Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Solitary Confinement

Who are we to understand the great minds that govern our children in the public school system?
During most of last week our oldest was ill with the original, one-and-only, everybody’s favorite…flu. Not the stomach flu, but the flu that killed millions of Europeans a life time or two ago. (It’s a good thing she isn’t European…or Californian for that matter—everything seems to kill those folks off e.g. paint thinner, rubber cement, shampoo, Tootsie Rolls….) As such, we found it prudent to keep her contagious little self at home.

It wasn’t until Friday, when her temperature hit 104˚ that we took her to the doctor to discover the wonderful news. The doctor did say that she should be able to return to school on Monday. Yesterday was Monday and we sent her to school because she was feeling better. Little did we know that the school has a little policy that I like to call “My PhD qualifies me.” (See. It’s framed, hanging on the wall. I know children. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.) Because our daughter had missed three consecutive days of school, she was not allowed to sit with her class during lunch. (Hello! She’s with them in the classroom!) In the lunch room they have a special reserved spot for kids who have missed three days or more of school. Our daughter had to eat at a small little table all by herself so that no one would come in contact with her germs. School lunch time is the only time the kids have to interact with each other outside of class (recess does not exist in Lubbock). So her first day back was not the best day back.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Conspiracy Theory or Incompetent?

Now, I’m not too proud to accept government assistance when the need should arise. Throughout the history of my married life we I have seen my family use food stamps, WIC and Medicaid. Whenever our situation improved, we moved on from needing to rely on these services. After all, I pay taxes like everyone else (should), the service is there, and I don’t feel that I’ve abused the service.

Now that brings me to the point of my discussion. I am a full time student working part time (a first for me in my married life of not working full time). As such, I only make a portion of what I need for my family to subside on (enter the student loans to subsidize the event). Premiums for healthcare through Texas Tech are $650.00/month for my family and that doesn’t even include dental. (Keep in mind that this insurance is offered through the State of Texas…the largest employer of the State and this is the best rates they could get…)

Which brought me to the point of applying for CHIP to at least get some coverage for my children. Our application process started in the first week of October. To make the long story not quite so long, we had a series of back-and-forth correspondences (via phone and mail) about “missing information” on our application. Each time we spoke to someone on the phone they were able to “magically” find the missing information. Three times we received a notice in the mail that the information we had given them was incomplete. Three times we talked to them on the phone to resolve the problem. (side note- all mail correspondences from them were addressed to me yet the one time I tried calling to complain, I was told that my name was not on the approved contact list and therefore I had no right to discuss the matter with them.) This prompted me to write a letter of complaint to the “powers that be” at TexCare. Come to find out later that this letter was being used against us. We finally found one customer service rep (Pam) that was trying to help us and told us what she perceived has happened and notified us that because I work for the State, my application would have to be sent over to the SKIP department. This was all back in December.

In the middle of January, we received word from Pam, who told us that our application was being denied and to expect a letter shortly explaining the reasons. She gave us tips on how to appeal the decision. The letter arrived, but it never specified why our application had been denied. We followed Pam’s instructions and sent the letter in. Today we received a new letter stating that our children were ineligible because they were covered by another insurance. (Presumably by my former employer in Utah, who dropped our insurance when we moved to Texas.)

So four months later my kids still do not have any medical coverage and I don’t foresee anything happening in the future. Granted, certain government operated agencies have a bad rap, but I think this one ranks in more ways than one.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Is Your Cash Greener?

When we were closer to my in-laws (proximity) we often took advantage of their Sam’s Club membership and spent loads of money at the store in Provo. Shortly after we arrived here my wife purchased a membership at the local Sam’s Club and we have been there a time or two. However, one of the absurdities of life that I encountered today was at the hands of Sam’s Club. This morning we had some errands to run, one which landed us at Sam’s Club shortly after 9:00am. Little did we know at the time that our money is not valid at Sam’s Club at this hour, even though they are open for business.

Apparently this special early time is reserved for those who have purchased the extra-special membership. Hence, they are rewarded with extra-special time for them to shop. I guess in Sam’s Club’s special little world, money only has value if and when the Zodiac gives the thumbs up, which to the rest of us poor folk often gets interpreted as the bird.

Our only hope is for Sylvester McMonkey McBean to take over management of Sam’s Club because he has always shown his indifference to us Sneetches on the beaches. One fool’s money or wooden nickel is just as good as the next. Isn’t that what economics is all about?

Sunday, January 01, 2006


The sky is angry today. I’m not sure what I’ve done to upset her. She has been yelling at me for some time and I do not expect her to calm down anytime soon. As a result the rest of the inhabitants of Lubbock are made to suffer at her hands. If she were to start crying I’m sure her makeup would run into a muddy blend of the same earth tones that she normally looks so good in because it matches her blue eye shadow. Her sharp words are probably peeling the paint off homes and shingles off the roof tops. I was forewarned about her temper before I moved here and I merely brushed the news aside.

Because she has not cried for so long, the land begs for a quenched thirst she sees fit to mock by staging her fit from the west which has aggravated the condition and has left visibility to less than ½ a mile. I have no more diamonds to give, no flowers to offer, not even a measly chicken to sacrifice (if I thought that would help I would go steal one). I will wait out the storm and hope that I do not end up on an uncharted desert isle.