Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dental pain

At first I rejoiced.
I didn't have to undergo a root canal on the tooth where my dentist had just pulled off a crown.
The roots were not involved in whatever trouble had shown up on the X-ray so I was saved both the pain and expense of a root canal.
Like I say, at first I was pretty happy about it.
It meant less time in the dentist chair and instead of maxing out my dental coverage for the year, I had some wiggle room for something to hurt and be fixed later.
Except...the ever efficient dental office personnel had already billed both me and my insurance company for the procedure. The money had left the building.
I had handed over a hefty amount for my co-pay which I paid out of our Flex Spending account. (Marc had already got a notice telling him major dollars had been subtracted from his account.)
Now I would have to start to fight to get that all back.
I know it'll be a fight because, in my experience, insurance companies and doctor's offices are really good at taking your money and really slow at returning your money.
I will have to convince the dentist's advocate that they need to refund about $800...reset the amount put on my annual maximum allowed and give me actual money back for the Flex Spending part. All along the way there will be confusion.
I just know it's not going to be simple especially since when I asked about it yesterday at my appointment, the girl just kind of brushed me off. (Mind you, I was drugged and slow of lip at the time.)
The dentist thought the solution was to include another crown nearby since I was already numb in the area. "For only another $385 out of pocket, we could get you all set up!"
I declined and asked at the front desk about a refund on the cancelled root canal.
"Oh, we can give you a credit for that for a procedure in the future," she said happily.
"How about we transfer the credit to Marc when he comes in for something?" I asked.
"Or we could do that," she said, bobbing her head. "Of course, we'll have to wait until the insurance gets all sorted out."
Why am I not reassured that this is going to be an easy fix?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Schooled by the children

I learned a few things during my four-day stint as full-time grandma for three of my granddaughters, things you think I would already know after being on this Earth for more than 60 years and raising six kids.
For instance, I was soberly informed by the oldest that the 4-year-old deserved more of a break after I had scolded her for tipping over the baby and stealing her playthings.
Adell thought we were being too hard on Hannah especially after grandpa had just yelled at her for turning off the lights on him while he was bathing 18-month-old Mia in a bathtub full of water.
Such a pretty girl
Hannah was understandably upset that both of her normally easygoing, indulgent grandparents were mad at her on the same day.
It took some talking and soothing to get her calmed down for bed.
So I was talking it over with Adell and expecting her sympathy since she lives with this fiery little sister all the time and routinely gets in trouble for fighting back.
"She's little too, grandma!" she said, looking at me straight in the eye.
Oh, right. She's right, I thought, determining to be more even in my child management.
Then Hannah and Mia and I decided to have a tea party.
We found pretty, long dresses, beads, flowery hats and high heels.
I dug out a lacey tablecloth and the china cups and saucers I've preserved from my childhood.
I brought out the tiny utensils I bought on a whim at IKEA for just such grand occasions.
Hannah and Mia sat happily at the little table and looked at me expectantly as I tried to think what I had on hand for such a spontaneous event.
But before I could get my tea sandwiches cut or my apple juice tea made or my tiny cookies on a platter, Hannah said rather disapprovingly. (I was hurrying.)
"Grandma, you need food at a tea party!" (She's right. What was I thinking?)
Then there was Mia, hollering "Ow! Ow! Ow!" as I tried to lead her gracefully by the hand out of the restaurant without letting go of her hand or allowing her to careen into the tables and people.
I really wasn't hurting her, folks.
I know better even if I don't know much.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Did I let the dog back in?

The tea party girls
It's been a busy week while my daughter and her husband were on vacation in Maui.
I learned the routine that comes with having three small children and a toy poodle in the house that pretty much goes like this:
Make the first breakfast.
Take the oldest to school.
Let the dog out.
Stop the baby from pulling out everything in your purse.
Dress the baby. Talk the 4-year-old into getting dressed.
Let the dog in.
Make breakfast. Put away breakfast.
Give everyone a snack.
Put the baby down for a nap.
A little snack with lunch
Make lunch. Put away lunch. Wipe down the kitchen.
Give the 4-year-old a snack.
Wake up the baby and pick up the first-grader from school.
Give everyone a snack.
Change the baby. Keep the baby on the bed until she has a new diaper securely on.
Let the dog out.
Catch the baby as she comes down the stairs in dress-up high heels.
Let the dog in.
Change the baby. Persuade her to give back the car keys.
Get the 4-year-old a drink.
What? Did you fix my hair?
Get the baby a drink too. Clean up the spill.
Make supper. Clean up supper.
Give everyone another snack.
Run baths, get kids wet, get kids dry.
Sword sisters
Read stories and say prayers.
Brush teeth.
Give everyone a snack.
Let the dog out.
Rest a bit.

