Archive for November, 2010

Apparently they weren’t kidding.

It’s been a crazy few days!

We started out with my old caseworker returning to work.
Then we found out that the fill-in caseworker might not have done what she was supposed to do.

And now the verdict is in.

My file. My case. Was. Not. Sent. To. Austin.

Period.

Caseworker Jezabel has said that she will be sending the file to Austin today. Yes, we did hear that at the beginning of the month by someone else. We plan to be sure that it actually happens this time, even if it means a phone call to Austin or a last minute road trip.

It. Will. Happen.

End of story.

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You have GOT to be kidding!

It’s almost laughable that so much confusion has been going on with my case at DARS. Almost laughable.

Yesterday my old caseworker, now dubbed Caseworker Jezabel, came back from her stint in where ever land. I had sent her an email yesterday to update her on my case, but today my mom decided to call her and be sure that she was clear on everything. Caseworker Jezabel wasn’t in the office yet, but her assistant was. The assistant informed my mom that because my file had been sent to Austin(TX) to approve my second surgery, there was no reason for Caseworker Jezabel to even be contacting me. The assistant went on to say that Caseworker Jezabel didn’t even have a reason that she should be contacting me, since the case was no longer her issue, but Austin’s.

Are you ready for the kicker?

Caseworker Jezabel had spent some of her morning looking at my file and email (*gasp*) and was able to update herself on my case. This morning while I was with my mom, Caseworker Jezabel called to let us know that my file had not been sent to Austin for approval. My mom told her that both the assistant and Caseworker Jane (the fill-in caseworker) had confirmed that the file had, in fact, been sent off for approval. Caseworker Jezabel said that she was looking through their computer system and she could not find anywhere that showed that the paperwork had actually been sent. On top of that, she also said that even if the paperwork had been sent, it shouldn’t take this long for the approval or denial.

So where are we now?

Who knows?! My mom politely asked Caseworker Jezabel to contact the Austin offices and confirm that the paperwork is there. However she also told her that if she didn’t hear back from Caseworker Jezabel by the end of the day, she would be calling Austin herself in the morning to find out. Go Mom!

So did we hear from Caseworker Jezabel? What do you think? No. As in, no, we did not hear from her. And I really don’t care at this point. I found the Austin office number online a little while ago and my mom will call them in the morning and figure out if they got the paperwork. We will prevail!!

I miss my husband. I miss him terribly. The worst part about all this is that I don’t have anyone’s shoulder to cry on while all this is going on. Granted, I’m so crazy busy with watching the kids that I don’t really have time to cry, but I’d still rather being going through this with him and not without. I guess since he’s in Africa passing out relief aid to poor and hungry people, it’s best that I stop whining about it and be thankful that he’s able to do what he is doing.

So tonight we wait. Wait. Wait. Tomorrow we will take another chip at that rock wall that seems to be standing in the way of things. This time we’re bringing sledgehammers.

Are you kidding me?

If there was ever a time that I just wanted to scream, now would be the time.

Hang on a minute…..

It doesn’t really help.

Today marks the eighth business day that the medical examiner in Austin has had my file and has yet to approve or deny my second surgery (if you’re just now tuning in to my blog, you may have to flip back through the archive to get the skinny on things).

I emailed my semi-new caseworker today to see if she could call the medical examiner, or even pass along his information so that I can have my mom call him. I’ve been busy with the kids today and didn’t get a chance to check my email until just a few moments ago.

I don’t really feel like being witty, so I’ll skip the sarcastic remarks today and get down to business. I got an email from my caseworker. No, not my semi-new caseworker (let’s call her Caseworker Jane) who has been handling my case for a little over a month now. No. I got an email from my former caseworker (let’s call her Caseworker Jezabel), who very often forgets that I’m alive. And that I’m living. And that I’m her case. And that she’s supposed to actually return the emails and phone calls I send her direction.

Caseworker Jezabel sent me an email today letting me know that she had returned from where ever she had gone. She was hoping for an update on how my surgery went, how I was adjusting with my implant, and if I had been to the speech therapist. Confused yet?

I don’t know how DARS handles things. I just assumed that if Caseworker Jezabel ever came back to DARS, that she would check in with Caseworker Jane about all the happenings that went on while being out of the office for so long. You know, just in case something went wrong during a surgery and so that someone didn’t get an email that became a slightly depressing reminder that her implant wasn’t working. That type of thing.

Honestly I might be being harsh with Caseworker Jezabel. I really have no idea why she was out of the office for so long. Maybe someone in her family was sick, maybe she had a dog die, I really don’t know. I do know that it took a solid year to get my first surgery approved with her at her station, but it is definitely possible that she’s had some sort of tragic thing happen recently to be away from work for so long.

I replied with a very nice email to her, giving her an update on everything that occurred, and asked her to please please check in with the medical examiner and see where things are. I had already emailed Caseworker Jane about it, but I figure if they both call the medical examiner, it might turn out to be a good thing. I’m just sorry that I wasted the really hearfelt tear-jerker email on Caseworker Jane, since it’s more likely that Caseworker Jezabel is the one it should have now been sent to. It’s kinda like I played the right card at the wrong time. Although if it’s at the wrong time, would that make it a wrong card? Who knows?!

I just pray that Caseworker Jezabel turns out to be a Caseworker Mary or something.

My sister. My friend. My very gifted photog.

I love my sister. She’s one of those people that has been there through thick and thin with me, and if I ever needed anything, I know that she’d be there in a heartbeat. A few weekends ago I asked her to take my family’s Christmas pictures, and there are no words to express my appreciation for these printable memories.

I do realize that Christmas is a long ways off, but because our Christmas cards have to be sent off to the printer and shipped to us, we gotta do the whole portrait thing pretty far in advance.

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I told my sister only a very few things, but the rest was up to her. I showed her the outfits we would all wear, and I told her that I want to do a photoshoot in a big field with furniture. I know it’s weird to place furniture in the middle of a field, but that was the whole point. I’d surfed a lot of photography websites, I had seen someone shoot the field/furniture thing, and it really grabbed me as being unique. So with those few things as direction, here’s what my sister shot.

My son went first, and I just could NOT make up my mind about a dozen pictures, so I had to post three. I’m sorry, but he’s just that cute!

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Next was my daughter, and for whatever reason, she was in a dreadful mood. I find it very interesting that every year ONE of our children is very uncooperative.

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Despite the fact that she didn’t want to smile at the camera, we were able to sneak in a few decent shots.

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I just love that girl to pieces, no matter how much she didn’t want to smile. It was pretty chilly out there in the middle of the field, so I do give her that much.

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When I say that my daughter was uncooperative, I really have no earthy idea where she gets it from. Everyone else in our family is extremely polite and poses naturally upon command.

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Ok, maybe I was fibbing. When my husband isn’t goofing off, he is….

Well….

Ok, fine, he’s always goofing off. But on occasion we can get him to smile nicely for the camera.

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Notice here how my daughter is looking at her brother. This happens very, very often.

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Even with all the posing, the kids did have fun. Hay is fun, right?

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They did get a little instruction on the whole sit-in-the-old trunk pictures. I swear they almost broke the trunk before my sister started instructing. Don’t tell my parents that, since the very old trunk was on loan.

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Sometime around the whole trunk thing, we let let kids just break loose and have fun. Let me tell you, there is just nothing like a good picture of kiddos having fun. Completely unposed.

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Because c’mon, who doesn’t like to jump on a sofa? And a sofa in the middle of a field? Well that’s just pure bliss I tell ya!

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And we just can’t go without a pillow fight! We love pillow fights with daddy. Those are the best kind!

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But this next picture? Be still my heart…

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We might not have gotten a full family picture that I just adore, being that kids will be kids, but I love so many of the kids’ pictures that it really doesn’t matter. I didn’t post the pictures that will go out on our Christmas cards. You’ll have to come back around Christmas-time to find that one here.

I just love this holiday time of year. Don’t you?

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A [not so] newsworthy update and other random thoughts

Today has been rocky, but I seem to be gliding smoother now. And that’s a good thing.

