Author Archives: administrator of DOOM

On second thought, maybe a defense attorney would cost less…

On second thought, maybe a defense attorney would cost less…

I swear to everything holy, if one more person asserts that health insurance reform isn’t needed, if we don’t desperately need to regulate the insurance industry, if we don’t need to take the profit margin out of medical coverage, I will cut a bitch.

I went to the doctor last month. I was inexplicably fatigued, which started before the insomnia set in, and I couldn’t figure out why. I’ve been anemic before, my grandmother has thyroid issues, Mom just died, there’s a million things it could have been.

So I went. I went to a provider in my provider’s network, paid my $30 copay, and had a nice long chat about what’s been going on in my life & with my body.

And then on Friday we get a statement of benefits from the insurance company.

$224, please and thankyou. You’ll get a bill from your provider. Go fuck yourself, Jen, we’re not paying for this.

Because I’d talked with my doctor about my panic attacks, insomnia, and fatigue. Those are, to quote the insurance company, “behavioral health” issues, and because I’m on an individual plan, they’re not required by law to cover behavioral or mental health issues in the same way they cover physical health issues. Group plans are required by law, thanks to recent mental health parity laws. But there’s a giant loophole in the parity law that exempts individual plans from being subject to that law. A giant loophole into which I’d like to stick the PacificSource CEO’s head.

If one more person dares tell me health care isn’t a right, I may have to pay a defense attorney instead of my health insurance. Of course, in prison, I’d get health care.

Surreality is my new reality

Surreality is my new reality

Nana called yesterday, quite concerned, because her cat wasn’t eating his usual food.  Her neighbor brought over some of her cat’s food, but he wasn’t eating that, either.  So she scooped his poop because it “didn’t look right,” put it in a ziploc bag, and had me bring it to the vet for testing.  The most surreal errand of my life, lemmetellyawhat.

$21 later, we learn there is nothing wrong with the cat.  But last night, as she was putting tuna water on his food – per the vet’s instructions – the cat threw up.  Cue panicked phone call from Nana, while I’m at Stitch & Bitch, asking me to take the cat to the vet in the morning.  Of course, I forgot my sister-in-law, miss Kappa Delta, is borrowing my car this morning to take her dog in for a surgery consultation in Corvallis.  Call Nana to work out the specifics last night and she’s freaked out at the possibility of having to leave her cat at the vet for a few hours.

She calls this morning (waking me up in the process), and the vet is in surgery.  We can’t bring the cat in.  But how is K∆ going to get around?  How is she getting to Corvallis?  Where is her dog staying?  OH MY GAWD, WOMAN, WE WENT THROUGH THIS YESTERDAY. She. Slept. Here. She’s. Driving. My. Car. Today. Her. Dog. Was. Here. Too.  “But how will you and the kids get around?  What are you going to do without a car?”  Seriously?  This is what you worry about?  Oh mah gawd.  I had to reassure her that we had plenty to do around the house, that we’d be okay without the car for a few hours.

And then, this morning, because I certainly don’t have enough complications in my life as it is, I call Zenni Optical to confirm they got the fax from my optometrist, because they screwed up the prescription on my backup pair of glasses & I had to return them.  Oh.  No.  They didn’t.  MOTHERFUCKER.  Call the optometrist and the receptionist says she’s tried faxing it three times but it keeps bouncing back!  Back on the horn to Zenni.  They finally got the fax, but oh, someone mis-transcribed the numbers on the order.  Either it was me or the woman on the phone from the OpShop when I called, but we don’t know and have no way of telling.  50% refund to the card, redo the order.  Because of course they can’t just recut the lenses or switch right with left.  CAN’T SOMETHING GO RIGHT WITHOUT IT COSTING ME MONEY?  JUST FOR ONCE?  JESUS TAPDANCING CHRIST.

In short: not an auspicious start to the day.  I may need a drink this evening.

You can see me on the news!

You can see me on the news!

And it’s not because I cut someone for talking stupid!

