Thursday, July 12, 2018

Fun with Social Security




Those of you that have been here awhile should know just how much I 'enjoy' dealing with Social Security or any of the agencies that I have to deal with for DC.

Today I sat down to complete DC's annual Representative Payee Report, which I must say is one of the easier reports that I have to complete. I like to do it on-line so I get a receipt with the date and time completed, and a summary of what was submitted.

When I went to submit his report, entering all of the codes provided; the website told me that his report had already been submitted (?????).

Thinking I might have entered something wrong, I tried 3 or 4 more times and got the same error message.

I panicked a little bit that someone might have DC's information (but would they bother to submit a report??? 😀) or that his info was mixed up with someone else......


Realizing that this was the same Social Security Administration that tells me I do not exist almost every month when I submit DC's wages - I calmed down and called the number they provided.


Slamming my head on the table listening to an endless "Welcome to Social Security message" (apparently something else had gone wrong so they saw fit to add an entire message about it so people did not have to sit on the phone to find out about this particular error ) - I finally made it to customer service.


"Wait time for a representative is now at 40 minutes. If you would like a call back in an hour and 5 minutes, please press one. If you would like to stay on the line for the next available representative, press pound".

I pressed one.

Two hours later, the phone rang and I explained that I was trying to submit my son's payee report and the website said it had already been submitted. There is no one else that would have submitted the form. I can just as easily mail the payee report if there is a problem with the website, but I want to be sure his information was not being confused with someone else. I submit his payee report on-line every year and there has never been a problem before.

(Please note that I mentioned his payee report three times during this conversation)

He took some information and put me on hold.

A good twenty minutes later he came back to apologize for the delay but he was still researching.

He put me on hold again.

After another 20 to 25 minutes, he came back and informed me that DC's report has already been approved????


Me: "How could have been approved when I haven't submitted it?"

Customer Service: "A law was passed in April that says you do not have to do these reports ..... for the time being. The law says that as a parent/guardian/payee, you should be trusted to know and do what is right for your child."

<Insert: Shocked Silence> I mean, yes we should know what's best, but considering the hoops we are all made to jump through, I was to say the least...... skeptical.

He gave me the date that this law was supposedly passed - April 13, 2018.

I asked for his name and location because I was not going to be held responsible for not submitting this information.

Me: "If this law was passed in April, why did I receive the notice to submit the report in June?"

Customer Service: "I do not know. The reports must have been sent automatically."

Me: "Did Social Security send out a letter about this law to notify us that these reports do not need to be completed?"

(Seriously, I receive 5 pieces of mail from Social Security per month - 3 addressed to me and two duplicates addressed to DC - it is not as if they are not "mail happy." already.)

Customer Service: "No we did not."

Me: "So you are telling me that a law was passed in April, Social Security did not notify anyone that these reports did not have to be submitted AND they sent the reports out anyway in June. Is that what you are telling me?"

Customer Service: "Yes, the reports went out automatically."

So I just wasted 3 hours of my day over something that I really did not have to do.

So...... If this "law" actually passed in April and okay, they neglected to notify anyone that the reports did not need to be completed and okay, sent the reports out automatically -

WHY did it take him almost a full hour to "investigate" this when I mentioned 3 times that my call was about not being able to submit my payee report?

WHY did they not make THAT the message on the website instead of "your information has already been submitted. Please call our office at -------"

And WHY if they missed all of the above did they not put that information on their outgoing message to avoid all of this time wasted????

Call me pessimistic. Call me cynical. Call me skeptical; but I think I may still be mailing the hard copy.

******

Edited to add: I was able to find the law on-line. So the moral of the story is that even when they make a change to make things easier, they still make you jump through hoops to figure it out.




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This blog is used for shorter posts, off topic posts and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Adulthood, Work, Camp and a Little Bit of Mourning His Childhood



This was originally written on DC's first day of camp , during his first summer out of the school system. He was 22 when I wrote this; he is 27 now.

It is a hard adjustment reaching adulthood and leaving the school system behind...

We can’t have it both ways…. but it’s still a little bit sad.


Today was my son’s first day going to day camp this summer. He has attended this camp since he was 5 – he’s 22 now.

Every summer he would go to camp all summer long, even staying after until 8pm for a special after camp program they hold twice a week. He loves it there.

