Category Archives: Another Day Another 75¢

Same Time Next Next Year

I just got a bill in the mail for $145 from our Pediatrician for my daughter’s last well visit. She turned 8 in January and we took her to the doctor as we always do for her annual checkup. I was wondering why the bill was so high I thought that they hadn’t applied our insurance or something. My husband had taken her to this visit and the office was just changing over their computer system so there was a lot of confusion when they checked in. I called the office and they said that my claim had been denied by our provider United Healthcare because our benefit had been exhausted. I called United Healthcare right away because I knew for a fact that this year’s visit was exactly one year from last year’s visit. After bypassing the robotic system — I despise talking to robots on the telephone, they need to hire some Cylons so I can’t tell that they’re robots — I had to go through several customer service humans to get my answer as to why my claim was denied. My company, the global one who shall not be named, has decided to only cover well visits every other year for children aged 7 and up. WTF?

Needless to say this news started my blood boiling. The next day I told my manager about it and he referred me to our HR representative. She sent me a copy of our Health Plan and I saw it there myself. I had never noticed this before. That shows you how carefully I reviewed all that stuff. I wonder if this is a policy that is often found in other healthcare plans or is this just my company’s, the global one who shall not be named, policy? How about you Internets, is this part of your employer’s benefits plan as well?

Frankly I think it is terrible. If you look at all the medical services that are not covered under the plan, i.e., plastic surgery, private duty nursing, hearing aid repairs, various infertility services, etc., you can logically see why they would not be covered. But a routine physical examination of an 8, 10, 12 . . . year old child is not covered? That makes absolutely no sense to me at all. This is preventative care for a child not some fancy elective medical service?!! Grrrrrrrrrrrr! My HR rep said that they do have an appeals process which I guess I could try to slough through but that is not the point. I believe that they should cover routine preventive care for everyone, every year no matter what age. Most adults don’t get to the doctor every year anyway. At a minimum they should cover yearly exams for kids to age 18! Meanwhile my company, the global one who shall not be named encourages everyone enrolled in their health insurance plans to fill out these healthcare assessments every year by giving you a $100 Visa® gift cards. You can also earn another $100 Visa® gift card by completing a Weight Watchers or defined exercise program. This is a terrific benefit and I happily received my $200 in essentially free money last year but if it is at the expense of paying for my child to see a doctor for a physical every year, I just don’t know.

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Fresh Kills

What was the worst job you ever had?

Once on winter break during college I took a job with NYPIRG. NYPIRG is a non-profit research and advocacy group that focuses on environmental and consumer protection issues. I signed up to be one of their outreach workers. We were supposed to go door-to-door and collect signatures in support of Superfund cleanup. The Superfund is an EPA program designed to identify and clean up the worst hazardous waste sites in the country. This is all good stuff and I was glad to be working for such an honorable organization. What made this job the worst was that we were sent off to knock on doors in Staten Island in the middle of January. It was dark and freezing out there and the weather was really cold too. We’d meet at the office downtown around 4pm and we’d get our maps and find out what neighborhood we were going to be working in. Then we’d all pile into a van and we’d drive out to Staten Island. Throughout the trip our group leaders would give us pep talks and try to get us to practice our scripts. Driving in and out we always passed by the infamous Fresh Kills Landfill. It’s known the world over for its enormous size, chemical leeching, odoriferous smell and ominous name. I’m sure that we were on Staten Island because of Fresh Kills. NYPIRG must have figured that the people there would have some notion of the importance of toxic waste clean up since they lived so close to a gigantic garbage dump. I found however that the people had already heard enough about waste cleanup to last a lifetime and were not very receptive to a fresh faced college student knocking on their door at 7 o’clock at night. Most of the time I could barely get through the first paragraph of my pitch before the door was being shut in my face again. It was kind of depressing to say the least.



Yesterday I told you about what I made for breakfast. I made something special for dinner as well. Everyday Food this month had these delicious looking grilled pizzas and it inspired me to try to make them too. I had a little trouble getting the dough to retain it’s shape and size when transferring it from the pan where I had stretched it and brushed it with oil to the grill. They tasted really good. The dough got that nice charred flavor. Mr. Awesome loved his and that is what is most important.

