Math

You know what I hate?  Hate more than the one exercise I can’t do in my exercise video because my belly roll gets in the way? Hate more than the x-ray technician saying “I need to do the left breast one more time because I missed some tissue?”  Hate more than paying for car insurance for 2 teenage boy drivers (which is slightly less than the GNP of Madagascar)?

I hate math. More specifically, high school math.  Gimme back potty training, gimme back teaching to tie shoes, gimme back up every 3 hours to breast feed a screaming baby.  I’ll take it all to not have to suffer through my son struggling with his math class. I can’t do it for him, even if I wanted to. Not that he needs to “conquer this battle without Mommy’s help.”  I literally CAN’T help him. I can’t do the math. Sometime in the mid 90s, in grad school, I probably had a fighting chance to give him an educated guess, but not so much anymore. Starting around 7th grade, math has been his nemesis. His Voldemort. His kryptonite.  His Ivan Drago. He’s a pretty average kid all around, some things come easy, some things he has to work for, but in math he just feels like he is totally defective.

He has inherited (or been bullied into) our sarcastic sense of humor, he can be even more of a neat freak than me some times (yay!), he’s fun to be around, makes great popcorn, and loves our cats with a passion. I love him with all the love a Mom can possess. But nothing can bring down the party like an algebra homework assignment. We can be having a laugh filled family dinner, planning our summer vacation, talking about sunshine and unicorns, and then the dreaded question rears its ugly head:  “do you have any homework?” We go from smiling to miserable faster than 45 can tweet #alternatefacts to a CNN story.

My husband wonders why I like watching “My 600 LB Life” and “Hoarders”…I think I know why, at least 1 reason. Other than being what I would consider REAL reality shows, where else do you get to see such transformations, such progress, such success in under 60 minutes?  You go from shitty life to way less shitty life uber fast. It’s a pretty little success package with a bow on top. I love it. Algebra is not subject to such pleasures. It’s a nightmare, wrapped up in a bag of shit, delivered to your dining room table on a tray of rotting hamburger meat with maggots. Nothing is solved in 60 minutes. It’s everyday. Every fucking day. I hate what it does to him. I hate how it makes him feel.  And subsequently, how it makes us feel. It makes us all unhappy, frustrated, crying piles of math hating people.

Brendan is a trooper though. I honestly don’t know where we’d be without him. He sits with him, day after day, hour after hour, trying to help him understand.  He uses props, folks.  But he’s reached his breaking point several times.Then there is cursing. Because here’s the issue. If we are working harder than he is to help him succeed in math, then something is wrong.  And it’s the same conversation day after day, month after month, year after year. When you are bad at something, the only way to get better is to work at it.  Not just a little, but a LOT. Everyday. You have to do more work than the kid who breezes through math. Or even the kid who gets a B or C. Or D. The lectures, my God. It’s a CD on endless replay. He’s in 11th grade, there is no more time, there is only white knuckling til mid-June when school is done. And guess who doesn’t want to do the work to be successful?  And then guess who gets pissed that the other one doesn’t want to do the work?  And then guess who feels just sad and defeated and wants to make it all better with hugs and warm milk? Circle of hell.

He hates that he struggles and others don’t.  His internal dialogue is “I can’t do it. Studying won’t help. My teacher can’t help. I’m lost. I’ll fail no matter what.” And now on top of all that is college looming in the not so distant future.  You can eliminate all math careers from the mix easily enough, but it’s still another pressure to pile on top. For those who have kids where academics come easy, be so so so relieved, because this side of the aisle sucks. How do you convince your kid that they have worth even though they fail? Will a bad math grade keep him from success in life?  Probably not. But that doesn’t mean you get a free pass. You still have to push them to do better, do more, work harder.  I tell him that we do it out of love. Other kids get crappy grades and their parents don’t care. We are on your side, we want you to be successful, be happy. We will always be your biggest cheerleaders. Brendan’s favorite line:  We’ll work with you, but we won’t work without you. You HAVE to do the work. You can’t avoid it. It’s not going away. It’s mentally exhausting for everyone.

