Category Archives: Run on Rants

Smart Phone Not So Smart

I know I have already written my iPhone rant.  But, after six weeks of acclimating myself to my new smart phone I feel the topic deserves another visit.

After bemoaning on Facebook and on this blog about my touch screen typing inadequacies, I received a rather unanimous placation.

“Trust me. You’ll get used to it.”

After giving the matter what I consider ample time, I am going to suggest that it is not the iPhone typist that gets used to the keyboard (or lack thereof), but is the recipient that grows accustomed to the sender’s new language; a language where rules of grammar are suspended and eloquently combined words are passé.

I have learned to translate things like “I live you do much” into the intended “I love you so much.” In fact, I rarely notice the errors at all.   My brain just accepts them as correct and automatically interprets their meaning. Much like the iPhone does when it decides for itself what its owner would like to say.

Before I owned an iPhone, I often cocked my head at such texts as:

“going to store.”

Such a sentence structure normally would mean one of two things

1.) a three-year old has gotten a hold of his mother’s phone, in which case we would be impressed by such advanced skills.

Or

2. The writer is severely learning disabled.

Now, I often get texts and emails that are as equally fragmented from people who are doctors, lawyers and even from those with degrees in English.

The following:

“Hey there!  I’m at the store picking up a few things. Do you need me to bring you anything while I’m here?  I cannot wait to see you!”

would most like be received with:

“Hey!  Why are you blowing up my phone with these bulky complete sentences?  Economize characters please!”

I was told recently by a blogging friend of mine whom I respect greatly for her writing talents, that nothing good can be written on a phone. To which I responded

“Well, crap.”

All of my entries have been written on my phone. I have two toddlers.  My writing time is limited to the train and the bathroom . (You’re welcome for that visual.) Bringing my laptop to either of these places is just not a desirable option.  And, the last time I attempted to open this laptop with children awake, one of them  hit some brilliant combination of keys that turned the screen 180 degrees and lost me an hour and a half of precious time to a phone call to India to learn how to restore it to its original position.

Throughout my five or six years as a blackberry user, I became so comfortable with its keys, that I opted to craft my Grad School admissions essays on it.  (Yes. I was accepted to each one of the schools to which I applied.)

So, in an effort to salvage my writing juices, I thought about throwing in the towel on my new toy, hoping blackberry would accept me back with open arms. Lo and behold, my beloved has followed the herd and nixed the keyboard.  What the hell?

I agree that these new apps are very cool. I’m actually quite thankful for the frequent “Google Maps” assistance in finding the locations of my appointments.  But, I hear if I allow the new update, that app will go to the birds, taking its seat next to prepositions and pronouns.

So I give up. I am in the minority. There is nothing left to do but load up my phone with fun and mindless apps in order to drown out my longing for creative stimuli through the beauty of language.

To all those who have written me emails and texts and feel blown off by my lack of response,  I urge you to take it as a compliment.  It means that I have been moved or sparked by your message so much so, that responding with a third grade writing level simply won’t suffice.

As soon as I make it to the basement where my laptop sits (which may be awhile as it seems to be crawling with crickets at the moment and I have chosen to simply close the door rather than acknowledge the issue), I will respond thoughtfully. Most likely we will have spoken at least three times before then.

Should you be searching for me, I’ll be on the train or in the bathroom…playing Angry Birds.

Disclaimer:

All grammatical and spelling errors in this post are blamed on the iphone.

(that, and I don’t have an English degree and many rules I simply do not know)

Pop Quiz – Proctored By Your Favorite Blogging Injustice Police Woman

Pencils ready…

What is the worst possible thing you can do while simultaneously pushing your napless, hungry 19-month-old in a grocery cart and grabbing last-minute items at Trader Joe’s for dinner guests who will arrive in less than an hour?

All those of you who answered,

“Have a conversation with the insurance company about a pending hospital claim for $14,865.36.”

You are brilliant! Amazing, quick, and intuitive. You win a free click on the “Top Mommy Blogs” button below.

Congratulations!

If you only stopped by to flex some scholarly muscles by way of my quiz, you may take your prize and be on your way.

