Monday, December 27, 2010

And I believed her!

Some of this post might be considered an overshare, so don't read if you are sensitive to that sort of thing. Also, I realize that this will automatically repost on Tyler's Facebook page so Note: this is Amanda typing.

I've asked my mom, mother of 7, why she had so many children. At different times in my life, I've received different answers. One time, she said, "I just couldn't turn it off. Every time I turned around, I was pregnant again." I think I was a teenager, or maybe in my early 20's because I answered, "you know mom, they have things that you can do to take care of that problem."

And now, here I am, 3 kids in 4 years later because I just couldn't turn it off. Something had to be done, so I decided to get an IUD. My doctor, whom I know and love, told me that her office no longer stocks Mirena because they cost $800 and they were losing too much money on them. So, if I wanted one, I would have to buy it myself, have it shipped to her office, and they would put it in. She made it seem like no big deal. I called Blue Cross to see if such a thing were possible, and the lady on the phone actually said, "Oh Yeah! That's FINE. Just go online and fill out forms X, Y, and Z and send in a copy of such and such paper and we'll send you a check." I was apprehensive because it seemed all too easy, but she was so confident that this would be no problem; she knew which papers to fill out, what to photo copy, she used sentences like, "ask your provider for a copy of the superbill." Surely this woman knew which way was up.

I called CVS/Caremark and ordered the thing, had it sent to the office, they put it in. I filled out form X, Y, and Z, made the appropriate photo copies, and sent it all in. I waited. And waited. Meanwhile, CVS/Caremark was deducting $35 a month from my account and would continue doing so until I paid them $800. I received a notice from Blue Cross stating that my claim was denied. Excuse me?

I called and an hour on the phone later, got it all sorted out. Did I mention that this was in September?

Since then, I've received notices, placed phone calls, and made more copies. I called again today to get a status update.

"My records show that we sent you a check for $326 on November blah-bi-di-blah."
"Yeah, I never got that. Did you send it to blee-bi-di-bloo?"
"Yes. Well, because it was never cashed, I'll just put on a stop payment and send you a new check."
"Great. What about the other 400-some-odd dollars?"
"I'm sorry?"
"The device (this is what you have to call it when you call in, so you know) cost me $800."
"Well, Blue Cross only allows 500-blah-blah dollars, your deductible was met so we'll pay 80%, leaving you to pay 200-blee-bloo dollars."
"Um... what?"
"[Starts to explain allowances]"
"No, no. I get that. What you're saying is that I'm stuck with paying not $200, but actually almost $500."
"Um.... Right... well [starts in on some lame explanation about pharmacy benefits vs durable hardware benefits]."
"[Enter a rant about how I CALLED and MADE SURE that this would work and the woman said it would be NO PROBLEM and now I'm stuck paying what may as well be the full price for something that IS COVERED and HOW IRRITATED I am and that I HATE Blue Cross.]"
"[Clearly flustered] I'm sorry ma'am. That does sound irritating. You're more than welcome to appeal."
"YOU AND I BOTH KNOW THAT WON'T WORK! I'll get a nicely worded letter about how I am ultimately responsible for knowing my coverage and that I have a copy of the plan, and that they have no record of me ever even calling in, and that it says in article B section 13 that I shouldn't base my insurance coverage decisions on what the insurance-coverage specialists say."
"Is there anything else I can help you with?"

I apologized to the woman on the phone because she didn't do this to me. I probably will send out an appeal, but really, it probably won't work.

On one end of the customer service spectrum is Costco. I once took back some Cuties because they tasted a little funny, and they gave me cash back, no questions asked. In the middle is Target, where they require a receipt, a picture of you buying the item, and your first-born child before they'll give you cash back. And then way way down at the other end of the spectrum is the insurance company, who doesn't even give money to people who deserve it who are dying. Why would they give me my money back?

Saturday, December 25, 2010


From Here to Claire from Amanda Ball on Vimeo.

Eight days, two states, lots and lots of juice boxes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This shouldn't be that hard

I was making cupcakes for Nora's birthday (holy crap, she's two). I wanted to halve my cake recipe because I only wanted 12 cupcakes. First item: 3/4 cup butter. I remembered the visual up on Mr. Malloy's wall in AP Calculus that some student had drawn of the denominator of the fraction smashing through the bigger division line and multiplying itself by the divisor. Make sense? No? In this case, the 4 of the 3/4ths would grow arms and smash through the line drawn below it to find the 2 waiting. It would be so happy that they would hug and multiply in a completely plutonic sense to make 3/8ths. (If the two was a fraction, it's own denominator would feel stilted by the numerator's newfound love that it would grow wings and fly up to the three on top of the whole problem, and it's life would have meaning again. Why no, I didn't pursue a career in math, why do you ask?)

Luckily for me, the butter stick is divided into eight tablespoons (eighths!), so I went to go cut 3 tablespoons off. I looked again and thought that 3 tablespoons looked a little small. I looked at my math again. Sure enough, 3/8ths is the answer, so 3 tablespoons.

I could not figure out where I had gone wrong. I puzzled about it for a while, then decided to come at the problem from a different angle: 3/4 cup butter is 12 tablespoons, so to halve it, I wanted 6.