He does every assignment, he does some math everyday, but it’s still not enough. I tell him everyone struggles in something. Or many things. It all seems to fall on deaf ears though. His next bad test grade is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I failed because I told you I can’t do it. For those of you who haven’t had school-aged kids in the recent past, you can now get almost up to the minute grades online. It’s a blessing and a curse. If you are familiar with this and are on Team Math Sucks with me, you will know the feeling in your gut, as you log in, click on assignments and hold your breath, waiting to see the latest test grade. Hoping, fingers crossed, praying to the math gods that it’s not a failing grade. And then there’s the disappointment. It’s heart wrenching because you know what’s coming next. Another lecture, more tears, solidifying the mantra “I can’t do it.”

Sorry to say, I have no happy ending here. There’s no magic math pill. We are engaged parents, given him every leg up possible, love, support, encouragement. In the final analysis, is he just plain ol’ bad at math? If that’s true, I’m totally ok with that. I truly am. I’m not particularly good at it myself and I love him just the way he is. But the greater lesson here is that he has to try. God helps those who help themselves. Help me help you. Seriously, like The Little Engine That Could. Change the narrative in your head. Persevere. Hammer away. Make math your bitch. And if at the end of the the day, it’s a C, I’ll be the first to congratulate you because I will know you tried. Now I’m going to take my parenting pity party and have a glass of wine. Anyone have some math to do?

The Noise

I am sad. I am angry. I am tired. But I have no right to be. I am just a little white girl from suburban no where, with no danger of being deported, or beaten for being gay, or registered in a database because I’m Muslim. I woke up Wednesday in shock, but my world kept spinning the same as it had on Tuesday. But the more I hear and study and learn, it mentally exhausts me. Should I be worried? Fearful? Hopeful? I have to say, my gut is telling me to go off the social media and regular news grid. The rhetoric is deafening. Nearly as bad as it was in the months leading up to the election. I can’t change who our next President is going to be.  I’m not going to protest or riot, you won’t find me lobbying in the state capital.  Just one of the huddled masses trying to be positive (and failing often), praying for our President-Elect to be a stand up guy and not fuck everything up.

I know we have our problems here in the good ol’ U S of A.  I don’t know whose fault it is. My best estimation is that it’s a collection of everyone in Washington over the past 100 years or so. I’m watching House of Cards currently, and if even a smidgen of what they portray is true? Holy. Shit. Politicians are crooked. Every single one of them. Backroom deals on top of back room deals, don’t know how they keep track of all their lies. Business men are crooked. Not every single one of them, but just tally up the white collar crime that has taken place over the last decade with banks. My guess is higher than 10, and somewhere just south of a million. What we know about is probably just the tip of the iceberg. And who do we place our trust in to regulate them?  The crooked politicians.  It’s a circle of hell, much like school drop off lines.

So a while back I stopped listening to the news. I read my news.  Who has time to sit in front of the TV anyway?  But every time I read something, whether it’s from a supposedly reputable and unbiased news source or trumpsucks.com or hillaryisaliar.com, the next article I read says it’s all bullshit lies.  Everyone, and I mean EVERY FUCKING ONE has a source to debunk everyone else’s sources.  So what are we left with?  A big ol’ pile of nonsense with nothing and no one to believe.  And this is why I’m tired. I’m tired of BEING angry and confused. I’m tired of BEING right and wrong in the same sentence. I’m tired of caring and not having a damn thing I can do about it. I voted, I lost. Sore loser syndrome?  A little bit. But also disappointed in the American people, shamed that he was the best we had to offer.  Also disappointed that she didn’t do better to beat him.

I want to quiet the bullshit in my head.  I want to shut off FB, I want to stop reading, stop listening and just go about my day praying to God he doesn’t do anything that turns my world upside down. But I have this luxury, don’t I?  Most of the people in my little world do. I have a job, I have insurance, I’m not a minority.  I don’t have to worry that our VP elect is going to try and “cure me” of my homosexuality. My outrage is small, comparatively speaking. My worries are trivial. Am I wrong? Does this make me a hypocrite, to be mad but silent? To bury my head in the sand and go on like this nightmare never happened?  I’m still weighing the options afforded to me. I guess I don’t want my silence to be tacit approval of what’s going on in this country, but the noise.  The noise is killing my spirit.

