HS Diploma

doesn’t mean you can read, write, or do 8th grade mathematics. At least that’s what one company in Gloucester, MA has found, according to this article at Casting Out Nines.

And the questions really are middle school level. (Sometimes I see questions that are supposed to be “seventh grade” and I can answer most of them, but not all. And my math is better than any 7th grade book I’ve ever seen. So I wonder.)

Fascinating. And depressing.

My HS Diploma actually did mean I could read, write, and do 8th grade mathematics. So whose diplomas aren’t worth anything? Well, apparently Gloucester’s high school. I can’t imagine there are tons of people from around the nation applying for these jobs.

But I still find it depressing.

I remember in Louisiana, back in the early 80s, when the law was (could still be for all I know) that if you graduated from a public high school you were automatically admitted to a public college. There were thousands of freshmen who didn’t know the difference between “meat” and “meet,” like my college roommate. The freshmen classes were huge because the teachers failed out 3/4s of the students in the first month. The kids didn’t know they didn’t know enough to be in college.

Why do we have high schools like this? That’s what I really don’t know.

The Year of Lost Friends

This year I found my friend-who-died’s parents and sent them pictures.

Two weeks ago my red-headed girlfriend who joined the Marines emailed me at my college campus asking if I was “her” Suzi.

And today, when I checked the comments, one of the guys I hung out with in college had asked if I knew him. He’s here in town.

So… It must be The Year of Lost Friends.

Decorating our bedroom

We have lived in this house for six years. I still haven’t bought a bedspread. I’ve had two different ones, including drapes, that my sister gave me. (Her discards are always more than I could have afforded on my own.) But, while they are beautiful, they are not something I would have chosen on my own.

Of course, on my own I probably couldn’t afford drapes, bedskirt, shams, and pillows, as well as the bedspread… But still.

I’ve thought often that I wanted to “do something” with our bedroom. It just doesn’t work.

Part of the reason is the green carpet, which seems very informal, and the red and gold-y drapes, bedspread, etc. The top of the cedar chest is covered in green. And the lamp shades are red. Then the pictures, beautiful things which I did pick out, are orange, blue, and gold. And I picked them despite the gold, not because of it. I love the blues and oranges.

So why do I have a green and red bedroom? (And, no, it doesn’t look much like Christmas.)

We did the floors throughout the house in green carpet. I’m actually sad that we didn’t do our bedroom in wood, but R doesn’t like wooden floors. He is sad we didn’t do the living room in wood. (I say, ouch, all the scratches. Because the wood we chose is a soft wood, not a hard wood, and it scratches like crazy.)

So I was looking on-line at some things, trying to figure out how I could do our bedroom in something close to a reasonably beautiful look, that was sensibly priced.

I found this interesting paragraph.

Choose darker values of color for the floor (ground), medium values of color for the walls (trees and mountains) and light values of color for the ceiling (sky). If you divide your colors by value from dark to light as you decorate “vertically” in the room, you’ll get an interior design that looks good every time.

from HGTV

It’s an interesting thought.

Watching TV

Sometimes even watching true programs, like “Get Color,” can lead one to imagine things that are not true. How much money do those people have to agree to spend?

Just two days ago I was watching several Tivo’ed programs. And the hostess of “Get Color” mentioned that the floors were done in jatoba wood. It’s an exotic hardwood that darkens as it ages. I thought it sounded great. Jatoba apparently is a fancy word for “Brazilian cherry,” which is also beautiful sounding. And at $4-8 a square foot, it ought to be beautiful.

So those people spent, I don’t know, $5000 on their floors alone. And they painted, got accessories, new furniture, new windows… How much do they have to have? I don’t know. But it must be a small to middling fortune. Like maybe two or three years worth of insurance payments.

It never pays to check the mail.

I went out to check the mail because I could. And it is so good to be able to do things.

But in the mail was a bill from the hospital. I opened it, thinking it would be some few dollars.

Imagine my horror to find that the bill is for $1500. That’s a bit more than your average pocket change. And we’ve already paid almost $700.

I looked through the bill, horror stricken, but unable to call either the hospital’s business office or the insurance. It is Saturday after all.

I called my dad for advice. (R was gone to work.) He said to call the insurance first and then to call the hospital, if I needed to.

I did note one thing, along with the $20,000+ original bill. On June 7th, the “contractual adjustment” (legalese for how much the insurance wasn’t going to have to pay) was over $17K. But on June 20, when the insurance had paid, the “contractual adjustment” was adjusted down, to leave us with the $1500 bill.

Now, if the insurance didn’t have to pay it, why do we? Did the insurance indeed negotiate a $17K contractual adjustment? I wouldn’t be surprised. But why the lowering of the adjustment?

Please note that if we do indeed owe $1500, we will have paid MORE than the insurance company for the surgery we are only supposed to have to pay 20% of. Now $2200 is less than 20% of the original bill but I know, and so should most educated people, that the hospitals and everyone else jack up the price so that they can be adjusted down.

Unfortunately that means that the people who are not insured not only have to pay the true amount that is due, they have to pay the “jacked up” price — the difference between what the insurance pays and the “contractual adjustment.”

I am not sure how we can be expected to pay more than the insurance paid. How is that fair? Especially considering that every two months the insurance has made more than they paid for this surgery. After six years they’ve made $86,000+. (That’s right. $86K+, just for insurance for me and the boys. Which means me.) Even if they’d had to pay the full price on every single time I’ve ever seen a doctor, and I mean by that what the uninsured have to pay, they’d still have been raking it in.

I hope that the insurance can work with me to get this taken care of. I thought the $700 not unfair, before I found out that the insurance is paying less than $2500. Perhaps I need to discuss with them exactly what 20% they are expecting me to pay.

It is outrageous. And wrong.

