25 February 2010

What's Wrong With Being a "Loser"???

Mood: Cranky (I get that way when I'm sick)

What I'm Watching: Olympics (specifically, I'm sitting through Nordic combined because the announcer guy keeps promising me figure skating. He's a freaking liar and yet I keep hoping...epic fail!)

WoooHooo!!! I got new blog bling! :) Carol over at Carol's Prints has graciously given me another sparkly blog award and we all know how much I love sparkly blog awards...so, squueeeeee!!!!

Carol is an absolutely amazingly funny, friendly and creative chickie. If you're not following her, you totally should be. Seriously. Now. (and I totally would have said that even if she hadn't given me an award...it just would have been a bit more awkward and stalker like.)

It's no secret that I've been spending most of my time over the last couple of weeks watching the Olympics. I've tweeted about it, blogged about it and shamefully neglected my writing to watch hours of skiing, skating and hockey. Okay, not hockey. I just really, really don't like hockey.*

So it's probably no surprise that I was watching the Olympics when I read that Carol had given me this latest blogging award and I was all "Sqqquuuuueeeeee!!! Carol's given me some new blog bling...how awesome am I?" But then I look up at the television screen and I see some guy getting a gold medal for skiing faster than anyone elese in the world and I was all "Wow. He's got an Olympic gold medal and I'm probably not that awesome after all."

Then I started really thinking about the Olympics and the medals and I started wondering why we don't ever see, say, the guy in 11th place celebrating like it's the time of his life? I mean, sure, he didn't win the gold but heck, he's at the Olympics and he's #11 out of all the people in his sport. In the world. When you think about it 11 is pretty kick ass! Heck, #20 is pretty amazing and #25 is no slouch either.

If I had a book on the New York Times Best Seller list at #11 I'd be out of my mind excited. There would be celebrating, there would be jumping up and down, heck, there might even be dancing! I wouldn't be fussing about not being in first place (Evgeni Plushenko? I'm totally looking at you here), I'd be too busy celebrating my success at #11.

So, maybe I don't have a gold medal, or even a silver or a bronze, but I've got a super cool awesome piece of new blog bling and that is pretty darn awesome!!! Maybe even dance worthy!

*My apologies to my Canadian friends.

20 February 2010

Incompetence is NOT An Art Form!

Mood: Frustrated (seriously. frustrated)

What I'm Watching: The Olympics (cross country skiing anyone?)

I'm grateful that I'm lucky enough to have insurance. Really. I am. For many years I wasn't so lucky. I worked hard but worked for places that didn't offer insurance and I couldn't afford to get any on my own. A major surgery and a bill to the tune of $30,000 makes one extremely grateful for a job where insurance is provided.*

BUT. (and you knew there had to be a but, right?) Is it really necessary for insurance companies to raise incompetence to an art form? For example, last year I had some symptoms that required some further investigation in the form of a medical procedure. After the procedure was completed, I received a letter from the insurance company asking for more information b/c they were concerned that the procedure was for a pre-existing condition. Huh? So, I called the insurance co. and asked some questions. The conversation went like this (cliff notes):

Me: I have a note here asking about pre-existing conditions associated w/ this procedure but it only gives me a code for the condition. What does the code mean?
Ins. Rep: Well, I can't tell you that because it would be a violation of your privacy.
Me: But I've already given you my name, date of birth, SS# and my account number. You've verified my identity.
Ins. Rep: I know, but I still can't tell you what the code means.
Me: But, you need to know if this code was a pre-existing condition?
Ins. Rep: Yes.
Me: And you need me to tell you if the code is a pre-existing condition?
Ins. Rep: Yes.
Me: But you can't tell me what the code means?
Ins. Rep: No
Me: (heavy sigh) you don't see the problem here?

Lather, rinse and repeat this conversation many times over the next few weeks until finally an ins. rep is able to tell me that they've received all the information they need from my doctor and I'm good to go. So, while I still don't know if I have the mystery pre-existing condition, the insurance company assures me that the claim will be processed and all will be well. Yay! Birds are singing, bells are ringing, deer are frolicking in the fields and all is well.

