Wednesday, November 24, 2021


 So, there I was, Saturday, planning on holiday meals and planning bills (like car tag renewals and such) and while reviewing my bank statement (on-line, I'm not a total Luddite) and lo and behold, something was missing.

Utilities - check.
Cable/Internet - check.
Rent - check.
Death insurance - check.
Scamazon - check.
Food, food, food, food - check, check, check, check.
Drugs (legal variety) - check.
Car insurance - 
Car insurance - 

Lo, and behold, the wondrous USAA of which I have been a valued and happy member, thanks to Dad and Mum, for a very long time, has not dunned my account for October or November.

(twing, left rear spinal area, over left rear kidney, twing.)

Call USAA (the best insurance company in the world, trust me, I've sampled all of them) and closed till Monday.

(twing, left rear spinal area, over left rear kidney, twing, gurgle, gurgle...)

Sunday, wake up, and my old Irritated friend Bowel Syndrome has started creeping into my life again (a bad response to stress, last two years at last job I felt like I spent more time in the jakes than at the desk (TMI, I know, TMI.))

(Twing, left Rear Spinal Area, over left rear kindey, Twing, gurgle spurgle murgle...)

Monday, wake up.  Go to bathroom, say hello to my little friend the plunger as IBS has returned with a vengeance.  Take doggo out for his walk and call USAA.

Me. (bip-boop-bingle-bongle)(traipse through phone tree and get a human (USAA has the shortest phone tree ever, but it's still a phone tree.)

USAA lady - "Hello, how can I help you?"  (By the way, USAA has the nicest, actual English-speaking, clearly-speaking phone people I have ever heard.  No weird sub-continent accent, nope, good old American-accent English with a slight Southern spin.  Clear voice how wonderful.)

Me.  "Why have you not dunned my account for October and November?  And does this mean I no longer have car insurance?"

USAA lady - "Well, (goes onto short but clearly understandable explanation of how USAA has gone to new computer system and they migrated most data over, like phone numbers, addresses, email addys, shoe sizes, but not billing info."

Me.  "Just my billing info?  Because that would be my usual luck."

USAA lady - "No, a lot of billing info."

Me.  "So you've been answering a lot of these calls?"

USAA lady - "Yes."  Deep remorseful sigh...

Welp, got all that fixed, got rebilling set up, yada yada yada... 

Seriously, USAA is the best.  They give you a dividend on the money they charge you, and often it will pay a good portion or all of one month's bill for the year.  Great people, great service.

And... if you have USAA, make sure they're pulling money from your account.  Just saying....

So, I go out, get last of holiday shopping done, peeved because no chicken livers are available anywhere (since we only do turkey breasts here, there's no bag of livers and neck to boil up for dressing or dirty rice, so I normally use chicken livers, but no chicken livers so chicken thighs I'll try instead.)  Back is hurting, feels like someone punched me over left kidney, oh, boy, I know what's coming now...

Fix dinner, settle down after same, get up to take dog out for late walk, and my back goes... Urk.  Uh-oh...

Trying to walk dog, back goes "Urk, urk, urk, urk."  (sound of back twinging)

Dog gets interested in smell, he goes one way, I'm heading in the other direction, upper torso gets rotated to the left and... "UUUURRRKKKK!!!!!"  A twinge so bad I actually cried out in pain.

Get back to the apartment.  Get dog unhooked, go grab the stretchy back support thing from when Mrs. Andrew had back surgery many moons ago.  Tighten it up as much as I can, gingerly get into bed, and now I've got a day or two of unstable back to deal with.

Yay. Stress. It's a killer.

Long history of stress.

Back in college, had a very bad day, one of those days that is just... bad.  Almost died on the way to a final, don't remember taking final, don't remember getting home.  Woke up two days later, feet were flat, back was 'thrown out,' and a white spot appeared on the back of my head, about a quarter size.

Since then, any undue stress, like, oh, my cow-orkers trying to actively kill me or put me in prison (several times) or the business I'm working with closing without warning (several times) or in-laws moving in uninvited (several times) will cause the same reactions, from IBS to foot flattening and back-throwing out.


Thanks, USAA, for the holiday gift.  I love you all, but...

On the other hand, I still have car insurance and they (USAA) HAVE NOT reported lack of car insurance to the State of Florida so the State of Florida hasn't cancelled my DL or my car tags.

(Seriously, have you ever shifted car insurance?  The cancelled company will immediately call the state where you have your car tags registered to neener-neener on you to say you don't have insurance with ex-car company.  Meanwhile, at new car company, it's on someone's 'to-do' list to get done in the next month or so to inform the state that your car is indeed insured with new car insurance company.  Been there, done that, gotten pulled over and paid fines and, oh, my back, my aching back.  The pain, oh, the pain.)