I do know one thing. I will stand up and fight for discrimination that happens in my little world. My son told me a kid in his class at the high school wrote a quote on the board “Homosexuality is a sin,” referencing a book from the Bible.  My son told him “Hey, you can’t do that, this is 2016,” while another kid came up and just erased it, saying to this boy “what are you doing?”  This made me proud. In my house, I want my kids to stand up to bullies. Maybe this can be my contribution. My teeny, tiny contribution, to raise 3 boys that aren’t assholes. I can hope our President elect chooses to become someone they can admire and look up to.  In the meantime, I will urge them to reserve judgement and continue to tear down those that would tear down the progress, slim as it may be, that has been made in this country.

My better half said that “you know who” is an extreme person with some extreme views, ones we aren’t used to hearing. What that leaves us with are extreme reactions.  Guilty. Right, wrong or otherwise, I need to stop. For my own sake. Emotions are high, I hope they settle down for the sake of everyone else.

I want to end this on a high note, on a positive note, wrap it up with a nice little bow. But I can’t. We are just at the very beginning of 4 years of “not sure what tomorrow is going to bring.” My husband keeps saying that maybe different is going to be better, God I hope he’s right.

22 Days

22 days. Last month it was 25. The month before, a standard 28. These last 2 months may just be a fluke. Or it could be the beginning. I’m 43, can I really be perimenopausal? Is that really a word? Ok, so it is, I googled it. “The time when a woman’s body naturally makes the transition to infertility.” Well, my friends, the stories I’ve heard about menopause around town makes it seem anything BUT natural. Supernatural, maybe, but definitely not natural. What it sounds like is what would happen if I stuck my finger in a light socket and then hopped in the bathtub. Cruel and unusual is my best estimate.

The symptoms of perimenopause sound like one of those new drug commercials: side effects may or may not include dizziness, shorter/longer periods, heavier/lighter periods, hot flashes, cold toes, tired but unable to sleep, severe cramping, clotting, death, leprosy, dermatitis, narcolepsy, blindness, paralysis, general emotional unrest, moodiness, flat out bitch-mode and/or psychopathic tendencies. Natural? I think not. So my body begins the process of stopping to produce eggs and apparently everything inside me goes haywire. And my friends, this process can take YEARS. Hell, I can produce another human being in 9 months flat. I’ve got 3 of them as proof. I’m calling bullshit. At least with your period you know what to expect every 4 weeks or so.  Menopause apparently brings you an erratic, maddening, painful, and turbulent experience.  Sign. Me. Up.

My Mom started menopause early, around 40 if memory serves. But my sister who is 45 is going along just like normal. So it wouldn’t surprise me if I drew the short straw here and got involuntarily signed up for the 120-month payoff program. Not that I wish for the need for surgical removal of one’s woman parts, but every time I bring up periods and menopause, my friends and family who no longer experience the exhileration of a monthly visitor, belly laugh, throw their heads back and point at me. It’s kind of an evil laugh, too. Not ashamed to admit that I’ve considered more than once, faking some pretty serious medical symptoms and kinda, sorta, make some off-handed remarks about a hysterectomy to my gynecologist. It could totally work.

The flip side of this of course is the fact that I won’t be able to have another baby. What’s that you say????  Can’t get pregnant?!?! Oh, you mean there’s a sunny side to this horror show? To some, the realization that you can’t reproduce any longer is some sort of loss. As if you are less of a woman now that you can’t make babies. (Don’t get me wrong, I am only speaking of those women who go thru the process as they age out of fertility, not those who prematurely lose the ability to have children.) I knew when my third child was born that I didn’t want any more children, buuuuuuuuut, I didn’t know it enough to have my tubes tied after numero 3. I wasn’t ready to make it permanent. But now that that decision may be taken out of my hands 13 years later, I’m totally ok with it.  I know I’m ok with it because I see other women around my age who are pregnant and I feel bad for them. Like reeeeeeally bad. I think about going thru the child rearing stages again and I swear, it’s enough to make me want to cry. Yes, I love my children, and I’m not saying I wouldn’t love other children that I could have, but it’s not wrong to say I don’t WANT any more children. I am done with that stage of my life, no more diapers, no more 2am feedings, no more shoe-tying, no more elementary school, no more babysitters, no more tantrums, and the list goes on and on. My family is complete and I am totally at peace with that.

But I digress…I had 2 IUD’s after my 3rd child, and they were fantastic!  Birth control I didn’t have to think about and the big bonus? Almost non-existent periods. I was living the dream for 10 years. When I had the 2nd one removed, my gynecologist told me some women’s bodies take up to a year to go back to regular periods. 3 weeks. That lying bitch. Been every 28 days for a while now. Until it wasn’t. So now I fear I am going to have to pay the piper with this menopausal roulette wheel. I had it too good for too long. The unpredictability of it all has me nervous. I’m a planner, and word on the street is, you don’t plan menopause, it just kind of owns you.

So now what? Sit around and wait for my randomized periods? I’m really at a loss here. And that doesn’t happen to me very often. Stuck between a rock and a hot flash. Guess I may be on this roller coaster ride whether I want to be or not. But maybe 22 days was just a fluke and I’ll be waiting in line for another 15 years instead.  Whatever it turns out to be, I see a whole lot of complaining in my future.  Shocker, I know.

 

Pissed Off or Pissed On?

Do you ever have a bad mood day, that you just are ok with? You decide, I am taking this crappy mood and nurturing it. I’ll pet it and feed it and make it part of my every move. I’ll own this bitch, make it my middle name. I will purposefully have thin skin and let every little thing get to me. I will write less than super friendly emails, eavesdrop on conversations that just make me want to strangle someone. Things that don’t affect me, I’ll still get up in arms about them, think that person was out to get me, just me. Be annoyed at happy pictures and statuses on FB, be irritated with people that want something from me, temporarily forget what empathy is and replace it with apathy. Things and people that don’t normally get to me, will make me want to spit nails. Envy and slothfulness and wrath will be my mantra.  10 commandments?  Forget that, I’m all about the 7 deadly sins.

Just as we can choose to be happy, can we choose to be mad? Is it ok to let those negative emotions flow, just for a day? Is it like one of those juice cleanses? Better on the other side of a good old fashioned shit fit? What about acting happy when you’re not, can’t that cause some sort of health problems?  An aneurysm or eye twitch, or some such physical manifestation from holding in my bad mood. So many times we just let things slide and go on about our day, not expressing typically negative opinions and thoughts because 1) what’s the point, you can’t change stupid 2) none of your business anyway 3) my Mom always taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.   But what about the people that are mean to me? Attack me for something that isn’t under my control?  Why are some people the punching bag and others get to be Mike Tyson?  Today I want to be like Mike.

It’s not anyone or anything in particular. It’s everyone. And everything. Work, home, family, friends, no one is exempt today. It’s what you’re wearing, what you’re saying, your whining and complaining, you’re doing it wrong, you won, you lost.  I don’t care. You’re forgetting, you need me to clean up your mess, it’s broken, it’s ugly, you’re making bad choices.  It’s all like fingernails on a chalkboard to me today.  Is this what serial killers feel like? Coffee, food, exercise, sleep, wine, nothing will make it better today. Ok, maybe wine.  But I doubt it. I’m right, you’re wrong.  You’re too slow, too lazy, a slacker, wimpy, and I don’t want to deal with you today.  I can’t pretend today.

Today I’m not doing your job. Today I’m not putting up with your stupid requests. Today I’m not feeling sorry for you. Today I don’t care if you feel sick. Today I’m not feeling guilty for ignoring you or snapping at you. I just can’t. It’s not you, it’s me. Today I’m just gonna put my head down, do my duty and go to bed. Bad attitude you say? Damn straight. And then tomorrow, I’ll probably wake up just fine.  I’ll go back to smiling, playing nice, being excited for you, helping you, going out of my way to make it better for you, laughing, being compassionate. And I’ll be happy to do it. Back to my normal, fun loving, helpful and funny self. But right now, I’m taking my toys and going home.

 

A Little Cheese with that Whine?

So I got about 5 hours of sleep last night.  For some, that is just fine, they can make it through a day no problem.  For me, not. even. close.  I require 8 hours. But when I do have these occasional bouts of insomnia, it’s always on a Sunday night.  And usually on a Sunday when I don’t get to church.  Going to church is a very centering thing for me, it calms me and gives me perspective.  When I miss (which don’t get me wrong, I am by no means within the realm of stunning attendance), I have trouble putting things into their mental place. And then I can end up laying in bed for hours, with a tornado of thoughts, usually negative, swirling around in my head.  Everything seems worse in the dark.

