1,001 Ways to Make My Head Spin

December 28, 2010 at 11:38 pm (Healthy...?, TGF) (, )

#1:  Make me fill out forms with instructions more complicated than those from the IRS. Seriously. Applying for individual health insurance requires a PhD in and of itself. And who in the world remembers the name of the doctor you saw in the ER when you were having an asthma attack 4 years ago? Or where you put the paperwork for that ER visit. List every medication you’ve been on in the past year. Yeah, right. Ask me to list everyone in my 4th grade class, why don’t you?

Then there was the fax fiasco. Call the old insurance provider. Get proof of creditable coverage faxed so we can submit with new insurance application. Sounds easy enough. But using an efax number that limits you to 10 pages per month is not good if you’re going to receive 3 copies of a 6 page document. What about our actual fax machine? Good idea. Only our fax machine is part of our all-in-one printer/scanner/fax and it no longer feeds itself. You have to sit and manually put the paper through so that it doesn’t jam itself and think there’s a fax or print job forever in queue. And, since we’ve not received a fax in oh, 2 years, there’s a bit of rust to come off the old grey matter to remember just how to make the machine receive the fax.

Fax received, finally. But look! My partner’s name is spelled incorrectly. Does this matter, as she’s not going to be on my new policy? Probably not. But holy heck that was an ordeal.

Back to the forms. Please explain every medical procedure you’ve had in the last 5 years. What was the outcome of each procedure? Then please explain why the baby dykes who look like Justin Bieber are cuter than Justin Bieber.  And get me coffe. Stat.

I’m going to bed now so that I can gear up for another day of trying to spend the last of the flexible spending account money that will go away on Friday if we don’t use it. Today I had to wait at Costco for freaking 90 minutes to get my prescriptions filled when they said it’d take 30. Why do they lie? Why can’t they just say, “hey, we’re busy, come back this afternoon?” That would make so much more sense. Tomorrow I’m going to have an eye exam and get new glasses. Because I can. And hopefully the new lenses will make my head feel a little less discombobulated when I’m filling out more forms.

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Second Class Citizen

December 28, 2010 at 12:35 am (Baby on the Brain, TGF) (, , , , , , )

There’s nothing like a little discrimination to make you feel, well, downright shitty. I’ve spent the last few days in a funk, trying to figure out how I’ve lived this long and never really had anyone make me feel like this. I’ve been an out lesbian for over 15 years. I’ve been in a committed relationship for 10 of those years. I’m open and very vocal about who I am and what I am. So here I sit, utterly powerless, all because my partner’s company won’t extend benefits to me as her domestic partner. And according to my insurance agent and her legal counsel, it’s all legal, even in the state of California.

Because although we have a law that says companies must extend equal benefits to domestic partners as they do spouses, it doesn’t apply when the employees are partially funding their coverage. Fucking loopholes. This, my friends, is discrimination. And why I give a big “fuck you” to those asshats who say that domestic partnership is the same as marriage. If I’d gotten married when it was legal in California, would I be having this problem now? I don’t know. I’d probably be having a different problem, since my partner’s company is based in another state and they wouldn’t recognize our marriage anyway.

I’ve been lucky in that this has never been an issue before. But I think in a way it hurts more now. We have a plan, dammit! This was supposed to be the year we started making babies. Like, soon. And now if I switch to individual insurance, not only is it going to be ridiculously expensive (try anywhere from $280/month to $610/month) for me, it’s nearly impossible to cover prenatal care if I get pregnant within 6 months of my enrollment date. I can’t get pregnant until June BECAUSE MY INSURANCE COMPANY SAYS SO. It’s so unfair. And nobody offers any sort of coverage for infertility. We already knew that was going to be expensive.

To top that all off, my girlfriend and I are 400 miles apart this week. I’m staying with my parents through the new year and she’s back at home, working. Phone calls are not as comforting as hugs. Feeling all alone because I haven’t even told my parents we want to have a baby is dumb, but I don’t want to get their hopes up. So yay, I get to be all clandestine when I’m reading the insurance information, scrolling through the pregnancy/maternity/post birth coverage stuff.

And now my partner feels really bad because her company sucks ass. I feel guilty because she has to pay for all of this. Could this suck any more right now? Oh wait, I could have PMS, too. Well, as luck would have it, I do. So I’m crying on the phone, I slept 16 hours last night, I’m eating everything in sight. FUUUUUCK. I know it’ll work out. In my head, I know this will work out. But for now, I’m going to feel sorry for myself and tuck my lonely, fat body into a cold, lonely bed.

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I’m a Grinch. There, I Said It.

