This is me calling out my lifetime bank, PNC Bank, for a shady fee practice because I want you to know so you can be careful to not get hit with ridiculous charges like I was.

I needed to provide to a mortgage broker  a breakdown of some recent deposit tickets to my account.

So I entered PNC Bank’s online system. I clicked on the deposit ticket link for each deposit I needed to show the checks from.


It displayed for me a picture of my deposit ticket. Here’s a snippet:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.07.19 PM


But I needed to show what those checks were, so I clicked “View Details.”

This came up. Again a snippet. Trying not to reveal important personal info here!

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.08.52 PM

“View now.” GREAT. Click.


Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.10.29 PM

I can print or download the image at no additional charge? But I may be charged a fee? That’s confusing. So I clicked on “click here to review applicable fees.”

This came up:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.11.41 PM


Okay. So you can display the DEPOSIT TICKET for free. (Thanks, PNC!), but to display the images of the checks associated with the deposit ticket? “CLICK HERE.”

I clicked here. ANOTHER window pops up. What are we on now? Four?

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.13.13 PM

Whew. Okay. I don’t use Virtual Wallet. I click on “ACCOUNT PRICING CENTER” and hey! It displays a FOUR PAGE PDF OF FEES. I first went to the Online Banking section, but there wasn’t anything there about displaying checks. Then I went to the correct section of the FOUR PAGE PDF:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 1.17.21 PM


“Self-service requests through online banking for items within a deposit ticket detail list.” I don’t see “display fee” anywhere. So clearly under “Images and Photocopy Requests” they mean if I ask them to email or print for me the image I display. Right? Great. I just want to bring the image up on my screen. Too bad I didn’t read down further to see there’s a separate section for mailing and faxing. They’ll mail you the deposit ticket copy for a dollar. But it will cost you $3 for them to mail you the check copy. Because they have to get on a camel and ride it across the desert to go into the vault to manually pull it out and copy it, I guess. But they keep the deposit tickets right on site, so it’s cheaper. Again, I’m guessing.

So I went back and clicked on the link to display the check image. And of course, each image came right up and ready to go for me to print or save to PDF.

But then a few days later:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.47.10 PM

WHOA! I was charged three dollars a pop to DISPLAY a check on my computer screen.


Is this my fault? Technically yes. I get it. My bad for not catching it properly.

Is PNC Bank ridiculous? Oh, yes. Because …

1. DISPLAY FEE? You charged me three dollars to bring an image of my check up on my screen?

2. If I had instead deposited these checks one by one, without a deposit ticket, I would not have been charged to display the images. It would have been free. But because I had to click one extra step to get to the check, it cost me $3 a pop.

3. I actually only displayed eight checks, but I got charged for ten, because I DISPLAYED two of the checks twice. ELL. OH. ELL. Gosh darn displayin’.

4. This is 2014. Are you telling me, PNC, that the only way for a consumer to know what this particular transaction is going to cost them, is to have them click through five different windows to download a four-page PDF? Don’t you have the capability to have your website bring up ONE window that says, “This will cost you $3, Virginia. Continue?”

Did I just blow your minds, PNC?

Either way, I called and expressed my displeasure at not only their practices to make it hard to figure out what you’ll be charged, but at flat-out charging people $3 to DISPLAY a check. They refunded half the charges.

Sure I screwed up by looking at the fee schedule and thinking if I don’t see “display fee” then they can’t charge me a “display fee.” I can’t help feeling though, that this is kind of screwed up.

Display fee. A fee to display a picture of your check. For three dollars.


Clearly I need to upgrade to Performance Checking. Or a different bank.



It was MY day, bitches.

I probably shouldn’t write this post, but I honestly don’t give a shit.

And that’s a weird way to start a post about my 40th birthday, but seriously, I in no way want to seem as if I am bragging (My sisters will testify that I HATE doing anything that even resembles bragging. They even have a recent example to prove it.), but I have shared almost a decade of my Pittsburgh journey with you guys, and I don’t want to withhold from you this latest, interesting leg of the trip.

So suck it up and read this and feel free to comment about how I’m bragging and a bitch and also how fabulous I look for 40 because 40 … WAH!

Anyway …

I turned 40 last Friday. I’ve already written about how I am not too happy about turning 40. Yes, it’s better than the alternative, but these gray hairs and these wrinkles and these failing eyes and this flabby butt are not endearing me much to 40. Of course, I’ve known my flabby butt since my twenties, but still … 40, you are not welcome here.

40 started out great. Breakfast in bed. Two sets of flowers. Two balloons, one of which informed me that I had crested the proverbial “hill “and was indeed on my way down it. Screaming. In terror. Like a three-year-old approaching the Jack Rabbit’s double dip.

My husband had spent the better part of the previous week being blatantly, intentionally mysterious. Dropped hints about trips. Suitcases. His parents in Mexico.

Were we taking a trip? I secretly hoped not because while if YOUR husband handed YOU two tickets to Greece and an already packed suitcase, you’d probably jump into his arms and try to rip his pants off in ecstasy, that’s pretty much my worst nightmare. Not the sex. The travel.

I need to prepare for travel. I need to take care of shit. I need to get my affairs in order. I need to mentally prepare myself for getting on an airplane.  For possible burny death.

I know. I need drugs or something.

Anyway, my husband headed for the restaurant for the day and left me to be nervous about whatever the hell he had planned. I knew we were going to dinner, but that was it.

Fast forward to about 4:00 p.m. when my mother arrived to pick up my children so that we could have our date night. And she said, “Gin, since you’re going away for a few days, why don’t I –”


Mom looked aghast. Threw her hands over her mouth and quickly ushered the kids out the front door without saying another word to me.

A while later, my husband drove us to the South Side. I was sure we were heading for my favorite South Side spot Dish Osteria for dinner, but he pulled into Nakama valet. “For a drink.”


I sucked down a cosmopolitan like it was a tequila shooter and demanded to know where we were going. What were we doing. I AM 40 AND YOU ARE GOING TO GIVE ME A FRICKING HEART ATTACK.

Maybe that was the plan. Kill me at 40 so I can’t complain about 50.

Drinks imbibed, we retrieved my filthy momdorkmobile from valet.

“We need to swing into the Pirates offices to pick up my tickets for next week and then we’ll go on from there.”


His cell phone rings. “Yeah? Hi, Jordan [our sales rep]. We’re almost there. Where will you be? Okay. See you in a few.”


At PNC Park, I started to get it when we headed inside and suddenly there were employees directing us to the 3000 Club.


Look who is here! All of your family! Many of your friends!

But wait. Look who is also here. Your nutty OCD sister who had a mental breakdown just a few months ago. She got on an airplane for the first time in more than a decade to be here.

And that got me. Because she got on an airplane. For me. If you’ve ever read her blog, you understand what a huge, huge, huge deal that it. Inconceivable six months ago. Completely inconceivable. She didn’t attend our sisters weekend last fall because she couldn’t get on a plane.

So I cried. Because it meant she was really well. Finally, she was whole again. Here’s my ugly-cry face. Memorize it. You won’t see it again until the Bucs win the World Series:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.18.08 AM

But that’s not all, Ginny. Close your eyes because we have another surprise!

I opened my already teary eyes to find myself staring into the face of my best friend from college who I had not seen since 1996 on account of the fact that I live in Pittsburgh and she lives in Newfoundland, Canada.

I was stunned that my husband was actually listening to me when I talked about her. That he contacted her and managed to get her there. Can you imagine how creepy that would have seemed? “Hi! I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Can I get you a hotel room in Pittsburgh?”

So I cried some more. Who knew 40 makes you so damn weepy all the damn time. And sweary. Really sweary.



Hi, dad.

As the evening progressed, someone special swung by.

Mayor Bill Peduto. And here’s why I had to write this. Because he walked in and took control of the room like a badass, asked for quiet and then boom.

Proclamation. That he wrote. Himself.



I almost cried. Especially at the part about all my faults.

Hah! Kidding.

Remember how much I’ve made fun of people with proclamations? About ridiculous days named after people we’ve never heard of? Remember that?

I’m one of those people now.

A hundred years from now they’ll be looking through old books in city hall all, “Wow. Books. Haven’t seen one of these in 20 years,” and they’ll find the proclamation copy and say, “WHO THE FRACK IS VIRGINIA MONTANEZ?!”

So I had a day. It was proclaimed. Virginia Montanez Day. And I didn’t know about it until 8:00 p.m.

And I was like, shit (sweary!), I have only four hours TO RULE. THIS. CITY.

I wanted to run yellow lights with the proclamation held up to the windshield. Suck it, traffic light camera. It’s my day. I would make duck lips and the peace sign. Ticket THIS.

I wanted to jaywalk while holding it in the air like Lloyd Dobler and a boombox. (If you don’t know who Lloyd Dobler is, you must leave now on account of your disgusting youth. Gross.)

I wanted to kick down Dunkin Donuts’ doors and demand free pastries.

Park for 30 minutes in a 15-minute loading zone.

Find Lukey and do the running man dance in front of him.


Punt pigeons all, “It’s MY CITY, VERMIN BITCHES (all the swears!). POW!”

But I stayed at the party and had a blast.

Look at my gorgeous sisters, including the crazy one who got on a plane:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 9.57.57 AM(Left to right: Princess Aurora, Ta-Ta, the 40-year-old Virginia, Tina Fey, and Pens Fan)


Look at my mom and dad:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 9.59.08 AM

Look at me showing them how I was going to cross every street, outside of the crosswalk, until midnight:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 9.59.16 AM

Haters gonna hate.

And look who else showed up:

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.05.36 AM


That’s David Conrad surrounded by my nieces and nephews who are all big “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” fans. He is the bad guy on that show, but he is truly a good Burgher.

(I am six episodes behind. If he is no longer the bad guy, DO NOT TELL ME.)

My sister Marcia (OCD Tina Fey) gave out a scream when she saw him. And then I realized that 60% of the reason she got on an airplane and risked burny death was because there was a 50% chance she was going to meet him.

Bitch. (Swears!)

So many more wonderful friends I’ve made since I started this blog arrived. It was touching. Unexpected. Sally Wiggin gave me a shirt that says “Ohio.”

I turned 40, and it didn’t suck.

Also, if you got a parking ticket in the City of Pittsburgh on May 30, 2014, get at me.

I think I can cancel those for you.

[awkward kung fu moves]


Alcohol in grocery stores will KILL. YOUR. CHILDREN.

Does the anti-liquor privatization lobby make you want to punch faces like it makes me want to punch faces?

Then you’re in for a real treat because have you seen this commercial?

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Head over here to see me destroy the “lying with statistics” that this commercial brazenly commits.


“So . . . *attempt at a confused look* . . .  politicians want booze sold in stores where kids and teens go . . .?”

Wait. Wait just a minute. Are we supposed to leave our kids and teens in our cars when we go into the state liquor stores?! Crap. I’ve been just walking in to buy wine with my kids in tow. I let them look at the wine bottles. I am so embarrassed by this incredible parenting fail. Next time I’ll leave them in the car. Don’t worry. I’ll crack the window a bit because God forbid a child be in the presence of retail-ready alcohol containers. They could just grab one off the shelf and guzzle it down before you can say “Yo Gabba Gabba.” 

It is so ridiculous and almost embarrassing for the union.

Have a read. 


Remember when Huffington Post named Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte “the greatest cake America has ever made?”

Well my family put that to the test recently by pitting Prantl’s versus Oakmont Bakery’s burnt almond torte cake.

A snippet:

Partygoers crowded around the person taking the test. We watched in absolute silence. We waited breathlessly for each decision as if Maury Povich was about to read paternity results. “When it comes to this cake . . . OAKMONT IS YOUR CHOICE!” *wild cheering and incredulous weeping*

Soon, it was tied. Siblings divided. Marriages splintering before our very eyes. We were so desperate for a winner that we attempted to have a 9-month-old baby cast a vote, but she just inhaled both pieces of cake and burped. What good are you, baby? We’re trying to do science here.

We were eyeing the dog as a possible voter, when we realized there was one cousin who hadn’t yet taken the test. This was it. The tie-breaker. For truth. For science. For cake.

He tasted. Chewed. Swallowed. Tasted. Chewed. Swallowed. Silence.


Go see who won! It might surprise you. 

Happy Memorial Day!

I’m turning 40 next week!


Sally Wiggin and the Pigeons

I’m sad about the Pens loss. So sad, in fact, that I ate for two straight hours after the final second ticked off the game clock. Half a jar of cookie butter. Cheese and crackers and processed meat slices. And then I eyed the cereal boxes. It wasn’t pretty. I woke up with a weird marriage of Cocoa Krispies and cracker dust in my hair.


So I’m going to ignore the loss and Bylsma’s likely departure (sob) and instead talk about pigeons. EFFING PIGEONS. MOTHERBLEEPING JERKASSWAD PIGEONS.

First, yesterday late morning in Market Square, it was a beautiful steamy sunny August day that happened to get lost and wind up in May all, “WHERE THE HELL AM I?! I think I took a wrong turn at July or something. I tried circling back but some yinzer told me to turn where Rax used to be.”

There I sat in the sun with Sally Wiggin, not far from a table full of beard-wearing Rangers. Sally and I were chatting about life while her cameraman set up for an interview, when a pigeon sauntered up to her, about a foot from her chair, probably wanting to tell her, “Hey, why are you hanging out with our Antichrist? Aren’t you better than that?”

Sally Wiggin spied the pigeon, and Sally Wiggin talked to the pigeon. She bent down and gave it baby talk.

And then she remembered who she was sitting with.

And  she looked up at me.

And I was all …


And then she was like …



I’m getting that on a shirt, a pillow, AND my gravestone.


Also, this happened:



And while we’re talking about pigeons, here’s the closing line of this hilarious letter to the editor at the Post-Gazette yesterday:

Perhaps the first place we can stop “feeding the pigeons” is with ourselves.

I will pay you the sum of ONE MILLION DOLLARS if you can explain what that means.

I think she was going for a “Be the change you want to see in the world” type of thing, but instead veered toward a “There are a lot of weeds in the garden of my mind” thing.

I hope Anna Smith of the North Side emails me so that I can email her back a link to the story of how PIGEON POOP BROUGHT DOWN THE BRIDGE IN MINNEAPOLIS.

Get at me.

P.S. Cocoa Krispie Hangover would be a great band name.



Random n’at


1. I ranted.

I was heard.

I’ve got lots of local media folks pissed with me now.

But I 100% stand by what I wrote. Sometimes I write a rant and then a month later I’ll go back and read it and be like, “Bitch, who peed in your jar of Nutella? You need a chill pill the size of a horse tranquilizer.”

But this one? No. It’s 100% church and I 100% will fight for what I wrote.


[awkward kung fu moves]

2. Haitian Families First linked up kids in Haiti to be picture pen pals with kids at Sto-Rox Elementary, the Brashear Association, Grandview Elementary, Quaker Valley Middle School, and Shady Side Middle School and they’re selling some of the art to benefit their programs that work to keep families together in Haiti.

Details here. I’ll be there. BUYING ALL THE THINGS. If you bring your kid, they can create artwork that will get sent back to Haitian children in the HFF programs.

3. If you’re a Frozen fan (you are; you just don’t know it yet), then you’re going to love this episode of Pittsburgh Dad. I cannot choose my favorite line, but I’m leaning toward, “Dump a bag of rock salt on her. Movie over.” or “Don’t be a deer” or “Cut open the reindeer like a Tauntaun and throw her in ‘at!”  So much goodness!

YouTube Preview Image

4. I bet the bomb squad just royally screwed up some poor Art Institute film student’s final project.

5. Were they SWINGING on them?!

6. Golf Edgewood; raise money for kids with cancer. Win win.

7. Did you know that marathon weekend includes an official pet walk that benefits Animal Rescue League? I would take my dog for this walk, but he is 15, his teeth are falling out, he’s mostly blind, mostly deaf, and just the meanest little old man you ever met. You best get off his lawn before he burns you with his ancient pee.

8. I wrote about the hilarity that ensued at my cookie-table-less, hokey-pokey-less wedding in Mexico. Here’s a picture from it.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 8.38.14 AM

That’s the face of a man who at that moment realized what he got himself into. How do you say, “Oh, shit” in Spanish?

Have a read!

9. I also published my 2014 Burghy Mother’s Day Gift Guide! If you haven’t shopped for mom yet, snag her one of these ten Burghy gifts. Most all of them are locally made. Click the photo to be whisked away to the list:


I published this and then my mother went out and shopped the list, buying stuff off of it for herself, even an item I already purchased for her for Mother’s Day.

She’s doing it wrong.

10. Guys, when I started this blog, I was 32. A young woman. Sorta. Mother of one. Married six years.

I will be turning 40 next month. I’m a mother of two and on Cinco de Mayo, I’ll have been married for 14 years. I feel like if you’ve been reading me since the beginning, you’ve watched me grow up a bit here. Sorta.

I wrote about what turning 40 means to me and what it means for my relationship with Pittsburgh.

A snippet:

I am officially middle-aged. Mid-life. Half-death.

I no longer can gush about the new hottie on the Pirates, Penguins or Steelers teams without sounding like a cradle-robbing cougar. I’d rather be labeled anything than that. Even a “tunnel-braker.”

I now have two churches. The new one is the wrinkle-cream aisle at Target. The Sunday-paper circular is my Bible, and Olay is my god.

All hail Olay.

Have a read. 

11. Your hilarious tweets as of late:

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