Sunday, February 28, 2010

A rip in the very fabric of time and space

Honestly, the only thing that makes sense to me is that I have a black hole. Wait, let me back up for a minute. Lately, I have noticed that things are disappearing from my house. Not major things, not even particularly valuable things, but, yeah, things seem to *poof* just disappear. Okay, I'll admit it, I may not be the most organized person in the world. I do have a tendency to "pile" things. But, seriously, some of this stuff has just disappeared.

Currently missing is some stationary I recently bought (oh, it's so cute, with little Chinese figures on it), a beige sweater (and I looked good in it), and this purse I use for traveling (it's the perfect size and has a million little pockets -- so useful on trips). And these are just the things I know about. I'm sure if I ever find this black hole, I'll also find a few pairs of sunglasses, tape, and an umbrella.

I also think the black hole likes to play with me. The other day I lost a book of stamps. I know I had them around a few days earlier and I looked and looked for them. Could not find them anywhere. And then a couple of days ago: oh, look, there they are. And I wasn't even looking for them. The black hole also loves to play the battery switch game: you know this one. It takes all the AA batteries but leaves behind a bunch of AAA's. But then you go to the store, buy the AA's, look in the battery drawer and you have a pile of AA's but no AAA's. Why am I hearing laughing?

Oh, black hole, please return the purse and the stationary. I'll let you keep the sweater and the sunglasses.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Every day you see one more card

We've all been there: the waiting room of the doctor's office. And, look, I totally understand that emergencies happen, that sometimes there needs to be a patient squeezed into an already booked-up day. I get it. And I really don't mind a reasonable wait. I have my book, I'll be okay. But if you're running more than an hour behind, you got to call the patients with the later appointments and tell them, hey, you can come in a little late. Or maybe reschedule.

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment. I was there early, as I was a new patient and was told to be there 15 minutes early. I had filled out the paperwork they sent me ahead of time. I took note of the signs that made it clear: (a) you sure as hell better cancel at least 24 hours ahead of time or they will charge you for the appointment and (b) you better not use your cell phone, eat, or drink in the waiting room. So, I pulled out my book and started to wait. And wait. Now, I just want to point out that no one said anything about the doctor running behind or anything like that. Nope. Not a word. After 45 minutes, I asked about what was going on. Maybe they forgot me or something. I had seen a couple of people come in after me that were already called back. No, they didn't forget me, sorry, the doctor is running behind. How far behind? "We're doing our best." Is that really the answer to the question?

After over an hour, they ask me if I'm willing to go to another doctor in the practice, because the guy I was supposed to see was still not available. So, let me get this straight, he's over an hour behind already and it's not like it's going to be soon, so that means he's got to be about an hour and a half behind schedule. At least. And no one could bother to tell me? And I can't use my cell phone to call someone in case I actually had plans or something. (By the way, I did use my cell phone because they can suck it!)

Like I said, I understand emergencies, that sort of thing. But I have a cell phone and you have the number: call me and say, hey, we're running behind. I can come in a half hour late. Or, if nothing else, tell me when I check in, so I'm not getting more and more pissed off as I wait and wait and have no idea what's going on. My time is valuable as well. I'm there because I'm sick. Just give me a little bit of respect.

I'm not sure why it's so acceptable for doctors to get away with this sort of behavior. I'm sure if I showed up an hour late, they would be, well, you missed your appointment. Sorry about that. And, oh, yeah, you still owe us the copay.

Maybe next time, I'll charge them my hourly rate. (Oh, that sounds dirty!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day!

You may not have heard, but the Washington, DC, area is getting a little bit of snow. This past round has actually been two storms: one that started on Friday and one that's going on now. I'm nervous about the sheer amount of snow (can my roof really hold all that?), but there is an upside: snow days!

They sent us home early on Friday, and I'm willing to bet we're not going back in until Friday at the soonest. If we get Friday off, with President's Day weekend, this may be the longest stretch I've had off work in over seven years. Nice! I like my job and all, but the break has been very good. We had enough warning with these storms (props to the forecasters who have been spot on this winter!) so that we could stock up on everything we need and hunker down. We just hope that the power, internet, and cable (in that order) hold up through all of this.

So with all this time off, have a done a thorough house-cleaning, organized all my receipts, wrote (and edited) another novel? No. Frankly, haven't done too much of anything, but that's alright. These are bonus days. Days that I can just let happen. Yesterday there was a lull between the storms, so we used it as an excuse to just go for a walk. (A side note: the grocery store was more picked-over than I had even seen. I wanted to get some potatoes and there weren't any. None! No potatoes!) Today I took advantage of the tv reception we had this morning to watch mindless shows. Now that the snow's piled up, I'll have to rely on DVDs.

Well, I better post this before we lose the internet as well. It's going to be a while, digging out of all of this. If you have snow days, I hope you're enjoying them. Be safe and stay warm.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Letter to a Seventh Grade Teacher

Dear Mr. Mills,

I'm not sure if you'll remember me but I sure as heck remember you. You weren't my homeroom teacher, but you taught me science, math, and reading -- was it just a coincidence that these were my favorite subjects? But seventh grade, well, that wasn't a great year for me. In fact, I kind of hated it. But you were a bright spot in the year. Your classes were interesting and fun. I remember learning so much in your classes: the names of all the bones, geometry, that "a lot" is two words, the words to "You're so Vain." Looking back on it, it seems like the things I learned in your classes are things that I'm using all the time.

I remember that you used to let Wendy and me hang out and talk with you before school started. You probably got stuck listening to a lot of conversations about Nadia Comaneci (who I was completely obsessed with that year) and "Laverne and Shirley", but you never acted like we were boring kids. You'd actually talk to us. Ask us questions about ourselves.

At the end of the school year you signed my "autograph book" (I think we all got these cheap, little books at the end of the year to collect our classmates thoughts about us. You know, a lot of "2 good 2 be 4 gotten.") I don't remember exactly what you wrote, but you tried to encourage me. You told me that you thought everything would be alright, that I had talents and a bright future ahead. I remember at the time not quite believing it, but I was glad that you wrote it.

Anyway, I wanted to write and you and tell you that I turned out okay. Better than okay, actually. I'll always remember how you encouraged me. When I tried to reinvent myself in the 8th grade, I had the words you wrote to push me along. It probably wasn't much to you, but it meant the world to me. It was the first step to the rest of my life. And you helped give me the confidence to take those steps.

What I really want to say is: thank you. You probably didn't hear that enough, especially from a bunch of 7th graders. I know it's late in coming, I know you probably won't read this, but thank you, anyway.

So, Mr. Mills, wherever you are: thank you. So very much.