So, spring of last year, I found out from work that my license had been suspended. It turned out to be an error. The county had told DMV to suspend me for failure to appear even though I *had* appeared and made payment arrangements for a fix it ticket. I got it straightened out with the court and DMV within a week and since then, my DMV record has consistently showed no problems.
Yesterday I spoke with Geico about my auto insurance and they said they were going to be DOUBLING my monthly payments because of last year's suspension. What??? I looked at my record on the DMV website and sure enough, the suspension was back (resolved, but still there).
So now I've got to take time out of a workday (at my new job; I can't be just bopping off to do errands whenever) to go to the traffic court and probably also DMV to get this resolved. Because that's *totally* what I want to be doing, losing wages to deal with this stupid crap that's not my fault.
Meanwhile ozzwepay and I have been renting a room from cerulean_me and family (and paying $500 a month to keep a bunch of stuff in storage) and hoping to save up money for a place of our own where I can also get one or more kids back to living with me. He's been out of work for a while and is looking for a job (tech support, email, spam stuff -- if anyone knows of a position, let me know). The rents in the area in the past year have gotten to be completely out of control. To give you some idea, in 2011 I was paying $1750 for a three bedroom, two bathroom duplex in a decent part of San Jose. I just looked on Craigslist and found that comparable units in the same area are now renting for at least $3200; most of them are closer to $3800. I am beginning to despair of ever being able to rent again. Even if I go for a two bedroom unit I'm looking at at least $2500. I don't even make that much per month, and most places want you to make at least three times the rent per month.
If I didn't have my mom and the kids here I would move out of the Bay Area in a heartbeat. But I am stuck. Please tell me how a regular lower middle class working person is supposed to be able to survive here? (Section 8 has a waiting list many years long and the list hasn't been opened up in ages anyway. There are no other low income housing programs available, and anyway I've found that I make too much or too little for most of the controlled rent places around here. Catch-22.)
Ricky had his DEXA scan today. He has this once a year because of his CF causing mineral deficiencies (which hopefully he makes up for by drinking close to a gallon of milk a day) and because he takes Heparin, Prednisone, and anti-convulsants on a regular basis. After that we had Panda Express. While we were doing all of this Misty was recovering at my mom's.
That's basically it for today. The weekend is... Freeeeeee so far. I can't remember the last time I've been able to say that. Sadly, the most exciting thing I can think of to do is sleep. *sigh*
ETA:( videos of Ricky's DEXA scans present (first) and past (second -- 2008) )
Misty has the stomach crud now. With me it was more um. Diarrhea. She has been throwing up. Five times tonight already. Poor poppet. I hate seeing her so miserable. I hope this doesn't get as bad with her as it did with me. I didn't pee for 24 hours.
Tomorrow Ricky has his DXA scan (checks for bone density). Not much else on the agenda. His cough is getting worse. I hope it doesn't require any extra medical intervention.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I exercised regularly for a while but ended up stopping because of my knee hurting. I'm hoping to try again this year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several friends gave birth!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, several CF friends, including most notably Ana Stenzel. :(
5. What countries did you visit?
Never even left California this year.
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 29. Mike and I broke up.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Applying for a job I was interested in, following through on it, and getting the job.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Letting my good eating habits fall by the wayside. :(
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I've continued to suffer from my mystery abdominal illness around once a month. My knee started hurting again, but I think I've managed to get it back to its previous state. And I've got an intestinal virus now that started on 12/30.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Maroon 5 tickets. :) Duh.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Andrew has really turned things around in school. I'm proud of him.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Agreeing with my friend here and saying politicians.
Also, a friend who threw our friendship away over a fairly minor disagreement.
14. Where did most of your money go?
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Maroon 5 concerts. It was a great year for them.
16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
"Lucky Strike" by Maroon 5
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter
iii. richer or poorer? Richer but not by much
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eat and mope
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
We had an early Christmas with Misty before she went with her dad for the holiday. Had a low key holiday at my mom's.
21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
22. Did your heart break in 2013?
23. What was your favorite TV program?
Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy
24. Where were you when 2013 began?
My friend Betsy's house
25. Who were you with?
Friends and Misty.
26. Where will you be when 2013 ends?
At cerulean_me's house
27. Who will you be with when 2013 ends?
Friends and Misty.
28. What was the best book you read?
The zombie books by Mira Grant.
29. What was your greatest musical discovery?
30. What did you want and get?
Kindle Fire HD!
31. What did you want and not get?
A new car. Boo hoo. :)
32. What was your favorite film of this year?
33. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 40 and I don't remember exactly but I likely sober the day with friends and family somewhere low key.
