Category Archives: MacGyver Mom

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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Crisis at Skylandia

A texting excerpt from my recent trip to my parent’s house which Mr Awesome and I affectionately refer to as Skylandia. I noticed that the toilet in “our” bathroom was flushing slowly. I thought it was running after I flushed it so I tried jiggling and pushing down on the handle. I heard a funny noise and when I looked down I realized that water was just pouring out of the bowl. I quickly opened the tank and pulled up on the bulb and stopped the water. Later on I texted Mr Awesome to let him know about all the fun he was missing . . .

NOV 14 2010 10:11 PM

Crisis time!!! The toilet in the grey bathroom just overflowed  . . .

There is no caulk around the toilet or tub and the grout is shot so it went straight through the floor . . .

And poured down all over the kitchen counter.


My dad is convinced that the kids flushed something down the toilet. He also asked me if my cousin or I flushed a sanitary napkin down the toilet.

What, you’re NOT supposed to do that?

Oh what fun!!


He sees the water in the kitchen and starts screaming like he’s on fire and running up the stairs. Meanwhile both kids and my mom are up there trying to sleep.

Don’t you just wish you were here too??

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11 Years From Yesterday

Floyd11 years ago yesterday Hurricane Floyd came to NYC. It was preceded by the usual barrage of “Stormtracker” Team coverage on all the local news programs and ominous warnings about winds and rain and flooding. In the end it was really nothing. Nothing at all like the tornado that touched down in my old neighborhood yesterday. Hurricane Floyd will always have a special place in my heart because it brought Glenn and I together. We were both sent home early to Brooklyn that day. Our offices had closed early in advance of the storm. We had met online just weeks before and had had our first date on September 6, 1999. When I got home that day I decided to give him a call and see if he wanted to hang out. He came over with an arm full of Godzilla movies and we settled in together for the long haul. He came over that day and basically never left. We’ve been together ever since.  We always used to celebrate Floyd day but it’s kind of gotten forgotten over the past couple of years. It wasn’t until I was looking at some of the storm coverage from yesterday’s big storm in the city that I realized the date. Yesterday was a pretty ordinary day other than it was Piper’s first day of swimming lessons. The instructor gave them some free swim time at the beginning and after she had watched Piper for a couple of minutes she told me that she was going to put her in the Intermediate class. I was a little hesitant but I shouldn’t have been. Piper had to work to keep up with her other classmates being the smallest and the least experienced swimmer in the group but she did amazingly well. She just kept trying, even when it was clearly difficult for her. I was so very proud of her yesterday. It was a blessing that she got to succeed like that and that I got to see her do it. I fell in love 10 years ago yesterday and then got to fall in love all over again 11 years later.

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Don’t know what I was worrying about?

Piper and I had a great day at the fair. There was my usual second guessing and back tracking on the drive there but all in all I think that part went pretty smoothly. I really don’t enjoy highway driving but it wasn’t too bad since we weren’t going that far. The weather today was super hot and sunny. The sun was scorching and there wasn’t a lot of shade at the fairgrounds. We both held onto our patience and I was especially proud of her behavior. Even if she refused to go and see the cows with me. I always love seeing the animals. One summer at the Wayne County fair in PA my friend and I spotted a boy sitting on the fence next to his prize winning pig. We asked him what his pig’s name was and he looked up and said, “Don’t name ’em, ’cause you gotta eat ’em.”

We didn’t go on too many rides because they were SO expensive. Tickets were $1 each and most of the rides were 4 or 5 tickets each. She wanted to go on the ferris wheel until I saw that it was going to be a $10 ride. We splurged instead and rode the swing ride. She loved it and I was so proud. Best ride ever. I have typed.

Today it’s the trip back home but for right now I’m enjoying some solitude while she sleeps. I was going to sit out on our little porch with my coffee but it is still too humid out there. I am content.

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Wish me luck!

Please wish me luck oh Internets! We had been planning a little family getaway upstate but Mr. Awesome got sick on Monday night and he has to stay home and heal. I tried to see if the place we were going to stay would allow us to move the date. They wouldn’t. It is a very small place and they have a strict cancellation policy. If you go past a certain date they won’t let you cancel or reschedule without forfeiting your payment. I respect their policy and all but I felt they were a tad bit inflexible considering my husband had a medical emergency. So, Piper and I are going on our own. I’m a little bit nervous about it. I hope we don’t end up yelling at each other the whole time. We both have to practice our listening and patience skills. It will be a good bonding experience for us. I know that she loves me but her Daddy is the FUN one. I can be fun er . . . I mean FUN too. They can spend long periods of time playing and making crazy stuff up together and I can’t compete with that. I shouldn’t but I still feel a little inadequate in that department. I have to remember to accept that I’m me and I’m great and fun in my own way. It’s that mirror thing again. On the one hand I’m telling my daughter to love herself and others, and at the same time I’m modeling a lack of confidence and belief in myself. I have to watch that. I also need to be sure to remain flexible. I’m always telling her to accept what she can’t change and move on. I have to do the same thing but in relation to her. I have to watch my tendency to be controlling and a nagger. Whoa, lightbulb moment. I just described my parents. My Mother is under confident and my Dad is a control freak. My parents are not coming on this trip!!

I’ll keep you posted and let you know how it’s going along the way.

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My Daughter and the DS

My daughter really wants a DS. She’s been lobbying for one for a while now. There was a period before Christmas last year when she’d try to use DS in all her spelling word practice sentences just so we’d get the hint, i.e., The DS swept the floor. We didn’t give in. Mr. Awesome felt strongly that it was just another piece of electronic junk that would be forgotten soon enough. I didn’t want to have another bit of media in her life that I had to manage her access to. I know that they are very addictive for young kids and we didn’t want to get one for her. We have a Wii and she can play games on the computer too. I don’t think we were being unreasonable about it. Frankly, the craze around them has died down a little bit and she hadn’t really been asking about them that much lately. Well, until yesterday that is.

Her friend called yesterday and asked if Piper could come over and play. It was going to be a very short time since the friend had to go to sports practice. I dropped her off and came home and tried to work out (YIKES! It’s been a looong time. I thought I was going to pass out!) for an hour before I went back. When Piper comes out of the house I see that she is holding a DS and several games. I see it and want to make sure with the friend and the Mom standing there that it is OK that Piper borrows the game until next time. Oh no, they all tell me, they are giving Piper the DS because her friend has a new one and never plays this one anymore. The wheels start turning in my brain, what am I supposed to say?? I don’t even want to bring the thing inside the car let alone my house, isn’t it like the Devil, you’re sunk if you invite him in? I didn’t want to make a scene but maybe I should have? How much do kids these days have to have? This girl was giving away something that costs at least $100 in the store and only because she had another, newer $100+ version of the thing and no one was batting an eye. I let Piper play with it a little last night but told her that I’d have to talk to her Dad about it when he got home and I was sure that he wasn’t going to like it. I was right about that. He was extremely unhappy about the whole thing. I’m not sure what he thinks that I should have done in those moments at the door. Tell the Mom, sorry but we think that the toy you just gave my child is poison so thanks but no thanks? I’m not socially adept enough to get through these moments. Piper’s friend is not in her class this year but her parents own a local business that I enjoy and go into constantly. I didn’t want to have a big scene. This might all be moot soon. Her friend didn’t give us the power cord for the game so once it runs out of power it won’t work anymore. Mr. Awesome wants to give it back because he’s adamant that she not have it. I’m kind of on the fence. I let her play it a little bit last night and frankly she didn’t seem that into it. She played a game that we have the Wii version of and she actually seemed kind of bored. I already told her that she would have to pay for new games with her own money if we kept it. We could give it back when she sees her friend back at school in a couple of weeks. I’m sure that battery will be gone by then anyway. Boy, she was only over there for an hour. I can’t imagine what she would have come home with if she had been there for longer. I had no idea there would be an exchange of electronic devices, jeez! What do you think Internets? Do we give it back? I await your advice!

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The Mean Mommy

I tried something new with my daughter this morning. She has a lot of trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Now even though summer has started she still has to get up in time to get ready for day camp. I find myself in her room in the mornings droning her name while she lays there and ignores me. Usually I end up nagging her out of bed or telling her she’s going to lose privileges, etc. I HATE this entire routine. I hear myself and I hear my mother trying to get my brother and I up out of bed. This morning I decided to try a different line of attack. I realized that if she doesn’t get up in time to get her stuff done then that is not my problem. I wake her up with plenty of time but if she wants to sleep later and waste half that time then obviously there may not be enough time to do everything she wants or needs to do. Again, if she runs out of time – that is not my problem. My new mantra – not my problem. She laid in bed and ignored my pleas to get up so I went downstairs. I did a couple of things and then called upstairs to tell her that she might miss breakfast. She came down and put her head down on the table. I know that she was VERY tired this morning but she still has to get out of bed. I’m very determined to get over this hump before school starts again. She got off to a late start and had a bowl of cereal before she ran out of time. It was time for her to go and get dressed. I could have allowed her to squeeze in another small bowl of cereal but I stuck to my guns. When I told her that she couldn’t have any more cereal it was like I stomped on her favorite toy. When she was very small we were so concerned that she eat and gain weight that if we didn’t feel that she ate enough at a meal we’d follow her around the room with spoonfuls of food and beg her to please eat. She was simply shocked that I was telling her she couldn’t have any more cereal and that she needed to go and get dressed. It was a major struggle complete with back talk, hitting and lots of huffy mad faces and she was pretty mad too. Oh, it was grand! Just what I want to do on a summer morning.  It was hard and I anticipate more hard mornings and I have become the dreaded Mean Mommy but I think we’ve crossed a line or rather I’ve drawn a line. Wish us luck tomorrow!!

