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Friends Only? Well....

This journal is, for the most part, public. That is to say, most of what I have to say is visible to whomever wants to read it.

Certain posts will be locked to friends only, such as posts where I talk about anything work-related, how I'm going to be out of town for 3 days, or the secret location of the stash of gold bars I have buried in my back yard under the tool shed.

Unfortunately, I have had to restrict who can comment thanks to being inundated by spam comments.

If you friend me, chances are I'll friend you back. after I determine you're not a robot or spammer. Or after my gold bars. MWAH Haha! You'll never find them.

If I friend you and you don't want to friend me back, no sweat.

Note that many of the posts here are cross-posted from my WordPress site, but a good number are not. Generally, you can tell because there's text telling you it's cross-posted. :)

Idiots


Wow. So part 7, huh? Amazing. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

When last we heard from Our Intrepid Hero™ (me), on January 27th, 2014, I had gone to the orthopedist and had my first appointment, where we . . .

Wait. Let's review a couple of tiny things. From Part 1:
About 45 minutes later, I made it to my doctor. He had me put the arm through some moves that hurt, and he manipulated it.

No broken bones. No torn muscles. No broken, torn, or detached tendons. No rotator cuff injury (which is what I truly feared).
Emphasis added for irony purposes.

And from Part 2:
The doctor at the time told me that it was not broken, nor did I have any sort of rotator cuff injury, which were the two things I was most concerned about.
Emphasis once again added for irony purposes.

Why am I mentioning how my original doctor told me there were no tendon or rotator cuff injuries? [This right here is called "suspense," dear reader. Watch how it works.]

The day after my first visit to the orthopedist, we had what we here in the south like to call Icemageddon. It snowed about 2 inches, but because it was juuuuuust warm enough, that snow melted and instantly formed an inch or more of ice on our roads. And because Reasons, Atlanta shut down for two days. Most businesses in affected areas were shut down for three days.

Because of that, I decided to give Some Woman at Some Company the benefit of the doubt, and I didn't disturb either her or the doctor. I assumed that since my doctor's office had spoken directly with her, that Gears Were Set In Motion and that Things Would Be Happening.

I heard that. You laughed. No, don't bother to deny it, I heard you distinctly.

Then, about two weeks later, we had Icemageddon II: The Return of Solid Precipitation. This time, rather than snowing in a nice, pretty, picturesque way, ol' Mother Nature decided to just get it out of the way and sleet1 for two straight days. Atlanta was shut down once more for three days.

The following week when I returned to work, I called the doctor's office, and found out that — can you guess? — they had never heard from Some Woman. In fact, they had been — can you guess? — unable to get through to her.

I called Some Woman, expecting to get her voice mail, as per usual. Imagine my shock when she answered the phone. I asked her — politely — if she had called the doctor's office. Keep in mind that this was the third week after my visit, and the doctor's office calling, because all they needed was an approval for an MRI, and information on where to send me for said MRI. She was very polite. Bright and sunny. And she said, "I tried to call them last week, but their office was closed because of the snow. And I haven't contacted them yet this week because I'm giving them time to get caught up."

I'm pretty sure I must have had a small stroke at this point, because I cannot trust the fact that Some Woman actually spoke these words to me. Honestly. Has anyone in history ever been less aware of how stupid they sound? So, maybe we had this conversation, and maybe I hallucinated the entire thing. I'd almost rather believe the latter.

In my most chipper, friendly tone, I thanked her(!) and hung up. I then penned a very carefully worded email to my HR department explaining the problem. Unlike every other time I had done this, I got no response. None. Nada. Zilch. Crickets chirping.

I spoke to Some Woman again that Wednesday, and she said she had faxed them the information. I called my doctor and they had no record of any fax. I asked them to get in touch with her and handle it.

Then, finally, on Friday, the 28th of February, I got a call from my doctor's office, saying that they had finally managed to get the information from Some Woman.

I will stress, here, that the only thing my doctor's office needed, at this point, was a "Yes, send the patient to Facility X for an MRI." That's it. But it took Some Woman thirty-three days to do that.

Thirty. Fucking. Three.

From that point, I got rapid-fire calls from Facility X's HQ in New Jersey, and we set up the MRI for the next week, at one of their facilities near me, on Wednesday. It was so unbelievably refreshing to deal with someone who not only proactively dealt with getting me what I needed, but seemed to actually care.

I had the MRI. I then scheduled a visit with the doctor to tell me what the images meant.

The astute reader will recall the element of suspense that I (subtly) created earlier by highlighting excerpts from prior posts in this series in which I specifically stated that my original doctor said there was nothing broken, no tendon damage, and no rotator cuff damage.

You already know that the x-ray showed a healed compression fracture, i.e., a broken bone.

