Sunday, September 28, 2008

Camp Simcha Special Strikes Again!

So yet again, we got one of those random phone calls:

"Hi, I was a counselor at CSS. I'm going to be in town this weekend. Can I come see Dovi?"

We agreed that he'd call on Sunday-but I didn't tell Dovi in case it didn't work out. Sure enough, around 3ish (exactly when we'd agreed), Joe gave me a call.

He came for about 2 hours. He brought


It turns out that he was (a) one of the video guys and (b) Dovi's buddy Ezra's rotator.

Hence he had the video mucho early (being as he MADE IT). He told us that he and the other video guy literally slept in the editing room because they had to have the video edited and ready by the last night of camp. So they took turns sleeping for two hours at a time on the cot in the video room. For the entire camp session. Yikes.

Anyway, he was just lovely. Dovi was thrilled beyond belief. As were Elisha, Shana, and Jakie. For some reason Elisha was completely enamoured with Joe and was literally all over him the entire time he was here.

It turns out that Joe goes to school in Madison which is only about 3 hours from Chicago so once the basement is finished in some way (which will be a surprise to all of you...) hopefully he'll come for Shabbos.

So after Joe left, to cap off Dovi's happiness, another counselor called to say hi. So all in all I can say today that Camp Simcha Special counselors ROCK!!!

Now, on to the basement. It is currently EMPTY. There is nothing in there except the treadmill covered in plastic, the fridge, freezer, washer, and drier. Nothing else. All remaining crap stuff has been relocated to either the side porch (which is currently impassible), the den, or the kitchen. There is currently a large shelving unit in the kitchen with all the basement pantry stuff. It's giving me palpitations but I don't think I have any options now. Yikes.

If you all ask nicely (like you REALLY care) I'll take pictures of the

Great Crap Relocation of 2008

that's what Benjie called it. It truly was epic.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Deep Breaths. Deep Cleansing Breaths.

You know how you start something that you think will be small and it begins too snowball into a really scary disaster? Case in point:

my basement.

I thought-hey it's nothing-they'll yank out the paneling, I'll get the cracks filled, and go on my merry way. Now we're up to:

Paneling gone

Garbage guy coming Monday to haul away mountain of Barney

Plumber needs to come to cap off the gas line from the old heater

Alarm guy might need to come to fix broken alarm box, unless Valeri (paneling removal guy) can fix it

Asbestos guy coming on Thursday to remove the asbestos on the pipes and ALL THE TILES. It's a FREAKING NIGHTMARE down there. The asbestos is REALLY BAD. I want to cry.

Crack guys not coming until mid-October-unless I change my mind and have Valeri's guy who used to work at the same company I'm hiring do it for half the price but minus the warranty. He can do it on Sunday. But I do not think it's a good plan. I want a warranty. Right? Or should I just say screw it I'd rather pay $750 than $1400 and just not finish the basement for a while (well I'm not anyway) and wait and see what happens. Opinions please!

I'm trying not to have a nervous breakdown. It's only money (or in our case, debt), right?

I'm looking for perspective. A couple from Chicago (they now live in St. Louis) just got the news that their son, who is only 5, who has been in and out of treatment for cancer since he was about 2, now has Stage 4 metastasized cancer. Read about it here. Pray for Reuven ben Tova Chaya. So really, I need to get a grip here. It's my basement. That's all. It will get fixed and dealt with. In the greater scheme of things...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just call me Barney.

Rubble, that is. Mommy, I recommend a deep breath, and maybe a stiff drink, before scrolling through the pictures.

Yikes! I'm trying to remain calm. It's only a basement. But HOLY CRAP!

A view looking towards the stairs

Mid-demo looking into the laundry room. The heater is leaving today

Also mid demo. Breathe deeply. This is what happens when you don't realize they are coming on Wednesday and they ring your doorbell at 6:58 am.

Straight ahead is where the bed used to be

Oh my G-d.

That's where the ugly built in was.

The ceiling

Can you see the shed behind the rubble? That, my dears, is rubble. R U B B L E.

Another angle of said rubble.

More garbage.

Oh and happy happy joy joy, I have asbestos around my two water pipes. I know, I know-asbestos is BAD. Asbestos = cancer. Someone is coming today to look at it. We will abate it or whatever you do to asbestos wrapped pipes. And the guys seem to have broken my alarm box in the basement. My keypad upstairs is dead and there doesn't seem to be any power. I'm remaining calm. But I fear a large fight with the handyman over that. Yikes.

Remember that dinner

That I wrote about on Monday that they for sure weren't going to eat? Well 3/4 ate it. I was floored. I mean-it was black beans, mock meat, tomatoes, corn, cheese, and a bunch of spices all mixed up in the crock pot with a cornbread topping. Risky. Very risky. Only Elisha ate Golden Grahams.

This however is another day's dinner-the very next day to be exact. It's Shana's FAVORITE chicken in the entire world. Truthfully it's the only chicken she eats. Don't ask. She's weird. but it was so colorful and healthy that I had to take a picture of it. Tasty, huh?

Happy kids happily eating a healthy dinner. Shocking, I know. Notice Shana triumphantly taking a bite of chicken. Why won't she eat any other kind? She's a goof.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You know you look like crap

When you walk into your sister in law's house and she bursts out laughing. Then she gently takes you by the arm and leads you up to her makeup palace bathroom.