(photo credit: KATU.com)
Wednesday morning, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) held a town hall right here in Podunk.  I had a question prepared, I dressed nice in case I got called on, I strapped Gurglebutt to my back in the Ergo, and I packed cheerios & frozen blueberries in my purse.  I let Boogermonkey bring his magnadoodle.  And when we got to the community center, it was PACKED.  They’d reached capacity – 200 people – at 8:00, when it wasn’t scheduled to start until 9:30.  I didn’t want to turn back.  I knew they had a PA system, they could just pipe it into other parts of the building – the library is attached & certainly big enough!  They had a better idea.  Take us outside into the parking lot.  It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot yet.  400 people – most elderly, mine were two of three children in the audience, and I was one of a handful of 20-somethings.

(photo credit: Registerguard.com)
And I did get to ask my question. You see, there are a LOT of falsehoods circulating on the web about HR3200.  A lot of people think it mandates government-funded healthcare, or that deathsquads will be rounding up the elderly, or that taxpayers will fund abortions, or other such nonsense.  All of this is spurred on by people like Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sarah Palin (the last put something on her facebook page about it.  Idiot).  I wanted to know what Congressman DeFazio was doing to counteract the misinformation.  Holding 14 townhalls, putting the truth on his website, developing a 10-page PDF debunking the weird e-mail that’s circulating, and e-mailing constituents, he says.

Good luck with that, dude. (photo by Booger.  You can see him snapping shots at the Register-Guard video link, and the rest of his photos at the Picasa album)

But really, all this misinformation has me ANGRY.  Really fucking hopping mad.  HR3200 isn’t government-funded healthcare.  It’s insurance industry regulation, something that has been a long time coming.  It provides a way for those of us who need healthcare to get it through private industry, to choose on the free market, without worry about pre-existing conditions clauses, medication class exclusions (antidepressants, inhaled medications, birth control, etc.), that sort of thing.  People here illegally – anywhere from 8-12million people, so about 2.5-5% of the population – won’t have access to coverage because it will be means-tested, meaning you have to prove citizenship to get it.

(photo by Booger)
All of this information is readily available, yet people are STILL asking “will abortion be funded?”  and “What about the illegals,” as though an entire class of people can be reduced to a single noun.  Grammar!FAIL.  Also: your xenophobia is showing.

(another photo by Booger)

I got into it with a friend on Llamaface’s facebook feed today.  I couldn’t take it.  I snapped a little.  I laid the smack down, really.  Because he was parroting talking points, and I don’t stand for that.  Have a little respect for your education and mine (we went to the same school as undergrads) and read a little, at least.  Form some legitimate complaints.  Because if you come at me with some worthless Bill O’Reilly shit, I will eat you for lunch like a fucking ham sandwich.  In the end, he realized he was getting nowhere, I knew a bit about what I was talking about, and we agreed that I’m really hott (yes, two tees) when I rant, and sex is funny.

(my kid is a genius, seriously)

Helen Philpot, a woman my grandmother’s age, nails why I feel so angry about all of this.  Take it away, Helen:

And what’s all this crap about killing your grandmother?  Are you people honestly that stupid?  This has become less an argument about healthcare reform and more a statement about our failed education system.  Margaret, I don’t know what plans you’ve made up there with Howard, but down here with Harold, we have living wills to determine how we will leave this world when the time comes.  Mine states that unless the feeding tube is large enough for a piece of pie, I don’t want to be hooked up to it.  Harold, of course, says his can only be connected to him if the other end is connected to a bottle of single malt scotch.

Now shame on me for making a joke about a serious subject, but if these morons are going to show up and scream at their elected officials, they need to educate themselves about the subject at hand.   No one is planning on killing you or your grandmother with rationed healthcare or death squads.  By the looks of the American citizenry turning out for these town hall meetings,  we’re doing a fine  job of killing ourselves with fast food, cigarettes and an overindulgence of ignorance.

(guess who took the photo.  go on, guess!)

No one is trying to take your Medicare away.  No one is going to force you to give up your insurance plan.  You want proof?  Sit down with a legal dictionary & read all 1,018 pages of HR3200.  Or you could use your critical thinking skills.  Geico & Progressive have pulled their ads from certain timeslots on FoxNews because of the things those commentators were saying about HR3200; if the insurance companies, which will be regulated more heavily if HR3200 passes don’t even want to be associated with the people saying nasty things about the bill?  UR doin’ it rong.

Dementia can eat a sack of knobs

Dementia can eat a sack of knobs

One of the hallmarks of losing one’s mind is cruelty where there was none before, and another is blowing seemingly minor things out of proportion – mountains from molehills, if you will.

We signed an official lease with my grandmother today.  We are now, officially, tenants of the Clark Street house.  We signed this paper around 3:00 today.  My brother, also named as a tenant, will sign both copies when he returns from his job in the woods.

At 7:15 p.m., Nana called.  She called the house phone.  When she wants to talk to me, she calls my cell phone.  But no one else was home to answer the house phone (Boogermonkey LOVES answering the phone), so I did.

“Oh, Jenni!  I didn’t want to bother you, I figured [Booger] or [Llamaface] would pick up.”

“[Llama] took [Booger] to the store to get dessert, what’s up?”

What followed was a three minute, 47 second tirade on nothing other than our signatures and how messy they are.

I WISH I were kidding.

“No one can even tell that’s a name.”

“That’s the point, Nana.”

“You can’t tell me they accept this at the bank.”

“Every time I write a check, every time I sign for my credit card, yes they do.”

“Well you’ll have to write me a check and bring me to the bank so I can see it for myself.”

“Okay, Nana, whatever you say.”

“When the IRS checks up on this, they’re not going to believe you’re a real person!”

“I seriously doubt, unless your tax guy is totally inept, that the IRS will look at anything, Nana.”
Her handwriting, due to age and dementia, is going to shit.  I can hardly read her shopping lists anymore and her signature is an E followed by bumps and an S followed by more bumps; she swears you can see every letter in her name just fine.  “But I guess I was raised in a different time, when you didn’t have to worry about people using your name illegally.”

This is what I live with.  Every damned day.  And if her doctor dares tell me that there’s nothing wrong with her, I’m complaining to the medical board.  Six months, a year ago?  She wouldn’t have dared criticize me.  She and I are too much alike, and criticizing me means criticizing herself.  But now that Mom’s gone (may she rest), I have taken her place (g-d help me).  That means Nana will be mean to me the way she was mean to Mom.  Hang on folks, that means more stories.

I missed the water

I missed the water

Back in high school, nearly every weekend that I was here instead of at my dad’s, I’d go out to Bob’s house and spend time with our friends on his parents’ boat.  His mom would make us set & clear the table, sweep the floors, clean the bathroom, etc. in exchange for putting up with our loud, obnoxious selves.  Bob’s parents have divorced, but his dad still lives in the house across the street from the boat launch, and as I understand it the boat is now, essentially, Bob’s.  Llamaface & Boogermonkey were up in Portland moving Llama’s stuff into his new apartment, where he’ll be living to save us money in rent since he’s not moving down here with me (he hates this area), so Gurglebutt & I loaded up a bag and went out to Cottage Grove Reservoir, after getting him a lifejacket and snacks at Bi-Mart.

Bob

Gurglebutt eats frozen blueberries from Saginaw Vineyards, picked when Cousin Awesome was here

Bob lets Gurglebutt drive the boat

Driving with Reilly, Bob’s girlfriend, one of my oldest, dearest, bestest friends

Gurglebutt slept like this for nearly 2 hours

Keith (one of the original crew), Bob, and Keith’s wife Elisa

Trinity, Keith & Elisa’s daughter.  She’s 2.5 & ADORABLE!  Great manners and we had fun in the water!