Until last month when I received a nasty collections notice from the hospital. Seems the bill hasn't been paid and now they want it paid in full or they're going to send me to collections...words like ruined credit rating and garnished wages are thrown about and I'm confused as to why the bill is A. so stinking high and B. so freaking late. If someone owed me money like that, I might not wait a year before billing them. Just sayin...

Sigh. I call the insurance company and am told that the claim hasn't been processed yet because they haven't received all the necessary information from the hospital. What?!? Sigh again, louder, longer, and with swearing this time!

So, to the hospital? The sharpest end of a pointy stick! If you can't provide the insurance company with the required information, how can you expect to be paid in a timely manner?!?

And to the insurance company? Really? Incompetence is not something to which you should aspire and maybe your job interviewing process should involve a little something more than just shoving a mirror under someone's nose just to ensure that they are, in fact, breathing!!!!**

*BTW, the hospital? Wanted that $30,000 paid in 90 days. According to them, the fact that I only made about $12,000 a year at the time should not have presented an issue. Morons.

**obviously, I don't know that this is the exact requirement for employment in the insurance industry. I'm sure that there are many fine, intelligent people who work in insurance...I'd just like to actually talk to a few of them, it would do wonders for my stress level.


18 February 2010

Olympic Size Dreams

Mood: Tired (this week has lasted somewhere near a month now)

What I'm Watching: The Olympics baby! (The sport, the drama, Shaun White...what's not to love!)

I have a confession to make. I absolutely love the Olympics. Summer or winter doesn't matter, but every time the Olympic season rolls around my normally sport hating self suddenly becomes an avid watcher of all things Olympic. When I was younger I used to wish that I had the kind of talent that would take me to the Olympics (usually in some super artistic girlie type sport with super cute outfits like gymnastics or figure skating), but, alas, I'm not coordinated, dedicated, or athletic enough to even climb up the steps in the arenas to watch the sports, let alone participate in them.

Now that I'm older, I always think that the Olympics, with all their pagentry, grace and displays of athletic skill, are nothing more than a bittersweet moment in time. These althletes work their whole lives towards one goal...the Olympic gold. If they're lucky, they win. On that day, in that place, they are the best in the world. That's an absolutely amazing accomplishment but then what? Can anything in their lives top that moment? When your whole life has revolved around a goal and you attain that goal, how do you redefine your life?

Even worse are the many athletes who train just as long, work just as hard and want it just as bad...but who, on that day, in that place, are not among the best in the world. All of that time, effort and sacrifice culminates in the disappointing loss of their goal. If they're lucky, they may be able to continue training for the next Olympics but an athlete's career span is a short one. The human body simply cannot withstand the demands and pressures of an elite level athlete indefinitely. Then what? What happens when you've dedicated your entire life in the pursuit of a single goal and you fail to attain that goal? How do you redifine your life?

So, on reflection, I think it was probably best that I was not blessed with any sort of athletic talent. Instead, I was given a drive to write...to create worlds with my words. There's no shelf life on a writer's creativity, there's an unlimited opportunity to write, revise and write again, and  the opportunities to both succeed and fail are absolutely limitless. Now, if they could just come up with a super cute, sparkly writer outfit...


14 February 2010

Happy Single Persons Appreciation Day!

Mood: Happy (Have had a decent weekend w/ the hubs. Still waiting for the appearance of my new neice/nephew...baby is being stubborn and my sister is being a trooper. No one should have to be in labor for over a week!)

What I'm Watching: Cheaters (I would be watching  the Olympics but stupid NBC is taking a break in coverage to bring me an absolutely useless infomercial)

It's Valentine's Day. That oh so special day that requires people in love to find one perfect gift or gesture that somehow conveys the sum total of affection they feel the other 364 days of the year. Unrealistic much? The truth is that if your partner doesn't appreciate you or show you love through the rest of the year a dozen roses on Valentine's Day probably doesn't mean anything more than the fact that he/she is stupid enough to A. pay way over-inflated floral prices and B. think that a dozen roses is going to "fix" a year's worth of jackassery.

It's not that I have anything against Valentine's Day, I really don't. A day dedicated to being grateful and showing appreciation for the ones we love is actually a great idea. Except for when you're alone. Now, I know that I'm lucky enough to be married to a great guy who has been very nice to me this Valentine's Day (hello? A trip to both B&N and Borders to shop for books? Total V-day win!) but I remember all too well the many Valentine's Days I spent alone being reminded by everyone and everything that I was alone.

Truthfully, I used to loathe Valentine's Day when I was single but if I'd known then what I know now I would have embraced the day as Single Persons Appreciation Day!

I would have:

1.) Accepted that the reason I was alone was not because I would never find anyone to love me but because I refused to settle for someone who was less than the person I deserved.

2.) Not wasted so much time being jealous of those who had a significant other on V-Day. I know now that being married/dating doesn't necessarily = happiness and that no amount of flowers on Feb. 14th can fix a broken and unhappy relationship.

3.) Pampered myself because I deserved it and because no one knows me and what I want/need better than me!

So, if you find yourself  unattached this Valentine's Day, embrace it. Declare it Single Persons Appreciation day and appreciate yourself!!! Enjoy having complete control over the television remote, being able to purchase a Valentine's gift for yourself that is exactly what you want, and what the heck, buy yourself some of your favorite flowers. You deserve them!


10 February 2010

Hello Universe, What Did I do To Piss You Off Today?

Mood: Excited (my sister is in labor w/ her 6th child...but she tends to labor for a long time and the baby isn't engaging the way he/she should so it's going to be a long process)

What I'm Watching: TMZ (Harvey totally rocks! *I'm a lawyer*)

This morning we slowly began to dig ourselves out after the snowpocalpyse. While things didn't get nearly as bad as the weathermen predicted they would, we got enough snow, ice and wind to make going outdoors miserable at best. Which is why this was the worst possible morning for the hubs to decide to take off to his job with my car keys in his coat pocket. I asked him to be sure that he didn't have my keys...he assured me he didn't. He was wrong. Mental note to me: don't take hubs word for it...check for yourself!

He works in a town 35 minutes away so bringing the keys to me was not an option. So, I ended up walking to work. Normally this would not be a huge deal. Annoying yes (especially since this is not the first time he's done this), but we don't live that far from my office. However. The path to work? Doesn't really have sidewalks and the grass is currently covered with snow drifts up to my knees.

The snow drifts were bad enough but they hid a layer of pure ice and made it impossible to tell where curbs and ankle twisting dips in the turf were until it was too late. By too late, of course, I mean I fell. A couple of times. Full on face first into the snow in front of God and all creation. By the time I got to work, I was exhausted, out of breath, in pain with wet socks and a purse full of snow. It was noon before I regained the feeling in my frozen feet and legs.

The hubs? Is currently in the doghouse.

In other, happier, news:

Anne over at Anne Riley and Kelly over at Rants, Observations and Other Remarks have both seen fit to award me the Honest Scrap Award! Now, I know I already have that award but there's a tiny little part of me that still goes "Squeeeeeeee!!!" when I get an award. After all, I've not gotten this award from those super bloggers before! Seriously you should totally check out their blogs. Really. Go.

According to the rules of this award, I'm to list 10 honest facts about myself. I've already done this when I accepted the award the first time but, since two more people have seen fit to give me this award, I've decided to give 10 more honest facts about me.

More things you never wanted to know about me:

1.) I suffer from road rage. Seriously. It's horrible. I get behind the wheel of a car and suddenly no one on the road knows how to drive except me. Luckily my rage is confined to yelling w/ the windows rolled up.

2.) I think that faith is far more important than religion.

3.) I'm terrified to fly. Well, it's not so much the flying as the flying and then suddenly not flying anymore that scares me.

4.) I pride myself on being a strong person and being able to take care of myself. This sometimes causes me to appear stubborn and makes it difficult for me to accept help.

5.) My dad beat feet when I was just an infant. I wouldn't know him if he walked up to me right now.

6.) Most of the rest of my family of origin recently converted to Mormonism. I'm okay with their choice but I don't think that they're okay with my choice to remain non-Mormon.

