Friday, April 26, 2013

Stepping out of the comfort zone

I meant to post this a week ago and then I got a bit side-tracked.  Birthday celebrations, elder children doing laundry, blah, blah, blah.  Anyhoo, I stepped out of my comfort zone.  I did something entirely out of character for me.  A lot of people will tell you that I am a cold-hearted bitch.  I may appear bitter and angry.  Those closest know the difference.

Back to the story, though.  A week ago, the girl child decided to have dinner at a restaurant with some friends.  I, of course, had to take them and would then have to return to pick her up.  I had a big debate about whether or not I was going to drive home and then go back to get her.  I decided to run a few errands and then go to toxic hell (otherwise known as Taco Bell) for dinner.  

I had never been inside this particular toxic hell.  There was a small line, but since I had to kill time, I wasn't overly concerned.  There was an elderly lady in front of me.  She got her food and went to sit down.  I had to wait a bit but then got my food.  I don't know why, but I walked over to the elderly lady and asked her if I could sit with her. 

No, it was not the only seat available.  Most of the people were taking their food and leaving.  I just felt like I needed to sit with her.  Her name was Maggie.  She was 68 years old (I think - it's been a busy week, can't remember exactly).  She lost her husband 6 months ago.  They had been married since she was 18.  They had no children, but she has no regrets about that.  She told me all about her marriage and how wonderful her husband was.  She shared beautiful life stories.

That meal for me, was amazing.  The food was unimportant - doesn't matter if it wasn't great.  The company definitely made up for it.  I didn't gain any money for sitting with her.  I didn't gain great knowledge or the secret to ever lasting youth.  I didn't get an award.

I chose to dine with a lovely older lady for no reason other than it felt like the thing to do.  That meal for me was a blessing.  She didn't do anything spectacular, but she made my day just by speaking with me.

I encourage everyone to take a chance and step out of their comfort zone.  It's a very gratifying experience and one I would love to repeat.

Lemme educate you (again)

Obviously, even though I have posted along these lines in the past, it needs to be said again...and again...and again.  So, here we go.  We all get bills.  It's part of being an adult.  Yes, it blows, but yes we owe them - usually. When you call about a bill, it's probably a good idea to be a civil adult.  That said, first point of education, here's an example of how to quickly get your dumb ass sent straight to the collection agency without passing go...

Sample phone call...

Me: "(insert place of employment here)"

Asshat:  "This billing?"

Me:  "Yes it is.  How can I help you?"

Asshat:  "My account number is (insert numbers here).  Why do I have a bill?"

Me:  "Your insurance left you $X as a copay and $X as a deductible."

Asshat:  "Why the fuck didn't you people tell me I was going to have a bill before this surgery?  I wouldn't have had this surgery if you would have told me."

Me:  "I'm very sorry, however, we do not have access to your information prior to your surgery.  We do not know whether or not you have a deductible or copay."

Asshat:  "Well it's your fucking job.  You should have fucking told me."

Me:  "Actually, when you receive your paperwork prior to the surgery, it advises you to contact us."

Asshat:  "I didn't get any paperwork."

Me:  "And when you were admitted to the hospital, you had to sign paperwork in regard to anesthesia and anesthesia billing."

Asshat:  "I don't remember signing anything.  Why the fuck didn't you people tell me?"

Me:  "It's actually your responsibility to contact your insurance to find out whether the services are covered."

Asshat:  "NO IT'S NOT."

Me:  "The insurance is under your wife.  When she signed up for it, the human resources department at her employer most likely gave her information in regard to what your copays and deductible are for surgeries.  This is not information we have access to prior to your services."

Asshat:  "Well you're way down on the list.  I don't have that kind of money and since you didn't fucking tell me, it's not my fucking problem."


Me:  "Well, I can send it to collections right now if you'd like?"

Asshat:  "Geez, if you're going to be a bitch...."

The phone call ended at this point, because I hung up.

LESSON - If you want the billing people to be even remotely sympathetic, DON'T BE A FUCKING PRICK.  I am more than willing to work with people when they are decent human beings.  If you're going to be a douche, fuck you.  Those are the moments when your account WILL be immediately sent to collection and start destroying your credit.

1.  It is NOT the billing department of ANY doctor's office/hospital/specialist responsibility to tell you what your copay and deductible are.

2.  It is NOT the billing department's responsibility to determine if the services are covered.

3. It is YOUR insurance.  YOU are responsible for finding out all of the above information.

4.  Copays and deductibles are YOUR responsibility.

5.  DON'T wait for 4 months before you call on a bill.  Most billing offices are willing to work with you if you're going through hard times.  Some will even write off bills or substantially reduce the amount owed.

