Thursday, July 27, 2006

Fire Update - Subhed Posessions

A question from a friend: Is there anything you're secretly (or not so secretly) glad to have lost in that little house fire incident?

Lots of things. I've always been a bit of a magpie, storing everything with the rationale that I might need it someday. I never devoted the time or effort to clean it all out, and even if I had, the end result might have been the same: "I can't throw this away-- I might need it someday." So, in a way, this fire was a blessing because it did my cleaning for me. I've never denied that sometimes I need a push (or a disaster) to get started.

The loss of stuff can be broken into four categories:
A) Irreplaceable stuff I never looked at/used: It's a shame, but it's gone.
B) Replaceable stuff I never looked at/used: Who cares?
C) Irreplaceable stuff I frequently looked at/used: Losing this stuff hurts.
D) Replaceable stuff I frequently looked at/used: It can be replaced, so who cares?

Take for example my 700 videotapes. Some of these are homemade tapes, camcorder tapes, or extremely rare movies that are no longer available (or extremely difficult to find). I miss those. But am I really upset that I lost my copy of the Tribbles episode of Star Trek? Not in the least.

Same thing with my 2000 books. Some of those books are irreplaceable: an 1883 edition of Leaves of Grass, for instance. But my copy of Thomas L. Friedman's The World is Flat? No problem to replace.

The other thing is that not everything that can be replaced must be replaced. Do I need a copy of Thomas L. Friedman's The World is Flat? Probably not. Do I need a copy of the Tribbles episode of Star Trek? Not in the least. So, as I've known from about the week after the incident, this fire really might be a great gift.

Little fire incident?

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Fire Update - Subhed Housing

My house has two bedrooms. One. Two.

So that I might live somewhere while my house gets rebuilt, the insurance company tried to find me an apartment. They're supposed to find me the equivalent of my burned out house, in size and amenities. They failed.

I went out searching and I found a one bedroom apartment for $1450/month, a good New York price.

The insurance company approved it. I need a place to live, they said, and the package was reasonable.

But it took them so long to approve it that I lost the apartment. However, at least I know they'll go for $1450/month, right?

So I found another apartment, a three bedroom duplex, for $1450/month. It has park and river views. It has north, south, east, and west views. This is known as a score.

The insurance company rejected it.

They'll pay for a place that's lesser or equal, but they won't pay for a place that is better than my original house. Even at the same price.

It's the Puritan ethic that remains alive in the hearts of insurance companies.

Can't pay for frivolity. Even if it costs the same.