Friday, January 26, 2007

Back in Mass...

Made it in finally. As usual nothing was simple. JFK Airport was backed up by about 20 planes, so we sat on the ground for 55 min. Once we got in the air total flight time was 40 minutes. Spent more time waiting to take off instead of flying.

Signed for the new lease and got the keys. Movers showed up at 9:00 and started packing. It was total chaos. Stuff was everywhere. Drywall dust and insulation was on, in and around everything.

Its now 15:48 and they only have half of the apartment packed up and moved. They still have the kitchen, master bedroom, two bathrooms and assorted odds and ends to go. Looking to be a 8:00 PM night before they finish.

Amber booked a flight leaving tonight heading to Charlotte for her aunts funeral. So she is off getting ready to go. She has a 7:00 PM flight and needs to be on the road by 4:30 since its a Friday night. She'll be back on Sunday.

More tomorrow...


Catching Up...

Its about time I catch everyone up on the happenings of the last week. This should explain whey went off the air, why its on a new server at Google.

This has been the week from hell, and thats an understatement. It started on Friday the 19th. I get a call from Amber saying the apartment is flooded not just flooded but underwater in most of the rooms. She came in after running some errands and found the front door unlocked. As she walked in she saw plastic buckets all over the apartment, furniture pushed into the center of the room. The entire place was in chaos. As it turns out the sprinkler pipe froze and broke in the crawl space at the top of the building (we're in a three story unit). As the day warmed up the crawl space the frozen now split pipe thawed. The end state is that water ran for several hours. It was a weekday 98% of the building was at work. Several units were damaged. Then Amber found out that the same thing also happened in another building also.

I know that things happen, pipes break and the like, the major issue I have is with the complex management company. A quick rewind so there is some context around this.

We get a letter in December telling us our apartment was sold to a new company . That was all fine and well. All but one of the office staff left with the acquisition. During the whole flooding no one was notified or called to notify any of the tenants that their apartments were flooded. Amber came home to our apartment to find the front door unlocked with no one any where in sight. Not one member of the office staff came by (and to date still has not) to look at the damage.

Our apartment is unlivable. Amber and the kids went to the Raddison in Chelmsford, dog went to the kennel. In order to rent from the complex you must have renters insurance. The apartment offered a insurance through for a small fee per month added into your rent payment. Standard renters policy nothing fancy price was good so I got it. Now comes the fun part...

Amber calls to file a claim and is told that the policy was canceled on the 14th of December by the old management company and was not renewed by the new one! Great, wonderful, brilliant. They were nice and took her info and said they would check into it. So now we get into the finger pointing game. The new management company is insisting that they did know it was canceled and say the policy is in effect. Today is Thursday of the following week and I still don't know if we have insurance. For their sake I hope they do.
The major cost is going to be moving from the apartment, with the amount of damage they will have to move all of the furniture out while they put in new dry wall on the ceiling, walls and put in new carpet. Right now all the furniture needs cleaning as well as all the items in the closets. In my closet water poured in on all our clothes so new everything needs to go to the dry cleaners to try and get the water stains out.

On Wednesday Amber called to tell me they can move us into a 3 bedroom apartment in the high rise building in our complex. Its actually a nicer apartment its about 500 sq. ft. bigger than the one we were in. They question is who is paying the approx. $2000 moving cost? They complex says they won't, insurance? We don't have any active insurance that I can tell.... Time to get a lawyer.

Nice thing about Red Hat, we have a benefit for legal assistance. I pay about $9.00 a month and have access to a lawyer for any legal issue I might have, it covers anything from wills, tax issues, criminal you name it. You call the 800 number and you get a lawyer in your area who handles you issues, all free of charge for most things (if it goes to trial you have pay some costs). All in all not a bad deal.

I can't say what he told us to do until its settled but we are following the instructions to the letter.

Amber now knowing we will have new apartment available on Friday the 26th, she starts looking for movers. After much searching she finds one that can actually move us out on Friday with only two days notice.

Our costs are sky rocketing, Amber is in a hotel ($90 per day) have to eat out every night, go to a laundromat to do laundry, dog is in the kennel at $20 per day. She switched to the hotels to th Residence Inn, its an extended stay hotel, with a kitchen and two bed rooms but its more expensive we were able to get the Red Hat Corp. rate of ($160) per night, this way she can cook and have more room and the dog can stay as well. The major problem right now is that no one is offering to pay, and in case your wondering we did ask and the answer was they would pay for 1 day hotel. So I'm sure you can see why we got the lawyer.

By my best guess we will be in the hotel until Monday or Tuesday. Our furniture and mattresses are covered in drywall dust and fiber glass insulation. Until we can get someone in to steam clean everything we're not sleeping there.

I decided to return from Brno early and was able to get my tickets changed for $250 USD. So the next saga, due to being robbed I have no credit cards and a small amount of cash. As a side note to anyone traveling to the Czech Republic, NO US credit card issuers can get you a replacement card in less than a week to 10 days. They have to come from the US and the best you can get is FedEx over night that takes 3 days due to Czech customs. Plus the 2 to 3 days for the company to make the card. Anyway, American Express took it upon themselves to send a replacement card to my home address in the US. Great! Amber gets the card takes it to the office where Tim (on of my coworkers who was in Brno before me) “overnights” it via FedEx to me. Should show up on Wednesday. Yea right! My luck, Europe get hits with the first major snow storm this year. It gets delayed in Paris and I get one a plane with out a credit card. This of course made checking into (and paying) for the hotel in Vienna a real joy. The only thing that saved me was that I stay at the hotel so much and I told them that I was robbed, they took my word for it and I gave them Amber's card number and expiration date. For the curious, why stay at a hotel and not just go straight to the airport? The second snow storm was on its way down from Germany to Austria and the trains can get from Czech to Austria if the snow is to deep. I wanted to make sure I was at the airport. Prague airport was closed all day Wednesday due to snow, Vienna was closed Wednesday for 4 hours in the morning because of snow.

I'm ready to leave for the airport, I call Amber to let her know my schedule, fax the docs for the move (needed my signature) to the moving company and talk about other administrative details, when she sounds really down. I say... “why are you sound so down?”, then she drops the bomb. Her Aunt Margie passed away from Cancer. Just add one more log to the fire... this is the absolute week from hell. Amber is extremely close this aunt and I can tell its all she can do to keep it together. I feel like an absolute ass for they way I asked her the question.

Just when your thinking, “Damn nothing else could possibly go wrong”, guess what?.

I get to the Airport, get in the queue, get to the counter and the girl at counter tells me I can't check in. Why? Our Corporate Travel agent didn't pay the change fees and the airline wants $250 USD. I'd love to pay ... I DON'T HAVE ANY CREDIT CARDS OR CASH!

I have to get out of queue call the travel agent emergency travel number, spend 10 minutes explaining the situation. They come back and tell me your good to go here is the ticket number. I write the number down, get in a different queue at the ticket counter, wait 20 minutes. The agent at the counter looks and says, “yes they did rebook you, they didn't pay the change fees”. I pick up the phone, and call the travel agent back, finally after 10 minutes I get the same guy Phil back on the phone, he tells me he doesn't know what wrong and that he will call me back in a few minutes. I have to get out of queue yet one more time and wait for the call. 17 minutes later he calls. And tells me that the wire transfer was not in the right format and its nor rectified. What the hell? Right format? At this point all I could do was say “Thank you” and get back in queue. 15 minutes later the Austrian Air agent tells me, yes sir you good to go. Please go to the other counter to check in. I look over and there is a line of 60 people. Its now 10:50 my flight leaves at 11:30. I get back in queue and wait, and wait and wait. I finally get checked in, I sprint to the gate, go through security and barely get on the plane. /me wonders if my luggage will make it?

I'm now on the plane over the Atlantic, drink in hand, waiting to get home. I'm almost afraid to ask this question. “What else?”

Its Thursday and I should be home in time to be there for the move on Friday. I'm praying that nothing else goes wrong. Amber is checking into flights to go to the funeral for her. Looks like its me and the kids for the weekend.

Just for grins and giggles lets look at the quick box score:

Friday – Apartment floods.
Friday – Find out no insurance.
Friday – Amber and kids move to hotel, dog to kennel.
Friday – I get robbed, get in a fight in Prague.
Tuesday – Write the IRS a huge check (thats another story...)
Wednesday – New apartment, have to shell out $2000 to move.
Wednesday – Amber's Aunt passes away.
Thursday – Screw up at the airport, tix we're paid for almost miss plane.

Oh Joy!