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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Confessional: Fuck It, And Fuck You Walmart

I am in a serious funk.  I don't know how to explain it at the moment.  It's currently an equal mixture of depression and rage.

I'm somewhat at a loss for words.  I don't want to come across as bitter or bitchy, but I really need to vent and just lay everything out on the line.  Oh, and Walmart almost killed my family last week.  I'm not kidding.

As some of you know, my wife recently returned to work for the first time in almost two and a half years.  Her long term disability payments were cancelled in January, because one of her doctors flaked out, and, after six months of constant prodding by the insurance company, neglected to fax any of her medical records in.  All of this was going on behind the scenes.  We knew nothing about it, until we received a letter saying her checks would no longer be coming.

We had the ability to appeal the decision, which we did.  My wife was told that if she returned to work, even during the appeal process, they would determine her able to work again, and automatically deny the appeal.  We waited for almost three months.  She was ultimately denied, because the very same doctor, again, did not send in any documentation as requested.  She basically sent a one paragraph letter saying that she was under the doctor's care for her medical condition and that the doctor felt she was unable to go back to work.  No supporting documentation.  No medical records of the previous 18 months of bi-weekly visits.   Just "Yep, I don't think she should work."

Jessi started working a few weeks ago.  It's a wonderful job.  She's doing something that she really enjoys.  It pays really well, and there is quite an opportunity for advancement and growth.  She's really happy.  Much happier than I imagined she would be having to back to work.

We have done our best to keep a positive attitude, but it's difficult.  It seems that we're barely keeping our heads above water.  And lately, it feels like someone is leaning over the edge of the pool, doing everything they can to push our heads under.

We have been desperately behind on some of our bills for a while.  Our car loan hasn't been paid since July, and we're more than two months past due on our storage unit.  We're more than a month behind on both our electric and our cable, and the only reason why we still have a cell phone is because my wife's parents are on our family share plan.  If they weren't paying the bill to keep from having their service shut off, we would have lost our phones months ago.

Shortly after Jessi started work, I had to have my latest round of spinal surgeries.  With Jessi working, we had to put Lennon in daycare.  It's only part time, but that adds another $450+ a month on top of everything that we're not able to pay to begin with.

Last Friday was the 30th of the September.  We got a money order to pay our rent, so we could drop it off on Saturday.  As I posted before, on Friday night, she twisted her knee, which has a history of pain, surgeries, etc.  On Saturday, we make a trip to the Emergency Room to make sure that no screws or plates were damaged in the fall.  $200.00 copay.  The next day, the car has a blowout on the way to work.  $170.00 for two new tires.  There goes the majority of rent.

We've been in tight spots before when it came to coming up with rent money at our complex.  In the past, it was no problem.  Our complex changed management companies last month.

When I went in on Monday to discuss the rent with the manager, I was told that no payment arrangements could be made, according to the new guidelines.  We scraped, sold some things and called in some favors.  Finally, on Wednesday, we had the money.  Jessi dropped off a check before work that afternoon.

"Oh, sorry.  We no longer accept personal checks.  We accept money orders or cashiers checks only.  New policy."  By that time, Jessi didn't have time to get a money order and come back to the apartment before work, so we had to wait until Thursday.  What the office also didn't mention was that since Wednesday was the 5th, if rent wasn't in the office by 5PM, we would be assessed a $75.00 late fee for the month, on top of the $5.00 daily late fee after the 3rd.  So, our rent was $90.00 more than normal this month.

On Wednesday afternoon, my phone also died.  I mean, died.  All attempts to revive it at home were unsuccessful.  Keep in mind that I worked for years as a tech support rep for a cell phone company.  I usually know how to get a phone up and going.  Not this time.  I sent Jessi a video message, and it simply died.

Resetting it wouldn't work.  Trying to power it on and off didn't work.  I plugged it into the wall charger.  I even plugged it into my laptop to get my computer to recognize it.  Nothing.

Thursday, Jessi took the phone in to the local Verizon store.  Three different technicians did the, "I'm an expert at these things.  I've got this" move and failed.  Nothing.  The only thing they were able to suggest was to take it in to the Apple Store, and have a Genius look at it.

After 15 minutes, Apple determined that I had so many applications running on my iPhone simultaneously, that the phone simply stopped working.  I over taxed the operating system.  They had never seen that before.  Thankfully, after fiddling around with it for a few minutes, they were able to get it to turn back on, with the help of one of their computers, and correct the issue.  If you have an iPhone or an iPad, this is something you should know about your device.  I will post a video about it tomorrow.