When I stood behind the doctor as he looked at the MRI results, he pointed at a bright blob and said, "See this tendon? The insertion is supposed to be —" he pointed several centimeters to the left "— over here. And see this?" He pointed at another bright blob. "That's your rotator cuff, which is pretty badly torn." The blob, which should be in the shape of a cup around the ball of the humerus bone was . . . a blob, crumpled in the back of the socket joint.

No wonder my shoulder hurts. No wonder the PT didn't help. So as much as I hate to admit it . . . the PT was, indeed, medically unnecessary. Just not for the bullshit reason I was given ("returned to full duty at work").

He recommended surgery. He then said, "Sometimes, I go in and it turns out there's too much damage, and there's nothing I can do. About once out of every 50 surgeries, that happens."

That's pretty good odds, from my point of view.

So, where are we, now? We're waiting on Some Woman at Some Company to 'approve' my surgery, so we can go ahead and schedule it. I lobbed the ball of Your Responsibility for doing that over the net to my doctor's office yesterday (March 12, 2014).

Anyone have any bets how long I'll have to wait?


  1. I made a really cool, short video of it and posted it to my YouTube channel, if you're interested in seeing what it looked and sounded like. It was quite pretty, actually. It's about 15 seconds.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

What's in a Name?

Bookkeeping


Why 'kaasirpent? Why 'Prose and Kaa'? I'm sure these questions have been plaguing you since at least the length of this very sentence. Maybe longer. Maybe as far back as three sentences! :)

The answer is a bit odd, perhaps.

This got long and rambly. For the short version, don't click this.Collapse )

I adore The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. Adore. It. So I went through the characters, trying to roleplay them: Mowgli, Shere Khan, Bagheera, and Baloo, before finally settling on Kaa, the snake.

I'm big into puns, see. And on TinyTIM, I could use that to my advantage. I programmed myself to hissss everything, sso that anything I ssaid came out like thiss, with all my ssibilantss doubled. I worked out ways a snake could shrug and do other actions, and I went to the (online) party.

I sort of never went back to S'thel. I created another character called Kaa, moved to it, and left S'thel for special Weyr occasions.

In essence, I became Kaa sometime in the late fall or early winter of 1991. And I have used Kaa, KaaSerpent, or some variation of it every since. Chances are, if you see a 'kaa' or 'kaaserpent' user on a forum, there's a very good chance it's me.

Then, in 2003, I noticed that the usual crowd on TIM was getting smaller and smaller. The conversations we were having were becoming disjointed. I was hearing the second half of conversations people had obviously started elsewhere. I asked.

"Oh, it's this 'blog' called LiveJournal. We're all over there. You should check it out." (By all, they meant some fifty or sixty people.)

I resisted. I had nothing to say, really. I had an old website some TIM-friends were hosting on their server for free, but it was full of rants and drivel, updated weekly or more. It was 'kaa.trippy.org,' and it's still there if you're masochistic enough to go look for it.

So I finally had to come to LiveJournal. I wanted 'kaa,' but some Russian guy had, annoyingly, already taken it. Then my love of puns came out. Instead of getting 'kaaserpent,' I thought to myself that 'kaa serpent' sounded like a name and title. Kaa, Sir Pent. It's like a (really awful) pun. Which was all I needed.

And thus, kaasirpent was born.

A few years later (2008ish) when I got serious about writing fiction again, my love for puns came out again when I was redesigning my theme for LiveJournal. I needed a name for the blog. Before this it had been "Kaa's Lair" (yawwwwn).

I liked writing. I liked Kaa. I liked puns. I liked ranting about stuff. So, "pros and cons" became "Prose and Kaa."

And thus endeth my (extremely long and rambly and probably very boring — I'm sorry) story about How My Blog Got Its Name.

I have three blogs. The stories of those are here (Philosophidian) and here (WriteWright), respectively. This was the longest one, I promise. The other two are quite short and sweet and to the point.


This post is in response to The Writer's Post Blog Hop 2014 #4 prompt, Explain the Name of Your Blog. The host is Suzy Que. Other entries are linked from her blog post.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

#UpperLipProblems

Rant
via Tumblr http://bit.ly/18Zc5t7 by pds209, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  pds209 

This will probably only make sense to the small percentage of you who have facial hair. Specifically, facial hair on your upper lip, which some spell 'mustache' and others spell 'moustache.' I like the latter one, myself, but I think it's more a stylistic choice than anything else.

Kind of like facial hair.

I have what most people think of as a goatee, but the goatee is only the chin part; I have a Van Dyke.

No, it doesn't mean I trip over ottomans or have a really atrocious Cockney accent.

Anyhoo . . .

Maybe it's just me, or maybe it's everyone with hair on their upper lip. I sometimes have . . . issues. The kind of issues that people without hair residing directly under their nose probably won't really sympathize with.

