This post is covered in pollen

Hello! Sorry it’s been so long. In my defense, I was busy dying. I mean, OKAY, not DYING dying, just dying a little bit. Dying in the “dear God, I have woken up with a massive headache every day this week” and the “do I have a cold? a sinus infection? BUBONIC PLAGUE IN MY NOSE??” sense, which is to say: it’s springtime in the south! The whole world is covered in a grainy yellow coating, my eyes are itchy, etc. Everyone is making the same joke about how meth dealers are trying to turn their product back into Sudafed, and we all laugh every single time, because what else can you do?

Well, I guess you can wash your car a couple of times and switch allergy meds. I mean, that’s what I did. Not telling YOU what to do, of course, but I seem to have lived. So far.

Before I dive into all the RIVETING new news (yes, truly, my life is a wonderland of excitement, I know), I did want to follow up on a few previous items just in case anyone cares. And even if you don’t! Don’t like it? Fine. Go sit on the porch until you’re covered in pollen. (Don’t worry, you’ll only be out there about 10 minutes, I promise.)

First, remember how my thyroid was screwed up and my meds were increased but I still didn’t feel good and I was super proud of myself for reaching out to my doctor BEFORE my 3-month follow-up? I called! I advocated for myself! And my doctor allowed me to go have my blood drawn early for a recheck. The results came back “in range” and so I was told… I was fine. (Mind you, I spoke with a nurse every time.) I had a follow-up scheduled with the nurse practitioner about a month later, though, so I went to that and said HEY, I STILL DO NOT FEEL SO GREAT, EVEN THOUGH THE DOCTOR SAYS I’M FINE. The NP flipped through my file and clucked and nodded and reminded me how I am one of those people who has a “narrow range of therapeutic benefit,” meaning my numbers might look good but I still feel cruddy, because the acceptable range of “normal thyroid” is a lot larger than the range of “normal thyroid” FOR ME. And—here is the exciting part—because I reported feeling unwell and the supervising medical professional listened to me, I was allowed to go up on my meds again. And, WEIRD, but I am already feeling a ton better. It’s almost like you should trust patients when they tell you how they’re feeling. Crazy!

[Sidebar: This is good news for more than the obvious reason. For your enjoyment, I shall tell you a little more about my meds. (No, just trust me, you’ll love this.) I used to take 30 mg of Armour Thyroid, which is a pretty small dose. When I saw the endocrinologist and my numbers were terrible, he decided to increase that to 45 mg, which is a perfectly valid course of treatment, as patients taking Armour should go up in increments of 15 mg. With me so far? Okay. So! It turns out there is no 45 mg Armour pill. And the 30 mg pill is really small—too small to reliably split. No problem; the doctor prescribed 45 mg by writing a single prescription for a month’s worth of 30 mg pills AND a month’s worth of 15 mg pills. Simple. EXCEPT. My insurance refused to recognize this as a single prescription, even though there is LITERALLY no other way to prescribe 45 mg. So for the two months I was on 45 mg daily, I had to pay twice as much, because it was two prescriptions. (RAAAAAGE!) So when I went in for the follow-up I FIRST pled my case based on how I was FEELING, and then—worried that might not be enough, because society has taught me that most of the time doctors are not interested in what female patients have to say—I added that I really didn’t want to have to pay twice as much because it was a bizarre dosage, and if I really couldn’t be allowed to go up to 60 mg, could we at least WRITE it for 60 mg and I would solemnly swear to alternate whole and half pills so I could save some money? Again: healthcare in America, y’all.]

Second, I really didn’t mean to leave you hanging on the saga of the $16,000 bill and our hero Vicky the insurance rep. But you see, Vicky didn’t call me back by the end of that week like she said she would, and I’ll confess I was feeling a little concerned by 5:00 pm Friday when she hadn’t. Hmmmm. I called in first thing on Monday morning, and discovered that Vicky was out for the day, but someone else took a message. Later that day Vicky called me EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS OFF WORK because she’d been out sick and knew I must be worrying. (I’ll say it again: Vicky for president.) I was then filled in on a variety of details about what the doctor’s office had done and what the insurance had said and how it had been escalated and it hadn’t been settled yet, etc., but then Vicky said something magical.