Should you want to be schooled on the inspiration for this Quiz, continue on.

Long story long…

All fellow shoppers disappeared, along with my whining toddler, into the blur that became my vision.  I had just been told with utter conviction that I was previously misinformed and have no “out of state” health benefits for myself or my family, urgent or otherwise.

I got off the phone before passing out, paid for 17 things not on my list, and zero things that were, leaving one of my child’s sneakers somewhere in the produce aisle, and drove home trembling.

Leaving darling hubby with two screaming and hungry children, a house to straighten, and tomatoes to dice for guests who would arrive in ten minutes, I escaped to the solitude of my backyard to call again.

A supervisor informed me that the previous woman was incorrect, all expenses would be paid and that I might have grounds to sue for the possible heart attack she provoked in the middle of my grocery run. (The last part may not have been said. I can’t remember)

The story gets better

I got her name with the full intention of  calling her today to bathe in the sweet satisfaction of informing her of her erroneous information.   However, by the time this phone call took place, 24 hours later, I had taken a yoga class and felt such finger-pointing would only serve to ruin my downward dog afterglow.

I simply explained that there seemed to be some discrepancies in her knowledge of my particular plan and that she may want to look into it for future callers (and grocery story personnel).

*It bares noting that this conversation took place while slowly and aimlessly roaming the aisles of Target, no child in tow, and no impending guests.  (Any mother who claims they have never slowly and aimlessly wandered the aisles of Target under the guise of “I’ve gotta run and grab milk! Be back in a Jiff!” is lying)

She was extremely kind, and much to my surprise, had already investigated the issue after yesterday’s passionate phone call. She went to the supervisor above my supervisor and found that she was not wrong at all, according to Joe Shmo at the top. (or in the middle. I don’t know how high this ladder goes)

However, due to the fact that I was told it WOULD be covered, and there are notes to prove it, there would be an exception.

Just for me.

Good enough, right?

Wrong. Something isn’t right here.

I pushed further to try to understand why I was still getting conflicting information. She interrupted me,

“Ms. Rozek. Your claim will be covered. You don’t have to worry.”

“That’s lovely. I am so glad. And the hospital will be too as I wasn’t going to pay it.  But this is no longer about my claim.”

I researched and chose this plan under the very clear conditions that emergency situations would be covered in any of our 52 States. We do after all “work” in New York City. My family is in New York, my husband’s is in Florida.  Purchasing a plan that only covers us in New Jersey would be downright stupid and irresponsible.

I have many flaws. Stupid and irresponsible are most definitely not on the list.

She agreed with my argument and informed me that due to my many phone calls, red flags were raised and there is to be a state-wide Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ meeting this week to determine the verdict of out-of-state emergency care and it’s coverage under this plan.

Was she making the whole thing up out of embarrassment and an inability to admit she was wrong?

Possibly.

But, she picked the wrong member.  I’m unemployed and have nothing but time.

I’ll call again tomorrow to hear what King Supervisor of Supervisors decided.

Or maybe I should just go to Yoga.

Have a click!

Death to LOL

I have hesitated to write this entry for months now.  I fear that my thoughts will offend 99 percent of my friends and readers. But, I can keep quiet no longer. Forgive me dear ones, kind-hearted friends, family, and cyber-besties for questioning a rampant and beloved (by most) acronym. I accept that as the minority on this one, it is I who must be wrong.  In order for me to post this without guilt, please balance the scales by leaving some overused Motherfogisms that drive you up the wall in the comment section. I can take it.

With that disclaimer…

I hate LOL. Hate it with a passion. It baffles me, irritates me, and has me questioning the intelligence of very smart people.  My issue with this all too common text lingo has been simmering beneath my skin’s surface for quite some time and is now bursting forth in blistery bubbles, no longer able to be contained.

This severe reaction calls for a serious and thorough deep dive into my psyche to figure out exactly what about the “phrase” bothers me.

Was I attacked in a past life by flesh-eating LOL-ING monsters?

Possibly.  But I feel I must dig deeper.

Is it the simple laziness in using an acronym for something that can easily be written in full?

No. It can’t be that.  Although some abbreviations do urk me for that very reason. “Traders” for one. Does it really take up so much time and energy to add the “Joe’s”?

But this can’t fall under that category for the fact that I am quite comfortable with OMG and WTF. Most ironically, I don’t seem to have a problem with LMAO (Laughing my ass off) either.
We do after all need a quick and easy way to properly relay our tone in this day and age so void of actual voiced conversations. Especially while texting and driving.  (which is extremely dangerous and illegal in 30 of our 52 States, FYI)

Ok. So, what is the difference? I asked myself.

It was this question that solved the mystery of my latest lingering pet peeve.   When I see these acronyms,  I can actually picture the sender saying the words in their entirety and the sentiment is quite synonymous with the content of the conversation.

When I write OMG. I very literally mean “Oh My God!!”. The subject matter is most definitely shocking or gasp-inducing in some manner. When (rarely) I write WTF, I can assure you I am feeling to my core each one of these words, including that which is most abrasive.  LMAO, although dangerously close to LOL seems to be most often used congruently with that which is tail reducing funny.

So, why am I picking on poor little LOL?

I have discovered that it seems I don’t have as much of a problem with LOL as the indiscriminate and reckless way in which it is used. People seem to sprinkle it like salt and pepper into every text conversation as if it were a punctuation mark. The problem with this for me is that my very literal brain will form a clear picture of this person guffawing, slapping their knee and laughing out loud in response to something along the lines of,

“I am folding laundry. Man it seems like I do a lot of laundry”.

“LOL!”

Huh?

I stop. Stare at my blackberry. Cock my head to the side and wonder what on earth could be so funny about such a statement.  Inevitably the sender, due to this lack of synchronicity with the topic at hand seems like a psychotic Mad Hatter laughing willy-nilly at anything and everything. Perhaps a more fitting acronym would be AAC “Almost Audibly Chuckling”. Doesn’t that fit the bill more often than not?

In conclusion….

This blog post’s title now seems  a bit extreme due to the state I was in at its start, before my journal therapy session.  I am officially retracting my death wish for LOL. In fact, by all means, if you are truly laughing out loud, then LOL away!

This post, for example will hopefully earn LOL’s instead of

“OMG! WTF?, she’s a judgmental B!”.

So, I’m pleading for a world where LOL is used with caution. Stop. Think. Listen to your body (sorry, we are in the midst of potty training), and ask yourself…

Are you really LOLing? Or just AACing?

Click, please!

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I believe I am a week or two late in the discovery of what threw me out of bed last night and to my computer to write.  What I stumbled upon caused bile to rise in my throat, and old news or not, I felt compelled to give my own editorial.

My younger brother Nicholas, who will turn 29 this July, has Down Syndrome. I was six when he was born and he and I are the youngest of all five siblings. My parents were extreme activists when it came to getting the best for their children, and this may have been the most true for my brother, baby number five and only boy.

My Mother, a Speech Pathologist, Valedictorian of her high-school class, and fluent speaker of three languages, took a 21 year maternity leave to devote 100 percent  of her time to the raising of her children.  I rarely saw her get emotional, but the few memories I do have were during phone conversations with school Superintendents and Chairmen of Committees on Special Education. She made it her life’s mission for many years to get Nicholas mainstreamed into our own school district in an effort to immerse him into classrooms with  typically functioning individuals.   The education offered to children with special needs such as my brother’s were less to be desired with their unequaled standards and low expectations.  Together, my parents fought for their son with unwavering tenacity.

This battle, beginning in the 1980’s and continuing for ten plus years was one that they sadly lost.  Nicholas graduated from BOCES, an extension of our Maine-Endwell district, but never had the opportunity for social modeling resulting from peer interaction within a full-inclusion classroom.

My sister is currently a kindergarten teacher in that same district and I get frequent texts and emails from her with pictures or stories of Kevin, one of her students who has Down Syndrome. His case disproves the claims that the other students’ education would suffer from the inclusion of a child with special needs, and that the child himself would be chastised and not accepted.  Kevin is the favorite among the students and they seem to learn as much from him as he does from them.

