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9 posts from June 2011

June 24, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment(s)' in the comments for all to find and see.



 Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  



June 22, 2011

School's out

for the summer!

I don't think I have ever looked forward to a summer more, as this year just exhausted me.  I must admit that I am glad we don't have so much planned that we can't spend random days in museums or just hanging out at the pool.  While I am terribly jealous of all my friends who are PCS-ing over the summer, after reviewing (just) the piles of laundry, I am suddenly relieved that I have a little more time to go sort through all of our stuff before we depart for our next post.  

Before we wile away our summer hours reading, writing, drawing, nature-walking, museum-visiting and splashing, we tooke the requisite end of the school year photos.  Thanks very much to Pete for taking the first one so I didn't have to stand outside in my jammies and frighten the neighbors before they've had their first sip of coffee.

The soon-to-be 8th grader and teenager (*gasp*...nah, we're ready).

Kelsey (now a 4th grader) and her morning cheering section.  Oh, the woe if Nicholas is not awake and at the bus stop to give her "a hug, a kiss and a pat" before she leaves for school.



Last, but not least:  The Little Guy!




Happy summer, everyone!

June 17, 2011

{these moments}: special edition*

{these moment} - A Friday ritual. Three photos - no words - capturing moments from the past. Simple, special, extraordinary moments. Moments I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment(s) in the comments for all to find and see.




 *The moments this week are dedicated to Sandy, the Salty Dog.  We love you and miss you, Sandy-Pants!  Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  




June 15, 2011

Oh, the love....and frustrations!

First...the love:  Thank you, thank you for the many birthday comments and messages for Pete.   Yes, Mr. Shy and Retiring was a bit, well, shy, but very grateful and I did not receive *that* look so much as a grin and a shake of the head.   I did, however, get *that* look when I stopped by his office with a birthday cake yesterday since he (get this!) FORGOT to tell people it was his birthday on Monday.  Can you imagine?  

He couldn't be too upset since Nicholas was insistent that it was his idea.  (Slightly unrelated, however, equally important:  Nicholas knows how to spell cake.  I thought we had at least another year of spelling things in front of him, however, today after Kelsey asked if she could have some C-A-K-E, Nicholas promptly responded that she would have to wait until Daddy came home, as it was his cake to share.) Also, buttercream cakes from Whole Foods are evil.  Good, but evil in their goodness.  

It was a crazy birthday for Peter, as we had car issues (nightmares of having to replace the minivan danced in my head all weekend long after the check engine light came on), neighbor issues (please, don't get me started), Cait coming home from school quite ill and a (nothing to worry about) doctor's appointment Monday morning.  All of these things conspired to make the day crazy at best.  However, between the blog, Facebook, Ray's Hellburger for dinner, cake and some Apple TV, the day was rescued (oh, and the car not being dead nor costing a fortune to fix), well, for all of us!

There was one more exciting moment on Monday, however, due to our busyness, we could not take care of it (and by "we", I mean Peter) until Tuesday.  I received a message about an EOB online from BCBS. Since we are no longer members, we cannot access their system on-line (oh, wait, I couldn't anyway due to incompetence in their customer service department).  I was nearly giddy with delight as I assumed this was either the  original surgery finally going through correctly, the implant exchange being billed at long last or perhaps the plastic surgeon's resubmission finally being accepted.  No matter what it was, I was ready to be thrilled to have something (anything!) resolved.

Nope, not a one of them.  What was it you ask?  Why, of course, it was an EOB for a visit I had to the new breast surgeon in May.  Never mind that we had not had BCBS since February, they billed them anyway. Yes, I had given them the new information, and no, I had not listed BCBS as a secondary payer (the doctor's office tried to insinuate we did that til they checked the form) .  However, BCBS paid the full amount, so that didn't fly in any respect.

After trying to set the doctor's office straight, Peter contacted BCBS again (we should get rewards for each phone call that allows us to explain to them how to do THEIR job).  They couldn't understand why we didn't want them to pay.  He explained AGAIN how we were no longer with them.  Apparently, them's fightin words, as they were adamant we were.

CS Rep:  "Yes, you are!"

Peter:  "No, we aren't!"

CS Rep:  "Well, then we are your secondary payer!"

Peter:  "No, we only have one insurance plan!"

CS Rep: "But...no one ever canceled your plan!"

Aha...and there we have it.  I will not lay blame here as we do so *heart* that Peter works for the federal government and  everyone at State has been extraodinarily supportive over the past 8 months.  That being said, a mistake was made and it is now being rectified.  It was not *our* mistake and we did nothing wrong (whew), so I will not worry that part one iota more.

Now, in the midst of writing all of this, I realized that we are nearing resolution for one of the bills, the largest, in fact.  Most of the radiation treatments were originally billed in Peter's name.  Someone, somewhere, figured out a mistake was made (without any help from us!) and rebilled the insurance correctly.  HALLELUJAH.  Someone DID THEIR JOB CORRECTLY.  Bloody amazing, I tell you.

If you remember, we had approximately $23,000 of radiation costs in limbo.  After poring through EOBs and finally receiving the first bill today (a manageable $95.19), it looks as though over the next month or so we will be billed for approximately $2291.85 out of a final (I think) total of $24,688. Most of this total, if not all, will come out of our FSAFEDs account (bless you, FSAFEDS).  We had hoped to use most of it for dental visits and possibly orthodonture, but who needs straight teeth anyway?

It's not perfect, I'm still not sure it was the right move, but what's done is done.  I am, also, officially sick of doctors offices, insurance companies and anything related to medicine.  If we were paid for the amount of time we have spent on correcting every single mistake since this whole thing started, I daresay we could buy a vacation home.  While I am grateful that we have the time and resources to work through the issues so that we don't overpay, I can only imagine how many people are bilked out of crucial savings (and lose time) dealing with issues such as these.  

Now where were those claims I needed to file....*sigh*




June 13, 2011

It's a year too late for

Pete is so great cuz he's 38!

Cupcake-bday-39thIt's still a year too early for

Lordy, Lordy, Pete is 40! (Personally, I'll be thrilled when that phrase dies...)

So, will have to be a bit creative on this one...

How about...

Pete is so divine, cuz he's 39!

Yep, it's Beaker's birthday today.  Let's put a smile on his face (or at least give him a good reason to give me that look). If you are Facebook friends with him, please leave a fun message and if not, feel free to throw something in the comments below.  I know, he is the strong and silent type and all, but trust me he'll love it...



June 10, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment(s)' in the comments for all to find and see.




 Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  



June 08, 2011

This time last

year, we were on the second day of our cross country trek.  At the time this was written, we were trying to drag our sleepy selves out of bed in a suite like hotel in Bakersfield, CA.  We had gotten a later start than expected the day before (shocking, I know) and were incredibly exhausted and slept in later than we should have.

It's hard to believe all that has happened (or hasn't) since then.  I keep looking back (I know, I know) and wondering if I missed some sign somewhere along the way that might have changed the year a bit.  Had I noticed things sooner, would we have stayed in CA?  Had we chosen a different place to live, might Peter have gone back to B'dad versus staying here?  Would that have helped or just pushed our dream to go back overseas even further into the future?  

It's easy to think that I shouldn't reflect on the past, but I need to in order to plan.  I still feel like I must have made a giant mistake somewhere, I just can't figure out where or when.  I also keep hoping that somehow everything happened* for a reason.  Maybe our bids from last year would have fallen apart and the ideal post would have slipped through our fingers.  Maybe we would have ended up in the DC area for a two year domestic tour post-B'dad, which would have been less than ideal.

We now have two tentative overseas plans for the next 6 to 8 years.  We have heard the softest whispers of possible postings floating around and it is all I can do not to picture a new home somewhere exotic (basically, anywhere outside the continental U.S. will qualify).  Whilst imagining our new apartment/house/garden/incredible balcony view, we have bandied ideas back and forth and come up with two slightly different scenarios that should allow us to follow our dreams of being overseas for an extended amount of time.  Our primary concern is the high school years (for Cait) and if either plan falls into place, we will be exceedingly happy.

Now, we know that things happen at the last minute and plans change.  However, for the sake of my sanity, they better not for the next few years, as frankly, I've had enough to last a lifetime over the past 7 months.  The official bid list is still not out, but I have enough on which to base a few dreams and several anxious hours on Talesmag.  I suppose that will do for now...


*I know some people disagree and think I should just accept that sh*t happens.  I'm not there quite yet.  There is also the off-chance that the reason is out there and only time will tell.


June 06, 2011

Everyone knows I can't

sew.  In fact, there's practically a whole book about my lack of talent in the crafting arena.  If I try really hard, I can embroider a bib or two, or maybe even throw a homemade card together.  Sewing and knitting, however, have eluded me for as long as I can remember.

Now, by sewing, I mean with a machine.  Technically, I can 'sew' with a needle and thread, though hopefully the item won't be needed for several years.  My mother taught me that much years ago, but then, for whatever crazy reason, never taught me how to use a sewing machine.  Never mind that she was an amazing seamstress and created entire outfits for people.  I was the queen of homemade Halloween costumes for years (and Easter dresses, but we won't go there).  Lately, I have noticed that everyone else on the planet (okay, except for Peter and the cat) can sew.  

It seems everyone has an Etsy store (and I drool over all of them) and everyone is amazingly talented, whether it is a shabby chic sort of thing or insanely elegant.  Every night I as I am falling asleep, I pray that I somehow magically learn how to sew over night (oh, and knit, too).  Then I wake up in the morning and realize I am no closer to my goal.   

Now before the whole 'that which we don't' mention happened, I had several goals for the year:  I was going to learn how to knit, how to sew, compost everything, grow an amazing organic garden in our tiny townhouse backyard, learn how to bake fabulous desserts, oh...the list goes on and on and on. Since things went a bit downhill, we are back to the basics, like, not freaking out over not moving this summer or getting the kids off to school and not having a panic attack over the occasional not so perfect lunch or whatever.  

Then we were invited to a party.  Our friend, Jen, was hosting a birthday party for her daughter's 3rd birthday and the theme was "Neverland."  Costumes were encouraged, of course, and I could only imagine how the other children might be clad.  My imagination went into overdrive and I immediately researched "no sew" patterns so that I might at least pretend to create something for the Little Guy and Kelsey (Cait created her own and wanted no assistance).

I frantically searched thrift shops for just the right shirt to be cut into a vest.  I couldn't find that, but managed to located pants that could be trimmed to look piratey/lost boy-ish (we'll not worry that he never bothered to wear them).  Kelsey managed to create most of her costume from clothes we had at home (and a Boy Scout bandanna from Unique that was the perfect shade of red), but desperately wanted a vest...and wanted it to be homemade.  What did I tell her?  

"Okay, honey, I'll take care of it!"

Five panic attacks later (and approximately 1 hour and 17 minutes prior to our departure for the party) I found myself checking out of Joanne's with scissors, needle, thread and a yard of sparkly black satiny cloth.  No pattern?  No problem!

IMG_0273 IMG_0275 I 'measured' (I use that term SO loosely it's not funny) the fabric against Kelsey's Brownie vest.  (By the way, there is a reason real patterns exist...trust me!) Never mind that I measured (and cut) the left side incorrectly two times or that I sewed the right armhole closed (no, laugh, really, it's okay, I did!),  the next thing I knew, Kelsey was "trying on" her vest (if you will).

IMG_0281 I realized that if one stood at least 10 feet away, well, it really didn't look that bad.  Not perfect, not really 'finished' looking, but certainly could last a few hours at a party.  Now the real test:  would she like it enough to wear it?

IMG_0282 Yep, she wore it for the whole party.  You know what?  Despite the fact that the vest was possibly the worst crafty thing anyone has ever completed, it inspired me.  Yep, I sewed by hand the most ridiculous looking vest you've ever seen...but Kelsey loved it and wore it with pride.  I realized that if I could create something so off-kilter and my child still wanted to wear it, maybe if I tried taking a lesson or a class, I might actually be able to do a whole costume (or a vest that would last through more than one wearing).

No worries, I won't be opening up a competing Etsy shop anytime soon, but even just having basic skills could come in handy next year, wherever we may go.  No, I don't know, but I can practically smell the bid list....

IMG_0283 Oh...the party!  As we suspected, it was nothing short of spectacular.  Nicholas walked the plank, played statue with the many available swords (it's a "betend" thing), we all noshed on absolutely amazingly yummy (and healthy) treats, the kids swam, the cake was incredible and a fabulous time was had by all.  



June 03, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words* - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment(s)' in the comments for all to find and see.



 Idea courtesy of Soulemama.