Like, I'm a first-grader
Jumping beans

Let the dog back in.
Repeat throughout.
Then hand-off the children and the dog to the other grandma.
Take a nap.
Cry because the house is too quiet.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Quit talking

Years ago, we leased a car rather than buying one.
It was supposed to be cheaper and we were at a time in our lives when money was tight.
It was a very long couple of years.
Seems the allotment of miles for a leased vehicle is based on east coast driving and not west desert miles where every store and venue is miles from home.
The paltry 15,000-20,000 miles we could drive before we went over our base allowance wasn't enough. Thusly, after just a couple of months, I could see we were headed for trouble.
I started counting the miles everywhere we went, trying to estimate how soon we'd run into the wall and have to just park the car.
Marc typically is a lot less worried about such minor matters than I am.
He was fine and told me we'd be fine but I continued to agonize over every trip, every detour that ate up another mile.
At the end of the two years, we coasted into the dealership to renew the lease (actually to turn in the car and sign on the dotted line for a purchase). We were a couple hundred miles over the limit and I was braced for the bill.
Nothing happened. It wasn't mentioned. No one charged us anything extra and I never got a chance to lament the chintzy allotment.
I think now that maybe because we bought a car, they cut us some slack.
Fast forward to today as we move toward changing our cell phone plan.
We've dropped our land line — partly to see if I can stand it — and we're using our cell phones exclusively.
I'm stressing because now all of the ward, junk and local family calls come off our 700-minute allotment.
Formerly I just used my cell phone for work and long distance.
Now I started counting again.
When it was only two days into the billing cycle and we'd used 100 minutes, I freaked. I can multiply and I could foresee trouble at this rate.
I told Marc "No more long rambling calls and no waiting on hold" at least until we could change to an unlimited minutes plan.
I've started clicking off the minutes in my head when somebody calls just to chat and doesn't get to the point. (Kids and grandkids, you're fine. Our precious minutes are for you.)
I just checked my bill and we're halfway through so I think we'll be fine barring unforeseen phone call emergencies.
In the meantime, if I seem a bit brusque on the line, forgive me.
I'm just a stresser. I can't help it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The long and the shorts

Keeping the Tengu out

The LDS Film Festival is always a party.
Marc and I enjoy going for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to see what's new.
He's into movies and likes to watch them, be in them and tell you what he knows about them.
I like the escapism, the dark theater, the bliss in knowing somebody other than me is on the screen trying to fall in love, get away from the aliens and bad guys or attempting to right a wrong.
We both know going in that it might be painful.
Some of the amateur productions are pretty dorky and really hard to sit through.
(We are still trying to recover from a production called "Uinta United" that we saw years ago.)
And some are purely delightful and fresh and just plain interesting because they go where no man or producer has gone before.
(We found that last year in "Clara's Tale.")
This year, we only had time to see a nightly feature film and a couple of shorts featuring children on Saturday.
going, going, gone
I squeezed in a documentary called "Passages" that told a few stories about LDS people who either just missed the (Titanic) boat and thus lived to tell about it or died helping others as the liner sank.
It was a marvelous watch and something new about the event that I hadn't known before.
But the best part of the day on Saturday were the shorts featuring children.
We saw Graham Crackers and Guilt, a well-done piece about a little boy who kept getting notes from his teacher to his parents and thereby losing his after-school snack. In the end, it was so rewarding to see him earn three, count'em, three chocolate chip cookies to dunk in his milk.
We watched "The Lemonade Stand" produced by a photographer friend Mark Hedengren that featured a totally cute and precocious little girl who was so fun to listen to, for a while. We watched an insightful piece about an autistic child by the name of "Lucy."
My favorite short was"The Boy and the Tengu." (In case you don't know, a Tengu is a Japanese boogeyman with a long red nose, a boogeyman who's not too bright.)
It's a charming little story that resonated with me and it wasn't until it was halfway through I realized it was done by the same people who did "Clara's Tale," Mormon parents Eliza and Jan Dawson.
It had the same sort of magic and innocence.
It made me want to look them up again and see how they're doing. Apparently they now have several new films almost ready to go.
I consider that good news.
Here's the link to their stuff: