Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ethics Covered My Ass - Then and Now

Today is a big day.

Maybe.

If Esten's plan goes to plan, anyway. And things could go either way, really.

Maybe.

It took me over an hour of prying between his sobs and snotty tears last night to pull it out of him. He finally managed, "Tomorrow I'm going to do something that will either make you proud or really mad."

Oh shit.

What happened? I wondered. There have been....things....going on this year. He was vaguebooking me and it was pissing me off.

It's the moments as a parent that suspend time, when all of the bad things flash through your brain, what could it be??

And then, he finally spit it out.

A girl at school is being picked on for the way she dresses. He feels bad because this has happened to him this year and also because he had participated in the picking once. His classmates who are standing by her in line will cover their noses with their shirts and move to the back of the line, saying they'd rather be last than have her germs on them.

Cheese Touch, you guys. This is a Cheese Touch situation.



His plan, which he had already discussed with his teacher and expected that she would have emailed me about (she did not) was to apologize either face to face or in writing to the girl for his actions, and to take five minutes out of the classroom time to do a presentation to the rest of the class about why they all needed to stop acting like a bunch of little assholes. And he planned on wearing a super shitty outfit to do it.

Which, to be honest, was about par for what he usually wears. Navy v-neck dress sweater that's just about too small and he rotates through usually on PE day, gray sweatpants that are also just about too small with the right knee blown out, and snow boots.

He left today on a mission, his jaw set, his eyes filled with resolve (and only a little tiny bit of tears), and tummy full of the eggs I promised him last night if he would stop crying and go to bed.

And all I could offer by way of advice was this:

Talk to your teacher. Partner with her to solve this problem. Don't further disrupt her classroom. Don't further embarrass the target of the bullies. Stand by her in line. Find other friends to stand with you standing with her in line. Be prepared for others to make fun of you for doing it. Know that there are a million reasons WHY others might act like assholes, and none of those reasons are probably okay. Maybe they don't get breakfast or attention or sleep or love at home. Maybe they're hearing or seeing the way the adults in their life treat others and they think it's okay. Maybe they think Trump's awesome. Maybe they think they're bigtime tough shit now that they're in the SIXTH GRADE and it's their turn to distribute the shenanigans.

I've been there, but it was junior high for me. And it was jeans. Ethics jeans. Remember those? Other girls had them and I wanted SO BAD to be cool like them and also they were super stretchy and fit me when others didn't because I had a waist/hip ratio that has been described as "the most junk in the trunk I've ever seen on a white girl" by not-a-white-girl, to my face and not in an offensive way. I think.

They were expensive and my mom would NEVER let me have them.

Luckily I waited until she was sick and managed to talk my dad into taking me shopping at the Big V - where they had Ethics jeans and also the giant Levi's wall. And by giant I mean they had the pair of preemie infant Levi's nailed to the wall next to the over-sized giant pair of 60x50s or whatever they were. It was a ridiculous way of acknowledging that boys and men come in all different sizes and they were the go-to place to accommodate and cover them all. But women? You get like...four choices, and if you can't fit into one of them, there is obviously something wrong with you.

So I located these popular pants, and since my dad was generous Mr. Moneybags who kept his "small bills" like twenties and under in his front pockets so his wallet wouldn't put his hips off-kilter, I bought two pairs. I made sure they were identical so my mom would only think I had ONE pair.

I was a manipulative, genius, mastermind little underage ball of hormonal assholery.

I rotated those pants between my body and the washer until one day in the halls at school some dickhole announced that I had "worn the same pair of pants for two weeks straight" and thus was a "dirty disgusting ho bag".

Time stood still. Kids stared. They were flipping back through their memories to validate his claim.

Cheese Touch.

Of course, all these years later I can look back and laugh and forgive him for his off-the-cuff comment.

Just kidding. All these years later I still think that fucker is a fucking fucker and he can rot in hell and I haven't seen or spoken to him since school but if I did the only thing I would tell him is FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING FUCK.

My point is, especially during this week when so many kids and adults are unsure and on edge, I am overwhelmingly proud that my kid is willing to admit through big fat sloppy tears that he was unkind and take steps to fix that, and to demand that the leaders in his school start setting a better example for others in their class, and for others in lower grades. Knowing this world has another human - a BOY human - who is willing to stand up for others - for GIRL humans - makes me happy.

