There have been a couple stressors in my life for a while now, and today I was able to take care of them both in one fell swoop!  (Or at least, one fell day.)  Part of this involves confession time…

A couple years ago we were in Texas working at a Christmas tree lot, and when our job was over, Mark bought a beaut of a Harley.  It was obvious that my Prius and the Harley couldn’t both fit behind the RV, so we traded my Prius for our Ford F-150 pick up truck with a long enough bed to hold the Harley.  Problem solved.  Well, last January the Texas tags on the truck ran out, but there was no way to get another set of Texas tags because we had no Texas address.  We’ve been driving the truck illegally for over a year now.  Fortunately, in Texas, they don’t put the tags on the back license plate, they put them on the front windshield, but I was afraid of getting stopped and having the officer get a good look at our windshield.

Washington is our official domicile, so as soon as we came back for the holidays, we tried to get Washington plates for the truck, but as it turns out, you can’t do that if you don’t hold the title.  Our title was being held by Wells Fargo who loaned us the money for the truck.  So in November, I pulled some money out of my Roth IRA and paid off the truck.  But you don’t just get the title handed to you as soon as you pay it off.  They have to mail it to you.  They said it should only take a week to ten days, but after a couple weeks it still hadn’t arrived, so I went back to Wells Fargo and they found out that the title had gone to the address we had when we bought the truck, but which we changed about a year ago.  It was apparently lost out there somewhere, maybe wandering around the country, or worse yet, thrown in the garbage where it ended up.

Wells Fargo said that they could send me a copy of the lien for the title and I could send that to Texas and get another copy of my title.  Once Texas got the lien, they wrote back and said they couldn’t accept a photocopy, so it was back to Wells Fargo to ask for the original lien.  This time they agreed to send that, and once I had that, I sent it to Texas.  I finally got the title copy this week and I had a day off today so Mom and I drove over to Vancouver to the Department of Licensing (DOL).  They started processing the paperwork there and then asked if I’d had an emissions test yet.  I hadn’t, so I took the paperwork with me and went to get the test done.  Fortunately, the truck passed with flying colors.  We went back to the DOL and I paid a bunch of money and they handed me two shiny new Washington license plates with stickers that are good for a year.  As soon as I got home, I changed the plates with a sigh of relief.  I’m finally legal!

The other thing that has been hanging over my head is a Workers’ Comp hearing that was set to come up in March.  You may recall that when I was working for Williams-Sonoma, they ended up sending me to the ER in an ambulance one evening when I was over-worked.  My boss told me she was filing a Workers’ Comp claim for me, but when someone from Workers’ Comp interviewed me about my claim, they ended up denying it saying I didn’t have an injury caused by my job.  I have seen ambulance bills and ER bills and I was worried, so I asked for a dispute hearing.  In my mind’s eye, I was visualizing something like a mediation where I could say why I thought my ER visit was work related and it hadn’t been my idea to go there in the first place.

Then the letters started coming from the corporate lawyers at Williams-Sonoma.  Suddenly, I started feeling like David up against Goliath.  It took me a while to figure out how to get a lawyer, but I finally contacted the state bar and was given a local recommendation.  I read up on him and knew that he used to be the attorney for the insurance companies, so he knew how they worked.  I figured he should know if I had a chance or not.  He and I have been playing phone tag for about a week, but this morning I finally had a chance to talk with him for about twenty minutes on the phone.  I told him my story and he asked me some questions, and then he asked if I have health insurance.  I told him I do, and my health insurance has already paid the ER bill except for $30, which I have paid.  He said that my insurance will likely also cover the ambulance and any other bills that might be sent.  Even if they don’t, the lawyer said the bills probably won’t amount to much over $100.  He said that in my particular case, my chances of winning the trial are almost nil, and that even if I did win, it wouldn’t be for enough money to go to all the bother for.  He turned down my case.

And I was okay with that.  He had told me what my chances were and that, likely, my insurance will cover the bills, and that was all I really needed to know.  I wrote a letter to the judge and the corporate lawyer saying that I have decided to drop the appeal.  This is another burden off my shoulders.

Tonight, Mom and I went out to dinner for the first time, and it felt like a celebration.  I feel a lot lighter.  Well, except for having overeaten at the restaurant, but food never tasted so good and it was fun to go out with Mom.  I’m fat and happy tonight!

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