34. How many different states did you travel to in 2013?
Stayed here in California.
35. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Low cut blouse, jeans or denim capris, purple shoes.
36. What kept you sane?
Who says I'm sane?
Seriously, my friends.
37. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Adam Levine. Duh.
38. What political issue stirred you the most?
Same sex marriage.
39. How many concerts did you see in 2013?
Lost count but it was around 10.
40. Did you have a favorite concert in 2013?
Maroon 5 at HP Pavilion in March.
41. Who was the best new person you met?
There are lots, but one who sticks out is Brandy, whom I met in Chula Vista.
42. Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
Yep. And let's leave it at that.
43. What was your most embarrassing moment of 2013?
Slipping and smacking my knee leaving a friend's house.
44. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
Always be honest with your friends and yourself.
45. What are your plans for 2014?
Get back into shape and get to the bottom of whatever it is that's causing my abdominal issues.
46. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
P!nk - Try
Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn't mean you're gonna die
You've gotta get up and try, and try, and try
So yes... We got a kitten for Andrew's birthday. We found him at the fourth adoption fair we visited. We had applied to adopt a kitten at the second place we went, but they acted like there was a waiting list and we'd need to be reviewed, etc. Whatever! The first one we went to didn't have any actual cats, just pictures of cats, and there were no young cats. The third place we went had a few cats but none we clicked with. So yeah, at the fourth place there were several just *lovely* cats including little Mowgli. We actually liked two other ones too but we all fell for Mowgli. Really, he kind of adopted us. He sat on my chest the whole time I was filling out the adoption contract and paying (by Paypal on my phone! yay technology!). He is super mellow and passive. He can lie on a person for hours. Super sweet. Right now he is up in the boys' room acclimating because this move to a new home (he was being fostered by the lady we adopted him from, who was representing a rescue organization) has been a bit traumatic. The lady figured he'd be used to us in a day or two. He has met Smokie and she's frankly indifferent to him, which is better than I expected because I was afraid she'd be hostile. He's a little afraid of her which means they'll probably stay out of each others' way. He's 3-1/2 months old, neutered and has had all of his shots. Hopefully this is the beginning of a long friendship. :)
( more pics under here )
Right now he's on a combination of medications -- Effexor for depression and Clonidine for impulse control and to help him sleep. The Clonidine has had the excellent side effect of helping him with some other physical problems he has been dealing with.
Last week I noticed that Andrew was running low on his Effexor. I called the refill request in to the pharmacy. I expected that it would be ready in a day or two... Not right away because the doctor needed to approve the refill request.
A couple of days went by, and Andrew ran out of Effexor. I knew that we had to get more ASAP because he crashes hard when he suddenly goes off of this med. I mean, the depression and anxiety are probably 10x worse than how he was even before he was on meds. We can maybe limp by a day or two but it gets bad after that.
Come Sunday Andrew was out of sorts. He moped around the house, didn't talk to me much. He didn't respond to me when I told him it was lunchtime. At dinnertime he came storming downstairs demanding food. He was angry about not getting lunch. He started screaming at me and pounding on the walls. I sent him upstairs to cool down and he stood in his room and pounded on things up there, crying and screaming. Eventually he came out of his room and downstairs and announced that he was going to go into traffic and kill himself.
I followed him out the door to make sure he didn't do that. I took the phone with me and called the pharmacy to find out what the holdup was. I was told that the pharmacy had been in contact with the insurance company (actually Medi-Cal, state insurance that we have because we are low income and my job does not provide health benefits). The insurance company was requiring prior authorization. But I was welcome to come get meds from the pharmacy, one day's worth for $19. Great.
While I was on the phone, Andrew ran into the street (luckily we don't live on a busy street) and then back again and tried to attack me. I decided he needed to go to the hospital.
I took Andrew to the county emergency psychiatric unit, which is luckily just a few miles away. He was admitted in right away after I did a little bit of paperwork. They assessed him and kept him overnight. He had his meds and came home the next day feeling a lot better, and much more safe at home.
I went down and paid $19 for a day's worth of pills (that's two Effexor XR 75mg capsules!) for today and called the pharmacy today to ask what was up.
You know what they said? The real reason for the delay was that Medi-Cal had decided that Andrew should be on one 150mg capsule instead of two 75mg capsules. This was their reason for delaying the prescription. For which they will have to pay for his overnight hospital stay. I was so angry. Of course Andrew can swallow a slightly bigger capsule. That would have been preferable to, say, him becoming suicidal. But to me it just seems like a stalling tactic. Maybe if we didn't bother with it, we'd go away and they wouldn't have to pay for his medication?
