15 Aug

Margie Part 2

We saw Margie again today to sign insurance forms and whatnot. Her outfit was even more outrageous. Shoulda brought the camera. She was wearing some sort of neon turquoise, frilly dress — something you might see on a line dancer — and the same white high heels. While she was talking about liability and deductibles and collision, I counted 15 bears in her office.

It was a quick meeting; she told us at about 10:10, “Well, I’d like to make this quick for you guys, get you out of here before my 10:30. I told Phil to stay here cuz this guy just got out of prison. I looked him up and he was convicted on 34 counts. So I wanna get you out of here in case anything happens.”

By the way, I’m temporarily disabling comments cuz the poker biznitches are back. Use the “send us an email” link on the right for any wisecracks.

14 Aug

Some more reverse culture shock.

Yesterday, Eileen and I took a little bike ride around town. We went to the farmer’s market, down to the Brittingham boathouse, and then over to the Ruzicka’s. As we were biking from the boathouse by the Monona bay, we saw a guy standing behind the passenger-side door of his car. When we got closer, it was evident he was peeing on the ground.

I smiled at him since we had so obviously caught him in the act. He looked up at us and said, quite sincerely, “Scuse me.”

Weird. In Ecuador, the men didn’t apologize for public peeing, that’s for sure.

09 Aug

Items I forgot to bring with me camping

1) The bacon
2) The gas for the camp stove
3) Kitchen utensils
4) A flashlight
5) Matches
6) Butter or oil
7) My brain

On Saturday night, Eileen burned herself on the candle lamp (which held a candle we had lit with someone else’s matches). We didn’t have any ointment, but we had potatoes, which are a good home remedy for burns. You cut a piece off and squeeze it to get some of the juice on the surface and apply to your burn. Anyhow, here’s the process one needs to go through in order to acquire a piece of potato from one’s car . . . when one has forgotten one’s brain.

First, walk the 50 meters out to the car. Once there, discover that the car is locked. Walk back to the tent to get the keys. Return to the car, on the way, passing your sister putting away some kitchen supplies. Briefly consider grabbing a knife to take to the car, but don’t. Once at the car, ask your mother for a knife. Extract one potato from the car and return to the campsite. Cut the potato with sister’s knife and deliver the piece to wife in tent. Return to car to put the potato back inside. Begin walking back to camp. Stop halfway. Return to car to lock it (key required). Panic momentarily due to seemingly lost key. Begin walking back to tent. Stop halfway upon discovery of key. Return to car. Lock the damn thing. Go back to the tent.

08 Aug

The actual dialogue we had with the insurance lady today

Today, we went in to change our insurance. This past year, we had had renter�s insurance, which was more expensive, obviously, than just regular homeowner�s insurance. So we went with the simple objective of canceling the current policy and getting a cheaper one. When we got there, the receptionist shouted back to �Margie� and then said, �she�ll be right with you.�

When Margie appeared, we were both a little speechless. She was wearing a blue, summery dress with white buttons down the front, and clunky, white, slide high heels. Her arms were thin and very tan, and had a little atrophy typical of the over 60 set. I imagine she was wearing a couple too-large bracelets, though I could be wrong on that. Her glasses had that slight tint that was popular in the 70s and were about size of Sally Jesse Rafael�s glasses. Her hair was also big � dyed dark blonde and brushed straight up and back.

When she spoke, it was like a cross between Phyllis Diller and Aunt Pat.

We explained the whole situation to her, and she got right to work looking up our file.

Margie: Ok, so your house is on Vilas Avenue?
Eileen: No. Highland?
Margie: Oh, 310 Highland Ave?
Tim: Yeah.
Margie: But you insured the house on Vilas?
Tim: No.
Eileen: That�s the mailing address.
Margie: Oh, I see. Well, now, wait. This policy was for the house on Vilas. It says right here. . . oh, now, I see. Bob must have done this. Yeah, right here�s the Highland Avenue address, but it was scratched off and switched. Oh well, it probably would have been fine had anything happened. Yeah, Bob must have done this. Ok, well, let�s get this policy cancelled to begin with. (some silent typing. Margie leaves the office to get the print out. Eileen and I look at each other). So where did you folks say you were?
Eileen: Ecuador
Margie: Oh, how was that? You know, I went to Mexico for a couple weeks with my sister and her husband. I tell ya, two weeks is just too long. I mean, my brother-in-law drinks too much and then he treats my sister real bad. Then he kept telling me, �you don�t need this, you don�t need that.� If I�m spending your money, okay. But it�s my money, I�ll spend it however I want to, you know? Ok. So if we go with Erie, I think I can get your car insurance for a lot cheaper too. Let me just see if you qualify for the discount. Says here you�re an 8 on credit rating, so that�s really good. You don�t see much of those. Right after our Mexico trip � you know, I put it all on the credit card � and when we got back, I was just curious, so I looked up my credit rating on Erie and I was a 12. Well, I was just steaming. (At this point, Eileen and I exchange another glance. �Oh my God,� I think, �I am definitely blogging this.�) So then I paid off my bill and I went right down to an 8. Let me just get this printed . . . Yeah, so some people don�t like Erie�s system, but you know, it�s experimental. Do you know your driving record? I could get it up on the DMV, but do you know if you�ve had anything in the past five years.
Eileen: I haven�t, no.
Tim: Um, I don�t know. I think the past five years are, uh, without incident.
Margie: Well, let�s see. It looks like you have something here on February 17th, 2004?
Eileen: What?
Tim: What?
Margie: Oh, maybe I�m just looking at a registration. Whoops. Didn�t mean to scare ya there.
Eileen: (nervous laughter)
Margie: So, yeah, it looks like I can save you a lot of money here if we do the house and car through Erie. Though I would like to get that liability a little higher. It won�t cost much more, and I think it�s worth it. I mean, I�m not here to take your money, but when Thompson was in office, he put a cap on wrongful death cases, so you only have to pay a maximum of $250,000. That�s good. But if you get into an accident and someone, let�s say, loses an arm, well, I hate to say this, but you almost wish you�d killed �em cuz there�s no cap on what they can win. Jury looks at a little old lady like me and thinks, �oh, she deserves a lot of money.� I mean, I�ve seen it happen. You got any kids?
Tim: (suppressing smile, shakes head)
Eileen: Nope.
Margie: Little easier to travel without kids, huh?
Eileen: Yeah.
Margie: Neither do I, but my puppy�s my kid. I tell you, I�ve spent so much money on him. His leg stopped growing when he was a pup, so they had to go in and break it and do some other surgery. Now, he�s got more metal in his leg than most humans. It cost me $4000 but the surgeon was great. I mean, I�d have him do surgery on me if I ever needed it. So here�s what I did with the car insurance. You�ll see the premium go down quite a bit. And the house will be a lot cheaper, too. I still kept a rental reimbursement on here cuz that won�t cost anything. The deductibles I kept the same cuz most people are going with those. . .

Margie ended up proposing a dual car/house policy that would indeed save us a lot of money. We didn�t sign up right away, cuz we want to shop around a bit, but upon leaving, Eileen and I could barely wait to get far enough away from the office to burst into laughter. At one point earlier in the conversation, she had mentioned that she spends �thirty dollars a month to keep my teddy bears in the basement. I got a humidifier down there and I also got some water damage coverage, but you know, I probably got 1200, 1500 bears down there. I mean, they�re in boxes, but if anything happens to them . . .�

Good times.