Just because my bandanna was on almost sideways, I was not wearing a stitch of makeup, and the same pair of Fit Flops I have worn for the past 3 months does not mean I looked crappy. OK it did.

It was all very exciting playing with the makeup. I learned how to use gel eyeliner. Who knew? It's so easy! I haven't progressed past eyeliner pencil ala 8th grade. I am not a makeup gal. About a year and a half ago a dear friend dragged me to Nordy's to the Bobbi Brown counter, horrified that I had not bought a blush since before I got married. The horror! Well in all honesty, it was rather disgusting. So now I have a nice stash of Bobbi Brown. Or so I thought. I obviously need more makeup. There are so many fun things! Gel Eyeliner. A zillion colors of Mac eyeshadow-obviously my four pots are insufficient. Fun lipglosses! I've never set foot in Sephora. I might. I just might. But my biggest problem post makeup purchase is actually putting it on. I'm lazy. I drag myself out of bed at 6:23 (yes 6:23) to get Dovi onto the bus which is supposed to come at 7:00 but usually pulls up at 6:52. Every moment in our house is accounted for in the wee hours of the morning. But I will say that I do feel like a million bucks with some makeup on this morning.

Which brings me to my Dovi-related part of this post. He finishes school at 1pm today. I am NOT happy. Now Keshet ends every Wednesday at 2:30 for "staff development". I really don't like it but what am I to do? I mean, some of us do work. This means that I must leave work every Wednesday at 2:30 myself to beat the bus home (brings to mind the one time I was zooming down the street and saw the bus ahead of me. I merely averted my eyes, and floored the Sienna. Ha. Beat those suckers by a whole 3 minutes.

Back to the 1pm dismissal. Honestly, I think it's unfair. Five times this year they will dismiss at 1pm on the already early Wednesday for ADVANCED staff development. Now that just ticks me off. Other schools manage to do staff development without taking away additional instructional time from the kids. And also-did they HAVE to do it the week before the High Holidays begin? That means that not only am I missing Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week, Wednesday and Thursday of the following week, half of Monday, all of Tuesday and Wednesday of the next week, and the same the next week, but I must leave work an hour and a half early three days before that. Now that's just not fair. Why couldn't they have waited a few weeks (or even one month?)to schedule the first 1pm dismissal?

Not fair.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My latest insurance company correspondence

So I got four pieces of mail from various insurance companies yesterday. Basically my normal mail flow is 2-3 pieces of insurance crap mail, 2-3 credit card offers, 2-3 charity mailings, a catalog or two, and a few times a month my magazines. I like magazines. I get Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, and Redbook. I've literally been getting Better Homes and Gardens for ten years.

My goal is to add Real Simple, but it's expensive and I'm cheap (an ongoing theme of this blog).

So I realize that yesterday was quite a busy day insurance- junk mail time waster wise.

So either way, in the spirit of this blog being about Dovi, let's move on to talk about the notices.

One is from my CURRENT provider, Blue Cross. I sent in the receipts from Dovi's oxygen for the flights to camp to them. They are now denying it because "we have a $200 out of network deductible". That is SUCH a load of crap (I think). When we signed up, I could have sworn that we had no out of network deductible. Now, suddenly, we have an out of network deductible in the EXACT amount as the claim? Fishy. Very Fishy. Not as in Elisha Fishy. As in Doubtful and Fraudulent Fishy. Although Elisha Fishy is very charming. And ate four waffles for breakfast. He is very cute. So either way, they are faxing me my "benefits highlights" which I will compare to my paperwork at home, and will either (a) feel very silly or (b) go kick some Blue Butt (ohhhh that was funny)

The other three are from my PREVIOUS insurance company, Humana, that I have not had SINCE JANUARY OF 2008. As in eight months ago. Yet for whatever reason, Dovi's therapy clinic (y'know, the people who screwed him out of the 3pm OT slot? I'm not bitter. Not at all) persists in billing Humana EVERY month for his therapy. Humana rightfully denies it. I get the EOB. I file the EOB. At some point. When the "to file pile" falls off the shelf in my office closet onto my head. Have you all seen my office closet? It's very cute. But now that I don't work from home I don't use it so much. So I'm considering turning it into a kids craft area (this is the part where Benjie runs away screaming) because my little lovelies are psycho crafters and leave little pieces of paper. all. over. my den. floor. all. day. long and I'd like that to stop. Then I can use the desk as a sofa table in my living room. I swear. This blog is a continuous stream of consciousness. Follow if you can...

So that was piece one from Humana. Pieces two and three are my current fight with them. Of course there is also the fight about the eye doctor visits but we're not discussing that now.

Pieces two and three are pharmacy issues. In the past I have discussed my extreme love for Target pharmacy. Yes. There are two seperate posts devoted to this topic. Any special needs mom understands the need for an excellent pharmacy. But I digress.

We used to use Osco (boo! boo! boo!). When we did and we switched insurance plans (remember? Back in January?) For whatever idiot reason, Osco kept on billing Humana in February. Humana paid all the bills. Humana audited their books in JULY and realized this. The sent me two letters asking me to please pay them back the $400 in pharmacy claims they paid in error. $370 for Dovi, $30 for me.

