Monday, February 28, 2005

Dragons & Drastic

We slayed a dragon moments ago. It was painful. It was wonderful. The dragon had sharp teeth, and fiery breath. For a long while I thought the blanketedy-blank didn't have ears.

For those of you unfamiliar with my metaphors...dragons are creditors. We have a lot...we'll always have a lot. All of our "normal" dragons, credit cards, mortgages, etc....are being paid, but some dragons - specifically medical bills have lay dormant and ignored. I paid off some recently but another big chunk from the hospital Amy has spent a great deal of time in had already been turned over to a very nasty collection agency.

Today I received a letter offering to settle one small bill from the hospital for half the original amount. I could have written a check and mailed it back, but instead I thought I'd call and do it right away. That led to knock down drag out phone conversation with the most hostile people I've dealt with yet in trying to get our financial mess untangled. I hung up on the first guy and called back assuming I'd get someone else who might be willing to simply accept my payment and not berate me for other debts.

That strategy doesn't work. I did get to talk to someone else...she was very nice...then she connected me with Mr. Snot (I changed his name to protect his reputation). Mr. Snot and I got no where. He wanted me to use a credit card to pay off this debt...a credit card that charges 28 percent interest. I refused. He yelled. I yelled. Finally I asked to speak to his supervisor. I then learned who trained Mr. Snot. This guy, let's call him Mr. Poophead to protect his identity, was even nastier. I tried repeatedly to simply pay the dang bill, but this guy screamed and moaned to the point I had to put him on speaker phone so Amy could understand why my eyes were bugging out.

Amy then got on the phone assuming she could be a calming influence. Five minutes later she was screaming at Mr. Poophead and the phone was in my lap.

Then it got surreal.

I decided to make a counter offer to settle 3 of the 4 outstanding claims...all relatively minor. I asked what he'd settle those for...suddenly he grew quiet and asked if I would mind waiting while he spoke to his supervisor. Moments later he came back and offered to settle all the claims again...but this time for a drastically reduced amount. I suppose I shouldn't mention the amount but I'm not ashamed of it...we've had rough times. We owed about 3200 dollars to the hospital...there was no dispute, we simply don't have that much money to pay anyone right now and maintain a savings account for emergencies, avoid using credit cards, etc.

He said he would settle today for $1300!

$1300 to kill a big dragon - a big nagging dragon that has really been the only one constantly hassling us.

I brought out the spear.

I paid him.

Dragon dead!

Mr. Poophead was happy. Amy was still somewhat upset - she took names and numbers and promised to inform all sorts of folks of the tactics the company had used.

Me? I was looking for a freaking' celebration cigar.

To be exact, we saved $1882.00 yelling.

Let's not be mistaken. We're still in debt up to our eyeballs but this was the biggest dragon we've killed and we got a discount in doing it.

Now to the unfortunate part of the day.

Amy and I are about to leave to deal with a computer issue for someone which means I have no more time to hawk Gordy.

Time is running out on the auction and there have been no bids.

So I'm pulling out the big guns....literally.

Either someone buys Gordy...or he dies.

That's right. I'm turning to terrorist tactics to sell this silly little doll.

Should we return from our computer client and Gordy has gone unsold. Gordy will die.

I don't really own a gun so I won't shoot him.

I do own a shredder.

The choice is yours.

I've already proven I can kill dragons...don't test me.