Friday, July 22, 2011

What a grand day!

Some people wake up to Ed McMahon knocking about their door, or a winning lottery ticket while loving up their morning coffee, or experience the sensation of rain on their tongue while the sun shines down upon their head.   In general, I don't really have much to complain about;  Ed McMahon passed many years ago, I don't play the lottery, and seldom in Alaska does the sun shine whilst it rains.

When I woke the other day it was to Maryann waking my extremely burned out butt at 9:15AM....a announce she made a special breakfast for me that would beat even breakfast at the Uptown Motel....not real hard to do...but it sounded great!  So great that I jumped out of bed, technically still asleep, and limped my tired half slept ass to the table.  Yup.  It was definitely worth it and tasted  divine!   And it is a good thing that I started the first 10 minutes of my day with a good, wholesome and rounded breakfast, because even a bowl of Wheaties could never prepare me for what was about to come next.

The Sockeye salmon run hit last week and has been a boom!  I have managed to get my daily limit within a couple hours of wading into the river a couple of different days now and am hoping to make a go of it again this weekend before they all come in and move up the river.  Fish & Game raised the limit to 6 per person per day since the run is so heavy.  This is always gratifying because it helps to ensure our freezer will be stocked for the winter.  With Silvers set to begin their run next month, there is still plenty of time to get some fishing in on the river this summer.

I have an unspoken rule that I never open mail after 5:00 PM AKST/1:00PM EST or on weekends, simply because I will have no way to make a rebuking phone call to whomever any given sender is that I may have issue with.  Coming home after 10:30PM the other night, Maryann, upon her own accord, opened a weeks worth of mail and one of the letters she opened turned out to be a bill from the IRS.  If that wasn't enough, the curious lot that she is or gluten for punishment from my current perspective, she opened the second letter from the IRS which was but a second bill!  Since there was nobody available to hear my rebuke, I immediately emailed our tax accountant to inquire how to deal with this obvious huge mistake on the part of the govt. 

The following morning during my awesome breakfast, the return email confirmed what we had filed, and that since we did file jointly, we could ignore one of the bills.  This was reassuring considering the whole thing was an obvious huge mistake on their part anyways.  The last thing the tax man offered in his email was, "did you pay your 2010 taxes?"  of course I did!  We always pay our taxes.  Not always happy about it but nonetheless we do!  I have been on time with my quarterlies for 2011....this is obviously some kind of plot to screw Americans, seeded by Osama....ehr, ahhh....yeah...that guy in the oblong  HIM.  Nothing could help to buffer the utter shock that came next as I suddenly realized that, "oh shit!!  I never sent the damned check!!!"  Apparently, our spring vacation was more relaxing than I thought it could be, as upon our return, I never mailed the tax check by April 15th.  Let me clarify that....I mailed the first 2011 quarterly, not the 2010 tax check.  To compound this, we failed to meet the July 14th deadline to avoid further interest and penalties, that would be on top of the already compounded interest and penalties.  This due in part that we didn't pick up the mail in a week.  But, keep in mind, even if we had picked up the mail a week ago, we still would have failed to meet the July 14th deadline, because it didn't get put in our box until after the 14th!  Another inept move from the Postal Service, or the IRS....which to me along with DMV are all one in the same.  You figure out the conclusion!

Minutes later after this astonishing realization came the phone call from the auto repair shop.  It seems he was able to put my truck on the scanner and found the problem I was having the day before.

