Monday, November 09, 2009


Phew - that was fun, wasn't it!

Yes. There is a great deal I feel about the election in Maine. In fact, it's a bit split - rather like the vote. On the whole I'm going to take it as a good thing that the election was so close. Of coures, I can do that because it's not my family on the line - I can say that it's positive that an election like this was, technically speaking, within the expected error margin for a poll on a divisive issue. It isn't as though my children were being told their family wasn't a family.

There has been a bit of news though. A few weeks ago there was a message on the phone machine, a message from the lawyer who has been struggling for a year or more now to get the US Labor Department to act on the claim I filed five years ago. It wasn't a long message, it just said that there was a... chance I think is how it was put... that there would be a ruling and then they said something about needing a mailing address for checks. I actually had to listen to the message three times. Then I made my family listen to it for me because surely they weren't saying there was any sort of hope at all. Then I panicked.

I mean, as long as it was just pending there was always the chance something would happen, right? Then I could detach enough to provide paperwork, and then more paperwork, I could (as odd as it sounds) wait indefinitely just so long as everything remained... possible.

So naturally I didn't tell anyone. Child 3 knew - couldn't help but know as it actually found the message, but outside of the household no one, no one was told. After all, it had been five years - five and a half really, so who knew how long it could be now. No point in getting everyone's hopes up; best just to hope for the worst, as always.

Which meant that a week and a half ago when I came home to an, "oh, ever-so-sorry but we did TRY to deliver this registered letter and won't it be convenient for you to pick it up during normal work hours tomorrow instead?" message. Cue another rather significant dose of panic because, honestly, does anything good arrive with a green piece of card and a requirement for signature? But you can't just leave registered letters uncollected at the post office - I'm pretty sure uncollected registered letters make baby Jesus cry - so, of course, I went to pick it up.

It was a fat stapled wodge of paper, much of it in legalese. Actually it wasn't the worst legalese I've ever seen since it was, eventually, decipherable. It did take a reading or two to figure it out though. Claim it said, and filed, and something about... ordered. There was definitely an order involved and I do believe it possibly mentioned... paying.

Which sort of prompted three days of, "No. No not really, I mean, really they, no. They wouldn't. No. Really." Because we're articulate in our expression of happiness around here.

Within 12 hours I had worked out at least three reasonable ways it wouldn't work properly and it was all yet another extention of the might-be's-not-really's we've been living with for the last six years. It took another 36 hours (and an encouraging and very kind email from my lawyer) to decide that, tentatively, it just might maybe possibly be (you know, given a particularly optimistic an unlikely definition of possible).

But you know the really funny bit? It turns out that while there's an order it's nearly impossible to know what that really means. The labor department types could decide to actually act on it, or they could put things off for 30 days - or maybe 45, or they could, apparently, require another long and drawn out action of some sort that, frankly, I don't yet understand because I'm trying very hard not to imagine that they would request it. So, yes, we have a ruling! And yes, it will all be resolved. Soon. Or, maybe a little less soon, or possibly much less soon than that. It could happen tomorrow or maybe it will just keep on stretching out impossibly long, extending again and again and again this whole mess, keeping us in a sort of intolerable, infinite limbo.

It's lucky I've had so much experience at this.


mujja said...

Isn't legal dabbling fun :-D

Megan said...

Only when done with cutlasses!

Piper said...

You know, they should teach Legalese in standard high school courses along with spanish and French and German and all that. It would almost be more helpful.

Child 1 said...

Wait, it did go through for true and final right?