I'll quit mincing around it: When I eat certain foods, I smell them for the rest of the day. There. I said it. No amount of rinsing in any temperature of water seems to get rid of these odors, and sometimes it's just not practical to shampoo your face at work. And even soap doesn't seem to solve the problem. Only a shower.

So I go around all day smelling the maddeningly enticing odor of maple syrup or butter. I don't know what it is about those two foods in particular, but they seem to be the only two that never die out, no matter when I eat them. I'll still be smelling them when I go to bed, even if I've washed my face a dozen times during the day.

This is why I don't eat waffles more often. Unless it's before my shower, of course. Waffles are my Van Dykryptonite.

My point in sharing this? I . . . don't have one. I just felt the desire to complain about something that annoys me, and LiveJournal beckoned. And I had corn on the cob with butter for lunch. Do the math.

Or maybe part of me is hoping other people will comment, "Oh, hey, I, too, possess a hirsute upper lip and experience similar problems."

Or maybe it was just to get the phrase "Van Dykryptonite" onto an unsuspecting Internet.

At any rate, I now return you to your regular Internet, already in progress.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

DIAF


Tonight (1/31/2014) was either Chinese New Year or the start of a week-long Chinese New Year celebration, depending on what source you subscribe to. That being the case, we decided to go to our favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner. For the record, it's called Golden Palace, and it's off Riverside Parkway at the corner where it crosses Duluth Highway / S. R. 120 in Lawrenceville. Mmm, tasty.

I've been going in there regularly for going on 14 years. My housemate and I go in there about once per week. When friends come to town, I often take them there if they're in the mood for Chinese food. They know us, I know them. If we don't come, they ask us where we've been when we do come in.

We have a "usual table."

This is all just to set the scene.

The family that runs it works like dogs. The daughter ("Min") takes calls, does the cash register, and takes orders. Her brother ("Dai") delivers and takes orders. Dai's wife waits tables. The mom and dad work in the kitchen. Cousins, nieces, nephews . . . they're all in there from time to time. And they do this 7 days per week, every week, year-round, minus a day or two.

Tonight we went in, and someone had our usual table, so we sat at our second usual table (Did I mention we're regulars?). We ordered from a kid we've seen around a time or two. We figure he's a cousin or nephew in town for Chinese New Year. We could be entirely wrong.

We get our hot tea, soup, and appetizers. Dai brings his 8-month-old daughter over to our table so we can exclaim over how adorable she is (and she totally is).

While we're slurping soup, I hear Min on the phone with a customer. This is a normal occurrence. They do most of their evening business in take-out and delivery. But when Min said, "I'm sorry, we don't take credit cards over the phone," we perked up. Since when? We order all the time and pay with a credit card.

We heard Min arguing with someone for several minutes. She'd put them on hold, take another order, and then switch back and continue to argue. Finally, it got quiet. She came over to our table. Carrying the wireless phone.

She asked very apologetically if one of us could get on the line with this particular customer and please explain that the restaurant doesn't deliver to their area. Yvonne (my housemate) and I looked at each other, and I reached for the phone.

I pressed "Talk." Busy signal. They had hung up. But never fear, it rang again while I was holding it and Min looked at the Caller ID and nodded and then retreated from the table.

"Hello?" I said, then remembered, Oh, right, this is a restaurant. "Golden Palace."

"Oh, thank goodness," said a laughing woman. There was a muffled sound of conversation and laughter, and then a man's voice came on. Without preamble, I said, "I'm sorry, but we don't deliver to your area, anymore."

"What? That's crazy. Where are you located?" asked the man.

"We're at —" and my brain shut down. Luckily, Yvonne's did not. "Riverside Parkway," she whispered. "Riverside Parkway and 120," I finished.

"But, I don't understand," said the man. "Lawrenceville isn't that big. I'm from Miami." (I don't know, either.)

"I'm sorry," I said, and tried to mean it. "We just don't deliver to your area." (I had no idea what area that was, but I was reasonably certain that they do deliver to it.)

He tried to badger me a little and I just kept repeating that we no longer deliver to his area, and he finally hung up. And didn't call back.

After our main courses came, Min came over to the table and explained what was going on.

Seems that this man and his wife are staying at a hotel on the other side of Lawrenceville. They're from Miami (as stated) and don't have a car. So they order in. They called the first time and asked, "Are you guys from China?" When Min said they were, the wife said, "Oh good, because we don't want any American Chinese food. We want the real thing."1 They then ordered, and Dai delivered it. They paid cash. No problem.

Then they ordered again a couple of days later. Paid with either a check or credit card, I didn't get which. Again, Dai delivered to them. But this time, they called the restaurant a while later. "We ordered the chicken fried rice with no vegetables and the <some other dish> with no vegetables, and these have vegetables. We already ate them, but we think you should fix the order."

