I’ve been advised it isn’t wise
to dwell in the land of Useta Have.
But I must confess I am a mess
when I think about what I Useta Have.
In Useta Have, I had a front porch, a side patio. I could sit out in my back yard
early of a morning with a cuppa; could step out on my front porch
where I could work, unobserved,
at spinning, or writing, or helping plants grow, or
Useta Have was awash with cubbies, closets, cabinets
in the house, home, that was mine in Useta Have.
I am certain it is not clear to you the extent of my loss. The lemon tree that took 19 years to bear fruit; buried atop my son’s placental home; planted by my mother who died in my son’s nineteenth year in her bedroom, in the house I’d lived in all my life-she knew him, she helped birth him, she drove like a javelin to Santa Monica, to the converted farmhouse that served as a freestanding birthing center, ensuring his literal birth in a barn. This lemon tree was cut down…by the subcontractor…who is now dead.
My son grew up in that house. He called it a crapshack because he was, in childhood, quite gangling and sometimes ungainly. He was forever stubbing his toes. It was a cottage. It couldn’t be helped that he was a bull in a china shop. Nevertheless, that crapshack was his childhood home and the satellite around which we wove our travels in the world.
We built, my mother and I, a library in that house. Venice thrift shops provided much of our largesse. We collected, and read, hundreds of books. Destroyed, now, many of them, the bookcase standing in the yard with many of my other klediments.
I knew the man who built my crapshack, by hand. He was a JW. His name was Elmer Lambert. His wife’s name was Ima. I remember they had a daughter, but might also have had a son. The house was a one-bedroom cottage with hardwood floors, built in cabinetry, a counter between front room and kitchen that could be used as a table, serving area, and lookout point. The front door boasted a barn-door type window, giving an unimpeded view of the front and side yard. The doorway was wider than average.
All the doors in my house, save the front entry, opened to the left. Behind the door to the bedroom, Mom had built a linen closet to house our dishtowels, cuptowels, bath towels, sheets, small blankets, some small kitchen appliances. The left-opening door, when left open, provided cover for the cabinet.
I had to step down once into the kitchen. I had a white ceramic sink that was deep, and boasted knobs for hot and cold. It was a piece of a countertop, cookware storage, and under the sink storage unit. Facing the sink, my stove was to my right. I had hooks, hangers, cabinets on the upper walls to the left; a hanger for mugs, a couple of places to hang dish towels. Had a mirror mounted in there, and a light. The large rectangular window above me provided morning light from the east.
I love to cook. My son loves to cook, but he has to have a whole lot of room and prep area. Me? I can whip up something palatable with a couple of burners, but it gets monotonous. I’ve been living like poverty for over a year now with a gas stove that is not connected to the gas line because the contractor left the line capped, providing no connector. There are many gas lines under this structure because a gas line was run to operated the gas dryer I do not have and to the hot water heater that was placed alongside the “driveway” because this structure was built without plans.
The flooring in the bathroom is mushy and feels about to give way at any moment; there’s a leak somewhere, likely because the shower was not installed properly and was not sealed. I have no warranties, even thought I was promised three years of warranties by Safeco Liberty Mutual if only I worked with their preferred contractor.
I had a back door, through which I could generate cross-ventilation, get to my back yard easily. I still have the t-poles for my clothesline, but my undamaged workshop was torn down to make way for a “garage”. There was a scheme to turn my verdant paradise into a heat island, bordered by asphalt and cement. My yard was full of green and flowering plants, including succulents, bougainvillea, lavender, night-blooming jasmine, honeysuckle, a variety of roses. This in an area zoned for livestock and farming. I live in the County of Los Angeles. There are horses here. There are chickens here. There are nurseries here. But the County is gentrifying, which brings me to my property tax status.
In California, in Los Angeles County, in 2015, my property taxes were ~$650 per year. Now, in 2019, my property taxes have tripled. This job, done by Vince Paglia, was accomplished by tearing down my 1923 hand built Rambler home. I had a workshop in the back yard with a waist-high, full-length hard wood worktable. There were shelves that I remember saving magazines in because of the vertical dividers in the cabinet. There were shelves and cubbyholes on the walls. There was a great, heavy wooden drawer, that I possess still, that fit into the worktable. Vince Paglia tore down my workshop, the unpermitted expansion that was used for storage to put up a parking lot and I don’t eeeven have a car.
