All this week, I’ve felt like the coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons. If you were a fan, you’ll remember how he used to try to go through the sewer system to catch the Roadrunner, but as soon as he stuck his head out of a manhole on the roadway, some car would take his head off.

It started with our roof, a job contracted out at $12K, which as soon as they opened it up and discovered “unforeseen problems”, quickly mushroomed to $30K. And of course, since the roof is now open to the elements, what can you say, “O.K., pack up your truck and get the f^#k off my property”? They have you by the short and curlies.

Today, I was able to look at my driveway where the huge container had been (on wooden block to avoid damaging the asphalt), where I noticed that one of its legs had missed the wooden boards and had caused four two-inch diameter holes about two inches deep in the new asphalt driveway laid down last year. “I guess we’ll have to patch it”, said the contractor. “F^#k, if I wanted a driveway with patches, I would have kept the old one!!!

And finally, today I received my “Claim Determination Notice” from the Nortel SEC Fair Fund. To bring you quickly up to speed, the SEC had determined that the telecom giant, Nortel, had fraudulently inflated the value of its stock prior to its bankruptcy, and that the few hundred million dollars the SEC had recouped from Nortel would be distributed to stockholders who had lost money.

Last year, I was encouraged to file a claim. This took about two days of work to retrieve all the required documents, many of them from brokers’ archives since this was some ten years ago. Today, I received my CLAIM DETERMINATION NOTICE, which happily stated that my claim had been accepted in whole and that I was eligible for a $2,115.85 refund. Not 10 grand for sure, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick as my business partner likes to say.

Then came the fine print, which began ominously with the line: “Your Eligible Loss is not how much you will receive in payment”. it goes on to say that the pro-rata distribution in this case will be less than 1% of the eligible amount and if that falls below $10, there will be no disbursement at all. Since my payout would have amounted to about twenty bucks, I get about the cost of the postage stamps to file the claim. And you wonder why people hate lawyers.

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