She complied, because they were really jerky, and she wanted them off the phone. They continued to do this night after night after night. They would call, Min would take their order, and Dai would deliver, and then they'd say something was wrong or that it never arrived, or that it was cold, and demand free replacement food.

The third or fourth time it happened, Min wrote out their exact order, the phone number and address, their names, and had them sign it before Dai left. They still tried to get away with free food. The badgering got so bad, Min told us they were keeping her on the phone for thirty minutes at a time, for up to two hours every night. Arguing about free food. Meanwhile, she's trying to run a business and take orders and seat customers, etc.

She told us that they had made some remarks about how the owners of the restaurant probably drove a bigger car and lived in a bigger house than this Miami douchebag and his douchenozzle wife. Very insulting stuff. And would demand to speak to someone who "spoke English."2

Which is where we came in. They know us well enough that they were comfortable asking us to do this. I wish I'd known the full story when I spoke to Mr. Douchebag and Mrs. Douchenozzle. I might been a little firmer.

Min said they seemed to be playing restaurants off each other, as well. Sometimes, they'd call, and it would be for another Chinese restaurant, like they couldn't remember which one they were trying to scam. When Min finally quit answering Douchebag's phone, he got Mrs. Douchenozzle to call from her phone. Or they'd call using the hotel phone.

After Min told us most of this, and where they were staying, I said, "But there are so many restaurants down there that they could walk to. Mexican, Italian, a burger place, a pub —"

"But if they did that, they'd have to pay. And all of those places speak English." This also explained the 'Are you from China' thing. They wanted to make sure no one there actually spoke English as a native language.

It was at this point that I wanted to punch Mr. Douchebag and Mrs. Douchenozzle in their stuck-up, bigoted, prejudiced, asshole faces. I was so mad, my hands were shaking. I'm not normally a violent person, but I might actually have done so if they'd been there trying to pull this crap in person. The nerve of people to try to get free food by pulling this kind of scam. And to be so obnoxiously racist while doing it was just icing on the asshole cake.

They never called back while we were in there. A good hour and a half. I hope they don't call back. Min said she couldn't block the number because they just kept on calling from different numbers.

May they soon go back to Miami whence they came, and trouble the good, hard-working Chinese restaurateurs of Lawrenceville no more. (And what I mean by this is "die in a fire, scumbags.")

[My guess is that they do this wherever they travel, picking on Asian restaurants. My bet is that they almost never have to pay for more than one or two meals. And I hope they choke on their chow mein.]



  1. It should be stated for the record that Golden Palace is very much an "American" Chinese restaurant. It is not authentic in any way, shape, or form, other than that the people who own and operate it are, in fact, native Chinese people. The food is very good, or at least we think so.
  2. I should also note, here, that Min has a distinct accent, but we get probably 95% of what she says, and we ask her to repeat if we don't. Dai . . . is less fluent, and we get maybe 60% to 70% of what he says, but we try to clarify, and context helps. Communication happens, and that's all that matters.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Medical, Caduceus
Evil emoticon by wstera2, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  wstera2 


For those who don't hang on my every syllable, here are the other several parts in my ongoing saga: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

You knew there was going to be another part, didn't you? I certainly did. Because why should anything be over when it's over?

So, first things first: Story time!

This is long, but it does at least tangentially relate to the rest of the post. So you should probably click it.Collapse )

Why did I tell that story? It will soon become obvious.

So. Back in October, we left our intrepid hero (me) with physical therapy appointments, finally. After a long, drawn out battle. I had my first six PT appointments. They seemed to help. I had a lot of exercises to do, and they all hurt like heck. But I did them.

And after six visits, it still hurt like heck, but there was a bit more mobility. But Some Company had approved "eight to ten," so we still had a little wiggle room. So we scheduled six more, and I went back to my doctor to get another order for PT, which he gladly gave me.

Fast forward to the tenth PT visit. Melissa told me that Some Company had told them they weren't paying for any more visits after the sixth one, because they had only approved eight to ten. (Don't think about this too long. I did, and I lost 7 IQ points, permanently. But I still remember Gilligan's Island episodes. Can't ever get rid of something that doesn't matter. But I digress.)

I pointed out that they had said "eight to ten," and that six is not equal to either eight or ten, based on my many years of mathematics. I mean, I'm not a nuclear physicist, but this is fairly easy math. But apparently not for Some Company.

We cancelled my last two appointments until they could straighten everything out, and Melissa said they had also sent in my doctor's request for six more.

I spoke to Jane in HR about the whole thing, and she once again got everyone involved, and Some Company said that they would, indeed, pay for ten full visits. Once we explained the math to them. And I don't even mean that facetiously. Jane had to actually say, "You said 'eight to ten,' and he had six, after which you refused to pay for any more. Six is not 'eight to ten.' He's had four more, and by your own agreement, you should pay for them."

But still nothing about the approval for the remaining ones my doctor felt were needed.