All right, that's your lesson for the day.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Where are you?

Ah, yet another one of those blogs that will piss some people off and have others singing my praises.  Here's the thing, I don't give a damn where you stand, this is my opinion.  Here I am on spring break (my first spring break adventure ever, mind you) and I have 5 kids with me.  Now, of those 5 kids, I have my own two children (ages 15 and 11) and 2 other 15 year old girls and one 12 year old boy.  So, to recap, I have 3 children who do not belong to me.  

We are staying on a little island in South Carolina - right on the beach.  We happen to be on the same little island in the same general vicinity as the Vice President - yes, the VP of the US.  (I saw him the other day!!)  Anyhoo, point is, there's a shit ton o' people here - young and old.  There's a bunch of 15-18 year old boys and a bunch of young girls.

We're staying with my mom in a 950 square foot, one bedroom condo.  Do you realize how small that is?  We don't spend a lot of time all together in the condo.  To be honest, I have given the kids a lot of freedom.  The rules are simple, keep your phones on and on you and let me know where you are, where you intend to go, and when you intend to return; you must answer the phone when I call and you must come home immediately if I ask you to.  These are simple rules I think.  I also think I have given them a lot of space.  There's a basketball court, volleyball court, pool, kiddie pool area with water slide, beach, ocean, workout room, and tons of trails.  There's stuff to do.  

With all of that said and with all of the freedom they have been given, these kids obey the rules and don't make stupid decisions.  I would like to think that they are not doing stupid things because their parents raised them right.  I would also like to think that all of the children would not disrespect me by making bad decisions.

What brought this blog on is the alarming number of posts I have seen on twitter and instagram of teenagers drunk and unsupervised on spring break.  I don't understand.  Where are the parents?  Maybe I am a prude.  I know that at some point, these kids - even the ones with me right now - will make stupid decisions.  I am not the naive parent who believes my child will never attend a party or drink.  I am not stupid.  However, I am also not the parent who is just going to offer them the opportunity by not paying attention or by simply looking the other way.

Parents who tell their children "what happens on spring break, stays on spring break" irritate me.  I don't care if your child is 18.  I understand 18 is a legal adult.  Is that child still living in your house?  Is that child able to legally drink?  Then why don't you know what's going on?  Why aren't you being a parent?  Better yet, seeing posts by 15 year olds about how everything is "funnier when you're wasted" seriously pisses me off.  WHAT. THE. FUCK.  Do you not realize that not only does your child look like trash (and certainly not like someone I want my child to EVER hang out with) but it makes YOU look like a terrible parent.  


Judge me if you will.  You're entitled to your own opinion.  I, personally, would rather my child focus on having fun and relaxing WITHOUT the influence of alcohol.  I would rather my child NOT come home from spring break bragging about making out with a bunch of guys and then not remembering what else happened.  I would rather my child carry him or herself with respect.  Just sayin'

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Open Letter to Dr. Scott

Dear Dr. Scott,

So, I'm pretty sure you are aware that many of the parents in our community are a bit up in arms about this proposed change in the 9th grade campus and the Senior high school.  I, too, have some concerns.  The thing is, I think had this all been presented a bit differently, the reaction may have been better.  The bottom line is, all of us are getting bits and pieces of information but nothing solid.  Your teachers don't even know what's going on.  That is not a slight on them - it's a sad showing of how little they are thought of.  Why is it that when this proposed change was announced, the teachers were not informed?  Do you realize what a terrible position they were put in?

I'm having a hard time with this decision on multiple levels - now this could be because all I have heard are rumors.  I also admit I have not yet attended a board meeting (rest assured, that is going to change).  My limited understanding is that you want to move the 9th graders into the senior high school with the 10th and 11th graders and move the 12th graders into the 9th grade campus making it a "middle college."  Is this correct?  I also read in an article that moving the seniors into the 9th grade campus and encouraging them to take classes at community colleges instead of actually in the 9th grade campus AND by encouraging them to take online courses at home that this could potentially save the district arond $500,000.  Is this also correct? While I am incredibly happy that the district is looking to find ways to better prepare our kids for college, I can assure you, during their senior year of high school, I do not want my children sitting at home taking online courses. 

Now, I understand trying to save money because of this deficit.  I did not initially understand how moving kids into different schools could help.  I started to see it more clearly when I read that the seniors would be encouraged to take classes elsewhere.  It was at that point when I began to get a bit frustrated.  We moved into this district so our kids could attend school in Holt.  We did not move into the district so that our kids could sit at home and take online courses. 

I also read that by moving the seniors to the 9th grade campus, it would allow room for 54 more schools of choice students.  I don't have a problem with SOC.  We started in this district as SOC.  My issue here is twofold.  First, that's great that you will be able to house 54 more students, but what happens when that class is in 12th grade?  When you move them back to the 9th grade campus (that can barely hold the current 9th grade class).  What happens if the students choose to remain in the classrooms and NOT at home doing online classes or at local community colleges?  Haven't you just made the situation worse?

Secondly, and probably far more important to me, what about the current students?  What about the kids ALREADY ATTENDING HOLT?  I'm referring to both the kids who live in the district and the current SOC kids. You're planning on jam packing their classes even more?  So, who exactly does this benefit?  Obviously, the district gets more money.  What do the students get?  What do the teachers get?  Bigger classes = better education?  Pretty sure the studies I have read do not say bigger is better.  Just sayin'.

Now, I obviously don't see your budget or have any idea what it looks like.  I certainly don't want to see you have to cut programs - especially not those typically cut first (athletics and music), but have you talked to the teachers?  Have you asked if they have any thoughts?  I'm sure you must have spoken with someone.  There must have been some sort of focus group involved in this proposal.  Have you talked to the community?  Are you actually asking the community for input or just nodding your head without really listening?  Please understand, I'm not accusing, just asking. I guess I'm just finding it hard to understand how this benefits my kids - and their friends...the kids already here.

Recently, (within the past few days) I have heard you are also considering making the high school open campus for lunch.  I can assure you, if that does happen, my children will no longer attend school in this district.  I'm going to assume that you have also spoken with focus groups about this as well.  Have you any experience with open campus lunch?  I know a few people who had open campus lunches when they were in school.  Those same people admittedly went home and got high or drank and then either went back to school drunk or high or didn't go back to school at all.  Now, I realize part of this is a parenting issue, but why even give the kids the opportunity.  Aren't we, as a community, responsible for doing the best we can for these kids?  Including not putting them in questionable situations (which is how I see this)?  Nevermind the risk with the driving - although, I will give you that there is no data about open campus schools having a higher accident rate. 

The open campus issue raises the same questions for me as switching the seniors and freshman.  How is this benefiting our kids?  What is this doing to promote academics?  How is this better?  I think, as a parent and a community member, these are questions that should be answered along with a LONG list of other questions before such big decisions can be made.  I also think that these questions need to be answered so that the community is aware of what is going on instead of all of us just hearing things "through the grapevine" as we have been. 


A Concerned Parent

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

And so it goes...

(Billy Joel by the way - if you were wondering....the title of the blog....)

Ok, anyway.  Here we are...on Tuesday oddly enough.  Never would've called that one.  It's 8:47 in the morning and I've already pondered punching three people.  That may be a new record.  HA.  Who am I kidding?  There's no way that's a record.  So let's talk about it....

First, I may be a bit bitchy.  I might have gotten up about 15 minutes late.  It's possible that I look like the bride of Frankenstein because I didn't have time to do anything with my hair and have only a bare minimum of make up on.  Kindly look the other direction if you see me today.  I know I look like shit thanks.

No arguments in the house this morning.  No arguments in the car.  No assholes (ok, no major assholes) on the road.  Made it to work in a decent mood....minus the fact that I know I look frightening.  First thing I see on my desk is a subpoena.  This is not uncommon.  What IS uncommon is that fact that they are subpoenaing not only the records BUT requiring me to show up in court.  Seriously?  This falls into the blog from the other day when we discussed assholes getting divorced.  I have to take a day out of my time to go to court because you act like a 3 year old and can't figure out how to split a bill?  Are you fucking kidding me?  GROW THE FUCK UP.  I don't get it.  I don't care how much you hate your ex or soon to be ex spouse, can you not pull it together to figure shit out?  I realize I have never been divorced (thank goodness) but I know a good many people who have who do not act like fucking idiots.  Come on now, pull it together.  Don't fuck up my day because you're stupid.

Then I toodled over to the hospital to pick up paperwork and water and some breakfast.  After paying for breakfast, I walked over to grab some utensils to eat with....most people eat eggs with utensils, right?  Well, a "lovely" hag was standing directly in front of the utensil dispenser having a truly enlightening conversation about "housekeepers putting their coats in MY office.  I mean really?  Why are they even in my space?"  I, politely, said excuse me as she had paused in her in oh-so-interesting story.  She glares at me and says, "Can't you see we're busy here?"

-______-     Excuse me?  I will admit, I tried very very hard to shut my mouth, but sometimes I just can' matter how hard I try.  I responded, "I can definitely see how busy you are whining.  Can you possibly move your conversation to a table so I can get a fork?"  I proceeded to be incredibly rude and walk between her and the poor person she was boring to death and grabbed my fork. Moving right along...