I looked up the medication. I thought... Maybe the bureaucrats down at Medi-Cal were trying to save the taxpayers money. (I had my doubts about this, since when we switched to Medi-Cal they actually insisted we switch from the less expensive generic to the outrageously expensive brand name! What the heck??) So I found out that the 75mg capsules are two for $19. The 150mg are $17 each. So I suppose they are saving themselves a few dollars. Although anyone in healthcare can tell you that Medi-Cal rarely pays more than a tiny percentage of what they are billed. I have some outrageous examples from my son Ricky's past hospital bills. But I will save that for another time.
So to save a few bucks, Medi-Cal delayed Andrew's prescription. And he ended up in the hospital. It may have worked out okay, but what if he had hurt himself or someone else? What then? I am very angry about this. I don't know what can be done but... It seems to me that something needs to change in this state, to the state of the mental health care/general health care systems. Red tape is coming before patients' health and safety. Where did things go wrong? They are so, so wrong.
Today we are watching Karlee. This is Karlee:
By the way, this week I got tickets to the Barenaked Ladies. They are playing at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga in September. So excited! I would like to go see Train and Maroon 5 too. They are playing in Concord a few days before BNL. Will have to see if I can afford it.
So, I've been trying to catch up on everyone's LJs but I have probably missed stuff. So feel free to link me if there is stuff I should know.
Before I go... Here is Weird Al's new video. His new album came out this week.
There are lots more pictures of the house here. It's an old house and as such we have been dealing with lots of old house issues... Windows that won't open or are otherwise defective, a garage that needs work (and therefore we have EVERYTHING in the house... it's still quite cluttered and maddening, especially to Liz), no air conditioning (I'm the fan queen), funny construction (the house seems to slant downhill in places, for instance). But overall... We love it. We have christened it "The Farmhouse in the Garden" (or FiG). :)
(And if any of you would like my new address, please let me know.)
Things with the kids are going okay. We've had to shuffle around school placements. We are now in San Jose Unified School District, the biggest one in the area but not without its faults and frustrations. At this point it looks like Andrew will be allowed to keep his county program placement. Ricky will be going to the same high school as Liz's son Kevin, which is down in south San Jose by their old house. There's a life skills program there that's a lot like the one he was going to transition into in the old district. Both boys are going to be in summer school. Well, Ricky is right now; Andrew starts on July 5 (my birthday). Andrew's county program is the same one Ricky was in for 2-1/2 years so ultimately Andrew will graduate from the same middle school Ricky did. :) Misty is going to be starting kindergarten in the fall (!) and turns 5 next month. She will be going to the neighborhood school. And she is EXCITED.
In June I have had plenty of hours but that will be changing because the library's hours are changing drastically starting next week and all branches will be on a four day schedule. I am not sure how this will ultimately affect me; we shall see.
Oh, the new house is a block and a half from the Y. So we have renewed our membership and have been walking over to swim a lot lately. In fact tomorrow I am going back there with the kids (mine and Kevin).
And now... The knee saga. Sigh. I'm on state funded insurance. I injured my knee in December. My doctor refused to do anything until March, saying it could heal. Then I had a negative x-ray and she referred me for an MRI which I finally got 3 months later (because the wait was that long). Then she waited 3 more weeks even to give me my results and I had to hound staff and dial random extensions to get an appt. Turns out I have a torn medial meniscus, torn MCL, and patellofemeral syndrome, which has caused knee instability and made me fall down the stairs in the new house twice, injuring my other knee similarly. It has now been 6 months since my original injury and I am looking at a wait of at least 3 months to see a surgeon. And then? Who knows.
So that's it for now... I will again promise to be a more regular correspondent. I spent a lot of today catching up on other people's LJs. I hope you haven't all given up on me!
Isn't she the cutest? And how did she grow up suddenly?
Liz is all moved in here. We are still looking for a bigger place of our own but meanwhile we have all crammed in here. It's not so bad. The kids are having a little trouble adjusting, especially Misty, but it's going okay. It's good to have a PLAN, you know?
So, tomorrow Ricky is having an endoscopy. He's supposed to have these periodically to check on his reflux and stuff. It took a couple of days this week of hair-pulling bureacracy dealing to get it approved for payment by California Children's Services, but finally today when I called them, I was told it was approved yesterday.
A while later someone from the gastro doc's office called to say they'd left me a message yesterday about Ricky needing bloodwork before he could have the procedure. What? I had received no message from anyone and I had checked my voicemails just this morning. This ended up with them faxing a lab requisition over in a big hurry and me rushing to get Misty from preschool and take Ricky to get the blood drawn. It was drawn STAT and hopefully that was good enough. :P
The endoscopy is at 1:15 and he's not allowed to eat after... Well... Midnight. Now. And he can have clear liquids in the morning up until 11:30am. He's gonna be a very unhappy camper.
