Sunday, January 25, 2009

OUCH! Relearning a lesson, the expensive way

I live with three males; one DH and two teenaged sons. Of course they've been trying to sell me on a HUGE plasma TV for - oh, since they came on the market. I knew I'd give in some day.

Some day arrived. Circuit City announced Chapter 7; low prices! So, I convinced DH to go buy an HDTV - without me. I don't care about the details of a TV! We've been married 25 years. Previously, my DH never bought high-cost items without me, except some jewelry.

The males went to hunt TV. I found a HUGE box in my dining room when I got home. Good; purchase complete. No more whining about an HDTV.

They bought a 50" HDTV. The TV was only 10% off. I found it in Best Buy's ad that same night. $600 less. Yes, SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS less. I calmly - really calmly - mentioned my finding to DH. (D certainly didn't mean "dear"...)

Receipt stated "All Sales Final".

My DH will never again buy high-cost items without me, except some jewelry. He's really good at buying jewelry without me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Family Leave - YEAH! ugh

Governor Corzine leaving hospital after auto accident

Recently NJ passed a paid family leave law.
YEAH! I am really glad, since many people can't afford unpaid leave.
UGH! I am really annoyed, since we're taxed to cover the cost. But our company was paying us without the law or paycheck deduction. Then again, we've paid into state short term disability .... Paid family leave is similar - just the person is taking off to care for someone possibly on short term disability.

My final assessment is that this is a good thing. I'll live without the tax cost and I'll know that others will be able to take paid time from work to care for family.

There are always positive and negative results, aren't there?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Big Brother is HERE.

So, I’m completing the always-obnoxious security clearance form for my periodic reinvestigation.
I submitted it, finally, January 5. I thought I’d submitted it December 30. No, that was the day I fax’d the signature pages allowing any and all to release any and all information about me. I forgot that I had to hit the ‘submit’ button after I fax’d the pages.

It bounced. January 6. At least I know Security doesn’t have a backlog.

Reject Reason 1:
I worked for the federal government 30 yrs ago, but if I EVER worked for the gov’t, I have to provide details – including name and phone number of my supervisors. R-i-g-h-t; sure; got it right here. I typed ‘unknown’ for both stints.
Did I notice the ‘additional comments’ field? Sure
Did I think I had to comment? No
Well, I did; I have to explain why I don’t know a phone number from 30 yrs ago. BTW – I haven’t known these numbers since I filled out the FIRST form in 1981. (That would be 27 years ago.)

Reject Reason 2:
I didn’t have sufficient detail for my medical records – the more accurate title would be “mental health records”.
The wording in the email was different than the form; the email was auto-generated. So I answered the question as worded in the email. And I included that precise wording in the comments field. The wording change had changed my answer from ‘yes’ to ‘no’, since it asked if any treatment was court-ordered.
I was very glad, since my original response had missing pieces. I need dates, name, and address. I called my PCP and got the practice name for the doctor who wrote Rx. I only had first therapist's address. I had second therapist's name; but he’s moved. Wonderful, dummy – and yes, I knew I’d need the info in the future, which is NOW.

I just got a phone call; the email info was incorrect, and I did have to provide treatment information. The voice rejected my form. Reading the email, I saw the reason says ‘per our phone call’. I realized the messages are not auto-generated! CRAP.

I came across first therapist’s business card, and I can estimate when I started seeing him, and I know when I stopped. YEAH!
I still have no clue about the RX doctor. But, hey, CVS has online rx history records. Maybe they’ll go back far enough for me to figure out the dates – and maybe I’ll even find the doctor’s name!

NOW I’m getting to the Big Brother part.
I started to create an account. The two-step verification process requires you to enter an Rx number and the store number. Drugs – home; me – work. But maybe I can sweet-talk a pharmacist into giving me the info. I called, got a human in less than a minute, and simply asked for the Rx number of the last thing I had filled. Boom, got it and the store number with no questions asked.
YIKES! Some verification that I am me, and only I could do this verification.
On to Step 2.
OMG! Big Brother in all his glory!
Question 1: Which of the following vehicle models is currently registered at your address?
Question 2: Which of the following people also lives at your address?
Question 3: Which of these cities have you or do you live in?
Each had five responses.

Freak out thought 1: Exactly where does CVS get such data so quickly?
Freak out thought 2: Really, where?? For question 3, the valid answer was a city I left over twenty years ago!

Wow. Now I have to search my Rx history. Wish me luck.
Oh – and if a federal marshall or other somber looking person with a cool large shield knocks on your door, or calls, and asks if you’d answer a few questions about me – PLEASE say yes. I don’t want to have to explain why and beg people to respond. My neighbors haven’t changed, so they should remember my pleading last time.

NOTE: photo from
Saturday Evening Post Article (c) 1964

Monday, January 5, 2009

Feeling like a criminal ...

Have you encountered the nasty PITA requirements for buying "OTC" drugs containing pseudoephedrine? If not, you are lucky! Obviously YOU don't live in a family with chronic drippy sinuses or allergies. Lucky you.
But I do.

First, the drugs are available only by prescription. Then they make them available over the counter - Benedryl, Allegra, Claritin, you name it. Suddenly these are so safe, we don't need a doctor's note to obtain them. This stinks, since OTC prices are higher than my co-pay was. This is nice; no more doctor's visits just for a piece of paper with illegible Latin scrawls on it.

Then the brainiacs realize the drugkings are making meth using the pseudostuff from the now OTC drugs. That is so not good; we are still in a war against drugs, ya know.

So what does the gov't do? Establishes the honkin' big book, which makes you feel like a criminal every time you need to buy formerly prescription drugs which are now OTC. I sure don't recall ever giving a pharmacist or cashier my Driver's License number and more info to get my Rx drugs.... maybe all the drugs have fried my brain??

Oh, and do not decide you want to pick up some anti-sniff drugs along with some prescriptions at a pharmacy like CVS. You can't get the OTC - ha! - drugs from the pharmacist; you must go to the FRONT of the store for those.
Hello? Tell me this again.
  • To get good anti-drip drugs, you have to ask the cashier in front - the one with the long lines of grumpy, sneezy, wheezy people.
  • She hauls out the biggest black binder I've ever seen.
  • She takes your DL, writes a novella, then s-l-o-w-l-y turns the beast around.
  • You add another novella.
  • Only then will she get the drugs and sell them to you.
  • You must remember to get your DL back, for next time.
Oh - don't ask for two packages. So not happening. Be forewarned - if you go to several stores over too few hours, someone is gonna come knocking on your door. You better have those sniffling kids, your DH and the dogs ready as Exhibit A.

So far, we've avoided the knock on the door.
And DH buys our drugs; I refuse to deal with the mess.