Sunday, February 25, 2007

More Snow

February 25, 2007

The week after my house flooded we had a bad winter storm that left snow drifts that were sealed solid by a thick layer of ice. They were like miniature glaciers--impenetrable. This was followed by temperatures well below freezing for several days. Finally, over the past few days, all that snow began to melt. By yesterday most of it was gone, with the exception of some dirty mounds still piled up along the roadways, and an icy drift on my deck (resembling a frozen wave) that had sealed my sliding door shut for several days.

Cars remained filthy, coated with that familiar gray film, as the stuff melted. But the wet roads continued to kick up salt and dirt. Yesterday the roads finally started to dry out. It was sunny so I finally shelled out nine bucks at a Shell station for a "deluxe" car wash that even cleaned the wheels. My car hadn't been this clean all month.

Today's forecast called for sleet and rain. But, it turns out, the weatherman was wrong. I woke up to heavy snowfall late this morning after oversleeping. By 1:00pm the snow started sticking to the roads. I went outside in my ski coat to take photos a little while later and found myself trudging through the fluffy white stuff. By then it was at least 3" deep and still falling.

My neighbor Dan was outside. He's a super-nice guy with a wonderful family. He had shoveled his walks once before loaning me his snow shovel. By the time I finished one pass on my driveway and walks, it was covered in snow again. I couldn't keep up. I just kept on shoveling.

I had nothing better to do and needed a break from the indoors. I shoveled Dan's area again and my neighbor's area on the other side, too. She's going through a rough time right now so I wanted to do something to help. A couple days earlier she'd had her loser boyfriend arrested, and she'd just gone to court Friday to get a restraining order. Then on Saturday after a visit to my Lasik doctor, I went over and helped her change her locks. I really felt for her. I recall being in a similar situation many years ago in Charlotte, so I could sympathize. I'm glad to see that she finally got that redneck out of her life and out of our neighborhood. I was sick of him parking in front of my house anyway.

Then I did another pass on my walks and driveway. I wasn't ready to go inside, plus I was in need of some exercise, so I started in on the road in front of Dan's place and cleared out the snow around his truck. I figured the more I got off the road, the less snow the snow plow could pile on our driveways tomorrow morning.

I was on a mission. Two hours after I'd started, I'd cleaned off three cars, four driveways, the sidewalks, and the better part of the road in front of Dan's place and mine. That's a lot of caloried burned (but I wasn't thinking about my back, and I'm feeling it now!) I even did my neighbor Patty's driveway while her able-bodied 20-year-old son stayed indoors with several of his friends who showed up. (Doesn't anyone's kids do any chores any more??)

Three doors down, my neighbor Tom's young son J.J. came out with a broom but wasn't making much progress. He's probably about 8 years old. Very likable kid. We chatted the whole time we were out there together. I passed Dan's shovel on to him so he could work on his driveway, which his dad had offered him $5 to clean.

I was cleaning off Dan's wife's car nearby when J.J. asked me if I'd shoveled Dan's driveway. I replied, "Well Dan did the first pass, and I did the second." J.J. looked at me, "Did you owe him money?!" I laughed and told him, "No, I was just being neighborly." What a cute kid.

By then it was about 4:00PM and my gloves were soaked through, so I went inside to put some dry clothes on. A little while later, the first time I tried to get out of a chair, I realized that my lower back had all but given out on me. Drat.

I'm looking forward to spring. Meanwhile, here are some pictures from today's snow.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Party of One

On Friday the carpet suckers (a.k.a. ServPro) showed up at the beginning of their two-hour window to reinstall my downstairs carpet. (They finally showed. It was a miracle!) It had been a week and two days since a burst pipe flooded my rec room—something I thought I could get wrapped up in a couple days. Ha.

Also on Friday afternoon, the plumber showed up right in the middle of his four-hour window. Consequently, his visit overlapped that of the carpet suckers. (I'd assumed he'd come at the end of the window or later like the Cable Guy.) Hence, the carpet suckers sent my nice plumber away to come back later.

The plumber, who was a jolly young guy with a great sense of humor, was able to come back later that day to replace the busted pipe. He cut out the narrow pipe and showed it to me. It only had a hairline fracture, which wasn't visible without extreme twisting. The pipe seemed so small—maybe a half inch in diameter—and it was still filled with ice. I was like, "That little f---er is what caused this mess?!" He laughed, "Yup, that's the little f---er all right." So he got his job done, I paid him $225, and eventually everyone left.

What a relief that was. All I had to do was let the freshly cleaned carpet dry overnight, and I could put my rec room back together in the morning. I was so worn out that I went to bed at 7:30 Friday night and stayed there for 12 hours, dead to the world. I think I'd had enough. The next day was just like moving in all over again (like I haven't done that enough).

Unfortunately, the relief of "getting settled" into a home for the umpteenth time came at an unexpected price (and not just the $500 deductible): back pain. I think it was caused by a combination of moving furniture and books and DVDs yesterday and the long-term stress I've been under since I sold my downtown Bellevue townhouse in January 2004. The worst part is that most of my stress of that past few months has been from my job, not my unsettling home life. Let me tell you, very little is more distressful than having to deal daily with a jerk who (for reasons unknown) would like nothing better than to get you fired. Well, there is one thing worse: when he succeeds. But I'll save the axe-grinder story for my memoirs.

Luckily I had survived nearly ten months without back pain—a record for me. Before my disc replacement surgery, I never went 10 weeks without back pain, not since the late 80's anyway. It had been so long since I had back problems that even the Vicodin in my cabinet had expired 14 months ago. The good news is that the expired Vicodin actually still worked. The bad news is there were only four pills left in the bottle. :(

I wasn't going to let it get me down, though. I had my TV room back—a room I could relax in! I spent a lot of time with my heating pad yesterday after I was done with the "moving" and cleaning.

For a brief moment I considered that maybe—just maybe—thing things would turn around for me.

Ah, but it truly was a brief moment, a moment that lasted right up until I checked the mail. The envelope marked "Howard County Police" worried me, so I opened it outside in the freezing cold on my way back in from the mailbox. (Why couldn't my Chinese mailman have sent that one back to its sender?)

I'd been ticketed. By a camera.

There on the piece of paper were three consecutive photos of me running a red light the previous Friday evening after work on my way to the mall. I remember it exactly. I was heading to Sears after another raunchy week at work but decided to swing by Dave's Organic Market first. The winter sun, low in the sky, was blinding. I was afraid I'd missed my turn but wasn't exactly sure. I was trying to pinpoint the turn for Dave's Market when I realized that I was driving right under a red light on the mall road. Whoops!

My first reaction was that of anyone else—a quick 240-degree check for cop cars. All clear. "Whew!" I sighed in relief, "No cops. How lucky. I can't believe I just did that." It truly was an accident. And I truly thought I'd gotten away with it. But Howard County couldn't care less that I didn't intentionally run a red light like most the Speedy Gonzaleses around here. Dang! There was nothing I could do but write them a check for $75. I'll think of it as community service.

You see, I'm not kidding that I'm having this relentless bad luck streak. My sister-in-law Judy emailed, "You're the only person I know that has gotten at ticket from a camera!" Naturally.

The sad thing is I only touch the tip of the iceberg of my bad luck in my blog. You would not believe the mountain of crapola I've had to deal with at my contract job over the past few months—and it's been enough to make me wish I'd never moved here to take that job. There are some malicious people out there, let me tell you. And it really sucks when you have to work with them. It's gotten to be way too much drama for me. But that's another story.

I admit, it's hard to not feel sorry for yourself at times like this. As my physical therapist (Lisa) in NY once said to me in a sing-songy restaurant hostess voice as I whinced in pain, "Pity party, party of one!" To this day her matter-of-fact statement makes me laugh. Once you put it that way, it's tough to keep taking it all too seriously. . . .

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Drowning in Bad Service

So the first floor of my house flooded last Wednesday, due to a hose bib bursting inward through the drywall of my downstairs bathroom on a 4-degree morning. See, living in Manhattan for 15 months ruined me for home ownership. I forgot to turn the valve off before winter began. I thought about it in Novemer but thought it was too early, then I simply forgot.

The water pumped furiously into the house for god knows how long—but long enough that it left an inch of standing water in the bathroom, standing water in the laundry, water running out through the garage down the driveway (that's what those streaks in the snow were!), and a completely soaked Berber carpet that lined the floor of my big rec room. So, no TV for a week. Aaaaagh.

I honestly didn't think it would take very long to get my rec room back to a TV-viewable state. I mean, I've never been flooded before. But this company that I'm dealing with, ServPro, has done everything in their power to prolong my agony. And where they couldn't screw this up, mother nature gladly kicked in to pick up the slack.

All of this happened just weeks after I finally finished getting my house "done" after the move to MD from NY (last January), starting a new job (February) the closing and moving (March), the decorating, deliveries and unpacking (April – June), the horrid contract job on the deck, fence and patio (June-July), the extensive landscaping (July-August), the measuring and installation of the window blinds (October), the structural repairs to the stairs (November), and the cleanup from that whole mess (December). I was finally done and could relax a bit.

So my house floods. Not to mention, the disaster happened just two days before I was expecting company for the weekend in my newly finished home. Now my nephews would have to sleep on the hard-wood floors instead of the Berber carpet.

Obviously, my luck hasn’t changed.

On Wednesday, the day of the disaster, ServPro gave me a two-hour window when they'd show up and start removing the water from the bottom floor of my house. They showed up hours late and didn't finish up until after 7:00PM. On Thursday they agreed to come out between 1 and 3PM the following Monday to put down new carpet pad and reinstall the Berber carpet. I made arrangements with my job to be home for that. I didn't think I could live through the weekend with the mess (furniture stacked up in the foyer, the TV all unplugged, bookshelves emptied and moved, Martin's litter boxes moved to the living room, no easy chair to come home and relax in, the carpet pulled up, and industrial fans and other equipment running all over the downstairs, etc.), but I decided Monday was better than later.

As usual, nothing works out like I plan. On Friday, after I'd left work, ServPro left me a voicemail message saying they had to cancel for Monday and reschedule. When I got the message, I thought I was going to have a cow. You have to understand how hard it is for us anal-retentives to live with things being undone or out of place. This was a living hell for me. By the time I tried to call them back, they were closed for the weekend. Of course.

This was reminiscent of the stair repair guy, who left me a message on a Friday night saying they were planning on setting up their wood saw in my garage the next Monday morning for the job that took them seven weeks to get right, even after coming over on four separate occasions to measure. There was no way I was going to let an electric saw be set up indoors, but I couldn't get a hold of the guy to tell him that he needed to come up with another plan of how to manage the saw in the Monday morning drizzle. I'd already made plans to be off work Monday morning. Sure enough, they covered every single item in my garage with saw dust. We won't even get into their failure to clean it up as promised and how the "clean-up" consisted of dumping dustpans of saw dust directly into my trash can instead of bagging it (which I discovered a week later).

Anyway, I did get a hold of ServPro on Saturday. At first they hemmed and hawed as to the reason for canceling my Monday appointment. Finally, I got a bitchy supervisor named Tammy on the phone who explained to me that because they had so many jobs lined up it was easier for them to go pick up all the padding at once. Easier for them. The fact that I'd rearranged my work schedule and my house was a mess and I couldn't watch "Grey's Anatomy" on Thursday wasn't of any concern to them. I even offered to go pick up my padding. She was steadfast in her denial of any request I made.

I nearly went ballistic. It didn't matter how much I begged, they weren't going to keep our appointment. I even told the girl, "Before I moved to Maryland, I've never lived any place where so many businesses cancel appointments on me." It truly is unbelievable here. She didn't care. She rescheduled me for 8:30AM today.

So, Sunday I dragged the huge heavy TV stand out of the bathroom across the unattached yet dry, lumpy carpeting downstairs, plugged in the TV and re-wired my A/V setup. Then I managed to somehow roll my easy chair into the rec room too. I had my "comfort zone" back. Somehow that made me feel better, and that was all I needed. I could now live with the mess knowing that "Brothers & Sisters" would get recorded on Sunday night.

On Monday, (after finding out that my immigrant mailman had returned all three of my W-2's and I couldn't do my taxes as planned), I called a plumber who agreed to come out between 12 and 4PM today to repair the busted pipe. I was all set. I even lined up a drywall guy for later. I was supposed to call him after the plumber left to tell him how big the new hole was, then we'd schedule time for me to miss more work for him to come out.

Tuesday morning it started snowing. The snow turned to sleet and ice in the afternoon, and the entire state of Maryland started closing down around 1:30PM. Schools and businesses closed. The laser hair clinic called to cancel my 6PM appointment. I left work at 3:00.

We were under a winter storm watch, and I knew exactly what that meant: my carpet would not be reinstalled today.

Sure enough, it sleeted and snowed all night and everything remained iced over and closed today. I awoke to the sound of ice pellets hitting the windows. It took me an hour just to shovel my driveway this afternoon in the 40-mph winds. Earlier in the day, when Tammy at ServPro called to cancel, I just laughed. We both laughed. In fact, neither of us could stop laughing for a minute. I'd already had my nervous breakdown on Saturday, and I had my favorite chair back, so I didn't care anymore.

Now I'm rescheduled for Friday 1-3:00. Plumber is rescheduled for that afternoon too. But I'm not holding my breath. Who knows what will happen next.

Gee, is hurricane season over?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Postman Doesn't Speak English

Several days ago my U.S. mail stopped showing up. It was things I was expecting on certain days—like my NetFlix movie rental DVDs and a leather check cover I'd ordered—that I was missing. Then nothing. Several days last week I received no mail at all. One day there was one of those USPS change-of-address packets in my mailbox, which left me dumbfounded. (If I'd moved away, what good would it do to have a COA kit in my mailbox where I didn't live anymore?)

I contacted NetFlix after spending a frustrating amount of time trying to locate their well-hidden customer service email address on their Web site to let them know that I wasn't getting my movies and, worse, I wasn't even getting the movies they were sending me to replace the movies I wasn't getting. They assured me that this was unusual and that I should use an alternate address. They suggested I rent a P.O. box.

OK, so the solution is to pay $150/year to rent a P.O. box, plus the usual $19/month for my NetFlix membership. On top of that, I'd then have to drive to the post office every time I wanted to pick up a movie. At that point, it's costing me nearly 40 bucks a month and a lot of extra trips to the overcrowded post office just to rent movies. Talk about missing the whole point of ordering movies online and getting them delivered to you.

Something was terribly wrong, and I needed to get to the bottom of it. The problem with the USPS is that they don't advertise the phone numbers for their post office locations; you have to call an 800-number and speak to Deloris in North Dakota if you want to complain. So I tried a couple other routes first. I went online to and located a complaint form. I wrote a letter on the form describing exactly which NetFlix shipments I was missing from which dates, etc. Even my mom had a letter returned to her three times as "undeliverable." I submitted the form and was informed that I'd receive a response within 48 hours. I finally did get a response via email two days later, stating they received my complaint and that I'd hear from someone within 48 hours. Geez.

So the online form is useless.

By Saturday I was quite concerned because no mail was arriving at all and I was worried that NetFlix was going to charge me for the four lost movies (which is now six movies, as of today). Monday when I came home from work, I had an empty mailbox again. It was a couple minutes before 5pm, so I called the 800-number and got Deloris (or whatever her name was). I explained everything to her. To my dismay, the postal service doesn't consider mail "missing" until it has been delayed by at least two weeks. Aaargh. That doesn't do me any good, except for the check cover that was now over three weeks late. Anyway, Deloris wrote it all down and said someone would contact me within 48 hours. (It's now been 51 hours with no word back.)

I also wrote a letter addressed to "postmaster general" at my zip code and shipped that off as well. So between email, US mail, and the phone, the postal service was going to get my message. Loud and clear.

Last night on a yellow index card I wrote a note to my mail carrier describing in detail which items (I knew of) were missing from my mail. I folded the card like a little tent, wrote "IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO MAIL CARRIER" using a red Sharpie on both sides, and left it in my skinny community mailbox.

This morning I was on the middle floor of my town home doing my usual morning routine and eyeing the snow that had blanketed the cars illegally parked in front of my home. I checked my work email while drinking my coffee and let my boss know I was going to come in an hour later than usual—after the rush-hour crazies were off the icy roads. Unbeknownst to me, the entire time I was doing those chores this morning, water was spewing through a hole in the drywall in my downstairs bathroom, flooding my entire first floor and garage. It had gotten down to about 4 degrees last night and a pipe had burst. (But that's another story.)

Thanks to the water damage in my home, I ended up stuck at home cleaning up, moving furniture, working part-time on my regular job, and waiting for the carpet-suckers (that would be the guys with the suction machines that extract water from inside your home) all day. Of course, I was given a two-hour window for the appointment: 1:00 to 3:00PM. And, not unlike the ever-elusive Cable Guy, they showed up at 5:23PM, (and only one of the two spoke English).

Hence, I was home when my mail carrier arrived around 2:00.

The mail carrier came up my driveway looking like a Chinese eskimo in his parka with the faux fur-trimmed hood framing his face. He immediately started spewing broken English at me. From what I surmised, he didn't understand that I still live here. Hence, he had taken it upon himself to make the decision to stop delivering mail to me.

The communication barrier was a difficult obstacle, but I managed to learn from him what had happened: You see, I don't like being on mailing lists. To get rid of junk mail, at least for stuff I don't want that's first class mail, I send it back. Thus, once in a while I'll take a piece of unwanted mail and mark it as "Refused. Return to sender. Please remove from mailing list. Thx." Having to pay the return postage usually deters marketing companies from sending me more junk mail. Anyway, I'd done this with an item from a realtor a couple weeks ago and had put the envelope in the outgoing slot of our community mailboxes.

According to my non-English-speaking mail carrier, "You put forwar' mail an' no live here no more." I was like, "No I didn't." He was spitting, "Yes! You move! You tell me you move!" I was like, "No I didn't." He was really upset. "You say no Steve here and forwar' Steven mail." I was like, "Nope, I don't know any Steve."

"Well who live here?" he asked, pointing to my house while standing in my driveway.

"I do."

"And you Sue-san?"

"Yes, I'm Susan."

"And you still live here?"

"Yes, and I still want my mail."

"So why you put "return to sen'er" on mail an' tell me you move?"

"I never did that. I put 'return to sender; refused; please remove me from your mailing list,' and you took that to mean I moved."

"But, but, but. . . you, you, you. . . .!"

The conversation went on like this for several minutes. I asked him what he did with all my NetFlix movies and the letter from my mom that she's sent three times now. "I sen' back! Return to sen'er."

I said, "So you took it upon yourself to stop delivering my mail because you thought I'd moved even though I never filed a forwarding address and was still putting mail in the outgoing box?"

"Yes. I put forward package and you no say not'ting to me." So, according to him, it was all my fault.

I put my face in my hands and just shook my head. I did this about three times during the entire conversation. By then, coatless, I was freezing. I asked him to please deliver all my mail and never return it to sender unless I tell him to.

We ended it with him assuring me that he'd give all future mail addressed to me to my boss. I was like "My boss? What do you mean my boss?" He said, "You want mail to go to boss." I looked at him like he was from another planet.

I swear, it took me five minutes to figure out he was trying to say he'd put my mail in my box.

I'd really like to see some of the questions they put on the postal exam.

I told my dad about it on the phone afterward and together we just can't figure out how my Chinese-speaking mail carrier passed the postal exam and managed to become employed with the U.S. government. I guess anyone can work for the federal government. Even those who can't read English are given the ultimate responsibility of delivering mail to the address that is printed on the envelope. . . in English.

So that answers that mystery. Now all my NetFlix movies will arrive but I won't be able to watch them because my TV stand (complete with all my A/V components) is now completely unplugged and residing in my downstairs bathroom, which earlier today was under 2" of water for about three hours.

I am frequently very unsure as to how I can go on in this insane world. In fact, every morning when the alarm goes off I wonder what's in store for me next and why even get out of bed?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Bumper-to-Bumper Red Tape

When I bought my year-old Ford Escape Hybrid on January 1, 2006, I also purchased a 6-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. I figured the warranty would be a good investment since it's a hybrid and only Ford dealers are qualified to service the hybrid parts.

On February 1st I dropped my car off at the Ford dealership in Columbia for an oil change. Why on earth would you go to the dealer for an oil change, you ask? Ah. This is because Jiffy Lube will no longer change the oil in my hybrid. According to district headquarters, the plastic cap that holds the tiny filter in place is breakable—and Jiffy Lube doesn't want to be liable for the $30 plastic part if they carelessly break it. Never mind that the local Jiffy Lube had changed my oil three other times last year without worry. But since that time, some corporate suit began thinking "liability alert" and handed down this stupid decision to deny service on Escape hybrids which, in effect, discriminates against hybrid owners. But that's not the story I'm here to tell today.

Anyway, since I was leaving the car at Ford for an oil change, (which takes 1.5 hours at the dealer as opposed to 20 minutes at jiffy Lube), I decided to ask them to replace the rear window seal that had a minor leak. I figured I may as well get the most from the extra grand or two I'd paid for my extended warranty. The guy at the service desk never smiled once, didn't tell me his name, and never offered me a business card. I assumed that this was due to the fact that it was about 29 degrees in the service bay where he was forced to sit on an uncomfortable stool all day. I asked him to call me when it was ready. My good friend Ed had stopped by to pick me up, and off to work we went.

By 3pm I still hadn't heard from Ford, so I called and left a message for my anonymous service guy. Turns out his name is Angel. Around 3:30 he left me a voicemail message to call him back. I finally got a hold of him at 3:45. The car wasn't ready yet. I thought silently, "They've had the car since 8:15. How long does it take to change the oil and replace a window seal?" According to Angel, he was still waiting on warranty approval. "You're kidding," I hoped.

Not kidding. As it turns out, effective February 1, 2007, the warranty company had imposed new strict requirements prior to approving any warranty work. The service guy was required to take digital photos of the car, the part needing repair, and the odometer. (Seriously!) Using a laptop and digital camera provided by the warranty company, the photos had to be uploaded and submitted with the usual extensive warranty paperwork. Angel wasn't happy about the new process; in fact, we both agreed it was pretty ludicrous. He told me that if I'd just come in the day before, there wouldn't have been any problem. Is this not typical of my bad luck, or what?

Angel wasn't able to get warranty approval in a timely manner, so the seal wasn't replaced, thus inconveniencing me (the customer) who made special arrangements to drop my car off that day and get a ride from and to the dealership.

You'd think the car would've been waiting and ready to go when I showed up at 4:45PM to pick it up, which is exactly when I said I'd be there. After all, they only did an oil change. Turns out, they had to order the window seal. Huh? This is the Ford dealership, not Don's Auto Repairs—isn't the Ford dealer supposed to stock Ford parts? Ugh. Thus, even with warranty approval, they couldn't have replaced the seal if they wanted to that day.

Finally, after several minutes of waiting for the "ticket" to appear through a glass window, Angel told me I could leave. I mentioned, "Don't you want me to pay for the oil change?" He was like, "oops!"

That's when the next problem arose. With the new system, he couldn't close out my ticket since there was a warranty part on order on the same ticket. Angel threw his hands up in the air when he realized this dilemma. He had to get help from one of the other service guys, then go back into the office to try to straighten out the ticket predicament. This took another 10 minutes. By the time I left, it had been nine hours since I'd dropped my car off for these two simple services, and only one of those had been finished. Wow. I admit, I miss Jiffy Lube.

This whole experience screams loudly that we have become such a litigious society that no one trusts anyone anymore. We can't lift a finger to do something for someone else without wondering, "Hmmm, who's liableif I screw this up?" Warranty companies now require digital photographs of the odometer? Please. It's pathetic. The warranty company has just increased the workload of the dealership service divisions ten-fold. More work means more time spent, and more time spent means costs go up. And guess who will ultimately pay the increase in costs? You got it—the consumer. You can expect your next warranty to cost a lot more money. (Sounds a lot like buying insurance, doesn't it?)

We know we're in trouble as a society when car dealerships start behaving like medical facilities, which are so overburdened by malpractice claims and the cost of malpractice insurance that a trip to the doctor costs more (and requires more paperwork) every year. I almost didn't go through with my Lasik surgery on Friday because the doctor required that I sign a form waiving my right to a trial in the event a dispute arises. I had to question the doc as to the legality of forcing me to sign a form denying me my constitutional right to a trial. They assured me that if I didn't sign, they weren't going to perform the surgery. What choice did I have, after all the time (and pay) I'd missed from work to make this surgery happen?

Alas, I signed, and I went through with the procedure. Sure, I never expected there to be any sort of problem resulting in the need for a trial. But that's not the point. I shouldn't have to give up any of my rights in order to go through elective surgery. I made it pretty clear that I was uncomfortable with what I thought could very well be an unconstitutional requirement.

Oh well, at least I can see clearly now—or, almost clearly, anyway. More on that later. Back to the Super Bowl where it's raining cats and dogs on the Colts and Bears in Miami.