What a day…

Okay… if a day has ups and downs… today was a roller coaster… mostly downhill…  some of it straight downhill…

Feeding the horses went fairly smoothly.  All of the horses got a blanket check and I couldn’t believe how thick the ice was on the one tub.  They did give me a scare because the big field had emptied their brand new (as in I just put it up yesterday) expensive heated water bucket and decided to knock it over and pull it out of the cord.  I about had a heart attack thinking I only got one use out of a over $50 bucket!!!  (This is the same bucket that I spent all day yesterday worrying about if I had used a heavy enough gauge extension cord and hoping I wouldn’t set anything on fire.  And whenever I worry about something like that… I smell the hot electrical smell everywhere- can you say paranoid!!!  I used to have John to tell me that my nose was dysfunctional and he had a fire sniffing nose… he could tell you what was burning during a fire!  So, I stressed all day yesterday… and checked the cord a zillion times.)  Luckily the bucket wasn’t damaged, cord wasn’t chewed.  I can’t decide which is a more destructive force… toddlers or horses.  In my experience, horses do more damage to expensive thing- like brand new expensive buckets and blankets (I want to cry when I look at the money I invested in shredded blankets), gates, etc.   But Nathaniel is like a tornado… he leaves behind a path of destruction and can create it in seconds!  Comparing pound for pound he has the horses beat by miles…

On that note… back to kiddo.  He was great when he first got up, but he did manage to end up with milk in his hair when he was supposed to be eating cereal.

I emptied the dishwasher and re-filled it with the dishes from the sink.  I was feeling quite accomplished and domesticated.  Kiddo was quietly eating in his high chair and not crawling in the dishwasher and playing with knives… score one for mommy!

Then I tried to fold laundry.  That went over like the Titanic… I got 3 shirts, one baby item, and a pair of socks folded and then Tornado Nathaniel came through and sent two shirts flying and I gave up…

My day went drastically downhill when I logged into Facebook.  I thought I’d log into John’s account because I do periodically.  I want to keep John’s FB account as it is.  I enjoy going back and looking at things that John wrote.  I want his FB account to be there when Nathaniel is old enough to understand.  I always loved how John expressed himself in words… he was just himself… black and white… told it like it was…

Well… I go to log in and get a message–

Account Inaccessible

This account is in a special memorial state. If you have any questions or concerns, please visit Facebook’s Help Center for further information: http://www.facebook.com/help.php

WHAT THE FRUITBAT???  I didn’t request for John’s FB page to have a “special memorial status.”  The widow’s bulletin board that I frequent, has made it very clear that you shouldn’t do that unless you want all of your spouse’s status updates, their info tab, and pretty much everything personal that they ever did on the account deleted.  Basically they said… DON’T DO IT… YOU’LL REGRET IT.  I knew that I didn’t want to do that.  So, I logged in every now and then just to keep the account active.

So, I’m sure whomever did it thought they had good intentions but what the %&#( happened to maybe asking me if I wanted to do it?  I am his wife.  I am the mother of his son.  Do you think perhaps it might have crossed somebody’s mind to ask me if I wanted to do it… rather than taking it upon themselves?  Apparently not.  So… to whomever did it… thanks for raping my husbands account and stealing his thoughts and writings from his wife and son… Thanks a lot… Happy Holidays…

Then, when I couldn’t get to the phone, Union Hospital had left a voice mail… regarding John’s account.  I thought ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? (okay, I added a few choice curse words in my thoughts)

  • He died in their hospital- don’t you think they’d have that on record.
  • I sent a death certificate & informed them that the estate was closed.
  • I responded to one of their collections calls and left a voice mail saying that he’d passed away, the estate was closed, by law I’m not responsible, don’t return my call.

Just exactly what part of that do they not get????

Of course this is also the hospital that called a few weeks after John’s death asking for him to take part in a survey about his recent ER visit.  They also had done that to a friend of mine who lost his wife a few years ago.

I guess part of what pisses me off is a little attention to detail would just make my life so much easier.  Maybe it’s because where I work, I can investigate and research prior to making calls.  I use data that I’m given and find to help paint a picture or create a scenario.  Then if I have to, I make a call.

In all fairness, maybe Union Hospital’s collection staff don’t have the flexibility that is granted to me.  Maybe they’re calling blindly.  Maybe they have terrible computer systems.  Maybe they have staff that doesn’t enter things that are mailed to them or left on voice mail into the computer system.  Maybe they’re just not that bright.

Or maybe I’m too logical (or insert your choice of words for me).