I made the dough from scratch and I was reminded of how much I love to make bread. My Mom never tried making bread at home but I do remember going on an elementary school trip to a classmate’s home to make bread with her bread making Mother. I was so impressed with the whole process of it. Mixing the ingredients, knead the dough and then the magic part where the yeast comes alive and grows before your eyes.

When I worked as a pastry assistant here I got to make a lot of bread. I started very early in the morning and had to prep the station and make a lot of different things for lunch. On the weekends I had to make all the fresh rolls and danish for Brunch. The bread dough alone required a 50 lb bag of flour. When Bobby opened a small Spanish restaurant nearby I also had to do all the prep for that place as well. There the pastry chef had me baking brioche for bread pudding and another bread in giant coffee cans. All these different breads had the same basic drill, ingredients, mixing, kneading, rising magic, roll and bake. It was all very zen. I really enjoyed that part of the job. I came in, had my list of things to do and then I was done. I didn’t enjoy working service at all. Even though it wasn’t that busy at lunch time I always felt like I was in the weeds.

We’ve been finally talking about replacing the broken oven so I might be able to start baking again soon. I think I would like to become one of those bread making Moms.

Hop Sing

I lived in Philadelphia for a while and worked at The White Dog Cafe. It’s a really lovely place. Before I worked in the dining room I used to wait on tables in the bar area. The bar was always very crowded and it took a lot of maneuvering to get from the service bar to the tables, especially when you were carrying a tray. One especially crowded Friday night there was a group of older guys who decided to try to stand at the bar right next to the service bar. Every time I had to pick up a drink order I had to squeeze my way around two or three of them. I decided to try to ask them if they would move away from the service bar and I politely said,

“Excuse me sir but that really isn’t a good place to stand.”

They ignored me. I went on with my job and had to squeeze by them a couple more times and had to ask them to move a couple more times. Finally, I asked one guy to move again,

“Excuse me sir but that really isn’t a good place to stand.”

“Not a good place to stand? Will someone tell Hop Sing that Danang wasn’t a good place to stand either.”

I was speechless. I went and told my manager what he had said and she threw them all out.

It’s funny cause I don’t think I look anything like this guy.

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My Dog’s Namesake

I named my dog Dylan after a kid at camp. There are two camps in my life. I went to Camp Thoreau from age 9-11 and worked at Camp Lohikan during college. Dylan the boy was at Lohikan. He was a cool kid who was liked by most campers and counselors. I don’t remember him as being particularly athletic but he was definitely tall for his age. He seemed to be perfecting a stoner cool persona as if he had seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Spicoli had made a great impression on him. Everyone was in the gymnasium for the camp olympics. There was another camp visiting and playing our kids in volleyball and wrestling. There was going to be a wrestling match between senior boys from our camp and senior boys from the visiting camp. They were only matching participants by age because Dylan’s opponent was a good 6″ shorter than he was. When our kids in the gym saw the boy that Dylan had drawn for the match they went crazy. They started chanting, DyLAN, DyLAN, DyLAN! Dylan in turn looked at the boy and decided that he had already won and raised his arms over his head in victory and enjoyed the confidence of his peers. The other boy saw what was happening and started to cry. It seemed for a minute that he was giving up before he’d even started. The chanting of Dylan’s name only got louder while the counselors from the visiting camp gave their wrestler a pep talk. They were able to get him to go through with it. The smaller boy seemed unsure and scared while Dylan was all smiles and was raring to get started on his cake walk. However, once the match got started the smile quickly left Dylan’s face. The smaller boy was like a shark and was relentless in his determination to take Dylan down. Once our crowd caught on to where things were headed they got very quiet and the kids from the other team started cheering jubilantly. I remember watching Dylan’s wincing red face as he was being expertly pinned to the mat. He did not expect this to happen. There was no escape from a spanking humiliation for one boy and utter triumph for the other.

