Live Life Fully Covered

One of the best things you can do in life is to “Live Life Fully Covered.”

It’s time to just be honest and admit many bad things, gruesome tragedies and heart-rendering losses don’t always happen to “The Other Guy or The Other Woman.”

You Can Be “The Other Guy”

One day you could be “The Other Guy or The Other Woman” who;

  • Loses their husband or wife whose income helped meet mortgage payments, to cancer;
  • Suffers a life-changing heart attack which requires you to stay home to recuperate for six (6) months to a year or more;
  • During their prime working years finds themselves as the primary care-giver for a parent, other elderly relative, or even a sibling who lacks long-term care coverage;
  • Experiences the pain of  burying a child;
  • Watches as their house containing all their treasured belongings accumulated over a lifetime burns to the ground;
  • Comes home after a hard day at work to discover they’ve been burglarized;
  • Needs money to secure a new place to live while your home, co-op or condo is being rebuilt;
  • Gets sued by the cyclist, pedestrian or other driver who can prove you were at fault;
  • Gets sued by the cyclist, pedestrian or other driver who can’t prove you were at fault, but you must engage the services of an attorney to defend you against a baseless suit;
  •  Watches as their home is inundated by two (2) to ten feet of floodwaters even though you bought your home in a non-Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
  • Owns the sweet and gentle nice old dog walking off the leash who rears up and mauls or takes a bite out of your neighbor’s child;
  • Wonders who stole their new car;
  • Never gets their wedding and bridesmaid dresses because the bridal shop went out of business unannounced, and the owners didn’t return your deposit.

It doesn’t always happen to “The Other Guy or The Other Woman.” It’s also amazing how these types of tragedies frequently happen yesterday, last night or while you were thinking about taking action to put the proper coverage in force.

Can Life’s Tragedies Be Stopped?

You can’t stop life’s tragedies. You can, however, take intelligent, adult steps to control their outcomes using;

  • Life Insurance
  • Disability Insurance
  • Long Term Care Insurance
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Renters Insurance
  • Co-op Insurance
  • Condominium Insurance
  • Flood Insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Personal Umbrella Liability Insurance
  • Wedding Insurance

In over 37 years of helping my clients reach successful life outcomes using insurance and related financial services and products, I’ve realized for me it all comes down to one simple phrase:

“Live Life Fully Covered.”

I would be honored to help you reach your desired outcomes. Call me at 718-489-2218, or reach me by email at eustace@insuremeeg.com .

Let’s work together to make sure you “Live Life Fully Covered.”

Hurricane Season Preparation

There is no substitute for Hurricane Season preparation

With the 2019 hurricane season underway, we would like to remind you of the importance of preparing for potentially destructive storms. Here are some things you can do today, before a storm approaches, to help keep you and your family safe throughout the hurricane season.

How do Hurricane Watches and Warnings differ?

Understand the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A hurricane watch means that a hurricane may occur within the next 24 to 36 hours. A hurricane warning means that a hurricane will probably strike your area within the next 24 hours.

Prepare a storm survival kit.

  • A complete list of essential supplies is available on Ready.Gov.
    Certain preparations must also be made for disabled persons, senior citizens, and pets.
  • Taking any medications? Ask your pharmacist and physician for an increased prescription package so you will always have an additional 30 days of medication available in waterproof containers.
  • Make complete front and back copies of drivers licenses, identification cards, and all credit and affinity cards. Other important documents such as mortgages, deeds, birth and death certificates should be copied and the originals should stay in a safe deposit or a water and fireproof security chest.
  • Plan your evacuation route in advance of the storm.
    Arrange for a family or friend who lives far away from the danger zone to act as a central communications hub so family members who may be split up can call and confirm where they are and their condition.

Create Your Family Communication Plan

  • Establish a safe location for family members to reconnect.
    Make sure you have at least one credit card with the full credit limit available to you should you need to rent hotel or motel accommodations until you are able to return home.
    Secure storm shutters and board up all windows.
    •Stock up on drinking water and non-perishable goods.
    •Have a supply of batteries and be sure you have flashlights and a hand-chargeable portable radio in good working condition.
    •Keep your cars gas tank at least 3/4 full just in case you are forced to leave your home or town immediately.
  • Purchase a five-gallon gasoline or diesel fuel container (Yes, they are different. The gasoline containers are usually red in color, while the diesel containers are yellow.), and fill them at the first mention of a Hurricane Warning or Hurricane Watch to prevent the possibility of your running out of fuel.

