Thursday, April 28, 2011

Unhappy with Unbelievable EUTF dealings

The DH made a change in the way payment to our HMO is handled, so that it's done pre-tax, and therefore, costs us less.

However, no change is painless. I had a routine diagnostic procedure in February, and kept receiving bills for this for two months. As soon as the cashier at the clinic saw this, she asked me if I usually pay $$$ for this. I replied that I only pay $$. She told me to have EUTF fax evidence of which group plan we belong to, and that we have kept up with payments. She said this in such a matter-of-fact way that it led me to believe our case was one of many she encountered.

This is simple and a no-brainer, as it's deducted from the DH's pay. I don't know how much plainer to put it than: "fax evidence of which group plan we belong to, and that we have kept up with payments", but it took TWO MONTHS to resolve this. First, the DH spoke to someone on the phone, who said he would investigate and call back. After two weeks of NO CALLBACK, DH emailed a detailed account of dealings and non-reply so far. After another couple of weeks of NON ACTION, he finally received a response TODAY. They apologized and said they had originally sent Kaiser the WRONG information on our plan, which was why we were charged for the procedure, and to ignore any statements for that charge.

Can you say UGH?

How many folks paid for procedures that are actually covered by their plans? How many were less persistent and gave up trying to straighten things out? Why must such a small change turn into such a long-running problem?

I have no answers, only questions, apparently!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When ok neighbors turn BAD, or THIS MEANS WAR

Yes, I wrote about when bad neighbors turn worse, but who thought I'd be writing THIS?

The DH overheard the noisy neighbors above us complaining about the smells from our next door neighbor. He has FIVE cats in his studio apartment. Since we rarely linger on our lanai (porch) except to put laundry in the dryer, and remove it, we don't usually experience those.

But last week, I came home, opened my lanai screen door, and saw a CAT sitting there, LOOKING at me. I LOST IT and yelled, "There's a fat CAT ASS sitting on my lanai." The DH ran out, but it was long gone. I said it would only be a matter of time before we saw cat shit out there.

Unfortunately, I was right.

Today, I came home, slid open the screen door again, and saw a honking TURD right in front of my lanai living room door.

Worse still, the DH found two more in front of the second bedroom door. 

Oh, and it gets EVEN WORSE.

One mess was DIARRHEA. The other mess, I now realize, was VOMIT. With bird bones and feathers in it.

My first reaction was to want to put this in the neighbor's mailbox, but that would have required too much contact, instead, I wiped all of this up, except the stains, put it in baggies, wrote a note with a Sharpie marker, photocopied it, and taped the entire mess to the neighbor's door. I could not even remember the neighbor's name, I was SO UPSET!!!

I have not looked for it - I'm too rattled with finding ALL OF THOSE OTHER MESSES - but there is probably CAT PISS on my lanai, also. sigh. UGH!

No more Mrs. Nice Guy, THIS MEANS WAR!

No, I tried animal repellent before, and it sickens me. Now, I'm looking for CAT TRAPS and ANTI-CAT ACIDS administered through a SUPERSOAKER pistol. And I'm usually a reasonable woman. Until and unless I find shit and vomit on MY property.

OK neighbor turned BAD neighbor keeps the cats on HIS side of the wall, they don't get hit!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday Storytime

It went well. They paid attention. I wore a hat of my own (which makes me look like one of the mushrooms in Fantasia) and went through an oversize photo book on hats - that was the theme. Miss Melissa did a clapping rhyme. Hey - it was SATURDAY, and I can barely wake up, much less WORK!

Thank goodness this is so fun it's like play! Then I changed into a beret and read Caps for Sale - also oversize. Miss M did a rhyme about 5 monkeys and an alligator (Actually TEN, but it would have taken too long!) They were still paying attention, so I read Don't Touch My Hat.

The craft was bunny visors - fun and we had a few mutants - the DH came and took photos. We had 39 folks - almost as many adults as kids, and even one of the librarians from the 3rd floor came and did the craft! 

Someone I used to work with just butt-dialed me a little while ago. She said she is back in the classroom and loving it. I had to admit to her the kids in my first class visit - 2 and 3 year-olds - were pretty irresistible. Half of them wanted to hug me as they left. Even the little boy who had Kleenex up both nostrils. I didn't think I would, but I am having so much fun being a children's librarian!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Life after the March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami

In Honolulu's last remaining daily newspaper - and its name says it all - news of the aftermath of this devastating earthquake and tsunami is now relegated to page 20. To learn the real scoops, as we say here in Hawaii, I still turn to the Sendai-Honolulu Journal - the account of a local family, separated by geography and circumstance, and how they are coping in Japan and Hawaii.

