Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkins and more

Just looking at this picture makes me want to wash my hands.
The weekend before Halloween was pleasant(ish) and warm. Then it snowed. That, plus random stretches of drought, is local weather in a nutshell. The kids carved our hand-grown pumpkins and courteously kept the gloop in piles on the porch. I am normally not a squeamish person and I will gladly catch the bird/ wasp/ moth/ snake/ spider that may infest your office, but I kind of dread the annual Carving of the Pumpkin due to the touching of the gloop.

An interesting comparison photo from the archives. Silas approaches pumpkin carving as he approaches particularly juicy math problems: with seriousness and the directorial instincts of a third-world dictator. Also as an opportunity to assert his rights of primogeniture (note that he has the largest pumpkin in both pictures).
The cuts must be made just so.

She used to dislike gloop, too.
These were found growing in the gloop. Note the shininess of her hands. Gloop.


Halloween night was cool and windy; I began the night with Helen and her friends, a small but enthusiastic group, and ended it in the company of about 6 parents I didn't know watching my proto teen engage in barely-organized wilding (focused on candy and directed only toward each other, I hasten to add; it's not like we were overseeing the TPing of trees and the egging of mailboxes, or anything) as part of a swarm of other proto teens. I much preferred the former but the latter still beat sitting at home with the doorbell and the bowl of candy. What is it about handing out candy that panics me so? Is it the constant summons to the door? Is it the awkward exchange of mumbled trick or treats to rote compliments on costumes? Is the way I close up the door, my relief marred by second guessing my attempts to parse costume choices? Or is it just that sitting at home alone while the party rages outside feels a like hangover from high school?

Ugh. I don't know. But I do have an educational and non-holiday-themed story.

The story begins in the emergency room with a sore knee (Si's, for the record). Number one: we shouldn't have been in the emergency room. That become abundantly clear during the hour and a half we spent on the premises (in my written complaint later on, I called this time "waiting." Apparently it was not waiting. Waiting only occurs between the time you against your better judgement admit that you're willing to be admitted and your first visit from a medical professional. Four minutes, in our case, as the lady who called me to do damage control stated.) The knee was not that sore. No major damage had been sustained. No medications needed to be applied. We did get an ice pack, which we got to keep. Yay, yay and yay. I was still disgruntled that I didn't just go to a damn urgent care but hey, with no medications and no real medical attention--he did get an x ray, and let me tell you, my friends, do NOT do this--how bad could it be? Really?

$1,971.72 worth of bad, is what it could be. Which our insurance company knocked down to the still astronomical $1037.72. For a sprained knee.

This caused me to break one of my cardinal rules of conduct: I protested my grade. In phone and in writing and, wow, hey. I did not know this, but apparently medical billing operates on the same general premises that Craigslist haggling does. My mild and gentle protests (although I did say things like "this is what's wrong with medical care today" and "this is ridiculous" and "highway robbery" etc.) got the price lowered to $732. When another damage control agent connected with M, the price dropped to $384. Still ridiculous, but within the realm of you're-too-stupid-to-go-to-urgent-care-so-maybe-you-deserve-it.

Lesson # 1: Urgent care.
Lesson #2: Argue the bill. OMG.
Lesson #3: Urgent care. Also, no fifth grader who has visited a bouncy castle between the time of injury and the time of complaint, esp. if that complaint happens to occur on a weekday morning just before school, needs to go to the damn doctor. Jeesh.

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