I Second That Emotion

November 7, 2008

This sure has been an emotionally draining week.   I’ve had two critically ill family members in the hospital.  (My mother was finally discharged yesterday.)  I’m worried sick about our financial situation.  I was saddened when an historic (117 year old) Church burned to the ground.  A 19 year old man was shot and killed.  I didn’t know him, but I do know his girlfriend and many of his friends.  I invested a lot of emotional energy into the election.

I guess it’s no wonder I ended up with vertigo, or whatever it is that’s making me dizzy.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from a nurse at my doctor’s office.  The conversation went like this:

Nurse:  Dr. What Do You Want Me To Do got the results of your CAT scan and he wants to see you.

Me:  Uhh, you’re scaring me.

Nurse:  I’m sorry.  I don’t know the results.  But it can’t be too bad or the doctor would have called  himself.

How comforting.

I told the nurse I already have an appointment for Wednesday and asked if I needed to come in before then.  She said the existing appointment should be fine.

I’m probably worried for nothing but I really do wish I didn’t have to wait so long to find out…

Song of the Day:  A Church is Burning by Simon & Garfunkel

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A Pain in the Butt

November 4, 2008

Heartfelt thanks to everyone for their good wishes and words of encouragement.  Your support means a lot to me.  Please keep the positive thoughts coming.

I visited both my brother and mother last evening.  Every day, my mother is sure she is going to be discharged, but her release from the hospital has not yet come to pass.  She has some kind of bacterial infection, and her potassium is dangerously low, so, until those things are under control, she will have to stay put.

As for Mike, he looked good, and said he felt a lot better after being given 3 pints of blood. Apparently, he’s been experiencing rectal bleeding for years.  When he finally decided to go to the hospital, his blood count was so low his condition was listed as critical.

Mike had an endoscopy and colonoscopy today, and it turns out that the bleeding was a result of hemorrhoids, believe it or not.  I am so relieved that it’s nothing more serious.

There is something else to be concerned about, though.  Mike doesn’t have medical insurance, and isn’t eligible for Medicaid.  Also, being a self-employed building contractor, he doesn’t get paid when he doesn’t work.  This is a potentially catastrophic situation for him.  I know his health is the most important thing, but he’s worked so hard for what he’s got, and he’s worried sick that he won’t be able to pay his mortgage and might lose his house.  I hope with all my heart that such a thing will never happen.

Shock of the Day:  My Republican mother, via absentee ballot, voted for Obama! It’s a freakin’ miracle!

Song of the Day:  The Miracle by Queen

Whole Lotta Fun

October 25, 2008

I actually went out last night!  Me, the person who is almost always in bed by 8:30.  We didn’t get in until 2:00 am, which is only a few hours earlier than the time I usually get up.

Of course, I am paying the piper today.  But, I don’t care.   I had a good time.

Daniel and I went to see my brother and his Led Zeppelin tribute band.  The place where they performed is located in “The Boondocks,” an hour away from where we live.  It was worth it, though.  The music brought me back to my youth, and I was very proud of my guitar virtuoso brother.   Highlights were a blistering version of “Achilles Last Stand,” and their tour de force encore, “Whole Lotta Love. ”

Rock on, little brother.

Another thing I’d like to talk about is money, or the lack thereof.  As I mentioned in a previous entry, I am feeling pretty stressed out over financial matters.  Things are really tight.

Last year, Leigh attended a community college where the tuition was dirt cheap.  This year, she’s away at school, so our financial burden is greatly increased.  Incredibly, the only state aid we get for each of my daughters is a paltry $250.  That barely covers a couple of textbooks.

We live pretty simply.  Much of our furniture has been handed down from family members or purchased at yard sales.  The few pieces that we bought new were “assembly required,” in order to keep costs down.  We don’t have credit card debt.  In fact, I don’t even have a credit card.

My clothes are bought off clearance racks and from thrift shops.  Our grocery list is created according to what’s on sale that week.  Daniel brings leftovers to work for lunch.  I bring a granola bar and fruit or a peanut butter sandwich.

Because of our financial situation, we’ve been living with some pretty shabby pieces of furniture.  One was the loveseat in the living room.  Our darling dogs destroyed it.  The cushions were stained, and there was a spot that had been chewed all the way down to the frame.   I covered that spot with an afghan, but there was nothing I could do about the stains.  They wouldn’t come out, no matter what I tried.

Another ruined piece of furniture was the sofa in the family room.  This was a hand-me-down from my sister, who bought it at a yard sale, so it was pretty well worn.  The foam padding was visible through the rips on one of the cushions (on both sides).

Also in the family room is a chair that was given to me by a co-worker when her boyfriend moved out of his apartment and in with her. The chair was pretty beat up, but beggars can’t be choosers.   I put a slipcover on it, but it wasn’t a good fit, and constantly had to be re-tucked.  It looked sloppy.

These unsightly pieces of furniture were really bringing me down.  I had to do something, but couldn’t afford a new sofa, loveseat and armchair.  Thanks to a half price sale at Pier One, I was able to buy these two chairs to replace the loveseat.

Stretch slipcovers worked wonders on the family room sofa and chair.

Now I just have to train the dogs to stay off the furniture…  Sigh.

Song of the Day:  Achilles Last Stand by Led Zeppelin

In reference to my last entry, LA asked if  “any of the people actually IN your building ie: principal, etc, would they stop you if you just took your lunch last period as you always have and just left? Has anyone officially said you COULDN’T?”  Unfortunately, yes, the principal has made it known that I cannot leave the building before the dismissal bell until this accommodation issue is resolved.  The thing that really gets my goat about this is that my schedule already indicates ninth period as my lunch break, so I’m just sitting around waiting for the last bell to ring.  It doesn’t make any sense.

