It pays to haggle: Time to renew my car insurance. My usual agent gives me a quote; 9000000 gives me a quote that is 20% less. Then bituach yashir gives us a quote that is cheap but with a massive deductible. Knowing that all things here are negotiable, we press a little. I point to my clear driving record and low mileage. They crunch numbers and come back with a better quote. It is about 30% less than my usual insurance guys. Unbelievable.
Travel gunk: The long flights catch up with me with more than jet lag, as I spend the day feeling sick. My computer is having sympathetic symptoms and refuses to boot. Oi!
My head hurts: We finish a two-hour meeting with our insurance agent. No, not the one responsible for giving us endless grief over the break-in, but the guy who handles my life insurance. While I’m not saying that all insurance agents are demon spawn, I can’t help but detect the slightest tang of sulfur in the air as we talk. (Then again, that may have been the tofu talking…)
Insurance and investment laws have undergone a massive change in the past few years, leaving us mere mortals confused and frustrated about an already-complex process. But by listening carefully and crunching a few numbers, I manage to establish the following:
- My retirement plan is: don’t retire. Ever. Alternately, Gill can win Lotto.
- No matter which medical policy carrier you go with, they will always find a way to exclude a claim. The fine print somehow proves that anything related to my body is a “pre-existing condition.”
- All assets look better in shekels.
- All deficits look better in dollars.
- Insurance salesmen eat their young.
At one point, The Dark One starts explaining options for in-home care. “For example, if you can’t dress yourself, can’t feed yourself, can’t move about on your own from room to room…” Hmmm, I think, pretty much like Nadine. Well, she can, but why should she bother when she has two idiot humans who are happy to shlepp her up and down the stairs and cater to her every whim? I snap back to attention in time to be regaled with further visions of impending doom.
Hay fever blues: This is the worst spring I can remember as far as allergy symptoms. After having managed to get my hay fever and other allergies under control for quite a few years, I am back to going through forests of tissue and squinting at the world through red, itchy eyes. Back in for more treatments…
Oh, no! My carefully planned trip to Zurich is already falling apart. The conference is in a small window of time between Yom haSho’ah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and Yom haZikaron (memorial day for our soldiers). We could leave after and get back before, if you will. My planning is based on a desk calendar that has all the holidays and is easier to read than my over-crowded scheduling software. Turns out that this calendar lists Yom haZikaron (and therefore Yom haAtzma’ut, our independence day) one day later than they really are. We’re screwed. And where did this calendar come from, you ask? My travel agent. Oh, the irony.
Miss Nadine gets poked: We take Nadine in for a scheduled worm shot. There is a wait at the vet’s, so we get to sit and talk to a nice guy with his big, goofy puppy. We talk about the love of animals and the grief we endure when they die. A couple comes in, deeply distressed, and the vet takes them aside and gives them a box—clearly the body of a beloved cat or small dog. Our vet is a gentle, compassionate man, and he dealt with Rudy’s death (our gingy cat who died about seven years ago) with dignity and kindness. I find myself tearing up just watching the couple leave with their mournful little burden. But soon it is Nadine’s turn for a shot and quick checkup. She endures the usual poking and prodding, has some tissue extracted from a lump on her leg, and is told that she is maleh’ah (full-figured). (Our vet is too polite to come right out and call her fat.) She moans and tries to crawl inside my jacket. Safely home again, she gobbles her tuna and retires to the linen closet for a long shluff.
Coughing up the cash: After two months and dozens of calls, faxes, arguments, forms, hoop-jumping, and red-tape untangling, we receive some money from the insurance company. It is well under half of what we lost, but we have basically been worn down. As soon as possible, we’ll change companies. I would love to hear recommendations (good and bad) from my local readers.
Covering the globe: After a week of having mysterious readers in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and China, things have gone back to my normal spots. I can guess why someone in Saudi Arabia might want to read a blog from Israel, but I suspect that my Chinese reader was attracted to the luscious pictures of Nadine. Remember, one man’s pet is another man’s lunch.
I’m baaaaack…..: My local computer guy (always ready to provide me with an emergency technology “fix”) whips up a generic box and after spending a day installing software, restoring backups, fixing connections, and tweaking, I’m about 1/3 of the way back to normal. Gill and I already have our ID cards and licenses, medical cards, and a few other critical bits and bobs, but it will take time to get everything sorted out.
There are several sad bits of fallout from the burglary:
- We are being forced to install some sort of security system. I refuse to live with bars on the windows, and I truly hate alarms, so this is going to be a challenge.
- I am now even further behind in my work, having lost a whole week to this nonsense.
- My students are now shamelessly lying about their test scores, as the grade sheet was a physical page in a binder, not online, backed-up data.
- We have been forced to cancel our dream vacation.
All in all, a real bummer. People keep saying, “Oh, well, at least it was only stuff,” and while I know that they are right, there also the loss of intangible things such as feeling safe in your own home.
We bring up the “d” word again, much to Nadine’s disgust. I would love a Pug…
…or maybe a Boston Terrier…
…or how about a little Chihuahua? Basically, anything that I can dress up in ridiculous outfits and tote around with me. All it has to do is bark during a break-in (which is more than Nadine did).
We’ve been robbed: Oh, how I wish that was the punchline of a joke, but it isn’t. Fairly audacious burglars broke in Saturday night (probably around 3:00) and stole a ton of stuff. My computer. My laptop. Gill’s laptop. His camera. Our bags (including wallets with credit cards, ID, drivers’ licenses, etc.). We’ve spent the past two days dealing with police, insurance adjusters, and endless red tape in replacing critical ID, etc. With no computers, we feel as helpless as babies stranded on a desert island. This does not bode well for 2007.
If you have put off doing a thorough backup for a while, don’t put it off any longer! You never know…