I miss Segovia. Segovia was a death cactus that grew in a ring of tires. Segovia was very tall, perhaps 7′-8′, and bloomed at night. When in bloom, Segovia’s scent wafted over the yard, blending with the night-blooming jasmine, sometimes the honeysuckle and lavender very faintly. Segovia provided most of the privacy in my back yard, grown along with the honeysuckle that grew on the fence. When Mama Gin lived next door, she was a homeowner who worked for the IRS. Her son served in the Air Force. Her daughter was a flit. She and Mom shared the care of the trees planted along the property lines between the houses. Mr. Lambert took care of most general maintenance, but Mom was pretty handy with tools. Mom and I took care of the gardening and yard maintenance when I was growing up.
I remember Mr. Lambert gave me my first nickname. He called me Sputnik because I was his satellite as he worked about the place, prattling to him with my 2 or 3 year old self. Ima, Mrs. Lambert, always offered me fruit. I grew up kindly towards the JWs because I grew up with experience of the Lamberts.
I used to play and work in my workshop. I haven’t been able to use my spinning wheels because the inadequate garage is packed to the gills with my household goods. I haven’t been able to unpack because the house is now smaller, configured differently, has not even a closet, though a one-bedroom, one-bathroom was paid for. More than $80K was given to Paglia for goods not in this structure. I wish I did have the vent-free, infra-red heaters for which he received pay. I wish I had my back door. I wish the attic vents had been installed instead of the fire sprinklers for which I have no instruction manual. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with these things because I never had them in my home before.
Vince Paglia and Kent Stiles of Safeco Liberty Mutual have put me in a bad way, I tell you what. I learned from reading the legal bric-a-brac that your insurance provider is not supposed to leave you any worse off than you were before you filed your homeowner’s claim. Maybe this is why Stiles has changed my claim number from 12-digit number to 22-digit number, and when I call to inquire about this claim number that I don’t recognize, no one else recognizes it either. This brand new claim number is recorded on my claim history with the databases that record such data and hold it for seven years, along with the date of loss of every claim I’ve ever allegedly filed with Safeco Liberty Mutual, the cause of said loss, and the amount paid out to mitigate the loss. This brand new to me claim number even says my loss was caused by water. Imagine, the insurance company is recording false information; my loss was caused by the wind.
If my claim settled and paid out $48K under one claim number, why are $430K and $439K recorded under that new claim number as the amount paid out on those official records? Those records can impact the premium I’ll have to pay for insurance when I manage to escape from Safeco Liberty Mutual.
I have referred to the scam through which I’ve been put as GASLIGHTING. I hate being gaslighted, especially by a corporation that should have a fiduciary responsibility towards me, the insured, who paid premiums, on time, since 2011. Instead of being appreciated, I’ve been robbed.
I believe Safeco Liberty Mutual and Paglia and Associates do not appreciate the severe loss they have caused me. I think the dead contractor kindled the wrath, though….
Imagine wishing for someone to talk with who understands and remembers some of the places you’ve been, some of the thoughts you’ve thunk.
Imagine not having to explain the deep details of your memories because someone else organically understands because they’ve been there, in your memories.
Imagine making that connection through the impersonal web of digital communication.
It’s olive drab, canvas like a light sailcloth, and I go to it when I am in flow. Invariably, I reach in and pull out something that makes me remember. Tonight, I pulled out Patricia Jones’s Passing, a Novel. That title brought to mind Passing, by Nella Larsen. Now, I will have to read both titles. One is on my Kindle. One is a physical paperback. I can do a comparative study.
This is an application of the sociological imagination used in documents analyses.
Kent Stiles, adjuster for Safeco/Liberty Mutual Insurance, changed the claim number of the claim I filed on 22 April 2016. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I have been submitting descriptions of my first-time consumer experience of submitting a homeowner insurance claim with Safeco Insurance.