Then I got The Letter. <ominous chord>

In The Letter <ominous chord>, I was informed that a doctor I have never met in my life reviewed my case and decided that since I "had returned to work at full duty" (which I never left, I might add), further therapy was "not medically necessary," and that they would not be covering the last two visits, nor would they be covering any subsequent visits. Further, my case was closed, and that was the end of it, as far as Some Company was concerned.

I . . . might have exploded. All over anyone in audible distance. I . . . might have used some of those words I didn't use in 8th grade. I might, indeed, have invented a few new ones. And I might have marched, letter in hand, to HR.

The next email from HR — after Jane talked with Some Company and others — was that Some Company would be paying for the final two visits. They I would request my PT for a referral to an orthopedist. And we would go from there.

So, I asked the PT for a referral.

Crickets. When I finally got hold of them again (another week went by because I thought maybe they were mailing it), they said they didn't do that, and that Melissa was no longer employed there, and who was I again? I would have to talk with my regular doctor.

I went a few rounds on the phone with his office staff, as well, and basically found out that I can't trust his office staff to give him messages.

Finally, in frustration, I contacted HR again and got them to send me a list of 'approved' orthopedists. I picked one and made my own damned appointment.

Which was yesterday at 3 pm.

The first question he asked me was, "Has your elbow been x-rayed?" I said it had not. He made some remark under his breath that I didn't quite catch, and then sent me to get an x-ray.

They x-rayed my elbow. And developed the film. And put it up on the light box.

And from all the way across the goddamned room, I could see . . . something.

He called me closer. "Do you see this little dark line right here?" He pointed. I said I did. "That is the sign of a healed compression fracture. That's why your elbow has been hurting."

He said that fractures like this "always heal" and that the treatment is basically to keep using it as normal so you get full movement once it heals. But it would continue to hurt for 3 to 12 months. I assured him that I had been using the arm as normally as I could given the pain. He said that was good.

Well, that's nice to know.

He then wanted to schedule me for an MRI of my shoulder. Which meant I had to call Some Woman at Some Company and get that approved. I called, and it went directly to her voice mail.

Much amaze. So expect. Wow. I didn't even bother leaving a message.

A few minutes later, as I was checking out and the receptionist was getting ready to call Some Woman themselves, my cell phone rang. It was Some Woman! OMG! First call I've ever gotten back! Alas, I was so shocked that she had called me that I didn't manage to answer. But we knew she was at her desk. So the receptionist ("Martha") called her and got on the phone with her!

The conversation, edited to remove the back-and-forth between me and the receptionist, went something like this:

Receptionist: Hi, this is Martha at Orthopedists R Us. I have one of your clients in my office, and we need to schedule an MRI for him. . . . [Kaa] . . . his right shoulder. . . . He made the appointment himself; there was no referral. . . . He says he got our name from a list of approved medical professionals from his workers comp representative at work. . . . Martha . . . Orthopedists R Us. . . . [Kaa] . . . his right shoulder . . .

And it went on. Then, Some Woman apparently said she'd have to call back and let them know where to send me for the MRI.

Martha said she would let me know if and when Some Woman called her back. [I should note here, for the record, that the doctor and the nurse and the receptionist were all scandalized when I told them about the sixty days Some Company made me wait before getting PT. Apparently, that is not normal. My mishandling of the initial doctor visit is probably what it all stems from. Had I gone to an orthopedist from the get-go . . . but hindsight is 20/20.]

That was yesterday at 4 pm.

Another part of Jane's email from work says this: "Katie (the My Company workers comp program manager) will oversee / ensure that Some Woman is facilitating the approval in a timely manner."

What that said to me was that someone is now watching over Some Company and Some Woman in particular, and that I may finally get some reaction from them on a timely enough basis to do something about.

What? Why are you laughing? That's not very polite.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Dinner and a Show

Strange, Bizarre, Weird, Odd
It turns out, reports of my death or abandonment of this blog are premature. :) I've just been . . . I was going to say 'too busy,' but that's both true and misleading. I've been busy doing other things. Not too busy; I simply haven't made time for blogging.

Last night (Christmas night), my housemate and I drove back from my mother's house where we spent Christmas, and hit Atlanta at just the right time for dinner. Sure, it was a Wednesday night, which is usually not all that crowded. But it was also Christmas night, meaning there were only a few places open, and they would all be crawling alive with people.

Still, we thought, "What the heck?" and tried one of the ones we knew to be open.

Upon hearing, "There's approximately a ninety-minute wait," we high-tailed it out of there and across town to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Golden Palace.

It was also "crawling alive" in that, instead of ours being one of maybe four tables occupied, there were three times that. (They do most of their business in take-out and delivery.)

We sat directly under the TV, which was blaring sitcoms that I neither recognized or cared to recognize. As we walked past "our" table (we almost always sit in the same place), I noticed it was occupied by a scruffy-looking guy in green pants, a red-and-green jacket, and a hat.