I don't know about you, but I DESPISE it when people go thru my stuff.  If you need something, ask me.  There is no need to rifle through my stuff.  I have nothing to hide, but I find it disrespectful, invasive and rude.  Well, I of course, had to witness that happening this morning and then have someone give me grief about the stuff they found.  Seriously?  Can you please go away?

And then there's the fact that the website we use to get our work done each day is down.  That helps.  Whoopee!  It's a great day. 

Where's the fucking "do over" button....

Friday, February 1, 2013

Have you ever wanted to....

just punch an idiot right in the face?!  Had one of those days where everyone you came into contact with was a complete asshole?  Yeah, me neither.  And I certainly wouldn't be having a day like that on a Friday.  

People are assholes.  Yes, I realize this is a theme with the majority of my blogs, but I can't help it.  I blog about what pisses me off.  Assholes piss me off and therefore I blog.  Let's take problem child number 1 which actually happens to be from the other day but still bugs the fuck out of me.

#1.  I do not care if you are divorced.  I do not care if you are pissed off at your ex-spouse.  I do not give even one teeny tiny rat's ass what your divorce decree says.  If you have a medical bill for the child that you two stupid asses decided to have together - YOU JACKASSES NEED TO FIGURE IT OUT.  Do not call me and tell me your life story and whine about how the ex is an asshole and screwed you over and therefore has to pay the medical bills.  I don't care.  Do not give me 4 different addresses to where to send the bill so your ex will pay it.  GROW THE FUCK UP.  You are an adult.  You have a child with someone you are no longer with.  So?  Between the two of you, you need to figure it out.  It's not my business, it's not my problem.  I don't care.  Bottom line, you don't figure it out - it goes to collections and fucks your credit.  Still not my problem.

#2. This has been addressed multiple times, but obviously these assholes don't read my blog.  (Can you please share my blog with these assholes so maybe they will learn?)  Do NOT call my office and bitch at my staff about how they fucked something up and scream and rant about how we are stupid.  That will get you nothing but one pissed off manager on the phone.  First, if you want to know why you got a bill - EVEN IF YOU THINK WE FUCKED UP - you need to be a human being and speak like you have at least an ounce of class and a third grade education.  We are, after all, human and therefore we do make mistakes.  I promise you, if I screwed something up, I will fess up and do whatever I need to do to correct the problem.  HOWEVER, calling me and yelling at me and telling me I screwed up and that we'll just have to go to court over it and then calling me a fucker because you thought you hung up the phone isn't going to help your cause.  Don't be shocked when you tell me you will never use this hospital or our services again when I say, "We would greatly appreciate that."  Why would you be shocked?  You've been a dickwad this whole time.  Why the fuck would we want you as a patient again?

Ok, I think that's it for the moment.  There are others that I just can't bring myself to whine about at the moment, I will wait until later.  Have a lovely Friday....

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's in these moments...

that I am reminded why I coach.  We had a meet tonight.  We didn't win.  It doesn't matter.  I don't care that we didn't win - ok, I care a little, but in the big scheme of things, it's ok.  We found where there are some problem areas.  We saw places that need extra work.  We also saw a couple girls step up.  I watched an amazing young lady throw a killer vault tonight - twice.  Was it perfect?  Nope.  Why was it amazing?  Because it's a big ass vault and she did it.  That is enough.  I watched another young lady floor it (if you will) on floor.  Did she fall?  Yup.  Do I care?  Nope.  Why?  Because she had the guts to go for it.  I watched a girl who swore she would never compete beam, compete beam.  Did she fall?  Yup.  Does it matter?  Nope.  Why?  Because she conquered her fear and did it.  I watched a young girl nail a floor routine that she's needed all season.  

The best part?  That's not even the half of it.  That's only the beginning.  That's only mentioning a few of them.  That's not mentioning the goofy falls on beam where instead of tears we had laughter.  Why is that ok?  Well, because it's better to be able to laugh at yourself to move on than focus on the bad things.  It's done; you can't change it; move on. 

What topped out my entire evening was a text I received from one of the girls.  This is what it said....

"Hey Jamie, I just wanted to say your the best coach anyone can have!  You always bring me up when I'm down!  I'll be at practice tomorrow ready to work hard and get my bars and beam perfect for Wednesday!  Thank you for also being hard on me.  I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for you!  Love you!  See you tomorrow!"

Is there anything better than that?  Sometimes I wonder if these girls realize how much they mean to me.  They aren't just gymnasts that I coach.  These are my girls.  They are such a HUGE part of my life and I love each and every one of them with all of my heart.