Sunday, May 22, 2011

10 Shopping Days Left

I'm so glad I started blogging again just in time to post my birthday wish list.

And this is a big birthday, my friends--the Big 5-0--so please be sure to give your shopping the thought and attention it deserves.

  1. Diet Coke, of course.
  2. Dakota, by Kathleen Norris. I know it's old, but I haven't read it yet, and she's one of my favorite authors.Dakota: A Spiritual Geography
  3. My left eyebrow, a portion of which is missing in action due to one of my many mental illnesses, trichotillomania.
  4. Our soldiers to come home from Afghanistan and Iraq.
  5. Some good tequila.
  6. Soft pj's, no buttons.
  7. A job for my friend Vicki
  8. Music for my I-Pod:Plain White T's Rhythm of Love;
  9. Martini glasses. Maybe something along the lines of this, or this. Or--surprise me!
  10. Innocent, by Scott Turow--also one of my favorite authors.Innocent  
  11. A Pandora bracelet. I made a wish list but I couldn't get it to open.
  12. [I cannot figure out how to put in a new paragraph without numbering it]. So now you have all you need to show me some love.
  13. But the simplest way to show me some birthday love, as always, is to leave me comments on my blog.

  14. Go!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Me and the Department of Public Health

I just got off the phone with the Department of Public Health. The conversation went like this:

Woman with a Heavy Asian Accent: Hi, this is mumble mumble from mumble mumble. I need to ask you some questions about C. Peevie. He was seen in the ER recently and was diagnosed with varicella?

Me: Yes, he had chicken pox. Wait a minute, who is this?

WHAA: This is mumble mumble from the Department of Public Health. We have to make a report when we get notified that someone has had chicken pox. Can I ask you some questions?

Me: Um, OK.

WHAA: Mumble mumble varicella mumble mumble General Hospital mumble.

Me: Yes, that's correct. He was seen in the ER at Lutheran General Hospital.

WHAA: Does he still have fever? Does he still have spots? Did he go back to school?

Me: No, he hasn't had any fever for about a week. Yes, he has spots, but they are scabbed over. And yes, he went back to school yesterday.

WHAA: Does anyone else at the school have chicken pox?

Me: How would I know?

WHAA: What school does he go to?

Me: Jones.

WHAA: Do you have the phone number?

Me: No, but I'm sure you could look it up.

WHAA: So you don't know if anyone else at the school has chicken pox?

Me: No.

WHAA: Do you know where he was exposed to chicken pox? Do any of his friends have it?

Me: No, I don't know where he got it from, and as far as I know, his friends do not have it.

WHAA: Did your son hang out with his friends after he got chicken pox? Where did he go? What did he do?

Me: Yes, we took him to several restaurants and had him cough on the salad bar; and then we went to a day care center and had him hug all the children and rub his arms all over the stuffed animals.

WHAA: What?

Me: No, he did not go out after he was diagnosed. But the day before he was diagnosed, he went to church.

WHAA: Does anyone at church show symptoms?

Me: I don't know.

The WHAA asked me a bunch more questions about our household and vaccination status, and then said

WHAA: OK, thank you. We'll call you back if we have more questions for our report.

Me: OK! Because clearly, this conversation will go a long way to stopping the spread of disease and keeping the Public safe and healthy.

Here's what the Department of Public Health should have asked:

When did he start showing symptoms?
When did he get diagnosed?
Where did he go and who did he have contact with in the three days prior to showing symptoms and before getting diagnosed? And then she should have tried to obtain contact information for those people and places.

That would give them information that they could actually use to protect public health.

But, hey, what do I know?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Twelve THOUSAND dollars

Mr. Peevie and I are trying to impress on C. Peevie the importance of getting good grades in high school. He's a good student, but not as good as he has the potential to be.

My colleague Shawty was telling me that her son ShawtySpawn had qualified for a significant scholarship at the private liberal arts college he would be attending in the fall. They received a letter from the financial aid office charting the relationship between grade point average and scholarship amount, and she showed it to me.

"If his grade point average had been .2 higher," she said, "he would have qualified for $4,000 more per year."

"Can I have a copy of that letter?" I asked. "I want to show it to C. Peevie."

So I brought the letter home to use as an object lesson to motivate my gifted but distractable #1 son to kick his academics into high gear.

"Look at this, C. Peevie," I said, thrusting the letter in his face. "This is from my friend Shawty at work. Her son is getting a scholarship, which is great. But if his GPA had been .2 higher, he would have qualified for $4,000 more per year."

I paused for dramatic effect.

"Four thousand dollars per year," I said. "That's twelve THOUSAND dollars."

I waited for the significance to sink in. C. Peevie waited for the part of my brain that does math to catch up.

It didn't catch up.

"Is he only going to school for three years, then?" C. "Smarty-Pants" Peevie asked innocently. It took me a full minute to get it.

"Sixteen THOUSAND dollars!" I corrected myself, but it was too late. "Crap."

"You just ruined your entire point," C. Peevie laughed.

Mr. Peevie was sitting nearby, shaking his head, as he often does when I attempt to do math.

"Did you even go to college?" he asked.

Well, I did, but you don't learn simple multiplication in college. Apparently I was absent that day in third grade.