• You Haven’t Heard the Last of My Soggy Saga

    by Debra DeAngelo

    And you thought you’d heard the last of my ramblings about being flooded out of my home last fall. And you were wrong again.

    If you were swept into my soggy saga, you may remember that the story ended with praise being heaped lavishly upon one Vickie Adams, my AAA adjuster. She truly was an angel, and calmly unwound me from around the anxiety axle on more than one occasion. She repeatedly assured me that everything would be okay — as good as before, if not better. And, in the end, she spoke the truth. Everything was repaired or replaced to my satisfaction. And that’s no easy task, because almost nothing on this earth meets my satisfaction.

    Besides being completely satisfied with my insurance company, I was hugely impressed with Vickie. She made me feel like I was her only customer — like I was the center of the universe. Which I am. But I didn’t know anyone else realized that.

    Vickie’s calm, concerned voice on the telephone was my lifeline during 10 weeks of flood-induced homelessness, and the high-speed demolition and reconstruction of my house. She went above and beyond the call of duty for me, and I wanted to do the same for her. I wrote a column about her, but it wasn’t enough. So, I emailed her supervisor and told her all about the wonderfulness of Vickie, and recommended a year’s salary for a bonus and that Vickie should be the standard to which all the other adjusters could hope to compare.

    I got a nice email back from Vickie’s supervisor, and thought that was that. Then a few weeks later, I get a call from AAA headquarters, with more questions about my experience with Vickie. I was happy to sing Vickie’s praises. And I reminded them about that bonus.

    A few more weeks, and AAA’s advertising department calls, asking if I’d be willing to have my story recorded for a radio commercial. Sure. Why not. AAA spent over $60,000 repairing my house. They helped me out, so I’ll help them out. It’s good karma.

    So, a week or so ago, I walked into One Union Recording Studio in San Francisco and who’s there in the recording booth? My AAA angel, Vickie. I finally got to see the face that went with the voice on the telephone. So that’s what angels look like!

    They were also recording Vickie’s side of my flooding story that day too, and I wondered if she said something like, “Debra was the neediest, whiniest nutjob I’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with and I’d rather hurl myself into traffic than be in the same building with her.” But no, true to form, Vickie relayed her feelings about how she seeks to support her clients emotionally, and felt bad that she couldn’t do more for them.

    Like what – come over and rock us in the chair, and feed us cookies and stroke the hair back on our wittoh heads?

    (Could you?)

    When it was my turn, they placed a huge, round microphone in front of me, and I rambled on about this and that while this really sweet guy asked me questions. I figured he was just loosening me up and the recording would begin soon, but it turns out, that WAS the recording process! Which was brilliant, because afterwards, they asked me to read from a script, and I pretty much mangled that.

    Apparently the folks behind the one-way mirror who were listening and recording the session wanted me to say some things over because I kept smacking the microphone with my Italian hands, and I guess that’s a recording studio party foul.

    I was handed a short list of my own statements, and I read each one with all the vim and verve of a dead possum. Turns out, I’m just fine rattling things off the top of my head or the tips of my fingers, whichever the case may be. But when I have to actually concentrate on the words, I unravel. Sort of like concentrating on walking. You start tripping all over yourself.

    Example: They wanted me to say, “I’m Debra DeAngelo and this is my Triple A story” for the commercial’s opening. Now, how many attempts do you suppose it takes to say that without botching it or sounding like I have a pipe jammed up a place that we don’t talk about in the newspaper? Enough times to, say, make a sound editor behind a one-way mirror slowly bang his head against the wall and wish he’d gone into catfish farming instead?

    “’I’m am Demra Dee Angello, and this are me my Trooplay story’… sorry, lemme try again… ‘I’m Debra DeDangle…’ Rats. ‘I am Debra DeAngelo and this is my Triple A history.’ Crap. Sorry. ‘I’mDebraDeAngeloandthisismyTripleAstory.’”

    Pant pant pant.

    One more time? OK.

    “’I’m Debra DeAngelo and…’ oops sorry, smacked the microphone again…”

    Let it be known that the people at One Union Recording Studio are fine, patient human beings. The fact that they let me live is proof.

    Anyway, they’re gleaning bits and pieces from my yammering, and blending them with Vickie’s and turning it into a radio commercial that airs this summer. So, if you hear it, yes, it’s really me; yes, that’s really my story; and yes, Vickie is an angel. In fact, “AAA” should stand for Angel Angel Angel.

    Dang. Wish I’d said that in the recording session. No matter. I probably would’ve said Dangle, Dangle, Dangle anyway.

    • I was thrilled to hear that an insurance company actually did it’s job right and with empathy and that you didn’t have to hire your own lawyer to help you get what was needed. Makes me want to switch to AAA but what are the chances here in LA I would get Vicki? Great story with a happy ending.

    • Fantastic! What a wonderful experience Debra.
      I felt that way about the Red Cross- they were my angels when my house burned down years ago. It’s great that you gave credit where it was due. I hope vickie gets that bonus!!!

      • Christy

      • March 6, 2011 at 9:16 am
      • Reply

      It’s so hard to do things on cue like that. When Steve and I did that Mercy Merced commercial when I was pregnant we had 2 lines…2 LINES..and it took 5 hours to film!! Part of it taking so long had to do with lighting/sound/visionary issues, but I kept blinking…and blinking…and then keeping my eyes open like a crazy loon! I said many times after that experience I could never imagine doing an entire film!! You’re not the only boof…You shine at writing, I shine at nursing…all is right in the world.

      • Jesse

      • March 6, 2011 at 1:03 pm
      • Reply

      I knew you could do it!

    • restores my faith…
      THANK YOU.

    • Dangle, dangle, dangle.
      Thanks for the feedback, guys! 🙂

      • Theresa

      • March 6, 2011 at 6:48 pm
      • Reply

      You’d be surprised how many telemarketers have called in my childhood and asked for “Mr. or Mrs. Dangle-o” 😉

      I am so glad that the whole ordeal is SETTLED and that this soggy saga IS over, and all that’s left is the gratitude for a good support system!

    • Hahaa, Debra, you kill me! It makes me almost glad you got flooded out, (okay I am glad- but I know it is wrong), just to get this story.


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