Call your Senators

Pure anecdata, and I just said this on Twitter but sometimes I like to say things in more than one place: I just called both of my Senators, one a Democrat and one a Republican, and told their staffers that I needed them both to vote against the Senate healthcare bill.  Also said to the Democrat’s staffer (who sounded exhausted) that I expected him to do literally everything in his power to oppose it.

I got through to the Democrat’s office on the first try.  It took four to get through to the Republican’s office.  And damn near every single response to this tweet by Todd Young is anti-AHCA.  It’s amazing:

There’s a lot of weasel words in there, but I’m choosing to take a bit of solace in the fact that it’s not a full-throated endorsement of the bill.

This bill will hurt literally every person living in this country.  Every single one.  Get on the phones, folks, and make your voices heard.  The DC Senate switchboard is (202) 224-3121, but I find more luck getting ahold of actual people by calling the local offices.

GUEST POST: Anonymous Annoyances, by Jennifer

Today!  Jennifer from Growing Toward the Sun. 

I am supposed to be home today.  I hope to God I didn’t call the bride by the wrong name yesterday.

milton-phoneRaise your hand if you’ve ever had a problem with your insurance company, cable company or bank.

Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever resolved a problem with your insurance company, cable company or your bank.

Me neither.

I start out cautiously optimistic when I make the first customer service call and Phyllis from Blue Cross sounds completely competent. She assures me that my policy has been reinstated. Yeah right.

“Phyllis, are you sure? Because I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow,” I said.

Phyllis chuckles in response to my anxiety.

“Have you ever known an insurance company to run as anything less than a well-oiled machine?” she asked (in my head).

“Oh Phyllis, you’re such a card,” I retort (in my head).

But the next time I go to my doctor’s office and they won’t see me because my insurance was cancelled, I realize Phyllis is like all the rest. Making promises she can’t keep, knowing I will never ever ever ever get ahold of her again. Customer service agents are like burner phones. Their slogan is ‘One call and that’s all!’.

No accountability.

I reassure myself that everyone’s doing their best as I psych myself up for the next call. After all, growing toward the sun = assuming the best about people.

So the next time I call, I get a brand new person to tell my life story to. I always ask them if they can “look in the notes” to play catch up because I think that’s a thing, but they never act like it’s a thing. That’s fine, I tell myself, clean slate! This will be good.

I remind myself that:

1) this person is innocent (at least until you hang up and they screw you over, too) and

2) you need this person to help you and if you’re a jerk, they’re probably less inclined to do so

So I patiently explain to Travis that my policy has been canceled even though I paid my premium. Travis says he’s going to research the problem and call me back.

“Are you really going to call me back?” I ask, trust issues abound.

“Yes ma’am,” Travis answers.


“Can I get your extension in case I don’t hear from you?” I sounded like a thirsty first date trying to wrangle a second.

“No ma’am, unfortunately we don’t have extensions,” he replied.

Travis didn’t sound like he thought it was unfortunate. In fact, I’m willing to bet that this no extensions ruse is the only thing that keeps him showing up to the job each day. He hangs up and I’m some other chump’s problem.

And I bet he didn’t even put it in the notes.

In which I dodge a bullet

toddler-hoodie-rexHad a bad moment with the boy the other day.

He’s been throwing things lately.  This, in and of itself, isn’t such a big deal; toddlers throw things.  We encourage throwing when it’s a ball, so long as he’s throwing to and not at, and discourage throwing just about everything else.  Generally, something along the lines of “Don’t throw things!” or “We don’t throw books” or “You’ll hurt the dog” has been good enough to get him to stop.  Rarely– I mean, it, rarely— we have had to tell him twice.

He is almost 2 1/2, just for the record.

The other day, he threw his fork at dinnertime.  This earned a sharper reprimand than usual as throwing a metal fork is somewhat more dangerous than throwing many other objects.  We picked it up off the floor and gave it back to him and he threw it again.  This time, he missed my head by maybe an inch.

I… reacted somewhat strongly.  Verbally only, mind you, but more severely than perhaps he’s used to.  He was done eating anyway, so we washed him up and then told him to walk around the table and pick up his fork and give it to me.  Which he did– mostly.  He walked around the table.  He picked up the fork from the ground.  I held out my had for him to give it to me.

And he gets this look on his face.

Oh hell no, boy.  Don’t you even think what you’re thinking right now, because goddammit I’ve never spanked a kid in my life and I swear to god I may not be able to stop myself if you throw a fork at my face right now.

Out comes the teacher voice.

“Give.  The fork.  To me.  Now.”

He very clearly spends a moment considering his options, and hands me the fork.

Which… good, because I really didn’t know where I was going after that, and heading into a potential You Really Need to Understand I’m Serious Right Now moment without a game plan is never a good idea, either in my classroom or in my house.  I’m ambivalent about spanking right now; I don’t see that in general it’s going to do much good with a 2-year-old who wouldn’t know what “I’m going to spank you if you do that” even means, and in general I’d prefer to never hit my kid.  But given a choice between hit my kid and have him believe that throwing sharp things in my face is okay… well, I’d prefer to dodge the issue altogether and not have to face that choice, actually.

I may need to spend some time reading up on discipline with toddlers.

You remember the tree that came down in the storm, right?  Our insurance company estimated the cost to have it cut up and hauled away at $700, which doesn’t hit our deductible.  The first estimate we got was two grand, and even getting that guy out to look at our shit was a huge pain in the ass because of all the much-more-important bigger jobs that were available all around the northern part of the state.

I’ve got a guy coming out tomorrow who will do the job for $575.  Which is nowhere near $2000, and makes me very freaking happy.

Cue the normal concerns that you have when you get lowballed, of course, but if they do the job well I’m going to be recommending the guy to everyone I know.  I may knock down other people’s trees to drum up more work for him.