I then called the devil Osco and they rudely informed me that since it was over six months ago, too bad, so sad, there's nothing they can do about it. They can't resubmit so far back. Click. Dial Tone...

So yet again I've been fighting. My inborn laziness has gotten the best of me and I've gotten my friends at the Chai Lifeline Insurance Advocacy program involved because I just do not have the emotional fortitude to fight with Osco and Humana. But I do need to spend another fifteen hours on the phone AGAIN dealing with it.


Monday, September 22, 2008

I can't believe I'm doing this but....Not Me Monday

I'm kind of suffering from Blogger's Block today, so I'm jumping in to the Not Me Monday party started by MckMama over at My Charming Kids

So here we go...

My list (which might be added to throughout the day as I remember more transgressions events):

I certainly did not use a dirty cup out of the dishwasher to give Elisha milk because it didn't smell bad and I was too freaking lazy to walk over to the sink to wash it

I did NOT wipe Dovi's snotty drool with my hand and wipe it on my skirt wipe it on his shirt

I would never have worn 2 inch heels to walk over a mile on Saturday thus giving me four blisters on each foot. Yes, four. One on each of my three little toes on each foot and one under my each of my big toes

I did not just fax over the contract to get the waterproofing done (OK yes I did, this isn't so exciting, just wanted to let y'all know that we're so far committing to minimally waterproofing the basement. We shall see about the rehab-the quote was great but we're still poor. Very poor. Dovi makes me miss much work. And I get paid hourly.)

I did not make a dinner in the crock pot that I am like 99% positive none of the ungratefuls will actually be willing to ingest. Why do I waste my time?

I have most certainly taken a shower since Saturday night. Unlike Benjie, I am not a shower lover. I like being slightly dirty.

I would have NEVER asked the contractor who came to give me a quote on Friday for the basement if he had a drill in his truck with a masonry bit so as to drill the holes in my hearth to hang the beautiful lovely photos of my family. That would have been rude.

I did not re-stain my mantle in my den at 10pm on Saturday night. Using a napkin because I didn't have a staining pad and I have no self control and needed the mantle to be a darker color. right. that. moment.

Have not spent my entire morning at "work" reading my email and perusing blogs

When we were at the park yesterday and Shana's two loose front teeth got knocked and ended up sort kinda wedged behind her two adjacent teeth, I did NOT consider yanking them forward myself with my fingers...not worries...she did it herself with her tongue. It was bizarre.

OK that's it. Hope you enjoyed :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Is it not the most gorgeous thing you've seen in a very long time?

It's killing me with joy. I can't leave my den. Must stay forever and look at my gorgeous family. And how cool is Amy that she was able to remove Dovi's one brace from his tooth? And that she swapped Jakie's head in the family shot because he was making a really goofy face in this shot but everyone else looked so lovely? And look at the accesories I owned already! I truly do rock. I did just re-stain the mantle to make it darker. It's drying now. Looks even better...

Yet again, THANK YOU AMY!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A bunch of random stuff

  1. Do y'all like my new template? I felt like a change.
  2. Who are you, "A licensed contractor who knows you" who commented on yesterday's post? Identify yourself! Yehuda, is it you? Elan? Do you read my blog? I can't figure it out...
  3. At Dovi's doctor appointment yesterday, his blood pressure was 139/97 and then 142/97. The nurse was a bit concerned. I just giggled. As most FD parents can relate to. Although I am thinking that we might need to start checking it every day around mid afternoon to see what's up and if it's an ongoing issue or just extreme agitation over the Cubs, at that point, blowing their lead in the 5th inning yesterday. Dovi was not pleased when we got to Childrens (15 minutes late thanks to the traffic) and I had to turn off the radio right after that error by DeRosa (hey, I listen!)...
  4. Said doctor's appointment was. the. most. pointless. appointment. ever. Honestly. It was a follow up from his BiPap titration. Conversation with resident:
    "Mrs. P, is Joseph tolerating his BiPap? "Yes, he is." Good. Repeat to doctor after waiting 45 minutes to see him. They listened to him breath. That was all. Then we had to chat for a good 10 minutes about his kids-they live in Seattle, Denver, and Pittsburgh, he has 1 grandchild in Seattle and 2 in Denver, and he is going to Denver for Rosh HaShanah. His daughter in Pittsburgh is the assistant Hillel director at Carnegie-Mellon. She moved from Cincinnati where she was the assistant Hillel director at some college there, and her boss from that Hillel went with her to Carnegie-Mellon. I know a lot about the family. Oh and they call him ZZ for Zaydie. And his wife is Meemaw. We discussed how my mom is Savta and her husband is Zayde and how my in-laws are Bubbe and Saba, and how funny it is that the names are mixed. In other words a whole lotta chatting and not a lot of doctoring.
  5. My house is now reasonably clean. I'd like to share my biggest housekeeping tip of all time for those of you who have Shabbos dinner: Set the table and set up the candles on Thursday night Even if your house is a complete sty, when you walk downstairs on Friday morning, you'll be like: "ooh I rock, I'm the most organized and on top of it homemaker EVER!"
  6. We got rid of the repulsive carpeting last night. So now the basement smells slightly less repulsive. Sunday is the great big "get rid of the crap in the basement" day and I'm hopeful that it will help my blood pressure go down a bit.
  7. The contractor wants $12,000 to put up new drywall/ceiling/floor in my basement. Yikes. I have another contractor calling me back in a bit, and Becca promises me that he's crazy cheap. We'll see. Otherwise....not so sure what's going to happen. Short of an excellent scratch off lottery ticket, the basement will probably have to remain unfinished for a while :(

I'm doing a happy dance at my desk.....

Remember those AMAZING pictures my friend Amy took of my family in August? Well the pictures are coming today!!!!

Here's a linky-loo to her website: 3 Peas If you, or anyone you know, lives in the Minneapolis area, she rocks.

This is the wall arrangement that is going above my fireplace. They are mounted on a wood product with a black beveled edge-so no frames needed. I'm heading to Home Depot now to buy the correct mounting stuff.

I'm SOOOOOOO excited!!!!!!!

Seriously I needed a pick me up this week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


This is a complainy post. Am I:

(a) Irritated
(b) Annoyed
(c) Irked
(d) All of the above

The correct answer is (d), all of the above. My list of complaints:

  1. My homeowners insurance is not going to cover the basement situation. Being as I am too honest to lie and say that the water came up my drain when I KNOW it came in my walls, and went down the drain, I have no insurance coverage. So Benjie and I yanked up the disgusting, sopping wet, moldy carpet last night. The contractor came this morning to survey the carnage. It will be $300 to yank out all the gross paneling plus another $250 to haul it away-we can't just dump it in the back because then the city will require us to get a permit. He's calling me back today with a quote for putting up drywall, but I fear it will not be in our budget now. Maybe in a few months.
  2. I need to spend the entire weekend cleaning out the black hole of crap basement in preparation for said demo. Anyone in the Chicagoland area who would like some baby/toddler toys, let me know. There are like 6 Rubbermaid boxes FULL. At what point do I throw away old bank records? I have records back to 1996 down there. Also the bows from my bridal showers made into bow-quets-must I keep that? How about an old computer from 1999? How do I make it that no one can take it and hijack my personal data?
  3. Dovi stopped OT over the summer-you might recall a previous post where I said that he was taking a break for a few months and his OT was taking on a short term patient, and when they finished up, Dovi would start again. I even spoke to her a few weeks back and she told me she should be finishing up with that patient in October and we'd start sometime either end of October or November. But in typical Dovi "if it can be complicated it will be" fashion, this lovely OT took a personal leave of absence (really unsure what that all means) and didn't tell her supervisor of the plan she'd made with me. So Dovi has lost his Wednesday at 3pm OT slot. The slot he's had since he was four months old. That's over ten years, folks. I'm SO mad at them. Since we have new insurance I'm going to look into other OT places. I'm so irritated at them.
  4. Elisha, while climbing around in the car this morning getting his baseball glove, must have climbed onto my sunglasses. They are mangled. I am not happy.
  5. My house is disastrous
  6. I have many cavities which require filling, luckily I found a dentist that will drug me up on nitrous oxide next week when he fills them
  7. I got a notice from my mortgage company that our personal information "may have been" compromised by a former employee, but don't worry, they are offering us two years of credit monitoring for free. Thanks.
  8. EDITED to add #8 That Dovi has a doctor appointment at Childrens today at 3pm. I work 5 minutes from Childrens yet I need to drive 40 minutes to get him and then 40 minutes back to the very neighborhood I just left for his appointment. Smashing.
Thank you for reading this. I feel better now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dovi Takes Wrigley

So yet again I have an excellent story to tell. It's long, with lots of photos interspersed. If you're feeling extra spirited, you can look down my left toolbar thingy and click the Go Cubs Go music to play whilst you read the tale...I must say it really does add to the experience. I'm moving the button up for today and then will move it down tomorrow. I'm a spaz and don't know how to make it auto-play.

Grab a coffee, sit down, and enjoy....

The Story of How Dovi P Conquered Wrigley Field:A Tale on World Domination, One Fan at at Time

So on Monday night at about 9:15, we got a phone call from Dovi's teacher from last year (and the three years before that, Susan)

She started telling me this whole story about how it had been her dream to take Dovi to a Cubs game and get him on the field, etc etc. I'm thinking..."Umm that's all of our dreams. We've tried. No go"

Then she goes on to tell me about how her new aide this year, Michelle, is dating the owner of John Barleycorn - a bar right in the heart of Wrigleyville a block from Wrigley Field. She tells me that Michael, the owner/boyfriend, is willing to take us to a Cubs game (he has season tickets. of course. Benjie's been on the wait list for what? four or five years, and will probably remain on it for the next 45 years, just in time to buy season tickets for the grandchildren) and he can get us on the field before the game.

Meet him at the bar at 5:30 tomorrow. We're like-ok-we'll definitely take the tickets, but for goodness sakes, why can some random bar owner get us on the field? Well it turns out that not only is Michael the owner of John Barleycorn, he's an enormously nice, generous guy, who seems to know every person in the Cubs organization.

