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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."

***NOTE:  USING THE WORD "FUCK" THIS MANY TIMES IS BOUND TO PISS OFF ANYBODY.  YOU MAY WANT TO WATCH THAT.***

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.  

WHY IS YOUR 15 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER GETTING DRUNK ON A BEACH?  WHERE. ARE. YOU.

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'