The tug of war, while not in time for Nicholas, seems to be finally pulling in the right direction. Although, from what I understand, the rope is far from ready to be laid to the ground. Kevin’s parents have to make their case yearly in hopes to give their son all he deserves.

But just when I was feeling hopeful over the positive turn in our society in this regard, a celebrity, as celebrities often do, blabbed some of the most offensive remarks I have yet to hear from a fellow actor.

I was first introduced to the work of comedian Margaret Cho when a friend suggested her movie “I’m The One That I Want”  ten years ago. I found her unapologetic acceptance of herself and all she is, in a Hollywood world, refreshing and inspiring.  She claimed to speak for the underdog and shouted out against the persistent nudging from agents and producers to gloss over her originality with plastic surgery and other image shellacs.   Right on, Margaret!

Last night, before turning out the lights, I decided to do one last bit of mindless web surfing, and happened upon this clip.  In it she says, regarding her diminishing egg quality, “I don’t necessarily want to have a retard”. That quote is the most tame of the interview.  If you have not recently eaten, here is the clip.

But, as disgusting as her words are, they were said a week and a half ago and she has since publicly apologized.  Ironically this is found on the same website where in her bio, she claims to be the “Patron Saint for outsiders, speaking for them when they are not able to speak for themselves.”  Her apology doesn’t do much to temper the fact the word “retard” is so readily available in her vocabulary that it can be repeatedly spat out in jest, but an apology is an apology.

For me, the hope of our society’s evolution surrounding such a critical issue is cracking under the pressure of this 54 second interview, and not directly due to the jarringly uneducated and insensitive comments of Ms. Cho.  She is clearly not the inspiring pioneer I once believed her to be, and I’ll get over it.  But the reaction from the audience members is what gives me hair-raising chills.  These comments should have been met with nothing but silence and scattered gasps, yet they laugh like robotic blind sheep.  There are even boisterous “whoops” heard throughout the studio.

“Margaret Cho is a comedian. What she says MUST be funny, right?”

Pay attention, people. These remarks are NOT funny. No matter who says them or in what tone.  Moments after I saw this, I asked myself in bewilderment if it is possible that her degrading thoughts mirror those of our society.

Thankfully, the rampant outrage that followed this May 30th interview answered that question.

While my initial reaction to this brief media minute is that we have taken one step forward and two steps back, I am aware that this response comes out of intense hurt, anger and shock, and that I just might be giving Margaret Cho and her giggling audience more power than than they deserve.

And to be blessed with a soul as exquisite and enlightening as Nicholas would also be far more than they deserve.

Nick and Emily

Blood is Boiling

The stained glass through which I often write in order to color my more intense stories or emotions with humor or sarcasm is cracking under the steam of my anger at the moment.  So, today you get the real raw and unedited.

I am pecking at my keys with ferocity so intense I just may need a new computer  before this entry is complete.  If you would rather go about your day, free from the poison of my rant, you are excused.  However, I am honestly begging for thoughts on this.

We were kindly notified by the previous occupants of this home, that their 18 month old tested high for lead. They were not sure if this was due to exposure in our home or elsewhere, but felt they needed to make us aware.  Absolutely.

As it is New Jersey law to have this test done every year from ages one to three, Isabelle was recently tested and was fine. However, we had just moved and that level may not have depicted an accurate result as far as exposure in this home. Also, as this is not required in California, Zachary had never been tested, giving us no base line with which to compare.

I reluctantly called our pediatrician to get the prescriptions and also inquired about which lab was best for young children.  My last experience with Isabelle’s first blood draw here in New Jersey was not a good one and I left wondering if the technician had ever even met a child, let alone stuck needles in their arms.

So, naturally when I was given the recommendation for this particular hospital and told they are “The Best” by our current pediatrician, I expected an office painted in bright primary colors, strewn with fish tanks, children’s books, toys and bubbly nurses and doctors. This was, after all our experience at EVERY pediatric office in Southern California, whether it was an urgent care facility or a blood lab.

Instead, once we found the phlebotomist’s office at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, NJ, we entered to see no children, a drab office and a rude receptionist. I checked to make sure this was the correct place as surely this was not the pediatric lab that came so highly recommended.

Unfortunately, this was in fact the place, so armed with the iPad and chocolate, I carried Zachary back first. I had spent the morning explaining what was happening and had even showed him videos of children getting blood drawn so he would be prepared. This is not a simple prick of a vaccine. Four vials of blood needed to be filled from the most tender part of his arm.  He did amazingly well, even with the lack of warmth coming from the technician. He screamed, of course, but it was finished quickly enough and he was out in the waiting room with Daddy, eating a chocolate bunny and playing Monkey’s Preschool lunchbox within five minutes.

Isabelle was next. I broke a rule and allowed the pacifier outside of the crib for this occasion. The tech said nary a cheerful word to her and barely made eye contact as she told me to wrap my legs around her like a vice and called another woman in to help hold her down. I asked if I could breast feed her while they did it. Absolutely not. My 16 month old screamed and shook while three of us forced her into position. I watched as her thin, pale skin bubbled over the barging needle as it poked its way back and forth, up and down.  Three times this woman pricked my daughter attempting to find her little vein.  And three times she failed.

During attempt number two, the pacifier fell out of Isabelle’s gaping mouth and onto the floor and the tech picked it up and handed it back to her.   Are you kidding?  This is a blood lab!!!

She gave up and called for a doctor. I sat there holding my baby as she trembled and sobbed, our sweat and tears mixed. Every part of me was saying to screw it and run. This isn’t right. There has to be a better way.  But, what if there is lead in her system and it’s never addressed. Which is worse?

The “doctor” arrived with less personality than a cement wall and the torment resumed on the other arm. She was successful in getting her blood, but I have never wanted to slap someone in the face so badly.  Both Isabelle and I abruptly escaped, crying. I could barely find Steve and Zachary through the haze of irate red.

I caused the scene of all scenes in the waiting room, now piled with people delayed by my child’s procedure. A sobbing Isabelle in arms, I raced down the hall to find a supervisor and raise holy hell. Steve, Zachary in arms, chased after me and begged me calm down.  Much to his chagrin, I found the patient relations office and hysterically told them about our experience. Isabelle’s tear-streaked face and bruised and bleeding arms did much more to make our case then my own incoherent ranting.

I don’t know what my “complaint” today accomplished other than giving fodder for phlebotomist dinner-time stories…”Man. You should have seen this crazy lady today….whew”.

I understand that giving blood is not fun. I understand it hurts. But when it comes to working with children, a little bit of gentleness and compassion, or hell, maybe even a simple “Hi Isabelle!  I’m, so and so. How are you?” goes a long way in an already crappy situation, doesn’t it?  How hard is it to be friendly?

In the car on the way home, my two and a half year old said,

“Mommy. Calm down. I’m fine. Isabelle is fine. When you cry, you make her cry.”

Out of the mouth of babes.

But, I’m still pissed.

What would you have done? Should we opt out of these tests and take our chances?  I’m honestly asking?

I Demand a Refund!!!!

I have a major bone to pick with the Northeastern Weather Gods. I must submit this complaint formally to all of you at Motherfog Manor in the hopes that these Gods take notice!

With our decision to move from Southern California during the dead of winter, came thorough and painstaking preparation for fingers, red, cracked and numb, squinty eyes peeled to icy sludgy pavement while each step is counted as one victorious yard closer to heated walls, outdoor human connection extinct as modes of survival prevent lifted eyelids, mounds of heavy snow trapping cars in driveways, these mounds almost as large as those of winter apparel piling up in heaps across muddy doorways, 1500 dollar oil bills that sometimes heat rooms,  vengeful sub-zero winds smacking chapped cheeks and sucking breath from lungs, Voldemort style, leaving gasps of shock that such climates have not yet been evacuated.

We were ready! We trained as one trains for a Mount Everest mission!  With courageous statures and pursed lips, we trudged our way into the storm like those of the Oregon Trail, armed with perseverance, oxen and mittens, excitedly anticipating  the challenge that would test the thickness of our skins!