On the way down to the field, he merely waved to some random guy on the field, and in we went. I think Benjie wanted to kneel down and kiss the hallowed ground. But he didn't. He played it cool. We got to see the Brewers take batting practice, and one of the coaches gave Dov-man a ball. Kewl.
Think Benjie looks happy? Unsure who was more excited, Dovi or Benjie. Well maybe it was Dovi. It's a toss up.
Sitting on the little brick wall behind home plate
All of us. I look really scary. Some lipstick might have helped. I lost my favorite color and have been too lazy and cheap busy to pick up a new tube. At Target. Where I am constantly. If anyone wants to get me one, it's Max Factor Lipfinity Faithful Fawn. It's the color my lips would be if they had any natural color. Which they don't. Don't argue with me. I've been the owner of these lips for 31 years and without lipstick they are skin colored. I'm a freak of nature with messed up genes.D man in the dugout. We met Jim Hendry in there, the something in the Cubs organization. Benjie was thrilled.Gettin cozy in the dugout.

So then Michael dropped us off at our seats and went to get Susan in to the game-she hit terrible traffic on the way in and if we had waited outside for her we wouldn't been able to get onto the field. We had excellent seats. The 112 section for those in the know. Which I am not. I texted a good portion of the game.

We were sitting near to these really nice guys, Jason and Mike Sutton from River Forest. Why are they mentioned here? For a few reasons:
  • they very impressively managed to drink their body weight in beer and and remain sober, unlike the man next to me, who after 6 beers, kept on having the same convo with me (me and his wife had chatty chatted earlier. At which point she asked me if my triplets were natural. Why did it matter to you at a Cub's Game if I had help to have my kids? It amazes me) So the guy next to me kept on saying: "Woah, you have triplets? Amazing!" Then he looked me up and down: "Man, you look HOT for having had triplets". To which I wisely responded "Thank you". No use arguing with a drunk man who is complimenting you.
  • They bought Dovi a souvenir ball. How nice is that? They saw how much fun he was having and felt compelled to get him a little souvenir. How darn nice! Thanks guys! (I told them that I'd post their photo on my blog and gave them the address) Guy on the left? he's a chef at the Ritz Carlton in Hawaii. Hey, if you're reading this, Dovi's always wanted to go to Hawaii....hahahahahahahaha. Here they are holding their incredibly thoughtful gift to Dovi.

Between the top and bottom of the 5th inning, they welcomed Dovi on the scoreboard!!! My camera sucks and I couldn't get a clear picture of it. Anyways, people in front of me were jumping up and down celebrating come excellent defensive play so it was hard to see. I think it was that play. If not that one than one like it.

Then, at about the 6th inning, nice Michael, owner of John Barleycorn, boyfriend of Keshet employee Michelle, came and got us (Susan had left at this point) and took us down to his alternate seats (he's living Benjie's dream)-the second row behind the media people along the first base line. Sweet.

See the kid's head sitting next to me? He was heckling the Brewer's first baseman the entire time. I think he was trying to get him to charge the stands. That would've been interesting. He was unsuccessful.

Then it was time for the 7th inning stretch. In Wrigley, they sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". Not sure if they do at all fields. But they do by us. Dovi loves it. Take me out to the ball game...take me out with the crowdBuy me some peanuts and cracker jack, I don't care if I never get backLet me root, root, root for the CUBBIES, if they don't win it's a shame-notice him holding the patch on his new jersey-thanks, Savta. We need to talk re the price. A tad more than expected. Kisses.For it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ball game

Let's get some runs!!
So they did.
And they won. Hooray!
High fives all around.

Dovi was happy. Dovi is very tired.


Truly, a dream come true for one happy Dovi.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My phone call from my Pediatrician's Office

Ring Ring

Me: "Hello"

Sharon: "Hi. It's Sharon from the peditrician's office. We need Dovi's waist/hip measurement"

Me: "Why? Are you custom tailoring him a suit?" (man I'm funny)

Sharon: "No, the State of Illinois needs it to give him diapers"

Me: "But they've been giving him diapers for over two years! Why do they need it now?"

Sharon: "Who the heck knows"

Me: "I shall measure his cute little hips and waist when we all get home."

Sharon: "Thanks, bye"

Me: "Bye"

Seriously? And we wonder why Illinois is in such a budget crisis. I've been sitting here racking my brain. WHY on earth do they need his waist/hip measurement? It's not like THEY are ordering him the diapers. I am! And I don't seem to need it, being as I have successfully been ordering Dovi's diapers for the past two years without that critical piece of information. But the silly, silly State of Illinois finds it necessary to
  • spend the time writing a letter to the doctor to request this vital information
  • spend a stamp to mail it and
  • enclose a pre-stamped envelope for the pediatrician's office to mail back said measurement
And we HONESTLY wonder why the State of Illinois has no money in its budget?

And now, my faithful readers, for your viewing pleasure, a few photos:

My floor, post dinner. I swear. What is wrong with my children? Are they not able to eat a meal without almost half of it ending up on my floor? Yet another reason we might need to get D that dog...but knowing my luck, eating all that food off the floor would cause said dog to develop high cholesterol and diabetes, necessitating medication and insulin shots.
The pile was so large that I put my cordless phone on the floor to serve as a reference point. No, this is not a mini phone. It's a standard size cordless phone. And that's a pile of food on the floor as long and as tall as said phone.

A blurry picture of THE Chai Lifeline Jibbit. Should I start an eBay auction for it, with all the proceeds going to Chai to Chai Lifeline? Watcha think? oh and do you like my countertop (what the Jibbit is sitting on)? I painted them myself :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Bonus Post, The Slumbering Giant, and a Comparison

How cute is he? Benjie and I were cracking up-everyone was running around the house, being nuts, and D was sleeping in the center of the den with a neatly placed pillow under his head while eating his breakfast. He's very efficient.

So I'm helping my sister in law Rochie deal with an insurance issue she's having. She gave me the stack of EOBs (Explanation of Benefits) that she has for her entire family of six for the entire year. That's the stack on the left. The stack on the right? That's Dovi's stack of EOBs for the year to date. And there are a bunch in my "to file pile" which have not even gotten into the file cabinet yet. Yikes!

On another note, during the monsoon rainstorm we got over the weekend, we got water in our basement. Some, not a ton. Enough to make the carpet squishy and the paneling wet. Bummer. But here's the good news: after the last deluge we got a year or so ago, I called and added flood insurance...they're "pushing" us up on the list due to Dovi's medical issues and will come check it out on Thursday. I'm hoping for the carpet and paneling to need to go and thus get new flooring and drywall, and then I'll spring for the new ceiling-unless they decide that the ceiling tiles that are falling MUST be from the water...hahahahahahahaha

Think they can get it done by the time my mom comes in October?

Here's the big question though:

They're not coming until Thursday. Meanwhile I have wet mildewing carpet in the basement. Do Benjie and I pull it up tonight and wash all the crap I mean stuff that's down there? Or do we leave it in all its mildewy glory until Thursday hoping to get the maximum benefit?


Friday, September 12, 2008

Contents Of My Purse

Just disgorged onto my desk:

Kashi Bar
3 Lip Glosses
2 Purells
Tide to Go Pen
Camera Cord
5 Pens
4 Plastic Spoons
Wax for Dovi's Braces
2 Batteries
1 Book of Stamps
2 Tickets for last weeks ACHDS Family Brunch (I guess I could've let the kids get that 8 hundredth sno cone they were begging for)
One of the Olympic Medals they made there which I shall throw away save forever and ever, because all my kids crafts are special to me. As are the 4 million worksheets they bring home every day from school which I lovingly save. Snort.
400 million debit card receipts to enter into MS Money
A few assorted expired coupons
Dovi's glasses that need to get fixed
Leftover Meds from Camp
Assorted Cash that is NOT in my wallet (unfortunately only singles...wait... ooh ooh I found a ten!)
3 weeks of shopping lists/menus
A label from the oxygen adapter from Dovi's BiPap that I need to order more of
The receipt from the oxygen ordered for Dovi's trip to camp
The letter from Blue Cross kicking D out of the Medical Management Program. Must address.

Methinks I need a smaller purse.

An Open Letter to Insurance Company Exectives AKA My Magnum Opus

I've been inspired yet again by Shosh and her rant post about the idiocy of insurance companies.

Hence you will now get "The Mom of a Disabled Child's Rant Letter to Insurance Company Executives"

Dear Sir:

I'm sure you don't know me. Wait, you just might. My child has cost your company approximately $250,000 this year, to date, and there are still three months left. It's distinctly possible that you have formed a dart board out of my family's name, and have "kill the P Family" dart contests every Friday afternoon over beer and peanuts.

I'm writing to you to discuss for a moment the idiocy and hoops that I need to jump through for my child.

I'd like to preface this by explaining about my lovely child Dovi. Dovi has Familial Dysautonomia, a really crappy disease. No, we did not know about it, nor had we ever even heard about it, when Dovi was born at 36 weeks gestation, when Benjie and I were both twenty, eagerly awaiting our honeymoon baby. But it was clear very quickly after he was born that we had many issues to deal with.

And thus began my odyssey through the second biggest burden to parents of disabled children (after actually dealing with their CHILDREN) : dealing with the insurance companies.

If I got paid by the hour for the amount of time I have spent dealing with you people, I could quit my job, Benjie could close up the store, put the addition on our house we want need, and put our feet up for a while. Instead, I get to squeeze in these phone calls when I have a spare second, often while "zooming" down the Edens en route to yet another appointment that you are going to deny in error, necessitating yet another phone call or hundred.

Do you really think that I WANT to order my 10 year old diapers? Take him to the eye doctor literally twelve days IN A ROW, including Thanksgiving? Drive to and from the OT/PT/SLP every day? Am I doing this for my own entertainment?

No, silly, I am doing this because it is medically necessary for my DISABLED CHILD. Why. on. earth. would. I. want. to. diaper. a. child. who. does. not. need. it? It is not enjoyable to diaper a 10 year old, nor is it fun to drag three exhausted six year olds to a therapy clinic immediately after a full day of school to pick up their big brother. It is not fun to put your 10 year old into orthotics, orthotics, that you never thought you would need, orthotics that you, Mr. Insurance Executive's Company gave PRIOR APPROVAL to but for whatever reason are deigning not to pay.

Silly, silly man. I am not asking for coverage for pointless unnecessary stuff. I get enough of that at Target and Marshalls. What I am asking for is only what Dovi needs to live and thrive to the best of his ability.