Now that he’s 22 and aged out of the school system, he is in a work program, year round. I was shocked when I started looking at programs for him that they don’t have the summers off!

Of course they don’t, they are adults and have to do their job every day, just like we do. But it was a rude awakening for me at the time.

Everything changes after “school-age”.
He has aged out of Challengers baseball. Seventeen years of baseball….over.
No more February vacations, Spring Vacations or Summer vacations.
He is “working” now, with 3 weeks’ vacation, holidays and some sick time, just like everyone else.

This was probably the hardest transition for me so far. I have to think to call work, “work” and not “school”.
It takes a minute, when I panic that I haven’t set up anything for February vacation to realize that there is no February vacation any more.

Him becoming an Adult may actually be harder on me that it is on him. It is just such a huge change.

Yes, I know we are moving into adulthood and working toward independence; as much independence as his capabilities will allow.

Yes, I know this was the goal all along, but on the other hand, he’s still so much a child.

He’s still watching “Barney” (22 years of Barney! That’s a Support Group I need to form, anybody?) - he is still reading and watching Disney and is not embarrassed to hug and kiss his Mom.
On some level, for me, as much as I always work and hope for more progress, I love it,  it is nice.

This should be a happy time, and of course it is. He is an adult. He is in a program that he loves, but when summer comes around and it is time for camp to start, it’s a little bit sad that he doesn’t get to spend a fun filled, happy-go-lucky summer at camp as he used to. He only gets his two weeks.

Because…..

he’s an adult now………

****

Originally Posted - We can’t have it both ways…. but it’s still a little bit sad.  at Taking it a Step at a Time

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This blog is used for shorter posts, off topic posts and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time 

Friday, June 8, 2018

#NobodyListensToMe






There are more examples than I can list ... this is only the most recent example.

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Most of you know that DC works in a group supported employment program.

During the spring and summer he works in their greenhouse and also helps to take care of the grounds/lawn.

You may also know that every morning I have to load him up with bug spray and sunscreen (which he <insert sarcasm font> thoroughly enjoys <end sarcasm font>). 

Adding to the sheer annoyance of having me spray this stuff all over him every morning, there is also the issue of him not really understanding how to hold his breath so he is not breathing it all in. I do try to cover his nose and mouth AND we usually go out on the porch but he just can’t seem to move out of the cloud before he takes a deep breath.

I grabbed a few of these masks the other day from work to use temporally until I had a chance to pick up some not-so-cumbersome masks somewhere else.


The day I brought them home, DC and Doug were going to walk the trail with his ARC friends.  I told Doug to be sure to put some bug spray on DC before they walked. I gave him a mask and explained what it was for.


I wondered why Doug was taking the mask with him but I saw he was also carrying the can of bug spray so I just figured he was going to put it on DC when they arrived at the trail.


When they arrived home after walking Doug reported that DC hated the mask. His glasses were fogging up and he just couldn’t stand it.


Me: (confused by this)”How long could it have taken to put bug spray on him?”
Doug:
Me: “How could his glasses fog up in that small amount of time?”
Doug: “We only made it half way down the trail before he insisted on taking it off.”
Me: “Wait! You made him walk with the mask on?”
Doug: “Yes, you said it was for his allergies!”
Me: “No..... I said it was so he didn’t breathe in all of the bug spray”
(I mean, seriously.... what he heard wasn’t even close to what I said)
Doug:
Me: So did you at least put the mask on him while you were spraying him?
Doug: No, I put it on him when we started walking.


#NobodyListensToMe #YouCantMakeThisStuffUp


From: Facebook Status May 31, 2018

*****
After the initial Shaking Of My Head and "Wow! How did he get that so wrong" faded away, the next realization was:

I am sure that more than one person in the ARC Group must have wondered and asked why DC was walking wearing this industrial-style, cumbersome mask. I don't have to even ask; I can hear and see it, clear as day - Doug's explanation:

"His mother <insert head shake and eye roll>. You know how she is."

No matter what he tells me, I know there was some amount of eye-rolls and "over-protective mother" insinuations on his part.

#GuiltyButNotThisTime

*****

This blog is used for shorter posts, off topic posts and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time 







Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A 'Dinglehopper' will just have to do



I must admit that I have never really carried a brush, comb, makeup or anything of the sort in my purse. Although my purse is heavy enough to be used as a weapon, I never got into the habit of carrying the "basic items" that everyone else always seems to carry.