And last night was one of those nights.  I saw it coming.  End of the school year chaos is at hand.  There aren’t many areas in my life right now that don’t have a shit-storm brewing.  My kids’ grades and final exams, soccer tryouts, major changes at work, friends and family with issues that make me sad, over-scheduling, Riley soon becoming a senior, feeling overwhelmed with getting it all done on time, backyard remodel, etc. And not forgetting something.  And helping everyone that needs help. Responsibilities of being me swelling and changing and growing. And the rain this whole weekend. Total downer. Apropos as it was.

I find myself just done. Work is the easiest place to call it quits emotionally. Having a job that is cyclical in nature, first day of school to last day of school, my perspective is different than those whose job simply runs on and on. And I am shutting down for the year.  Done with the drama, done with the excuses, done with the fighting, done with the whining, done with other people’s problems. It’s a nice luxury to have, don’t get me wrong.  I get to walk out of this building for 6 weeks, like turning off a faucet. I will be at home and recharge. Spend time focused on my kids, on Brendan and on me. But for now, my sympathies have run dry. Do I apologize for that?  Do you reach the end of your rope and find yourself saying “I’m sorry, but I’m just out of rope.” So many things on my mind, I’ve just been pulled down to the last few inches and need to shut some of it down so I don’t drop off the end.

So as I lay in bed, trying to sort thru my worries, I tossed and turned, on my back, on my side, blanket on, blanket off, flipping the pillow over, considering the couch, seething with jealousy over my peaceful slumbering husband.  Usually he is the one with sleeping issues, but not this time. I’m finding it hard to smile right now. And that makes me sadder. It’s not any one thing, it’s the dilemmas, the stresses, the guilt, the weight of it all at one time. I’m usually pretty tough. Anyone that knows me would say that. Although I do tend to cry at any online video that warns you “Grab a tissue,” and Kleenex commercials.  And most of the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials.  And onions. I actually think crying is a sign of strength, I’m not afraid to own those feelings.  And I usually feel better on the other side of a good sob-fest.

I don’t want sympathy or pity. Not sure that I want anything at all. I think maybe I’m just defending my right to be in a craptastic mood.  Petty, defensive, mentally tired. I’m sure you’ve been there before. There are those that will help me climb back up the rope, and for them I am very thankful (sorry for the weight I’ve put on, it will be harder to push me back up to the top). And I know my problems and worries pale in comparison to some, but they are mine. And I’ve officially lost sleep over them. Things do seems better in the day light, though. And the sun is shining, just a little bit.

Job #1

So Riley got a job.  His first W-2, paycheck givin’, tax-taking, unglamorous, lower than minimum wage job. We told him he had until June 12, the day school got out, to land a job.  Or it was buh-bye to phone, car, computer, PS3, life as he knows it. He’s actually been working for the last 3 years as a soccer referee, pretty cush job.  But it’s seasonal, lasts about 3 months in the spring and fall, and it’s also not “guaranteed.”  Games are assigned or not assigned, so there is no regular paycheck, so to speak.  It does however, pay well, and no taxes because he doesn’t make enough :-). So now that he is moving to a REAL job, it’s gonna get ugly. And that IS guaranteed. My poor guinea pig 1st son.

Do you remember your first jobs? Come with me on a stroll down minimum wage lane. I started doing menial filing in my Mom’s office when I was 14.  I listened to Billy Joel in that basement over and over and over. It was a cassette tape.  And I sang at the top of my lungs because no one could hear me.  And I was good. At filing…not singing.

My high school job summer job was at Wendy’s ..my first and only fast food job.  I quickly graduated from bun toaster to drive thru window because I could make change in my head (Thanks, Dad!).  At the time, Wendy’s served Chicago style hot dogs.  I could assemble one of those bad boys in my sleep, there were like 8 toppings.

College saw me employed at Little Caesars on campus for a year (turned down the $.05 raise to come back for a 2nd year, take that bitches), the dorm cafeteria for a couple of years, then I was a Meijer cashier.  I got put on their “do not rehire” list because I was a no-call, no-show for my last day of work. I’m such a rebel. To this day I want to apply at Meijer, just to see how long they hold on to that list. Then the shit got real.  I got a job working with developmentally disabled adults who live in group homes.  Their disabilities ranged from wheelchair bound and non-communicative to downs syndrome folks who held down jobs. I didn’t last very long, that was a taxing job. It takes a special kind of person, and I ain’t that special.

