Friday, September 9, 2011
The Event: You Can't Make This Stuff Up
So here's where we are:
Our adjuster went out of town last week (scheduled vacation, and, in his defense, he did warn us and ask if there was anything he could do for us before he left).
THE DAY AFTER he departed on vacay, we found a house, right around the corner from ours, that would be perfect for our needs.
We tried to get the relocation company to step in and help us secure the house, but we were told (not for the first time) that we were not cleared for "long-term housing," so they couldn't do anything on our behalf.
On Wednesday of last week, I faxed a letter to our adjuster's boss, asking her to intercede on our behalf.
We heard crickets from the direction of Head Honcho Adjuster. No response to my letter or to multiple voicemails from Spouse and from me.
On Thursday, Spouse called through the main directory at USAA (because, we discovered, if you push the button in Head Honcho Adjuster's voicemail that is supposed to connect you to another adjuster in her absence, you get put into our local adjuster's box - you know, the guy who WE ALREADY KNOW IS OUT OF TOWN). He was connected to a live human being at the same pay grade as Head Honcho Adjuster, who authorized us to lease the house for three months (an accommodation, since current estimate is that restoration work will take a maximum of two) at a premium over the advertised rent rate.
The premium was not enough to entice the landlord to rent us the house for three months - he wanted another half of a month's rent out of us.
We beat our respective heads against the wall, and then attempted to enjoy our Labor Day weekend, thinking that certainly we would hear something from someone in Adjuster Land early on Tuesday. (I'll spare the details, but suffice it to say that the tale of woe that I faithfully recounted in my letter should have been attention-getting.)
WEDNESDAY MORNING, the local adjuster left Spouse a voice mail: he understood that we had found a house, and YAY FOR US, because we were forcing him into a position of having to send us a reservation of rights letter (disclaiming responsibility for certain theoretical spin-off damage that could result from the moisture under our home), on account of our delay in moving out in a timely manner.
Spouse went totally ballistic over the suggestion that our failure to vacate was, in any way shape or form, "our delay." I would have tried to rein him in, but I was busy going totally ballistic my own self.
In crude colloquial terms, Spouse tore the local adjuster a new one. Local Adjuster, FINALLY, authorized us to speak with someone in long-term housing - but then asked if we wouldn't mind calling them directly, and, oh, by the way, we should still continue to keep doing a relocation company's job by searching for properties on our own.
During the aforementioned orifice-creating phone call, Local Adjuster let it slip that he was aware of my letter. Meaning that Head Honcho Adjuster received my letter and did not bother to respond to me directly. For the record, my first letter was fairly gosh-darned polite. My second letter (which I composed after learning of Head Honcho Adjuster's DEPLORABLE LACK OF COMMON COURTESY) was less so. I have not sent letter #2, because it keeps getting revised as things continue to go from sort-of-ridiculous to "are you freakin' kidding me"? But if and when I send it, I'm planning on sending it rubber-banded to a copy of Emily Post.
Long-Term Housing was a much-needed breath of fresh air, informing us that we were entitled to at least three bedrooms (four if such a property could be located) and asking if we required a fenced-in backyard for the dogs. SUCH a refreshing change of pace from "but we ARE accommodating your kids - didn't you hear us when we said that there's a SOFA BED in the efficiency?" Within 48 hours, we had a deposit down on a decent enough second-floor three-bedroom apartment (across the street from our "new married" apartment complex, ironically enough), and Long-Term Housing had gotten a waiver from apartment management that would permit us to keep all five pets on the premises. Long-Term Housing also suggested that it lease furniture for us (not my choice - I have some fairly specific furniture tastes - but in the spirit of MOVING THINGS FORWARD, and also in the interest of protecting several glass-fronted antique pieces that I could see reversing down a staircase, I grumbled a bit to my spouse, and then did the mental equivalent of lying back and thinking of England).
I spent the better part of the day packing. Yes, I realize that the moving company will pack for us, but in the interest of streamlining the process and MOVING THINGS FORWARD I have attempted to separate out That Which We Will Take With and That Which Will Go to Storage. By mid-afternoon, I had made a good dent, Spouse had departed to put down a deposit on the apartment, and I had high hopes that I would have keys in hand by bedtime and could start driving over storage totes filled with shower curtains and baking pans in the morning (idea being to stock the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, etc., prior to having the movers bring over the rest of the stuff, take the storage totes back to our place and reload - so green of me, if you ignore the carbon emissions from repetitively driving the five miles between Points A and B).
Spouse returned and informed me that, notwithstanding that we personally paid the deposit on the apartment, USAA WILL NOT AUTHORIZE US TO HAVE THE KEYS UNTIL THE FURNITURE THAT THEY ARE INSISTING ON LEASING FOR US IS DELIVERED. Which could be Monday, but more likely will be Tuesday or Wednesday. Meaning that: (1) I will continue to fill boxes over the next two days, because it's the weekend and I have to use my non-working hours wisely, and ultimately the stacks of boxes will extend to touch the ceiling, BECAUSE I AM NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE THEM ANYWHERE FOR SEVERAL MORE DAYS, AND I AM RUNNING OUT OF PLACES TO PUT THEM; and (2) I will have to take another workday off to actually move into the apartment, BECAUSE I AM NOT ALLOWED TO MOVE SO MUCH AS A FLIPPIN' BATH TOWEL UNTIL A HOME STAGING COMPANY OUT OF DALLAS DELIVERS A BUNCH OF UGLY CORPORATE APARTMENT FURNITURE THAT I DON'T EVEN WANT.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Spouse and I have agreed that we probably ought to pack all of the family photos on our own and store them at his mom's house or some other "safe" location. Damn, we have a lot of family photos. I am going to run out of boxes before the weekend is out. Oh, forgot to mention the boxes: I ran through the thirty that the moving company originally brought us, in very short order. (A lot of them went to resale, with the blessing of the moving company - as the rep put it, "You are entitled to boxes for everything that you own. Whether all of those boxes go into storage or some go to Goodwill is up to you.") Spouse called and requested more, and when he did not hear back he borrowed the ranch truck and drove to Arlington to retrieve 'em. At which point the guy on duty looked at him very suspiciously like, quite possibly, Spouse might be working a scam and attempting to steal boxes to which he was not, actually, factually, entitled. Spouse had to work to convince him that, NO, REALLY, YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO MOVE US AT SOME INDEFINITE POINT IN THE FUTURE WHEN OUR INSURANCE COMPANY GETS OFF OF ITS DEAD BEHIND, AND IN THE INTERIM MY WIFE IS DOING YOUR JOB FOR YOU AND BOXING EVERYTHING THAT DOESN'T MOVE.
"Everything that doesn't move" now includes a bunch of breakable items that Spouse has deemed irreplaceable. I have ten boxes left out of the second haul of thirty. They won't last long. Spouse is now en route to Super Target to buy the few storage tubs (they're turquoise and on clearance!) that I left on the shelves at lunch today.