Monday, September 17, 2018

What a shame

I was recently advocating for a young patient who had been hit by a car to get more time in rehab.  I was talking to the insurance company, and the second I got on the line, it was really clear they didn't want to hear anything I had to say.  (Honestly, does it EVER work to advocate on the phone?  Because whenever I talk to anyone, they already know everything in the notes, and they've already decided on a hard no.  And repeating my arguments just ends up with a heated discussion.)

In this case, it was especially frustrating because the patient was, as I said, fairly young and really could have benefited from the extra time.  I said to the reviewer, "It's really a shame he can't get more time because if he had another week, he could get home independently."

The response of the reviewer: "Well, it was a shame he got hit by a car."

Me: "..."

I mean, what do you SAY to something like that?  Sometimes I want to say to them that I hope they have a better insurance than the company they work for.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

You suck, Shutterfly

When you've got kids, the tendency is to want to take a million photos of them.  And this can quickly get out of hand.

So since my younger daughter was born, I've been diligently making a hardcover photo book on Shutterfly every six months, so I have the photos organized.  And the photobooks are so small, so far they only take up a quarter of a shelf in my bookcase.

Lately, I've been noticing Shutterfly gives you more and more options when you make a photo album.  Like you have the option to have pages that lay flat or a special cover or whatever.  But this time, there was a new option that sort of pissed me off:

Basically, they are giving you the option to remove their crappy logo from the book and it costs TEN DOLLARS.  To remove a tiny logo.  I like how they mention that without their logo, the book has a "clean, sophisticated look."  

Monday, August 27, 2018

Paint job

Lately, I feel like every time I deal with people, I hate all of humanity.

We recently moved out of an apartment where we had lived for eight years.  During that time, we never got a paint job.  So I assumed any damage to the paint on the wall would be something we wouldn't be responsible for, given places need to be painted more frequently than that.

So I was really surprised when we got a bill for $140 for painting the apartment from the giant company that owns our complex.

When I called, they complained that there were stickers on the wall that were "difficult to remove" and had to be sanded off.  I find it really hard to believe that a child's sticker required more than soap and water, but whatever.  I didn't even think of it.  Then they complained there was some crayon on the wall, so the whole place had to be repainted.  I said that in eight years, weren't we entitled to ONE free paint job?  They said no, that they expected the walls to be in the condition they were when we entered eight years ago, except for "minor touch ups." 

Also, we paid to have the apartment professionally cleaned when we left, but I forgot to tell her to clean the fridge.  So we got a bill for $130 for cleaning of the fridge and oven.  Except the oven is self-cleaning.  So it's $130 to clean a fridge apparently.  I should get a job cleaning refrigerators.

Then they told us like they were being so nice to us that we didn't have to pay for them to replace the carpet, which wasn't even new when we moved in.

I mean, it's not a huge amount of money but it's the principle of the thing.  We lived there eight years.  I feel like we're entitled to one paint job, for god's sake. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

IT help

Yesterday, I spent a whopping THREE HOURS on the phone with IT.  I wanted to cry by the end of it.

The only silver lining is I actually really like the IT guys.  They are centered in Alabama, and they all have these absolutely adorable Southern accents.  Really sexy, actually.  I want to comment on it to them, like, "I love your accent," but I suspect it will be taken the wrong way.  I probably sound like I have an accent to them.  I recently got told for the first time that I had a New York accent, which seems odd considering I haven't lived in New York for over a decade so how could I be getting a New York accent?

Anyway, I was joking with one of them about how hot it had been lately, and he was laughing at me and saying I didn't know what hot meant.  Then he told me about how the whole state got shut down over half an inch of snow in January.  I said that around here in January, that's just Monday.

That said, three hours on the computer helpline is beyond painful.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Too late

My kids have been going to the same summer day camp for about six years, which has also been their afterschool program.  It's a great program, and for the most part I've been happy with it, although they will not be attending next year because we're moving.

Anyway, on one of the last days of camp on which only my youngest was attending, they were going on a field trip, which they do maybe 3-4 times a week.  It was an 8:30 a.m. cutoff (which is usually 30 minutes before the leave time), and this is generally earlier than we would arrive most days.  So I got my daughter going early, and even with some bad luck with traffic, I got to the camp with the clock in my car reading 8:30. 

Except when I got into the camp, the trip director Lucy said, "Oh, I'm so sorry, it's 8:32, and the cutoff was 8:30 so we can't take her."

I was absolutely shocked.  First of all, my watch said 8:30.  Second of all, the bus for the trip hadn't even arrived, the lunches were still in an open cooler in the classroom, and nobody has made any move to leave.  When I pointed this out, she said, "Yeah, but I've already done the buddy list.  So there's nothing I can do."

We went back and forth on this for much longer than it could possibly have taken her to add one child to the buddy list.  (Presumably less than two minutes, since the cutoff was 8:30 and she was done with the buddy list by 8:32.)  I mean, it's not like a rocket was taking off and the doors were slamming shut at 8:30.  It would have been so easy for her to let this happen.  In fact, on another occasion three years earlier, I got the cutoff wrong and was late by FIFTEEN minutes, and even though they yelled at me and had already put the lunches on the bus, they still let my kid stay.  If they had turned me away that day, they would have been justified because I was really late, but they didn't.  So there was no reason for me to believe that being late by something between not at all and two minutes would result in rejection.  I'd seen plenty of parents stroll in at the deadline.  In five years, they were NEVER strict about this.