I never asked to have a disabled child. Frankly, if you had asked me when I was in high school if I had ANY interest in the disabled community, the answer would have been no. I was not one of those people volunteering every Sunday at Keshet (ahh the irony being that Dovi now GOES there) or visiting the hospitals, giving out gifts to sick children. I liked my neat little healthy, organized world. But life doesn't always work out as planned and the D entered my life when I was 20 years old (yikes!)

So, Mr. High Powered Insurance Executive, I ask of you, I beg of you. Please do not deny my medically necessary coverages. Please do not continuously deny the twelve visits to the ophthalmologist, including on Thanksgiving, that I HAVE AN APPROVED REFERRAL NUMBER FOR, continuously, over, and over, and over again, even though I have called 400 times, you have reprocessed the twelve visits incorrectly 400 times, thus sending us to collections for the first time in our lives (and hopefully the last), probably decimating our credit-good thing we've bought our house already!, making me well acquainted with Shirley at NPO Collection Agency-we speak about once a week, making me now have to call Chai Lifeline and get the Insurance Advocacy people involved.

WHY? WHY do you do this to us? Is it because you are hoping that by continuously denying MEDICALLY NECESSARY, PRE-APPROVED claims that you are hoping we'll all just say "oh, I guess my insurance didn't cover that, I'll just call and pay it myself"? Well let me tell you something, Mr. High Powered Insurance Executive. Us parents of disabled children? We don't do that. Unfortunately, we have learned one major lesson when dealing with our children. We need. to. fight. for. everything. for. them. So if you think we're just going to accept that denial and go away, you're wrong. 100%, unequivocally, wrong. We will fight. and fight. and fight. and ultimately win. Because we are fighting for our children. You're denying an ID Number. But behind that ID number is an innocent child, a child who needed those twelve ophthalmologist visits to save his eye when he had a corneal abrasion over 100% of his cornea.

So please just stop fighting with us. Help us. Work WITH us, not against us. We have a hard enough battle just to keep our children ALIVE and reasonably healthy. We pay for this insurance. Trust me, I would have much preferred a healthy child with no medical issues. But as I tell my children, "You get what you get and you don't get upset". This isn't what I asked for. It's what I got. Please don't fight me. Help me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dovi's AFOs

Seem to be rather problematic.

Yet again, he has a sore on his left ankle.

Yet again, he is not wearing he AFOs and back into his normal sneakers. It's a good thing I kept them-in a fit of "organization" I almost tossed them in the trash.


So since Dovi doesn't feel pain, he's able to rub a rather large blister type thingy on the back of his heel from his AFO. I seriously have no idea how it happened-not only were the AFOs made specifically for him, but we added extra padding the first time this happened to fix the problem.

In all probability, we will either have to mail the AFOs back to Cascade to fix them or recast him all over again.


On to my marathon "preparations"

Notice my liberal use of italics and quotation marks.

BTW you might be like "what's up with Sara raising her arms in "victory" in every picture? She looks like crap. Tired crap. She's not victorious"

Moshe Turk told me the first time I ran on Team Lifeline to "look strong and happy" for every photographer. Finish with my arms held high. Well LOOK AT ME! I'm neither strong nor happy. My arms are held high but that's about it.

I'll be honest. I don't particularly enjoy running. I'm not good at it. Unlike my brother Aaron and Rachel Kamionski who both run freaking marathons (GO RACHEL! I'll come cheer for you at the LaSalle. I'm so proud of you!). I crawl my tired behind to the finish line. Running is not my forte. Although in all honesty I have yet to find a form of exercise that is my forte, unless you include wall painting or extreme errands (you'll have to comment, slacker commenters, for a definition of that) . I think that in January I will just finish without the pathetic "arms in the air" stance.

I really need inspiration here, folks. I ran a mile on Sunday outside and a mile last night on my treadmill. I'm freaking out of shape.

I need to get my big tuches in gear-the marathon is in-what-three months? I was hyperventilating after the mile!

So I think that in order to inspire myself, I will:

(a) send out my fundraising letter-like every nice Jewish girl, guilt does me in every time-imagine all those people who've donated and are supporting me-how can I let them down?

(b) Print out the training schedule from the Team Lifeline website and post it on my bulletin board so it guilts me every time I walk into the kitchen for snacks for healthy, muscle building fruits and veggies.

OK I'm on it.

So someone, anyone, please donate to the marathon? You'll make me feel guilty enough to get moving.

See-it's always about the guilt.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A collection of random musings


Last night at dinner (which shall be discussed in a moment) Jacob asked me the following question-although I'm not 100% sure it qualifies as such:

"Mommy, do miners ever find skunks under ground?"

Huh? In all honesty, my kids are way into skunks now-we've been having some "skunks in the daytime" viewings in our neighborhood. I thought that daytime skunks = rabid skunks. Am I making that up? Should I be very afraid?


On the way to work today there was bad traffic-what else is new? Well about 3 cars ahead of me at a light, I noticed a man get out of his car and go over to the car in front of him. Cynical me assumed he had some beef with the driver-maybe he cut him off. Instead, I saw him (driver 1) pick up the package the driver (driver 2) had left on his trunk, knock on the guy's (driver 2) window, give him his package, and run back to his car. Gave me hope for the future of civilization.