Today he is my favorite.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year's Evolution




My social media feeds are overflowing with new recipes, exercises, and handy tricks to remember to drink four gallons of water a day.

You guys are gonna kill it this year. I just know it. Many of you are ALREADY recovered from your NYE hangovers and we're only three days in.

Maybe that's because I saw a recipe for homemade Gatorade, indicated as perfect for hangovers (and no chemicals!!) with only 6 ingredients that you can easily source from a health food store or grow yourself and seems very easy to measure and combine and whip up when you feel like you've been hit by a truck and you barely remember your own name and you have no idea where your pants are currently.

Anyway.

As for me...I have a different kind of list this year. I hope it's no less transformative than everyone else's goals. It's just that I'm rounding out to 40 and I've had an especially reflective 12 months, which maybe I'll post about on its own.

Here are the things I want to nail down in 2017, in no particular order:


  • Learn how to make salsa
  • Learn how to salsa
  • Find a great cinnamon roll recipe
  • Not fuck up the cinnamon roll recipe
    • (completed this one yesterday!)
  • Make new recipes that my family doesn't bitch about having to eat
  • Post recipes here to share that my family doesn't bitch about having to eat
  • Post recipes here that my family bitches about eating but screw them I like it
  • Nail a great red lip
  • Nail a great nude lip
  • Start drinking french press coffee
  • Knit myself a hat because everything itches
  • Find a migraine expert
  • Set rules for my email to disappear all the shit I don't want to see
  • Unsubscribe from retail emails
  • Stretch
  • Figure out my hair
  • Figure out the remote and the stereo and the blue-ray player
  • Figure out once and for all who did it because I figured out in 2016 that Steven Avery didn't
  • More Netflixing documentaries
  • Go for walks - to the Little Free Library
  • Tell others like the shorties' teachers and like two coworkers how awesome they are on the regular
  • Bring my office mug home to bleach and run through the dishwasher on the regular
  • Remember to take my vitamins
  • Remember to take my regular meds
  • Remember to pack my meds when we go out of town
  • Get new contacts
  • Craft more
  • Find out what all the hubbub is about Snapchat
  • Find out what all the hubbub is about Twitter
  • Write more - in general and here on the DLF
  • Consider posting a "dirtbag of the day" series just like WCW but different (thoughts?)
  • Update the DLF, in layout or migration to another platform
Stand by, Fixers. I'm hoping to drag you along on this boring-for-you and self-centered for me endeavor. I'd tell you to subscribe for updates, but I'm still too dumb to figure out how. (For now). It's going to be a great year.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Fictional Frustrations

It's been a while, I know.

I blame a combination of mojo drain and that I've been stretching my writing muscles elsewhere. I've been working on a mix of true things that might meet with disapproval (something I'm no stranger to but I'm just not in the mood for anyone's bullshit opinions at this stage in my life), a little poetry, and something I feel like I suck at: fiction.

Someone I know is on the downhill slide finishing up edits on a young adult fiction novel. Two bloggers I follow who are heavy on real-life writing are taking the plunge. One talks about structured writing theories and disciplined writing schedules. These are things that I just can't do. The thought of deadlines and editors and others getting involved gives me a rash.

I tend to just write what I write, and if someone likes it, great. Last year a quote from my little insignificant blog was printed in a glorious book with fantastic photography on every page. As a contributor, I was in good company with writers from around the globe.

I'm still hesitant to call myself a writer.

So I'm glad the Fix offspring are learning to be confident fiction writers, thanks to an amazing teacher who breaks down very complicated theories and drives them to love writing-and reading.

I was cleaning out some clutter to feel like I'm accomplishing something in this new year and found Esten's folder from parent teacher conferences (my life is set about two months slow all the time) and found a sample of his writing. I'm going to share it here, mainly because I'm sure this paper will get tossed at some point and I can save it for all of eternity this way. I give you:

Winter Warfare
The wind on my face felt like A.C. in the summer. The heavy snow was on me like rain on a window. I put one arm up to help block it. I looked at the ground and saw footprints - snow boot footprints.

I took a further investigation. They lead down the hill. "Gather some snowballs," I said. "I'll gather some powder," my teammate Hannah told me, "lots of powder."

She got it done relatively fast. We got on our blue sleds, wielding snowballs. We were following the tracks until..."STOP!" Hannah yelled at me. I looked back at Hannah and before I could ask why, I was in mid-air.

