Tuesday, July 31, 2007

60 More Days of Waiting

Every day is a new lesson - our lesson today:
What's a Disability Quality Branch?
The DQB, or disability quality branch, is the Social Security Administration's version of quality control when it comes to the handling of social security disability and ssi-disability claims.
Why should WE care?
[chord of ominous music]
A random number of disability claims (for which decisions have already been rendered) are selected each month for "review" at each region's DQB.

Cases pulled by DQB for review can remain there for an inordinate number of weeks or even months. The obvious effect of this is that some cases are significantly delayed by DQB (decision letters cannot be mailed until DQB has finished reviewing a case.)

You know what's coming, right?

We were supposed to have the decision on Gerry's Disability claim by the end of July. Today is the end of July (coincidentally, it also would have been my dad's 85th birthday)

When we didn't hear anything from SSI today Gerry called and we discovered his application has been chosen at random to make sure that all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. How odd that they didn't arrive in a van at our front steps with a bunch of balloons and a TV crew to announce that to us...

We were told to expect at least a 60-day wait before we hear anything. So we're looking at October before we get the word. Now THAT'S how we put someone's mind at rest when they're about to undergo a serious medical procedure.

Needless to say, THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who's been so kind to us in the past few weeks! I'm not sure what we'd do without the love, kindness and help we've been receiving. Your good thoughts and wishes are the best gift we could ever get - thank you!

We're not feeling killer worried - well, we're trying not to - because the Social Worker at the Mayo told us that a Bone Marrow Transplant is pretty much an automatic approval from SSI.

Note: SSI is not impressed by the phrase, "But the social worker at the Mayo said we'd be approved!" Especially not when you say it in a really whiny voice. Live & learn.


So until we hear positive news, we'll just keep on keeping on.

In that vein, we're getting a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) with Gerry's bank, it's a good rate with no fees, and we can use it as we need it for the bathroom/kitchen redo. We'd always planned on it, now it makes even more sense. We need to continue to think of this as an investment in Gerry's recovery.

DODGER BLUE
Max played on the Dodgers this summer - the LA Dodgers (but we kept pretending they were la Brooklyn Dodgers, en Fran¨ais, s'il vous plait!)

And, lo and behold, the Dodgers won the Linwood Rec Center Championship! WOO!

We had a TOTAL Red Barber moment up in the cheap seats at the rec center last evening.

It was so exciting to see how Max improved over this Summer, how he went from striking out pretty consistently to finding the spot on the bat that needed to be hit.

Last evening he made a great play from second base & Gerry said he had more RBI's than anyone else. I'm not quite sure what that means, but Max was happy!

We took him to Snuffy's for dinner - he told the waitress, "If it wasn't for me, my team would have had to finish the 9th inning!" Who knew?

His coach is an amazing guy - just the nicest, sweetest, most confidence-building coach a kid could ask for, and it's been a pure gift that Max got him this summer.

We've been so lucky. And next year Max can be on the same team, with the same great group of kids, as he was this year. YAY!

I want to sign the kids up for Soccer this Fall, but they'll be away for most of August, when a lot of the practicing happens, so I'm a little fearful of that. I don't want them to start out feeling behind everyone else - but I want them to have a sport this Fall (and the rec center makes it so easy and economical for local families!)

ONE CHILD FAMILY
Hannah's at camp - I haven't heard from her so I'm thinking this is a good thing (we sent her an email, I want to wait another day before sending another one - apparently if they get too many emails from home it can make them homesick!) This camp is one where almost all the girls are new at the overnight camping thing, so we're hoping that she's fitting in well!

She's such a great kid - we all miss her SO much! Max is not as enchanted with being an only child as he thought he'd be. Live and learn, Max! He's going to be SO happy when she gets back - but I'll be away...

MICHIGAN / ONTARIO
Back to the stomping ground of my youth (okay, a little NORTH of my youthful stomp) to Sarnia, Ontario (Check out my lecture on Wednesday at Feather your Nest) and Lansing, Michigan (finally, FINALLY, THREADBEAR!!) this weekend for some lectures and classes.

On de road again! I am a Happy Wanderer!


I haven't taught in over a month - I'm feeling rusty. I know once I get going I'll be fine, but whenever you take a break fro
m something there's a little fear about jumping back in.

So I'll jump - right out of bed and over to the airport (stopping on the way to drop off the car to have the brakes checked) and off to Detroit for a drive up to Sarnia. I wonder if Northwestern will cancel my flight...

Gerry's brother is coming out to be here while I'm gone - just the guys & Atticus. Gigi the cat will be the only girl around. She looks frightened and she misses Hannah terribly!

When I get home on Sunday night I'll have about 12 hours to turn it around before we leave for Rochester. Still so much to do. But we're in good shape with the packing - I'm just worried about getting the kids all ready to go off on their NJ adventure on Wed.

Perhaps after I get Gerry settled down in Rochester I'll come back up to St. Paul on Tuesday to make sure the kids are packed (a good friend is staying here with them until they fly to NJ with another friend on Wed)

This is all happening so fast.

VANITY
The vanity top is pretty much finished! I removed the aluminum foil dam, drilled holes and cut out the center - it's sitting pretty and the contractor is psyched about it, too! So our vanity cost us a grand total of $40 for the grout & poly-resin. If it works...

FLY FISHING
I've always wanted to, that's all.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Always Tired

I feel badly that I haven't been blogging as much as I usually would

It's hot, I'm tired, and I'm spending an inordinate amount of time driving around. That is, when I wasn't hanging out at the Borders Books watching grown adults buried in HP.

I am the only person I know who hasn't finished it.

It finally occurred to me as I was driving home from The Bakken in Minneapolis, where Max is attending invention camp this week, in my fourth round trip (out of 10 this week), during RUSH HOUR (which - no matter how bad Twin City folks think it is, has NOTHING on Rt. 10 in NJ at ANY time...) that it would probably be a good idea to cozy up to some of the other parents and see if we could carpool.

So tomorrow I'll chat with some of them and see if they live on the 'other' side of the river and would like to share a ride. If they'll admit it. The Bakken is in a very chi-chi area...

It's quite a thrill, though, to drive across the Mississippi every day. Cool. The only cool thing in town today. Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter, so we're taking a family trip to see Hairspray (Hannah saw it this weekend, she'll see it again...) so we can be cool in the heat of the late afternoon. And bond.

We're also going to see Circus Juvenitas this weekend - it was recommended by a few friends - then Hannah leaves the next day for camp. I'll be gone later in the week teaching in Michigan, and I get home one day before our trek to the Maoy.

This week, then, is our last chance to really make some pre-BMT memories. Dad with hair... Ah, memories!

So in lieu of blogging, I've been working. I've been planning and organizing and moving and shaking. Lots of stuff.

PLANNING
Kitchen
We met with the kitchen cabinet folks - lovely (and they talked us INTO the lower priced, faster-arriving cabinets - yay!) And it dawned on me that everything must be moved out of the kitchen. Hmmm, why didn't I think of that before? It's like reliving our move in Jan, but this time I won't be pissed off at Gerry for not helping me! I am still feeling a bit guilty about that.
The contractor guys are moving the big, heavy stuff - but all the dishes, food, books, etc., must be moved by yours truly (plus a couple of eager kiddies) I'm going to set up a wire rack in the dining room to keep everything organized, and set up another one down in the basement to act as our short-term pantry.

ORGANIZING
Pets
We've arranged to board Atticus with a Vet down near Rochester for the first few weeks, while Gerry's getting testing, cells are harvesting and he goes through the high-dose chemo.

Atticus will be back with us when Gerry's not quite so open to infection. We'll also board the cat, because we just can't stand the thought that she could get out while the contractors are here and get hurt or get away. We were going to have a friend look after her, but we'd rather be safe. She, too, may join us in our hotel suite - gotta love that Noah's Ark Inn.


SHAKING
Lights
We bought lighting fixtures today for the kitchen and bathroom.

Actually, we bought the parts to assemble the fixtures, as the ones that we saw online at Rejuvination (BEAUTIFUL!) were just too pricey.

So stopping by Mohn electric on Lake Street in Minneapolis we discovered all the parts we need to create our kitchen fixtures at about half the price.

I ask you, though, is NOT this light absolutely gorgeous?

I swear I'll replicate that with the materials we bought or I'll turn in my MFA in set design! More later!

FURTHER SHAKING
Vanity
Speaking of replicating, I am trying to recreate the Roman baths in our new tiny addition. I think of it as our Roman Powder Room.

So I've broken up the big yellow bowl, plus another blue plate just for fun (blue plate special!) and tossed in a few small slate tiles that pick up the tiles from our floor, plus some beads & other wacky things.

Everything is glued down with the adhesive / grout. After it cures for 24 hours I'll grout it, then I'll add the edging pieces I bought. THEN I'll add the bar-pour for that elegant poly-eurethane finish (SO Roman!) And it's waterproof!

The contractor will cut out the space for the sink, the plumber will drop it in and hook it up, and when I get back from France I'll do any touch up I need to do. Yeah, that's the plan.

We're thinking of taking the top of the hutch and mounting it behind the toilet as a linen shelf. I'd like to take the door off of it and use it as a frame for a mirror over the vanity. But that's stuff that can be done MUCH later!

MOVING
Packing
We need to pack up Hannah's camp stuff this week and get Max's stuff together for NJ. I figure we'll just launder Hannah's camp stuff for NJ & toss in some hair care product and lip gloss.

Packing for me and Gerry's trickier, but we have the out that if we forget something we CANNOT live without, we can drive home and get it. For Atticus and the cat we have to pack up food, their favorite toys and blankets that make them think of us. I hate that we'll all be separated. Labor day will be great - we'll all be together for that weekend!

MORE SHAKING
Knitting
I've started the alpaca mitered project - and here are the bottom squares to prove it! It's going on a back burner, though, until all the other stuff is taken care of. Fun must wait!

And now, to bed. With 5 fans on me. The kids are sleeping in the air conditioned office, because we love our kids. The animals are in there, too. Geeze, I'm sure when I go upstairs Gerry will be in there.

Zzzzzzzzzzzz!

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