Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fire Update - Subhed Posessions

Those of you fortunate enough to have spent any time in my house might remember "The Money Jar" -- a giant glass carboy, about the size of a water cooler bottle, filled with change. When I got home, I'd empty my pocket change (except the pennies) into the jar; before I left to go out, I'd grab a handful of change from the jar. Once, my brother and I estimated from the weight that it contained between $500 and $700 in change.

It got up and walked away. I went to my house today and searched for it -- and it's not there. Did the firemen steal it? I sure hope not. Did the demolition crew steal it? Most likely. And of course, loose cash in the house is the one thing not covered by insurance.

A loss due to fire is annoying, but ultimately impersonal. I mean, you can't get angry at the fire itself. This, however, is pure theft, and it is infuriating.

And to think that I told the demolition crew that they were doing a good job.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Fire Update - Subhed Housing

I lost the apartment, because the insurance adjusters can't get their act together.

I am angry enough to kill the next person I come across.

Fire Update - Subhed Housing

The private adjusters negotiated an agreement in which I will rent this apartment for 12 months, and in which I will pay the $2500 broker's fee. I asked if I would get reimbursed for the broker's fee. They said that don't know. I asked if I would be responsible for breaking the lease if my house is repaired in less than 12 months. They said they don't know.

I asked them to find out or else I will not sign the paper. They said that they really need to get me into a stable living situation. I said if I'm not happy with this agreement, we start again from scratch.

I am this close to telling them to go fuck themselves -- I'm going to hit the road and they can pay $100 a night for me to drive around the country, looking for the American Dream.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Fire Update - Subhed Housing

Well, I found an apartment. I visited it, and it's nice enough. I handed everything over to the adjusters to handle all the details. Key detail: will the renter accept a 9 month lease?

The private adjuster I hired is also ... a contractor! Imagine that! He asked me to stop by his office today so we can talk about "the next step". The next step includes hiring an architect because, as I understand his explanation, only architects can hire contractors when a house needs to be rebuilt. The private adjuster drew up papers that gave him the go-ahead to get started with the renovation work on the house. I didn't sign the papers. Instead, I told him I wanted to have some other contractors bid on the project as well. He told me that other contractors might not have the skill required for the job --this is _fire_ reconstruction, you know, and that's a rather specialized talent.

I told him I wanted to have some other contractors bid on the project as well. He told me that other contractors would not be willing to put their own money up front for the reconstruction -- they'd force me to close my claim with the insurance company so that I could get my settlement. "And then what heppens when they open the wall and discover more damage? Your claim is settled! You're shit outta luck, scuse my French. The insurance adjuster is gonna say that to your face. In fact, Fred, the adjuster we're dealing with -- I know him. He'll laugh at you first, _then_ he'll tell you too bad."

I told him I wanted to have some other contractors bid on the project as well. He said that was a good idea. In fact, he encourages all his customers to get second bids.

So things are moving along, maybe. I have an apartment. Maybe.

I do have a copy of the policy, which I picked up from the mail today. I'm currently at a library computer, but when I get back to where I'm staying I can open it and read it at leisure.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Fire Update - Subhed Housing

Since all the apartment realtors in the area want a minimum of a 12 month lease, I can't really use them for temporary housing. A friend of mine who is an insurance broker (and who is helping clandestinely) suggested looking at corporate housing; the temporary apartments that companies rent for their employees when they have to stay in another city for a long time. Those places are willing to rent month-to-month, but they charge something like twice as much as a standard rental.

The other problem is that I live in the Bronx, which, among its other faults, happens to have fewer than the national average of corporate housing units. It's silly for me to live in New Jersey if I want to keep tabs on my house, and it makes no sense for me to live in Manhattan with a car, so I've been looking in my childhood stomping grounds of Westchester County.

And that's a big mistake. Moving from the Bronx to Westchester counts as a step up, as far as the insurance company is concerned. They'll help me find a suitable place to live, but they're not willing to pay for an upgrade. So we're at an impasse.

Meanwhile, the insurance company sent me information about a lovely two bedroom apartment on a particular block in the South Bronx. I forwarded them a clip from a Village Voice article which indicated that very same block was a notoriously violent drug zone.