It felt like flying, for three seconds. I landed on the semi-icy, very bumpy road. The worst part was that I was still backward. The ice spun me 180 degrees and I went face first into a pile of plowed snow.

I was too weak to get out. It was just me and the cold, and also the dark. After a minute I saw light. Hannah got me out.

"Esten, you might want to take a look at this!" I looked and saw the same footprints as before. "Let's go," I said. And we walked off into the fog and snow...

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Shut Up, It's So Bright and My Skin Hurts


"Jesus. Take those off. You're being....narcissistic."


I tried to laugh it off, but his words stung. He thought I was being stubborn, which didn't surprise him. We also got in a debate over whether the debate (!) would be the cold open on SNL that night. I would like to publicly declare here, in writing, that he was right and I was wrong, which I have been more of than right lately.

Mark your calendars.

But I wasn't budging on the sunglasses. I wouldn't take them off. He threatened to post my picture to Facebook and say so, which he knew I'd hate. This is how it ended up, though he ultimately chose his words more carefully:

At the Spokane Chiefs home opener and yes, Heather has not
taken her sunglasses off and has no plans to.

I had finally discovered a way to tolerate navigating my own personal nightmare and it was pissing him off. He looked around to see if people were staring at me, this woman who was wearing her shades inside.

Honestly, if they were I didn't give a shit.

Here's a little not-so-secret-secret about me: things like concerts and sporting events and carnivals and amusement parks and raves and parades and some kinds of church and monster truck shows and smash bashes and things with loud music and bright flashing lights like the sun or the moon above a sliver and big crowds and loads of stimulation? Not for me.

Very disorienting.


Unfortunately, the rest of my family thinks it's tits. So I can either be a Sad Sally and stay home for the rest of their lives and miss out, or I can go with them and be miserable (and sometimes get legitimately sick) or I can go and block as much stimulation as possible and look, according to hubs, like a narcissist.

I think he's missing the right description here. A narcissist would be like taking a million selfies or something. I will admit I look like a lunatic. Or someone with a bad case of pink eye that I'm woefully ashamed of at minimum.

Oh, and I'm also wearing ear plugs, which you can't see, thanks to my hair.

Oh. My hair. Let's talk about that for just a second.

Does anybody else do that thing where you give somebody hundreds of dollars to make your hair look like the basic bitches drinking PSL's in UGGs and soft scarves and perfect messy buns in the Pinterest pins you're showing them, and you tell them you'd like your highlights specifically "not stripey" and they never write anything down and the next time they do something totally different and they always massage the shit out of your head which is like, fancy and part of the millions of dollars that other fancy posh women who go there pay for them to do and so they must like it so you sit still and pretend that it's nice because it must be nice because everyone else likes it but it really feels just like this sounds (as in your head is still dirty and trapped between two things you don't want touching it anymore):





And then the next day when you look exactly the same as you did the week before you think, "bloody hell, I should have just sent all my hair money to Kim to fly here to fix my hair instead."

No? Just me? Ok.

So here I am at this hockey game just overwhelmingly happy that I have made this discovery wherein I can participate in the happy fun time activities with my family and not be completely miserable. I am thinking of the other things that I will be able to do. I slowly start to realize how effed up I am.

Rue 21? Maurices? NorthTown Mall? Have you been there? I cannot concentrate. I have had to just up and leave because l literally cannot. It is so damn loud. It makes me want to cry. Because I desperately need some new leggings because there is a hole square in the crotch of my old ones and I already know this but one of these days someone else is gonna let me know this and it's either going to be a very old woman or a very young boy and they will let me know very loudly in front of an audience of no less than twelve of my peers and five strangers who already have a shaky regard for me, plus like three people who hate my guts and wouldn't piss on me if I was on fire.

Costco. Walmart. So.Bright. So many things. So many people. I mean, OK. Costco and Walmart SHOULD make people want to cry. We usually go on Friday night when people aren't there. But the thought of it paralyzes me.

I have already talked to my doctor about this in the context of my headaches because they want to know E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G so I tell her just that and also I have a calendar for things like when and how bad and what kind of headaches I have and also I get to keep track of things like how often my uterus turns against me (often) alongside things like quarterly infoshares and hockey tournaments and dental cleanings and reminders for creative writing submission deadlines (which I miss on the regular). I have told her that things feel like "too much" as in sensory overload. Lights too bright. Sounds too loud. Smells too strong. Clothes feel like they're tearing my skin.

A sensory deprivation tank would be an ideal gift for me.

Bring me 5,000 pounds of salt and some science goggles. Stat.


But...aren't all moms' nerves fried? I mean...at some point don't we all want to lock ourselves in the bathroom with the lights off and tell everyone to shut the fuck up?

My doctor said sensory processing disorders are a thing, but they usually show up and get diagnosed in childhood. So...you know. I'm not a kid, so everybody settle down because I'm a full grown ladyperson and that means I must be OK.

Whew. I was worried there for a minute.

Now, if I can only figure out why my ear holes are getting so sore...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stop Paying Your Medical Bills Immediately

I mean it.

If you're one of those people like my husband who doesn't let your papercut heal from tearing open the envelope on a bill before you're licking another one with your still-wet-ink check payment and raising the flag on your mailbox,

STOP IT.


I'd like to say that I'm a professional expert about this because of my hard-earned credentials. I'm not. I'm a professional expert about this because of my hard-earned status as a patient, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend, and a remember-we-sort-of-met-one-time-can-I-ask-you-a-question-about-my-ladyparts-bill? Oh, and as big giant askhole when I notice that things don't look right.

On my way to work yesterday, being on time (for once!) I got a text from a friend. One of those friends who is like, a super close friend from the way back but who generally doesn't text me before 9 am on a Monday.

Hey - are you around?

I wonder what's wrong. Is she broke down? Is her kid sick? Is she in jail? Whatever it is, I better call DaBoss and let him know I'll be late today.

Turned out there was no need. She just had some insurance questions. She was trying to sort out her dad's bills and nothing was adding up.

THIS WAS NO SURPRISE TO ME AT ALL.

Other than my dentist, I have literally never gotten a bill from a doctor or hospital that was EVER correct.

EVER.

EVERRRRR.

And these questions? I get them ALL THE TIME. I'm the designated expert in our family. And I am happy to help. So I think it's time to just lay out my most frequently needed tips in one spot that have been relevant to everyone, no matter who you are. This is not intended to spark a debate about Obamacare or how you're pissed about how expensive it is. That's a whole other conversation that I'm happy to have in person, but on the surface I will tell you that every year EIGHTY FIVE BILLION DOLLARS is lost to fraud.

It's just sucked up in a fraud tornado and doesn't help anyone's broken arm get fixed or get rehydrated after a nasty bout of the flu or get a camera up the keester for fun or not for fun or to cure cancer. It just disappears into pockets of hucksters and quite-literally-gangsters and human traffickers and terrorists and low level greedy bastards and some soccer mom who is pissed that she has a high deductible so she thinks she deserves it.

And it's been happening since wayyyyy before Obama.

Anyway. Back to your bill.

1. Check your EOB first. Your EOB. Explanation Of Benefits. This is the thing from your insurance company that says "this is what they charged, this is what we paid, this is what you owe after all that". This is usually something like "member responsibility".

2. It's best if you can check your EOB online if your insurer has that option. If you saw the doctor and had labs done, a paper EOB will usually just have two lines that say "medical, lab" and related dollar amounts. Electronic versions of this will have the capability for expanding to see the exact description of the level of service you had (there are 10 office visit codes!) or which lab you had done. Make sure the service billed is the service you had done. If this doesn't match, call the office and dispute this.
I did this when Esten broke his arm in Kindergarten. If you remember, he got a baby blue cast that matched Blue Bear. When the bill arrived, it looked pretty normal. Setting the arm, putting on a cast. They billed insurance, insurance paid their part, I had my part left over. Simple, right?

Little crinkly crinkle on his wrist, way far away from his armpit.


NOT SIMPLE.

There are TWELVE different codes for casts in this body region depending on how long it is, whether it's plaster or fiberglass, and whether it's applied to a person 0-10 years of age or a person 11 years of age and older.

Remember, he was five. Or maybe six, depending on how far into the year it was. So, let's say he was in that 0-10 years of age category.

So there are SIX codes that would apply. Depending on length and material.

His was fiberglass. Remember? It matched Blue Bear.

So there are THREE codes that would apply. Depending on length.

