Pacifica (autumnwinds) wrote,

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Well, the good news is that mountain_child and I, after 8 months of waiting, have finally got word of our reimbursement from the US Forest Service regarding the losses of our stuff from the crash last summer. The bad news is that, for both of us, the reimbursement is less than half of what we asked for.

Our stuff can sort of be separated into three categories. The first was stuff that they did reimburse us for, minus some percentage for wear and tear. This includes things like clothes, toiletries, and some camping supplies. I thought this was pretty fair and I don't dispute these numbers.

The next category was what I call the "pat on the head" category, and what Tyler calls the "boot up the ass" category. In this, they lumped a lot of stuff together, and gave me a flat sum for the lot. This category includes all my art supplies (paints, canvases, brushes, sketchbook) and all of my books (27 paperbacks, 1 hardback). I valued it at $682. I got $100. Tyler's form had all his calligraphy supplies in that category, along with 14 paperback books and 28 hardbacks (he borrowed a lot), valued at $987, and also got $100 back. Tyler and I originally organized this form by item type, and know that the total value of the books alone was over $1,000, never mind the rest of the stuff.

The final category is the stuff that was outright denied. In my case, that includes all the CD's I lost and my electric toothbrush. Tyler's included things like sandpaper, Forest Service maps, the native American flute Adam loaned him, and his camp stove (not to mention the special items like 50 photographs, and his dragon statue). They also reimbursed us for clothes, except for outright denying our claims for both of our Utilikilts. WTF? Tyler hardly wore anything else all summer!

Ordinarily, most Forest Service employees (like smokejumpers) don't get reimbursed for personal items like books because they're not supposed to have those things on the job. But lookouts are ENCOURAGED to bring those things along. If you're going to be alone in a little tower for 3 months, they want you to have whatever you need to stay happy up there.

In short, we're still in the hole. I'm not sure what to do. I mean, we're calling our bosses at Payette and some friends that have experience with this stuff, but these claims people have already shown they're totally happy to stonewall us into oblivion. I'm not giving up, but I'm pretty disgusted by the whole thing.

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