Dylan the dog came from Philadelphia. I got her when I first moved there and was working as a telemarketer for a Dating Service called Great Expectations. She was a German Shepherd Husky mix and looked very tough on the outside. Once on the street a little boy looked at her and said, “Mommy that dog looks like a WOLF”. She was really just a marshmallow inside. She was extremely afraid of thunderstorms and would hide in the bathtub shaking, panting and whimpering until the storm had completely passed. I didn’t know all this about her when I gave her the name though. When she was a puppy she was a one dog wrecking crew and tried to eat or chew on everything in her wake. Once she destroyed a potted plant in the apartment. She broke the pot and scattered the dirt all over the floor. There were paw prints literally 2′ up on the walls. I imagined her running circles on the walls of the room a la Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding.

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Not what I meant at all

I’ve been working on a special project at my job. We are measuring sales for two groups of account managers, Robert Smith’s group and Melissa Hardy’s group*. My manager recently asked me to add two new tabs to my Excel workbook to show the Month over Month revenue activity for each team. I made my two new spreadsheets but realized that I couldn’t fit Smith Month over Month 2010 on the tab and have it all fit. I shortened month over month to MOM. Now the tabs read Smith MOM 2010 and Hardy MOM 2010. I was thinking that it was a cute name until the conference call. We were looking at the workbook on the phone with a colleague in another office. We were trying to figure out which of the two spreadsheets he was looking at.

“Wait,” my manager said, “are you on Robert’s MOM or Melissa’s MOM?”

I can see now how that might be a little awkward in a corporate setting.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I think I’m going to have to tell them I have a headache

In my ongoing quest to earn more income for my family I keep a profile on a popular freelancing site. Occasionally “buyers” looking for workers with my skill set will contact me to see if I’m interested in interviewing for their jobs. Earlier this week I was contacted by a buyer interested in finding women who would be willing to take a “female enhancement” product for a month and then write about it in 4 500 word blog entries. The product promises to increase female libido and enhance the sexual experience for the user through a completely safe 100% all natural herbal formula. I was seriously thinking of bidding on the job but then I started having second thoughts. They want a 300 word bio and a photo to go along with the blog entries and I thought it to be a little more anonymous than that, plus I don’t know if I could come with 4 500 word blog entries about being horny? I like feeling sexy as much as the next girl and frankly I could use a little help in the libido department from time to time but I don’t think I’m cut out for this kind of thing. I suppose I could have just made stuff up and used a fake picture and name but I’d still need to figure out how to make up 2300 words worth of fake. At first my husband was kind of interested in me taking part in this project but when he saw the part about having to submit a bio and a picture he said I didn’t have to do it if I didn’t want to.

For a long while after my daughter was born I didn’t exactly feel in the mood as much as I had before. The whole long exhausting experience of being in the hospital for 5 days of labor/cesarean/recovery kind of took all the thrill out of it for me. Having my vagina repeatedly examined, poked and pulled at by practically everyone who came in my room while I was in labor was something I was not prepared for. After the labor was over and the baby was born it didn’t get much better. There was the one nurse who would cheerfully announce her nightly visit with the phrase, “time for me to clean your bottom” right before she wiped me and changed the diaper pad I was laying on. There also was a 6’2″ nurse who had to administer a suppository to alleviate my gas pains. Apparently this isn’t something they let you do yourself. I found the whole thing kind of humiliating.

I had always been someone who enjoyed my more carnal side. I even took some naughty self portraits that have become a little joke between my husband and I. Whenever he picks up a stack of old photos to look through there will invariably be a handful of them in there. I kind of suspect that he’s got them all stashed somewhere and takes a few out from time to time to slip them into circulation just to freak me out. We probably don’t have ahem, relations as often as my husband would like but I’m satisfied with our current frequency (the Saturday night special) and variety. I know that there are ahem, things that he would like me to do more often than I do right now. It was kind of funny actually because we were discussing this very subject last Friday at the end of a very long week and I told him that I’d be happy to oblige him on Saturday night but I was just too tired for any extra curriculars right then and there. The TV was on and at that moment a commercial for BJ’s Wholesale Club came on the screen. It seemed like the whole world was conspiring to remind my husband of what he couldn’t have.

Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to bid on the job after all. It might be fun for a while but the way our schedules are right now if the stuff really worked I fear I’d end up all dressed up with no place to go. Yes, I think I’m going to have to tell them that I have a headache.

A Good Shoe Day Indeed

Look upon them all ye mighty and despair!

Today was a good shoe day. I’ve been feeling very stressed and low energy lately and I needed something to help boost myself up a little. What better way to do this than to wear your favorite pair of shoes? Please allow me to introduce you to my very favorite pair, my Ozymandias shoes. I was kind of hoping that one of my co-workers would notice them so that I could gush and share my little shoe story but no one did *SIGH*. I still felt stylish cute and light on my feet and I really needed that.

What I did for love

I watched “Every Little Step” the other night. It is a documentary about both the making of the original “A Chorus Line” and the broadway revival from a couple of years ago. I got all weepy watching. I typically do whenever I see people who have the kinds of dreams that I used to have working to fulfill those dreams. They play bits of the score throughout the film and hearing the music again is such a strong sense memory experience for me. I am transported back to myself as a kid in my yellow room in our apartment on Schenck Ave (pronounced SKANK if you can believe it), listening to those songs and trying to belt along to the music and sound like the fantastic actresses on the records. I have a little bit of a sore throat today and I’m wondering if it’s because I was singing too forcefully in the shower yesterday? (At The Ballet! Hey!) I remember being so sure that I was going to have a life in the performing arts. I didn’t want anything else. College showed me more of the real world and it was hard to find myself not quite fitting into the box that I’d promised myself I’d be in. The movie goes behind the scenes for the long audition process they had for the revival. It was thrilling to see all the performers giving it their all at their auditions. I have my own set of regrets at not really going for it myself. I was too much of a mess right after college. I was desperate to leave Skank Ave and didn’t want to rely on just an iffy acting career to live. As it turned out I made the totally rational decision to move to Philadelphia and work as a telemarketress at a Dating Service instead (!) and ended up having to return to my yellow room at home anyway. Not long after I started working at the Writer’s & Artists Talent Agency. It was a little hard for me to be around all these young performers who were putting themselves out there. I was a teeny bit jealous of them yet too terrified to try the same thing myself. I told myself that I wasn’t going to get hired because my look was too untraditional but I probably could have made it work if I really wanted to. It was my first real NYC job. I used to get all dressed up (with pantyhose even) and commuted back and forth on the train to get there. This is my desk at W&A. I loved the lighting in that place. They always kept the florescents very low and had lamps on our desks and above the typewriters (!) so we could see. I thought my typewriter was the bomb back in the day. I figured out how to pre-format my submissions on that thing and simply had to push a couple of buttons and it would set up the entire page for me, margins and all. This office also featured a very busy fax machine that used rolls of paper that would emerge from the machine all warm and damp. There were always reams of curly faxes drying on top of the radiator next to the machine. It was only a little over 20 years ago but it seems like much longer. Everyone used to smoke at their desks, can you imagine?

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Working Mom – Out of Work

I’ve been out of work for two and a half months now. The job hunt has not gotten any easier. I go on interviews and feel that I’m being well received and that my interviewers feel positively about me and then I hear nothing. It is making me start to question my ability to judge my own performance. I think that I’m putting out my best version of myself but then again I’m not so sure. Heck, I’d hire me – but then again, I’m not really looking for anyone right now. We’ve pulled P out of school two days a week to give her a little taste of summer vacation and to give us a break on tuition and gas for the car. I’m not fully into the stay-at-home mindset with her yet. I’ve been picking her up about 2 hours earlier at the end of the school day then I was when I was working so we’re already spending a lot more time together each day. We’re still working our way through the transitions – which translates to she’s pushing all my buttons and I’m rising to the occasion. Last night however was a great improvement and we actually avoided a major battle at bedtime. She did try to tell me that she had a really bad earache for which she had prescribed a dose of television watching. I suggested some Motrin but she refused.