Also, the 3-handled family credenza* was ruined

So late last night I got a phone call from someone at FEMA, and he asked if my refrigerator was running, and when I said yes, he told me to go catch it.

Not really. But wouldn’t that have been great?

Actually, he said he was going to be in the area today, and could he come by the house and survey the damage? Why certainly, I replied. You bring your boots and I will supply the swamp! And so the date was set.

Lucky for me, it was pouring again today, and nothing puts that crazed gleam of desperation in my eyes like RAIN THAT WILL NOT END, EVER. When Mr. FEMA showed up with his associate, I licked them both all over and took them down to the basement.

Okay, so, in reality I immediately started babbling about how my insurance claim had been reopened, and maybe I didn’t actually need FEMA, not that there’s anything wrong with FEMA, but they probably have more important things to do, and I am probably going to get some money from the insurance company after all, which I didn’t know when I originally filed with FEMA. (I had tried to tell him this on the phone last night, but he’d insisted he may as well fill out his report either way.)

Mr. FEMA nodded and “hmm”ed and continued filling out his report and was a very pleasant and likeable man. So much so, in fact, that when I made a comment about him not really being what I’d expected of FEMA, he was quick to point out that he’s a contractor for them. Ha. Poor FEMA.

Anyway. Mr. FEMA and His Nameless Associate praised me for getting the basement emptied, doing my best to dry it (all of the fans and dehumidifiers are sitting around on bricks and other makeshift elevated surfaces), purchasing a new pump, etc. I couldn’t understand why they were so pleased with me. Turns out they’ve spent the week thus far visiting some of the harder-hit homes in a nearby town, where–according to them–many people haven’t done anything to start cleaning out the damage. Which… I don’t get. But okay. Yay me! I know enough to empty the moldy crap out of my house!

After surveying the basement for a bit, we headed back up to the kitchen. Mr. FEMA then asked me a series of questions about specific items which had been lost or damaged. When he asked me if there had been any televisions in the basement, I said no. Then I said, “Wait. I forgot about that giant plasma TV I had down there. Totally ruined! I can’t believe it!”

Mr. FEMA and HNA exchanged a look. “I’m joking,” I said, thinking that all the pleasantness was about to come to a screeching halt due to my chronic foot-in-mouth disease.

“Oh, I know,” said Mr. FEMA, “but we just had a woman yesterday who really tried to convince us of that. Claimed she’d just bought one for a gift and it had been down in the basement and got wrecked.”

“And she’d JUST thrown it in the dumpster the day before!” added HNA. They laughed.

“What… what did you tell her?” I was fascinated. People actually do that?

“I told her that I’d write it down, but if I were her, I would’ve taken a picture before I threw it away.” HNA snorted.

We finished up with the forms, and Mr. FEMA asked me for a signature.

“Okay,” I said, handing his pen back, “now what happens if my insurance comes through with the money? I mean, I don’t want to be taking money from FEMA if my insurance covers it.” The men exchanged another look. “I just want to get the expenses covered, you know? But I’m thinking it’s poor form to rip off the government, as a general rule.”

“Well…” Mr. FEMA was choosing his words carefully. “Theoretically, if you ended up getting money from both, you should return the FEMA money. But, um, things happen. And you pay a lot of a taxes here. Why don’t you just wait and see what you get?”

I can’t decide if he said that because he felt bad for me, with the water in the basement and the big dumpster out front, or because he knows in his heart of hearts that FEMA is never going to send me a dime. Time will tell.

In the meantime, today I searched roughly 37 different travel sites in a vain attempt to find affordable plane tickets for BlogHer. You know what? California is REALLY FAR AWAY. If someone was overcome with a powerful urge to give me some frequent flyer miles, that would be okay with me. Or maybe both my insurance and Federal Disaster claims will go through, and then I can buy a ticket and spend the entire conference telling people that I’m there because FEMA sent me.

*Once upon a time, someone who shall remain nameless (but who believes that all people should be completely smooth and plastic-y under their clothes like Barbie and Ken dolls) managed to take that snippet of Dr. Seuss song and turn it into something so inappropriate and porny and funny that I aspirated Diet Coke and still couldn’t stop laughing, even though I could no longer breathe. I was able to refrain from sharing this information with the FEMA guys, but now I’m telling YOU.

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20 Responses to “Also, the 3-handled family credenza* was ruined”

  1. 1
    Susan June 8, 2006 at 12:21 am #

    So we don’t get to hear the song, huh?

