|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Jun. 25, 2004 - 6:06 p.m.
Covering My Ass
NewWifey(tm) really fucked up this time. I mean, really really fucked up. Big Time.
I came home from work last Monday all a-tingle to write a hilarious new episode of Dangerspouse, having had hilarious new experiences the previous Sunday. I sat down at my rickety computer desk, dialed up the 33k modem (woo hoo!) and actually banged out close to 3 paragraphs when I was interrupted by a knock at the door. It was the mailman with a Certified Letter addressed to me that I needed to sign for.
Oooh, a Certified Letter! To me! I felt like such an adult. Normally, unless my dad was sending his annual "Sorry I Missed Your Birthday" card, all letters to me are addressed "Occupant". I tore the side open with one swipe and out popped a single sheet of official looking parchment. At the very top of the page, in heavy typeface, underlined, and without any preliminary salutation, was:
"NOTICE OF TERMINATION DUE TO FAILURE TO COMPLY"
Um, what? I was being...terminated? But I still hadn't nailed Claudia Schiffer!
After that momentary panic, I regained my composure and continued reading.
"Dear Mr. Spouse, due to your failure to comply with our request for information, be aware that we have terminated yours and NewWifey(tm)'s Auto and Homeowner's Insurance policies effective June 10, 2004, and will not be renewing said insurance in your name any time in the future. Nyah nyah. Thank you. Sincerely,...."
Hmmmm. This was bad. Actually, this was worse than bad - this was potentially life threatening.
New Jersey law states that if you are caught driving a motor vehicle without insurance, the vehicle is towed and impounded. The driver has numerous penalty points tacked on to his license, several thousand dollars in penalties are assessed, and he often spends the night in prison with a black hood over his head, handcuffed to a railing (thanks, Patriot Act).
And we had been driving without valid insurance for TEN DAYS before being notified! They would have fitted me for a studded collar and shipped me right to Lindsy England if I'd been pulled over. I immediately started to reign in the Mighty WRX and adhered to every posted speed limit, even at 2am on my way to work with no one else on the road. That was one of the hardest things about this whole ordeal.
And of course - no Homeowner's Insurance. Not a felony, like the Auto lapse, but definitely scary. Considering the likelihood of 1. Bear Attack or 2. Dangerspouse Causes an Explosion (more likely), this cancellation was just as potentially disasterous.
Why did Mammoth Insurance Company, with whom I'd had a policy since leaving home in 1989, decline to accept the insanely inflated premiums I'd been mailing them four times a year? What was this form that I'd neglected to fill out and mail back in a timely manner?
I have no idea.
I lost it.
But to reiterate my first sentence: It was NewWifey(tm) who fucked up.
You see, she trusted me to fill it out and mail it.
Ever since NewWifey(tm) got her promotion she's been putting in 12 - 14 hour days at the office. What this means - aside from me abusing my Real Doll more in the past five weeks than I've done all year - is that some of the necessary mundane chores that NewWifey(tm) normally clicked off with clockwork ease has fallen to me.
And that's not good.
Ok, actually, it's not all bad. Things like "bringing in the mail" and "carrying the garbage from the garage to the curb on Mondays" were mastered in only a few days.
But last month she announced: "Danger, you're gonna have to start opening some of those envelopes. If it's a bill, pay it. If it's not, see if it needs attention anyway. Use your judgement as to whether you need to bother me at work with any questions."
HAH! There - did you catch that? "Use your judgement...."!
SHE FUCKED UP!
Listen, this woman has some kind of business degree or something. I know it involves numbers and money somehow. My own studies mainly centered around training pigeons to peck at different colored lights, then killing and eating them when the experiment was over. If there were courses offered that had actual Real World applications, I didn't take them. As a result, within two years of leaving college my credit was so bad that stores wouldn't even take my cash any more. One of the reasons I married her was because I got tired of recieving dunning notices from anyone who'd ever even said "hello" to me. Otherwise, I just would have bought a sheep. For the most part, the plan worked. During the past 3 years my bills have been paid on time and my credit rating has rebounded accordingly. I've been a happy slacker.
However, with this new job responsibility thing of hers, she decided to trust me - ME! - with the family finances. And other official shit. Like Insurance Company questionnaires.
I have to say, I haven't missed any bills. (So far. But it's been less than a month.) Unfortunately, that "use your judgement" clause really was ill advised.
If you've ever seen the cartoon "Fairly Oddparents", then you know me. I *am* Cosmo. A little taller maybe, a deeper voice, and only mortal powers. But otherwise...Cosmo. I even wear a little crowny thing when I'm not at work. (If you don't watch cartoons, friends have compared our union to "King of Queens"; hot, with-it babe shackled by marriage to a lumbering train wreck of a little-boy husband.)
Now imagine that Wanda has turned control of Fairy World over to Cosmo. That's pretty much what it's been like since NewWifey(tm) turned me loose at the helm of the SS DangerHouse.
I'm sure I saw the form requesting information - I did open all letters we recieved. But since I tend to open letters during commercial breaks while watching cartoons, I rarely actually READ the contents inside. I just open the envelopes, which was all that was specified. I think.
Needless to say then, the form probably got a cursory glance - if that - before being crumpled and slam-dunked into my Powerpuff Girls wastebasket.
See? I told you. NewWifey(tm)'s fault.
All kidding aside, this set off alarm bells and Def-Con 4 conditions at DangerHouse. From Monday to just a few hours ago, I spent every waking hour away from work calling insurance companies, driving to insurance companies, praying for the demise of insurance companies, and just basically being all consumed in my quest to cover my ass. And NewWifey(tm)'s. But NO ONE wanted to insure us. It seems that if you let a policy lapse, even for a few hours, you're considered a terrorist risk. And not one company I spoke with had any interest in dealing with such a reprobate. I'm telling you the truth, I really haven't done much other than work and chase down insurance agents all week. I would come home and look at the two paragraphs I'd written on Monday and just go, "Bleh. Not tonight...."
Finally, finally, perseverance paid off...but not mine. My insurance broker, who was furious that the company had initially sent the form to me without notifying her, and then cancelled my policies without again informing her, managed to lob an impressive series of threats to the flunky she deals with there until he finally caved. Since she gets paid on commission, and I pay my premiums on time, it was taking money out of HER pocket, too. Nothing like greed as a motivator.
I am covered as of 2 o'clock this afternoon.
Unfortunately, I have to pay a hefty "lapsed coverage re-start fee" or something like that. And I do mean hefty. But at least I can start using my right foot again while driving the Mighty WRX. And we're covered if something goes disasterously wrong with the Compressed Natural Gas Beer Bottle Opener I'm developing in the kitchen.
But I don't think it will. I'm pretty good at having my plans all proceed smoothly. Still, it's nice to know we'll be covered...if.
Ok, gotta go check the mail. Hate to have NewWifey(tm) think I was remiss in my duties!
(Oh yeah, my friend her-story recently did a funny entry about OTHER reasons to hate New Jersey besides the insane insurance regulations. No matter where you're reading this from - Falooja, prison, Chernobyl, on board the Kursk - be glad you're there and not in the Garden State.)
Oh my god!! Did you see THIS?!
I can't believe it! I'm telling you, this is the start of a mass uprising. First me, then that English terror, now this.
When will we wake up and do something?! BRING BACK DDT!!
Actually, do you know what bothers me most about the first story? The fact that the link is to my own goddam radio station - the one that refused to cover MY being attacked! I guess I should have died if I wanted any notoriety, huh?
Speaking of notoriety........
I have been on the air 6 days a week, with only one week off to recover from my own encounter with those winged beasts, for the last 6 months, and I never once came across this story that apparently happened this past March. I didn't see it on the wires, nor in any faxed show-prep services we subscribe to, nor newspapers, satellite services, TV - nuthin'. Just on the web. How did something like this get buried?
I know politics makes strange bedfellows, but this takes the cake. Or Moon Pie.