23 April 2010

Hitting Close to Home

When I checked Kai out of school today he was pleased to find out we wouldn't be gone long.  "Good," he said, "because I  LOVE school.  School is like . . . hmmm  . . . school is like my girlfriend."

So Michael spent the rest of the morning listing the ways that school is in fact like a girlfriend.
  • They demand a lot of time.
  • Even when your not together you're still expected to do certain things
  • They have an honor roll and detention.
  • They have authority figures that ruin all your fun.
  • You get in trouble when you're late.
  • If you don't show up at all they call.
But, as Michael pointed out, at least school gives you the holidays and week-ends off.

21 April 2010

The Unthinkable

Yesterday I went to Costco and purchased a very large bag of M&Ms because Davis is potty training.

When Madison was two and ready to be potty trained we used the last diaper and let her pick out her very own pack of underwear.  After a week she was pretty much accident free.  After a month it was done. 

When the boy was two  and ready to be potty trained we used the last diaper and let him pick out his very own pack of underwear.  After a week I was sick of cleaning up messes.  After a year and a half I wanted to pull my hair out.  However, at the age of 4 he developed a love a money and ten dollars later he was potty trained.

Ever since my two year ordeal with the boy I've really had to psych myself up for potty training because I hate it.  It took me forever to potty train Chase.  Not him . . . ME.

But for some reason I bought those M&Ms and little Davis ran around naked and you know what?  It wasn't horrible.  Maybe now as the boy is approaching eight I'm finally healing from my attempts to potty train him.

Maybe.  I'll let you know in a week.

15 April 2010

You're Joking. Right?

Every summer the girl and I take on a project.  One summer we learned about poetry, one summer we learned about art, and one summer we helped her get a year ahead in math. The math summer was definitely not a favorite of mine.  This summer she said she wanted to make a whole new wardrobe for the following school year.  I thought that sounded like a fun idea, so I've been collecting various materials and bookmarking any tutorial I think we might need.  I even procured a serger.

Then yesterday the girl came home and said this . . .

Girl: Mom!  You know how we're going to make clothes this summer?  Well, do you want to know what S in my class is doing over the summer?  She is going to memorize the whole dictionary.  ISN'T THAT AWESOME?!!!
Me:   **complete silence as I try to figure out how it is that she is half me . . . .
Girl:  You don't think that's awesome? Like more awesome than making clothes?
Me:  **Still working on it . . . .
Girl:  Okay, so this is why it is sooo cool-- if someone asks you what a word means, not only can you tell them, you can give them THE EXACT DEFINITION!
Me:  Is this your way of telling me you'd rather memorize the dictionary this summer instead of make clothes?
Girl:  No, making clothes is fine.

Now when she is older she'll tell her psychologist all she wanted to do was memorize the dictionary and I shot her down.  WORST SUMMER EVER!

12 April 2010

My New Knits Site

I realize this isn't going to be nearly as exciting for you as it is for me, but  I wanted to show off my new VisualAnarchy Knits site at visualanarchyknits.com.  I'm totally and completely in love with it.

09 April 2010

My Five Dollars

Last August the boy went in for an endoscopy.  Around November we started receiving the associated claims statements and bills.  I checked them and Mike paid them.  Its a good system for us.  

In December I got the first call from University Health Care.  They wanted to know when I planned on paying the 55 dollars I owed them and asked if they could help me set up a payment plan.  Fairly certain we'd payed the bill I told them I'd look into it and call them back.  Mike looked it up and sure enough we'd payed (using bill pay) and they had cashed the check.

I called and told them they had made a mistake and explained that they had cashed our check.  Over the next three months we were given two reasons for why they had no idea where our money was

1.  We sent it to the right place but the account number we gave them was wrong.  Even though they know the number we gave them they still can't find the money.
2.  We gave them the right account number but we sent it to the wrong division of University Health Care, and even though they know what division we sent it to they can't find the money.

At one point one of the women I talked to said, "Why don't you just pay us again?  When the account that has your money figures out it isn't theirs, they'll send you a refund."  Seeing as how they lost the first 55 dollars, I told her once I had received the refund I'd happily pay again.  She said "fine" and told me she'd find it and call me back.

However, instead of calling me back she sent me a notice in the mail saying that if I didn't pay them 55 dollars in the next two weeks they would send me to collections.

I called them again.  This time I was told they knew I had paid and they even knew the account where the money was deposited,  but it was the wrong account and they can't find the exact check so they can't credit me for the money.  I was told that the only way to prevent my account from going to collections was if I faxed them a copy of the cashed check.  It was the ONLY way they could find the money.  I said that was fine, but they would have to pay me the 5 dollars it was going to cost to get a copy of the check.  

Her:  "uh, we don't really do that."    
Me:  "but it isn't my fault you lost the money.  Why should I pay 5 dollars so you can figure out your mistake?"
Her:  "well, get the check and fax it to me and I'll see what I can do."

So I did.  I paid 5 dollars for a copy of the check and I faxed it to them.  They called me two weeks later.

Her:  "Um, We were wondering when you were going to be able to pay us the 55 dollars you owe us."
Me:  "You have GOT to be kidding me!  I don't have time to argue with you about this right now.  I faxed you a copy of the check proving that I paid and proving that you cashed it.  In fact you owe ME 5 dollars, now go look it up and call me back."