It was an amazing day.  Sunshine, good friends, good memories, no one drowned, and Gurglebutt took a long enough nap that I was able to swim by myself for a while.  The anchor got stuck under some mud & Bob will have to rescue it later, but he’s not worried about that so I’m not, either.  Near the end of the day, I got word that a close friend lost someone very close to her, so that put a small damper on it.  Then, Nana called and said something about Little Brother getting kicked out of the work program he’s in (Little Brother called later and clarified that Nana is on some sweet crack because no he has not been).  And then I locked myself out of the house because I’d forgotten to put the new keys on my ring, so I had to send Austin the 10-year-old neighbor boy through Little Brother’s window to open the door for me.  No day without a little bump or three, I suppose, but for the most part it was nice.  No sunburn, despite being on medication that can make one photosensitive, no barfing from the kid who’d never been on a boat before, not too hot, water not too cold, just the right amount of snacks & water & companionship.

Thanks for a great day, guys!

time keeps tickin’, tickin’ away

time keeps tickin’, tickin’ away

I went to Nana’s house yesterday.  She’s slowly falling into the abyss of Dementia’s open mouth, to the point where we’re going to discuss medication with her doctor next time we go.  So yesterday I go over there, to drop off some jam (I made it myself!) and her hat that Boogermonkey had borrowed and some juice.  “I have something to show you, a collector’s item,” she said on the phone.

I get there and she’s sitting on her couch, holding a pair of white casual slacks folded on her lap.

“Look at these,” she said as she held them out to me.  “Do you see this symbol here on the tag?”

I looked.  My glasses are broken – Gurglebutt snapped the arm off two weeks ago and I’m waiting on the replacement – and I saw a red blob.

“That’s the logo of the New York Garment Worker’s Union,” she explained.  That means these are very old.  They busted up that union a long time ago, sent manufacture elsewhere.  But these, these are mostly polyester, more polyester than cotton.  They used to do that, to make them dry faster – that’s what they said – but now they do it the other way.  I was going to wear them to church today, but the elastic is shot, I don’t know what’s the matter with it.”

“Well, elastic wears out over time.  It happens.”

“Well, these can be fixed.  It would be worth it.  You know, I bought these for a dollar when you were one,” she held up her right index finger by way of illustration.  “And you’re 27, going to be 28 in August, so that makes these 26 years old.”

“No, Nana.  I’m 26 now.  27 next month.”
“Oh.  Only 26 now?  Jumping the gun, I guess.  Anyway, I bought these at a thrift store in Tahoe.  Not the year you were born, but the second year, when I came to visit.  Momma was looking at something for the house, I don’t know what, but you were one because she had you in the carrier, you know, on her chest.  So I found these pants and I knew they were a good deal because of that Garment Worker’s Union mark.”

I kept nodding, eating the cherries she said I could take home.  They’re storebought, slighly underripe, but good anyway.

“You know, they have these things on Antiques Roadshow you know, and you wonder where they keep all this stuff.”

“I don’t think a pair of pants are worth much, Nana.”

“No, not for that, but you know if they make a documentary about the unions, the history of the unions, you could pull these out to show them.  No one keeps anything anymore, and it makes them rare.  I thought you would appreciate them for that.”  She looked downcast, fingering the edge of the folded fabric.
I couldn’t take any more.  The bag of cherries was empty. The kids were at home with Cousin Awesome and my heart was shattering.  I took my leave, reminding her if she needed a ride to church and the deacons couldn’t do it, all she had to do was ask.

I’ve been so tired lately that I didn’t even have the energy to cry.

Insert John Mellencamp music ::here::

Insert John Mellencamp music ::here::

Nine years one month and one day ago I graduated Cottage Grove high school, 13th in a class of 154.  I wore the shortest dress I owned, paired with fishnets and black strappy platform shoes, because the administration tried telling us that girls were required to wear dresses.  My class fought – successfully – to be allowed to toss our caps, and mine was somehow lost and never recovered, despite my name & phone number written inside.

Less than two months later, I boarded a plane for New York and, in the nine years since, have lived in progressively larger and larger cities.  Alfred to Monmouth to Eugene to Seattle to Portland. Nine years, and I haven’t been back to Cottage Grove for more than a few weeks at a time.  Even breaks were spent at friends’ houses in Eugene, and when I was in town I kept a low profile.

