As the mother of a “disabled” child, I have had to learn the fine skill of deciding when to be a pain and when not to.  This skill is sometimes the difference between getting my child what they need, when they need it or having to wait until someone else decides our fate.  Although I have tailored this post to dealing with doctors offices, the skills really will work in just about any situation where you need some help.

My son has a FABULOUS team of doctors that work with us.  I call them “The Ologists” (as in Neurologist, Audiologist, Psychologist, etc…..).  After 5 years, they all know us pretty well.  There are a few things that I do, out of respect, so that we get treated with respect as well.

 

  • I only say my child needs an immediate appointment if it is really urgent.  Because this is so rare, thank goodness, all of the doctors offices know if I am calling for an urgent appointment, something serious is going on and it really is urgent.  I don’t “cry wolf” and wear out the staff with constant calls and concerns.
  • If I am calling the doctors office for an appointment because my child is in pain, or must be seen right away, and they say “Can you be here at 2 pm?”  The answer is YES!  It is difficult for the office staff to take your request that your child must be seen “right away” seriously if you tell them “No, we can’t make that time.  Do you have anything else available?”  Obviously if you are hemming and hawing about appointment times that fit around YOUR schedule, it’s not that much of an emergency.
  • If I call with an urgent need for care and they tell me that there is nothing available then I ask for the office manager.  Then I calmly and politely explain the whole situation, including why it is urgent and that we will take any appointment available, and ask if there is anything she can do.  I have never been turned down because I do it very respectfully and politely.
  • I hardly ever, almost never, cancel appointments.  Period.  In 22 years of parenting and four children, I have cancelled ONE appointment (and it was a dental appointment that I rescheduled).  Even then, I gave two days notice.
  • Do I need to point out that you should NEVER miss an appointment? When you miss appointments, it does not help your reputation with the doctors office staff.
  • I always arrive a little early so that we don’t keep the doctor waiting .  Sometimes we even get seen ahead of time.
  • If something happens and I owe more money to the doctors office than I thought I would, I explain the situation (truthfully) and ask for an envelope with their address on it so I can mail a payment to them on xyz date.  Oh, and the key is to actually mail the payment when you say you will.
  • If you cannot mail the whole payment, mail something.  Then keep mailing them a little every week (or every other week) so that your account stays in good standing.
  • Follow the doctors advice.  It does no good to go to the doctor and not do what they have told you to do (take medication, go see a specialist, schedule a follow up, get labwork done, etc)
  • If a medication is too expensive, ask your doctor if there is a generic or an alternative.  Most times there is another prescription that will work just as well as the expensive one.
  • I always make sure at the beginning of the phone call to a doctors office that I get the name of the person I am talking to.  Then, at the end of the call, I say “Thank you SO much !  I appreciate all of your help (fill in name here)!”  Also, I say the same thing to all of the staff we see when we are at the office.

 

The office staff at doctors offices need to be appreciated for the job they do.  They have enough patients that holler at them all day, every day.  Try to be one of the nice ones!  It pays off in the end!

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“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

~ Steve Jobs

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I was just going over my grocery lists for the week and thinking how I wish I had a few extra dollars to make things a little easier.  Then I remembered that I had a pair of pants that I bought to wear a few weeks ago.  I never wore them and the tags are still attached.  I hunted down the receipt and will be returning them tomorrow and getting my money back.

Are there any items lurking in your home that you purchased recently and never used?  Don’t let your money sit around like that!  Return them and get your cash back and use it towards something more productive and useful!

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How many times a week do you run to the grocery store for “just one thing”?  Then realize as you are walking out of the store that you spent $25 instead of the $5 you planned to spend?  You just spent twenty extra dollars!

Here is a simple trick I learned years ago that might not be so obvious.  If you need one thing that is usually carried at a convenience store (like milk or bread or even a bag of chips) it is a better plan to just get it at the convenience store instead of going to a grocery store.

If you go to the convenience store to get milk, and the price of the milk is $5 for a gallon, chances are really good you are only going to buy the milk then go home since things there are overpriced.  So, total spent is $5.

