Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Poster Child for Morton Salt

I woke up early this morning after minimal and restless sleep with a bit of a hangover, or at least a headache. The headache may have been from lack of sleep rather than from having imbibed excessive alcohol. I wouldn't know the difference.

The reason I woke up early was that I had set my alarm for 7:15 a.m. because I had committed to play piano, organ, and violin for a wedding scheduled for 2:00 at the chapel in Yosemite Valley. In theory, if one believes any of the Internet driving direction services, the trip could have been made in three hours and fifteen minutes. It simply does not do, however,  for a musician to walk into a wedding chapel fifteen minutes after the scheduled start of the wedding because traffic was bad. I always allow extra time to the extreme  for traffic problems.

Because I was to provide background music when the band was not playing  at the reception as well, part of the compensation was a room Saturday night (tonight) at the Tenaya Lodge.  My total compensation was to be higher than it normally would both because of travel time and because I was not acquainted with the bride or groom or anyone in their respective families. it was a business deal brokered by the mother of the bride, whose older son is an upcoming fourth-year medical student at my school. I was to be paid a total of one-thousand dollars in cash prior to the start of the ceremony in addition to my hotel room. I don't typically require written contracts for such engagements because i usually know some major member of the wedding party well enough to trust him or her, and I'm usually not traveling hundreds of miles to the venue. In this case, I drew up a quick contract (relying on internet forms but running it by my attorney aunt in order to be prudent; she said it appeared iron-clad except that she would have required a 50% deposit). The contract was signed by the bride's mother. A provision of the contract was that cancellation made in writing (certified delivery)two weeks in advance of the event would result in nullification of the contract. A cancellation of less than two weeks but equal to or in excess of a week would require 50% payment. Cancellation with less than a week's notice would require full payment.

Two days ago I received and automated confirmation of the engagement from the wedding coordinator. This morning, headache-y though I may have been, I made myself look as presentable as possible and made the nearly-four-hour-one-way drive to "The Little Brown Church in the Vale" in the heart of Yosemite Valley. i was early, so it didn't cause me undue concern to see no one from my particular wedding party anywhere near the premises. Another wedding was in full swing. as that wedding party exited and moved on to its reception site, I began to grow apprehensive about the lack of presence of the bride, groom, the bride's mother, or anyone else I'd met who was slated to participate in these nuptials. 

Twenty minutes before the wedding was slated to begin, I looked for someone who appeared to be in charge of the facility, but I found no such person. I called the first of my two contact numbers, which went immediately to voice mail. I called the second number, which connected me directly to the bride's mother. 

"The wedding was called off three weeks ago!" she exclaimed.

i let her know as politely as I could that no one had informed me of the change in plans. "It was the wedding coordinator's job to do that!" she insisted.

I reminded her that my contract had been with her and not with the wedding coordinator, and if there was some sort of arrangement between the two of them that made it the wedding coordinator's responsibility to inform me, she would be free to seek reimbursement from the wedding coordinator, but that I expected to be paid by her, the bride's mother, and expected prompt payment.

"That's not going to happen!" she declared.  

"Then I'll see you in court," I countered.

"We'll see about that!" she huffed. "My brother is a lawyer!"

"Ma'am, this will be small claims court," I told her. "I don't think legal representation is even allowed there."

"We'll see about that!" she huffed again. 

"Or you can just pay me the one-thousand-dollars you owe me, " I countered,  - "and I'm not even asking for free lodging, to which I'm entitled. You make the call."

She hung up on me.

As if I don't have enough to do with the USMLE coming up (it appears I'm going ahead with it though I'm not optimistic), I have to file the documents to sue someone in small claims court. It's probably not even worth the thousand bucks to me, but I hate the idea of being stiffed. How  I wish Judge Alex were still on the air.

I'm still feeling flashbacks. It sucks.

where the wedding that did not happen should have taken place


  1. Sue and get your money! I took an ex landlady to court and won. It's $35 to serve the papers. She's in the wrong and you're owed the money!

    1. I fully intend to do so. One-thousand dollars is a lot of money to me.

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  3. It does suck. It's a day in my life i'll never get back, and my headache was bad enough that, combined with the effects of driving on the mountainous roads, I had to pull over and toss cookies several times. i'm hoping that the threat of suing for a $200 dollar hotel room on top of my fees might convinced them just to give me the thousand dollars. It's not th4e fult of the guy who attends my medical school, but i'm not above periodically asking him if his parents have changed their minds or really want to go through with the court case. I assume he has a sense of right and wrong, and a bit of pressure from him cannot hurt. I ill not say anything to him in front of anyone else, as it's not his fault and I don't wish to embarrass him.

    I'm at least probably so exhausted that I can fal asleep without hiding in a closet.

  4. So sorry this happened to you!