday. She was able to get up and walk a little today after they took out the IV and catheter.
Baby is not nursing yet. I can make him stop crying on command – “Hey Poopy Pants! Stop crying!!” Just kidding, he stops because he loves me. Fear shouldn’t be necessary until he starts playing with electrical outlets and stuff.

This baby is good luck.

Today the baby was born and I got a small tax return from the Japanese government that I was waiting for for two years. What are the odds?
Plus, this amazing phantom wifi access point kind of fades in whenever I really NEED a connection, but is invisible the rest of the time.
Let’s see… born on 6/18 at 18:06 (UPDATE: Today is of course 4/18, not 6/18. Hey, give me a break – there was a lot happening. Maybe not to me directly, but there was a lot happening.). There’s definitely some lucky lotto number action happening there, or something.
We got into a VIP suite of sorts here at the hospital because of Nam’s nurse friends. I’m in a decently sized air-conditioned room with a sofa, fridge, shower room, and TV, and Nam is sleeping with the baby in the adjoining room. Nam’s little sister is keeping watch on the sofa in there. Their room is a lot warmer than in here because the baby needs to be acclimatized to the temperature outside mommy’s womb a little at a time. He likes sucking on his fingers, since Nam has been told to hold off nursing him until the doctor can give her a thorough check up tomorrow. Ah, hell, who am I kidding? He would like to suck on his fingers anyway… Or I would, at least (on mine, not his).
Baby and mommy (kinda goofy from double morphine spinal block):
Already drinking shots:
Hates wearing socks, just like his dad: