Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Get Back to Living Your Life (Not!)

So I'm supposed to 'get back to living your life' - as the professionals who handle all these fire, insurance and renting things say - and I'm with the pets at a furnished, wall-to-wall carpeted townhouse with a lot of stairs because I said I have pets and no one will rent to me.  Finally someone said, we will for $$$$$.  I have the insurance coverage to fork over the $$$$$, and my dogs have been outside for 50 nights, and I've said 'yes' to every house that didn't have visible repairs made with duct tape and string.  Problem solved when the insurance company said OK.

No, problem temporarily solved.  30 days later, I'm living my life at work because that's where I think I should be Monday - Friday, and I get a call from my short-term company who collects the $$$$$.  The complex where the townhouse entered my unit and found pets.  I have to go.

Even though I did have a foster cat named Keyser Soze in the past, I'm not a criminal mastermind that can disappear after walking out of a police station with my SUV full of pets and their supplies, so I had a reality check with - I told you I have pets and other people in the complex have dogs (some also have 2) and other people have cats.

Not good enough, even though she admitted I had honestly rented and fully disclosed my pet head count when renting from them.  It's not them, it's the complex - and they hadn't thought they entered units 'at will'.  Yeah, I don't like this 'at will' thing either.  They didn't even lock the door when they left.  It was closed, but not locked.

Meanwhile, I can't repair and move home because the insurance company stubbornly thinks my house was a teardown with boarded up windows before the fire, so they're saying they're not paying to 'improve' the dwelling by replacing windows.  They also denied my request to winterize the house (drain the water from the pipes) because they don't think New Jersey ever has temperatures below freezing.  And if I do any work on the house they haven't pre-authorized, my fight for windows and drywall for where I used to have walls goes up in smoke.

It seems common sense to prevent pipes from freezing in an unheated house, but there's a lot of people from Sandy that either used their own savings, credit cards or an initial settlement amount,  and they started to get some work done because their houses were being taken over by mold.  Their insurance companies - home, flood and FEMA - then said any repair to their damaged house invalidated their outstanding claims.

After the lack of action on the part of the corporate, short-term housing experts last time, I started making calls on Day 3 of the Hunt for Somewhere to Live Part Deux.  Within an hour, I was speaking to a real estate agent who emailed me photos and showed me a house that evening.  I said 'yes' again, and since he already explained my situation to the homeowner he was ready with a lease.  I signed with the caveat that I need approvals from the insurance company because common sense seems alien to them, along with anyone giving a flying rat's ass that I will have nowhere to live again.

It's now Day 7 of the Search Part Deux - legally I'm now in a mess because the insurance company didn't give a 'yes' or 'no' within that 72 hour refusal period of the contract.  I'm antsy, and didn't settle for leaving voice mail so I kept picking up the phone and dialing.   What's the hold up?  Am I moving in 3 days or not?  Clock is ticking.  I need someplace to live.  If I can't live there, I want them finding me someplace because that's their profession not mine.  I know I'm a difficult case because my pets did survive the fire and I'm a cold-hearted bitch unwilling to cooperate and put them into a shelter (they have no clue about the definition of 'No Kill').  My pets are part of my family, and since I don't look for attractive pets they'll be euthanized if I go along with the professional advice on how to 'get back to living my life'.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

NaNoWriMo countdown

Back to writing - or at least in less than a month, I have to be ready to hit the keyboard hard for National Novel Writing Month.

What's that?  In November, a lot of people worldwide set a personal challenge to write a novel during the month.  For the math-minded among us, that's 50,000 words in 30 days, or average 1,667 words a day.

I can't let silly things like contractors losing keys to my house or the power cord to my printer distract me!  And this year should be a welcome change because I didn't have power in 2012 due to Sandy.  I wrote longhand by the light of candles and my hand-cranked flashlight (like Vanna has) while I sat in  the kitchen watching the stove while I heated the house with steam to keep me and my pets toasty.  Then I scrambled Thanksgiving weekend to type it all up so I'd have word count to stick in the validation tool.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Temp housing accomplished

Let me start off with the positives -

1. No person or animal was hurt or worse during the fire.
2. They are all still relatively well.
3. There is one company that will short-term rent to my family of one full-time adult, one part-time adult student, two dogs, and some cats (number varies due to foster adoptions)

After I consider all that, I suppose everything that follows is just aggravation.

One dog has to be retrained because he doesn't respect the gate after 50 nights of living outside.  I've had to crate him when I'm not present. He's good in the kitchen if I'm on the first floor with them.  I've restricted their 'hang with me' time because it seems to confuse the dog being crated.

I also have a third company that I'm not pleased with.  Since they have the contents of my house hostage right now, I'm grumbling about their shortfalls.  They were supposed to clean and pack a pile of items I made to take to the temp house.   A big pile of boxes formed while they worked, and I waited while wondering if I needed so much stuff - it hadn't looked like that much when I put it together.  I had a subset already with me where I was sleeping.

When the housing was finalized, they had said they'd move the items in their van.  Then when the time came, they backed out of it.  Inconvenient, and since the billing goes directly to the insurance company instead of to me - was that charged?  And because this was a professional relationship, my disappointment was greater because I'm used to personal acquaintances saying 'no' when I call them after they grab my hands in theirs and insist 'call me if you need anything'.  For some reason, I take that literally and call them.  I know, I know - it's only a saying that doesn't really mean anything.

I moved the pile, then began unpacking.  Then I had to unpack it all quicker because the stuff I was looking for wasn't there.  It could be in storage with everything else.  It could have been thrown away or stolen.  I won't know for months because I do not have access to the items put in storage until it's delivered back to my house.

It's stupid things, but I need some of them.  Like my printer - it made it, along with the USB cable that was attached to it.  But the power cord was removed, and I searched through all the boxes looking for it.  And I don't like getting lip about it must be my mistake when I put it on the pile - uh no, I unplugged it with all related wires and wound them once around the closed printer.  This one folded up into a nice rectangular cube with nothing sticking out.  And although I have another Canon printer and a box of spare cables, they were all packed up.   Amazon was more than happy for my purchase of a printer power cord and other little things that happened to be omitted.

What was in the rest of those boxes?  Well, in the lightest box ever were all the instruction manuals to my appliances that I had in a kitchen drawer wrapped in paper plus a lot of air.  I know I didn't request them.  Someone guessed I'd like to read about my dishwasher features while I'm washing dishes by hand daydreaming about moving home.  

The same stupid asses packed up every stuffed animal from my daughter's room to send with me.  Do I look like I need them?  She doesn't because she went to college without them.   Those are going back with the other eight boxes I already have repacked to go back to my house (I'll stick them in the attic to get them out of the way).

And you know why I think they did this shit on purpose?  To further aggravate me, my full boxes of cat litter had a hole stabbed in the bottom.    Lots left in them since I buy the 40# boxes, but it looks like someone shoved a screwdriver into the middle of the bottom through the tape into the plastic liner bags.  One box is an accident, two, three, and four is not.

They also misplaced the key to my house.  There's a lockbox on the front door, and when the next contractor visited, it was empty.  I had to leave work to admit him. They answered my question of 'where's the key?' with an accusation that I must have taken it.