7.) I suffer from OCD. Not in the 'constantly wash your hands' or 'sparkly clean house' sense but in the "obsessive thoughts" sense. Which basically means that I have obsessive, worrisome thoughts without the bonus of having a perfectly clean house.

8.) I can crochet but not knit.

9.) I have an absolutely horrible sense of time. It drives the hubs nuts because I always say "the other day" and it could have been two days, two weeks, two months or two years ago.

10.) I prefer dark chocolate. Really, the darker the better.


07 February 2010

Another Year, Another Award, Another Blog Entry

Mood: Tired (spent the whole weekend w/ the hubs celebrating his 40th birthday...which technically isn't until tomorrow...but who wants to celebrate on a Monday?)

What I'm Watching: NOT the Superbowl (suspect we might be the only ones in the US who aren't)

WoooHooo!! I got another bloggie type award from Natalie over at The Sound of Rain. This one is super cool because, well, just look at it. It's an award for being creative and it's decorated w/ old school writing tools and a flower! What's not to love here, really? As usual I'm super excited about a new piece of shiny blog bling and this one doesn't even come with the usual "embarrass yourself" requirement that seems to accompany so many of these awards so squeeeee!!!

I would have posted about this award sooner but we've been super busy this weekend celebrating the hubs upcoming 40th birthday. Because it was his birthday weekend, we did all the things he likes to do: watching a movie and eating. What can I say? He's really easy to please.

Our weekend at a glance (from my point of view):

The movie. Sherlock Holmes.

We went to see it in an older style theater. Sure, the seats aren't as comfortable as the seats in the newer theaters but it's totally nostalgic. Will soak up the atmosphere, taking note of the period fixtures and the exposed brick walls. But the seats? Still really uncomfortable. Right. But this is for the hubs and he loves this place...will just adjust self a bit. Humph. Hope movie is short.

Bummer, more people coming in and we no longer have theater to ourselves. Oh.My.Goodness. They're crunchers. You know, the people that sit right behind you and crunch on their popcorn like pigs at a trough? Yep, that's them and hell. Now they're going for a refill. Sigh. Adjust self again in an attempt to 1. find better position for aching back and 2. move self away from worst of crunchilicious cacophony.

Oooohhhh! Looky, time for the movie. Preview, preview, preview. Boring, boring, boring. Wonder briefly if Hollywood is completely out of any good original ideas. Try to ignore crunchers behind me. Am doing this for the hubs. Happy for hubs. Hubs is going to be 40. Need to celebrate.

Finally, the movie starts. Sherlock Holmes. I've read some of the stories, this should be decent. Crap. Crunchers? Are also talkers and not interesting talkers...talkers who insist on stating the obvious the entire freaking time. Barely restrain self from killing them w/ their own popcorn and settle instead for a death glare. Death glare does little good.

Movie? Boooorrrriiiinnnnnggggg. I'm sooooo bored. Sooooo bored. Seats? Still uncomfortable. If they were more comfortable, I would take a nap. Looky, an explosion. Maybe Holmes is dead and movie is over. He lived? Crap. Movie not over. Still bored. Still bored. Another death glare to cruncher/talker couple. One more completely obvious comment and I'm going to be forced to resort to the totally called for "no shit Sherlock" response. More explosions...still not dead. Movie still not over.

Wait, wait...movie is...OVER!!! Party in my head. Kiss my arse crunchery talkery people. I'm so outta here!!!

The Food: Red Lobster (the hubs all time favorite...sea food)

Returning to the site of my first major panic attack...the things I do for love. Really. Once a year I take the hubs to Red Lobster and let him order whatever it is that he'd like. He loves lobster, scallops, crab legs, shrimp scampi, etc. I? Prefer turf to the surf so I order steak and lobster tail...give the lobster tail to the hubs and eat my steak and my small portion of mashed potatoes. So, no surprise, I manage to finish eating my small meal far before the hubs manages to finish eating half the ocean that is sitting in front of him (seriously, even the waitress was impressed with the amount of seafood he consumed). Bored and not wanting to interrupt hubs in the midst of his feeding frenzy (by this point his eyes have glazed over and he no longer has the ability to engage in proper conversation), I start eavedropping on the large group at the table next to us.