A few minutes after we ordered and shortly before we got our food, I heard it. Over the sound of the TV above our table. Over the sound of the canned music. Over the sound of the small TV behind the counter that the owners' (grand)kids watch ("WHOOOO LIVES IN A PINEAPPLE UNDER THE SEEEEEEA? SPONGEBOB! SQUAREPANTS!")

"Oh! Oh, this is the best food!" Followed by a lot of other exclamations of similar manner. It was the man in green pants I had noticed in "our" booth.

Mr. Stonedbob Greenpants.

Within five minutes, the entire restaurant had cleared. Yvonne and I were the only people left other than him. The kids behind the counter had been shuttled into the back of the restaurant and the Spongebob Squarepants episode turned off.

His exclamations turned to having a conversation with . . . no one. I half-stood in our booth and looked: no one was sitting with him. But he was clearly hearing and having a three-way conversation with voices that the rest of us couldn't hear. In these days of ubiquitous cell phones and Bluetooth, I reluctantly wrote it off as him being on the phone.

It was pretty innocuous. Until.

He started trying to drag the poor lady behind the counter into his "conversation." I noticed he didn't have his phone out, nor was he wearing anything easily identifiable as a Bluetooth accessory.

He addressed the cashier, tried to talk to her, but by this point, it was gibberish. Something about a war (he wasn't old enough for it to have been Vietnam or Korea, so maybe it's the recent stuff). One of his other voices apparently was getting agitated. Which agitated him. The girl behind the counter went and got her sister and maybe a nephew, younger brother, or cousin (it's a family business). The young man tried politely to encourage the man to leave the restaurant, but he would go out and come right back in. This happened a couple of times. He switched between praising the food, the restaurant, and the owners to muttering about war.

He paid, but didn't leave, instead attempting again and again to engage the owners in conversation. They avoided eye contact, and pretended he wasn't there. Every time he so much as glanced in my direction, I managed to find something on my plate of shredded beef Szechuan style extremely interesting (it was very tasty). Yvonne had her back to him and was safely out of range.

Then a family came in. Mom, Dad, a young boy and an even younger girl.

That's when Stonedbob Greenpants started to get a little worrisome. The 'war' conversation had been continuing, with more agitation. Now, he looked directly at the family sitting in a booth across the restaurant from him and began crying, "Give me your boy! Give me your boy, and I'll teach him! I'll teach him in my school! He'll really learn something!" And then devolved into muttering in his three-way conversation. I think I heard something that suggested the 'war' conversation and the 'teach the boy' conversation were tangentially related.

It was at this point that the girl behind the counter came around to the two remaining occupied tables and apologized. We brushed it off, but I was beginning to get concerned. What if he didn't leave? Did I need to call the cops and tell them a crazy man was potentially threatening a child in a public restaurant? He hadn't done anything physical, yet . . .

He was at the bar by this point, and I eased my phone out and was pondering what to do when Stonedbob Greenpants took out a cell phone and started to take pictures of us, the other family, the people behind the counter and the restaurant in general, including himself, several times, and the mirror behind the bar. All the while muttering.

He ate his fortune cookie, then left.

We were done by this point, and the restaurant suddenly felt a lot less tense. We tipped massively. I asked, "Was he OK?" and the cashier replied, "He is not OK! He was drunk or something before he came in!"

I offered to call the police, but she didn't want me to, so I didn't.

Yvonne and I left, and I looked off to our right. I could see him, staggering along the strip mall parking lot toward the busy cross street. As I watched, he was still audibly having a conversation with voices unseen, but it was now at full volume. He stepped out into the street in front of a car, which swerved and honked at him. He swung his fists at the car, as though trying to fight it. Still yelling. Then, it looked like he might have been throwing invisible snowballs.

Then he lurched and staggered out into the street, mercifully devoid of cars, and disappeared into the parking lot of a CVS drug store across the street from the strip mall.

I can't help but wonder what happened after that.

So, that was how I spent my Christmas evening. How was yours? :)


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Idiots


For those who don't hang on my every syllable, here are the other several parts in my saga: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

You knew there was going to be another part, didn't you? I certainly did. Because why should anything be over when it's over?

Shortly after the last installment in this mini-memoir of incompetence compounded with stupid, I got very involved in some projects at work, and thus did not do my due diligence by calling the physical therapist. I mean, Jane had told me they approved it, and said they would be contacting me. So . . . Some Woman at Some Company would surely call me at some point, right?

Right?

Wrong.

A week went by (for those keeping track, it was now October 10). I finally got tired of waiting and sent Jane another email. It was during Jane's week of vacation, and her 'out of office' automatic reply said that she would be unable to access email, and would be back on the following Monday (October 14th). Meh. So I'd have to wait another few days. At this point, what was another few days?