We ran a number of errands on Friday, including a pediatrician appointment for Lennon (ear infection scare/turned out to be nothing).  While we were driving, we noticed our brakes making a weird noise.  So, we made an appointment to have them checked out at the dealership on Saturday.  We figured that, even if we needed brakes, we could put them off for a couple of weeks until there was some money in the checking account.

Thankfully, we didn't put off getting the brakes checked.  Otherwise, my wife and daughter may have been killed.  And, it all would have been Walmart's fault.

Check this out...

You're looking at a picture of the right, front wheel of our car.  On the right, you'll see the rotor.  To the left of that, do you see the belt to the left of that?  That is part of the fucking tire that Walmart replaced last Sunday.  Here is a picture of it from another angle.

See all of the grease?  Well, that's because as we have been driving with the steel belt of our old tire wrapped around our axle for the last week, it has slowly been tightening more and more.  It broke through the CV boot, which sprayed oil all over the right, front brake.  That brake is useless.  Technicians at Toyota say it was a matter of time before the steel belt caused enough damage to where the wheel would have just snapped off or the axle would have crumbled during a hard stop.  In any event, the result would have been catastrophic.

I knew things were bad when the service manager came out and had my wife come back with him.  That's the dealership equivalent of a doctor coming into a waiting room and saying, "We did everything we could, but their injuries were too severe".  What they told us though blew my mind.

The car was such a liability to drive, they are not releasing it back to us.  That's right.  The dealership is so afraid that there is a real possibility of a "negative physical outcome" as a result of driving the car in it's current condition, that we cannot have it.  And, they're absolutely within their legal right to do so.  If we pull the car off of the lot, without it being fixed, and get in an accident because of the damage, then the dealership legally becomes liable for those injuries.

What now?  Repairs are over $800.00, plus $35 a day for a rental, since we only have one vehicle.  We have called Walmart, and they have filed a claim with their insurance company.  The Tire and Lube manager at the Mesa Riverview location that serviced our car isn't too bright.  It took six attempts to explain to him why we couldn't drive the car to Walmart to have him take a look at it.  Supposedly, they'll have investigators at the dealership Monday to take pictures.  At least the bank won't be able to repossess the car from the service bay.   

For a second, I thought, "You know, simple mistake.  Maybe they just didn't see the tire."  But, take a look at this photo.

How could you not see this?

It's possible that our share may be a couple hundred dollars, plus or minus the rental car.  I really don't see the logic in spending $400+ in repairs in a matter of two weeks, for a car that is a fraction of an inch away from being taken.  It's going to take us another $1600 to get the loan current, after late fees.  

Lately, it has just been one thing after another.  It would be nice to at least get on our feet a bit, before being kicked in the balls once again.

Lennon is staying with me this week, instead of going to daycare while Jessi is working.  We simply can't afford it.  I am still at a point in my recovery where I'm not able to bend or pick anything up that weighs more than five pounds.  So, caring for a three year old semi full time is going to be interesting.

On the financial front, I don't know what to do.  We are really at our wit's end.  I'm hoping that I have a rich unknown relative that leaves me a fat inheritance to catch up on everything.  But, I know that isn't going to happen.  It is up to my wife and I, and we're out of ideas.

The instinct to protect and take care of your family is a strong one.  When times get at their lowest, you find yourself thinking "out of the box" to come up with ways to take care of your wife and your little girl.  Way out of the box.  Those are bridges that I don't want to cross, but the flood waters are quickly rising.  If it doesn't stop raining soon, I'm going to have to find a way to get on the over side of the river.


Rachel said...

I'm so sorry! All I can tell myself in times like this is "It HAS to get better, right?" and think about how I at least have my family. Hugs to you and your family Adam!

kate said...

Awww jezus Adam. I'm so sorry. I wish *I* had rich relative so I could help you out. Is there anyone you and your wife and daughter could move in with for a couple of months to get back on your feet?? Obviously not ideal, but better than the alternative. If I believed, I'd pray for you...but I got nothin'. Sigh. Just know that there are people who read you and care and are thinking about you and your family.

Twitch said...

Thanks, Rachel. From the bottom of my heart....

Thank you. ;)