His went mid-way to his forearm.  There is ONE code that would apply.

Q4012 - Cast supplies, short arm cast, pediatric (0-10 years), fiberglass.

But the code on the claim was:

Q4008 - Cast supplies, long arm cast, pediatric (0-10 years), fiberglass.

No biggie, right? Except that there was about a $90 difference in the fee. And about a $40 difference in what my portion owed was. Which is not going to make or break me, but 1) it wasn't right to begin with and 2) they overbilled my insurance.

So I called them. I explained that they'd billed for a long arm cast but my kid got a quite obviously short arm cast and that could they please look to see where they'd made an error. She pulled the "charge sheet". These are one of the laziest piece of shit documents that have ever been invented and have been the bane of my existence since my days as a records clerk. It's a pain in the ass piece of paper with eight hundred million tiny check boxes on it that goes from the doctor's hurried hands to the billing clerk. Sometimes YOU carry it to the front desk to check out. It's a mess. It's not the "official" medical record, either.

So of course, THAT was was she looked at. "According to the charge sheet, the doctor said he applied a long arm cast."

[Naturally, the boxes are literally one atop the other in about 5 point font.]

"No. Please pull his medical record. I know your office is not that big. They're literally within an arm's reach of your desk right now."

"Sorry. It's right here. We billed it correctly."

"Look. This kid came out of my vagina. I have looked into his tear-filled eyes and counted down the days that he will have to wait until this NOT A LONG ARM CAST has to come off and he can swim. I would PREFER to not belabor this point with you. I would PREFER to not report this as fraud." 
[inside joke here to everyone who knows me]

"Sorry."

So I blew the gas it took to drive down there and ask the same thing face to face. And this time they pulled his chart. And LO AND BEFUCKINGHOLD, the chart doth proclaimeth, one short arm cast had been applied.

Well, shit.


Recap: Esten got one of these:

Except BLUE

And got billed for one of these:

Except FIBERGLASS and for little baby biceps.

Ok. So now what?

"I did all that. All the services match, but the dollar amounts they say I owe don't match. My insurance says I owe $93.75 but the doctor/ambulance/voodoo priestess bill says I owe $745.26"


This is the part that two people in my life that I love almost more than everyone else come in, and I'd venture to guess that they're so much alike here because one of them came out of the other one's vagina like a couple of Russian nesting dolls.

3. DO NOT PAY THE $745.26. Tupac and Elvis will come back to drop a duet remake cover of "Islands in the Stream" before you see a refund for the difference once you realize you've overpaid your bill. Oh...and it has to be YOU that brings it to their attention that they owe you money because they're never going to randomly call you and be like, "You know what? We were just doing our taxes and realized that last year we totes overbilled you after your insurance paid. Sorry, sweetie."

Nah. 

4. You write a check for $93.75. You enclose a COPY of your EOB that says they can collect $93.75. You write on your statement that you're enclosing $93.75 because that's what your insurance says they can collect and that they can kick rocks for the rest.

Or whatever.

And hopefully you have gone to a participating provider. If you believe your claim has been processed incorrectly, denied, etc., reach out and ask. There is an appeals process for that. People make mistakes. Computers make mistakes. Honest people and companies are willing to look again and make things right when that happens. Don't be afraid to ask if something looks wrong.

And when all else fails, find your person who knows about all these things and have them look over your bills before you pay. In our family, that's me. For my friend, this week, that was me. Taking the time to call me probably saved her dad from waiting around on a $600 refund. 

I'm sorry that things like this are so hard to navigate. I wish it weren't that way. I wish things were easier. Until they are, I will call on those who know the system to help those who need it until we're all equipped with the tools to make good calls on our own.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Whose Pants are Wetter? Gypsy Wedding Crasher or Ryan Lochte?



This week. Holy cow. I wanna talk about a couple of dudes who got shitty drunk, made "bad decisions" that impacted others, and who now are just befuckingwildered that people would like to hold them accountable. Ryan Lochte and our own Fat Gypsy Wedding Crasher.


Yeah, we had a wedding crasher. I was waiting until the juicy judicial system did its thing before I talked publicly about it, because witness influence or tampering or whatever. You know. I just wanted to zip it. I know. Shocker that I'm able to do that on occasion. I promised I would talk about it. What excellent timing that it wrapped up the same week as these shenanigans of:


LITERAL OLYMPIC PORPORTIONS


My kids try this face. Even ToddlerBandit. I'm immune to its powers.



