Syracuse’s Last Laugh

The best thing about being an event planner is this acute perception of the larger world. The reason is because one has to plan for anything and everything. If something goes wrong, there must be a Plan B. So, needless to say that when it came time to move from Syracuse to New York City, I had to make sure that I had a plan in place to make sure that I can survive until pay day…even if that pay day is on Halloween.

If you recall, I made my announcement on August 8th and I left Syracuse on September 16th. I had about 4-5 weeks to plan my return. I needed to make sure my move was carefully planned with the packing of all my stuff and the throwing away of the things I didn’t want. I also had ensure where I was going to stay and make sure, as well as have enough money to survive. All these things were done and I thought of everything, at least, that is what I thought.

I knew a while ago that once I leave SU that I was going to have to take money out of my 403b. I needed to be able to replace an lost income so I can do things like eat. I would hate to have to borrow the money or have to rely on anyone. Besides, the plan was full proof. I would not have to miss a payment on any of bills and I would be straight.

The Plan was simple. Fill out some paperwork right before my last day and just wait for the check. Now, I understood that there were going to be some small hang ups. First, I could not do direct deposit because I changed my bank along time ago and when I opened a new checking account a few years back, I never ordered checks. So, instead of ordering a new check book with a Syracuse address, I just decided to have them send the money to my old house and then have my buddy mail it to me. Of course, the question is…why do I not simply change my address? (I am glad you asked).

The process of changing your address and it getting verified takes three weeks, which was more than I was willing to wait, yet hindsight being 20/20, I suppose I should have. But, I still went with my gut because this was very good plan to me. I had already planned the move so getting paycheck after I get to NYC was going to just complete my master plan and make me feel comfortable until I starting getting my regular checks.

Well a funny thing happened in Syracuse. You see, I never got my check from TIAA Cref. I found it hard to believe that this could be there fault. I followed their process to the letter. But, every time I called my buddy, the check was never in the mail. So what was I to do but call the company that wrote the check in the first place? As expected, they tell me that the they sent out the check, but what I didn’t expect was for them to tell me that it was returned by… THE SYRACUSE POST OFFICE.

The lady had the envelope in front of her when she read it to me. It stated that my former address was an “undeliverable address.” I was flabbergasted. The lady was almost beginning to wonder if my address was real and I had to assure that it was. I told her a funny joke about this whole thing was that I did get mail from TIAA Cref that same week because I had my buddy send me some of mail down and what I got was some retirement benefits information. That alone tells me that if I can get those damn booklets, then I should be getting this check.

Her suggestion was to call the Syracuse Post Office that handles my mail. Of course, I called the main branch in the area which is located on Teal Ave. I have been there several times when it had to do with buying the house and making sure they knew I was the owner of the property. I spoke to (what I believe is) the Post Master and I explained the situation. He tells me that the US Postal Service would never just send any piece of mail back (really? tell me more). The person who is ultimately responsible for doing this is the individual mail carrier.

So he puts me on hold after I give him my address so he can check what is going on. After some time, he comes back and informs me that my address is valid (I was shocked). I told him that I need this check and that I am getting another one mailed out. I was reassured that there should be no problem. I call TIAA Cref back to say that the address is all good. So I have to do the one thing that I really did not want to do and that was wait and survive. But, of course, the best laid plans never take idiots into account.

That was 2 weeks ago. They sent the check back… again. While I want to be so angry at this whole situation, I can’t help but think that the city of Syracuse wanted to make sure that they got their last laugh on me. Do not get me wrong, I love my alma mater, but the city itself has just wore out its welcome with me. Just the idea that it can take them more than 15 years to try to expand that mall was enough for me.

So Syracuse can have that laugh, I have already made arrangements with direct deposit and the money that I am waiting for will be put to better use.

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