JP


JP is well on the road to recovery. She’s out of the wheelchair completely now, and only using crutches when she tires. Thanks to physical therapy three times a week, she is making great strides and feeling much better. However, she’s still having some pretty severe pain in her knee, which doesn’t seem to be improving at all. (In fact, it seems to be getting worse.)

So yesterday she called her orthopedic surgeon’s office to schedule a follow-up appointment. Unfortunately, they told her they couldn’t see her until late August. She told them, firmly, that this was unacceptable and she needed to see someone sooner, but they insisted that there was NO WAY a doctor could see her any sooner. So she called another office and scheduled an appointment with a new doctor for next week, then she called the first office back to ask them to transfer her records. That resulted in this conversation:

Admin: Oh, um, well, you don’t have to do that. We might be able to get you in sooner.

JP: You told me there was no way anyone could see me until late August.

Admin: Hold on. (pause) Actually, we could see you Friday.

JP: No thanks, my appointment is Wednesday.

Admin: Hold on. (pause) Actually, it looks like we could squeeze you in Tuesday afternoon.

JP: That’s okay. I think I’m just going to go with this new doctor.

Admin: Hold on. (pause) How about 8am Monday?

So, here’s what I don’t understand. This entire exchange took place inside of fifteen minutes, so I seriously doubt those spots were the result of cancellations. If they actually had the ability to fit her in at least three times next week, why didn’t they just give her one of those spots the FIRST time she called, when she explained the pain and her concerns? Why did those spots only become available when she decided to take her business elsewhere?

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Thursday should have been my last day with Baby H. I had planned to spend the day at the park or possibly the pool — one last hurrah. Instead, I never made it to work, and I spent the day in the ER.

JP and I generally carpool to work, and we were rushing through our morning routine as usual. Just I as I was coming in from walking the dogs, JP ran down the stairs…and slipped. You may recall that this spiral staircase has been a source of concern in the past. But as many times as we had joked that “one day someone is going to break their neck on that thing”, I don’t think we ever took ourselves seriously. We should have.

Luckily, it was her ankle, not her neck. And, after multiple x-rays, it was determined that the bones were intact. (I’m still incredulous — if you had seen the unnatural angle of her foot, you would be too.) It was “just” a severe sprain. Further consultations with an orthopedic surgeon and a physical therapist have revealed the tearing of all three ligaments on the outside of her right ankle. But the best part? That would be the fact that she also managed to hyperextend her left knee, making crutches impossible and treating us to a crash course in the tribulations of the wheelchair-bound. In all seriousness, I’ve never been so frustrated or angry with establishments. Going out to eat was basically impossible, and maneuvering our local Barnes and Noble was hazardous. Narrow aisles and oblivious patrons are bad enough, but I swear to god I will murder the person who invented those cardboard endcaps rickety roadblocks.

Today, for the first time in a week, JP was able to get around on her crutches. She’s sore and exhausted, but so thankful not to be confined to a wheelchair.

Baby H’s parents were utterly unsympathetic and unconcerned. Despite the fact that neither of them was working outside the home that day, they acted as if my calling out was a crisis and gave me a major guilt trip about it — as if I pushed JP down the stairs just to avoid my last day of work. Then, when I called later that day to arrange a time to meet with them to return the extra car seat and a few other things, they informed me that I would not be allowed to use any of my three remaining sick days to cover the day, and that they would be docking my final paycheck. Apparently this is the the thanks I get for 18 months of devoted service to them, including four months in which I turned down multiple job offers as I waited week by week, not knowing when my job would suddenly disappear because they refused to communicate with me about their childcare plans.

Meanwhile, my new employers have inquired daily about JP’s well-being and progress, including physical therapy recommendations. As promised, I won’t say much about them or the children. But I can say that after my first week, I am sure that I made the right decision and chose the right family. Now it’s just a matter of settling in and rolling with the punches. Not literally, I hope — we don’t need any more injuries in this house.

That’s how many hours JP spent at the office last week. Ten hour days followed by a full weekend of slaving away rather than lounging by the pool. And the worst part is that this week promises to be even worse.

