Thursday, February 23, 2006

February’s Fiscal Follies

Our son and his roommate found it difficult to share a bedroom. So they went to the college housing office, seeking separate rooms. The person with whom they spoke said that s/he would refer the request to the proper authorities. That never happened. Realizing that he and his roommate weren’t going to get an answer, my son did an end-run around the college housing office and found himself a private apartment.

Unfortunately, the college housing office, even though it was to blame for ignoring our son and, thereby, forcing him to do an end-run around it, refuses to take responsibility.

So our son has been billed an extra $800 for withdrawing from student housing in mid-year.

The subject line of the e-mail from our son read “More fun”: His brakes had failed (with no injuries involved, baruch HaShem/thank G-d), and he needed to replace them immediately.

So we’re expecting another bill for over $400.

And if we get smart and replace the struts, too, in the hope that our kid’s car won’t break down on his next trip home in about a week, that’ll cost us roughly yet another $600.

Then there’s the fascinating approach to annual deductibles taken by his student health insurance: Instead of putting a dollar amount on the annual deductible, the plan simply bills a student the entire cost of his first visit to any individual physician.

So my son received a $530 bill from the gastroenterologist checking up on his Crohn’s Disease and on some kind of chronic intestinal infection for which he was being treated.

Did I also mention that yours truly had the brilliant timing to get sick two weeks before I would have been eligible for sick leave, and that, therefore, I’m going to be docked two days’ pay?

Bottom line—these are the extra bills that we either have received or expect to receive by the end of May:

Gastroenterologist’s bill—$530.

College housing withdrawal penalty—$800.

Brake replacement (and oil change)—roughly $400.

Struts replacement—roughly $600.

Airfare to Japan for six-week summer course in scientific and technical Japanese—I’m afraid to ask.

Cue the music. The only thing missing from this post is the audio from a circus band.


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