Location: Oregon, United States

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Summer's End

Less than two weeks until school starts. William and Stephen don't want to talk about it and refer to school as "the 's' word". We got a desk for Stephen's room and he said he wanted to use it to "study". I said that was the whole reason we had gotten it for him, so he could have a quiet place to do homework. "No, I'm only using it to study my dragons and Egyptian stuff! I'm not doing homework here!" Okaaay, we'll see about that. Best just to let it be at that point. Once school starts, he'll mellow out. I hope. For now, though, we are walking on eggshells while we shop for school supplies and begin moving bedtime back to a reasonable hour. Yikes.

License plates for the van. See "Red Tape Days" for the background on this lovely process. So, the last time I wrote about this, we needed to have "code 46518" (or whatever) dealt with in order to pass the emissions test because the engine light stays on. I had told the worker there that we'd had that checked and I understood that nothing was wrong. He got all in a wad and said he couldn't understand how people could say there is nothing wrong when it's obviously a code 46518 and needed to be dealt with. So I agreed to bring the van to a mechanic to have the situation addressed.

Fortunately, one of our neighbors has a shop nearby, (but he only works on axles and brakes - not emissions), but recommended another independent guy in the shop next to him. Yah, Hortnagl is his name und he iss vrom ze olt kountree (Austria, that is). So I brought the car to him and he cleared the code for free and said drive it around for a couple of days. If the light comes back on, we need to deal with it. One day later, the light comes back on. By this time, we are entertaining out of town guests at full tilt, so we don't have time to bring the van back for a while. I finally do, explaining that the light had come back on, and could he please de-gunk it or whatever the next step is and let me know how it goes. He does, for a very reasonable price, finds nothing wrong (does this sound familiar?) and says drive it around for a couple of days to see if the light comes back on. Which it does.

I call him again and say the light is back on. He says that this means the sensor is broken and needs to be replaced. A common problem with this car, but one that can be fixed. So we bring it in and have the sensor replaced. This really ticks me off, because there is NOTHING WRONG WITH THE CAR, which I already knew but old dude at the DEQ won't believe me and I just spent over $200 to have it fixed so I can bring it back, pass the emissions test, and sit at the DMV for another 2 - 6 hours just to get a license plate with a picture of a tree on it! RAHR!!!

Finding a dentist. Speaking of rants, here's another one. I decide it is time to set ourselves up with a dentist, mostly because Thomas is developing fangs in his upper gums and it is probably time to start thinking orthodontist. Or garlic around our necks, but we'll go with the orthodontist first. So I find a place nearby and call them. The first question I ask is, "Are you accepting new patients?" "Yes, we are." Second question, "Do you accept our insurance (which is Aetna)?" "Yes, we do." Great, I'd like to set up an appointment. I go through the entire process, names, birthdays, insurance numbers for each member of the family. This takes a while. Then the gal calls me back as she had forgotten to write down our phone number (she used *69 to call me back). Then she calls me again to get our address. I'm beginning to wonder if this was a good idea. Maybe they haven't had any new patients in about five years...but she quits calling and we have an appointment set.

The next day, someone from the office calls Paul, thinking he is Thomas, to see if it would be possible to make his appointment at an earlier time. Paul puts us on a conference call, then disconnects us, so I call the dentist's office back and move the appointment. A few hours later, I receive another call from the dentist's office saying they were verifying our insurance and determined that we would be out of network. See above. Wasn't the second question I asked, "Do you accept our insurance?" Evidently, there are two separate plans within Aetna, and we have the one that doesn't work with this office. Probably just as well, these people were making me nervous.

Cell phone. I had to have my cell phone number changed to a local area code. My plan would have let me keep the old number, but last year, William's case manager had to use her cell phone to contact me because the school phones wouldn't allow her to dial long distance. This was strangely sad for me. More closure, more finality, more permanence here. Sigh.

Kitchen. Cabinets will be installed September 14th. I found a table that goes where the refrigerator was, but it had a support bar right in the middle underneath. I wanted my garbage cans to go under there, so I took out the bar and moved it to the back. This was a very big deal for me - I was so nervous that I would drill the holes wrong or something - but I didn't and I even successfully used a countersink. Cool.

Moms. Paul's mom is giving us a scare this week, as she had a seizure-like episode when she was at coffee with her friends on Monday. She is undergoing tests to determine what happened. It is weird for us to be all the way out here and not able to do A THING. Maddening.

My mom has been sick(er) since the day we left. She rallied for a little while, then started feeling worse again with both pain in her chest/lungs and intestinal issues. She is scheduled to see a gastroenterologist in September. The pain in her chest is being addressed with antibiotics. Again, really hard not to be there, and especially maddening because I keep reminding her to sign a release of information so I can get in on the loop, but she forgets. Ugh!

That's all for now! Thanks for listening!


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