About an hour later, I got an email from Jane. She had checked her email, seen my (rather despairing) email and replied. She said she would look into it.

A couple of hours later, I got a phone call from Some Company (I could tell by the caller ID it was the same company), but a different number than Some Woman's. It turned out to be "Nancy" (not her real name) who was two levels above Some Woman. She was calling to let me know that everything had been taken care of. I was approved.

I paused, and then said, "But . . . how do I access it? I mean, what do I need to tell my physical therapist so they'll know whom to charge?" (I did not say 'whom' but it's grammatically correct and this is my blog. :) I was looking for . . . I don't know, some sort of paperwork? A number to call? Something physical that didn't exist entirely in electrons and the faulty memories of several people.

"Oh, they have the information. You just make an appointment and you're covered for 8 to 10 treatments."

I thought, "Yay!" and let myself believe it was actually over. And then those projects I mentioned above got hot again, and I got distracted.

On the morning of the 21st (a Monday), I had an item in the USMail from . . . the physical therapist. I opened it. It was a bill for $300. Um.

So I called, having intended to do so anyway to set up my remaining appointments. Only to find out that the reason they billed me is that my insurance rejected the claim because they still had no information from anyone about worker's comp. I asked if they had heard from Some Company, because they had told me . . .

Nope. Never heard of them. They only billed me because they hoped I might know who to actually contact.

I . . . might have blown my top. Just a small amount. Either that, or my outburst of expletives had nothing at all do with how very, very quiet it got in the surrounding cubes. I'm fairly certain it was just a coincidence.

I sent a very carefully worded email to Jane. It started, "I have officially lost whatever amount of patience I might have had left with these people. Can you arrange a conference call with you, me, someone from Some Company, and whomever here has been dealing with this issue? I don't trust them unless I have someone else listening." I also said, "I'm not interested in fault. I'll accept whatever blame there is to accept. What I want is an appointment with the physical therapist and to not have to pay $300."

So about 3 hours later, this call happened. And Nancy threw me to the wolves. As expected. I don't think she quite understood that I was in the room listening to the conversation. Because she had a pretty snotty tone until I did speak up and say something.

"On the 10th when I spoke to Mr. [Kaa], I indicated that he should ask to speak directly with Melissa [NHRN] at [the Physical Therapy office]. It was her that I spoke to on the 10th when I called. And, in fact, it was to her that Some Woman spoke this morning when she called to check on the disposition of this case."

Now, when I talk to these people, I take notes. Copious ones. And at no point did I write down 'speak directly to Melissa.' And my call to the physical therapist must have occurred before Some Woman called. It's nice to know that she does, apparently, call some people back.

But. What. The. Fuck. Ever.

Nancy agreed that Some Company would take care of the $300 bill if I faxed it to them. I called Melissa and made an appointment for the next morning.

I now have six more appointments scheduled. One today (Monday the 28th) at 4:30 pm, one Wednesday the 30th at 4:15 pm, one Thursday the 31st at 4:30, and three the following week on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all at 4:30 pm. Since we couldn't do mornings, I opted for 'very late.'

So. That's why I'm arriving at work at 6:30ish am this week. so I can leave the office around 2:30 pm in plenty of time to battle Atlanta traffic to make the 45-minute drive in two hours. Or so I hope. We'll see, I suppose.

The only issue remaining open (Did you hear that? It sounded like . . . like an ominous chord. Surely just a mistake, right? Right?) is the $300 bill that I received and faxed to Some Company shortly after our conference call. To which I never received an acknowledgement.

But I'm sure that's just an oversight. I'm sure they got it. I'm sure they're, even now, as I type this, moving forward on that lickety-split.

Surely.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Right Hand, Meet Left Hand

Idiots
fate, luck or Sleight of hand by g_cowan, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  g_cowan 


I just got a call from the plumbing company that I hired earlier this year (back in February) to install my tankless water heater.

The woman said, "Hi, Mr. [Kaa], I was going through our records and noticed that we did some plumbing work back in February for you. We have a special right now on water heater flushes. Would that be something that would interest you?"

Now, keep in mind, these are the same people who had me set up what amounts to a line of credit with my bank so I could pay them for the tankless water heater installation in monthly installments using a credit card instead of in one lump sum . . . and then promptly forgot to bill me for several months until I called and reminded them. When I reminded them, they said that two people had quit, one who did their accounting and one who did their billing, and I fell through the crack created by that transition. "We would have figured it out, eventually, though!" o.O

I chuckled and then said, "Uh . . . well, since the work you guys did for me back in February was to install a tankless water heater, I'm going to pass, thanks."