That old adage about absence making the heart grow stronger seems to hold true in our case, because we’ve both been lonely and clingy.

Honestly, I expect that to some degree from JP. After all, she’s the one worked to exhaustion. She’s also the type who craves human interaction and is easily bored or lonely. But I enjoy no one’s company more than my own. I love my solitude.

Recently, JP and I were driving at dusk and passed a park with a small pond. Seated in front of the lake, with her back to the road, was a young woman. I couldn’t see her expression, but she looked so tranquil sitting there. “Look,” I said to JP. “See the girl sitting all by herself at the pond? She looks so …” And then, just as I was saying “peaceful” JP completed the sentence with “lonely”. We laughed, because the exchange so perfectly sums up our feelings about solitude.

But this weekend, with JP at work all day, I began to see things from her perspective. In between interviews, I found myself wandering aimlessly. I could have gone swimming or watched a movie or taken the dogs to the park, but none of those seemed as appealing without JP for company. Maybe it’s because I’m so stressed right now, worrying about landing the perfect job. Or maybe it’s just that after nearly two years of cohabitation, solitude has lost some of its appeal.

Either way, it wasn’t peaceful…it was just lonely.

Actual phone conversation with JP today.

Me: Baby H. threw up all over my shirt and I don’t have anything to change into.

JP: Ew. What are you going to do?

Me: Well, I washed it in the sink with hand soap. So now I’m clean, but I smell like melon vomit.

Many moons ago, I publicly chastised JP for repeatedly failing to put the new roll of toilet paper ON the holder. Since then, I regret to inform you that not much has changed. Except that she is more aware of this and will often gleefully inform me that she put a new roll on top of the holder rather than replacing it.

Then Wednesday after work, we were doing a little cleaning. I was in the bedroom and JP was in our bathroom, when I heard an inexplicable: ClinkClinkGlubGlub. Followed by an, “Um…uh oh.”

Apparently, JP — in an effort to be loving — was changing the toilet paper, when the metal rod of the holder sprung from her hand into the flushing toilet. As fate would have it, the rod landed at the EXACT moment the water was at it’s lowest point and the flush was complete, meaning there was no way for Jamie to prevent certain disaster.

Three hours of googling, plunging and snaking to no avail and I was kicking myself for ever nagging JP to change the toilet paper.

Yesterday I spent all day waiting for a plumber. I called at 8am, and was told someone would arrive between 11:00 and 1:00. At 12:45 they called to say they were running behind. At 1:00 they called and said someone was in the area and on the way. At 2:30, I called them to make sure the driver wasn’t lost or dead. They assured me that he was not lost and would be there momentarily. I guess by “in the area” they meant “in the state”. Thankfully, this is where the incompetence stopped. The plumber who showed up was quick, capable and and polite. Thirty minutes later, he was on his way…with the mangled rod and $364 of our hard-earned money.

Sigh.

We’re back from our holiday weekend and struggling to get back in the swing of things. We went to NC to visit JP’s family for the holiday weekend, and it was great even if it did mean a five-hour drive each way with JP’s dad chain-smoking cigars out his window while I shivered in the backseat.

Saturday, we spent the day doing last minute Christmas shopping and getting ready for our trip. We had parked the poor, damaged scooter in The Spot, where it was awaiting a visit from the insurance adjuster. When we came out to load the car, we were shocked to see this:

I know it’s dark, but if you look carefully, you’ll see that a car is parked diagonally across a walkway protruding into our parking spot. Not only is it clearly parked outside of any legitimate parking space, it is also very close to hitting the scooter. What you may not be able to see in the photo is that there were three actual spaces available surrounding these two vehicles. This was not a case of someone cramming into a made-up space because there was nothing else available. This was clearly a threat because we were parked in The Spot. The car is does not belong to Ms. Hatfield, but I can only assume this is the guest she warned us would be arriving in her last letter.

I took a couple of photos for proof, and Ms. Hatfield came out of her condo and glared at me as I did so. Then I went over to the home owners association office, but of course it was the weekend, and therefore no one was in the office. We did speak to the gate keeper (yes, we live in a gated community) but he was little to no help. And by this point we were running late and needed to go.

So I held onto the photos and we headed North for a fun-filled weekend in a land where they’ve never heard of the internet, the nearest movie theater is 23 miles away and closed on Christmas Eve, and fast food restaurants proudly boast signs like this:

Also, I don’t know what exactly went awry, but Christmas dinner was so bad we had to sneak out later and go to Waffle House (which appeared to be the only restaurant open in the entire state). When food from WAFFLE HOUSE is better than Christmas dinner, you have a serious problem.

When we arrived home on Tuesday night, the scooter was not where we left it. Yes, you read that correctly. We froze for a moment, thinking that it was stolen. Then we turned around and saw it SITTING ON THE SIDEWALK BY OUR HOUSE.

Someone (ie Ms. Hatfield and her cronies) physically removed it from the spot where it was parked legally and placed it on the sidewalk so they could have The Spot. Aside from the fact that WHAT?! YOU CANNOT DO THAT! I’m am even more upset because a scooter is not like a bicycle. You cannot just roll it where you want it. It is a machine that turns off and the handlebars lock. That means, in order to move it, you need to turn it on. If you don’t, you can cause serious damage to the steering mechanisms. And, given the fact the it was in an accident on Friday and insurance adjuster still had not examined it at that time, we certainly didn’t need someone messing with it. I was absolutely livid. Lucky for Ms. Hatfield, she was not home when we got there. Had she been, I’m scared of what I might have done.

What we DID do, was call the cops and make a report. The cop who came out was a total jerk and basically told us that unless we can prove that it is damaged and that we know who damaged it, he was not getting involved. While I do understand that, I also know that I wanted a record of this incident because her actions are escalating.

Today I called the HOA office and talked to YET ANOTHER person. I told the whole story and assured her that all of this information is documented and on file in her office. And I informed her that I had called the police, and I will continue calling the police if this harassment continues. She was utterly appalled (as they always are) and promised to resolve the situation immediately (as they always do). She also promised to call me back and let me know what steps have been taken to resolve the situation.

As yet, I’ve not received a call from her. Shocking.

Waiting for the punchline? Me too.

JP’s daily commute takes her down arguably the busiest street in Atlanta at the height of rush hour traffic. It’s an exercise in frustration, and this morning was worse than most thanks to the (much-needed) rain that doused the city last night.

It would have been annoying, but far from memorable, were it not for the priest who darted into traffic. He was not in a crosswalk and was crossing against the light. And he ran out with no warning, causing the man in the car in front of her to slam on his breaks. JP slammed on her breaks as well, but it was not enough, thanks to the wet roads.

Her scooter slammed into the back of the car and she went over the handlebars, bruising her stomach and pinning her leg between the bike and the car. Thankfully, she is (mostly) fine. The cop, who was very nice and assured her that the circumstances and weather conditions would convince the judge to reduce the “following too closely” ticket he was required to issue, wanted her to go to the hospital and get checked out, but she didn’t feel it was necessary. I agreed with her, under the condition that she stay with me all day so I can observe her in case she gets worse and needs to go to the Emergency Room. She is resting peacefully now with her leg elevated and a new copy of US Weekly to entertain her. She’s bruised and uncomfortable and shaken, but it could have been much, much worse. I think I’m actually more shaken than she is at this point. She just announced that she was feeling fine and wanted to run a Christmas errand without me. At which point, I broke down and began sobbing because I was scared to let her out of my sight.

The other car received only minor damages (some scuffing and a broken tail light). The scooter sustained some pretty serious damage, but we have comprehensive insurance that should cover all of the repairs. If only my nerves could be repaired as easily.

Meanwhile, you might be asking yourself what became of that man of the cloth. When he heard the screeching of tires of blacktop and saw the collision, did he run to their aid? You might assume that he would be the first to offer assistance and comfort to the young woman laying on the ground, not just because he caused the accident but also because it is his job — no, his “calling” — to care for people as his savior once cared for them . If so, you would be wrong. Because that man of god? He bolted.

Even as people yelled for him to come back, he ran as far and fast as he could with no apparent thought for those who were injured. His only concern seemed to be staying out of trouble. How do you like those family values?

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