If you just woke up, #lochtegate is happening on the interwebs.


Condensed version:


Ryan Lochte called his mommy and said he and his buddies got robbed at gunpoint by some group of banditos pretending to be cops. You know, in Rio, where that kind of thing happens and where the story was accepted as truth.


Oh my goodness! Our poor, sweet, exceptional, American athletes! How scary for them!



Upon further investigation and review of crime scene footage, the actual crime was that Ryan Lochte and his buddies were all drunked up in the wee morning hours, wearing skinny pants (a misdemeanor in itself), kicked in a gas station bathroom door, peed everywhere, and were held by a security guard who demanded they pay for the damages.


What. A. Dickbag.



Full disclosure: I've not ever really been a Ryan Lochte (or his mom) fan since the whole "he doesn't have time for relationships so he just has rando-sex" thing happened. For one, it's a little trashy. For two, it makes his mom make the Toddlers & Tiaras moms look VERY hands-off when she is THAT involved in his pee-pee-poking-around business. For three, if that had been said of any female athlete, she would have been slut shamed. Instead, women the world over slobbered over that POS wishing they could get in line to be the next Ms. Rando.


Barf.


Today, after he, his mom, his attorney, and his agent sat SILENT all week, he issued this piece of crap statement and called it an apology:



Anyway. Apology not accepted. I think we should be shipping his ass back to answer for any charges like...filing a false police report and being a general asshat. And that's the last I really ever want to hear about him, really. He selfishly stole the spotlight from the people who were there and humbly tumbling or swimming or running or diving or shot-putting their hearts out and quite literally MAKING HISTORY that he doesn't deserve a second longer of our attention.


This brings me to Tuesday.


Tuesday I sauntered down to our grand old court house to view the late morning session of Misdemeanorees, Miscreants, and Mayhem Masters, starring only half the originally booked cast (the others will still get call-backs via bench warrant, don't worry).


I was only there to see one star, the one that tried to steal the show at the BFGW. Let's just call him for the purposes of my silly little story:


Walter William Phillips



Because that's his name and all this shit is public record, if anyone cares enough to go digging around if they think I'm wrong.


I'll even give you a "nice guy" picture of him instead of his mugshot so that you won't think I'm TOTALLY trying to paint a picture of him all one-sided and whatnot (even though I did consider filling out a public information request to obtain the booking photo. I did. Ask the ladies at the S.O.):


photo: lmtribune


Oh, where's that from? That's from the newspaper. From when he tried to get a spot on our CITY COUNCIL last election cycle. This guy wanted to make the rules for the REST of us.


Moving on.


I am a chronic observer. I always have been. So I made my way to the end of the hallway, checked each posted docket until I found his name, saw that he was there and looking very much soberer than the last time I saw him, and planted myself on a bench with the other defendants. Prosecutors and public defenders buzzed back and forth, only one was familiar to me from the wayback. He stopped when he saw me there.


"Heeeeeeey. How's it going? What are YOU doing here? You're not on MY list, are you?" he asked nervously, knowing that I didn't fit the profile of the group that I was with.

"Waiting for the 10:45 group."


"Oh. Ummmm. Good luck, I guess."

They called name after name, people disappearing this way and that. They called name after name to which there was no response. They'd whittled the group down to a handful and just started asking OUR names, deciding to take cases out of order. They looked at me.


"What's your name?"

"I'm not on your list."


"Oh. Are you on the County list? I'll see if he can move you up."

"No. I'm not on any list."

"OH."

And as they whisked the only other woman away, dressed in her fanciest thin white tee shirt with a neon pink bra showing through and a pack of Camels just begging to be taken out for a walk, a man struck up a conversation with Walter.


"What are you in here for?"


It sounded like two cell mates meeting for the first time. Cute.


"They got me on a bullshit misdemeanor for disturbing the peace."

"Oh. Dude, I've been there. That sucks."

"Tell me about it. I went down to that Black Lives Matter thing they had, you know, because...well SOMEBODY had to stand up to those fuckers. You know?"

"Oh yeah. TOTALLY. So they arrested you for that? Whoa."

"Oh, no....no...I don't even know, dude. All's I know is I was there and then next thing I know, I woke up in jail strapped to a chair and my fucking pants are wet."