Last night, I paid a shiva call to my first cousin once removed-my dad's first cousin passed away on Friday. Went to the funeral in the morning, went to work for a few hours, fed the kids the overcooked dried out failure dinner, ran to school for Parent Orientation, and went with Benjie to pay the shiva call. While in the house, I looked over and my heart skipped a beat. It was pictures of my grandma's parents, and my grandma from when she was a child. I had not seen those pictures since we closed up my grandma's house after she passed away six years ago. They made my heart happy-in a few days/weeks I need to call them to ask for copies. It also made me wonder-what happened to all the photo albums from Grandma Rose's house? And for that matter-WHERE IS HER MAH JONG SET?


Dinner last night was. a. large. failure. I made this in the crock pot. It got overdone. and dried out. the children rebelled and ate rice for dinner. Except for Dovi who informed me it was delicious. Sometimes diminished taste buds come in handy. Thanks, D. I knew I could count on you.

It really bummed me out because she gave it such amazing reviews. I'm reserving judgment until I figure out a way to turn my crock pot off when I'm not there. Which might be problematic.


Dovi IS getting his Chai Lifeline/Camp Simcha jibbitz. Some of my faithful readers (hey Raphi! hey Dovid/Duvi! I think that was your name-as you could hear, my house was a little ...ummm ...psycho when you called.)

I'm getting two of them , and considering putting one on eBay to raise money for Chai Lifeline. Wouldn't that be fun?


My wise husband evidentially reads my blog daily and came home last night with another pair of new jammies for me. You are a wise man, Benj. Love ya!


Somehow in the laundry a skirt that I have owned for 2 years turned from black to brown. It's the most bizarre thing ever. It's not streaky to make me think that I somehow bleached it. It's a lovely uniform brown. So I wore it today.


Somehow the carpool conversation this morning centered around building materials-as in "what are roofs made out of?" and "the inside of houses is made out of drywall. What is drywall Mommy?

My kids are so weird.

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Please note:

That is not me in the PJs. That is the Target model in the picture I stole uploaded from the Target website.

And I also must say that every time I look at my jammy pants I feel the need to break out in the "Happiness Is..." song with the words "new pajamas"


The Way to My Heart

Is through

New PJ's

I'm wearing them now. I am happy. Very very happy. Benjie says they are sassy (my current favorite word. It's generally used in conjunction with my sassy daughter. She epitomizes SASS. In a good way). He's also entertained by the pen on my lip from when I stuck the pen in my mouth backwards. Whateva.

I went to Target to buy another Crock Pot for dairy-I've gotten inspired by this blogger and needed a dairy Crock Pot. My sister told me that Crock Pots were on sale for $16.99 at my undoing Target so I went to buy it. $75 later I am the proud owner of my owl jammies, a new clock for the den to go on top of the famous entertainment center adjacent to the typwriter (Benjie was irked on Shabbos when the doors were closed and he didn't know what time it was), and some other assorted crap. I swear I should only be allowed in that store once a month.

I also want to mention that I only do this insane stuff (ie make lasagna in my Crock Pot) to get a rise out of my sister in law Rochie. It's very entertaining.

Now onto my lovely Dovi guilt-a-thon of the weekend.

Shabbos afternoon, Dovi was outside with Benjie. I was inside reading watching ESJ. Dovi and Benjie were talking to a friend of ours who owns a dog (you all know where this is going...)
Dovi comes running inside:

"Mommy, I wish"

Me (clearly clueless): "Dovi, what do you wish for?"

Dovi: "I wish for a dog"

Me: "oh crap"

Dovi: "Pease Mommy? It make me so happy"

Seriously. How do I turn him down? He WISHES for a dog! Dovi wishes for nothing. He never. ever. ever. asks. for. anything. (except for Cubs tickets-but then again, the demise of the Cubs is near-I told you all so!!).

So what the heck am I going to do?

Freaking shnoodles cost like $500! Yes, we looked.

His birthday is coming up...

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I hereby declare it fall:

Aren't they lovely? They'll replace my dead summer plantings in the urns by my stairs. The white one isn't for me-it's for my lovely hosts for Shabbos lunch. Of course I only purchase brownish gold ones. I'm so freaking predictable.

On to my den...check it out! I shimmied underneath that sucker and got all the cable set up. Which met with much jumping up and down, hand clapping, and cheering by Dovi-he watched the whole thing-he was VERY unhappy when he got home from school and found the TV on the kitchen table.

He also "helped" me by dumping all the Wii stuff on top of me while I was lying on the floor halfway under the entertainment center hooking it all up.

I also have an antique typewriter that will make its way on to the top I think.

Now to finish my den redecoration:


I know you read my blog. Finish swapping Jakie's head already, darn it! The kids are in school. No excuses.

On Wednesday at PT Dovi got his AFO's back. Hopefully this time they won't cause a huge sore on the back of his little dysautonomic ankle. He's VERY happy to be able to wear his bright yellow Crocs again. If only he had a Chai Lifeline/Camp Simcha Special Jibbitz...any Chai Lifeline-connected people who are reading this-can you help me? He didn't come home with one and they are SO COOL!

I think Chai Lifeline should sell them for a fundraiser. I'm not joking.