She never called back.  Instead I got a letter in the mail from the collections agency saying I'd been sent to collections and I had 30 days to refute their claim.  I called immediately, and faxed the collections agency everything I had sent to University Health Care.  I sent them a copy of the bill, a copy bill pay receipt, and a copy of the cashed check.  The lady at collections actually said, "I can't believe they are doing this to you!" She said she'd show her boss but was pretty confident they wouldn't continue the claim.

I called University Health Care again.  At this point I was mad.  I told the woman on the phone that if they didn't send me a check for 5$ I'd take them to small claims court, and if they didn't clear my account and my credit was affected I'd hire a lawyer and sue them.  

Her: "Let me look into this.  I'll call you back."  
Me: "Really?  Because everyone I've talked to in the last 3 months has said, 'let me look into this.  I'll call you back' and 'don't worry, I'll fix this, and then I'll call you back' but they NEVER do."
Her: "I will I promise."

Ten minutes later she called me back.

Her: "I've talked to my superiors and they said to go ahead and clear your account so you don't owe us anything, and I've cancelled the collections order too."
Me:  "Right, because I don't owe you any money.  And what about my 5 dollars?"
Her:  "Yeah, they said they'd have it to you in 3 weeks."
Me:  "Okay, but if it isn't here in 3 weeks, I'm filing."
Her: "I don't doubt that. And I'm sorry."
Me:  "Yeah, but I'm still really mad."
Her:  "I know."

The check arrived and my mom said, "Too bad, small claims court would have been fun."  Instead of enjoying small claims court, my mom and I going to use my five dollars to subsidize lunch.

08 April 2010

It Was On Principle

I've always admired my mom's ablility to not let people push her around.  She owned a property management business when I was a kid so it was a skill she had to have in order to survive.  I remember when she hired a private investigator to find one of her previous renter's trucks so she could impound it for back rent and court fees.  She told me that men like him always found money for their trucks.  

My mom was always fair and expected to be treated fairly in return.  Nothing explains this better than the incident my mom had with Big O when I was a kid.

My mom had purchased a set of tires at Big O and later went in for a free flat repair.  After a while my mom noticed that the workers kept her keys at the end of the queue moving paying customers in front of her.  She told them if they didn't take her in order she would fix her flat somewhere else and send them the bill.

They ignored her.  

After about 40 minutes a good friend of hers came in to buy 4 new tires for her car.  Because they were both going to be waiting a while they decided to walk to a nearby bakery for a croissant.  When they returned her neighbor's car had new tires and my mom's keys were still at the back of the queue.

So, she went somewhere else and sent them a bill for ten dollars.

When they refused to pay she took them to small claims court.  It cost 35 dollars to file, and another 25 to have the sheriff deliver the affidavit and summons.  As she explained to the filing clerk it was about the principle not the 10 dollars. 

When Big O saw their name on the court docket they decided to go ahead and pay her the 10 dollars plus now they owed her filing fees.  All together Big O paid my mom 70 dollars because they wouldn't fix her flat tire.

It wasn't long before she got another flat so she went back to Big O.  The man working saw her name and asked if she was the one who took them to small claims court for 10 dollars.  She said, "Yes I am.  Do you want to fix my tire, or give me 10 dollars to go somewhere else?"

I'm telling this story because tomorrow I'm going to post in more detail how I got 5 dollars from the University of Utah Health Care.  It too was a matter of principle, and my mom is very proud.

07 April 2010

What We Did on Easter

I have people tell me that I'm at the doctor a  lot and I wonder, am I at the doctor more than the average mom?  Should I not assume that the office staff knows the voice of every caller?  Is it a bad sign that when I start my question to the on-call nurse by saying, "My 7-year-old son . . ." she interrupts me with, "We're talking about MacKay?  Right?"  As soon as I say hello and the age of the child crying in the background they know who I am and who's crying.  Does this mean I'm there too much or do I just have an awesome doctor who has an awesome office staff?

Either way Davis must not think he sees the doctor enough because Sunday he took a chunk out of his cornea with a small wooden helicopter.  From what I gather taking a chunk out of your cornea hurts.  When something hurts small children tend to insist on a band-aid--even when band-aids are totally and completely useless.  I let the kids have free reign over the band-aids because they are an inexpensive way to calm a screaming child.  Yes, we go through a lot of band-aids.  However, there are times when I have to draw the line.  For example, I do not let the kids put band-aids on their eyes.  This particular line caused a problem on Sunday because Davis really really wanted a band-aid on his eye.  I suggested what I thought was the next best thing--sunglasses.  I even called them "band-aids for your eyes" and he totally fell for it.  The only problem is that he didn't actually have sunglasses and Kai wasn't about to let Davis borrow his because they were "oh so special."  Fortunately Madison came to the rescue with these beauties.

The crying stopped and I was able to take little Elton John to see the doctor.  Davis took the glasses off long enough to let the doctor put drops in his eyes that glowed florescent yellow under a black light (eat your heart out big Elton John) and I suggested he let us have some for Halloween.  I think the doctor would have thought that was funny if he saw us more often, but he doesn't get my sense of humor yet.  But then, we've only seen him three times so far this week.

02 April 2010

A Fond Farewell

Tomorrow Jack will be attending his very first adoption event so today might be our last day with him. 
We are all dealing with his approaching departure in our own ways.  

The boy wrote Jack a song that he plans to sing to Jack tonight.  The girl will be accompanying him with her violin.  

Chase has been lovingly petting Jack and telling him how much he is going to miss him.

And Davis has been coming up with new last minute ways to torture him-- like climbing in to his cage, shutting the door, and taunting him with his ball.