Seriously, as lame as this show was, even as a kid I identified more with Dr. Smith than the rest of the space knuckleheads, well, except that Dr. Smith was a traitor to the free people of Earth and I'm not that, well, except in the eyes of certain leftist jackwagons, but who cares about those people, Brandon (cough, cough)

Needless to say, with the current economic and political shenanigans going on outside my door (nationally that is, for the most part) it doesn't take much additional stress to take my poor body from 'Handling things okay-ish' to 'URK!!!! gurgle gurgle'

On the other hand, my governor, Governor Ron DeSantis, is trying to get the state of Florida's gas tax repealed for the duration because he says we're already paying too much and we all need some relief.

Can you imagine if other states (looking at you, California) cancelled their gas taxes for a while?

That's my governor.  Making sense out of a senseless world.  Now if he'd only allow oil exploration and exploitation off of Florida's coasts...

Other than that, Happy Thanksgiving all you Chanters out there!

And here's just a tad bit of music, that explains so much my view of myself...  especially when I look over at Mrs. Andrew and marvel at me lucking out so darned much.

"Creep" from Radiohead

When you were here before
Couldn't look you in the eye
You're just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You're so fucking special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice
When I'm not around
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

Oh, oh

She's running out again
She's running out
She run run run run

Whatever makes you happy
Whatever you want
You're so frucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here
I don't belong here

No, I don't have a bad self-image, just sometimes, well, what the hell am I doing here?  And then I look to my side and she's there and life is good.  And she willingly stays with me.  Whoo-hoo on my part.  (but in the back of the brain lies a Smeagol-class negative image that...)

On the other hand... She stays with ME!  Hah!  Suck it, everyone else who had a shot at her and blew it! HA!


  1. Beans - Among my many rather esoteric fears, cancellation of my home/auto insurance (and the resulting inability to get it again) ranks high in the list. Glad it was easily resolved.

    1. Oh, that cancelled auto insurance without notification (State Farm, AllState) is something that I found to be... very annoying to say the least.

      This? This was a minor kerfluffle, easily fixed (just wish they had weekend hours so stress would haven't had time to build.)

  2. Cancel the (heh heh heh) state gas (hah hah hah) tax where I am (giggle...snort...gasp) oh to dream, perchance to dream. Having had a bout of IBS some years back I can really sympathize. Here's hoping you have less urk, urk, urk and more nom nom nom during the next several days. May you and Mrs. Andrew have a quiet Thanksgiving Beans.

    1. Here's hoping sanity and reality come to your state and y'all see lower than $4.00/gallon. Hey, a man can dream, right?

      You and yours have a quiet and good Thanksgiving, too, Nylon12. Maybe get some good shotgunning in.

  3. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

    And may you not give your dog (or anyone else) any surprises like Slow Joe gave Bergoglio and Camilla!!!

    1. Thanks.

      And Imodium is my friend. Sigh. Fortunately turkey grease doesn't grease the slide, if you know what I mean. Doesn't help that we've determined my gall bladder has never really functioned properly. Ah, well, it is what it is.

  4. Man, take it eeeeeaaassssy! I have been dealing with stuff like that this month, too. Traded off a vehicle, worked on getting a bonded title for the other vehicle as a favor to a buddy so I could register it. Then tried twice to get a straight trade done at the DMV. "More paperwork? More paperwork...." Got a great office worker the second trip, in and done. State Farm said, oh, it's got a flat bed on it, that makes it commercial. 2 weeks to get a policy. And the house insurance payment didn't make it twice, so got reinstated twice after being unknowingly shut off. Yipes!

    My pooper only complains when I get too many jalapenos. Then it's "come on ice cream!!!" I got talked into trying psyllium husks several years ago. I went to eating jalapenos on hamburgers every few days to keep track of the blockage. "49 hours to pass? This stuff is horrible!" Found out I'm a predator, not prey. Secondary consumer. I don't eat my food's food. Circle of death and all.... (sorry, Ask a Ninja, but it was too good not to borrow)

    I used to support USAA over here in south Texas. Did you know they have their own zip code?

    Merry Thanksgiving! Hope the gravy is good.

    1. When last I swapped vehicles at the dealership, the nice predatory saleslady offered me a $25.00 service to swap the tags right there. And they also sent all the assorted paperwork via email/fax/magic fairy dust to USAA so by the time I swapped plates, tags were transferred and so was the insurance. Very nice living in a sane state, even though my county is kind of left of the norm.

      Psyllium husks? Bleh. That's what my food avoids. My doctor has tried for years to curb the spasms, only to determine that, well, stress is a killer, and the main factor behind bouts. And many moons ago, when trying to go somewhat vegetarianish, doc determined scientifically that I don't process vegetable proteins, so things like beans and tofu are filler and flavor but not actually good for me. Gotta have the dead animal, yum yum, just not too fatty of a dead animal (gall bladder issues, like my system is more reactive than Mrs. Andrew's and the docs yanked hers out many moons ago.)

      Turkey, candied sweet potatoes and cornbread dressing. Some drippings-gravy on the side. That's all I need.

      Hope yours goes well too, STxAR!