    Bummer.

  2. 2
    Mamacita June 8, 2006 at 12:24 am #

    BlogHer is ineed VERY far away. I am really, really hoping that next year it is in the midwest so I can go. Or at least closer so I can dream about it realistically. Sigh. I hope you all have a wonderful time clear out there. Luckies.

  3. 3
    Cele June 8, 2006 at 2:11 am #

    We can hope for you right? toesies crossed :)

  4. 4
    JGS June 8, 2006 at 5:55 am #

    I can just picture you saying, “Oh yeah and a brand new plasma TV” (Okay, can’t really “picture,” but am “imagining”). So sorry about your basement, but here’s hoping that you get money from both your insurance company and FEMA, because things do happen you know.

  5. 5
    lastewie June 8, 2006 at 7:12 am #

    I love your stories, Mir.

  6. 6
    Casey June 8, 2006 at 8:23 am #

    as a contractor for FEMA – he gets paid by the report – which is probably why he was so gung-ho about coming on out – amazing the things you learn when FEMA moves in one city over

    – best of luck with the continuing basementgate saga

  7. 7
    Bob June 8, 2006 at 9:10 am #

    I would think that Mr. Fema is hinting that any money you get from them should be of the “no questions asked” variety – take it and run. Don’t complicate things by being all honest & virtuous and stuff.

  8. 8
    ben June 8, 2006 at 9:31 am #

    I wanna hear the song!!

    *pouts*

  9. 9
    Summer June 8, 2006 at 9:48 am #

    I think you will get money from FEMA. Really. Maybe not enough to replace that plasma tv, but something. When our basement flooded during a similar series of storms a few years ago, we got about $500 from FEMA. The big amounts of money,such as one might get to rebuild a whole house are loans (low interest) that they do expect to be paid back, but the smaller amounts are “grants”, otherwise known as “free money from the goverment, now shut up and take it like a good American.”

    You may even be able to purchase a minature bottle of Bailey’s on that flight to California. You’ve certainly earned it.

  10. 10
    Amy-Go June 8, 2006 at 10:05 am #

    I’m SO calling Jos to hear that song.
    Maybe you could get this FEMA guy to teach Ramon how to treat people? You think? Glad they were nice to you…you were due!

  11. 11
    Aimee June 8, 2006 at 10:34 am #

    Oh, you tease. WHAT’S THE SONG?

  12. 12
    chris June 8, 2006 at 10:44 am #

    Maybe we should just walk together. We should start now. Maybe by the time we arrive we will be dry. And no longer mildewy.

  13. 13
    InterstellarLass June 8, 2006 at 12:23 pm #

    Double prizes! FEMA and insurance. No, not really. Would be nice though. You pay enough in premiums AND in taxes. Both should pay out.

  14. 14
    Jenn2 June 8, 2006 at 12:34 pm #

    No frequent flyer miles, but you could share a room with Drama Queen when you get here. Heh heh heh.

    I’m thinking maybe the FEMA money was in exchange for the licking them all over…cause some guys totally get off on that stuff.

    And yeah, let’s hear the song, girl.

  15. 15
    Peek June 8, 2006 at 1:49 pm #

    Take.money.be.quiet.

  16. 16
    laura June 8, 2006 at 5:49 pm #

    Do you mean the *moss-covered*, three-handled family credenza? Hey! Moss-covered would be very appropriate for you.

  17. 17
    Lena June 8, 2006 at 6:18 pm #

    FEMA: Free Easy Money Actually.

    Awesome. ;) If you consider dumpster diving and swimming in the basement easy.

  18. 18
    Contrary June 8, 2006 at 7:51 pm #

    Hmm. He sounded reasonable. Nope, he’s not with FEMA!

    I would totally send you frequnt flyer miles if I flew frequently. Or at all.

    I do have some frequent drive back and forth to work miles if you can use ‘em!

  19. 19
    Melissa June 8, 2006 at 11:30 pm #

    Did they just walk through a shower of chocolate? That couldn’t be good if you are still watching what you eat instead of eating licking with your eyes closed. But if it gets you some money, pass the chocolate FEMA guys this way.;)

  20. 20
    jozet June 8, 2006 at 11:33 pm #

    Oh, FEMA should definitely send you to BLOGher. I mean, pain and suffering and all, right?

    Are you sure you weren’t storing a plasma TV in your basement. ;-)

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