Mommy-Fail Day

I am an organized woman. I’m an organized wife, mother, daughter, and business owner. I have to be. I run the household and there’s 4 (5 when you count my dad) people to manage, and none of them are particularly organized. There’s a dance between weird work schedules (Poe works nights, I work days), kids going to school, homework, chores, housework, family dinners (to make my dad feel included), finances, and extracurriculars. I’m good at it.

Here’s what a typical Friday schedule is:

5:30am – I get up.

6:00am – I get kids up to get ready for fed, clean, ready for school.

6:55am – Take both kids (Poe’s still at work) to drop Logan off at before-school percussion class.

7:30am – Cab comes for Joseph to go to school.

7:30-isham – Poe comes home from work.

7:50am – I go back to school dropoff to switch Logan’s drumkit with his backpack

In between the above and until 9am – housework, picking up, laundry, dishes, feeding pets etc.

9am-2:20pm – workworkworkmeetingwork. Maybe remember to eat something, and hope no crises with kids come up. Poe is sleeping at this time.

2:20pm – Pickup Logan from school (In actuality sitting in carline)

3pm – Pickup Logan, then snack, chores, homework at 4 – Poe handles homework. I’m back at work.

3 – 5pm – workworkwork “IS THERE BLOOD? NO? I’M WORKING”

5pm – End work, start dinner. That I probably cook.

7pm – Poe goes back to sleep for a nap before work.

Everything’s up in the air then, until the kids have quiet time at 8:30pm and bed at  9pm.

10:15pm – Poe goes to work.

I sleep sometime after that.

Up in there are things like showers and medications, and of course fitting in things like doctors and such.

This morning? I set my alarm. I was sitting right here when I did it. I don’t know what happened. But around 7:35am my husband walked into the bedroom laughing his fool head off and Logan was saying, “Oh NOoooooo.” The cab was honking, and no one was dressed or fed, and Logan missed his percussion class. As I sit here, it’s 1/2 hour before work and I’ve not done a darn thing.

All because of a missed alarm.

Today is a Mommy-Fail day.

Our Medical Insurance Nightmare

Let me be clear… This is not a political post. I have no idea how much of this is due to “Obamacare,” although I know at least some of it is in part.

When I was still working for Warner Bros. we had great, I mean GREAT health insurance. When we decided I would come home to be better able to be available for Joseph’s issues and my mom’s issues, we took the health insurance in mind… But it was fine because we had Poe’s. And then he was laid off three months later.

Poe was out of work for two years. For as long as we could, we paid for Cobra. But thousands of dollars later (while on unemployment), we went through all of our savings. After we exhausted Cobra benefits, Poe needed serious, emergency dental surgery. There went all my retirement savings from 18 years of age. Two decades of savings.

But my kids both have medical issues. Forget about Joseph’s doctors and therapists – his meds alone are over $2k per month. Logan needs EKG’s and Echo’s annually, and eventually will need open-heart surgery. And so… I found a program called Heathy Families. In California, it was an alternative to Medi-Cal. I felt better about using it, because I paid premiums, according to our income, rather than being totally “on the dole.”

Eventually I started my own business, but it’s not a corporation, it’s just me as an independent contractor. Poe eventually found a job in security instead of his chosen field of CADD design. As a contractor, I don’t get employer insurance. Poe is offered insurance… The premiums for which are about 80% of his take home pay. So – we cannot afford it. Even after the updates due to Obamacare – now it’s about 85% of his take home pay. We still can’t afford it.

Eventually, Medi-Cal absorbed Healthy Families, and we were officially “on the dole” due to our income level and my children’s need for insurance. Don’t like it, but I have to take care of my kids’ medical needs. Poe and I haven’t been insured in years.

So here’s a bit about my private parts – so if it’s too graphic for you, I’ve put it below the fold:

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Update on All the Things

So, yeah. We were outta commission on the blog due to malware, and that’s fixed. But we were also outta commission because because of dealing with family stuff. So let’s do a general update on the last 6 months shall we?

All the Death. My mom died June 16th. I wrote about that. In terms of the logistics and practicalities after a death, that part was easy. I saw more clearly than my father did that the end would come sooner than later, and so I pushed for him to be prepared. My mom had some extremely unusual health conditions all her life. She was even written up in medical journals at one point due to an extremely rare (for the time) surgery she had on her heart. As a result, she wanted to be donated to science. I was able to find a reputable organization that did that, and made all the pre-arrangements for that. In case you’re curious, they take a complete health history, and then match the person to various studies that their donation will be appropriate for. Then, when your loved one has passed, you call them instead of your local mortuary. They make arrangements with a local mortuary for transportation. They speak with whomever your official “declare” person is. In our case, it was a hospice worker. Then the mortuary comes and takes your person to the science center. They do their tests and studies, and then about 8 weeks later, they cremate your loved one and return their ashes, along with a summary of the studies they were a part of, and what good those studies are for, so that you know what their contribution did. It’s only a summary though – getting details, apparently, is a security thing for the studies (there are rules about releasing details of studies currently in process). In her case, my mom was totally and completely against having a funeral. She hated them, and didn’t want one, and so we honored her wish. That was difficult for the kids. So, when the anniversary comes around, I’m going to arrange for a tree-planting or a bench or something that’s tangible for the kids.