During the first couple summers of college and during breaks I was back home and did transcription work for an office of psychologists and psychiatrists. It was that job that helped me see that I did not want to go into clinical psychology. It was very interesting, but not my cup of wine (and yes, before you ask, I got discounts on much needed therapy….).

Just before graduating college I got a job as a bank teller at a local Kalamazoo bank.  I actually kind of liked that job, but let’s just say banks don’t appreciate my sense of humor.  Not a good fit.  I know, hard to believe.

Then I got married and moved to Maryland where I worked for a temp agency.  I did some really weird administrative assistant jobs, very short term, some good, some aw. ful.  But my last placement saw me working in the travel department for World Bank employees for almost a year.  I was a travel agent of sorts. It was pretty cool, actually, I was booking hotels and flights around the world and in Washington D.C.  My office overlooked Georgetown University and the Potomac.  I was kind of a big deal. By then we had moved to Arlington, VA into our plush and stately 1 bedroom apartment, Brendan still had his “real” job working in Alexandria, VA and we were a 1 car family. It was a Ford Probe.  The spoils of consistent employment 🙂

Then I was starting grad school in Baltimore, so we moved north.  I took my travel agent skills and got a job at a travel agency working in their group department doing high school trips to Europe and investment trips to South America.  I worked for a bunch of Austrians.  I learned that “shiza” means “shit.”  Other outstanding memory from there? Watching the OJ Simpson verdict on on a tiny little TV. If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit. I had a paltry salary, but it was an intriguing experience.

THEN…finally…I landed in what I would call my first REAL job. During grad school, I was referred to the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration.  I worked in Testing and Recruitment full time, 40 whole hours a week (while still in school), earned vacation, a nice salary, a cubicle of my very own, commuting, doing work that required a college degree. I’d made it to the big leagues. Stuff I did, actually, for realsies, impacted other people’s lives. Who the hell thought that was a good idea.  But it was in my field of study and I really liked it.

So in 10 short years I went from filing to test development for engineering professionals. The plan worked. Then I got pregnant, quit my job, moved back to Michigan and got the BEST job ever: Stay at Home Mommy for 8 years 🙂 My salary was hugs and kisses. I was not very far removed from my college days where I proudly declared, “Of course I’ll work when I have babies!”  But I didn’t. For me personally, it wasn’t about some grand principle that I needed to make a stand on. Brendan and I talked, decided no day care for our family, and made it work.  It was glorious.

“The best laid plans of Mice and Men oft go astray.”  Robert Burns

Eventually, after #3 was here, I hustled Market Day part-time for a couple of years, then landed a coveted school secretary gig, where I sit today, 8 years later. I now talk about pensions, retirement and 401k plans. Not what I planned on, not what I studied for, but I’m happy. So what will Riley’s job as a dishwasher at Manuel’s Taco Hut turn into one day? Computer programmer? Circus performer? HEAD dishwasher at Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse?  A Mom can dream. He doesn’t have any concrete plans for his future career right now, so who knows.

I don’t think anyone would argue that it doesn’t really matter what your first job is, just that you HAVE a job as a teen. You are responsible to someone else besides your parent for something with a good amount of importance attached to it, but not TOO important. I honestly think his job is gonna suck. Huge. But he’s strangely excited about it. Lord knows the kid knows how to spend money like it’s going out of style, so he’s gonna need to work, no matter what it is.  We spend at least 1/3 of our time at work, it’s impossible for it to not have a huge impact on nearly every element of our lives as we go about our business of living.  So Riley’s timeline begins with dishwasher…oh the possibilities.

“The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.” -Oscar Wilde

Waiting Room of Hell

Had a doctor appointment yesterday for Riley.  3:15, we arrived at 3:10.  I’ve been to this doctor’s office before, normally she is quite prompt and waiting time is minimal.  This day, not so much.  Got into the room at 3:30, by 3:45, still no doctor.  On a regular day, I don’t have back to back activities, but yesterday we had to be back at the high school by 4:00, no wriggle room.  So at 3:45, we walked back to the front desk and I told the receptionist I would have to reschedule because we couldn’t wait any longer.  I was pretty upset about the ridiculous waste of time.  I left work early so we could make it to this appointment on time, but apparently only THEIR time is important, not mine and my son’s time.

This is not the first time this has happened to me.  16 years and 3 kids, I’ve waited in doctor’s offices for the better part of 7 total months as best as I can calculate. Doctors do it on purpose, over schedule appointments to maximize income.  It’s probably an exaggeration, but not much. (One could continue to argue it’s the insurance companies’ fault and then healthcare as a whole because my doctor doesn’t get reimbursed for the cost of the care they provide, and on and on and on…but that’s a rant I’m not willing to tackle).  Back to MY complaining…they do this on MY DIME and MY TIME.  And we are prisoners of their system. Trapped because we don’t have any other choice except an urgent care with NO appointment, and that’s the 7th level of hell, 3 steps beyond a regular doctor’s waiting room 4th level of hell. I’ve berated Brendan before for walking out of waiting rooms before because it just means you have to reschedule and then wait AGAIN.  But now, having felt the freedom and downright joy at telling them Buh-Bye, I get why he’s done it.

Before I was working full time and the boys were little, I didn’t mind waiting AS much. We’ve been going to the same pediatrician since Riley was 1. We’ve named all the fishes in the aquarium, mourned the ones that have passed on, seen office renovations, nurses and doctors come and go, and there are 32 steps to get from the 1st floor to the 2nd. That office is a well known place to our family.  I LOVE our doctor, her and I were pregnant at the same time and had our babies just days apart.  I was actually kind of irritated that she wouldn’t be in the office for Alex’s first newborn appointments.  The nerve of some people.  Aside from that, she’s kind, attentive and knowledgeable, everything you could want in a pediatrician. She knows more about my kids than most people. And most of it is pretty gross. But when I am in the waiting room with a sick kid watching the minutes click by… 15…30…45 minutes past my appointment time, I pretty much want to throat punch her by the time we see her.  And I REALLY like her.

Of course, she apologizes for making us wait and then usually tells us a story about how she had to send a 2 year old to the hospital earlier that day because the poor thing was so dehydrated from their awful case of leprosy and a collapsed lung, making my guilt go into overdrive because my son just has a fever, and here I am whining about waiting when my kids are sick or injured only once or twice a year that actually require a doctor’s visit.  I’ve often wondered if she’s being honest or if she just knows how to find my sympathy buttons.  Deathly ill babies?  Pretty easy button to find.

Recently though, the last several visits, our wait was very minimal, completely reasonable.  We get through the appointment and then something strange happens..she keeps talking.  Telling stories, engaging us in small talk, reminiscing about past appointments and maladies.  She peruses the boys’ medical records like it’s a scrapbook, “Oh Rose, remember the time he had those warts on his feet!  He was so ticklish!” Not that I don’t appreciate the extra attention, but then I start to think about those parents in the waiting room. They are full of angst and clock watching just like I’ve been so many times before.  I find myself trying to wrap up the appointment, edge closer to the door, ever so gracefully and non-verbally let the doctor know that while I appreciate her friendship, I’m ready to move on to the pharmacist with my prescription.  All in the name of stopping the waiting madness.  I want to yell “Stay on time! Stop making us wait! For the love of God, we make appointments for a reason!”

But alas, I don’t.  I pay my co-pay and quietly go home.  Then I sit by my computer and wait for the email survey I inevitably get about my appointment.  I will honestly answer their questions in the hopes that it actually means something.  That when I complain, changes will be made in their process.  That when I applaud their timeliness, it encourages their behavior.  A girl can dream.

I sincerely try and am typically successful at being on time for almost everything in life, big events and little ones.  I loathe tardiness. Kids late for school on a regular basis? I seriously want to throttle those parents and/or kids. (I MAY have an anger problem, jury is still out on that one).  But in what world is your inability to manage time now MY problem? Being on time is a extremely large respect issue.  I guess that’s what it comes down to:  it doesn’t feel like Doctor’s offices have any respect for my time. (Although props to my dentist’s office, they run a tight ship, they are often waiting for us if I happen to come in a minute or 2 late).  I understand medical care is not an exact science (ironically), but I am no fool, I’m betting there are some areas where improvements can be made.  I know I’m screaming into the wind here, but honestly, I’m just trying to delay calling to reschedule the appointment I ran out on yesterday.  Think they are mad at me?

Have I mentioned it’s time to get my driver’s license renewed?  Wish me luck!

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