Gabrielle's Life and Writings

Gabrielle Lawson, writer of Fanfiction. I will use this space to keep a journal about my writing, the progress I'm making, stories I'm working on, writer's blocks I'm having, our adoption process and progress and just life in general.

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Location: Missouri, United States

I'm multifaceted and highly educated. I have a BA in History and an MA in Museum Studies. But I couldn't make a living in a museum, so my hobby--computers--became my living. I'm now a charter member Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician. I aspire to be a professional writer and/or poet. I am a Christian and have been living by His grace for the last four years or so, despite the MegaStress and now the GigaStress. He keeps me going, and displays His glory still, in my life.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

So much for Progressive

So, I call today, with the plan in place: Cancel old policy, set up new one based on last night's quote. Well, the cancelling went just fine, but setting up the new one did not.

Seems there was a problem with the quote. So instead of $150 a month, I'd be paying $166 a month. Which is more than Liberty Mutual and more than my old policy with Progressive.

As if. So I'll stay with the company that gives me lesser service but a lower rate.

On the up side, the other driver's insurance company called me today and that claim is in progress. Let's hope they don't fight me on this.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I just gotta blog!

What a day today has been. It started out slow enough, even mundane. The first complication arose when I started calling cell phone companies to seek a new plan. You see T-Mobile, a company I now hate with a vengeance, will not work in my house. And when I had to change my plan to one with higher minutes, they wouldn't give me the same free nights unless I resubscribed for another year. As if!

So I thought I could block my number, which costs $10/month. My sister (not Sister #1 or Sister #4, but Sister #3) could then keep using the other phone (and paying the bill) with whatever plan she wanted. Then I'd sign up with another cell phone company and pay for that service. It'd be worth $10 a month extra to me just to be able to have coverage in my house.

Okay, so that out of the way, I finished up at work and headed home, having not accomplished one thing I'd planned to accomplish: Call Progressive and ask them about my policy cancellation and when I can expect a refund of the rest of my premium payment for this month. More on that later.

As I was nearing home on (not the real name) "3" Trafficway (3 because it's the third street away from home. I live on "1" Avenue and turn onto "2" Street to get to "3" Trafficway. Get it?) when I had to stop because someone wanted to turn left onto "A different street altogether". Now, you have to know that "3" is just two lanes, one in each direction, no turn lanes. So if one car stops, we all stop. And then those that don't want to turn off drive onto the shoulder and around the stopped cars and on down "3". Perhaps not the most legal thing to do. As I considered doing this after the SUV in front of me did, I fortunately caught sight of the guy 3 cars back doing the same thing. Which is definitely illegal and dangerous. If you're going to go around, you should go in turn.

So in the end, I didn't go around and avoided an accident there. I went on down "3" and got to where "3" meets "2" Street. I put on my left-turn blinker and stopped. As I saw with a little bit of commuter glee that there were only 3 cars going the opposite direction on "3" (There are usually 30 just then and I have to wait and wait and wait--and cars go around me), I caught sight of something else in my review mirror. The grate of a semi. And the thought struck me, just before the semi did, that it would hit me. It, of course, did.

Good thing I have a cell phone, though, huh? For emergencies just like getting rear-ended by a semi. Yeah, sure, if I'd had a signal! One more reason to hate T-Mobile. No signal even out on "3" Trafficway. "Rolling hills and trees," they say. "There's nothing we can do." Yeah, right.

Back to the wreck:

Now, fortunately the semi-driver did try to swerve, so that he only clipped the back corner of my car, breaking the tail light, scratching the bumper greatly, and denting the passenger side (near the back). I don't even remember feeling a jerk so I don't think I was hurt any. (We'll know tomorrow....)

What's so complicated about that, you say? Well, it turns out I'm insured by two companies. I had sent a cancellation to Progressive by way of a fax last week because Liberty Mutual was able to give me a better rate, including a discount for my alumni association from grad school. It was only a few dollars lower than what I was paying Progressive, but it was locked in for a year and the payment would come in the second half of the month, not the overloaded first.

So, thinking I didn't have Progressive anymore, I called Liberty Mutual to make the claim. And this is where my displeasure with that company came in. I can't actually have them handle the claim without paying my deductible. Even if it was 100% not my fault. I have to contact the other driver's insurance directly. That just doesn't seem right to me. What if it hadn't been a rear-ending but something contestable? They are a big company with money and lawyers and I'm just little 'ole me with no money for a lawyer....

So I called Geico and got a quote. Too much. By far. Way above both Progressive and Liberty Mutual. So I called Progressive back.

And found out they hadn't cancelled my policy. In fact, they had no idea what happened to my fax. Could I just then keep the policy (and cancel Liberty Mutual, of course)? Yes, but if they find that fax, they'll cancel it as of June 17th. They may never find it. They might find it. I'm in limbo with Progressive. So what about a new quote, if I should switch back to Progressive?

Progressive was very helpful with this very confusing situation. Both the Customer Service agent and the person who handled the quote. Not only can I switch back to Progressive to get better service, but the new quote is lower! Then both the old Progressive policy and Liberty Mutual. And by officially cancelling (again, just to get out of limbo) the old policy and then starting up the new policy, the payments will be in the second half of the month instead of the first. Bonus!

But I have to send a fax to officially cancel. So I have to wait until I'm at work. No biggie. I did have to think how I'd pay for the down payment on the new policy. Seeing as I'd already paid Progressive on the old policy (and was waiting for refund that wasn't going to come until they found my cancellation fax) and paid a down payment for Liberty Mutual (on my credit card, because they just couldn't wait until it was actually the second half of the month, which is when I'd have money again), I don't have enough money in my bank account to make a 3rd insurance payment this month. So I thought, I'd put it on my credit card as well. I'd already made a payment on the card the same size as the payment to Liberty Mutual, and now they were going to have to refund most of that back to the card, putting $150-ish on it wouldn't actually affect the balance much. It'd sort of cancel out.

But then I had another occasion to use my card this evening and realized it wasn't in my purse. I thought to when I'd used it last: at work, when I signed up with Liberty Mutual. Last week. Oh dear.

I checked the account online and saw that there weren't any strange payments, so no one has grabbed it and used it. But I still have to report it lost. Which I did. But I was worried then where the refund from Liberty Mutual would go if my account number was going to be different. And how was I to start up again with Progressive if I couldn't use the new card until I actually received it (in as many as 2 weeks)? Well, the Capital One rep was very helpful. If I can get Progressive and Capital One in a 3-way call with me, Capital One can authorize it over the phone.

Complicated, isn't it? But it should all work out in the end. The semi-driver's insurance should pay for my car. I'll call tomorrow and cancell Progressive, then re-sign up with Progressive (in a 3-way call with Capital One) and cancel Liberty Mutual.

The only thing that won't straighten out is T-Mobile. Sprint works in my house. I might go with them.

Oh, and did I mention that Sister #6 is getting married? On Saturday. She's only 14 years younger than me....

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Almost time to write!

The Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards Nomination Season, and thus a great deal of work, has ended. There is still some work to do before Reading Season, but it should slow up here for awhile. Which means, I might get to write!

So patience, please, and kick my muses in the rear end when you get the chance. I'll want to write up a storm to still finish by February.


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Home, Home on the Range...

Sorry, couldn't think of a good title. That song just went into my head when I tried to think of one.

But I am home, so I suppose it fits. I had a good weekend (with the exception of computers) at Windemere and our church family camp. Canoeing, paddleboating, swimming, etc. Even a tornado warning spent in a cave. It was fun and more of a resort than a campground. We stayed in a hotel.

Why the exception of computer? Because the laptop I took with me didn't want to connect to the internet. This was partly the fault of the phone line, which I discovered was super staticy and partly the fault of spyware monkeying with the computer. And of course, I could do nothing about either of those while I was away. Then to top it all off, my Clie hard reset itself. Wiped all my data off. I did have a backup from April 10th so I at least got my programs back, but I had to wait until I got home to get most of the data back.

Interesting developments with my birth-family. Sister #1 and Sister #2 (I can't remember which was which anymore. So let's just rename them based on birth order--which means I'm #2 and the one who lived with me is #4)... So Sister #1 and Sister #4 were at a bithday party for my nephew (Sister #3's kid--and actually Brother #5 and Sister #6 were there as well, and Mother) and Sister #1 actually said hi to me. Sister #4 acknowledged my existence by making a comment to Sister #6 about me (not a bad thing either). Why this sudden change?

It's really just par for the course if you know my family. Let's pretend nothing ever happened, shall we? Is that really repentance? No. Is it better than open hostility. Yes. Am I going to call Sister #1 up to chat about the DVD release of Return of the King? No. Because it isn't repentance. It's just more dysfunction. It's not change.

Change would mean a realization that they were wrong. It's possible Sister #1 does realize that. Sister #4 is no longer living with her for reasons I don't know. Could be she was feeling the life being sucked out of her like I was.

But change would also mean an acknowledgment that she was wrong. Real repentance would be a change in thinking, a turning around from it. It would mean Sister #1 comes to me and says "I'm sorry about the way things happened with that whole Sister #4 mess. I can see now that I was enabling her. She owes me $x right now. And now Mother is doing the enabling."

That would be a start. I'd suggest to her to read the book I read. Maybe we'd have a talk with Pastor Joe. Maybe we'd start to be friends again. I'm not holding my breath. I need more dysfunction like I need a hole in the head. Repentance first, then relationship.

As for Sister #4, no dice in any direction just on the basis of that comment.

Mother? Not a word. The only thing she's said to me since her rejection e-mail is that I could come get the computer the kids no longer need (I bought it for them quite awhile ago). I did that. She didn't so much as acknowledge my presence. I didn't let it bother me. If they were thinking I'm sitting over at my house all alone and miserable because they won't talk to me, well, they're wrong.

I'm a happy person since that talk with Pastor Joe. I have a wonderful new mom, and a new little brother (13 years old) and more relationships with people from church (slow starting, but starting at least).

Oh, another thing about that weekend...We went to Osage Beach afterward. It's a huge Outlet place withhuge sales that weekend. I hoped to find a set of nice dishes to replace the set that was stolen from my hope chest. And I did. There were fancier sets that were still too expensive. but Oneida did have a nice set (gold-rimmed at least) for 34.99. It's a 49-piece set! So that is my new hope chest set. I also couldn't resist a silver-plated cocktail tray for $12.50. They had a lot of silver stuff half-off. I limitted myself to only one. And part of all that was paid for by my SBC gift card I got for switching back to them.

And now the burning question...."Did I write?"

Yes. Two whole paragraphs. I was just starting the third when the Clie froze. In the reseting (like a reboot), it did a hard reset with no warning. Fortunately what I'd already written was saved on the Memory Stick. I didn't lose a word. I just didn't gain much either.