Last week my caseworker sent my file and CT scans to DARS’ medical examiner to approve my second surgery for my Cochlear implant, and we haven’t heard from her this week yet. I hate to harass someone to do something, and I know that my case has to be sent to several people to be looked at, so I’ve given her a little space to get things done.

What we did figure out is that my surgery has gone from my caseworker to her boss for approval. Then my caseworker sent it to the medical examiner who will (but hasn’t yet to our knowledge) approve it and sent it to the main office in Austin for another approval. The Austin office must approve it and send funding to an office in Arlington (a suburb of Dallas), and the Arlington office will call my ENT’s office to schedule the surgery. Is anyone confused yet?

So it’s a long process, and it’s the exact process that took a solid year to happen the first time around. The first time it took so long simply because my former caseworker forgot that her clients really did live and breathe, but my current caseworker is hopefully getting things done. My husband called her today and left a message a few hours ago, but we haven’t heard back from her yet. At this point we will hound her voicemail until she responds. She’s had plenty time. So there’s a little DARS education for ya.

Today has been rough because I figured that I’d have my surgery at least scheduled by now. At the very least, I thought that I’d have heard about the Austin office now having the file. But nada. Nothing.

In an effort to ward off any oncoming self pity, my kiddos and I just spent the last few hours making cutout sugar cookies, icing them with the not-so-great frosting from a can, and covering them in every sprinkle color imaginable, all the while having a magnificent time. There’s just nothing that lifts my mood like spending time with my little ones, and the great thing is that it doesn’t even have to include me hearing them. They’re just super fun.

By the end of the week I expect to have my surgery scheduled, although yes, I do realize I said that last week. This week will be met with a little more persistence on that subject however.

November with a slice of pie

Does anyone else feel like this year has just flown? I have to pinch myself to believe that it’s already November and that, no, I’m not dreaming about it. The holidays are seriously upon us.

I had so many expectations for this holiday season, and lately I’ve had to force my mind and body to do the motions of preparations because my heart is barely in it. I remind myself that by bemoaning the fact that I won’t hear through Thanksgiving, I will bring a dark cloud on every other person’s otherwise joyous occasion. Holidays are meant to be enjoyed with family, full of reminiscing about times of old, forgetting grudges and unforgiven pasts, to enjoy a meal prepared with nothing short of hard work and a whole lot of love.

I tell myself that, but it’s still hard. As much as I center my thoughts where I need them to be, the reality is that in a few unguarded moments, I have to shake my head, shed just one tear, or take a deep cleansing breath to wash my mind of what I know I’m missing. Even as I sit here, I refuse to cry about it. It doesn’t matter that these moments come once a year. What matters is all the years I still have left to enjoy all of this, even if I miss it this time around. More than that? It’s not about me at all. It’s about giving myself to my family so that my children and husband remember a good year, happy memories, and not a weepy depressed mommy or wife. I want that for them much more than I want to feel sorry for myself.

This week has been testing my patience, and as we enter the weekend and my surgery remains unscheduled, I kick myself into high gear and fill my day with things that lift my mood.

One thing I love to do is bake. It’s something my grandmother and my mom must have passed in their genes to me, I’m certain. Being November, I decided today that I wanted something to help me remember how much I enjoy Thanksgiving, hearing or no. In my home, at this very moment, is a smell that’s unmistakably sweet and full of spice, all at the same time. If you walked in my door, I doubt you’d see the opened can of pumpkin on my counter before you recognized the age old scent of a freshly baking pumpkin pie. There’s just nothing like it.

The thing I like most about baking? Most would think it’s the first bite into whatever is created in my oven, but somehow I don’t think so. I enjoy it more because of the flavorful aroma that perfumes my home long after the baking is over. It’s warm, many times sweet, and always full of love.

As I sit here writing, I take a deep breath to discover the very familiar scent of a dozen Thanksgivings past, and I remind myself that whether I hear or not, I will choose to enjoy this year. After all, once this year is past, I can never repeat it. I will lift my eyes from the troubles around me, and focus on the joy garnered from my very boisterous young children and a husband I so greatly admire.