It’s hard, you see, to avoid people who ignored or taunted or were fake or cruel to you in a town of approximately 9,000.  Going to the grocery store (the ONE grocery store in town, I might add) means people in your graduating class are now working the register, or picking out fish and getting bagels at the deli counter.  It means going to any of the three book shops and running into the guidance counselor who told your mother you weren’t college material.  It means, on the other hand, that those who loved you welcome you back.  That those who loved your mother (may she rest and her name be for a blessing) love you, unconditionally.

Coming back means having to put aside all the hurt and the anger and the anguish and the angst, whether you’re ready for that or not.  Because this isn’t a quick visit.  This is me, living in the house we moved into on Tara Hammerberg and Derek Myers’ 14th birthday (May 13, 1996).  This is me, living in the house my friends and I got caught playing spin the bottle with a twister board in the backyard at my 15th birthday party.  This is me, living around the corner and down the street and a few blocks away from people who were part of my life for 13 years, people who in large part I put behind me because I put the town behind me.

Someone, two people in fact, two people I hadn’t seen in nearly six years told me I’d be welcome back down at the community theatre, one of my old haunts.  They’re doing The Miracle Worker later this year and I should audition, one of them said.  I used my old standby excuse – I got tired of being told I’m talented but just don’t look the part – but that’s not the whole truth.  It’s part of it, don’t get me wrong, that is a very hurtful and not helpful thing to be told.  But the truth is, I don’t want that kind of attention anymore.  That kind of public recognition.  If I could blend into the wall, that would be awesome.  That sounds odd, given how gregarious I am, but notice when you’re with me that I’m not that way in large settings anymore.  I’m loud, my laugh is loud, my stories are large, but only when I feel safe.  I don’t feel safe out in the open anymore.

I’m back, and I’m back in a place that holds nearly every experience I had from age 5 to age 18, minus a few weekends with my dad and a few trips elsewhere.  My first kiss in Calleena’s barn attic (Garrett Hill, the end of 6th grade), getting called Ralph for an entire school year after I puked in science class (fuck you very much, Carl Dimmock), skipping school assemblies to develop photos in the B&W lab.  Learning to drive.  Getting my heart broken.  Being proposed to at 10 p.m. a few days after making out for the first and only time with a friend who I wasn’t even technically dating (I said no and we never made out again, though he did bring me Midol one afternoon when I thought the cramps would kill me).  Walking home after making a homecoming float, trying our best (and failing) to stay ahead of the storm clouds, calling Mom from every pay phone we reached, trying in vain to ask her to come get us.

Three proms.  A dozen theatre shows.  Boyfriends.  Parties.  Heartbreak – mine and others’. Fights with Mom.  Burning rice on the stove.  Little Brother puking all over the POGs a friend/boyfriend/friend/ex-boyfriend/friend brought over.  Cutting Aaron’s hair as he sat on the curb.  Weddings.  Funerals.  Birthday parties.  Life.  Here.
And every time I go somewhere, a new memory comes back.  And I have to reconcile the woman I’ve become with the girl who’s still inside me, the girl whose heart was broken by the guy who lives around the corner and is now a man and is now responsible and kind.  The girl who dealt with the suffocation of Small Town Life™ by running as far and as fast as she could to…a small town…in upstate New York…for a year…

oh shut up.

Or laugh.  I do.  I laugh, in between ducking behind Entemenn’s displays to avoid eye contact with the girl who laughed at my hairy legs every day of P.E. in 8th grade.

And in my less than stellar moments, I break down and call The Princess and wail about this “backwoods redneck podunk hickville” that doesn’t have any coconut oil in its ONE grocery store.  Or I cry to Llamaface because the only place to buy diapers without breaking the bank, because I’m not even attempting cloth right now, the elastic has given out in our Fuzzi Bunz and we don’t have the cash for a new diaper stash is The Place where Evil Dares not Tread™.  I sold my soul for $20.47 the other night – the cost of an 82 pack of diapers & a 30 pack of pads.  I am so ashamed.