If you go to the grocery store to get milk, and the price of milk is $3.50, chances are good you will also buy other things while you are in there.  If you end up spending even just $10 instead of the original planned $3.50, you have spent more than you would have spent at the convenience store where milk is more expensive!

Sometimes even if it appears to be more expensive, it is better to go for convenience instead of “savings” which are not realized.

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As much as I hate to admit it, I spilled sweet tea on my laptop keyboard.  I mopped it all up.  Cleaned between the keys with qtips and alcohol.  I even removed some of the keys that were sticking quite badly and then cleaned underneath them.  The keys were still sticking and two didn’t work (they just went squish squish squish).  Sigh.  I am in no position to buy a new laptop right now (as tempting as that may be).  What I ended up doing was buying a regular keyboard that plugs into my laptop via a USB port.  That worked but was quite awkward to use and a pain in the butt to move from place to place. My laptop became more of a desktop!

After researching online, I found a replacement keyboard for my laptop for under $15 over at Amazon!  Looked around on YouTube and did an online search and discovered that it is very very easy to replace laptop keyboards!  Whoo hoo!  I was really intimidated by this at first but finally decided that it would be worth a try (with a little help from Dane).  It was a success!  I am happy to report that my keyboard is now fully functioning!  Whew!

It’s funny to me that I can find just about any obscure piece of info online by searching the right keywords but it is never my first instinct  to go to YouTube.  I am not sure why that is.  There is soooo much info there for FREE!  Note to self:  check YouTube first :-D

 

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Posted in DIY.

One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes…….

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Simple, accurate and a wonderful point to keep in mind.

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Posted in MLK.

In our house we have TV issues which in turn demand the use of Netflix, a Roku and a Wii . The main issue being that we have Direct TV on the living room tv.  Since there were no additional outlets installed during the original installation, and I refuse to pay $200 to have them hook it up in the bedrooms, we needed an alternative tv solution for those two rooms.

So, since the kiddos already had a Wii and I already subscribed to Netflix, the solution was obvious.  I set up the Netflix on their Wii.  One problem solved, one to go.  I bought a Roku XD for our bedroom so that we too could stream from Netflix.  Everything was fine…… until the Wii got “the black screen of death“.  No, I am not kidding.  The Wii died.  You can do a search and even find YouTube videos about it.  It sucks. The kids can still get Netflix but cannot play games on the Wii (and we have a TON of games for the Wii). And yes, I have already tried ALL of the things they say to try to fix it yourself.

Nintendo wants $80 to fix it plus it takes months to get it back.  The local place wants $55 to fix it but there is no warranty.

My ex is letting the kiddos use his Wii in their room for gaming and they also have the broken Wii with Netflix on it.  The problem is this:  we need to get a “new” Wii for the kids.  We have a lot of games and Ben, who is Autistic, loves the Wii and it really helps him a LOT!   Right now, money is tight and a new Wii is just not in the budget.  After thinking a while, this is the solution I have come up with……

Sell the Roku XD on Ebay .  Sell a few other things on Ebay too.  After saving enough to get another Wii (Probably from GameStop for $90) the we will move the bad Wii that still gets Netflix to our room and the kids get the newer Wii in their room so they can play games and also watch Netflix in there.

Whew!  Problem (eventually) solved!

The point of this article is that sometimes you gotta be a little creative to get what you need without killing your finances.

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I have always clothed my four children by shopping at thrift stores. This includes shopping at Goodwill Stores.  Recently though, I have noticed some really odd things going on at the Goodwill and I am not sure WHAT they are thinking!

A few months ago I was in the Goodwill Store with Shelby, getting the black pants and white dress shirt she needed for her Band concert.  We picked out the pieces we needed and then she wanted to look around some more.  While she looked at stuff for her, I went to see if I could find some tee shirts for Ben.

I was going thru the clothing in the boys department and there was another lady next to me also looking at boys clothes.  Then I saw the sign that said that all childrens clothing was $3.49 per piece.  Ummmmm…… $3.49 for a USED kids tee shirt?!?!?!?!?  I asked the lady next to me “Are kids tees $3.49?”  She looked at the sign and said “No way, adult tees are $1.49.  I think the kids tees are 99 cents or somthing like that.”   Reassured, I continued to look for shirts for Ben. I found a few then tracked Shelby down and made it to the checkouts.

Before being rung up, I asked the cashier how much kids tees are.  She did indeed confirm that kids tees are $3.49 and adult tees are $1.49 !!!!!!!! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!?!?!?!?!?  She offered no explanation and turned to talk to another customer.  That’s when I heard a voice behind me say “Miss, I can take you over here.”  I moved to the other register and the lady there told me that “These are ADULT tee shirts and they are $1.49 each.”  (Wink Wink)

This past weekend I was at a different Goodwill Store looking for shirts for myself.  I found 1 blouse (button up shirt with a collar) and 3 tee shirts (no collar, no buttons, tee shirt material).  At the register, the cashier tried to tell me that they are all “Blouses” because they are women’s shirts.  OMG!  Really?  So, once again, I being told that even though they are tee shirts, and ADULT tee shirts this time, they are considered “blouses” and they cost $3.49 each!

So, Goodwill Stores…… WHAT IS GOING ON ??????  Why can’t they get their pricing right and consistent?  In all honesty, for $3.49 I can wait for a sale and get new tee shirts at Walmart.   Are the people that run Goodwill really that far removed from reality that they don’t realize they are pricing items too high?  Don’t they care that the people who shop at their stores do so because they need to?  They are going to price themselves right out of their targeted market!  Doesn’t Goodwill care about actually having good-will towards their customers anymore?

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Last night I logged into my email and mixed in with all the usual stuff was a survey offer from CVS.  While reading the email I noticed that they were offering a $5 CVS coupon (actually, $5 extra bucks) if you qualified and completed the survey.  Normally I kind of blow these things off but this time I thought I’d give it a try.

I clicked thru on the link in the email and after a few questions I was notified that I “qualified” for the survey.  The survey took about 10 minutes of my time and right after completing it, I got to print out my $5 Extra Bucks!  Not too bad for a few minutes of my time!

You can get these type of offers from CVS too!  Just go over to CVS.com and register your Extra Care card with them.  In addition to survey offers, I also receive LOTS of CVS coupons and special offer via email.

 

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Posted in CVS.

It has always been my experience that in regards to karma, what goes around comes around.  The real catch is that if you do not do the “right” thing then you better believe that the “wrong” thing will find you  (and paybacks are hell!).  I have tried my best to instill that value in each of my children as well.  I really love it when I get the chance to practice what I preach!

The other day I drove Shelby (my third child, youngest daughter) to school.  When we pulled into the drop off area there was just one car in front of us.  Shelby told me goodbye and got out and closed the van door.  I was watching her go into the schoolyard and happened to notice the girl getting out of the car in front of us. As she exited her car and flung her backpack over her shoulder, something fell to the ground.  It didn’t look like a piece of trash or empty snack wrapper or anything like that and by the time I noticed that it was probably something expensive (it was in a really nice carrying case), the girl was long gone.

The car was still in front of me at a stop (not sure why……) so I hurried out of my van, hoping to get to her before she pulled out, and I tapped on the window.  Of course the woman in the car just looked at me with a glare.  I motioned and said, “Can you roll down your window?”  Still glaring, she rolled down her window and I told her “Your daughter just dropped something when she got out of your car.  Hold on and I’ll go get it for you.”

I ran up to where the girl had dropped the item.  It was a nice, padded, black velvet bag.  Inside was a brand new i phone with matching earbuds! I walked it back over to the mother in the car.  To say that the mother was relieved is an understatement.  I was actually shocked that the bag was still there when I got to it and that it hadn’t been picked up by someone else or stepped on.  I feel sorry for the girl though, because she probably went the whole day thinking she had lost this expensive phone and that her mom  was going to be furious when she told her!

Later I asked Shelby if she knew the girl who had gotten out of the car and she said that she didn’t.  She couldn’t believe that the girl had dropped her phone and not noticed! Then she said “Mom that girl is really lucky you found her phone for her!”

Children may not always “listen” to us, but they are always…… ALWAYS….. watching.

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