Why I don’t order from a catalog

Every Christmas I hear from a certain set of friends that they ordered all of their Christmas gifts online. Easy shopping, no fighting tooth and nail for a parking space at the mall (those people are crazy), and no spending beyond your set budget. And while I do generally order my kids toys online (no tax saves me moolah), there are so many things that I’d never ever ever buy online.

One thing I’ve just realized? Do not buy furniture from online or a catalog. I say this from personal experience.

A few weeks ago I finally caved and realized that my living room coffee table had become quite embarrassingly gross. The table was a dark wood table with four beveled glass inserts, and because I have children (as in children under the age of four), the place where those glass inserts sat were home to a great many variety of crumbs, sticky junk, and who knows what.

My husband and I bought the tables way before we had kids, and let’s face it, mothers think much different about items we purchase rather than before we had kids. After children I look at something and think, will the kids be able to damage it? No? Ok, I’ll buy it. And when my husband looks at me and complains that it’s butt ugly? Who cares? The kids won’t damage it!

Two weeks ago, after taking one long look at my coffee table, I did everything I could to scrub it up and get it nice and clean, and very quickly posted it on Craigslist before my children could wreak havoc on it. That same week, I went and ordered a new set of tables for us, matching coffee and end tables, and we just got them in last night.

Let me show you how cute they are!

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I actually love them. They’re solid glass on top, so who cares if all those crubs hit the top of the table? Nothing a bottle of Lysol can’t fix!

When we put them together, my first thought is that they’re a tad smaller than I thought. Granted, I didn’t write down the dimensions from the catalog, and considering the price, I was certainly prepared to live with my mistake. Yeah, they’d be smaller than our old set, but I really love the style and look of them. And let’s not forget they will be super easy to clean.

But my glee was very shortly lived.

I have a cat. Her name is Izzy (Yes, I do realize I’ve watched too much Grey’s Anatomy). I wish I had a picture to post, but my husband took the camera to work with him. Don’t worry he’s not weird, but he is a media director, so my camera spends as much time with him at work that it does at home. Back to the cat.

Izzy is a Siamese mix, and very pretty in my estimation. But then again, I am her owner. She’s almost normal cat height now (she’s not quite a year old) and very skinny because she hasn’t put on her bulk weight yet. She’s still a growin’ girl. If I had to put a number on the girl, I’d say she weighs around ten pounds.

Wait, I’m going to weigh her…..

Aaaand….

A solid 8.2 pounds. Yeah, she’s still small. Which is why what I’m about to say it really very strange.

This is my end table.

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After attaching the glass to the top of the table, my husband and I were looking at them, debating on the size, and whether or not we would keep them. Izzy was walking around sniffing the tables and decided to jump on top of one of the end tables. It wobbled. Let me say that again. It wobbled. You understood that, right? I mean, c’mon, I have children.

My husband and I looked at each other, then at the cat, then at the table. He walked over to the end table and pushed gently on the side of the table, and sure enough, it took the gentlest movement to tip it over.

My husband’s first remarks were obviously, “I won’t be able to put my laptop on that.”

Sheesh. Men.

So now you’re wondering where I got these lovely not-so-sturdy tables? A catalog! Yes, it’s true. I went into the furniture store that we buy from fairly often and because I didn’t see anything that I liked in stock, I browsed through their catalogs and found these. I guess I figured that since I had bought from them so many times, I trusted the catalog would contain nice, sturdy pieces of furniture. And one very important piece of information would be that, when making purchases from this store, everything is non-refundable. Oops!

The tables are going up on Craigslist today, so if anyone out there would like some non-sturdy tables, please feel free to contact me. Until then, my husband is calling the store today to see if there’s a slight chance we could complain to the manufacturer enough to take them back. Because seriously, these tables are like ordering linen napkins and being sent paper towels. Who does that? Granted, I did not pay very much for them. In fact I paid under a thousand dollars for the set. Ok fine, I paid under five hundred for the set. But still, if I’m ordering a table, I do expect it to stand up!

Off my soapbox. I do hope the rest of you have a better day than I’m dealing with.