"WHAT? That's nuts."

"Yeah. And now I've gotta go back East for a job and I have this bullshit to deal with, and it's a complete waste of the judicial system's time and taxpayer money, if you ask me."


Yes. It did take every fiber of my being to sit there with my mouth shut and listen to this garbage when all I wanted to do was either bash his head or my own repeatedly into the cinderblock walls of our Halls of Justice. Fortunately, his douchebaggery didn't stop once his name was called and he met all side-bar like with the prosecutor before going before the judge.

First off, she's about forty-eleven feet tall and has a "go fuck yourself" haircut. Having never met her before, I had to put aside my sudden lady-crush until I knew whether she was going to hold him accountable for his actions.

She began by giving him a chance to tell her what happened.

"Well, I went to that Black Lives Matter thing. You know? And I guess maybe I was riled up and had too much to drink. I'd went to BoJack's with my boy for his birthday. I don't know, really. And then I just woke up in jail and my pants were wet. It was a pretty bad deal."

She let out a sigh.

"Well, according to the report, you showed up at a wedding reception to which you were not invited, you were intoxicated, you touched the breasts of some of the female guests there, you rubbed the face and head area of a black person and yelled racial slurs at him, you yelled "ALL LIVES MATTER!", and then when you were asked to leave you jumped in a fountain."

"Well, I don't recall any of that. I was just at the Black Lives Matter thing. I don't know if you know my family history, but we maybe have a problem when it comes to...you know. Maybe it's time to quit drinking again. I was sober for a long time, you know. Cuz I don't even remember any of that. So how can I plead guilty if I don't remember it?"

"It took four men to hold you until the police arrived. And then you fought the police. And then you kept fighting at the jail."

"Ok, so if I fight this plea, four people could say I was there."

"Probably like a hundred people would say you were there."

"Well, like I said. I don't recall. And I'm just trying to earn a living and I'm headed to Wisconsin on a job and I don't know if you've heard what's happening in Milwaukee with THE BLACKS but they're all rioting and it won't be safe FOR ME."

"I'm filling this form out, recommending that you change your plea to GUILTY and I will recommend fines ONLY at this time."

This asshole never ONE TIME acknowledged what he did nor did he apologize for the impact his actions had on other people, including AND ESPECIALLY that he put his hands on a black person and then said HE is not safe from BLACK PEOPLE.

He went on to blather about how he didn't want this misdemeanor on his record because it would make him look bad, UNNECESSARILY as he was just a goody-two-shoes WHITE GUY out there in the world trying to earn a living and the justice system was squishing his balls. Because, of course, all these options came with like...probation...or some other nut-squeezing restriction on his ability to just be a LAW ABIDING CITIZEN.

For real.

He asked to plead No Contest. She explained that is a Washington thing, not an Idaho thing. This got my cackles up as to his unusually intimate knowledge sitting at the WRONG table in the court room. And rightly so, he has a history of DUIs and license suspensions.

Ultimately, she and the judge allowed him to enter an Alford Plea. He has $350ish in fines and fees. And not one goddamn intention of being a better human after this.

When he left and she saw me standing in the hallway listening, she assumed I was next on her list. I assured her I was only there to make sure he was held responsible for his actions. Because while the day was beautiful and memorable in all kinds of OTHER ways, this was a disruption that absolutely did not need to happen.

I had the opportunity that day to stand up for/stand in for some other folks that aren't keen on the navigation of our court system. I get that. I AM keen, so I went. I also had the chance to meet some new (to me) prosecutors that I'm proud to see carry forward and complete the cases that folks like my husband have to start. Their job sucks. Everyone they deal with hates them. Maybe because they don't get to hear from victims in these cases to hear THANK YOU enough.

I know they don't always see eye to eye. Especially when they schedule hearings on Hubs' day off. Or too early on his days on.

He hates that, by the way. But he goes. Because deep down, they're on the same team. He thanks them, too.

So now that the Phillips case is resolved, I'll only mildly be listening for Ryan Lochte's airplane engine to fire up as they extradite him to answer a few more questions. Because totally forgetting about it is exactly what he (and USA Olympics) wants us to do.