December 25, 2010 at 6:09 am (TGF) (, , )

A little over a week ago my girlfriend found out that the friends she usually goes to visit for Christmas weren’t going to be home this year. Yes, they tend to be very last minute about things like this. Then again, so is my girlfriend. So she was trying to think of where to take her mother and brother for the holidays that was a drivable distance and had things for them to see and do. She decided to go to San Francisco on Christmas Eve day and stay through Monday. This was a good plan, except there are questions about where to eat for Christmas dinner, what to do during the day since most things are closed, etc. Her main goal was to make sure they were together for the holiday and hope that everything else fell into place.

I’m from the Bay Area, grew up about an hour south of San Francisco. Our family does a pretty traditional Christmas Eve with my extended family in Sacramento and then Christmas Day in the East Bay. And when I found out that my girlfriend and her family were going to be in the same area, I told her that I couldn’t spring them on my family with such short notice. I’m a horrible, horrible person. It’s not that I don’t want them to come to Christmas with my family. This Christmas just happens to be a very hard one, my cousin just had a lumpectomy and will be undergoing chemo soon. Her mother passed away over the summer. We usually go to my cousin’s house or one of her siblings’ houses for Christmas dinner. Imposing on their generosity felt wrong, given the stress they’re under. I know I could have asked, and I’m pretty sure they would have said yes. So why didn’t I? I kind of already feel like we’re invading their family time. To add 3 more people to the mix just didn’t seem fair.

Ugh. Guilt. Because I feel like I should have invited them regardless. They’re my family, too. I’m sorry they’re going to be alone on Christmas. In a strange city. That shouldn’t happen to anyone.

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A Hitch in the Plans

December 24, 2010 at 11:58 am (Healthy...?) (, , , , )

My partner found out 2 weeks ago  that her company has been acquired by a bigger company based in St. Louis. Great! More opportunities for advancement, better bonuses for travel, hopefully more ‘perks’. She was feeling rather stagnated in her present job so this had the potential to become something very positive.

Cut to last week, when I was online registering us for our new health insurance plan. I fill out most of the forms and read most of the fine print in this household because although my girlfriend is a wonderful, caring person, she can’t seem to pay attention long enough to follow the instructions on a soup can, so insurance forms or our cellular phone bill are way out of her comfort zone. Anyway, I came to the page to add a spouse or dependent. I entered my name and then realized I couldn’t change the gender of the spouse on the page. It was fixed to ‘male’. Uh, what? Emails were sent out post haste. The first was, “Dear HR Person in St. Louis, I can’t add my partner to my health plan because it defaults to male, since I’m female. Please advise.”  The answer?

Unfortunately our plan does not allow for Domestic Partners. At this point there is nothing I can do.

You, “HR Benefits Specialist”, can kiss my yellow ass. So then we wrote to the former owner of the company, who is now acting as head of the west coast operations. The gist of that email was that I, as a domestic partner, was covered under the old company’s policies, as well as the law in the state of California. Any changes to this, i.e., not offering me coverage now, was unacceptable given the law (AB 2208, the California Insurance Equality Act) and that I should be covered. The first response was “we’ll get back to you.” Last night, after close of business and going into a 4 day holiday weekend, another response:

Unfortunately with the new company’s plan being partially company funded and partially employee funded we are not able to offer benefits for domestic partners.

This is California, right? I didn’t fall asleep and wake up in Texas or somewhere in the south? Holy crap, I didn’t think this would be an issue for us, ever. When people say being domestic partners is equivalent to being married so why fight for gay marriage, this is what I want them to know:   my partner’s employers think they have the right not to offer health insurance benefits to me because I am a domestic partner, not a spouse. As it stands right now, my biological child may not be covered by her insurance, either, since she’s not related by blood.

So now we have some major decisions to make. We asked for an extension of our former benefits so that I would not have a lapse in coverage after the companies merge on January 1st. They said no. They suggested I look into COBRA coverage. Do we get a lawyer? Can they actually do this in California? We’re asking our friends for advice, and so far it’s not been pleasant. One of my partner’s friends said he has COBRA now because they took away DP benefits after the whole fiasco surrounding Prop. 8 (his partner’s company ended DP benefits while same sex marriage was legal and never reinstated it) and they couldn’t sue because his partner wasn’t out.

Are we going to fight? Where does this put us as far as planning for the kid? How much more expensive is COBRA if I have to go on it? Individual insurance is not necessarily an option for me, I’ve been told I’m basically uninsurable because I have asthma. Fuckers.

I sent an email to the Nat’l Center for Lesbian Rights, hopefully they get back to me about options soon. Wish I had more than a week to get this sorted out. That it’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s, when most people aren’t really working? Figures.