Kent Stiles and Nahal Mazandarani changed a settled $48,000 claim into one for more than $430,000, though I am certain much more money than this has been expropriated. The scam is too widespread, too longlasting, involves too many players for the sums recorded on paper to properly compensate them all.
After figuring out Mazandarani and Stiles were conning me, I asked Mazandarani if she was on drugs. She had us move into what I described at the time as an “abandoned” project. This same language is used in the citation issued the contractor, Vince Paglia dba Protech, by the Contractors State License Board. Mazandarani took extreme umbrage to my suggestion that she must be out of her mind if I was supposed to move into a building with an open trench in my back yard and a pallet serving as the step into the only point of ingress or egress without resorting to a window. I spoke with Stiles about this; he claimed to be her supervisor. I may have suggested to both of them that I would whip Mazandarani’s ass if she showed her face ’round me ever again in life. Hence, all subsequent interactions have been with Kent Stiles.
I patiently waited for the Department of Insurance agent, John Mort, to help me get answers to my questions about the irregular ways my claim has been handled. Little did I know John Mort was working for Kent Stiles even though the Department of Insurance is supposed to be looking out for consumers. Kent Stiles has a very long reach is what I’ve learned in this 3.5 year homeowner claim experience. John Mort had to have been aware of the change in claim number; homeowner claim history is recorded in external databases for at least seven years. The claim number for the claim I filed 22 April 2016 and for which I possess a physical claim file, has been changed. The new number is something I have never seen before. For the past 3.5 years it has listed the cause of loss as water when the actual cause was wind, like those blowing fire now. The tree that lost the limb that fell on my bedroom still stands and sways in the high winds, but Kent Stiles paid for project, that now adds a rescinded Certificate of Occupancy to its faults. Recently, through the dispute process with one of the databases, Kent Stiles reversed himself, changed the cause to wind, but holding fast to the more than $430K charged against my insurance policy, charged against the consumer, charged against this unfamiliar- to – me claim number.
Think the IRS needs to know about this?
No matter how many times I told Kent Stiles something was wrong, he either ignored me or told me a lie. No matter how many people I spoke to at Safeco/Liberty Mutual, no one batted an eye at what Kent Stiles was doing and continues to do to me, my claim. If I spoke to one person, from supervisors, managers, the Presidential Service Team, I spoke to twenty and er’rbody was ultimately working for Kent Stiles.
Can anybody tell me why Kent Stiles would change my claim number; why John Mort of the Department of Insurance, regulatory body, would let me waste two years waiting for his intervention in helping me get, what I thought at the time were, documents relevant to my claim? The Stall is a major part of this scam. Time must elapse so that the unassuming consumer won’t catch wise until the claims history disappears from view.
This seems like embezzlement to me and fraud at my expense, conducted by an institution I am forced to use to protect my property. I question the impartiality of the regulatory body, the Department of Insurance. I question how Safeco/Liberty Mutual is allowed to stay in the insurance business, except I’ve always thought insurance is a racket.
When I was in Delhi, in ’97, I was struck by the numbers of people living on the streets, living over, among garbage dumps, part of unguided tours given by savvy street kids to American or otherwise well-off tourists.
People were coming into the cities from the countrysides, often lush with green and color, for work. Entire families from less prosperous outlying areas were caught up in the rush, arrived in the cities, on the pavement.
I saw little children pull up some curb and go to sleep like it wasn’t a thing. I learned that just because they were small didn’t mean they were young, just missing meals. Caste was a real thing and I met the Dalits, many who lived amid some of the crumbling ruins of colonial origin. They were still considered untouchable and mistreated shamelessly by those of ‘wheatish’ complexion.
Now, the pavement dwellers are 163K strong in California. In a way, pavement dwellers here are more restricted in where they can live than were those in the subcontinent’s hub cities that experienced high rates of in-migration from the countrysides. Now, in America, we are kicked out of housing because we cannot afford the rent/we lost our job/we have three jobs/all sorts. Replacement housing isn’t available to match the rate of people being made homeless, daily. People and families.
We are awash in rhetoric while people dwell on the pavement, in the wretched heat, in the numbing cold, in increasing numbers. People and families.
Who was that just bought a $76.2 million house?