Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Break From Dormancy

It's been a pretty slow month here at I Am A Bug (which you've probably deduced for yourself from the number of posts in the last four weeks), but now that I am year older and the weather has finally stabilized into true summer, this feels like as good a time as any to say "hello" once again.

First and foremost, "Chuck"'s fate remains undetermined at this hour. There are three possible scenarios:

  1. He broke up and passed and I had no idea it happened.
  2. He didn't break up, but still passed and I had no idea it happened.
  3. He is still down there, living rent-free, and therefore owes it to me to get a job. I could use the help on the financial tip.
While we're on that angle, my current financial situation after last month's drama remains in a state of flux. A week after the "Chuck" incident, I was mailed a "Hi, can we help?" form letter that offered financial assistance and quoted me a fairly enormous figure (not including ambulance costs) that was coming my way. That figure was a third larger than the amount that sent me into a monetary tailspin when my car went to Hell in a handbasket last summer (said car has not been helping things lately, I might add), and I quickly contacted these people by phone and was summarily mailed a follow-up form to fill out and mail back at them.

This little rigamarole was completed three weeks ago, and I have yet to hear back on the status of that claim (which I suspect may be in doubt thanks to some money my Dad tucked away when I was a teenager that I've been paying taxes on for a years). In the meantime (say, a week later), the dreaded hospital bill arrived and to my considerable surprise was about ten times less than the whopper I'd been expecting and whose only itemization was in the vague form of "evaluation and management." With no apparent due date, or any clue of a larger total (or subsequent payments down the line), I've been sitting on this bill for a couple of weeks debating whether to metaphorically rustle the hornet's nest or not. I suspect at this point that the best option is to re-establish contact with the financial aid people and check on the status of my claim (does the following line that reads "Services billed to Medicaid Ohio" mean that everything is hunky dory?) and then proceed from there. Should be interesting no matter how that pans out.

I also just received the ambulance bill from the City Of Willowick. At $460, this was the most expensive two-mile ride of my lifetime (and one which I bitterly regret lemme tell you), and I have been advised to call the department from which this came and plead poverty and then see what happens, as the possibility exists that this rather amazing total is aimed squarely at an insurance company and not a lower-class retail worm like myself.

Aside that still-developing situation, life has been pretty blessedly routine (*knock on wood*), and hopefully stays that way for the next couple of months (it can't hurt to beg for small favors). Assuming that I manage to duck a financial haymaker (i.e., pay only a few hundred bucks and walk away), things should be on the upturn around here once again, and right about now that is all I can ask for. If not...well, we'll just cross that bridge when we come to it, eh?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Grand Night Out

The Jake and downtown Cleveland

With my recent visit from Chuck still fresh in my memory (and now having to find a way to scrabble my way out from underneath a medical bill even bigger than my car repair surprise from last summer), it was a welcome relief to have a carefree, breezy late spring evening off to take in a Tribe/White Sox game at beautiful Jacob's Field.

This event was actually an unplanned surprise: Sarah had lucked her way into a pair of tickets at work a couple of days earlier (the original ticketholder's friend could not make the game and he simply gave the tickets away) and with only a minor amount of scrabbling about, I was able to get Brian to cover the evening hours on short notice. I met Sarah outside of her place of work, and we caught the RTA to Tower City, and made it to the park a little ways into the first inning.

Yes, Cleveland won the game, but that was secondary to the whole experience of the evening. I had been to a couple of games at the Jake back in the '90s that I took in from the upper bleachers (kind of like looking down on the first base line from about three stories up), but these seats were located about 30 rows behind home plate and that completely changed the entire affair. Instead of watching the game, it feels like you are right in the middle of it, especially with killer foul balls zooming bullet-like through the air around you (note to self: next time, bring a mitt for self-defense/possible souvenir acquisition).

Foul balls aside, it's a far more immersive trip to be able to call balls and strikes from your line of sight than having to trust the scoreboard. Being seated at a low angle to the playing field also gives a lot more depth to home run hits (or pop-flys, which happen to look a lot like home run balls from the bleachers), and the view of the city around that mammoth scoreboard is a beaut, especially as the sun set and the lights came on.

field And skyline from section 154

(While we were closer than the above picture suggests, this was the closest approximation of our view that I could find from image-searching on Google.)

Of course, half the fun of the ballpark is the food, the smells, and the sounds (jeez, why so much Kiss on the ballpark PA?) and everything else that sounds so hopelessly cliched but is 100% true. While it was rather darkly amusing that the concessions stands overlapped each other in offered foods (yet the booth you were at always seemed to be lacking one item you just saw at the previous stand), the snacks were ragingly yummy. Having been on a largely water-and-salad diet lately, it was sinfully fun to indulge in a few hot dogs, a tall Pepsi, a hot pretzel, a bag of Cracker Jacks, and a deee-licious Stricklands ice cream waffle cone. As the game was winding down, we headed over to the team shop where I scored a couple of snazzy t-shirts, and scoped out a few other knick-knacks and doo-dads that just might tempt me the next time we head down there. Hopefully, it won't be another decade.

NP Kate Bush Aerial