As many of you have pointed out, I am not asking for anything extraordinary, and this accommodation has been approved before.  Because of what the District is putting me through, I wish I HAD asked for a bariatric chamber, or, at the very least, some of the other accommodations available for people with physical problems similar to mine, such as: provide sensitivity training to coworkers, allow time off for medical treatment, reduce or eliminate physical exertion and workplace stress, schedule periodic rest breaks away from the workstation, allow a flexible work schedule and flexible use of leave time, allow a self-paced workload, implement ergonomic workstation design, e.g., ergonomic chair and adjustable workstation to alternate between sitting and standing, reduce repetitive tasks or interrupt the tasks with other duties, modify work-site temperature, minimize distractions, etc. (These examples of accommodations were taken from the Job Accommodations Network.)

Michael suggests that, in my next letter I “mention the ADA (and the district’s responsibilities under it) about six times. (And write the one after that in ALL CAPS.)”  There won’t be a next letter from me.  All future contact will be with JAN, ADA, EEOC, ODEP, and my union.

By the way, I received a response to the complaint I filed with JAN, but it was frustratingly unhelpful.  This is how I replied:

Thank you for your quick reply.  Unfortunately, it does not address my issue.  I am already familiar with the information you provided, and have sent copies of some of it to my employer, along with my accommodation request and doctor’s recommendation.  What I need to know is what I should do next, since my employer has failed to respond to my accommodation request after six weeks.

This is really getting to me.  I’m under enough stress as it is because of financial matters (having two kids in college is killing us), so I sure as hell don’t need to add work crap to the mix.

I’m in so much pain I can’t stand it.

Song of the Day:  Help by The Beatles

Things just keep going from bad to worse around here. For starters, we had an appliance repairman come in yesterday to fix a few things. The arm on the refrigerator’s ice maker broke off about a year ago, which means that it was constantly making ice. We had to empty the tray twice a day.

The repairman replaced the arm, but, when I checked this morning, I saw that it’s still not working properly. The guy had warned that this might happen, and, if it did, the whole icemaker would need to be replaced. Wonderful.

Next on the list was the dryer, which has been making a loud noise for quite a while. Unfortunately, Mr. Repairman didn’t have the necessary part, and will have to come back this afternoon. Finally, he took a look at the sink in the upstairs bathroom to see if he could stop the drip. He couldn’t, and will bring a washer when he comes back today. If that doesn’t work, the faucet will have to be replaced, along with the refrigerator’s ice maker. Cha ching.

To top things off, I stepped on a rake and got smacked in the face hard enough to break my glasses (and bruise my brow bone). I thought those things only happened in cartoons, but this Youtube clip (along with my own mishap) proves otherwise.

One good thing happened yesterday. I received a call from a nurse at the surgical center as a follow-up to the procedure I had on Friday. I told her I’m afraid to go back for the next procedure because it was such a horrible experience. I remarked that they should put people out for these things. She said that they used to, but insurance companies won’t pay for it anymore. Bastards. I should have known.

She went on to say that some patients opt to pay for the anesthesia themselves, and advised me to ask about it when I called the doctor’s office to schedule the next series of injections. I did that as soon as I got off the phone with the nurse, and was told that the anesthesia costs $137. I would gladly pay that.

However, I might not have to. The woman I was talking to said that the Worker’s Comp carrier should cover it it, and a call for authorization will be placed. Why didn’t somebody tell me about this before? Oh well, at least I won’t have to suffer through that mind-numbing pain again, provided the Comp carrier agrees to pay for the anesthesia, that is.

Song of the Day: Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar

The Root of All Evil

January 18, 2008

The Ex is once again reminding me of why he’s The Ex. A few days ago, I received an email from him informing me of a couple of issues related to our daughters.

1. He is discontinuing child support payments for Rebecca because she is now 21 years old.
2. When Leigh’s lease ends in May, she will be living with her father until she leaves for SUNY Delhi in the fall.

For the record – the only reason she is doing that is because he agreed to take her cat. I got stuck with her dog, and will not add a diabetic cat to my list of responsibilities and expenses.

Anyway, The Ex has advised me that he will be eligible for child support from me when Leigh moves in with him.

A while ago, I did some research on child support and emancipation guidelines. I found that :

People frequently agree in their separation agreement that when a child is enrolled in a full time college and is pursuing an undergraduate degree, the age of emancipation is 22 years or the completion of four years of college, whichever comes first.

Rebecca missed being in the high school graduating class of 2004 because her birthday fell five days after the cut off date. This means that she will be older than most students in her graduating class at college, so it would have been helpful to have known about the above item before now. Unfortunately, when the terms of the divorce were agreed upon, my attorney failed to point out to me that it was possible to make a provision for changing the age of emancipation from 21 to 22. Therefore, I have no choice but to agree to 21 being the age of emancipation in this case.

On the other hand, the following condition of emancipation is not debatable:

Residence at a boarding school, camp or college is not an emancipation event.

This is something else I was not previously aware of. It means that I was due child support while Rebecca was away at SUNY Albany. I did not receive that support.

Furthermore, there was a significant amount of time when both girls were living with me. However, because I knew that The Ex was having financial difficulty, I let him make child support payments for only one child. Between that and the support I was supposed to receive while Rebecca was in Albany, we are talking about a sizable chunk of change.

Of course, it is not convenient for him to bear those things in mind at present.

As far as I’m concerned, he can deduct child support for Leigh from what he owes me.

Song of the Day: Money  by Pink Floyd