My hair was always pretty much "my hair". There was really never any specific style to it. It was long (down to my waist) and straight for many years and later (we'll skip right over the perm stage in the 80's) shorter but still really with no specific style, so carrying around a brush or a comb (a comb, that would have never made it through my hair back in the day) was never anything I thought about.

DC is very in-tune to my hair (and hair in general) and points out my hair flaws quite often. He will randomly come at me with a comb or brush. He once, while "braiding" his step mother's hair, tied it all in teeny-tiny knots that had to be cut out. He loves to "do hair", but one must be very careful to pay attention to exactly what he is doing when he is "doing" your hair.

Facebook Status December 2012 (No link, it was on my personal page)

"Mom, your hair is a de - aster" - Happy Saturday!
***

Facebook Status Feb 2013 (personal page)

DC-"Mom, your hair is a 'de-aster"" 
(apparently this is a cronic condition)
me- "But DC, doesn't it look better now that I've brushed it?"
d- "NO!" 
.....everyone's a critic... Happy Tuesday!

***

Facebook Status September 2016

"Mom! Your hair looks 'loverly' it looks so 'grouchous' " 
(believe me, it does NOT!)
Can we all agree that he is definitely up to something?

***

Facebook Status - September 2017

DC: "Mom! Mom's hair is a mess and 'rooted' (DC- speak for ????)
Me: Thanks, Bud!
Happy Saturday

***
Facebook Status October 2017




Usually DC will ask me to tie a bow (after braiding, of course) in one or more of his doll’s hair - it’s kind of my second job...
Today he asked me just to make a bow. I asked what the bow was for.
“Ariel’s hair”
But how are you going to get it to stay in her hair?
#ScotchTape - the next best thing to #bandaids

***

Facebook Status - May 2018


DC has always had a thing about my hair (see date on the FB post in photo) - On Saturday we took a day trip to New York City, DC's favorite place. It poured early in the day (see photo behind FB post) - Even though it did not rain the rest of the day, I was poured on and there was no coming back from that. All day long at semi-regular intervals, I heard:
"Mom's Hair"
"Mom's hair is a 'de-aster'"
"Mom's Hair is a big mess"
(I got it, really I understood)
Then to add insult to injury he turned to his Grandmother and said:
"Grandmother's hair looks very pretty"
BOOM! #BadHairDay


***

I admit that there are times when carrying around a brush or a comb would be very helpful. Getting stuck in the rain - helpful.

(Warning! Run-on Sentence) Going to the dentist where they have you way back in the chair so they can lean all over the hair that falls over the sides of the head rest, knotting it up and ripping it out of your head and the end result is you leaving looking as if you have just walked through a windstorm - helpful.

On these occasions, when I happen to be going straight to work, I have been known to get a plastic fork from the staff kitchen to run through my hair.

If it's good enough for Ariel, it's good enough for me.

 DC would be so very proud....

*****

This blog is used for shorter posts, off topic posts and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Those Tree Branches just can't seem to leave him alone...





Standard answers via: Random Facebook Statuses: When he finds an answer he likes, he certainly sticks with it!


January 2018



This morning: DC, up and ready for “boys day out” - I noticed a scratch on his chin..
Me:What happened to your chin?
DC: Scratch 
Me: How did you scratch your face?
DC: Cat (we don’t have a cat)
DC: Bear claw (we sure don’t have a bear, unless Teddy counts)
Next up, was his standard reply to any scratch, mark or injury.....
Say it with me.... TREE BRANCH !


Facebook Status - January 2018

***
June 2017




We went from the hotel room, to the car, to a quick stop for lunch (where we walked through no forest, woods or shrubbery). Looking at DC across the table, I noticed a mark on his forehead. 
Me: DC, what did you do to your head? 
(Say it with me. All together now)
DC: "Tree Branch"


Facebook Status June 2017

***


March 2017

We'll that pesky and elusive tree branch has stuck again!
"DC, what happened to your head?" (there is a bump over his eyebrow)
DC: Tree Branch
(We are knee deep in snow - he has not left the house)


Facebook Status - March 2017

***


December 2016


"DC fell asleep on the couch last night. I happened to notice a scrape on his elbow. I went over to check to see if it was actually a scrape and accidentally woke him from a dead sleep. I apologized and told him that I was just looking at the scrape he had on his arm. In his half-asleep/half-awake fog, he felt for it. I asked him what had happened –

and even in this not fully awake – really mostly asleep state; his answer was the same as it always is. Already drifting back to sleep, he whispered, “Tree Branch”.


August 2016



When DC called today to say he was in the car and on his way home, I didn't get the normal "going home nowwwww". 
I got "Mom, I ripped my pants on purpose"
Me: Again?
DC: I ripped them to pieces. 
**
The last time this happened it was so bad that I had to leave work to pick him up. 
The driver seems to think that he ripped them getting in the car this time but he can't be sure and after seeing them, I'm not too sure either. 
Tonight I was trying to get the story out of him because of course I'd like to know if he is shredding his clothes again or if it was just something that happened. 
His reply..... "Tree Branch" .... 

Sigh... 
Those Pesky Tree Branches.

Facebook Status - August 2016



***
 For something of an explanation about his "Tree Branch" injuries:


Those pesky tree branches…

I know that I have written more than once about DC’s inability to communicate to me or anyone else if/when something might be  wrong. There have been very few times that he has actually volunteered information to me when he was not feeling well or when something hurt or was bothering him.
Most of the time when he does communicate a problem to me, it is really just a ploy to cover himself in Band-Aids:  Continue Reading at Taking It a Step at a Time
 *******


This blog is used for shorter posts, off topic posts and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Hmmmm. What don't you know about me?




I know I have said before that I do not participate all that often in Finish The Sentence Friday only because my mind goes blank when given a subject to write about.

The "Listicles"- I can manage at the last minute...... sometimes.

This weeks list - 10 things most people don't know about me, might be difficult. I may not come up with 10 (but I am sure to think of the rest 2 weeks from now) and I will try not to go to the "dark side" which is a real possibly, but I am going to give it a shot.

1. I have not driven on a highway since early 2000.
I was never a fan, but I finally just stopped one day when I felt as if I was going to just stop my car in the middle of the highway, jump out and run away screaming.

I started a new job a few months before that incident and every day the ride (for me) got worse and worse. It wasn't the traffic and as I said, I had never been a fan but every day I was sure would be the day that I would not make it.

Apparently this is one of the the ways my anxiety manifests itself, I am told. You do not have to tell me that the job had more than a lot to do with the anxiety manifesting. I know that.

I used to be embarrassed to admit my highway fear and would make all sorts of excuses not to go places when invited. I finally got over that and now I either get a ride or drive the back roads - everywhere.
It takes me a good long time to get any where, but it is okay. I do not mind.

No, I am not afraid to drive in the snow and I am not afraid of flying (these are questions I always seem to get asked when anyone learns of my 'highway anxiety". My anxiety is not limited to the highway. There are some roads that I have a difficult time with as well, but the highway is the big one).

2. I have severe anxiety
But  I have just told you that.

3. I have a red spot in my left eye (so I always look like I haven't slept in 5 days) from getting hit in the eye with a rock when I was a kid. It hit me while my eye was wide open because I did not see it coming. I still remember how much it hurt and being terrified to open my eye because I was sure my eye would fall out.


4. I have 4 younger brothers. I am the oldest.
My brother, closest in age to me and me are from my mother's first marriage.
After she married my step-father, they had three more children - so you know how that went. He had his own kids now.


5. I stole a penny candy.
Yes, there really was such a thing as penny candy once. Actually it was a gum ball that I took. I do not know why. I think I just wanted to see if I could do it. Seriously, I was so awkward about it that I am sure the store own knew. She probably felt sorry for me because I was just so bad at it. Afterward I was so wracked with guilt that I did not even chew the gum and the next time I was there, I left a nickle (just as awkwardly) on the counter. I am not sure that I ever told anyone about that to this day.


6. I understand that "Life isn't fair" but when there is a blatant display of unfairness - I cannot let it go.
I make it a mission to make the person who might be treating someone (not just me; anyone) unfairly to see the light. Often my mission leads to an argument but I can not just let it go. It festers and festers.

7. (Kind of along the same lines) I won't stop arguing if you don't let me finish making my point. 
There is nothing worse than when you know someone is not understanding what you are trying to  say but won't give you the opportunity to explain it in a way they will understand without being interrupted. You don't have to agree with me, but you are going to listen. DO NOT walk away when I am trying to explain something or the explanations will never end and I will bring it up at every opportunity.