I called my mom to see what had failed in my calculations. We decided that my math was sound but that I had forgotten that a stick of butter (the eight tablespoons in question) is only a half a cup.

And now, I feel dumb.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Thankamony*

*Only funny if you're Mormon.

Yesterday, I did Sharing Time in Primary (like Sunday School for kids 3-11). We have over 100 kids in our Primary, so it's a little bit crazy. Actually, a lot crazy.

My lesson was about the gifts that Jesus Christ gives us. To introduce the topic I said, "Christmas is about giving......" then waited for the kids to raise their hands and answer "presents." But, a kid in the front row yelled out, "THANKS!"

"Um... I was going for presents, but you can say thanks too."

After it was all over, and my sanity returned, I started thinking about giving thanks, and I have a lot to be thankful for (this list is by no means inclusive):

  1. My family. This includes ALL of my ever expanding clan. It starts out with my husband who is more awesome than I can say; includes my children who are healthy as horses, funny, cute, loving, and say besos instead of 'kisses' (Ethan can be included even though he's on my crap list for not sleeping because he is freakin' adorable); stretches out to my mom who, pending her feeling better, is going to watch my girls for 4 days while Tyler and I go to a wedding, and is always there to commiserate and offer good advice; and my brothers and sisters whom I wish wish wish I lived closer to. I think a lot about my family I've never met, my great-grandparents and think about how they had to have been good people, because they passed down their awesomeness to their kids, who passed it to their kids, who passed it to me, and I am free to pass it on to my kids. Thanks guys.
  2. I'm thankful for my husband's job that pays for our house and food. I'm thankful that I get to stay home with my kids, even though they drive me crazy sometimes, I wouldn't want it any other way.
  3. I'm thankful for the community I live in. We've got great neighbors and as most of us transplants, we're all bent on taking care of each other. Plus, when I see things like this:

    It makes me really glad I suffered through the 5 months of heat to get 80˚ Decembers.
  4. I'm thankful for the neighbor girl who comes over and holds my baby so I can do the dishes and start dinner. She can talk your ears off, and sometimes shows up a little too much, but those 20-minute breaks she gives me are invaluable. Plus, yesterday she showed up with a big bag of brand-new, tags-still-on clothes from the Childrens' Place, in exactly Lillian's size that she says her mom bought last year for her cousin and forgot to mail.
  5. I'm thankful that I get to work with the kids at church. It does get crazy, but I love those little guys.
My kids are freaking out, so that will have to be it for now. But I'm also thankful for food, especially this. So. Good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Purloined Sandwich

On Wednesday, we had a picnic at the park; I packed peanut butter & honey sandwiches for the girls. Lillian ate everything besides her sandwich, so I took it home and stuck it in the fridge.

Then yesterday, Nora told me she was hungry. I went to the fridge and took out the leftover sandwich. Who could foresee this would happen?

The Purloined Sandwich from Amanda Ball on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

But they're extinct!

Tyler sometimes gets irritated because I can't watch movies that are too scary and/or stressful or else I'll get nightmares. Sometimes, I get them anyway. Here's a rundown of the dreams I had last night:

1. Nora and I were held hostage in a men's bathroom by a man with a shotgun who had shot the other man in the bathroom with us and he was bleeding out and I was frantically trying to stop his bleeding, but he only spoke Spanish. "Mas despacio, por favor" was all I could remember how to say.

2. Tyler and I were spies or something in South America with our next-door neighbor Vic (who speaks Spanish) and we had to cross this busy 8-lane highway to get to the traveling circus on the other side. Instead of walking down to the corner, Tyler decided to just run across really fast, "It's what they do here," he said. He got hit right before he made it to the other side and I screamed "TYLER ARE YOU DEAD!?" over and over again. He wasn't and we stumbled into the circus where we were looking for this very attractive blonde woman. We saw her and she saw us, and she started to run. She ran into the nearby fortune teller tent and while we were arguing with her about how she had to come with us, a short-faced bear (pictured above) showed up and was trying to get in our tent to eat us. "BUT THEY'RE EXTINCT!" I yelled. "TELL THAT TO HIM!" Tyler yelled back. Then the baby woke me up.

3. I was in high school, and we were assigned a battle to reenact. I was assigned the Battle of Azízes, which a quick googling tells me is not a real thing. (There was a thing called the The Bloody Assizes wish is similar, no?) In the fictitious Battle of Azízes, a woman was captured as was going to be forced to marry her captor. She threw a rock at him when he dragged her before the phony priest. The prince was hiding in the shadows and was impressed with her spunk and killed the evil captor, rescued the fair maiden and they lived happily ever after (which, now that I think about it, is not really a battle). I recruited two of my friends for the project and I was to play the maiden fair. When we were rehearsing, we were going to use swords, but my friends decided it would be fun to use guns, like in Romeo & Juliet, the movie. One accidentally shot the other, and it turned into all-out gang warfare, and everyone had a gun but me. "Why didn't I bring my gun?" I thought. And right when I was getting shot at for starting this whole thing, I woke up.

When I told him about my dreams last night, he said, "So, can we watch stressful movies if you're going to get nightmares anyway?"

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Future Picasso

On the right is Lillian's classmate's mittens, representing more or less how the craft was supposed to go. On the left is what Lillian made. Yeah.
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