Friday, November 21, 2014

Fighting the oobleck

I didn't plan this long of an absence from blogs - I've been under the weather. Where the fuck does that expression come from, anyway? It feels more like being under the oobleck - as in this:

Dr. Seuss made up a lot of words, but I think that one may be my favorite, because it so accurately describes that very special feeling of being sick. Monday afternoon, my boss said he was "going home to rest" after traveling for business this past weekend. Tuesday morning, the oobleck (his? Mine? Who knows?) attacked us both.

Then, to add insult to injury, once you finally outrun the oobleck, you get hit by the tired stick.


Then, back at work, everything makes you grumpy.
My poor coworker and I had this conversation.

Me: "I thought you went through the mail when I was gone! But it's in a pile on my desk!"
Coworker (with blank stare): "I didn't have a chance."

Me later that day: "Sorry, I'm sick and grumpy."

Which, at least, is one more excuse than normal!

What makes you get your grump on?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Things I would like to know

And I bet you would, too, you just haven't written about it yet.

1. Why the phone system at work got fried by a storm on the SAME day I ran out of cell phone minutes, which has never happened before, AND the heater decided to start spitting icy air out, and my computer decided to keep crashing - all at the same time. (I actually put this lolcat on our Facebook page at work with an explanatory message about the phones. Pretty cool, no?)
2. Why the internet is buzzing about a certain person's ass. An ass makes headlines! Shit, I'm in the wrong line of work.

3. What exactly do the models and actors do in the group Models and Actors for Christ? (I'm not making this up. I see this billboard on the way home from work every day, and it bugs me not knowing.)

4. Why the person who couldn't remember when his appointment was just showed up at my office this morning. Like you do.

5. Why his mother said she doesn't like stairs, so there should be an elevator (in a two-floor building), but continued to take the stairs rather than wait for him in the lobby.

6. We saw Birdman this week, which is a really good movie. So my question is...it's referred to as an "art film." Who decides a film is art? Does that mean other films are not art? Inquiring minds want to know.

7. Speaking of that movie, it turns out that Michael Keaton and Courtney Cox dated for several years back in the 90s?? Um. WAT?


8. Why does Alaska only send shitty things down to the mainland? We have premature winter this week, thanks to a storm from that state. Their politicians are just as bad, and they seem to last longer.

9. I know...why ask why...but I must. Why do I live in a state where more people voted on the legalizing marijuana measure (which passed) than voted for Governor? I mean these people filled out their answer to that ballot question, but didn't vote for either guy who wanted to run the entire state.
10. What can the conversations be like between our current governor and his fiancee? Oooh, what I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall in that house!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Plenty of Material

Last weekend, I went with several friends to watch a performance of comics who had taken the Stand Up for Mental Health comedy class. One of our friends was getting up on stage, and I wanted to support her...and I had no expectations.

Silly me! The show was fucking hilarious. In fact, I started thinking about how moments from my own life might make good punchlines. I imagine a psychiatrist asking if my family has problems with mental illness...and myself responding, "No, actually they enjoy it."

Food for thought
Once, on Halloween when I was a kid, we made caramel apples. I was so tired by the time the apples were done that I went to bed, planning to eat it the next day. In the morning, however, my mother informed me that the apple was gone, "because a roach had eaten a hole through it." It wasn't for a few years that I realized the "roach" was my mother. Come to think of it, that wasn't a bad comparison.

Food for cats
Things that are perfectly acceptable in the feline world are gauche for humans. Why, may I ask? For instance, a couple of days ago, Mandrake hoovered his breakfast and then started on Vasil's. Mr. RK asked me, "Would it be ok if we went to a restaurant and I inhaled my food, and then snatched your plate?" Come to think of it, there are a few people I'd also like to bite on the rump in meetings when they get out of hand...
Food for your brain
It's not entirely bad living with OCD*. Although I'd really prefer it was spelled CDO. You know, in order.

*Yes, I really have OCD. So I can make fun of myself. 

Then there are the weird dreams. Last week, I had one that was entirely in Spanish in which I was involved in a fender bender, and spent most of the time explaining that the person in the car with me had gone to seminary. The night after that, I had a dream I was making out with Alice Cooper. (A younger Alice Cooper.) I texted a friend about it and he wrote back, "I thought you weren't into girls?"

So what makes you laugh?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tips for the uninitiated

I don't remember this time of year ever being so busy. In addition to the usual events and day-to-day stuff at work and at the place where I volunteer, I have (stupidly) agreed to take on some volunteer marketing work for said place.

Which puts me in the frame of mind where I look at everything from a branding/marketing lens. I have worked in PR and marketing before, and hated it, but I did learn some good takeaways. Namely, don't write like you are an idiot.
Sadly to say, someone has managed to do this for a federal training we have to take at work. I'm sure they're laughing all the way to the bank. The training is an online thing required for us to keep signing people up for Medicaid and other insurance post Nov. 15, when our state, which has fucked up beyond belief, is moving to the federal website. (Do an internet search for "Cover Oregon" and you'll start to feel my pain.)

Anyhow. Along with the typical mind-numbing slides and endless pop-ups and dialogue boxes, there are sample conversations from theoretical appointments.

To whit:

"Hi, Casey, I'm 29 and my husband and I have a two-year-old daughter, and neither of our workplaces offers affordable health insurance. I'm looking for a plan that has low deductibles because we make frequent visits to the pediatrician."

It is at this point that I begin to laugh, because clearly the author of this script has never done an actual appointment signing anyone up.

It's more like this: "Um. I need to get an insurance card."
Assister: "Do you mean you need to apply for insurance? Do you currently have insurance?"
Caller: "I have insurance in Connecticut but it won't cover me in Oregon."
Assister: "Are you just visiting or did you move here?"
Caller: "I moved here. And I have to go get surgery this week and they won't cover it because it's out of network."