Welcome home, right?

been a long time since I rock & rolled

been a long time since I rock & rolled

The longer I go without blogging, the easier it is to go another day without blogging.  I post a lot to Twitter, and on Ravelry, and text messages to people.  I take video with my cell phone and put them on flickr.  I take pictures and put them on Picasa.  But writing here, for whatever reason, seems like so much more work, but I know that’s dumb.

So, where have I been the last six weeks?

We’ve played in the backyard, gone to Main Street to draw with chalk on the sidewalk, played at the park, gone on errands for Nana, run into my past at the grocery store, and missed Llamaface as he lives in Portland and visits for 3-5 days every two weeks.  We’ve gone to Farmer’s Market, made new friends, reconnected with old ones.  I have a book to edit for an old friend who is a step ahead of me in the “get the words out of the brain and into the world” department.  There are “My Grandmother Is Going Crazy” stories to tell, another time.  There are narratives to share, another time.  There are more photos to share, another time.  For now, I leave you with some of the most important photos, and the links to the rest of the pictures in the albums.
While Uncle Awesome & his daughter Cousin Awesome were here, we went to Saturday Market.

 

 

Didgeridoo player               Cousin Awesome & Boogermonkey

The Water Tower Bucket Boys                Uncle Awesome (both photos by Booger)

We went to the beach to spread Mom’s ashes.

the tube is out, the morphine is in

the tube is out, the morphine is in

They ran a new CT scan this morning.

There was no change in the blood mass.

We took her breathing tube out this evening.

She tried to say she loved me, over and over again, until the morphine kicked in.

Then I left, and now I’m at Daydee’s, and Llamaface has showed up and is eating dinner.

Mom’s older brother, Uncle Awesome, has said he’s not leaving her room until the end.

We have an air mattress & a cot being brought to Mom’s house so we can get out of Talana’s hair.

Llamaface has the next two days off and the next two days will be spent making hard decisions re: how we proceed from here in terms of taking care of Nana. Little Brother has said he’s willing to move down & whatever, but he has school to focus on. His girlfriend keeps annoying me by saying “we” and I’m like BITCH STEP OFF.

IF YOU WANT TO HELP:

Financially, you can send money to my paypal account.  Jenniferg1028[at]yahoo[dot]com.

Donations can be made to Planned Parenthood, your local food bank, your local women’s shelter, or your local organization that helps homeless & runaway youth.  All those things are near & dear to Mom’s heart.

Food deliveries can be made to The Axe & Fiddle on Main Street in Cottage Grove, or to Talana’s house (contact her for information about that).

We have an air mattress & a cot to sleep on at Mom’s house, while Little Brother & his girlfriend sleep on the futon, but real mattresses (at least one queen) would be great so we have a more permanent situation.

If you are in a position to babysit a 3.5-year-old & a 15-month old 1+ hours at a time, or know someone who’d be willing to do that pro bono or for barter/trade, please e-mail me.

If you are able to fix a broken car door handle, or know someone who’d be willing to do that pro bono or for barter/trade, please e-mail me.

Other than that, keep us in your thoughts.

knowing what I never thought I’d wish I didn’t know

knowing what I never thought I’d wish I didn’t know

Blood can go into the brain very very fast, but it can’t go back out.  Now that I know that, I know she’s gone.  We’re going to have to take the ventilator out and forgo the feeding tube.  No use prolonging the inevitable.   I’m going to have to sign a DNR.  I’m going to have to coordinate with my brother & de facto stepdad & Uncle Awesome – who cannot be here from Tahoe indefinitely – & Nana for Nana’s care.  I’m going to have to figure out how to be a mother without my own to call any time I need her.  I’m going to have to explain to Li’l Pants why he can’t call his Nina.

Mom always said it was never goodbye, only ever “See you later,” and I really do think that Saturday night’s brief period of lucidity was her final “See you later.”

I will never, ever, EVER believe the doctors when they say she wasn’t there on Saturday, nodding yes at me and waving me to go back to the kids.  I will never believe she didn’t try saying “I love you” around that damned tube.  I will never believe she didn’t try to kiss me, that she didn’t smile at me with one good eye open.