October 29, 2013

Where the Money Goes


Some months ago I was informed that I was to recieve veterans disability benefits. This caused me some concern as I'm not disabled. Although it was hard to get hold of the proper people to resolve that, once I did it was resolved quickly and hopefully that money is now helping a disabled vet. 

Well, a bit over a week ago I received a check from the VA for a tad less than 900 dollars.

This was...unexpected. I was surprised to find that I was still eligible for any VA benefits. What's more I'm a part time student this semester so that seemed like an excessive amount.

Anyway, I called the VA and after some PEBKAC errors with the phone tree and a 27 minute wait I got an operator. After answering some questions I learned that I was indeed eligible for some educational benefits. I explained that I was a part-time student this semester. The operator confirmed this, told me what courses I was taking and that I should be receiving a check so everything was fine.  I pointed out that the amount she quoted was substantially less than the amount the check was written for. The operator said that this was probably back pay and not to worry about it.

Ummm...NO!

So...I ended up speaking to her supervisor. After some digging It was revealed that the check was not, in fact, vaguely rationalized "back pay" but rather educational benefits for the full course load I took during the summer semester.

This sounded much more in line with the amount the check was written out for and would have resolved the matter if I had, in fact, taken any classes during the summer.

I explained the discrepancy.
I was told that since they had received confirmation of of my enrollment that the check was indeed for the proper amount. I pointed out that it was improper due to the fact that I had not taken the classes. She then asked if I had in fact enrolled in the classes.

I said yes.

She then said that as I had just confirmed what was on the screen the matter was closed. I pointed out that had withdrawn from the classes whereupon I was asked 'WHY I would do that'? I explained that My father had a hernia operation and my mother had back to back gall bladder and foot surgeries at the beginning of the summer and that given my domestic responsibilities it seemed unwise to take the classes.

I ended up talking to her supervisor.

The supervisor implied that if I tore up the check another one would be reissued after a year*. She further explained that the only way to make the check be not officially mine was to go to the VA office at the school, and have them send confirmation of my withdrawal to the VA. At that point I would be mailed a letter containing a kit for the proper disposal of the letter (presumably a SASE).

So I hightailed it through rush hour traffic on a Friday, went to the info desk and talked to the VA rep. He was sympathetic but couldn't do anything right then. You see, in order to process this claim he needed an E-mail from me..which he would forward with the proper information. So I walked down the hall and found a workstation, logged onto my University E-mail account, sent him an E-mail explaining my worrisome windfall and why I'd withdrawn. I walked back down the hall and he verbally confirmed that he'd gotten it and Monday I received E-mail notification from the school that the mater had been resolved.

The matter is still not resolved.

I just received a terse letter from the VA (sans 'kit") informing me that I owed them nearly 900 dollars. There is no return address beyond the PO Box on the letter and I'm antsy about just sending the check out.

I hope to get this matter finally resolved this week.

*I'm uncertain on this particular point.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 09:18 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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October 28, 2013

Thank God for SCIENCE!1!

The head gasket on the Cressida blew.
Now, changing a head gasket has the potential to be upwards of 1500 dollars and on a car as old as mine it can sometimes be impossible. To express my thoughts on the matter would be non-conducive to both stoicism and Arete..so I'll let this imaginary girl do it.



Fortunately, thanks to SCIENCE there now exists Head Gasket Sealant. It doesn't always work...but this time it did.
Yay!
Of course the oil and coolant had to be flushed, the injectors and spark plugs had to be cleaned and an unrelated bulb needed to be changed but it still was under 300 dollars.

That sucks...but it's not a catastrophic suckasge.

In other news: I work for UPS...not one of the Obamacare contractors...so I'm considering myself pretty lucky at the moment.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:54 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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October 21, 2013

Time is Fleeting

Many however, don't want to believe this.
For them we provide a comforting lie:
"That asshsat that Buzz Aldrin punched didn't know the HALF of it!"


Super secret fresnel tech by S. Zenith Lee

For everyone else, the politics is below the fold...



more...

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 04:50 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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October 05, 2013

Well That Was Unexpected

The other day I got off early and had a few extra hours between work and class with no pressing assignments looming, so I decided to clean the car. Unfortunately, the gas station I chose has no working vacuum. Thus I simply cleaned things as best I could organized the textbooks and papers that had gotten under the seats and decided to clean the trunk.

The trunk  was a complete mess. The toolkit and the various containers of stuff like brake fluid, power steering fluid and 5w30 were clustered in this big pile in the middle. TheWD-40 had discharged. Closer inspection revealed the bug out bag had sunk into the floor occupying the space where the spare tire should have been and the beaverboard floor-liner has curled up. at its edges and managed to pry open the first aid kit.

I started to clean everything out, beat the beaverborad flooring into some semblance of flatness, , got a box for the....
wait....
back up...
"space where the spare tire should have been".
spare tire...
SHOULD HAVE BEEN.
What the HELL?
I'm guessing it got removed and forgotten about when I had the radio installed, or perhaps when the mechanics at another auto-shop fixed the drainage problem...or when a mechanic worked on the tail lights wiring...or perhaps during an inspection. Which means that I've been driving without a spare for at least 6 months...
I drove to DC and Luray with no spare tire...
"shudder".
Well, an inquiry of all the places I've had the car worked on over the last year or so naturally turned up naught, so Friday I ordered a junkyard tire which should arrive at the local mechanics on Monday. In the meantime I've invested in a new can of fix-a-flat and I'm sincerely hoping that my trips to Norfolk today and tomorrow are uneventful.


(Picture is Unrelated)

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 02:43 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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