First, Mr. Pretentiously healthy goes on for nearly 20 minutes on how health conscious he is w/ his food choices. He goes on and on about how he will only eat fish from certain places and won't eat any food w/ preservatives, etc. Which probably would have been far more impressive had he not washed his chicken and rice down with about 6 beers and topped it off w/ a huge slab of cake and ice cream.

Then, Sister Perfection spends 15 minutes explaining with great pride how, when she goes to visit 'brother who was smart enough not to show up for this family shindig' she takes her own linens and towels because he's so very clean that she's sure he prefers it if she brings her own stuff. Uh, okay? Or maybe he's so freaking obsessed about cleaning when you come because you bring your own linens like his aren't good enough for you? Just a thought.

Finally, they finish this all up by taking various family pictures with Aunt Olna (who's approx. 106 years old) and then invite the entire wait staff over to sing happy birthday to her. People, she's 106 years old...she doesn't need to be embarrassed in the middle of freaking Red Lobster!

And no, I didn't have the staff sing to the hubs. For the record, I absolutely loathe the 'happy birthday' singing in restaraunts tradition. Seriously. Loathe.

Finally, the hubs finishes eating his ocean's worth of seafood and we're able to pay the check and leave.

Everything Else:

We also went to the mall and bummed around. Lesson learned: don't buy anything edible from the Dollar Place...it was all outdated. Also? Don't trust the hubs when he says "it's fine" because he then follows it up with "well, it does taste a bit funny, but it's fine." Uh...it's NOT fine if it tastes funny.

We briefly stopped at Barnes and Noble. Lesson learned: not all B&N's are created equal. This one was much smaller than the one I'm used to, had a limited selection and had far creepier people hanging around.

We also had a free night at a nice hotel. It was good to get away but the beds...OY!! My back still isn't talking to me. Seriously, we have the cheapest, crappiests, oldest, hardest mattress on the face of the planet. I never have an issue sleeping on it. Put me in a nice, new, adjustable bed with a fancy memory foam thing going on? And my back totally turns into a pretzel. Lesson learned: I'm supposed to be poor because my body is already adjusted to inferior merchandise. :)

At any rate, we had a decent weekend and the hubs is happy because he's had fun and eaten his favorite foods...that's what really matters, right?

01 February 2010

Me? Over the Top?

Mood: Blah (yep, that's it alright. Have a headache and the hubs? Drilling holes for his project...blah is about as good as it gets right now)

What I'm Watching: A blank screen (My cable company? Is officially on my list!)

Look what I got!!! *insert happy dance here* Just what I needed to cheer me up on this miserable Monday...a shiny piece of blog bling from Laurel over at Laurel's Leaves!

As always, there are rules but these are easy and probably somewhat fun!!

Rules: Answer the following questions with single word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Sounds easy enough, right. That one word answer thing might be a bit tricky though.

Your Cell Phone? Essential
Your Hair? Brown
Your Mother? Loving
Your Father? Deadbeat
Your Favorite Food? Steak
Your Dream Last Night? House
Your Favorite Drink? Tea
Your Dream/Goal? Novelist
What Room Are You In? Livingroom
Your Hobby? Reading
Your Fear? Failure
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Published
Where Were You Last Night? Home
Something That You Aren't? Patient
Muffins? Blueberry
Wish List Item? House
Where Did You Grow Up? Projects
Last Thing You Did? Talked
What Are You Wearing? Sweats
Your TV? Old
Your Pets? Gone
Friends? Loyal
Your Life? Happy
Your Mood? Blah
Missing Someone? Grandma
Vehicle? Fusion
Something You Aren't Wearing? Shoes
Your Favorite Store? B&N
Your Favorite Color? Green
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Now
Last Time You Cried? Sunday
Your Best Friend? Hubby
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Interwebs
Facebook? Addicted
Favorite Place To Eat? Home
And now my very own fab five who are "Over the Top" in the best bloggy way possible!!!
1. Frankie at Frankie Writes
2. Carol at Carol's Prints
3. Mary at Writer's Butt Does Not Apply to Me
4. Jamie at Totally the Bomb
5. Shannon at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe