Monday, October 27, 2014

Tips for the uninitiated

I don't remember this time of year ever being so busy. In addition to the usual events and day-to-day stuff at work and at the place where I volunteer, I have (stupidly) agreed to take on some volunteer marketing work for said place.

Which puts me in the frame of mind where I look at everything from a branding/marketing lens. I have worked in PR and marketing before, and hated it, but I did learn some good takeaways. Namely, don't write like you are an idiot.
Sadly to say, someone has managed to do this for a federal training we have to take at work. I'm sure they're laughing all the way to the bank. The training is an online thing required for us to keep signing people up for Medicaid and other insurance post Nov. 15, when our state, which has fucked up beyond belief, is moving to the federal website. (Do an internet search for "Cover Oregon" and you'll start to feel my pain.)

Anyhow. Along with the typical mind-numbing slides and endless pop-ups and dialogue boxes, there are sample conversations from theoretical appointments.

To whit:

"Hi, Casey, I'm 29 and my husband and I have a two-year-old daughter, and neither of our workplaces offers affordable health insurance. I'm looking for a plan that has low deductibles because we make frequent visits to the pediatrician."

It is at this point that I begin to laugh, because clearly the author of this script has never done an actual appointment signing anyone up.

It's more like this: "Um. I need to get an insurance card."
Assister: "Do you mean you need to apply for insurance? Do you currently have insurance?"
Caller: "I have insurance in Connecticut but it won't cover me in Oregon."
Assister: "Are you just visiting or did you move here?"
Caller: "I moved here. And I have to go get surgery this week and they won't cover it because it's out of network."

Well no shit, Sherlock!
Also amusing were the online "exams" at the end of each segment. Some of the questions were like trick questions, because the answers were close enough together to be indistinguishable, and some of them were made for four-year-olds.

A real sample: "Wendy calls about getting affordable health insurance. She is unsure if she qualifies for Medicaid. Do you A) Tell Wendy you can't help her." .....

Yes, really.

Another scenario involved a customer who thought they qualified for something they didn't qualify for. In the sample dialogue, she said, "I feel much better now that you have explained it to me. It makes sense."

HA! We have had people accuse the state (and us, even though we have nothing to do with the state's healthcare system) of everything from discrimination to incompetence even when THEY are the cause of the fuck up. Case in point: the guy who moved and didn't tell anyone, and then didn't get his insurance card, and then freaked out when he couldn't get a prescription.

There are a lot of people out there in need of velcro.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five minute Friday: blood

Five minutes to write from a single word prompt...go!

Blood as in family. As in DNA.

From the minute I met him, I fell in love with my little brother B. Who is now my brother B who is going to college next year. Who is taller and bigger than me. Mr. RK calls me B's "little sister."

I don't have children, other than furry ones with tails, but I am told the fierce and protective bond I have for him is like that. Momma Bear. Don't mess with my brother. If you ruin his day, you ruin mine, and God fucking help you.
I want him to be happy, and dread the day he is too cool to hang out with me any longer.

Blood, frankly, means nothing to me. Family are the people you love, who love you, who you surround yourself with my choice. DNA is a matter of coincidence.

And next week, B is going to have a very special kind of celebration (psst, I'll let you know when it's done) that proves exactly my point.

Blood isn't what matters. Blood, frankly, would have let me down a long time ago.

Family is different.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

I am not your mommy!

I think I need to make a shirt with those words and wear it - you know, at events, in the office.

We had our gala dinner Tuesday (and I am obviously old because I'm still tired, hence the lack of blogging) and I kid you not, that day at 3:30 pm I get an email:

"RK, what is the dress code for dinner?"

I'm heading out the door in FIVE MINUTES to go start setting up at the hotel. I AM NOT YOUR MOMMY!
On the phone with someone I referred to a clinic. "Do you know how long the wait time is?"

I AM NOT YOUR MOMMY!

What I am, apparently, is the provider of strawberries for the resident squirrels. I had no idea that they enjoyed fruit. Little bites are appearing in the berries as soon as they ripen.

Apparently I am also the resident safety officer. Reading before bed last night, we heard a big crash...then Vasil scurried off somewhere.

Mr. RK later discovered that Vasil was attempting to get up into the guest bedroom closet - or rather, onto the top shelf - and didn't quite make it, falling into a box of Legos.

Yes, Legos. Mr. RK said I could tell you that he is secure enough to own up to Legos.

I am going to sound like a horrible person but I find it easier to deal with wildlife and tamed wildlife than people these days. No matter how easy we try to make it for people to get services, for instance, some shitheads want everything done for them. However...

These are interesting times. We had an appointment a couple of weeks ago for someone who needed to sign up for Medicaid. His mom came with him and although her son was the one with the diagnosis, this woman was just this side of bonkers. Or maybe just bonkers. She was getting so self-righteously worked up about something, and I thought I was going to have to ask her to leave - and then she spied the candy dish on our conference table.
"OOOOOHHHHH, CANDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" She ate half of the bowl by herself in twenty minutes flat.

Then she said, "You know? If I had known I was going to have to wait, I would have brought my ukelele."

And yes, I know, these are terribly politically incorrect, but I take happy pills myself, so I know crazy when I see it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It started with a small pile of poop.

Mr. RK said that would be a good post title, but really, that is how the day started - at least right before I walked out of the door.

Before that, I woke up after having scary dreams about my boss naked. Wait, that was redundant.

