Saturday, November 20, 2004

Date Night for Mommy and Daddy...

...Or Scary Night for the Alex. Actually, Alex was in the excellent hands of Mary, who is one of our friends from work, but that's not the way Alex saw it. He was in a strange place, with strangers who were nice to him. Mary even told us that he refused to eat his raviolis or take any milk, and when he was offered a popsicle, he would take a bite, then retreat to his corner until she managed to coax him out again for another bite. And the last hour, she told us, he was just bummed out and crying. When we walked in the door three hours after we dropped him off, he cried when he saw us and walked right to Mommy. Zoe was fairly indifferent, or pretty much the same.

Our date night however, went kinda nicely. We couldn't really decide what to do with ourselves, so some plans were made on the fly. We ended up going to Boss Tweed, a restaurant seemingly named after a corrupt politician that serves primarily seafood. This place is kinda special for us in a way, because we went there on the day I proposed to my wife, and also on our first anniversary. It's not especially grand or romantic, it's just a place we went to that has a little bit of sentiment to it. So we spoiled ourselves a little, because we hardly get to anymore. The last time we splurged for overpriced mediocre food was at Applebee's, but at least this time we got Scallops and Fries for myself and Clam Strips and Fries for her at half the price at Applebee's. We also split a pop and milkshake.

After that, we were trying to decide between going to a bar and playing pool, and bowling. The latter won out because it seemed a little more fun, but also because I'm not much of a drinker anyway, and the cover charge at the bar might seem a bit... off putting. I'm cheap like that.

So we went to 20th Century Bowling, which has since upgraded their facilities slightly. Gone is the ancient scoring computers that only seasoned bowlers and code decrypters can operate, now it's actually user friendly. And it has cool graphics! So my wife had been warning me that she was going to kick my behind, but in the end, I was the King. We played three games, and it seemed that the more beers she drank, the worse she got. I actually got a little better with each game, but I still couldn't finish my beer, even if it was the magic portion that was aiding my game. My best game was 127, which isn't great, but I'm pretty proud of it. My fingers are still sore today, which suggests that my bowling form is horrible. Oh well, we had a good date night anyway.

The Fan Isn't Built for this much Crap Hitting it...

Yes, the continuing saga of horribleness continues. And yeah, I am aware that there are people out there who are suffering real tragedies, and have bigger problems than I can ever fanthom - and I don't like to think of myself as one of those teenagers who blog about how horrible life is treating me because my parents hate me and I hate school - but I figure that this is my blog, and it's okay if I bitch and moan on it.

As some may recall, the Previa, our minivan, decided to croak on us a few months ago. A bunch of smoke and a sputtering engine ended with a non-starting van that sat on the road. Well, we finally came into some money via my Mom's visit back to Singapore (relatives giving gift money), and with my mom's willingness to back any extra costs, we had it towed in to be looked at.

So my wife calls me at work to tell me about the bad news - the monkeys at the shop did a diagnostic and concluded that coolant had leaked all over the engine, the crankshaft, and whatever else makes up the car. Their solution was to replace the engine and all the parts affected. Estimate? $4500.

I'll give you a moment here.

I estimated in the hundreds. Hopefully, I thought, about 500 would be ideal. I would have a hard time with anything more than that. But 4500? That's insane, considering that the van's bluebook value is less than that. Yes, you could find a good condition 1993 Previa for less than 4500 on the street. Obviously, we don't have the money for it and even if we did - you'd figure it'd serve our interests better to get another used vehicle. Right now our only solution is a mechanic friend of ours, we're hinging on whether or not he'll be willing to help us fix in on his free time, or maybe he could give us some advice on whether this mechanic was simply ripping us off. The worst case scenario is to simply sell the van as a non-running heap of scrap. It's depressing because we actually like the van. We've only had a few months in it but we've been camping, I've gone to Seattle with it, and we've shuttled crying babies in it. We really liked the van a lot. On top of that, we'll still owe my father-in-law 4800 bucks, for the purchase of the van and the maintenance to bring it up to date.

Now this one is actually more important of the two sucky news, but I'm just going through it chronologically. To further compound the aggravation of not having our family van, we finally found out what the hell went on with Zoe's insurance. After tons of phone calls made by my wife, I just haggled an explanation out of the phone rep (after the first one put me on hold indefinitely - I hung up after 20 minutes.) about my daughter's insurance.

Now as any parent may attest, if your child qualifies for your insurance, of course you'll put your child on it, right? Furthermore, if the child is a newborn and there are numerous shots and checkups in the first year, it would be just stupid not to. Basically, our insurance is telling us, no, we didn't call within the first 30 days since Zoe was born. Therefore, she will not be covered for insurance until 2005.

The maddening thing is that GroupHealth isn't the culprit. It's Kroger, the parent company of Freddy's. Because it is Kroger's policy that they do not accept late enrollments for HMO patients is complete and that is total bullshit. I'm sorry, but the company that my wife has worked 17 years for and myself, 7 years, is basically telling us that our daughter doesn't deserve to be insured. Why it is policy is beyond me, because by the time they're done with me, I will have taken more of their manhours fighting with me than it would've taken to just sign up a 2 month old baby. We're pretty pissed about the whole thing because we already had to pay for Zoe's medication for her labia infusion thingy, which was 70 bucks we didn't have. There's hundred plus bill we're sitting on because we can't pay it. Right now our only refuge is to seek assistance from DSHS, to get medical coupons to help with the remainder of this year. I'm getting outraged just talking about it now.

Any loyalty to my company is lost now.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Day Off

Today was my regular day off, but I still had to wake up early because it was Zoe's first doctor's appointment. Technically, it's supposed to be her two month checkup, but since the stupid insurance didn't cover her for her last appointment, we had to postphone her appointment to today. Even so, she still wasn't covered today because those lame asses failed to get off their duffs to do their jobs. We will have to seek retropay because those monkeys can't do their jobs.

But the appointment went swimmingly - I got a little cranky by the end of the appointment and my wife noted that I've never liked going to doctors appointments, which I found to be pretty much true. The waiting drives me insane. There's a reason why I'd rather sit out sicknesses and allergies as long as I can possibly bear before making an appointment. But of course, babies and kids are different - but I still don't like the appointments. But Zoe got her shots today, and was doing pretty well considering. She probably slept a lot more than normal, but you say that like it's a bad thing. She's growing normally, advancing steadily, and her head is evidently bigger than anyone imagined. They measured 34 inches, which is 1000X the size of a a baby her size - and then the doctor figured out that the data was misinputed as inches instead of centimetres. Darn.

Wednesdays are always a rather happy day for me, and the kids as well, because it's the day when both parents are in the same room at the same time for more than an hour. Usually it's like when Floppy Dad comes home from work, Super Mom disappears. They can't be in the same room at the same time! Could they be indeed the same person!?


Alex has been in a super mood today as well, having fun with either parent and just generally having a happy sorta day. He's getting the desired amount of attention, and even had the chance to run around naked for a few minutes. Zoe had a meaningful conversation with me this evening, cooing and oohing at me while I made every imaginable annoying expression to perplex her fragile young mind.

Maralise lend her Triple A membership privileges to us by getting our van towed to the shop - hopefully they'll have some good news like, "Hey, we'll fix it for free! You're the pro bono case we've selected this month!" but we'll likely hear this, "So, the transmission's busted, you need new mufflers, and why is there a dead racoon in your trunk? That'll be One Thousand Eight Hundred Ninety Nine Dollars and Fourty Eight Cents, please." At which point I would peel the dead racoon off the trunk and say, "I'll give you two hundred, eat this smelly rotting bugger and call it even?"

And tonight for dinner, I cooked Peppercorn Pork Chops with Spinach Salad. God, I cook way too much White food.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

This is what Parenthood is all about.

Don't Let This Happen to You!

This weekend has been pretty laid back, with me spending the majority of my time watching cartoons that were supposed to be turned on for Alex, and just chilling out and playing San Andreas. The evenings though, have been very interesting. Borderline bizarre and just wacky as hell.

Last night, after a seemingly normal night of chores and routine, Zoe just started screaming at the top of her lungs. She had been laying on the floor on the playmat, looking at her toys, and suddenly she was near inconsolable. She was crying so hard that it seemed like she was in some kind of pain, as if we were pushing our thumbs really hard on her forehead. We gave her a colic pill, which in reality just relieves gas (Gas-X for kids!), and after a long while, Zoe finally calmed down. My wife had to hold her and bounce up and down and go, "Shh. Shh. Shh," about 1,504 times to get there, but that strange little episode was over.

And then he got it.

Alex didn't have his way for a while, and then he too, started screaming and got just wacky. We figured it was his teeth bothering him, so we give him some kids motrin, and tried to chill him out. Finally, when he got to go into the kitchen and put whatever he wanted into the fridge, he too, found his inner peace. My wife and I looked at each other and just sighed. It was like a wave of pure evil that just swept through the living room.

Tonight, it was mostly me who was the evil entity. I've had a headache all day, but it actually got worse in the evening. So much so that the only thing that I could do was just sit there and hold my head together. Eventually it lightened up with the drugs I took, but in between the relief and the agonizing brain numb was just a big streak of flighty behavior. My interpersonal relationships just crashed around me. I started draining the bath water before Zoe could have her bath, I didn't get the 7-UP my wife had requested, and I hung up on my brother over the phone. I might've done some other things, but I couldn't remember it if I tried.

Maralise said that Zoe's grown so much bigger, and I guess it's normal that we don't notice it, because we see her everyday. But I guess she's not the scrawny little twig she was. Now she's got some meat on her. Most of it is on her cheeks. She's a cheeky little girl! She's a sweetheart though, she smiled at all the women at work and just impressed everyone with her cheery nature. Alex, on the other hand, was leaning away from them and wanted me to save him. Ahhh! Women! Ahhhh!

Can't believe I'm back at work tomorrow. Drone.