I could hear her clicking around on her computer and she stopped and said, “So, okay, listen, I’m sorry I don’t have a conclusion on this yet, but you don’t need to pay this.”

“Sure,” I said, “I mean, if you guys cover it. But if you don’t, then we have to figure it out, sooooo—”

“No,” Vicky said, “that’s what I’m telling you. You don’t have to pay it even if we don’t. This is coded as [something something that probably made sense but I didn’t quite get/catch it] which means there’s no patient liability. If we deny the claim, they just have to write it off. They’re not allowed to bill you.”

Say WHAT NOW, Vicky?? That seemed… improbable, but I asked her to repeat it and (even though I still didn’t quite catch the jargon about the coding) she said the same thing. Huh. I thanked her for her time and called the doctor’s office.

The nice billing lady there wanted to know if I’d “gotten it all straightened out.” I told her that Vicky reported it was still being reviewed, but that it had been coded as no patient liability, and should be a write-off if it was denied again. And then I waited for her to argue with me. But she… didn’t. “That’s true,” she said. (Interesting, because the last time I’d spoken with her and cracked a joke about not having $16,000 handy, she’d told me they’d work out a payment plan if necessary.) “But, um, obviously we’d rather not have to do that.” I told her I agreed it would be best if they got paid. By the insurance. And then I gave her Vicky’s contact information and wished her luck.

Was that a little too uncaring of me, washing my hands of it all once I knew we weren’t on the hook? Maybe. Don’t worry, the universe got me back: A few days later, the company that handles our healthcare spending account shut off our flex-spending card because they believed they’d found a suspicious charge we’d failed to verify because their request for a receipt had gotten buried in Otto’s inbox. The charge in question was from the SAME OFFICE currently trying to get $16,000, and the “questionable charge” was for $43. The reason it was questionable, I think, is because the normal copay for that specialist is $75. For that particular visit they just did a quick diagnostic scan and charged ONLY the cost of that instead of an entire office visit, which was, of course, highly suspicious.

Okay, I’m done talking about medical insurance. (For now.)

That glamorous reseller life
I am verrrrrry slowly getting the hang of selling on Poshmark, although people continue to confuse and/or frustrate me on a daily basis. (Remember if you use code wantnotdotnet when you sign up, we’ll both get a $5 credit, just in case you’d also like to be part of this madness.) In no particular order, here are some things I’ve experienced there as a seller:
1) A potential buyer commenting that because an item is from a several-years-ago line, even though they normally wear that size in that brand, they’re afraid it won’t fit them. I had already provided the item measurements, but I kindly responded to the comment suggesting she measure a similar item that does fit and compare the measurements. This was followed by silence.
2) A pair of shoes I thought was super ugly and overpriced sold immediately.
3) Several pairs of shoes I think are ridiculously cute AND crazy good deals haven’t sold or even generated much interest.
4) I listed a brand-new-with-tags item at a very steep discount. Almost immediately, someone made me a terrible offer on it. I don’t remember exactly, but say it was an item originally $110 which I listed at $25 (already over 75% off!!) and someone offered me… $5. I countered at a dollar under the original asking price but honestly that sort of move makes me wish that Poshmark would allow you to counter HIGHER than where you started. Because if you pull that I think the price should just go up, yes?
5) Someone bought something from me and I shipped it that same day. A week later… it was returned to me as undeliverable. Because… some people don’t know their own address…? I was never really clear. Because Poshmark doesn’t allow you a clear avenue of communication with a buyer (they handle everything and provide the shipping label), I kept going back and forth with Support, and they kept assuring me the buyer was going to “update their information,” but after a month I decided Look, THIS POOR LADY DOESN’T KNOW WHERE SHE LIVES, THIS DRESS IS THE LEAST OF HER WORRIES. The end.