Don’t Forget Your Flood Insurance

The typical home, dwelling fire,renters, co-op or condo insurance policies do not cover losses caused by a flood. And unless you’re buying your coverage for a closing, you will have to wait 30 days for your coverage to become effective, so purchase your flood insurance coverage today.

Please remember, we are here to help. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Check your local weather

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF is a New York State licensed independent agent and broker. parYou can reach him through email at eustace@insuremeeg.com, or by phone at 718-489-2218.

2017 New York State Insurance Continuing Education

“Take my advice and don’t wait until the week before your birthday to get your CE done. Trust me, somebody always dies, gets ill, needs a ride to the airport, has a house fire, or elopes with the village idiot. Look, for all we know, Godzilla is real, and about to do battle with Mothra this year. In various New York State locales. “

2017 New York State Insurance Continuing Education

And now, a message from your sponsor, Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., New State Licensed Continuing Education Exam Monitor on, “Your 2017 New York State Continuing Education Requirements for your New York State Life, Health, and Property Casualty Licenses.”
 

Your Birth Year Matters

If you are a New York State-licensed insurance agent or broker, and you were born in an odd year, say like, 2017,  (you know, your birth year ends with a one of the following: 1,3,5,7 or 9), you must complete at least 15 continuing education credit hours to keep your license or licenses active.

Take My Advice

Take my advice and don’t wait until the week before your birthday to get your CE done. Trust me, somebody always dies, gets ill, needs a ride to the airport, has a house fire, or elopes with the village idiot.  Look, for all we know, Godzilla is real, and is about to do battle with Mothra this year. In various New York State locales.

And there’s no strain like the strain of trying to complete those hours through self-study, only to find out your must engage the services of a state-licensed proctor like myself.

And that is for a fee.
 
For each exam.
 
Pass or fail.
 
You really don’t want to fail.
 
Word to the wise, begin preparation to meet your CE requirements as soon as possible. It is so much easier to set aside study time each day, instead of trying to hide from the world for a week to get the knowledge in your brain.
 
So, should you choose to get your hours in through self-study, you will need a proctor.  Call me, Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF for an available testing time. My contact number is 718-783-7209, and my email is Eustace@insuremeeg.com.
 
Looking forward to hearing from you.
 
At least a month before we have to sing, “Happy Birthday.”
 
 

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF is an independent insurance agent and broker based in Brooklyn, NY. Call him today at 718-783-2722 to make an appointment for your personal insurance review of your home, auto, flood, renters, coop, condo, life and disability insurance policies.

You can also reach Eustace with an email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com.

Family Quarter Conversations

I can only imagine the scene in the Family Quarters of the White House last night. Barak has dried Michelle’s tears, (or, more likely, she’s dried his), and they are hugging each other.

I can only imagine the scene in the Family Quarters of the White House last night. Barak has dried Michelle’s tears, (or, more likely,  she’s dried his), and they are hugging each other.

There’s a soft knock at the door, and their two beautiful daughters come into their bedroom, sitting on the edge of the bed.

“Daddy, does America really hate you so much?”

” Seems so sweetie.”

“Why Daddy?”

“I guess racial hatred makes America just not really ready for prime time yet kiddo.”

Their conversation is interrupted by another knock at the door.

“That had better not be Joe,” President Obama joked.

The door opened and Grandma walked in. Wearily, she walked over to the sitting chair, and sat down .

She looked over to her family, taking in the sight.

“Barak?”

“Yes Mom?”

“How they like you now?”

Silence.

“And Barak?”

“Joe is outside. He needs a hug too.”

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr. is, most importantly, a Father. A Father who is praying for an America which has lost it’s way. 

Wheel Locks, Wherefore Art Thou?

One of my neighbors, seeing the precautions I’d taken for a then ten-year-old car with dents and rust made some derisive comments about wasting money on protecting something so old and out of date. I responded by asking him whether his wife still carried life insurance on his old and out of date self, which shut him up.

Wheel Locks, Wheel Locks, My Rims For A Set of Wheel Locks!

In a recent BrooklynDaily.com article, residents of the Bay Ridge community were crying the blues because of an uptick in the number of stolen tires and rims from their cars (http://www.brooklyndaily.com/stories/2016/36/br-rim-thefts-in-ridge-2016-08-26-bk.html?utm_source=20160829&utm_medium=email&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=newsletter). My question to the residents of the affected communities is a simple one: What, you never heard of wheel locks? How could you even think about parking any car on any street in New York City without wheel locks on each wheel? Since most criminals want to steal as quickly and simply as possible, the simple installation of one wheel lock on every wheel will solve the problem of stolen tires and rims quickly.

I remember the night I purchased the Subaru, the first accessory purchases I made were a set of wheel locks, and  a Club and Club Shield for the steering wheel from my local Auto Zone store.

The Nosy Neighbor

One of my neighbors, seeing the precautions I’d taken for a then ten-year-old car with dents and rust made some derisive comments about wasting money on protecting something so old and out of date. I responded by asking him whether his wife still carried life insurance on his old and out of date self, which shut him up.

Even a Mercedes baby, even a Mercedes
Even a Mercedes baby, even a Mercedes

Two days later, he came out of the house to find his car on blocks.

Three weeks later, after replacing the stolen rims and tires, the thieves didn’t go half-way.

They stole his car.

No, he lacked both wheel locks and a Club and Shield. Strange his Super-Duper, Organic Passive alarm neither sounded or protected his vehicle.

Some More Thefts

Two other tire thefts in my neighborhood come to mind when I think of the power of wheel locks to keep your wheels on your car.

I’d taken my daughter to meet her school bus at the intersection of Glenwood Road and East 18th Street. While parking my car, I noticed a brand-new, straight off the lot Nissan Maxima, well, not even on blocks. The wheel thieves added the ultimate indignity of leaving the car on the ground after stealing the wheels.

While I took pictures of this vehicle, the owner, a young woman, angrily asked me why I was taking pictures of her car. I responded, “Are you kidding? Your car is on the ground. Why didn’t you ask the dealer to install wheel locks on your car? Forget that, why didn’t you install your own wheel locks?”

“I bought wheel locks. My boyfriend told me to park on a safe block and my car would be all right for one night. He’s on his way with replacement rims and tires so I can get to work”

I am so glad I wasn’t him.

Just this past summer, I went for a Sunday afternoon walk, only to come upon another brand-new vehicle on bricks.

I Should've Bought Those Wheel Locks
I Should’ve Bought Those Wheel Locks

At least they put it on bricks.

Now the avenue where the car was parked has constant traffic at all hours of the day and night. It is also one of those streets where the police patrol constantly.

These thieves were good, but not that good. With the help of the local community and their barking dogs, the officers from the local precinct caught at least five of the thieves in the act of stealing rims and tires four (4) days later. This group of thieves worked in a six-man team, with two (2) driving cars, and the other four taking one wheel each on the target vehicle.

So, to my friends in Bay Ridge, and every other neighborhood, buy wheel locks. So what if they don’t look that good. At least you’ll still have your rims and tires.

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF,  is an independent insurance agent and broker and income tax preparer  based in Brooklyn, NY. Call him today at 718-783-2722 to make an appointment for your personal insurance review of your home, auto, flood, renters, coop, condo, life and disability insurance policies.

You can also reach Eustace  by sending him an email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com.

 

8 Tips To Save Money On Your Auto Insurance

Many companies will charge more for an auto insurance policy if you cannot show evidence of being currently insured for at least one (1) to three (3) years prior to your application …

Ah, as the cool nights of autumn become the, well, the warm days of winter, and holiday joy becomes the pain of looming credit card payments, you, like many others, may begin an annual search of finding ways to save money on everything from the cellular phone bill to food. Let me help with these 8 ways to save money on your auto insurance.

1. Many companies will charge more for an automobile insurance policy if you cannot show evidence of being currently insured for at least one (1) to three (3) years prior to your application. So, even if you don’t own an automobile, consider the purchase of a Non-Owned Automobile Insurance Policy. You can also join an organization like ZipCar for about $19.00 each month, which includes liability coverage limits of $300,000. Either way, you can save thousands of premium dollars.

2. Take a Point and Insurance Reduction Class. You’ll automatically
qualify for a 10% discount on your personal liability, no-fault and collision
coverages. And make sure your children, and anyone else who regularly drives your car (and is hopefully listed on your automobile insurance policy as a driver),
takes the class.

3. If you have children in high school, and they are trying to choose between a college  88 miles away, and another one at least 100 miles away, choose the school at least 100 miles away. As long as both schools offer similar need-based tuition plans, you will save money by sending your offspring just another 10 or so miles away. Why? Many companies offer a “Student Away At School” discount, and depending on the company, you premium will either not increase, or only suffer a small increase.

You child must simply go to school at least 90 miles away from home.

4. If you have high-schoolers on your current family policy, encourage them to maintain at least a “B” average, so you will qualify for the Good Student discount. And they still get to live indoors.

5. Purchase your automobile and home, renter, condo or coop policies
from the same company. You’ll qualify for multi-policy discounts, which can
save you at least 10% on each policy.

6. Before you actually purchase a car, call your agent and ask them to give you the symbol for the vehicles you are considering. One young lady was going to purchase a car with the letters “XL” in the model name. I told her the model with only an “L” was two symbols lower, which would result in much lower comprehensive and collision insurance premiums. The major difference between the two models of the same car? One had sun visors with extensions, and the other did not. So, she purchased the “L” model, ordered the fancier sun visors from the dealership, and installed them herself, saving a ton of money on her auto insurance.

7. Improve your insurance credit score. The higher your insurance
credit score, the lower your premium will be. And do everything you can to
avoid having any of the “Five Deadly Insurance Credit Score Sins” on your credit report in the last five years.

The “Five Deadly Insurance Credit Score Sins”are:

a. Foreclosures

b. Judgments

c. Repossession

d. Bankruptcy, or filed for bankruptcy

e. Liens

Always remember, ‘the higher your insurance credit score, the lower your premium’ and the reverse, ‘ the lower your insurance credit score, the higher your premium.’ Any of the “Five Deadly Insurance Credit Score Sins” can hurt your chances of qualifying for a lower automobile insurance rate.

8. Lastly, whatever you do, never, never, never let your automobile
insurance, or any insurance policy for that matter, lapse due to the
non-payment of premium. This alone will disqualify you for coverage with
many preferred companies for several years.

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF is an independent insurance agent and broker based in Brooklyn, NY. Call him today at 718-783-2722 to make an appointment to check your home, auto, flood, renters, coop, condo, life and disability insurance policies.

You can also reach Eustace by sending an  email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com.

 

3 Reasons To Dislike Quoting Auto Insurance

What is the company’s name? (Word to the wise, many auto insurance companies will not write a policy for someone coming out of an indemnity company. Think New York Automobile Insurance Plan with a fancy name attached. Another reason to always ask which company you’re being written in and whether or not this is an indemnity company. Better to pay an exorbitant premium for a year or two, and then, all things considered, move into a less expensive company within that company’s family of companies.)

The New Realities of Quoting Auto Insurance

Now, don’t get me wrong, my profession is providing and servicing personal lines insurance, including auto insurance, and I love my profession. Over three decades as an insurance agent and broker, I’ve come to realize, however,  there are three main reasons I dislike quoting auto insurance for strangers calling on the phone who are just shopping around for the cheapest automobile insurance quote they can get.

Reason number 1:

Too many people are under the impression that just because they can fog up a mirror, they are entitled to buy good, cheap auto insurance whenever they want, no matter  their driving history.

So what if they have moving violations, haven’t ever been insured to drive a car, have a suspended or revoked license, or just had same reinstated?

So what if their father once put several cars under their child’s name, and on their child’s auto insurance policy, cars driven by other people who collected accidents like leaches suck blood?

So what if there are three tombstones in the local cemetery directly attributable to their inability to control a vehicle?

So what if they have a DUI, DWI, or DWAI in the last ten (10) years?

You see, their cousin has insurance with your company, and they pay a low premium so you should give me a better rate.

They don’t realize their cousin has done all the right things throughout their driving career to earn that premium.

Reason number 2:

Now, providing anyone with a quote will, in the best of circumstances, take at least 20 to 30 minutes. So now I open with a series of qualifying questions, the same questions I will need answered to develop an automobile insurance quote. Some of them are;

What is your date of birth? Your Social Security number?

What kind of work do you do? How long have you done this type of work?

What is the name of your employer? How long have you worked there? What’s the address of the firm?

Have you ever had your driver’s license suspended or revoked? If so, which one, for how long, and when did you regain the privilege to drive? (Word to the wise, many companies will automatically disqualify you for these transgressions. Come on, be honest, would you loan your car to a friend with a lousy driving record? Yet you want insurance companies to insure you?)

How long have you been continuously licensed in the United States?

How long have you had auto insurance in your name, or been insured under someone else’s policy? (If you’ve neither owned a policy nor been insured under someone else for as little as one week you will pay a higher premium.)

How long have you been insured with the other auto insurance company? (If you’ve had a license for 15 years, but never owned a car, only rented when you had to, you will pay a higher premium.)

What is the company’s name? (Word to the wise, many auto insurance companies will not write a policy for someone coming out of an indemnity company. Think New York Automobile Insurance Plan, (NYAIP), with a fancy name attached. Another reason to always ask which company you’re being written in and whether or not this is an indemnity company. Better to pay an exorbitant premium for a year or two, and then, all things considered, move into a less expensive company within that company’s family of companies.)

How many and what kinds of accidents were you involved in during the last five (5) years? (Word to the wise, having two or more “incidents” involving either accidents or moving violations during the last two (2) to three (3) years will make you ineligible for insurance with many companies, forcing you to go into the NYAIP for what I call rehabilitation.)

While we’re on the topic, how many moving violations, and how many points have you accumulated during the last five (5) years?

Recently a young man from Baldwin, NY called my office for a quote.First, he called and didn’t leave a number, so I used my caller ID to call him back. He asked me if I was Travelers, and I informed him my agency is an independent insurance agency associated with Travelers. Then, came the dreaded request of “I want a quote.”

So I began to ask him my qualifying questions, and  he hesitated (always a bad sign) when I asked him if his license had ever been suspended and/or revoked (it had been). To top it off, he hadn’t been insured for over 5 months, was under the age of 25, and unmarried.

So, informing him my main companies wouldn’t insure him, I prepared a New York Automobile Insurance Plan quote for him. He only asked for liability on a relatively new automobile, and simply hung up when I gave him the premium.

Not even so much as a goodbye.

He could afford to buy the car. Can’t afford to insure it.

You can click here to see a copy of my Auto Insurance Quote Worksheet.

Reason number 3:

You see, just because you can buy a car doesn’t mean you can afford to insure it.

You can buy a car with no money down, but  you can’t buy auto insurance without making at least a minimum downpayment. Owning a car means you must maintain it, keep it insured, and avoid parking it on the wrong side of the street on alternate days. My clients usually call me before they buy a new car based on the year, make and model, so they will have a good idea of what their new budget will look like. That’s when I love to quote auto insurance, when it’s a client or a client referral on the phone. Those referred to me are usually fully compliant with all the questions, and it’s just a matter of getting the information into the computer.

So, you shouldn’t get mad at me because you now own, or are trying to pick up some beauty from the lot, and the insurance is too high for you.

Suggestions?

Suggestion number 1:

If you don’t own a vehicle, buy a Non-Owned Automobile Insurance policy from say, me. Then when you do purchase a car, you will be able to answer “how long have you been continuously insured” question satisfactorily. Purchase your renters, condo, coop, or homeowners insurance from say, me, and you’ll not only realize discounts on both policies, you stand a better chance of a great rate when you are ready to own a car.

Suggestion number 2:

You can join a car-share program like Zipcar, and take advantage of being insured under their policy until you buy your own Non-Owned policy, or buy your own car.

Suggestion number 3:

Lastly, you can speak to a family member about being placed on their policy. WARNING! WARNING! Don’t take offense if they are hesitant to do this. Remember, should you cause or be involved in an accident, (see Reason number 1), this will affect their premium, and perhaps their own insurability for up to five (5) years. Get moving violations and this will affect their premium. And God forbid you get arrested for a DUI after causing an accident which leads to the death of the other driver or their passenger or the passenger in your car. Your family member could stand to lose everything they’ve worked for, just to help you out.

For my money, I’d use suggestions numbers one and two. Just safer that way.

So, in closing, be ready to establish a relationship with an independent agent, and do what you need to do today to guarantee a great automobile insurance rate tomorrow.

For 33 years, the last 20 of those operating his own financial services agency, Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF has enjoyed providing his clients with the personal lines insurance coverages, income tax services, and defensive driving workshops they need to better their financial lives. 