(You may be beginning to notice that I have had a bad week)

8. I sleep with the lights on.
Although I have never been a a fan of the dark, sleeping with the lights on stems directly from DC who always has to have every light in the house on whether he is in the room or not. I would often wake up in the middle of the night to find DC had gotten up just to turn my bedroom light on and gone back to his room to sleep. It is like he had some sort of radar that tells him when someone turns a light off. I am so used to it that now I have to sleep that way. My neighbors must wonder why my lights never go out.

9. I sleep with the TV on - all night.
The TV is a distraction from the "mind-race" I have while trying to get to sleep. I can't watch anything too interesting or it will keep me awake, but whatever I am watching does have to be at least something that I semi-like.
This is a necessity.

10. I am totally afraid of animals.
Mice? I get it; they are tiny. Why would I be afraid of something so small? I am. Terrified! I can't even look at them on TV or in a commercial. No!
If I have to enter a dark room (like the ladies room at work), I will stick my hand inside to turn on the light while not looking into the room and wait; just in case there are mice so they have time to scatter before I see them.
I do not even want to see them.
Traps? No! I don't want to see them dead or alive..... period.

11 and 11 1/2 Teeth and Feet: I cannot stand seeing anyone brush their teeth, in person, on TV..... anywhere - I gag. I have to look away when DC brushes his teeth.
I hate feet. I don't want to see them on TV, in books, online or in person. Stop showing me your pedicures - I don't want to look.

(Many of the "dark side" items were edited out.)

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This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. It’s old-school blogging with the listicle of “10 things most people don’t know about me,” hosted by Kristi of Finding Ninee and  co-hosted by Kenya G. Johnson of Sporadically Yours.

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This blog is used for shorter posts and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

There is extra sunscreen in his backpack




You may or may not remember that a couple of years ago I had a very difficult time getting the people at DC's work/day program to understand that he has seasonal allergies (see below if you want to catch up). Much of the problem is that the people I talk to in his annual meetings or at any other time, do not seem to pass any of the information on to anyone else that is working with him.

When he began breaking out in a rash because of the gloves they were using in the greenhouse - that information did not carry over to the other program he works in during the winter months. Sometimes I feel as if I have to talk to each and every person individually about everything.

Normally sometime before October the program moves the clients out of the greenhouse and has them work other jobs indoors until March/April.

Last year I asked them to tell me when they would be moving back indoors so I knew I did not have to continue applying the bug spray and sunscreen every morning (for those of you new here - DC just can't stand doing that every morning and because it stayed warm and sunny much longer last year than it normally does, his tolerance for all of that was stretched to the limit).

I also told his boss that there is extra bug spray and sunscreen in his backpack everyday, if he needs it (ticks were really bad last year as well).

A few days later I got a note in his talk book "DC is now working indoors with me until April" - I didn't know who "me" was and it just blows my mind that I have to ask to be told when there are changes in his program, but I always have to.

He was very happy that first morning, not to have me apply all of the screens.

The following day, his talk book said - "Worked raking leaves and weeding today".

?????

Me: "I received a note saying he was back inside until April. I did not put any sunscreen or bug spray on him this morning. Please let me know if he is going to be working outdoors so I can do that. Also, there is extra sunscreen and bug spray in his back pack if he needs it"
Staff: "We only worked outside today because we were short staffed"
(to me, that reply sounded like it was just a one day thing)
Next Day: "We watered the plants and turned over the garden today" (or whatever they did, but whatever the specifics - they worked outside).
Seriously.... when I said to let me know if he would be working outside, I meant BEFORE he was going to be working outside, not after the fact. (and still, the sunscreen and bug spray in his backpack remained untouched).

We finally made it to a point where he was not working outside anymore because.... winter.

Now it is spring. I wrote a note asking them to let me know when he would be going back to the greenhouse so I could start putting on the dreaded sunscreen and bug spray.
They told me they were going back the following Monday.
Since that day, I have been applying sunscreen and bug spray every morning before he leaves. The extra is still in his back pack.

Today I got a note from his program:
"Worked on trimmings, cleaning up the yard. Please put 'tanning' lotion on DC if sunny"


For the above mentioned allergy issue, please read Maybe it's allergies (it is short)




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This blog is used for shorter posts and also for longer Facebook statuses. Please visit my official blog site at: Taking it a Step at a Time