  5. +1 on USAA and their insurance. I have been a member of USAA for years but had not utilized the insurance side until 4 years ago. The last new car I bought was a small SUV to replace a Mini Cooper S that had the "sports car" premium added to it by State Farm. I had State Farm for 30+ years. The SUV insurance was roughly $100 more every 6 months?!? I asked my agent if he was sure that he wanted me to do some comparison shopping. USAA came in $270 less a year for the new SUV and full coverage for my walk-a-way pickup than what State Farm wanted for lesser coverage on the SUV. The house, guns/jewelry, and Umbrella policy followed suit at a 70% reduction in premiums.

    1. When I was talking to nice USAA lady (they always seem to have the nicest phone ladies on the other side of the magic box) during transfer of insurance from nasty broke GMC Safari to newer, svelte, Ram Promaster City (a rebadged Fiat mini-van) the lady asked if I use any anti-theft devices as even a Club (steering wheel locking device) would allow them to take $10.00 off a month. Needless to say, on the way home with the new vehicle, I bought a Club.

      Back in the day, wife had a nice Volvo and State Farm. We live 340 miles from Miami. At the time, the type of Volvo was very popular amongst car thieves in Miami, but nowhere else in the State of Florida. So State Farm jacked up the insurance on our vehicle by $1,000 every 6 months. Because the car was popular in Miami. That's like saying that because a car is being stolen in Italy, insurance in Germany needs to be increased. And, of course, when we switched, they neener-neenered on us immediately and our new insurance didn't inform the state and that was the first time I got pulled over for expired DL because no insurance on vehicle. Grrrr.

      Oh, I tried to be tough and do insurance on my own but my mom finally got through to my thick skull and I transferred over to USAA and found they were cheaper than even cheap no-fault insurance. Dummy me. Mom was right. Again.

  6. I have a slightly different opinion of USAA than you do. In all fairness I'm not a member, I was in an accident with someone who was. It took forever to get it settled, I had to sue them. I've been with GEICO since I was 21 (when I got my first car) at that time USAA was for officer's only. I have the same opinion of GEICO that you do of USAA.

    1. Funny, I had the same experience with GEICO that you had with USAA, except that USAA took care of the suing and gave me the dough up-front. Weird. But that was when I had a van with a hitch receiver and I kept a hitch in said receiver and punched other people's radiators out (from them ramming me) about once a year.

      If the insurance works for you, then use it. Else find better insurance company. Glad GEICO works for you.

  7. Another +1 for USAA. Should have sought them out sooner than I did.

    Like an engine with a governor, I seem to have developed a stress limiter in my advancing years. Or perhaps it's just a zero tolerance for B.S. Whatever. When my needle pegs, I calmly make it clear that any further aggravation will like result in a "weapon free" environment, and that I will return tomorrow after proper R&R.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all Y'all.

    1. I usually know I'm overly stressed when I realize I'm shouting at the top of the lungs using language that will strip paint off of a ship's hull and... So when stealth stress hits, it's bad. Oh, well, it is what it is.

      I've found that using meditation works. Imagine a beautiful mountain meadow. Cool air, wind rustling through the trees. There's a stream running through it. I have my hands in the stream, cool clear water flowing over them. The sound of burbling coming from the stream, as the person I'm holding under the water drowns... Om, Ommmm, Ommmmmmm... Ah, contentment.

      Happy Thanksgiving to all y'all right back at'cha!

  8. I had USAA auto insurance until about 5 years ago. USAA would not insure our house and property since we had a small ranch (~84 acres) about 20 years ago. So we had to go with Farm Bureau for land and house. When we moved to a smaller property a few years later it was still the same story. Our Farm Bureau agent started working on us to insure all under Farm Bureau. So we gave him the coverage amounts and he gave us a better deal.

    However, I never had any problems with USAA and the price was good. Though our motorhome was through Progressive from USAA, USAA took care of a couple of roadside issues with the motorhome. Disclaimer: I was covered by USAA under my parents and then when I got out on my own as an AF Officer in the mid 70's had it. I would go back all the way (auto and home) but I don't know if they would cover our property which is yet smaller and no agriculture.

    1. Bill,
      Just an FYI, our land is covered by USAA and it's ~30 acres. Haven't had any issues and it's been that way for quite a while.

  9. This is not, repeat not, an ad, but I love USAA. When I arrived at Sheppard in the early days of June '66 for OBMT-M, someone, I forget who, recommended I switch my car ins. when I took out life ins. (was the only life ins. I could get when/if I could to those sandy beaches in SE Asia). I've had it ever since and I can't thank them (whoever it was) enough: all my insurances on all my properties and vehicles; would've taken out my medical and professional liability ins. with 'em if I could've - never had a prob - ever. And always with smile.

  10. California canceling its gas taxes? California canceling any taxes? Absolute fantasy there. They are constantly creating new ways to bring in new revenue, including trying to figure out how to text unrealized equity in our homes. Prop 13 is a savior for many, keeping people's taxes low when the supposed value of their home goes up, but fortunately cooler heads seem to prevail when they attempt to neuter it.


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