with a twist...


I still listen to his music quite often. Almost every day. As a matter of fact, the last time we chatted, which I can't even remember the date, but he kept hanging up on me, when he came on line I had been listening to his music. But I didn't tell him. It seemed pointless.

I'm starting this on Monday night, but I don't know if I'll get it finished tonight or not.

Last night the phone rings. Sunday night. Mother's Day. It's the young lawyer who rents space in my office building. He's at home.

They don't have the Internet at home, I guess. But, I thought he did. Previously he told me he couldn't access his office e-mail from home, which to me, at the time, meant that he had Internet, but not e-mail. Of course, I tried to explain to him how he could get his office e-mail at home, but he didn't want to hear anything about it.

So anyway, he calls and wants to know if I could look something up on the Internet for him. Uh, okay. They had major water flooding in their basement over the weekend. Two feet of standing water. Lots of damage, but the main thing he was concerned about was his books. He had books in boxes on the basement floor. He wanted me to search the Internet to see if there was anything out there about saving water damaged books. Uh, okay. I get his phone number and tell him I'll call him back.

Not so amazingly, a quick search at Google of the words "water damaged books" turns up thousands of web pages.

I glance over the first few pages:

and called him back. The details of the conversation that followed are pretty much inconsequential.

So, this morning when I arrive at the office, I see the Head exiting the building. As I'm trying to cross the street (to get to the other side), and as he's getting in his car to go to court, he yells to me to call the insurance agent. He further yells that we had two feet of water in the basement over the weekend and the files (closed files in storage) are all ruined. As I'm finally able to cross the street, he tells me to tell the agent that we've had contents and structural damage. As an afterthought, he tells me to call a plumber and get pipes installed in the four sewer holes in the basement floor. And then he tells me that the young lawyer who rents space in our building called him at home last night and told me about the water. Hmm, this sounds vaguely familiar. But before I could ask the Head anything about the phone call, he was in his car and gone.

The first thing I did after I turned on my computer was to call the insurance agent. He wasn't in, but I left a detailed voice mail message for him, explaining everything the way the Head explained it to me.

I wanted to discuss this with the young lawyer who rents space in our office, but he had a client in with him. So, I then headed down to the basement to check the damage. As I took one step down the stairs, I could see that there had been minimal water in the basement, if any. There's a little room to the left of the foot of the stairs that has plywood walls. I could see about two inches of moisture on the wood. And the floor was dry except for some dampness in the low lying areas. Even when we were getting the outpouring from the cistern, we never had more than an inch or two of water. The files are up on pallets on cinder blocks and they've never gotten wet. I didn't even go all the way down the stairs. I went back to my desk and started working.

Shortly thereafter, the young lawyer who rents space in our office became available, so I went back there to talk to him. First, I asked him if he came to the office after I talked to him on the phone last night. "No," he said. I told him that the Head had me call the insurance agent because he got a call from him (the young lawyer) saying that we had two feet of water in the basement. Then the young lawyer tells me that he called the Head to get my phone number and when the Head wanted to know why, the young lawyer tells the Head about all the water damage he had at home and the books and the Internet and stuff. But the Head never heard anything beyond all the water damage. The Head thought the young lawyer meant our office building.

There's a little more to the story, but not really worth relating. Just suffice to say, it was left up to me to explain to the Head the whole thing and what really happened. And, it was left up to me to tell the insurance agent when he called to disregard my call.

Now, here's the thing I'm thinking. I thought about charging the young lawyer that rents space in my office for my time and effort on the Internet research. But I decided against it because one time I solicited free legal advice from him. So, now were even on that score.

Such is the life of a legal secretary. Not too glamorous, is it?

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L.M. Carnes 2002.

All content herein owned by L.M. Carnes unless otherwise noted.