Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lost My Marbles in the Flood

"Daddy my toys are swimming!!” proclaimed my daughter. This would have been a cute moment to remember had the toys been floating atop a swimming pool but not when afloat on four inches of water in the basement. Joining the toys for the synchronized swim were books, pictures, video, CDs, DVDs, and worst of all my new Ping golf clubs.

Of course, the basement was recently finished with newly placed wall to wall carpet. Now it’s just FINISHED. The carpet now has the same odor as my street during the great trash hauler strike back in July ‘04. The mold and mildew are the only two items in the basement that are still fully functional.

I made my way to the front curb hauling rain soaked books; “Looks like somebody got flooded” said Sam, the old retiree neighbor from up the street. They say age brings wisdom, if that’s true Sam must be about 1000 years old because he knows everything about anything. He is quick to offer his unsolicited opinion on a myriad of subjects ranging from lawn care to giving the wife multiple orgasms. “You got a flip it, dig in there, make sure it’s damp, and then flip it again” That was his suggestion about how to properly apply cedar mulch to the garden bed on the front lawn. Or was it his advice to giving the wife multiple orgasms? I don’t remember.

“I guess you didn’t buy the sump pump I recommended, you get what you pay for”, he continued. Isn’t there a bingo game somewhere missing a wise-cracking eighty-two year old know it all?

“I’m dry as a bone, not one drop of water” he added. “Yeah, but what about your basement” I quipped. My attempt at humor was lost on him. My pride tells me to chalk it up his lack of hearing.

He went on tell me about one of his many patented inventions. This time it was a spring loaded latch for a lock and dam system he invented in 1955. He said if it was used in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, the damage would have been minimized.

Sure, a fifty year old invention would have slowed one of the greatest natural catastrophes of our time? I think it was time for Sam’s nurse to up the dosage on the daily meds at this point.

“Gotta go Sam, I have a lot of work here” I said, hoping to end this painful exchange. “Alright, next time just listen to me kid, and you won’t find yourself in this mess” he said as he turned to walk away. As I was flipping the bird toward his back the old-timer spun back around with the reflexes of guy a quarter of his age.

“What you are you doing?”
he asked. “I have something in my eye” I answered like a coward. Hey, he saw combat in WWII. I only saw combat on PS2. The visual of Bob Barker whipping Adam Sandler’s ass in Happy Gilmore suddenly flashed in my mind.

As fate would have it, I have a $1,000 deductible on my home owner’s policy and by last count about $900 worth of water damage to my belongings. It’s time to rally the troops and throw older valuables in need of upgrade into the basement. I could use a new 45” LCD TV to replace that 10 year-old RCA we inherited from my wife’s Grandma; who died last year, ironically in front of that TV.

She had heart problems and emphysema. She was hooked up to constant oxygen 24/7. She happened to misplace the remote control on the day she died. She had to get out of her chair to change channels, while do so, she pulled the hose from her tank and couldn’t breathe. The paramedics found her on her back with an extended arm reach toward the television. It was Sunday night when she died, no doubt she was trying to find The Sopranos on HBO, it was her favorite show. Every time we watch that TV we think of her, especially when we can’t find the remote.

After multiple trips throughout the house, the basement resembled an eBay warehouse, I threw everything that insurance money could upgrade into the basement. That old Toshiba laptop running Windows98 could use a bath, bring it down to the basement!! Let’s make that Sony PS2 float, it’s time to upgrade to the Nintendo Wii.. This cell phone blows, I want a Blackberry...

But Karma is a bitch, and I guess you could say I got bitch slapped. The claims adjuster from the insurance company smelled something fishy from the start. I didn’t throw any fish in the basement (if I had any I would have).

My mother used to say “What a tangled web we weave when we try to deceive”. Mom is big on cliches. I wish I remembered this nugget of wisdom before I hastily trashed most of our stuff.

To her credit, my wife didn’t want any part of my scam from the beginning. So when the adjuster asked her about the jewelry in the basement she just looked at me with a blank stare. It only got worse from there, not only did we not receive a payment from the insurance company, we were dropped altogether.

I guess the 45” LCD will have to wait.

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