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A Minute to Talk About My Boobs

December 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm (Healthy...?, Randomness) (, , )

Ok, maybe more than a minute. In the past 3 or 4 months, I’ve noticed that my normally 34AAA cups increase in size right around the time I’m ovulating, making their presence known for a good week before resuming their regularly scheduled programming. They’re markedly bigger. Like, I might have to buy a different sized bra to wear when I’m ovulating bigger. This may not seem like a big deal to most people (or maybe it is, I don’t usually discuss my boobage with other people, you’re just lucky!) but for someone who’s always had a flat chest, the increased size is, well, totally bizarre.

I’ve had conversations with women who have bigger than average tatas and heard many of their complaints about bras, playing sports, people who talk to their chests, etc., and while I’m never going to have even average sized breasts, I’m beginning to realize what they’re talking about when they say that wearing sports bras and trying to run without crossing their arms over their chests is a bouncy, painful, I-may-lose-an-eyeball kind of experience. I can usually wear tank tops with a built in bra and not feel like everything’s hanging out. Not so with my hormonal boobs. I mean, I have cleavage. For real. Even confining them to a sports bra still gives me more of a chest than I’m used to. They’re, ahem, grabbable. Now that’s weird.

Only don’t grab them. Don’t touch them. They hurt. At least for the first day. 2nd and 3rd aren’t so bad. But that 1st day? I can’t even dry them off after my shower.

Thus concludes my post about my boobs. I’m sure there will be more.

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About to Build That Ark

December 19, 2010 at 10:08 am (Randomness, Weekend Update)

It’s been raining for days. Literally. Started Thursday and hasn’t let up since then. Not very helpful for the people who want to get things done like, oh, patching and painting some walls downstairs so I can get the floor guys in to finish the rooms. And I don’t suppose it’s very good for those burn areas from the fires we had last summer either. Our street is mostly water, the driveway has a river about 5 feet across and 8 inches deep at the moment. Here’s hoping the roof doesn’t leak here. It’s strange to have weather in Southern California. Stranger still to have the morning news lead with “STORM WATCH 2010!” Because in Los Angeles, believe me, this is big news.

Other happenings this week:  K was here for a little less than 24 hours, we got to spend a little time together while she was on this coast (she lives in Italy most of the year. She owns an inn, here’s the link). I made her sit through 3 hours of Christmas carols–the annual fundraiser for my choir–we called 25-30 people, wished them happy holidays and sang to them. There was wine and beer involved so it was all good. We then ventured to K’s hotel…they should rename it the Bates Motel, it was that creepy. Oh, they bill it as being kitschy but really? It was kind of horrific. I’ll show you my pics:

This is the first time I’ve uploaded pictures to this blog, so bear with me if they don’t turn out right.

Anyway, creepy hotel.

Friday night my girlfriend and I did something we’ve not done…ever? Maybe we have but it’s been years. We went to a bar to meet some friends. It was karaoke night. So I had to get drunk in order to tolerate the 2 REALLY HORRIBLE ones. The rest of the night I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the people singing could actually sing. I suppose I should’ve guessed that considering the person who invited us sings in my choir. But karaoke for me has always been a traumatic experience, so being likkered up helped. Didn’t help my diet much, as I drank 3 1/2 beers and then got a burger to soak up some of the alcohol. At 2 in the morning. When am I going to remember that I’m not in my 20s anymore and I can’t do things like this? At least I wasn’t too hung over yesterday. Just felt really fat.

The rest of my weekend? I’m supposed to be working on the downstairs apartment but my reinforcements have yet to arrive. My girlfriend stayed up all night and is now crashed out, and her brother is MIA. Maybe we’ll get some stuff done despite the rain.

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Just in Time for the Holidays

December 13, 2010 at 4:28 pm (Healthy...?, TGF)

We’re changing insurance carriers. Which could potentially be a good thing, considering the insurance plan we currently have covers NOTHING when it comes to fertility. Unless one of us wants to be sterilized. That’s covered.

So now I’ve got to read up on a new plan and have my OB/GYN fill out paperwork for me. Of course, we still have to decide on a donor or even a sperm bank.

Anyway, this is additional stress but it has potential to be a good thing. My girlfriend’s company was just acquired by a larger company so hopefully their insurance is better and offers more for us. And hopefully they’re still paying the premiums.

Now to start reading about our new benefits package. Beats trying to figure out what to get everyone for Christmas.

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Drivel…And Beer

December 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm (Baby on the Brain, Randomness)

Really, I’ve had little or nothing to say this past week that doesn’t have something to do with my migraines (I’ve had 2) and my general “blah” feelings. I feel fat, this is compounded by a loss of muscle because I’ve not worked out in months–probably at least 2 if not 3. I have no energy to do anything and want to eat everything in sight at night when I know I’m better off just going to bed. I’ve done some work on the apartment downstairs but let me tell you how much I don’t want to move down there or be subjected to the nastiness of it all. And it’s freaking cold down there. At least 10 degrees cooler than it is upstairs.