For the past week my truck has been acting up with weirdness. On this particular day which I am about to describe to you, I would finally give in and call the repair shop, describing my symptoms and setting up an appointment for sometime next week when he had time to put it on the scanner.  Apparently, much like the dog or kid who doesn't like going to the doctor, my truck overheard this conversation and began to seriously object.  After the call as I drove down the highway into town, it began to emit some black smoke and each time would seem like it was intermittently accelerating.  I became a little concerned.  Enough so that I figured I should probably pull over when I get into town and pop the hood just in case something had become loose.  As I drove through Soldotna, it became a little worse, and I focused on pulling into the hardware stores parking lot.  As I sat in the left turn lane, I looked in my rearview mirror to see an onslaught of CES emergency vehicles rapidly approaching me, lights flashing, sirens blaring and horns a screaming!  With no warning, my truck began to come to life as the engine would rev and instantaneously lunge at each rev, dumping black smoke.  Next thing I know the guy in front of me is frustratedly throwing his hands in the air because he can't go anywhere, thinking that I am trying to push him out of the way for the CES vehicles coming at us with sheer determination, while my foot is burying the brake pedal through the floor board as my demonically possessed truck continues it's self appointed tirade!  After the emergency vehicles had passed on the curb of the island and in the oncoming lanes, and the guy in front of me got the hell out of my way with an obvious pissy attitude to what I, in his mind, I had been doing to him, I immediately pulled into the parking lot, opened the door...dove out and rolled!  Short of running for cover, I was completely dumbfounded, a sentiment that the guy at the repair shop echoed as he listened to my story on the phone.  "Whewy....hell of a ride!"

The next day, his prognosis would reveal that the fuel module is apparently bad.  Bad news is this is typically a $2000 part.  Good news is that it has happened before and the previous owner of the truck put in an aftermarket part that was modified to help prevent complete failure of the module.   Hmmmm.  Do you think it worked?  The bottom line is $1000 out the door, coupled with a four digit tax bill.....we are screwed right now!

So, one to always believe that there is a silver lining to every black cloud, I open an envelope later on, still in the same day as the rest of the friggin circus, from Allstate and find a check for $275.00!  Joy!!!  It appears that our luck is beginning to turn.  But then it hits me....we have our insurance premium taken out in escrow every month.  Why is Allstate mailing us a check??  So, I call Allstate to find out the answer.  The answer I was given made no sense at all and further confused me.  However, an interesting point was discovered during this conversation.  You see, the $275 came from a reduction in our premium a couple of months back, after I was advised by our insurance agent....'After I was advised by our insurance agent'.  I'm sorry, did I mention that we were advised by 'our insurance agent' that if we were to lower the coverage on personal property in the policy that we could save substantially to offset the unprovoked and unexplainable premium increase we received in June.  So, we took his advice and re-assessed all of our personal possessions, all the way down to underwear.  Thus the savings refunded in the amount of $275.  Herein lies the problem, the agent I spoke with yesterday, after confusing me even more with her explanation of why Allstate sent a check for money they don't technically collect in the first place, she proceeds to tell me that in reducing our coverage for personal property to a new tier, we actually lost the 20% additional dwelling coverage that came with the over excessive cost of the personal property as well as losing a good portion of living expense coverage if we were ever put out of our home for any extent of time.  WTF!!??!!  And our "Insurance Agent' advised us to lower our personal property coverage in order to save money from being jacked in the first place?!  Did I say, WTF!!??!!  Oh, coincidentally, he no longer works for Allstate.....go figure!  So, I enveloped the SOB check and sent it back.  And, we are no longer $275 richer in leau of being thousands of dollars in the hole currently.

"Like sands in an hourglass, so are the days of our lives"!  When life gives me lemons, I am seriously in no mood to make lemonade.  At least we will be having salmon for dinner instead of 'Beanie Wennies' for a while!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Fallen But Not Forgotten

William "TJ" River Emmanual IV

Army, Specialist
Based: Schweinfurt, Germany
1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: July 8, 2004
Samarra, Iraq
Gender: Male
Hometown: Stockton

Emanuel was killed when insurgents attacked a military headquarters with mortar rounds in the town of Samarra, north of Baghdad. The five soldiers killed were members of the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, based in Schweinfurt, Germany.

"Words will never express the loss.  Time will never replace the pain."
We love you and are proud of all you did in such a short life.