“Like a good neighbor…”

"We live where you live." So they say. Actually there’s no sign of President David Palmer around here. But that televison show’s doomsday sound rif keeps playing in the not very far background of my mind. Da-DUM. Da-DUM. Da-DUM. During the next 24, I’m expecting a call from the insurance company about this water pipe problem and then an adjuster or claims representative or someone will show up. I’m pretty well convinced that whoever it is will be trying to consider every possible angle for why the ruptured pipe and water damage to our two adjoining units has absolutely nothing remotely to do with our insurance coverage. Then they’ll go back to the office and cancel our insurance and, until we die, we’ll be pariah in the world of the insurable. ONE time in Michigan, home state of the perennial Spring rain back up problem (ask Big Dave), we filed a claim for a root clogged storm drain that brought a flood of water into the basement and the next time we applied for homeowners insurance the agent, who had a voice and a sneer like Chloe’s (da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM) whispered "you have a claim history" in tones that suggested we were criminals of the first order and then hissed, "No insurance for you!" You know, it’s not really insurance when the first thing everybody thinks is, "Can I take care of this problem without filing a claim?" In this case the answer is no, we can’t afford to pay for all these rippling hardwood floors, so file it is.

I think insurance companies are spending all my premium dollars on clever slogans: "We make our customers’ problems our problems." Yes?  Well, c’mon over and mush about on these floors with me. "Like a good neighbor…"  Hey, I’ll put on the tea and we can chat about the kids a bit. One of my favorites is from Lloyd’s, that fancy outfit that provides insurance to art museums and million dollar yachts: "Cash if you die; Cash if you don’t." These guys are a class act.

If I wasn’t so busy at the zoo, I’d start my own business and I’d call it The Shit Happens Insurance Company. The slogan would be, "You’re in good hands when Shit Happens." Claims settlements would be quirky, arbitrary but generally lenient and closely related to your emotional state as a result of the incident. I’d form an alliance with BCBS and together we would decide whether we wanted to pay people for a little water damage or a total mental health collapse complete with inpatient electroshock therapy. Television commercials would feature President Palmer standing there with his hands open, holding…oh, never mind. Instead, I lose sleep while all this is going on and now I won’t be all fresh and perky for Bear Awareness Week.

It’s a big day for me a the zoo. This week I display my knowledge of "the Bear and Seal line" to the head docent and I haven’t yet cemented the facts about the Malayan Sun Bear firmly enough in my head. He is the smallest bear around, about the size of an English sheepdog, but I suspect they’re looking for a little more than that. Pinniped translates as "winged foot" in Latin; Abby told me that before she took flight to Africa in the wee hours. And although we have the Kovler Sea Lion pool we have no Sea Lions.  Because they can rotate their rear flippers into a position that allowed them to walk right over the wall (and rumor has it, into a bar on Lakeshore Drive), now we have seals instead. Those little sleek water torpedoes without ears. Well, they have ears, but not where you can see them.
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Mother’s Day was lovely. All the children called and Rich came through with a sweet card with just the right amount of schmaltz to make me teary. He also gave me a gift certificate to The Knitting Workshop- delicious. I can’t wait to wander over and see what’s new in fibers for the summer; I haven’t been by since returning from Florida.

The courtyard guys were here- I’ll have pictures tomorrow. Please don’t report them to INS. They are too hard working, too sincere, too nice. On Sunday, one of them brought along his 10 year old son to translate and that child spent the day happily popping out ancient cement plugs so they could re-use the old wall bricks we can’t match. I gave him a little tip and said, "for something for your mama" and he was SO happy. "Si, ees Mother’s Day!" and everyone left smiling. Maybe I’ll hire them to work at my insurance company. I have some flowers to plant as soon as I power wash the dust away and another trip to Gethsemane Garden Center planned for later this week. Great name, huh, Babette?

Okay, I’m going to try and catch another hour of shuteye before heading over to lions, tigers and bears, oh, my! It’s Bear Awareness Week. Do you know how bears walk? We’ll be having lots of extra activities about the bears this week, including putting down plastic bear footprints so school children can try to do a bear walk and see that they use plantigrade locomotion, just like us, except with four feet. When we’re talking with the public we’re supposed to make a transition between the bears and the seals. With the kids, this helps:


Q:
What has four legs and a flipper?