Back at the theater again
As much as I hassle my husband for never saying no to anyone (and always being too busy), I seem to have caught this malady from him when it comes to our local community theater. I mean, I love being in shows because that’s just plain fun, but I seem to keep getting roped into various other things there and I’m not even sure how. So, uh, I’m producing a show, now? Go ahead, ask me what that means, because I have NO IDEA. Which certainly bodes well for the production, I’m sure. But once I agreed to do that and it turned out that the director also needed some help running auditions, I volunteered to do that, too, because how hard could that possibly be? I’ve been to LOADS of auditions. Nothing to it.

I may have forgotten that as an audition attendee there’s a lot of just sitting around waiting to be called, but that the people behind the table are actually pretty busy. Haha! Whoops! So yeah, now I know how to run auditions. It mostly consists of trying to type information from a stack of forms into a spreadsheet while answering questions, communicating via text with the people inside the auditorium, sending the right people back when asked and handing out the correct scenes to the correct people while they wait, snapping pictures of all the auditioners and then uploading those pictures to a shared drive while making sure they’re correctly matched to their names and assigned numbers, and—my personal favorite—periodically hissing at the many inhabitants of the audition waiting area space to please keep it down to a dull roar so the people currently being heard can be, y’know, heard.

It was a lot like parenting, now that I think about it. Anyway, everyone survived, the show was cast, and now I move on to the next set of tasks! As soon as I find out what those are!

Always entertaining
I miss my darling daughter when she’s not around, but not all that much, because she texts/calls/Snapchats/DMs/FaceTimes me approximately twenty times a day. This is charming and not at all annoying. In fact, we’ve developed our own special love-language routine wherein I answer calls or FaceTimes with “WHAAAAAT??” and she responds, “I just love you.” So sweet.

Also, Chickadee comes home fairly regularly for various appointments, and if she comes home the night before something, that means I get to stay up late and eat ice cream and watch bad television with her. Er, I mean, it’s a special bonding opportunity. ANYHOO! One night she came home because she had an appointment the following day, but I was out running auditions, and I’d told her I’d be home late. She texted me a couple times while I was at the theater, and then on my way home—because my car is fancy and my phone connects to it and Otto recently set it up to read text messages to me—my car announced that I had a new text message from Chickie, did I want to hear it? I hit the button for YES and the slightly-robotic female voice which is my car computer intoned, “Filthy mittens.”

Filthy. Mittens.

It’s April in Georgia. That… didn’t make any sense.

I stabbed the button a second time, sure I’d misheard. “Filthy mittens,” she repeated.

My car is concerned about my personal safety, you understand, so it will read off the message to me but NOT display the text, as I should not be reading and driving. So I had no way to verify what I was hearing. I will admit, however, that OCCASIONALLY the way my car computer says something is… a little weird.

I dismissed the “you have a new text from Chickie” message (um, hello, how come I’m allowed to read THAT?) and hit the button to call her.

“Helloooooo?” She answered so sweetly, with only a hint of a giggle.

“Listen,” I said, “I’m driving home, and my car is INSISTING you just texted me ‘filthy mittens.'” That’s—”

“WHAT??” Chickadee dissolved into laughter. “WHY WOULD I TEXT YOU THAT?”

“Right, yes, that doesn’t make any sense. I’m just telling you that’s what I’m HEARING. What did you ACTUALLY text me?? I’m driving, I can’t look at my phone.”

I had to wait several minutes for her to finish laughing. “Piggy new tins,” she finally gasped.


“Figgy. Newtons. FIG NEWTONS!” She was laughing so hard, she barely got it out. I started laughing, too.

I’d forgotten that my child’s greatest joy in life these days is when she has to come home for something and she gets to raid our pantry, which is roughly twice the size of the tiny kitchen in her apartment. Otto had brought home Fig Newtons that were left over from some work event. It was SO EXCITING that Chickadee texted me about her discovery, but then my car ruined everything. Or made everything even better. Hard to tell.

Even more unbelievable…
… and if you think “filthy mittens” is weird, here’s something even weirder: The itty-bitty baby girlchild who texted me with glee because she found Fig Newtons in the pantry is turning 21 in a few days. WHICH IS CRAZY. I am heading down to Tinytown to see her EVEN THOUGH she is coming home this weekend, because 1) BIRTHDAY, 2) she’s got an honor society induction thing I want to go to, and 3) she’s throwing herself a party that night which Otto and I are most emphatically NOT invited to and I am deriving entirely too much joy from periodically offering to “just stay after the ceremony for the party” while she clearly dies a thousand internal, cringy deaths at the mere thought of it. It turns out that tormenting your kid is still fun even when you’re also giving them suggestions on how to make a decent sangria.

That’s all the news I have. If you need me, I’ll be vacuuming the dogs.


  1. Kim

    Oh, Chickie…she cracks me UP! (And I think you need to linger until juuuuust before the party starts before leaving. Moms, man. It’s only fair…think of all the birthday parties when she was younger that you wish you could’ve just dropped her off but had to stay…lol…I’m talking to you, Chuck E. Cheese! And your crappy pizza! And the lights and the children shrieking with…caffeine and joy. Yes, joy.)

    Happy 21, Chickie.

  2. Linda Sherwood

    On the lady who doesn’t know where she lives….

    It probably isn’t her. I live two minutes from Merritt post office and 15 minutes from Lake City post office. So I have a P.O. Box in Merritt and no mailbox. When I enter my mailing address, ups and fedex doesn’t like the PO Box I give them. So I try to go around it with my street address from Lake City but say I am in Merritt. It works a lot if the time.

    But sometimes I have to say I live in Lake City thinking it is shopped from UPS or Fed ex but it gets shipped to the post office. But because I don’t have a mailbox, my address isn’t on their route despite my address numbers. The post office won’t deliver it and will return it to the sender as undeliverable/ no such address.

    So I put my mailbox back up just because of this.

    • Linda Sherwood

      Just to clarify that despite being 15 miles away, my mailing address is Lake City and not the closer Merritt address. There are three post offices closer to me than Lake City. No idea why they make me have a Lake City address instead.

  3. KC

    Vicki for President!

    Also, this post is full of so much useful/terrifying information. And filthy mittens. (fig newtons *are* surprisingly good)

  4. The Other Leanne

    21, no kidding? How can that be? HOW CAN THAT BE?! I’m verklempt.

  5. Brigitte

    Happy birthday, Chickie! I like to tell my daughter that teasing/embarrassing her was the only reason we had her.
    And I have the same prescription issues with my 150mg of sertraline.

  6. Ernie

    First time here, and I have a son turning 21 in June. Wish it was whike he was away at school . . . kinda. Undecided. We live in Chicago. He goes to college in New York.

    I have had my STRUGGLES with health insurance. Back when I was expecting 21 yr old, Coach was a full time student. We signed up for the school’s health insurance. Every bill was called above ‘usual and customary.’ Basically if some back roads doc could charge less than my doc then they would not pay it. That was rough.

    So cool that you are producing a play. I love that you don’t know what that means.

    Finally, my bluetooth went haywire a few years ago. No matter who I asked it to call, it offered to call some random name that sounded nothing like the name I mentioned. My kids had a great time ‘playing’ with bluetooth. It all got fixed when I got a new phone.

    Oh and how old is the kid that facetimes you constant? My almost 21 yr old has taken to calling multiple times a day. Weird because he pretty much used to consider us the worst people on the planet.

  7. monica

    A bit envious of you daughter’s constant communication. My son is at the end of his freshmen year at college, we have had exactly 3 phone conversations and he has answered approximate 10 of my numerous text messages. He is doing fine, just likes to be totally independent I guess!!!! He is gone to another state on a school related summer thing from May 3 until mid August (when he will go straight back to college for soccer) so I am hoping he will communicate a bit more!

  8. Karen

    Oh, man… that decent sangria sounds sooo good right about now. As an almost deaf person who has been through three sets of hearing aids at roughly $7,000 a pop, it still astounds me that hearing aids are considered COSMETIC and so they’re not covered. Are ya F-ing kidding me? So, I sympathize with your insurance woes. The answer ? I haven’t got it… apparently none of our current politicians do either. *sigh

  9. Megan

    Though it is not a scored tablet there is a 90mg armour thyroid.

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