Saturday, January 18, 2014

I am woman hear me...cluck...

~"There is no such thing as a normal life.  There is only life."~
Anne Rice-The Wolves of Midwinter

 I just don"t understand why, but whenever I happen to mention that I have chickens, most people like to tell me how stupid they are. 
 "Oh, you have chickens?"  "Yes!  I love my chickens!" "They are so stupid!" "What do you mean? They're chickens."  "Yes, but chickens are stupid."  "As opposed to what-cows?"  Chickens are chickens...they do chicken things because that's what they are supposed to do. Which is basically, to walk around all day eating.  Honestly?  I kind of envy them lately. 

  Perhaps it's the weather..or maybe it's that three of my herd are going through different stages of  puberty-From "I DON'T want to learn about this weird stuff!" and "HEY MAMA! WHAT'S SEX?!" (at the supermarket) to monosyllabic grunts.  "Hey buddy-how was your day?".."...mumble.." I feel like I am floating adrift in a  constantly changing sea of hormonal waters.. NONE of which are my own!

  I had thought that it would be easier as they grew. That once they could find their own shoes and put themselves to bed-I could take a moment here and there...maybe use the bathroom uninterrupted know, live a little...And for a while (10 minutes in 2012) it was.

  It isn't that they are awful-far from it. I really have a great bunch of kids.  It's just that they are all needing so much and all at the same time...that all I can do is slap band-aids on problems instead of helping them to work things out. I don't know who is more overwhelmed-me or them. I know that we will get through this-just as we have gotten through everything else so far.  With A LOT (like it or not) of conversations and laughter. I mean, puberty can be an awful time-so, you might as well laugh at as much of it as you can..except that I'm mostly laughing like...well, does anyone remember the movie version of Jane Eyre-with Orson Wells as Mr. Rochester? Remember Mrs. Rochester?  The unstable wife that he kept locked in the attic-who eventually sets the house on fire?  Well she had this laugh...

  It's so different from when I was a kid. I'm the youngest of six siblings-and as far as I know, none of us ever went through puberty.  It just was not done at my house. My mother was uncomfortable with anything below the neck and above the ankles-therefore that section of body( a.k.a.-the neck and ankle holder) was never discussed.  Everything I learned was from books and rumors...but mostly rumors. I must say, that I had some interesting ideas... You can imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning and noticed two protrusions coming out of my neck and ankle holder! 

   We are doing our best to be as open and honest as possible. Talking about body changes and feelings.  Reassuring them all that they are o.k. and that it's natural to feel uncertain and afraid.  Growing up..body changes-all of it is scary.  Knowing that you will one day be on your own-even scarier.   *sigh*  It's hard-I must admit. I worry for all of them-and for different reasons. Sam, WANTS and LONGS for so many things...Lily, she wears her heart on her sleeve...and Oscar? When we ask him how he is going to take care of himself as an adult he says "I'll be fine-my wife will take care of me."  So I sit there and listen to them...seemingly composed, trying to be calm and reassuring-understanding and informative ...but in reality I am wrestling with  Mrs. Rochester's laugh-trying not to let it escape.

  Right now, my chickens are outside...eating corn and just walking around.  I wonder if they can hear Zoe and Lily fighting...Oscar eeeeing..or my crazy cackle...I wonder if they think that we are the stupid ones? Probably not.  They seem to be content just being the chickens that they are...I kind of envy them..

Saturday, January 11, 2014

.Application Perseveration...

~"We have a Bill of Rights.  What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities."~Bill Maher


 So...I spent my morning at the Department of Health and Human Services.. Located in a big dark brown(think poop) barn shaped building in our state was apparently THE PLACE to be-especially if you are like us-finding out that your kids are uninsured! Yup-my kids at this moment do not have any health insurance. Why is that? Well...because the government believes that  my kids may need to be medically supported by my state. I am serious.  I am not allowed to place my children under our health insurance plan. Well, at least the insurance plan being offered to us with tax credits. Omar's new job does not come with benefits-and in order to keep with the new insurance law-we had to buy our own. We have no problem with this.  In fact, we were kind of excited about it. We had been paying a HUGE amount through COBRA...and we were looking forward to more affordable coverage. Which we got!  Well, at least Omar and myself. My kids? The ones who really need it-  that's a whole other story

  Now, we have always taken care of our kids.  Always. With the exception of getting services through the school system-we have paid for everything. Because we could. ..AND..because we could-we did. Some of my children have disabilities, because of that- we could ask for help from the state..i.e. medical/dental/behavioral, social security, etc. We could but we haven't. Simply because we feel that those programs should be there for people that NEED them and can not afford them.  We didn't need-we didn't ask..we don't want. We thought that we were doing the right thing, the responsible thing.  

  Back in December, when we signed up for insurance (I had been trying since October-logging on and filling out form after form-only to have the website erase it..until I finally wised up and did the application by phone)...the nice people on the government site said  "Your children may qualify for insurance through the state, therefore, you can not place them on yours-The state will contact you about it." (That's even in text-when I log on to my page on the site)...Except January came along and I hadn't heard anything.  So, I went to the nice people on the government website and said

 "The state hasn't contacted me-what do I do? More importantly-what if my kids get sick?"
"We sent your application over to the state-in the meantime, just give the doctor their social security number and it will show that they are covered." "But we don't know if they are covered." "The state will contact you and let you know."
  Somehow, call it sixth sense-that just didn't make me feel I called the state...and after being on hold for 48 minutes-  Guess what? They have no idea who my kids are-they haven't received anything from the government site AND they said that giving out their social security number wouldn't prove anything-AND if I wanted coverage for my kids, I needed to come in and ..*sigh* fill out an application.