All that aside,  I’m worried because I sent off my tax info and other very important IDs to this guy in Texas who said he had a job for me come the middle of this month going into probably March of next year. Only after I sent him my stuff, he disappeared. Am I worried it’s a scam? Not particularly, since we were connected through a friend of mine who I trust. But I’m concerned because he hasn’t replied to 2 emails I’ve sent in the last two weeks. So I’m not holding my breath on that job. I seriously need work, though. Like, I can’t pay my bills and my girlfriend is going to kill me if I don’t have income soon kind of serious.

Is it fair to get a job when I know I want to have a baby in the next year? I feel kind of guilty about that. But hey, I suppose straight people do it all the time. Since my pregnancy is planned, do I have to tell my potential employers about it? I’m thinking no, because if this was an “oops” situation, they’d be stuck just the same. Still, it does seem rather unsportsmanlike to do it…

Enjoying my Belgian White Ale – Blue Moon really does rock. I’ve spent the last couple of days looking for bars in my area that have it on tap. I had it at the Lexington Club in SF when I was up there and it tastes radically different from what one gets from a bottle. So I’ve told my friends to expect a pub crawl in the near future.

In the meantime, I’m in love with this couples’ baby (one blogs here. The other, here). She’s adorable. I could spend days just looking at her pictures. And it’s a decided bonus that I enjoy reading her moms’ posts. They’re what I aspire to be, in the midst of my whining and dangling participles.

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Better Early Than Not At All

December 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm (Baby on the Brain, Healthy...?) (, )

I went to see my doctor last week for an update on my allergy & asthma medications. I’ve had allergies to animals and pollens for as long as I can remember. My allergist seems to think I’m so allergic I shouldn’t go outdoors. Anyway, I take a handful of medications to keep myself from running out of oxygen on a regular basis. We also discussed my migraines, which I seem to get at least twice a month, I think they coincide very nicely with ovulation and starting my period. But I’ve nothing substantive on that. I was on a beta blocker for a year to see if that helped any with the pain/length of my migraines, and it did seem to help, but my girlfriend said I lost too many brain cells and had too many memory problems while on the medication and made me stop. It also has some weird side effects related to heart attacks or something, so I did stop taking them.

Cut to this past week, and recent memories of the past two periods that were painful—cramps and migraines and bloated, oh my! My doctor thought it odd that a previous doctor had put me on a relatively high dose of the beta blocker and when I asked what the lowest effective dosage might be for migraine relief, he said it was about ¼ of what I used to take. So now I’m taking that in addition to the rest of the morning pills.

Oh, and the painful period? About 4 days early. Though I’m not sure. I thought, according to my BBT, that I ovulated about 10 days before my period started. I guess I’m going to have to get a lot more disciplined about my temp taking in the morning. I took it this morning and it was 96.5. My chart barely goes that low. I’m going to have to start drawing additional boxes for my x’s. I suppose, given how unpredictable my cycle has always been, that I’m going to be peeing on a lot of sticks when we actually start this process. And I’m glad I actually had a period, because it would suck to start not having one again. Well, except if I were pregnant.

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Christmas: It’s All About the Music

December 3, 2010 at 12:03 pm (Randomness) (, )

And by music, I’m not talking about the crap they play on the radio starting the freaking day after Halloween. I’m talking about the traditional carols, unbelievable harmonies, and Chanticleer. I’ve loved Chanticleer since they came to my high school to perform and do a workshop with my choir. I’ve seen them perform their Christmas concert in Carmel and at the Disney Hall in L.A. I have it on DVD. It gets played multiple times the week before Christmas. One of the pieces they do every year is on my top 10 list of favorite songs of all time.

I absolutely love sacred choral music and Christmas is a perfect opportunity for me to indulge in listening for hours, although my girlfriend probably would prefer we listen to Taio Cruz or something. It’s weird, I suppose, that I love sacred choral music so much, given that I was raised Buddhist and don’t believe in God. Or maybe it’s not so weird. I enjoy mass, too, although not for its dogma but for its ritual, structure, and tradition. Yes, I can probably recite the mass in Latin, only because I’ve sung it. Buddhism doesn’t have the same ties to music. We have chanting. Which doesn’t necessarily require the ability to sing in tune.  I’ve loved singing big choral works, my particular favorites are requiems:  Mozart, Brahms, even Rutter. And part of our holiday tradition is to participate in the L.A. Master Chorale’s Messiah Sing Along, which will happen this weekend.

Christmas for me is about family, yes, but even more, it’s about the feeling I get when I hear a great choir sing There Is No Rose. I could spend all day posting youtube videos of Christmas songs. But I should probably do something a bit more productive, like return my overdue library books.

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