But I have a new must-read, the Yamato-Damashii Diaries. Yes, you are seeing right - this is a mixed martial arts website. I know nothing about this sport, but I do know that the Inoue brothers - racquetball and martial arts experts - are from Hawaii. Enson lives in Japan, owns MMA gyms, and is now on a mission to help survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in a hands-on fashion, armed with a black Hummer and soon, a radiation suit. Ian Lind's blog is where I found out about the diaries.

Yamato-damashii means Japanese spirit, but you can extrapolate it to mean Japanese fighting spirit, which won't allow you to give up.

What do the people in evacuation centers want? Shoes or footwear - many have only the clothes they left home with - as well as cigarettes, sushi, sweets and someone who cares. MMA writer Daniel Herbertson is along for the ride, so far they have been to Taro, Rikuzentakata and Minamisanriku, and what they find is gritty, horrifying, and some of the most visceral writing about the present situation in Japan that I've encountered.

Please start reading at the beginning, and tell me what you think.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Taxes filed or tax refund already spent? What I'm reading

The Emperor of All Maladies: a biography of cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.  I told myself I wasn't going to read the whole thing. But I am. The writing is that good, the story is that compelling.

Cancer is something all human beings will confront, whether in ourselves or our friends or loved ones. The story of its discovery, classification and the ongoing search for cures may not seem like the basis for riveting writing, but the people are brought to life in this book: the victims, survivors, researchers and doctors.

I have to return it soon, whether I finish it or not, as I can't renew it because THIRTY-SEVEN patrons want to borrow this, and only eleven libraries chose to add it to their collections. Demand truly exceeds supply here.

I am also reading Terry Pratchett's Only You Can Save Mankind - a fun sci-fi/gamer young adult book.

For those of you with young children or grandchildren, I recommend Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen. It's about a crocodile who's raised with ducks. I'm having so much fun reading children's books - both for myself and to the children who come for class visits!         

Happy reading - too many books, too little time!

Monday, April 11, 2011

When bad neighbors turn worse

I don't remember when he moved into the building next door. I could hear his voice from my kitchen, it was that loud. His unsightly uniform included baggy shorts, tank top, visor and scraggly balding ponytail.

During daylight hours you would encounter him IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET, picking up a single half inch leaf. This was bad enough if you were walking up the street, but exponentially worse if you were trying to avoid hitting him with your car. OCD, for sure.

A neighbor who was way more up with the gossip told me he kept trying to give a neighbor child candy - I'm sure to get to his mother - but was rebuffed and continued until the door was slammed into his face. They eventually moved.

Soon enough, he got into trouble with the law. He would constantly argue with his neighbors; I don't know the details. I did hear the police telling him once that the next time they were called, he'd be leaving with them - but this was an empty threat. Five-O was called at least four, maybe five times, then he was evicted.

We knew there was movement/progress when we saw a large truck with a garish sign that said "We Haul Junk" parked in their lot for several days. My dear husband says the mover must have spent his time trolling the neighborhood for trash put out onto the sidewalk. In the open truck, he viewed all kinds of flotsam and jetsam, including toys - to appeal to children and their mothers?

The ideal neighbor is not a pony-tailed unshaven creep who picks fights and comments loudly, brings to my mind all manner of unflattering and profane descriptions and clutters the neighborhood horizon with his unsightly presence and strident voice.

I had almost forgotten - there was someone I called the Vomit Cougher. She was EXACTLY the way that sounds. Not a pretty sound - it may have been a sneeze - by ANY stretch of the imagination! My world has been a lovely, peaceful place since those two moved! And you may remember my hearing is like a dog's!

While the pony-tailer was the pinnacle of bad neighborliness, there have been other such points. The people next door were an older couple. When our son was teething, they did not hesitate to call the police to tell them we were abusing him. It was obvious they were not parents, as children do cry when teething. And they teethe for years! All the police saw was a child unmarked except for tears and drool.

Another neighbor would fix his motorcycle in his parking space in the garage, all of his tools spread out, gunning his engine. He also fixed his friend's motorcycle. And his friend's friend's motorcycles. His son would ride his moped into the elevator while I was in it! When they finally moved, they made it onto the evening newscast by claiming all their presents had been stolen from under the Christmas tree. Right.

Who is the ideal neighbor? One respectful of your privacy, unobtrusive, who will graciously agree to pick up your newspaper or mail or Fedex delivery, but otherwise LEAVE YOU IN PEACE! I have two neighbors I can depend on for all those things, and I hope they feel they can call upon me for the same! Now, if only one of them can keep his cats off my lanai!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'm back to work

As a librarian!

It's been 6 months since my last librarian gig, which was temporary, and lasted a month.

This one is temporary, too, but has the potential to go at least 2 months, maybe more, until they find a permanent librarian, and there's a chance I could interview for that slot.

They've already given me several projects to work on, and I start on the reference desk by myself.

As it is with anything, some things will be fine, others promise a steep learning curve. But that's what life is all about: challenges.

And this week, I interview for a different FT permanent public librarian position, so we'll see. Wish me luck!