The details were fairly easy, because my parents had a trust, so everything just converted to my father. The only person she actually left anything to had passed (my brother who died several years ago). No, she didn’t leave any items to me. I’m not sure why. I’m not bitter about that, just… confused. I’ve been helping my father with other details… Changing names on the accounts and such.

6 weeks later, my aunt died. She lived in Las Vegas. She didn’t have a “real” will, but she had an unprocessed one so we tried to do what she wanted as far as we could. She didn’t have any assets, so we didn’t have to go into probate. My parents owned her house (she rented from them). So I had to handle ALL THE PAPERWORK for her death. Her bank accounts, her utilities. Her friends for the most part were absolute vultures, and I was so disappointed in their display of the lack of humanity. I’m still dealing with medical bill folks who don’t understand that A) She is dead and B) She didn’t have an estate. Somehow we were able to sell her house in literally 2 weeks. Which meant a whirlwind round trip out of state for our family to clear out her house. And we then had a 3 vehicle (I drove the 20′ truck) caravan to move her stuff out of the house back home. That was fun. (/sarcasm.)

4 weeks later, my mother’s ex-husband died. They had no contact, so this shouldn’t have been a “thing” except that she was still beneficiary on a military life insurance policy. So not only did we not get the money (because she died first), I had to jump through hoops to prove that mom was dead, and so was their son, for absolutely no benefit to us. Yay government.

1 week later, one of my mom’s best friends died.

So – essentially the summer sucked ass.

Joseph eventually totally lost it. He was injured in summer school, then all the death above, lost his therapist, got a new one, lost a psychiatrist, got a new one, lost the new one, and got ANOTHER one. It was too much. He was arrested (There’s a whole story there I simply don’t have the energy for), another 72 hour hold, court… It all sucked. But we finally came out of that with a definitive diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Between the hormones of puberty (which hit like a ton of bricks), and one of his meds stopped working, led to a bunch of triggers, which led to a definitive diagnosis. That led to changes in meds and therapy. Since the end of December though… He’s changed. Either something clicked in his head, or we finally have the right triangle going with meds/therapy, or all of the above… He’s doing really well. I actually got a call from school (which of course makes me hold my breath) but it was a “What happened to your son?” in a good way. They were concerned by the drastic turn-around, which they’ve never seen before. Did we change something at home? No. I WISH I knew what the magic bullet was, so we could continue doing THAT, but I don’t know, and he’s not saying. So, he’s in a really good place mentally. Not so much physically… His thyroid is basically stopping in functionality, and that has nothing to do with his current meds. So… we’re in the process of trying to correct that and the testing process to see if it’s working etc. We’re probably going to sign him up for football next month. Community, not school – his special school doesn’t have sports teams. He needs the physical outlet, and he also needs the structure, and teamwork all that entails. Plus, with his thyroid not functioning properly, and one of his meds lending itself to obesity and diabetes, he needs more than PE to keep healthy.

Logan is… Logan. He ran/walked a 5K. For fun. He recently went to PA for a week with his 5th grade class as part of their American History. He’s easily amused, understands his limitations, tries to work around them, all with a smile on his face.

Poe may be losing his job fairly soon. The location he currently works at is closing and coming under new ownership, which will not use the company he works with as a vendor. Once the transition happens, his company said they’d transfer him, but I don’t trust them, so we’ll see how this goes.

And me. I think I’m finally okay. My mother’s death hit me pretty hard. Harder than I anticipated. I’ve known we were on borrowed time for years, and knew then end was coming. I was prepared for that. Plus, essentially I’d lost her quite a while ago to Alzheimer’s. So, I thought I was prepared. So when the grief hit so hard, it was confusing. And then I had to deal with all the paperwork, government crap, paperwork, and details, and bureaucracy, and red tape with all the deaths, that I didn’t get to grieve. I had to go straight into robot mode. I had all these grieving people to help through the process, all the administrative stuff, the court and hospital stuff for Joseph… It was all too much, and I just shut down. Left right left right. Make this call. Send this form. Not lose clients. Rinse, repeat. For months. I’m finally, finally out of the fog of that. I couldn’t write about any of it since someone decided to hack my site.

But that’s the update. And I’m back.

Annnnd we’re back

At first? I just was on a hiatus to deal with family issues I’ll go into on another post. And then? My site got hacked. Someone decided that my site would be a great vehicle to install malware on others’ computers. And I tried to fix it. I went back and forth with my server provider. I fixed. And then it came back. I fixed. And then it came back a couple days later. I think that happened 4 times. Finally I had to hire someone to fix it. And they had to hire someone. Ultimately, it took months to fix.

BUT IT’S FIXED. Finally. So hopefully… I’m back.