Anyhow, Vasil, who is normally a good litter-box trained, if otherwise naughty, kitty, graced the downstairs bathroom with his displeasure (you talk about bad aim - he was an entire floor off target), and the day just went on from there. My friend Mike D and I were texting, and luckily he said, "Feel free to vent with your thumbs!" My thumb in someone's eye would have been more satisfying.
Although I had volunteers covering the phones all day, the one hour where a volunteer was busy with an appointment was the hour I had four (COUNT THEM FOUR) calls from people wanting resources. Which is normally no big deal, except...

Caller #1: Starts the  call with, "I have a question for you..." (Note to self: next time, say, "Oh no, you fucking don't!")

And he can't explain what he wants and goes on and on and on. Until I politely ask, "And what is the question?"

Him: "Well! Okaaaaay..." And goes on. And on. And keeps changing the request and after I counter with resources for every request, says, "Well you've been pretty helpful. Now I have one more question. When is the next training for your organization's Tell Your Life Story program?"

His words, not mine. Note: we don't have a program of that type. Now you know why.
Another caller just moved here, is living in a motel, has no insurance, and says, "I want to meet with a social worker." Um, right. I politely explain that here in my state, at least, you need to get signed up for Medicaid or have some kind of insurance before you can become a client at an agency. In fact, we can sign him up for this.

"I'd rather talk to a social worker first and see what my options are."

Needless to say, the organizations I gave him phone numbers for will say, "Call them back and sign up for insurance first..."

And as it is event week (next Tuesday about midnight I should be a much happier camper, or if not happier, the damn thing will be over), I of course have to have raging PMS.

Lastly, I ask you. If someone tells you politely two or three times that they MUST HAVE THE FUCKING HEADCOUNT FOR THE HOTEL by a certain date, wouldn't you get back to that person?

Thank you, Grumpy Cat. You have expressed me ever so much better than I could have expressed myself.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Does this make me a grownup?

The good news: we have internet, as of, I think, Friday, thanks to Mr. RK. An open note to the Frontier Communications company: You can all suck it. It's no thanks to you that we're up and running (and we are no longer a customer, so there.)

On my recent birthday, I told my dad I didn't feel grown up enough to be the age I am now. When my parents were my age, they seemed to be more grown up (not older. Hey, he might be reading this.) But this week, oh, how times have changed.
My to-do list is entirely made up of things relating to 1. our new place, 2. my younger brother, 3. my job and 4. our new place.

I had to double up on the decaf last week. Then I realized we had packed, moved, unpacked, cleaned, etc. every day for two weeks. (Did this stop my new insurance agent, who is all of 22, from emailing me THE MORNING AFTER the weekend I moved asking if I needed more time to proceed? No.)

I work with her mom and she said, "Oh, younger people, they move and it's no big deal." Ouch! Then again, I don't remember a move ever being this much of a pain because I wasn't moving anyone's shit except my own. I am not a packrat. I don't know how I ended up with enough stuff to fill a space twice the size of the one we were in previously.

My dad is talking about my 40th birthday trip which is two years down the road! 

Note to self: I can't possibly be heading for that number. Right?

And a meeting of the board I'm on got rescheduled for the night before I'm supposed to leave to set up one of our events. It's only two hours away, but I am thinking, "Damn, I'll be up too late! And tired! I must skip it!" Maybe I just don't like meetings all that much. Or maybe I'm a grownup.

And lastly, I am posting pics of a teenager on social media, which I believe is something old people do. The kid in question is not mine (mine have four paws and a lot of fur), but my brother B, above, whose time has been consumed as of late by AP chemistry.

Mr. RK just wandered in, looked at this picture, and asked, "What the FUCK is that? B is surely going to kill us all."

He'd probably like that. Except there wouldn't be anyone left to pay for coffee.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Too tired to meow

We moved this past weekend. There is no internet at my house. Don't get me started, but I will visit all of your blogs as soon as I can.
Things I have learned:

1. The house was previously populated by stoners who were just out of college. I know this because when Mr. RK went to see the place, the master bedroom was locked, there were tapestries everywhere, and I keep getting their unpaid bills in the mail. How do people go through life like this and manage to tie their shoes? Oh, right - that's what velcro is for.

2. I have muscles I didn't know existed before last week.
3. Every new cupboard is a new place for a cat to explore - hence, Bang! Bang! Bang! That would be the cupboard doors.

4. Stairs mean my cat Vasil wants to chase his little cat soccer balls up and down them at midnight. And yeowl up the stairs, just to hear his own echo.

5. One mocha is not enough today.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Consider yourself tagged

If you are reading this. I got tagged by my friend GB Miller in this writing meme. And as you all blog, that means you all write, which means you can all participate.

1) What are you currently working on?
This post. Just kidding. I blog once or twice a week depending on my schedule and fancy, and I'm also working on another children's book.

2) How does your work  differ from others in the same genre?
I think everyone would like to think they're unique, so I really can't say. I think I have fewer filters than other people when writing for myself. With the children's books, I make a point of not talking down to the audience. Not unique, but maybe unusual these days.
 3) Why do you write what you write?
Blogging is therapeutic, and it ranges from essay writing to humor writing to social justice writing. I literally have to write - it's a necessity. Words have been bubbling in my brain since before I could talk, which was, incidentally, early in life!

With the children's fiction, I am trying to create a happy place. Kind of like that feeling you get when you read Winne-the-Pooh. That's what I'm aiming for. A sweet, happy place with some humor.

4) Describe your writing process. 
For any kind of writing I'm working on, the longest process is the thought process behind it - the ideas rolling around in my head. After those are ironed out, it's a matter of sitting and typing it out. That part is usually rather fast.

How about you?