Call him at 718-783-2722, or send him an email to Eustace@insuremeeg.com for a competitive quote for all of your insurance needs.

And please, don’t make fun of him if he groans when you say, “I’d like a quote.”

New York City’s Three Rivers

This, unfortuately is when any business and property owners and renters learn they have absolutely no coverage for the foot or two of water which found it’s way into their living spaces.

What, you think Pittsburgh is the only town with three rivers? Trust me, New York City’s three rivers can beat that!

I couldn’t think of a better way to introduce my BrooklynCovered.com series on Flood Insurance, than using the actual example of what happened during and after a water main break on the night of July 31, 2015.

It proved what Rich Slevin of H2O partners, America’s  leading Flood Insurance education providers loves to say:

“If it can rain there, it can flood there.”

The series will answer questions about, but not limited to:

  • What is a flood?
  • What is a FIRM (and no, it’s not a new fitness gym)?
  • What does a flood insurance policy cover?
  • Why doesn’t my homeowners insurance policy cover flood?
  • What’s an Elevation Certificate?
  • What does Remapping have to do with me?
  • What’s this mandate I keep hearing about?
  • What are the requirements I must meet to buy a Preferred Risk Policy?

and other aspects of this little-understood, but oh so necessary coverage.

Our story begins on the evening of July 31, 2015. It was a peaceful, warm and pleasant summer’s night, when suddenly, all hell broke loose.  A twelve-inch (12″) water main burst at the intersection of Flatbush and St. Marks Place at or around 8 pm, shutting down train, bus and car traffic beneath, on, and through the Flatbush Avenue corridor from Grand Army Plaza, all the way down to just before the Barclay’s Center complex.

While the MTA, National Grid, and Consolidated Edison worried how this would affect their subways, gas and electrical services, businesses along Flatbush Avenue, and homeowners and renters on Saint Marks, Prospect Place, and even Bergen and Dean Streets  were even more concerned about how much, if any, water would wind up in their basements and garden level apartment spaces.

This,  unfortunately is when any business and property owners and renters learn they have absolutely no coverage for the foot or two of water which found its way into their living spaces.

So before we begin the Flood Insurance series in earnest, take a minute to watch a brief video of what lies beneath a typical new york city street.

What lies beneath. Sounds like a monster movie.


While I will do my best to work through the intricacies of flood insurance first, I will be touching on other subjects in the coming months. I plan to have Tax Tuesdays, Flood Insurance Fridays, and other insurance and defensive driving posts the rest of the week.

Stay dry,

Eustace

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., is a New York State licensed insurance broker, qualifying income tax preparer, and defensive driving instructor. He is based in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn, with most of his clients residing in the Downstate New York Region. You can reach him at his office by telephone, 718-78–2722, or by email, Eustace@insuremeeg.com .

 

Just One Last Chance

Then, once they discover the joy of sitting, reading, and pondering life, you suffer through the dreaded, ” I’ve got to go and she’s not giving up the seat!” times. And the lady at the supermarket laughs and says, “How many rolls of toilet paper this week, sweetie?”

Okay, am I nuts or what? You go through all of this for just one last chance?

They emerge from their mother, a bundle of joy who will have you lugging home bundles of Pampers, wipes, and cases of formula, and waking up at 3 am (or faking you’re asleep), for a few years. Not to mention keeping the national economy going by keeping your wallet empty.

And you tell yourself, one day, oh one day, I won’t have to do this anymore.

Then comes the dreaded toilet training, with the cries of “No, no! You just want to drown me! Mommy! Mommy, You’d better get in here quick because Daddy’s wants me to drown me in the toilet bowl!!” Then, once they discover the joy of sitting, reading, and pondering life, you suffer through the dreaded, ” I’ve got to go and she’s not giving up the seat!” times. And the lady at the supermarket laughs and says, “How many rolls of toilet paper this week, sweetie?”

And you tell yourself, “One day I shall regain the throne!”

Then you learn you have to lock the bathroom door when taking a shower when she comes in and rips the curtain back while you’re showering, just to see what you’re doing in there.

My downstairs neighbor still laughs about how I ” … screamed like a girl,” that night.

I mean, I thought she was asleep. She was supposed to be asleep.

That’s okay, you think, for one day I won’t have to lock the bathroom door, or wear a suit of armor while I’m relaxing at home.

Then comes the first day of “Big School”, a.k.a. kindergarten, and then Middle School. Before you know it, it’s on to high school, and the AP’s, PSAT’s and SAT’s and ACT’s and college applications. Then, one day in late March, they find out who accepted them (thankfully, the one she wanted the most said yes). And on a glorious day in June, you sit back at a long-anticipated high school commencement, hearing her name and watching her cross the dais as she collects her diploma.

And you say to yourself, “In just three months I will be dropping her off to college, and I get the apartment, the throne, the TV, everything, back! Ha ha! Mine, mine, mine!”

The day arrives when you take her to college. You tote luggage up three (3) flights of stairs (no elevator). You meet the roommates she’ll be seeing more than you for the next four (4) years, and attend meeting after meeting until, some Dean says, “Okay parents, you have 15 minutes to say goodbye to your kids. The rest of this meeting is just for them. Go home now.”

And one guy in the audience says, “I’m not going anywhere without my child,” and you realize everyone is looking at you.

I guess I did say it.

Dean was lucky I believe in a God that forgives.

So, you leave the campus (accompanied by the campus police, just because you tried to kidnap your own child and bring her back home with you), doing 90 on I-95, hoping you’ll be pulled over, so you can tell the State Trooper we have to go back to the college, because they kidnapped my child.

Yes, itt actually happened. I will never the forget the look on the campus police officer as he said, “Release the Yalie, sir. Time for you to go home.”

He’d better be glad I believe in a forgiving God.

But it didn’t work. You make great time getting home though. Back to having the throne room to yourself. Not having to lock the bathroom door. Watching whatever you want to watch. Walk around the apartment any way you want to.

You shed a tear, wishing you had just one last chance to change a diaper, or stumble out of bed for the 3 am feeding and review of world events.

Just one.

And you count the days until she comes home for Thanksgiving Break, because it’s no fun having it all to yourself.

“Daddy, God Is Crying”

We drove home, and the next morning when I went to call the client to tell him I would be late, I discovered I’d failed, in my rush to pack up the office and go home, to put the file in my bag.

9/11

Thirteen years ago today, I had an appointment to write a new client a Renters Insurance policy. His office was located in one of the Towers. The appointment was for 8:30 am.

9/10

I never made it to the appointment, because the night before, Ashley and Debbie (may she forever rest in peace), were involved in a collision at the Empire Boulevard McDonald’s at the drive through. The car in front of them, having left the drive-though window, suddenly reversed and ran into them. Why? Because the unlicensed driver, driving her aunt’s uninsured car without the aunt’s permission, was angry that her order was wrong.

They were both okay, but later that evening as I stood in front of the Met Supermarket taking pictures with a camera, a hot rain began to fall. It was as though a monsoon swept through the area.

“Daddy, God is crying”

Soaked to the skin, and angry about the accident, I got in the car and prepared to drive, when from her car seat, seven-year-old Ashley said, “Daddy, God is crying.”

My immediate response, “Yeah well right now, I’m crying too. I’m going to be late for the appointment, I have to take the car to the shop … wait, what did you say?”

“Daddy, God is crying.”

I looked at her mother, whose eyes were just as wide as mine.

“Why baby?”

“I don’t know why. I just know God is crying. I guess he’s really sad.”

We drove home, and the next morning when I went to call the client to tell him I would be late, I discovered I’d failed, in my rush to pack up the office and go home, to put the file in my bag.

By the time, I dropped them off at work and school, and left the car with Ernie, our mechanic, it was already 8:00 am, so I knew I was probably going to lose the case. I decided to go to the monthly PA President’s meeting at the District 22 office.

When I arrived at the District Office, I understood why God cried.

And the client I was supposed to meet? He woke up late, and came out of the train station, only to join thousands running from the site. As he ran, looking back to the floors where his company and friends were burning, he said to himself, “I hope that insurance guy made it out okay.”

My assignment wasn’t up.

11/11/02

I couldn’t understand why until one year and one month later, when Debbie died, leaving me a single parent to care for our child. Ashley and I cried.

So I still thank God for sending us the accident the night Ashley said, “Daddy, God is crying.”

Take a moment today and tell someone you love them, you cherish them, you value them, and they bring joy to your life.

You may never get another chance for a last kiss and hug.