Well no shit, Sherlock!
Also amusing were the online "exams" at the end of each segment. Some of the questions were like trick questions, because the answers were close enough together to be indistinguishable, and some of them were made for four-year-olds.

A real sample: "Wendy calls about getting affordable health insurance. She is unsure if she qualifies for Medicaid. Do you A) Tell Wendy you can't help her." .....

Yes, really.

Another scenario involved a customer who thought they qualified for something they didn't qualify for. In the sample dialogue, she said, "I feel much better now that you have explained it to me. It makes sense."

HA! We have had people accuse the state (and us, even though we have nothing to do with the state's healthcare system) of everything from discrimination to incompetence even when THEY are the cause of the fuck up. Case in point: the guy who moved and didn't tell anyone, and then didn't get his insurance card, and then freaked out when he couldn't get a prescription.

There are a lot of people out there in need of velcro.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five minute Friday: blood

Five minutes to write from a single word prompt...go!

Blood as in family. As in DNA.

From the minute I met him, I fell in love with my little brother B. Who is now my brother B who is going to college next year. Who is taller and bigger than me. Mr. RK calls me B's "little sister."

I don't have children, other than furry ones with tails, but I am told the fierce and protective bond I have for him is like that. Momma Bear. Don't mess with my brother. If you ruin his day, you ruin mine, and God fucking help you.
I want him to be happy, and dread the day he is too cool to hang out with me any longer.

Blood, frankly, means nothing to me. Family are the people you love, who love you, who you surround yourself with my choice. DNA is a matter of coincidence.

And next week, B is going to have a very special kind of celebration (psst, I'll let you know when it's done) that proves exactly my point.

Blood isn't what matters. Blood, frankly, would have let me down a long time ago.

Family is different.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

I am not your mommy!

I think I need to make a shirt with those words and wear it - you know, at events, in the office.

We had our gala dinner Tuesday (and I am obviously old because I'm still tired, hence the lack of blogging) and I kid you not, that day at 3:30 pm I get an email:

"RK, what is the dress code for dinner?"

I'm heading out the door in FIVE MINUTES to go start setting up at the hotel. I AM NOT YOUR MOMMY!
On the phone with someone I referred to a clinic. "Do you know how long the wait time is?"

I AM NOT YOUR MOMMY!

What I am, apparently, is the provider of strawberries for the resident squirrels. I had no idea that they enjoyed fruit. Little bites are appearing in the berries as soon as they ripen.

Apparently I am also the resident safety officer. Reading before bed last night, we heard a big crash...then Vasil scurried off somewhere.

Mr. RK later discovered that Vasil was attempting to get up into the guest bedroom closet - or rather, onto the top shelf - and didn't quite make it, falling into a box of Legos.

Yes, Legos. Mr. RK said I could tell you that he is secure enough to own up to Legos.

I am going to sound like a horrible person but I find it easier to deal with wildlife and tamed wildlife than people these days. No matter how easy we try to make it for people to get services, for instance, some shitheads want everything done for them. However...

These are interesting times. We had an appointment a couple of weeks ago for someone who needed to sign up for Medicaid. His mom came with him and although her son was the one with the diagnosis, this woman was just this side of bonkers. Or maybe just bonkers. She was getting so self-righteously worked up about something, and I thought I was going to have to ask her to leave - and then she spied the candy dish on our conference table.
"OOOOOHHHHH, CANDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" She ate half of the bowl by herself in twenty minutes flat.

Then she said, "You know? If I had known I was going to have to wait, I would have brought my ukelele."

And yes, I know, these are terribly politically incorrect, but I take happy pills myself, so I know crazy when I see it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It started with a small pile of poop.

Mr. RK said that would be a good post title, but really, that is how the day started - at least right before I walked out of the door.

Before that, I woke up after having scary dreams about my boss naked. Wait, that was redundant.

Anyhow, Vasil, who is normally a good litter-box trained, if otherwise naughty, kitty, graced the downstairs bathroom with his displeasure (you talk about bad aim - he was an entire floor off target), and the day just went on from there. My friend Mike D and I were texting, and luckily he said, "Feel free to vent with your thumbs!" My thumb in someone's eye would have been more satisfying.
Although I had volunteers covering the phones all day, the one hour where a volunteer was busy with an appointment was the hour I had four (COUNT THEM FOUR) calls from people wanting resources. Which is normally no big deal, except...

Caller #1: Starts the  call with, "I have a question for you..." (Note to self: next time, say, "Oh no, you fucking don't!")

And he can't explain what he wants and goes on and on and on. Until I politely ask, "And what is the question?"

Him: "Well! Okaaaaay..." And goes on. And on. And keeps changing the request and after I counter with resources for every request, says, "Well you've been pretty helpful. Now I have one more question. When is the next training for your organization's Tell Your Life Story program?"

His words, not mine. Note: we don't have a program of that type. Now you know why.
Another caller just moved here, is living in a motel, has no insurance, and says, "I want to meet with a social worker." Um, right. I politely explain that here in my state, at least, you need to get signed up for Medicaid or have some kind of insurance before you can become a client at an agency. In fact, we can sign him up for this.

"I'd rather talk to a social worker first and see what my options are."

Needless to say, the organizations I gave him phone numbers for will say, "Call them back and sign up for insurance first..."

And as it is event week (next Tuesday about midnight I should be a much happier camper, or if not happier, the damn thing will be over), I of course have to have raging PMS.

Lastly, I ask you. If someone tells you politely two or three times that they MUST HAVE THE FUCKING HEADCOUNT FOR THE HOTEL by a certain date, wouldn't you get back to that person?

Thank you, Grumpy Cat. You have expressed me ever so much better than I could have expressed myself.