What the Summer Looked Like to me

This summer was probably the roughest one I’ve ever had.


Now that I’m starting to be able to breathe, I wanted to take a look back, and list what happened. One, to reassure myself that yes – there was a reason I went into turtle mode. And two, to reassure myself that yes – I lived.

Positives from this summer:

  • We have two new cats… Sort of. A mom and her babies adopted three homes on the block – including us. A neighbor trapped them and got them spayed/neutered (I always mix up which is which) and vaccinated. Three of the babies were able to be socialized and adopted, but momma and one baby was released. We feed/water them, and give them a little house for shelter should they need it. Our indoor cats? Several times a day let us know that THERE IS AN INVASION. ALERT!! ALERT!! ALERT!! You’d think they’d be used to seeing them. But no. By the way, we named momma, Tink. Her black baby is Smudge.
  • The kids got to visit their grandparents up north.
  • There were Popsicles.
  • I fixed the air conditioner all by myself.
  • Put pink stripes in my hair. Needed the boost of pink (see below).

The negatives from this summer:

  • Joseph lost his psychologist who really “got” him – and that he trusted. (She moved due to her husband’s job.) **
  • Joseph got a new psychologist. I think she’ll be all right – haven’t seen her in a crisis yet, which will be the real test. But we have to start all.over.**
  • Joseph lost his psychiatrist. And I have no idea why. I just got a letter in the mail one day saying that he had left the practice three days prior – 4 days before our next appointment and in need of medication refills. I don’t know what happened – and I really really really liked him. He made himself accessible with his personal cell phone. He listened to our parents’ intuition. He trusted our instincts and learned we were intelligent.**
  • Note ensuing fight to make sure Joseph got his meds in the meantime.
  • Joseph got a new psychiatrist. I don’t know about this one. I mean seriously. Vanilla as they come. Asking the wrong questions. Don’t know if he even LOOKED at Joseph’s chart before our first appointment. However – It should be noted that I called him yesterday regarding a medicine change. I was called back within two hours. He listened to my reasoning, thought it was sound, and approved the change. So – there’s hope.**
  • Had to replace all 4 tires on our truck. Ka-ching.
  • Joseph was injured in summer school. He fell on his shoulder and elbow, and bruised the bone. The good news? He also pinched a nerve so he went numb and therefore didn’t feel the mother of all funny bone injuries. He was in a sling and no PE for a week. Not. Happy.**
  • My mother died. I already wrote a post about her death. I’m not sure I’ve dealt with it, so it’ll probably come back up in a year in the form of needing therapy for another two years and another ulcer cropping up. I’ve been too busy helping “deal with their grief.” I don’t think anyone gets it was MY MOTHER.**
  • I had to handle all the details of her death. However, it was easier than it might have been. I had forced decisions on them when I saw the writing on the wall, so it was a matter of making it all happen – and being the clear-headed one so all the legalities were taken care of.
  • As a result of all of the above, Joseph got kicked out of summer school. Mutual decision – it wasn’t doing him any good.**
  • Some nuts and assholes came out of the woodwork after mom’s death. To the point of me having to be hyper-cautious of what I say on Facebook, which is a shame.
  • I’ve become my dad’s best friend. Sounds like a positive. In reality, somehow got another kid. I had to stop him yesterday and say, “Stop talking. Listen to the words coming out of my mouth.” I’ve only ever done that with Logan.
  • My aunt died. 6 weeks to the day after mom. In another state. Naming my father and me executors to her “estate” (there is no estate). He owns the house, she rented from him. It is the estate that never ends. We’re going in a couple of weeks to finally close out the house completely. Her friends descended like locusts. They even took my uncle’s military decorations. He was a WWII veteran, 20 years after his death my aunt was still living off his military pension – there were lots of decorations. So.Wrong. There was lots of SHE WANTED ME TO HAVE THIS. There were some specific things named in the will that a specific friend was to have. So dad gathered it together. Some of it was furniture so she had someone bring a truck. Dad left to get something to eat, and when he returned, she had taken half the house. There are some things like photographs I asked him to make sure we got. There are some things he wants to make sure I get because we need them, such as a larger bed for Joseph. The locusts kept coming. He finally called me, “What do I do?? I’m so overwhelmed!” I told him to lock the door. Come home. We’re seeing an attorney – and that’s how I became the go-to person in all things “Aunt Maya” including yelling at bill collectors because SHE IS DEAD. THERE IS NO MONEY. Take me to court, bitch. Watch what happens. Right about now, I could use a good fight.
  • There’s still a lot of stuff that needs to happen. My dad wants to change his trust. We’re still finishing up with my aunt’s house. And Oh God, taxes are going to be a nightmare this year.
  • The kids started school, which comes with its own brand of crazy known by parents around the world.**

**Note: Kids with special needs often don’t react well to change. I’ve got two of ‘em.

And somehow through it all – everyone is fed, the house is (semi/non-pigsty) clean, and I worked – even grew – my business.

But I am so.damn.tired.

and i miss my mommy.