These guys are not instilling me with an abundance of confidence, at this point. I think maybe my next plumbing job will be done by someone whose right hand is at least in the same time zone as their left hand.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

A new standard

Silly
Wild Boar by siwild, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  siwild 


You've no doubt heard the old expression, "as useless as teats on a boar hog." Or, as I've more often seen it spelled or heard it pronounced, "tits on a boar hawg."

I propose that we immediately throw out this standard of uselessness and replace it with one that is more timely.

"Useless as a politician."

Now, granted, absolutely nothing is ever going to be quite as useless as a politician, so the phrase would have to always be used in the negative.

Examples:
  • Nothing is as useless as a politician.
  • Her boyfriend may be good-for-nothing, drug-using piece of shit, but at least he's not as useless as a politician.
  • That woman is almost as useless as a politician, but at least when she dies, her organs can be harvested and might save a life.


Etc!

So, let's get on this. Start using it in print. Let's do this.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

Worker's Comp 4: The Final Countdown

Medical, Caduceus
Hurdles by .oskar, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  .oskar 


Well, or something like that, anyway. For those who don't hang on my every syllable: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

After DEFCON 1, I realized that I was very close to saying something that would get me in hot water with either my own HR people or the people at Some Company. Certainly, calling Some Woman a lying, incompetent waste of human DNA would not have endeared me to her, that was all I had left. So . . . I punted up to HR and I backed the hell off.

I communicated with "Jane" (not her real name; the HR director) a few times, checking on progress. Which was slow.

Unfortunately, I had a slight incident with some data and lost several days of notes on this and other topics. So I'm working solely from memory, here.

On the 17th, pretty much out of the blue, I got a call from Some Woman at Some Company. She had, she said, just called the physical therapy place and was waiting on a call back from them. She said she would call me back and let me know the outcome of that call.

That was the last contact I had with anyone over this until yesterday. Not trusting my temper, I didn't write about it, nor did I do more than note to Jane in HR (and my boss) that I had had the contact and was very pointedly not expecting a call back, given our history.

Flash forward to this week. I finally finished the project I was working on and before I could get wholly sucked in on the next one, I decided to give Some Woman a call. Of course, I got her voice mail, complete with "I will return your call promptly."

I left a message for her to call me back, and you'd have to be either deaf or completely unable to judge tone of voice not to know that I've reached the end of my patience. I think my last sentence was something like, "Look, all I really need from you is just a call saying 'yes' or 'no.' Really. That's it."

I called the physical therapist's office. I asked if they'd had any contact with either Some Woman or Some Company. Can you guess their answer? Can you? Because I could. I already knew before I dialed.

They said they had heard nothing at all. I may have . . . voiced a tiny bit of frustration. She explained to me that because I checked the "work injury" box on my form, the insurance company would reject it instantly, and that the only other recourse I had was to pay for it out of my own pocket. I thanked her for the information and said I would try to light some fires on my end of things.

I sent another email to HR.

The last time I heard from [Some Woman] was on the 17th of September. She was going to call [PT Place] (the rehab place). She said she had left a voice mail and would let me know something after they called her back.

Well, you can guess the rest. I have heard NOTHING. Nada. Zilch.

I called [PT Place] today and they said they had no record of any such contact.

What is the progress from our end?


For about an hour after that, I typed and deleted several tweets to @SomeCompany. And another email to HR. And one to the corporate office at Some Company. All of them were, frankly, hostile and bordering on insubordination (hence the 'deleted' part). Finally, I just left the office.

This morning, in my email box, was the following from Jane.

[Kaa] –

I received a response back from our Account Manager and one of the team leads at [Some Company].

They have given authorization for 8-10 PT visit per the doctor recommendations.

You should be hearing from someone with [Some Company] – but I wanted to go ahead and update you on this information as soon as I had it. I'm so sorry for the issues that arose. Hopefully it will get smoother.


Victory? Maybe? I have a missed call on my work phone, but the phone system didn't record who it was from or when it was missed. Maybe it was Some Woman. More likely, it was left over from last night when the contractor who did my window replacement a couple of weeks ago called me about something. (My phone number rings both my cell phone and my office.)

Who knows how long it will take for all the pieces to align at this point, but after two solid months of trying, I finally got the one-word answer I've been asking for all along. I didn't honestly care if it was 'yes' or 'no.' I still don't. I just wanted it over and done with.

The moral of my story is this: Unless you want to go through all nine circles of the Inferno, all nine rings of Mount Purgatory, a detour through Mordor (which one does not simply walk into), and emerge doubleplus goodfully, loving Big Brother, you'll not report anything as an on-the-job injury. Take it from me: it's not worth the hassle. If I could go back in time to the 31st of July, I'd tell people at work I got hit by a car a block from work. I'd be done with PT by this point. And I would never have encountered Some Woman at Some Company, and my frustration would not now be co-orbiting with the ISS.


By the way, I'm so, so very sorry for putting that song in your head. I really am. Really.


Atheists Are People, Too  Antispam  

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