A:
A happy polar bear!

Hope your Monday portends a good week, sans insurance claims. Later, Gator.
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15 responses to ““Like a good neighbor…”

  1. Good morning. have a good day. I love the insurance post. I’ll be back when I have more time to leave a comment about that. I did post about my almost cancellation with my new company…probably the sixth one in fifteen years or so. I left the 50 cents off the check that was my first installment due. So they were going to cancel for non-payment. G-r-r-r.

  2. Vicki, let me be the first to sign up with your insurance company! We have been cancelled before, when we had too many claims for damage to the deck and railings because trees fell on them in storms or from ice damage. Like we could help that!!

    I wish I could go to the zoo and have you as my docent!

  3. We’ve been learning all about the difference betweens seals and sea lions, now that we are part of the Marine Mammal Rescue Team. Seals (harbor and elephant) move along on the earth like worms. They can’t rotate their hind limbs for “walking.” Sea lions can. There are other differences, but it’s early and I’m not fully awake to remember them!

    Insurance companies are shockingly ruthless. I won’t even bring up how I feel about health insurance in this country. I would definitely join Shit Happens Insurance. Great idea.

  4. Dear Mrs. Docent,
    Your joke is indecent!
    Furthermore, re: Poo –
    Grace happens, too.

    Your garden shop, Gethsemane,
    Might conjure up much agony.
    (In a synod named for Misery.)
    Though you would not be frightened
    For you are most enlightened.

    After while,
    Crocodile.

  5. Well, you might be in competition with my kinder, gentler company called “Poop Occurs”. Perhaps we could merge into a larger corporation, “Fecal Fidelity, Inc.”

  6. Oh Vicki! I would buy insurance from you! Greg and I have been feeling so sad since watching a report about the horrible way the insurance companies have handled Katrina victims. We had a flood at our place when I was pregnant with Ruth (a different “our place” than the place that is our place now). We have State Farm and they were great. No hassles. Paid what we needed or near enough that we were able to recover nicely. They aren’t doing that down in Louisiana and Mississippi. Horrible.

    Good luck on your bear and pinniped test. My daughter could brush you up on the mating practices of Elephant Seals if you like. She knows all about it and has delivered lectures on it before. during dinner. at her grandparents. Who, thankfully, thought it was fantastic! 🙂

    Glad your Mom’s Day turned out happy.

  7. Hee-hee.

    You would be the cure for mental health collapse, wouldn’t you?

    You’d listen, and moan over the floors, and then have them fixed while throwing in a hand-made scarf, too.

  8. Love your take on the insurance industry. We here on the Gulf coast of Texas live in tense expectation of the major one cancelling us at any given whim.

    We had a sun bear at the little zoo in Lafayette, LA for a bit. He may have been on loan. We were big supporters of the zoo and watched it grow from constrution to booming right along. It was a favorite place for my husband and son to go when the husband was home with free time and our son was small. They went weekly and were well known there. Often they were blessed with behind the scenes adventures with the owner or the head zookeeper.

    Good times.

  9. Not sure folks down here are into Bear Awareness Week. We’re all to aware of the bears. They are turning over trash cans and ripping down bird feeders all over North Asheville. The latest deterrent I’ve heard about that works is the oil and red pepper slather on the trash bin. Do you teach that in Bear Awareness Week?

  10. It is a shame that insurance isn’t non-profit. Then we would get fair coverage! (maybe) I hope it isn’t too stressful for you. Our company was very nice, and hasn’t cancelled us yet–but we didn’t cost them very much money with our broken pipe, since I was only gone for about an hour.

  11. I agree, insurance companies are not very customer friendly. Where do I sign up for yours?

  12. Ah, yes the canceled insurance because of “claim history”. Sigh!

  13. The name of your insurance company is too catchy! You would have flocks of customers and your stocks would rise considerably. I’d love to see it advertised on TV – You’re in Good Hands with Shit Happens. LOL!

  14. Bear Awareness Week took a different turn in our neck of the woods. Junior Bear was just too smart for his own good…

    http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2007/05/12/news/local/news06.txt

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