At some point, I was almost in tears, begging her to let my kid stay because I genuinely didn't know what I was going to do.  And my daughter was crying because she thought she wouldn't be able to go on the trip.  I'd known Lucy for about six years--she was new as trip director, but she taught my kids dance several years ago.  She was a new mom, so I thought she'd be sympathetic.  But no.

Finally, I saw the owner of the daycare, who I also knew pretty well.  I flagged her down and told her I was two minutes late, could my kid go on the trip.  She said, "Of course!  We always do a five-minute window!"  I had a feeling she'd say this, but I didn't want to go over Lucy's head.  But I had no choice, and Lucy had to eat it.

So my daughter got to go on the trip, I got to go to work, so technically, I WON.  But I was fuming all day.  I felt like Lucy had an opportunity to very easily be decent to me and she chose not to for no reason other than... I have no idea what.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Little help?

Inspired by a recent burst of sales of my book Brain Damage, I decided to write something new. 

My newest book is a departure from my others in that the protagonist is not a doctor.  It's my first book that is a straight-up women's thriller.  The title is The Surrogate Mother.

The last time I published, I asked for help with beta reading and got some pretty good opinions. (It's already gone through four people.) So I'm asking for help once again!  Anybody interested in reading a thriller written by yours truly and offering a constructive opinion???

You must.....

--Actually want to do it.  Please don't do it out of obligation or because you feel sorry for me.

--Have read and enjoyed at least one of my other books.  The one beta reader I got last time who hadn't read anything by me got halfway through and quit.

--Be able to read it in under one week.  And after reading it, be able to email me your opinions in a coherent way.  And not vanish instantly when I ask a follow-up question.  (If these things hadn't happened to me repeatedly, I wouldn't say them.)

--Enjoy thrillers.

Here is the prologue, so you can see what you're getting into:

I have been informed that in the next twenty-four hours, I will be arrested for first-degree murder.

I don’t know how this could be happening.  First-degree murder.  I mean, that’s crazy.  I’m not the kind of person who goes to jail for murder.  I’m not.  I’ve never even gotten a speeding ticket.  Hell, I’ve never even jaywalked before.  I’m the most law-abiding citizen who ever was.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Row row row your boat

We rented a rowboat a few days ago to row around a local lake.  Apparently, it was a popular idea because there were a ton of other people around in rented boats.  And I noticed something all the boats had in common:

In any boat where there was a man in the boat, the man was the one rowing.

This was true without exception.  The only boats where a woman was rowing were the all-female boats.  And then it occurred to me that I've been in these boats a lot of times, but I'm not sure I've ever rowed one.  

So I guess I'm the problem, not the solution?

Thursday, July 12, 2018


My mother: "How long do you cook spaghetti after the water comes to a boil?"

Me: [baffled that my 70-year-old mother doesn't know how to make spaghetti]

Mom: "Well, I never make spaghetti!"

If it were someone else, I would worry they were getting demented, but it's actually the kind of question my mother asks me not infrequently.  Like she's never sure how to calculate the tip in restaurants.  And she didn't know what a pinata was.

I finally told her to look at the box, which said 10 minutes, but she insisted that wasn't usually that long.  Although I don't understand how it can "usually" not be that long if she "never" cooks spaghetti.  I asked and she said:

"I cooked it once a long time ago."

I can just see my kids writing stuff like this about me someday.  They already gave me a hard time for not knowing which produce qualifies as fruits.  (How could a zucchini be a fruit????)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Mosquito Bite

I don't know what it is, but it feels like as I've gotten older, mosquito bites have been getting itchier.

Last week, I got a mosquito bite on my elbow.  It immediately started driving me totally insane.  I read somewhere that toothpaste helps with the itchiness, so I smeared that all over it, which everyone in my household informed me was "really weird."  Then I used witch hazel pads to ease the itch.  I was bad enough that it was waking me up at night.

My husband: "Why don't you just use calamine lotion?"

Me: "We don't have any in the house."

Actually though, it turned out we had TWO bottles of it, which I've been using religiously ever since.  It's a lot less messy than toothpaste.  I also tried liquid bandaid, which burned so much, I had to wash it off immediately.

I have to say, I think the elbow must be one of the worst places to get a mosquito bite.  After the penis, I suppose.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

New stuff

I don't know why, but I have a lot of trouble buying new stuff.

I don't mean stuff that I need necessarily.  But new versions of items I already own.  For example, I only recently got rid of a jacket I've had since college.  I've been wearing the same shoes for two years (although I have replaced the insoles).  I do have new clothes, but only because my mom loves buying me clothes.

When we moved to this area with all our old furniture gone, we bought an apartment-full of stuff at this college store nearly a decade ago, which we assumed we'd replace over the years.  We still have almost all of it.  Ditto with all my pots and pans and dishes, aside from my one big frying pan.

I don't know why I'm so adverse to buying new stuff.  I guess I always just feel like why should I replace a perfectly good [insert name of object]?  I don't really enjoy shopping for new things.  Honestly, it sort of stresses me out.  I only replaced my awful laptop because it wouldn't run a program I needed for work.

But you'll be happy to know I do replace my toothbrush on a regular basis.