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This is not a post about Michael Jackson

Yesterday was my daughter’s last day of 1st grade. She cried at school and then she got off the bus with tears in her eyes. I thought her sad mood would last a lot longer than it did once we got inside. Then she found out who her 2nd grade teacher was going to be and she got all interested in looking at the pictures in the yearbook. We went to the library (nothing cheers you up like a good Mary-Kate and Ashley book!) and then for pizza and saw a friend from her class there. They had a hilarious conversation in which they estimated the ages of the 2nd grade teachers. They’re probably all younger than me. Her friend said that one teacher was probably fourty, like that was the biggest number she could come up with. I decided not to tell her how old I was. I didn’t want Piper’s friend to think her Mom was a Golden Girl. I was pleased to see that she was able to get happy and not dwell on all the goodbyes of the past week. A year ago, she had a much harder time dealing with all those pesky goodbyes but then again we had a lot of other stuff to deal with. One year ago today I had an appendectomy and ended up in the hospital for 4 days. Remember, I told you about it here? Piper has been SO freaked out these last couple of months. I knew she was worrying about the end of school but I thought she was taking it a little too far. Now I’m thinking it might have been because she associated the end of Kindergarten with a very scary event in our family’s life. She saw the end of school coming and got very anxious about it. Why didn’t I see this sooner? Doh!

I was really really sad that I missed her getting off the bus on her last day of Kindergarten. Glenn brought her around to see me in the hospital the afternoon after my operation. They were sweet, they brought me magazines and some DVDs from home. I was groggy and sore. I remember trying to watch WALL-E and struggling to pay attention. I just kept nodding off. I started to get antsy as soon as I started feeling better. By Saturday into Sunday I was done with the whole thing and really wanted to get out of there. To prove how well I was feeling I was determined to get myself up and out of bed without asking for any help. This was a little tricky when they moved my IV from my left arm to my right arm. The IV pump plugged into the wall on the left side of the bed but they had to move the pump closer to my right arm after the switch. Getting out of bed to take a walk or go to the bathroom meant that I had to first gingerly get up on the left side of the bed, unplug the pump, toss the cord across the bed, walk slowly and carefully around the end of the bed making sure to bend and extend my right arm as far to the right over the bed as possible so I wouldn’t pull my IV out, all the while trying not to rip out my stitches in my incision. When I returned from my walk or bathroom trip I’d have to repeat the whole dance in reverse and collapse on the bed in exhaustion afterwards.

Piper and I are both so much better than one year ago. For this I am thankful.

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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.

The girl in the mirror

In the mornings my daughter likes to brush her teeth and get dressed in the bathroom with me while I put my make up on. When I first look at myself in the mirror I usually make a negative comment about myself. I do this without even thinking. It is casual. It is automatic. I’m just verbalizing what is running through my head. I don’t like my hair. I think I look old and tired. I’ll make a comment about my outfit that I just put on, it doesn’t really matter. Most times it’s just in humor but I definitely need to stop doing this. This is because right next to me in the mirror is my daughter. My other mirror. As I stand there and make judgements about myself I can see her watching me looking into the mirror and then looking at herself  and making her own judgements about what she sees there. I tell her to love all the parts of herself and that she is beautiful and good and kind. Then like a liar I turn to the mirror and only talk about how I don’t like what I see there. I need to stop doing this. Now. I need to walk the walk and talk positively to that woman in the mirror. I don’t want the little girl in the mirror to just fixate on what she doesn’t like when she looks at herself because she thinks that’s what you do when you grow up. I’m making a promise now to look at myself with love and acceptance because that is what I want for both girls in the mirror.