But I'm going to be right here. Not forgetting about Ryan. Not forgetting about Walter. May they forever be plagued by fungal issues in their nether-regions from all their wet pants-shenanigans.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Drunk Uncle: Career Influencer, Accidental Speech (and blog!) Topic


I herded kids into bed the other night with aggravated enthusiasm. I had too much to do.



"Hurry up. I don't have time for this. I have a thing tomorrow."



"What kind of thing?"


"A thing. A speaking thing. I have to go talk."



"Are they paying you to talk? That's good for you, since you like to talk."


"Well, I get paid anyway. From my job. But people are driving from out of town to hear me talk. And unlike YOU yahoos, they'll probably listen to me."


"OMIGOSH. You're like...like...that's so cool."

"Go to BED."


I'll spare you the gory details about my job and whatnot because this is kind of a job-free zone. But I did have to give my listeners some background about myself and some sense of how I might have ended up where I was. It was also a group of all women*, and being a lady-type-person myself, I like to never pass on an opportunity to remind other women that they should always grab life by the balls.

*If there had been a man in the room, I would have equally believed he should go grab life by the balls. I am equal opportunity that way.

So I started with a question of this room full of women who carried in their various purses at least one same credential as me:

"Does everybody have one drunk uncle?"


I knew from the mix of those that laughed and those that didn't what I was getting myself into. I told my story anyway.

Drunk Uncle, in my case, sloshed up to me about seven drinks in at my high school graduation to ask what I wanted to do with my life.

This was really the first time I remember anyone posing it in that way - so open ended - instead of inserting their opinion on one end or the other. I didn't hesitate to answer him.

"I want to be that person with the video camera that follows the guy around, you know, the guy who is putting a new roof on his house with his butt crack hanging out, the guy that's on workman's comp? I want to be THAT person."

"PPPPPPPFFFFTT," he slobbered at me. "There's no money in that. Get a REAL job. I'll put in a good word for you at the mill."





AT. THE. MILL.

You know, because in this mill town, if "the mill" is nice enough to extend you a job offer, you take it and you are thankful for that opportunity to have a giant pile of money in exchange for your life span to be cut short and quality of life to be zilch. It's a great deal. Ask anyone who's sold their soul to the company store. And so I did. Not immediately, but still. When I did, they had 1,500 applicants. 130 interviews. 13 people were hired. I was one of them. I believe this says their Human Resources sucked ass at the time.*

*I say this because I personally know at least one person in Human Resources at present and I do not believe that she sucks ass. I also believe strides have been made to select candidates more befitting that work than I ever was. I also believe they have made strides to actually enforce their own workplace violence policy, which used to also suck ass, and which is what initially motivated me to leave. I did not wish to die and become a piece of your milk carton.

I let Drunk Uncle pour his drink over that fire in my belly in an instant. I forgot all about what I really wanted to do. What I - as a SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL - had a glimmer and a drive to want to pursue. And it would be years and years before I would be like:

NO. I'm better than this. I like solving puzzles. I like getting to the bottom of things. I like discovering the truth and calling people out on their hijinks and shenanigans (which are different). I like standing up for and protecting people who can't do it for themselves.

And I reignited that fire by myself. And when I did, the light was bright enough to find the rest of my tribe by.

I hoped these ladies wouldn't let THEIR Drunk Uncle or whatever lingering voice was in their heads keep them from maybe doing something even more awesome than they were already doing.

I continued the rest of my talk with the room staring at me, stunned at my lack of any Power Point presentation (I don't like to depend too heavily on technology - what happens when the power goes out and you don't have anything to talk about??) and talked about a lot of very boring and very shocking and scandalous things and included a quite very maybe inappropriate amount of me just pointing to various parts of my body, including my armpit, and sloping toward fan girl obsession with colonoscopies*.

*Spellcheck is certain the word I'm looking for here is kaleidoscopes.
I am certain it is not.

All throughout, my trusty sidekick held door duty and her composure, most likely outlining her resignation in her head and counting down the days until she could distance herself from my theatrics, hoping to blend into the wall and have nobody associate her with me.

Just kidding. She's a big weirdo just like me.

And I woke up today to a "Thank You" email and not a "Your membership has been revoked effective immediately" email, so I'm going to take that as a sign that things were received positively. Either way, everyone got their CEUs and I still get to do what I should have been doing all along, even though I spend most of my days wanting to put my head straight through a wall.

WIN-WIN.

Go forth, my fellow Fixers...follow your own fires.