Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The End Of Drama: Floods, Bills, & The Stupidity Trifecta

A few weeks back, I wrote a post whining about how it felt like we were living on Waterworld, and lemme tell you, that was peanuts compared to the Biblical deluge of this past week.

Flooding a few miles from here

You may have heard that Mother Nature went ballistic on Northeast Ohio last Thursday, dumping 9" of rain over most of Lake County in about 24 hours, and flooding the living shit out of Painesville, Fairport Harbor, Eastlake, Mentor and Willowick.

Don't worry: we're untouched and, as it turns out, damned lucky: the worst we had to cope with (aside from the hellish driving conditions exacerbated by most major roads being shut down) was a wet stretch of carpet and linoleum from rain pushed underneath the door and into our little foyer. The folks on Bayridge Road (a few hundred feet away from here) weren't so lucky, however, as water piled up in their basements to a depth of 3 feet, resulting in a tons of ruined carpeting and furniture being piled up on treelawns up and down that street over the last couple of days.

Now that the waters have receded and getting around town is no longer a challenge in coming up with alternate routes on back roads, I can attend to more pressing matters in the form of my medical bill situation, which I am extremely pleased to report is now largely a non-issue, save for a few small issues to be picked over tomorrow. To my surprise, The City Of Willowick wrote off the $460 ambulance bill, which was a relief, but nowhere near as much as being able to tap into some money my Dad had squirrelled away in a mutual fund for me years ago, which will cover the balance of the remaining bills.

A hospital bed somewhere in middle AmericaAs expected, I apparently make too much money for the feds to write off the charges incurred by Chuck's visit. This is kinda sad, really: I earn well below what is popularly considered "the poverty line" and I can only imagine what unbearable financial one must live at for the State will absolve you of being in debt up to your eyeballs from medical expenses. However, I was also informed that the astronomical (and still non-itemized) figure I was mailed a few weeks ago has been cut in half as long as I can pay it off in one lump sum, which I will be taking care of as soon as my check arrives. Said check will cover the remaining amount, as well as the two other bills that are not covered by these financial help people (and it would have been nice to know this over a month ago so I might have started to pay them off by now). The only drawback to this good news is that I am going to feel some sting from this withdrawal come April 15 of next year, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

It wasn't all good news this past week in the money department, however: the cherry on the sundae of this life update is that I managed to snap my record 8-year streak of good traffic behavior in pretty spectacular fashion last Wednesday night (just as The Deluge From Hell was starting to get going). Realizing that I had forgotten some work that needed to be done, I headed back to the store at 2 AM to retrieve a new release order book that had to be taken care first thing Thursday morning. Upon leaving the store, I neglected to turn on my headlights (something I am always prone to do when the roads are wet) and was pulled over a few moments later on Route 306 thanks to that and the fact that I was speeding through a very popular downhill speed trap underneath a railroad bridge. You see, this section of Route 306 is a 25mph zone and I was clocked going 41. Oops.

Friends of the family for 16 yearsMaking matters worse, the policeman returned to my car after writing the ticket and asked me if I knew that my driver's license had expired. "That's incorrect, sir" I said, looking at the card in his hand with some irritation, "it doesn't expire until two thousand and...six..." Oops again. So, I was handed a ticket for 41 in a 25 and an expired license, and was pretty steamed at this development, but at the same time thankful that I was allowed to drive home instead having my car towed on the spot (which he was certainly in his right to do as I had just nailed The Stupidity Trifecta) and thus forcing me to get a ride in the middle of a downpour at 2 AM.

The license problem was taken care of the next morning, and (depending on the waivable price of the ticket) I will either pay that off sometime this week or decide to show up in court a couple of Wednesdays from now in an attempt to get the costs knocked down a bit. After that, all of this wonderful endless summer drama will at last be over. Here's to a peaceful August.

NP: The Go-Betweens 1978-1990