As for Andrew, after stressing out about him having no insurance, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Medi-Cal card for him on Saturday. Just like that. Seems I make too little for us to qualify for Healthy Families so his app was forwarded on to Medi-Cal. He's got a card that we can use for the time being while we wait weeks for them to determine that he is, indeed, eligible. Which he is, duh. So yay no more paying out of pocket for his $300 prescription.
Okay, off to bed with me. Goodnight.
House hunting... Looking for a new place with foreverlizzy and her son Kevin. There are precious few houses big enough in the high school district. We went to see a PERFECT one on Sunday. Well, close to perfect. It had been almost entirely remodeled. It's a four bedroom, two bath house with completely new kitchen and bathrooms, double pane windows, and a yard! We applied for it on the spot. There were three other families applying.
We gave the owner of the house a day to run the credit checks and then Liz called today. The guy told her that they're still running the credit checks and checking the references and that he hopes to have an answer before Friday. Please pick us. Please please please. I don't want to get to the point where I am *desperate* for a place to live. I want to be somewhere where we are comfortable and have time to move in and settle down.
I spent today sitting with Liz, helping her pack some, and also being there when she and her family said goodbye to their pit bull Lulu, who cannot move with us. Luckily, Lulu has found a wonderful home. Yay!
Guess that is all for now, for this public entry. I need to get to bed! It's spring break, but I do have a doctor's appointment in the morning so I can't sleep in.
(Those are Lightning McQueen sheets. That's what she has on her bunkbed at Daddy's house and I thought I'd get them for her to have here -- she approved!)
She tucked her babies into the cradle I slept in when I was a baby, which my mom gave us today. Everything seemed peachy. At bedtime, we read a book as usual, and then she got into bed. She came out one time for another hug and then... She went to sleep! She slept for three hours!
And then she woke up. She had the mother of all tantrums when I told her she needed to sleep in her big girl bed. She insisted she wanted to go into her old bed. That's the crib-converted-into-a-daybed in my room. It's still there but I stripped all of the bedding off of it. When she was done having the tantrum, I said I would let her use my nightlight til we could get her her own, and that I'd sit in there for a while so she could go to sleep (this is a trick I learned on Supernanny). I got a chair and my new nook color and camped out for a while. The first time I tried to leave, she came out after a few minutes. When we went back in, I put on Andrew's clock radio on a softly-played alternative station and sat in there again. I guess I left too soon because she came out again. She was concerned about her old bed. I told her we might sell it to a family with a baby. She didn't want me to sell it. As I walked her back into her room I said maybe we wouldn't sell it so soon. I sat and read the nook for a little bit longer, until I thought I heard her snoring, and I left the room.
And now she's asleep.
I'm sure this is just the first of many battles, but it's a start.
1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (audiobook and Nook) finished 1/1/11
2. The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond (audiobook and nook) finished 2/8/11
3. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult (audiobook) finished 3/27/11
4. The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass (audiobook) finished 4/14/11
5. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (audiobook and nook) finished 4/26/11
6. Bonk by Mary Roach (audiobook) finished 5/16/11
7. Lucky by Alice Sebold (audiobook) finished 5/20/11
8. Miracle Cure by Harlan Coben (audiobook) finished 5/26/11
9. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (audiobook and nook) finished 6/2/11
10. The Mind's Eye by Oliver Sacks (audiobook) finished 6/13/11
11. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (nook) finished 7/3/11
12. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (nook) finished 7/12/11
13. Ape House by Sara Gruen (nook) finished 7/25/11
14. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (audiobook) finished 7/25/11
15. Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich (audiobook) finished 8/2/11
16. Long Gone by Alafair Burke (audiobook) finished 8/16/11
17. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell (audiobook) finished 8/19/11
18. Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman finished 8/27/11
19. Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner (audiobook) finished 8/29/11
20. God, No by Penn Jillette (audiobook) finished 9/4/11
21. Rescue by Anita Shreve (audiobook) finished 9/8/11
22. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (audiobook and nook) finished 10/6/11
23. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (audiobook, read by Wil Wheaton) finished 10/13/11 EXCELLENT
24. Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner (audiobook and nook) finished 10/24/11
25. The Kingdom of Childhood by Rebecca Coleman (nook) finished 11/4/11
26. Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (audiobook) finished 11/12/11
27. My Life on the Run by Bart Yasso (nook) finished 11/20/11
Links to previous years' lists:
Thank you all.
(Also, if you don't have me as a friend on Facebook yet, I'm right here.)