Let’s take a look at the scenario-

  1. Somebody who always pays bills on time & now doesn’t.  Hmmm… looks like a problem of some sort…
  2. Somebody who’s information shows stage IV melanoma.  Hmmm… cancer… melanoma… stage IV… not a good prognosis.
  3. Chart says deceased, July 21, 2009.  Hmmm… maybe they’re dead… Which at this point in time, I’d think maybe they’d stop making repeated collections calls for a $25.00 copay out of courtesy to the family.  But in all fairness there could have been an estate and medical bills are high on the list to be paid and I’m sure they need the $25.00 copay to keep the hospital in business.  Did I mention I’m a sarcastic smart ass, too?
  4. Notes in the computer stating that the death certificate was received and the estate is closed.  I’m assuming that there are not notes because if their are then there is NO excuse for calling me.  So… ball drop (at least) number one…
  5. Notes in the computer stating phone call returned and customer is deceased, estate closed, and do not call.  Again… I’m assuming that there are not notes because if there are then there is NO excuse for calling me.  So… ball drop (at least) number two…

I’ve been trying very hard not to get upset and not to get pissed.  But with that coupled with the Unum fiasco (they keep pulling money out of my account to pay premiums on a life insurance policy that they’ve paid out and then have the intelligence of a fruit fly and send me a check- (minus a month) to the Estate of John Smith– I haven’t even had the patience to call them back– they didn’t take the money out of the “Estate of” so what logic would they have to return the money to “Estate of”– they took they money out of  our account which is now MY money out of MY account… I’ve already called them TWICE.  How hard is it for a LIFE insurance company to stop pulling funds when somebody has passed away… it’s not rocket science)– oh and add in a kid who is either teething or going into his terrible twos early… I’m at my wits end…

So… I called Union Hospital back and let the poor lady have it.  She didn’t deserve it.  She was nice.  She was polite.  She extended her condolences.

I on the other hand was not very nice.  I even had a few choice curse words– I hope she didn’t take it personally.  I was upset with the situation, not with her.  She said something about that the computer systems didn’t link up and she didn’t have record that I had notified the hospital of John’s death.  I lacked tact and told her that maybe they’d better look into to some computer systems that linked up… it wasn’t my problem and to take care of it.  I told her I wasn’t really that surprised because this was coming from a hospital that called with an ER customer satisfaction survey after my husband died in their hospital.  That comment even received a gasp.  Of course, maybe if their hospital had a grief management group I wouldn’t have spazzed out on her…

That collection call ruined my day.  I hope I didn’t ruin hers.  I just get so irate when people can’t do their jobs.  I think a lot of it comes from working somewhere that has very high standards and quality checks in place.  It’s not rocket science.  Fill out the deceased report… no estate… clear the books.

I also get emotional because I hate to think of John’s credit getting trashed because we worked so hard to have and maintain excellent credit.  But I’m at no liability to pay his bill.  That $25.00 can be used for groceries, gas, child care, or put in his college account.  I also struggle somewhat because I don’t know what John would want me to do… he may want me to pay the bills because he received the care.  And we’re not talking about a lot of money, either- just co-pays.

I honestly can’t understand how the budget works out to spend the money to hire collectors to make multiple calls on co-pays… I got a collection call from Hopkins (actually they sold it to a collection agency) for a TEN dollar co-pay…  I could understand if it was a several thousand dollar bill. Part of me thinks… you greedy, bloodsucking, bastards… a $10.00 copay????  You’re going to call and bug a widow over a $10 copay????  You got the insurance money… I got a dead husband and a toddler to raise on my own and a farm to manage and pay for and am stressed beyond belief…

Sorry… I’ve had a hell of a day… I’m venting… I’m entitled to it…

During the collection call… Nathaniel started screaming… about what, I haven’t a clue.  I never could figure men out… and I really can’t figure out a small male who can’t communicate with words and is clearly upset about something.

Then Nathaniel stopped screaming… I still have no idea what his issue was.

I’m still trying to calm myself down.  Now, I’m upset that I talked to the lady that way.  It wasn’t her fault.  Hopefully, I don’t go to Hell for it.  While I’m hanging up the phone, kiddo managed to get the baby gate open and was running around upstairs before I realized what he’d done.  I about had a coronary right there as he was zooming towards the steps.  Luckily, he stopped.  I grabbed him and carried him safely downstairs.  The baby gate is going to get the fix that I know how to do… some baling twine and a double ended snap.  I can’t figure out if it’s broken or not adjusted correctly and my “fix it skills” end with being able to pull out a nail.. I can’t barely hammer a nail  straight…

Then kiddo is not happy with me because I won’t let him climb up the stairs and run around like a banshee.

Kiddo is progressively more unhappy about God only knows what.  I’m frustrated.  I’m beginning to think I have the parenting skills of a frog.

The mail today was comprised of Christmas cards.  I enjoy getting them and feel “loved,” but at the same time, it’s hard to see them addressed just to me or to Nathaniel and me.  It’s the little things that get to me sometimes… John’s missing.

I decide… we’re going to the dump.  I barely have enough trash or recycling to warrant a trip to the dump, but there is one bag of diapers and that is reason enough to go…   I also figure with kiddo strapped into the car seat he at least won’t be running around leaving a path of destruction.  I also figure… if he squawks, I can turn the radio up and tune him out…

So, we go to the dump.  No problems there.  Stinky diapers gone.

Then we stop by the cemetery.  I was hit with the unexpected.  Two ladder trucks and a flag.  John’s truck…  I had seen that a CFCRS life member had passed away, but I didn’t realize the funeral was today.  I mistakenly thought he had already been buried.  There was another funeral earlier this week.

I didn’t know if I should turn back or continue with my visit.  I didn’t want to disrupt anything.  I decided to proceed anyway.  Turns out they wouldn’t be doing the burial for at least another hour or so.  It was strange seeing the ladder trucks and the flag… I thought I’d end up sobbing, but it didn’t bring back a painful memory.  Instead, I smiled and told John, “your truck is here.”  It made me feel good that John is buried in a cemetery where in theory “his” ladder truck will return to and that it overlooks “his” town.

Another wreath is at John’s grave.  This one is from his Aunt Linda.  The two of them look so nice.  No need for me to add a third.  I’ve got tree duty.

Christmas this year just feels so empty.  Like John’s fight against cancer, I’m doing it for one reason- Nathaniel.

On my way out I had a brief chat with one of the firefighters.  It was nice.  I’m glad he recognized me… that would have been embarrassing if he hadn’t.    There are a lot of members that I don’t know and on top of it, John was TERRIBLE about introducing me.

I then decided that kiddo and I were driving to DE.  I wanted to get Nathaniel his Christmas Hess “truck, ” which this year happens to be two race cars and no truck… still not sure how that happens.  Anyway… story behind that is that every year for Christmas John’s parents always got him a Hess truck.  So, last year, I got Nathaniel his first Hess truck.

I want to make it a tradition for Nathaniel, like John’s parents did for him.  Although, I’m hoping Nathaniel will be a little more appreciative than John was for the last few years… John would be like… “I know what this is, I’m not even going to unwrap it.”  Yes, we have unwrapped Hess trucks in the basement.

I also wanted to get Nathaniel a little shaker that I thought he’d like.  I had seen it when we went to pick up John’s guitar that he never got to play.

On our way to DE, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch.  Thankfully, this time the waitress didn’t ask if anybody else would be joining us.  Phew.  I don’t think  I could have taken it today.  Nathaniel had applesauce and mashed potatoes.  I had a house salad and Chicken and Rice.  That was one of John’s favorites and they only serve it on Saturdays.  I thought of John and missed him.  I also missed him as I was trying to keep an eye on kiddo and eat.  John and I did such a good job at sharing our time watching kiddo so we could both have an enjoyable dinner.  Sigh.  Overall, kiddo was good.  He wants to do everything himself… which sometimes is such a great idea for a yearling.  No milk in the hair this time.  A lady diagonally commented about how well behaved he was… funny because I wasn’t happy about how demanding he was being and he squawked several times and there was no need for it.

So… after our trip to DE, we had 2 Hess “trucks” (one to play with and one to save) and 1 shaker.  I love being able to buy presents for kiddo with him there.  It’s great to be able to preview presents with him and then not have him beg for them when we get home and not have him remember that we got them together.  Those days will soon be over, I’m sure.

Earlier in the day, I had made a phone call to a friend of John’s who had suggested Teething Tablets for the little Mr.  I had never seen such a thing, but several people said that they were great.  At this point… I could use something great… Nathaniel’s teething has been driving me crazy…   We picked them up at a local pharmacy and I hope they work!!!

When we got home, it was about dusk.  He wanted to wonder around.  I decided to bundle him up and let him “help” me feed the horses.  He pretty much enjoyed the experience.  There were several moments of momentary unhappiness of an unknown origin.

When I took Nathaniel inside, I noticed that he had dirt all over his face.  Poor kiddo must have landed on his cheek/mouth in the mud.  He never cried and I hadn’t noticed in the darkness.  I decided a bath was in order, so kiddo got cleaned, dressed, fed, and then sent to bed.

In all honestly, the last few weeks have been rough and I think the last time that I had a whole day that was really good and mostly stress free was last Friday when I went to Annapolis to deliver the ornaments to AFD and then went to see Ballyhoo afterward.

And that, ladies and gentleman… has been the long story of “How was your day?”  I don’t think I’ll get asked that question very often if I reply like I just did… oh well… tomorrow is another day… who knows what it will bring…

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About Mary K. Smith

I was widowed in July 2009, when I lost my beloved husband, John, to melanoma. Cancer SUCKS. We have a young son who was just a year old when his father died. I live on a small farm in Maryland which is home to horses, cats, and a dog. I started this blog as a way for me to heal, a way to remember my husband, and eventually I'd like to share it with our son so he can see the love that his father had for him, the love that we had for each other, what a great person his father was, and how hard his father fought to live.
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