Yet, here we are. Mid-March.  Forced to hike through nature paths, grill burgers on the deck, spend endless hours at lush, blooming parks, and stroll through quaint villages greeted by friendly neighbors eating sandwiches on patios, while basking in 72 degree sunshine. Not one snowflake to lick off our noses. Ok. Maybe there have been one or two, but those storms are for the novice climate facers, the faint of heart, the cowards of the South!

So, I tell you this, Weather Gods of the Northeast….if we wanted such sickenly glorious temperatures, we would have stayed in Los Angeles!

I must leave you now to curl up in a small room, curtains drawn to snuff out the disgusting golden rays and dream of darker days.

Blogger’s Note # 1 – for those of you who have followed my blog from the beginning and are diligently cross referencing entries, you have just caught me in a bold faced lie. We owned nary a furry coat or long sleeved shirt between the four of us before the day we began our travels, when my sister panicked and overnighted snow suits for the kids. God bless family. And God bless the Northeastern Weather Gods for that matter!  Maybe I should withdraw my complaint. Perhaps these Gods are more on our side than ever before!

But, will I regret a simple request for just one piddly snow man construction day??

Blogger’s Note #2- The oxen. Lie number 2.  We did not in fact travel with oxen, although it’s possible they would have gotten us here in more of a timely fashion than our Sienna, and caused much less hassle.  But hindsight is 20/20.

I now have a hankering to download the Oregon Trail game, buy me some cattle and a covered wagon and embark on a cyberspace cross country adventure!  Fingers crossed that I can keep dysentery at bay.

What a Difference a Day Makes

We awoke yesterday morning covered in dogs and babies, feeling hung over and bleary eyed. I suppose it could have been the wine, but I think it was more due to the culmination of 11 days of travel, and the heavy fall into our own bed after two long weeks.

Even with all that was done before our arrival, still so much lay ahead of us, in terms of unpacking and adjusting to our new surroundings. I ventured out to find a Target for paper towels and garbage bags. Later, I learned that my sister had purchased them, but I did not know this at the time.

We decided to each take a kid and divide and conquer.  I sluggishly got into the car with Zachary, and through squinty, sleepy eyes, sent a text to a friend asking where the nearest drive-through Starbucks was located. The response I got back was “Ha!” It seems I would have to get used to this “putting coats and boots on children” thing.  She directed me to the Starbucks in the middle of town, (at which I would have to actually exit the vehicle with my son and walk inside), and assisted me with this insurmountable situation. It also must be noted that she  purchased all of our coffee and breakfast. God bless good friends.

After I was properly caffeinated, I felt more equipped to face my new territory.  I looked up and noticed that the middle of town might possibly the most quaint northeast village there is, directly out of a Thomas Kinkade watercolor.

However, It seems that my five years in LA completely deactivated vital northeast brain neurons, imperative for completing the tasks that lay before me. My GPS is apparently useless in New Jersey, as the creativity used to design the streets, is just as baffling to it, as it is to me.  I swear it was trying to recalculate me back to the 405, where traffic seldom moves, but where you expect to drive for an hour and cover no ground.

I passed two Targets, but could turn into neither of them due to jiggity jaggity one way streets. I felt like a foreigner in a new land. People were honking, street signs were loopty looing, and after an hour, I angrily found my way home, sans paper towels and garbage bags. I called my Mom in a panic and with just a touch of melodrama, told my husband we made a mistake. I couldn’t even find the store!  As he held two children in the middle of their own melt downs, he calmly, but sternly said, “Be the parent, please.”  Touche.

Not much got completed yesterday.

But today, I awoke with a pep in my step and a fresh set of eyes.  The stack of bills on the kitchen table were all paid, the new dryer was retrieved and hooked up, cable, phone and internet have been activated, I’ve installed fixtures and dimmers on each light switch (because overhead lighting is atrocious, and I am apparently a certified electrician), the fireplace has been inspected, a baby gate has been affixed to the top of the stairs, I have met with our new pediatrician, and have successfully pulled into the Trader Joe’s parking lot.

I think I’m gonna like it here.

But still...what's up with the one way streets?