   So, I went back to the friendly people at the government website..and told them what the state said...and AGAIN asked what I should do if my kids gets sick! This time I was told about a free clinic-80 miles away. They also suggested that I go in to the state office and fill out the application to get my children approved. (you know-for the state benefits we haven't asked for) I said "I filled out an application with you!  You said you were sending it to the state because they might qualify-they said they have received-NOTHING! " "Well, we sent it. You should go in and fill out ANOTHER application." "But I just want to put them under our plan!"  "You can't do that-because they may qualify for the state funded plan." "But we don't want state funding!" "Well, you could file an application saying you don't want state aid-but it will take some time to be processed."  "But we don't even know if they qualify! "Then we suggest you go and fill out an application in person with the state."

 HOLY CRAP! Have I entered the Twilight Zone?  Is Rod Serling going to pop out from behind my sofa smoking a cigarette and talking about dimensions of applications and redundancy??!

 I decided to call the insurance "help line"...At that point-what did I have to lose besides my sanity? They said-"Oh the government doesn't really send much of anything to the state-you best go in and fill out the forms in person-you could do it on line...but if you want results-doing it in person will make it go faster."  "But what if one of my kids gets sick now?"  "Well, you could fill out an application with the state asking for your benefits to cover this time." "But we don't even know if they qualify!" "well, you will have to fill out an application to see if they do."

 I have officially and unwillingly landed in redundancy hell.  

  So....we went today- to the poop colored building...with about 100 other people( at the same exact time) and one receptionist....and we stood in a motionless line. I did not want to be there. The other people looked as if they did not want to be there...and the state workers?  They didn't seem to want to be there either..because after forty minutes or so, it was announced by the one receptionist "We only have four staff members here you might want to just go home and fill out an application on line." I ran out the door.

  Omar says that we should go back first thing on Monday morning. Me? Well, I'm thinking that private insurance may just be the way to go.  We might not get tax credit for it, it might cost us a small fortune each month-but my kids health needs will be covered...and really-whats one more application? 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Winter of my discontent...

~"There's one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbors."~
Clyde Moore

So..we came to the end of our Christmas holiday. Well we were supposed to yesterday..but things didn't work out as planned..Let me back up a little.  Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about wanting "Mike Holmes" for Christmas. It was mostly in jest. I mean, we certainly have had many many...*sigh* many contracting adventures..but,we are a lot better off than most.  Although I do believe that our very special stories of contractor hi-jinx and full off the wall shenanigans coupled with Omar's use of a steak knife as a multi-purpose tool would make for excellent television! Regardless-Mike Holmes was not waiting under our tree when we awoke on Christmas morning. Which was o.k.-as there were more important things to be had. 

  Heat and electricity. Two days before Christmas, we had a major ice storm.  Major. Most of my town, much of my state,  had lost their electricity for days...Everything was coated in ice...causing tree limbs to break and knock power lines down.  The trees were so bent over by ice that they looked as if they were swooning...or throwing up-depending on your perspective. We got through it...until the next storm..

Yes, just a day or so later (I've been stuck inside with four kids-so my sense of time is skewed) we had a major snow storm...again knocking out peoples power. (although not as bad as the ice storm) Leaving two feet of now over the already ice and snow covered ground. But we had a little bit of a warm spell right after-I think that it was 12 degrees..and I was able to have the boys shovel off the deck. Too much snow can make it collapse. I was also able to quickly run to the market and stock up on some much needed supplies.( Goldfish, milk and pizza.)

The kids were supposed to start back to school yesterday...*sigh* but I knew better.  I kept them home because..ANOTHER storm was coming! Yup-we got blasted with a HUGE blizzard like storm yesterday through this morning. I was smart in not waking the kids in order to bundle them into layers (it was -4) and send them into school because they would have turned around and come back home again.  School let out early..and was closed today.  So...because of the weather...I have spent the most part of two weeks INSIDE  the house...with four kids...three geriatric dogs..a couple of cats..and my anxiety.

 Normally, I'm a pretty happy go lucky kind of mom. I don't sweat the small stuff. I have lived and survived a major power outage (14 hours, Omar out of town, dog almost eating my chicken) But this time? I don't know...maybe it is the fact that the power line going into the house is encased in an icy pine branch-so that every time the wind blows-the power flickers. I swear it's taunting me!...(maybe I'll go off..yes, that's a good idea-long flicker-changed my mind! hahahahahaha)  Or that my furnace is very old...and it is having a terribly tough time keeping the house warm? Or that there is actual wind blowing in through all of  the electrical outlets...and every other crack (of which there are many) that it can find? That if the power goes out-we also lose heat and it is going to be -15 tonight?  I am pacing and anxious-just waiting for the worst to happen. I would have been an awful pioneer!  Do you remember that t.v. show- Little House on the Prairie? I can just imagine myself..."Pa?  do we have enough wood?" "Pa? are you sure that buffalo is cooked?"  "Pa? Those wolves look hungry-should we feed them Mary?" "Pa?  Why are you aiming your rifle at me?"  I never would have survived.

  It's supposed to be a balmy 18 degrees tomorrow. I am hoping that this heat wave will take away some of my anxiety...Not to give the wrong impression!  I do like Winter! I love snow and sledding..and enjoying the beauty of it all.  I wouldn't live here if I didn't. But I am growing weary of the abnormal cold and the never ending storm systems..of being stuck inside the house..and of THAT particular pine branch. I am very much looking forward to getting back into our routine of things...and to the kids getting back to school...or Spring.  whichever comes first.