How many people were employed with the proceeds from the employees of the small office where my husband works? Five? Six? There are only 22 employees. But most are married.

The amount is ridiculous. On several levels.

I am not my mother.

My youngest son has adopted his father’s protectiveness. But he used it in an inappropriate manner.

Yesterday I was up and moving around. I did one or two things that probably wouldn’t have been recommended, but nothing hurt and I was bored. (Oh, the glory of boredom! It’s a sure indicator of recovery.)

And he told me, “I don’t want you to be sick like grandma.”

I’m not sick. (Well, okay, the virus and the infection do make me sick.) But my biggest problem is that I’m recovering from the equivalent of three major surgeries. (See my last post before this one.)

I think, in deference to all that necessary, unnecessary, and unfortunately needed cutting, I should be allowed to walk funny, sit funny, and need help for a few weeks.

Without being told that they don’t want me to be my 150-lbs overweight bipolar mother in 16 years.

Especially since my mother was already 150+ lbs overweight when I was married. And I am older now than my mother was when I was married. And I’ve never been anywhere near as overweight as my mother. And I am not bipolar. So the chances of me morphing into my mother, since I haven’t yet, are slim to none.

The reason they say this is that my mother doesn’t follow her drs’ guidelines. (Which seem to consist of taking lots of medicines and staying in bed.)

Yes, my mother doesn’t “mind.” She doesn’t keep the strictures of her drs. She says that she wouldn’t have much of a life if she did. (And she is right.)

She does take her medicines. I think there are 45 now.

So, wear high heels and move around as much as you can, Momma. At least when you go out it won’t be a snuffed candle but a bonfire bearing you away.

My argument

I told my son I think my surgery had to be equivalent to three major surgeries and I could use care, but was not a permanently ill person because of them.

Yes, they removed my uterus, after peeling it off my internal organs with a knife.

And they removed an ovary and a half. The half was left after an ovarian cyst ruptured and blew out part of the ovary.

And they removed two Fallopian tubes. (Why not? They wouldn’t be conducting anything anywhere any more.)

And they had to sew my bladder back up, after they cut it open while peeling it off my uterus with a knife. (Leaving it approximately one half the size, if one can judge by its present capacity. And presently unable to alert me to needing to go until its capacity is full. Then it alerts with pain. None of this slightly full sensation. –Is that too easy to disregard with all the other pain going on? I don’t know.)

And they cut the adhesions off all my internal organs anywhere in the vicinity. They don’t, after all, want to have to open me up in a couple of years to discover that the reason I died is my adhesions cut off my large intestine. (Apparently the adhesions were prominent enough that the dr showed pics around. When I had an interim appt with one of her partners, and not one of the three drs at my surgery, he said he’d seen the picture of my adhesions. “Oh yes.”)

And, in response to my request, they prettied up my old three scar cut, tucking, folding, and some other dr verb I don’t recall. It is a much nicer scar. Even unhealed it does not pucker like the old one did years later.

So is that six surgeries, with only one opening cut, equivalent to three? I think so.

And I’m doing right as well as anyone could hope less than three weeks after all that painful cutting.

How Am I?

So glad you asked. I’m better. Still dealing with the virus. And another infection. But today I felt well enough to drive. I drove to Burger King for breakfast. And I drove to Target. At Target I went in, printed out two sets of wedding choices, and left.

But I drove!

The enforced captivity of recuperation is coming to an end.

Bush v. Kelo

I can’t remember where I read it first, but Bush has signed an executive order saying that the federal government can’t take our land and give it to someone else for economic gain. That’s a plus. (I went and read the order. It does in fact say that. It also keeps the government’s ability to take your land for parks and things, but what did you expect?) Too bad we can’t get executive orders for states and local governments.

Remember when California was going to have the best anti-Kelo legislation in the country? They didn’t get it.

Kelo has left many people losing their homes for someone else’s economic profit. I have always been opposed to that. Even before Kelo when folks thought it was wrong and still found ways around the law to do just that.

The Supreme Court was wrong. They’ve been wrong before. They’ll be wrong again. But how many poor people, how many middle class folks, will lose their homes to conglomerates, companies, and the rich, before anyone gets Kelo overturned?

The answer of course is too many. How many ever they are.

Better

I am better.

Yesterday I was more better than today. Probably because I went too much yesterday. (Traveled in a vehicle with my mother to three places and GOT OUT at all of them.)

So last night my virus in my nose and throat came back with a vengeance. I flung myself out of bed in the middle of the night trying to cough enough to be able to breathe, since everything was stopped up. I went and slept on the couch, sitting up, and only coughed some. I hate viruses. This one is particularly virulent. My 2 year old niece had it on Saturday and gave it to every member of my extended family. I had it by Monday.

But I am doing well today. I wasn’t in bed at all. In fact, I made my bed for the first time in 2.5 weeks. I did laundry. I moved things around.

What I didn’t do was get out. (Haven’t tried driving yet.) And I didn’t chat with any of my friends.

Remember that. If your friend has surgery, find out when they want you to come over and talk.

Hubby is going out tonight to talk. And I so want to go along. But I’m sure there will be smoke and I don’t want that. But I wish I could talk.

And I’m thinking about taking myself out for an artist’s date in the morning. Just get up when I wake up and not come home till lunch time.

Except then I’d probably be in bed till Monday. But maybe not. It might be worth it.

I’m going to live to 150

or so. Reuter’s says that the mother’s age at the birth of the child impacts the likelihood of the child living to 100. If your mom was 25 or younger, you’re statistically most likely to live to be 100. My mom was 16 when I was born. And my great-grama had my grama when she was 21; and my grama lived to 86 (ancient for her birthday).

I’m going to be 150 or so before I croak.

The good thing is, my husband will be there too. His birthmother was 19.