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Archive for October, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Love, Colonel Sanders and his chicken

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Back in July, July 1 to be exact, I had to pick up my cousin from a commuter lot after work so he could drive with us to Kentucky to visit my parents and see his dad (who also lives in KY, coincidentally).  As we were pulling out, a guy about 20+ years my senior in a big ‘ole pick-up truck filled with 2×4 boards started backing out. I laid on my horn and quickly swerved but it was too late.  His (flagless) boards scraped the back of my car leaving a gorgeous, dented stripe. I immediately stopped but the guy just backed out and started to drive away. That’s when I panicked. I jumped out of my car, flailing my arms at him to stop because, “HEY! YOU JUST HIT MY CAR!!” He saw me, stopped, and yelled back “I didn’t hit your car!” I said, “THE FUCK YOU DIDN’T!” still charging toward him. (Calm, I was not.) He responded with a, “Watch your mouth, young lady,” which pissed me off even more but now that I saw he was getting out of his truck and not speeding away, I felt much better. I said, “Well don’t you tell me you didn’t hit my car when you most certainly did.”

He checked out the damages, confirmed that he was at fault and gave me his insurance information which I scribbled down with shaky hands on an old paystub I had in my car. He said that if the damages were about $500, he would like to pay out of pocket rather than me go to his insurance since his insurance is connected to his business as a contractor and he has a $1M dollar policy or something. Basically meaning, he already pays high premiums and either he’d like to keep them claim free or he already has so many claims that he’s afraid of getting dropped. Either way, not my problem, but I understand that accidents happen and I was willing to be flexible. The damage didn’t make my car undriveable or completely embarrassing to drive around in, and I was in a hurry to get on the road and get out of town so I just didn’t feel like dealing with it. You can sort of see it here, but I had just washed the car and the shiny makes it harder to see.

After the long weekend, I went out and got a quote for the damages. And this is where I realized that if you’re completely honest with auto-body people about it being a collision and someone else paying for it, they will jack up the price to the tune of about $500. I’ve never been a fan of insurance companies and think most of them, especially healthcare related ones, are slime, but I didn’t like this feeling at all either. The quote was about $1200. Probably the equivalent of my trade-in value on the entire car. I called the guy that hit me – we’ll call him John. Because that’s his name. – And said that I didn’t think it was a totally fair estimate so I would be getting another quote. He offered to also get a quote from some guy he knew in a town about an hour away from me and offered to get my work done there but after thinking about it, that would be a HUGE inconvenience for me so I eventually declined. I sent him photos of the damage though, for posterity. He never got back to me with a quote from “his guy” anyway so it didn’t matter. I took a little over a month before I finally got around to getting that second quote, although I had to lie to the guy and tell him that no, it wasn’t a collision and that I’d be paying for it out of my own pocket. The estimate? $708. MUCH more reasonable, but I wasn’t sure if ‘ol John would want to pay it or have me turn it into insurance. I called and sent emails starting around Aug. 15. No response. A couple of weeks passed but I had already said I wasn’t in a huge hurry – mostly because I was still debating if I wanted to pocket the money or actually use it to get it fixed – so I cut him some slack. Finally he responded and said that he would pay for it. A couple more weeks passed and I contacted him to say I need him to cut me a check or I’m turning it into his insurance. I gave him a deadline of Oct. 1. On Sept. 30 he calls to ask my address (which I had provided multiple times before) and said he was writing a check now and putting it in the mail. Two weeks pass and still no check in the mail. I call to see if it got lost, if he forgot to mail it, or what. No response.  I email once more to say that if I don’t receive payment on Monday, Oct. 17, I’m turning it into insurance. He emails to say he can meet me somewhere to give me the check. I say 7pm at a local Applebee’s. He says no, because he has to go to a wake that night. How about lunch tomorrow? I say no because that’s again, an inconvenience for me to leave my office downtown and drive 20 minutes out of my way to where he works to go get a check that he owes me.  I say just overnight it via Fed Ex or UPS. Nothing. The next day he calls to say – get this – he’s sending HALF of the payment along with a form letter that I need to sign to say that I will not turn this into his insurance company. Once he gets that back, he’ll send me the other half.

Imagine, if you will, my head exploding. Because that’s what happened and I yelled – from my office – that absolutely not, I would not sign anything and if he doesn’t send me the FULL payment, then I’m going to his insurance. He got all defensive and said fine, go ahead, turn it in and I’ll just say I don’t remember. Then I reminded him of all the emails from him I have on file and the phone records of our communication. Explain THAT to your insurance company, asshole. And oh, by the way, when I turn it in, I’m turning in the FIRST estimate I received. That $1,200 one? Yeah, because the cheaper estimate was only if an insurance company wasn’t involved. The rate just went up, for wasting my time. That apparently broke the camel’s back because he said he would pay the full amount. But he didn’t say when. I emailed to reiterate that I would not accept half payment or sign any forms until full payment was received. Oh and it better be at my house by Friday.

I didn’t hear back and I had an eerie feeling about all of this so on Thursday, I called his insurance company to file a claim. And oh guess what? John had cancelled his policy. Fortunately, that’s not how insurance companies work and since he was covered on July 1, dear ol John was going to pay anyway. I felt justified in teaching this guy a lesson and showing him that you can’t run from me. I will get my money. Then I had visions of showing up at his house and busting his kneecaps with a baseball bat but I figured that might get me arrested so maybe I better not do that. In a twisted turn of events, I get a call from Dear John a couple of hours later asking if the house he was in front of was mine and that my check was in the mailbox. A little surprised and dumbfounded, I didn’t tell him I had just filed a claim. But the insurance company sure did around 6pm that night because I got a pretty irate phone call from ‘ol John. We argued back and forth as I defended my decision to contact the insurance company early. Who knew he’d actually do what he said for once? There was no name calling involved – at least not at that moment – but I’m pretty good with the condescending remarks, no matter how unappreciated they were by John. Meanwhile, he defended his reasons for changing his policy, since I had called him “shady” for doing that. (Hello, 1999! I still love you and your hip terminology!)

We finally agreed that once the check cleared (I was worried he’d stop payment) that I would cancel the claim and there would be no records filed against him. Well I’m happy to report that the check did clear the bank this week and John’s record is clean – for now. And I bet he’ll think twice before trying to pull one over on some foul-mouthed but trusting young lady next time. Because, as I said to him, do not mistake my kindness for stupidity. I will get what you owe me.

And I did.

Have a nice life, John. Look behind you when you back up and tie some flags to those boards. (I was hoping to hide a metaphor in there but I don’t see one. Oh well.)

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Best Neighbor EVER

We’re having our quasi-annual Halloween party this year and I’ve been busy – mostly mentally – prepping for it. Pinterest has been my “pinspiration” lately and just a few minutes ago, I whipped up these super easy witches hats. 

My hubby thought they were pretty clever and since I could hear about 6 children playing in my front yard, I made up a few more and walked them outside. At that point I was officially declared “best neighbor EVER!”

I’m sure their parents are thinking the same thing about anyone who get their kids all hyped up on chocolate on a Sunday night.

 

 

 

 

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Whining – Continued

It’ Sunday night and I am STILL battling this cold. And, just for good measure, a UTI was thrown in on top of it to make life even more interesting. Ah, the bliss that is my life at the moment…

Still, I didn’t let it completely ruin my weekend. The weather was gorgeous and I refused to spend two consecutive weekends holed up in the house feeling sorry for myself, even if I am quite good at it. Instead, we took a friend of ours and his 1 yr old son to Eckhert’s to pick pumpkins on Saturday. And by “pick pumpkins” I mean, “let the kid crawl and bang all over some pumpkins and then leave without buying any because they’re cheaper at Walmart.” Then we visited my grandparents for a night of card playing (girls won!), and harassed my 16 year old cousin and his friends as they got ready for their first homecoming dance. We stayed until the boys returned home and I have to admit I was quite shocked when my innocent little cousin walked in covered in glitter. (When asked why he looked like he’d been rubbing up on a stripper, he said, “We were grinding. Do you know what grinding is?” Yes, I do know what grinding is and I’d appreciate it if you kept such disturbing visual images to yourself, thankyouverymuch.) Not sure when it became trendy for 16 year old girls to emulate strippers and cover themselves in body glitter but I guess it just shows that I’ve been out of high school for quite some time now. Anyway…

Today I made some blueberry streusel muffins (Pinterest! Making people hungry since 2011!), helped the hubby bag up some leaves into cute pumpkin leaf bags (Look! More Halloween decorations!), and ran a few errands. I also broke a personal rule of mine by buying Halloween candy two weeks in advance, but only because I wanted to use the candy as decoration for our new faux fireplace mantle.

Those are little Halloween pails filled with candy. That’s also the extent of my Halloween decorations to date, so I have lots to do before our party in two weeks. And, I think we’ve come to a final decision on our costume. Hopefully we can pull it off! And hopefully I don’t have to buy more candy before then. NOM NOM

 

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I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty tough gal, but as I get older, I’m realizing that I become a giant ball of mush whenever I get sick. Since last Thursday night, I’ve had some sort of bug that’s in between a cold and a flu. It’s pretty much just a cold, but with me, no cold is ever “just a cold” as it always seems to develop into some sort of sinus infection, bronchitis, sinusitis, etc. requiring a trip to the doctor and 10 days of antibiotics. And as per protocol, I went to the doc on Monday to get my bi-annual dose of meds. Later that night, I had to attend a cocktail reception for work followed by two full days of management training classes at a nearby university with me and about 50 other colleagues from across the country. It was actually an enjoyable time getting to meet a bunch of people about my age that work for the same company, even though we don’t all do the same things.

Except….

I now fear that the proverbial finger will be pointed in my direction when any of those 50 people start to feel a little under the weather. Because, you see, it’s not like I spent the last two days quietly dabbing my nose or clearing my throat in a corner. Oh no. I was “that girl” that had to get up every 20 minutes to blow her nose in the hallway. I was the girl that wasn’t drinking because I was on antibiotics. I was the girl that broke into not one, but two separate coughing fits and had to excuse myself from the table – in the middle of my own story. My sickness was obvious to everyone, and I do mean everyone. Case in point: Lunch and dinner were served by the same wait staff, so when I showed up for dinner, one of the waiters actually stopped to ask me if I had been feeling any better since lunch. He was not even my waiter. So yeah, I was visibly ill. But, in my defense, I made sure to use hand sanitizer after every tissue destroying activity. So, there’s that. You’re welcome, colleagues!

Now, who would like to bring me some chicken soup? And more hand sanitizer?

 

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Goodbye, Steve Jobs

The world lost a true visionary yesterday. The news has been everywhere. My entire Twitter stream was flooded with adoration, my Facebook feed filled with surprise and sadness, the morning radio playing clips from old speeches, the news channels busting into baseball playoff games to make an important announcement.  All filled with respect and a sense of loss.

But then, I saw a few comments that made me irritated. One person posted “RIP for the children that died of famine in Africa.” Another person posted about how no other cancer victims that die today, tomorrow, the next day, will be talked about on Facebook and how sad that is. And while I get the point – one life is no more or less valuable than any other life – I still find the comments to be in bad taste because they don’t get the point everyone else is trying to express: That this man was extraordinary. It’s not about this death. Dying is not extraordinary. It’s about the life he lived, and the realization that it is over.

Steve Jobs changed the way we use technology, the way we listen to music, the way we watch movies (nod to Pixar), the way we communicate with each other, and the way we operate business. His inventions have touched the lives of so many people around the world, either directly or indirectly. He followed his dreams and he created things that people didn’t even know they wanted – yet once we saw it, we instantly needed it. It’s like my husband said, he’s our modern day Thomas Edison.

More than that though, he’s the embodiment of inspiration. When I think of Steve Jobs, I think of a man that created a technology empire. Apple fans are very adamant about their products and it’s almost like a cult following. He’s admired by CEOs around the world – even his competitors.

I read a blog post today by a woman with a son that’s in kindergarten. Her son has adored Steve Jobs for a long time. She even refers to Jobs as “Apple’s Dumbledore.” For all intents and purposes, Steve Jobs is this boy’s hero. Imagine her heartbreak at having to tell yesterday’s news to her son. I nearly cried reading it. I read another post, about her son learning of Jobs’ resignation as CEO and there was a line in there that explained it perfectly. Why it’s not only okay, but imperative that we recognize, respect, and honor a great life:

“Because without dreamers like him today, there would be no inspiration for the dreamers of tomorrow.”

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Mondays are tough, but here’s a short list of things making me happy at the moment:

1. Crisp but sunny morning

2. The smell of a fresh post of coffee (even if I’m weaning myself from caffeine)

3. Catching up on my DVR a little last night. I didn’t think it was possible, but The Big Bang Theory is actually getting funnier.

4. Comfortably wearing heels again. It seems as if the cortisone shot in my foot worked (for now) and I am pain free so far (knock on wood).

5. Now that my foot is healing, I can also start exercising again. I’ll have to start out slow with walking and light weights, but it’ll be nice to be active again.

6. Realizing I still have 10 vacation days left to use.

7. Planning a Halloween party. I want to do it up big and invite anyone and everyone, but the hubs wants something more low-key with just a few couples and no costumes. I think I can convince him to go bigger and better, but either way it should be a good time.

8. Refinancing. At the end of August, we refinanced the house, which means we’re saving more than $300 a month. On top of that, we were able to skip a mortgage payment for September and we’ll get cash back from our escrow fund. These are all good things considering we’re in the market for a new vehicle. Which leads me to…

9. Car shopping! Well, technically, SUV shopping. Hubby’s SUV is still a fine car, but it’s a 2004 with about 150K miles on it. The paint is wearing, it’s got a ton of little nicks and dents from highway debris, the interior is old and stained or beat up, and I absolutely hate driving it. I feel like the steering wheel shakes even though we’ve had it realigned, tires balanced, etc. And, it just feels top heavy to me. Like it could tip over easily if we had to swerve or something. I just don’t FEEL safe in it, not compared to newer vehicles on the road. But, since it’s his vehicle and he’s fine driving it, our goal is to buy a new car right after Xmas. Hoping we can get a better deal that way. Right now we’re considering a 2011 Ford Edge or Ford Explorer, but we’ll test drive a bunch of others before we decide. I love the look of the GMC Acadias but unless we can find a reasonable price on a used one, they’re a bit out of our price range. We’ll see though. It’s fun to look when you’re not in a huge rush. We’ll probably keep my little sedan for awhile even though it’s a 2005 with 114K on it. I’ve kept up on the maintenance and it runs fine, though I do need to get about $700 worth of work done to it before the end of the year. Maybe I can talk the hubs into letting me have the new SUV while he takes my car.

10. Fall organizing. I have big plans this week to clean out my closets and change out my summer/winter clothes.  I’m also still working on a mini-basement makeover. My basement is just a small, unfinished storage, work bench, and laundry area so I’ve tackled the laundry part to make it a bit more enjoyable while I’m doing the never-ending chore. We’ve painted shelving and installed a rod for hanging clothes fresh out of the dryer. Soon I’ll put in new light fixtures, hang some curtains and artwork, add a radio or iPod speakers, and create a spot for ironing.  I spend so much time in the basement doing laundry that I might as well make it enjoyable. Photos of the makeover coming soon! (And by soon, I mean soon after I finish it, which could be next week or next month.)

What’s on your Happy Monday list?

 

 

 

 

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