Teacher’s Pet

My in-laws have found a gem of a letter from my husband’s 2nd grade teacher:

Dear Mrs. M:

Your son’s behavior has been poor the past several weeks.  He seems to do exactly as he wishes (with the “he” underlined TWICE).  Daily he needs to be reminded not to sit with his back to the board.  Today he left the area and went to the restroom without permission.  Please speak with him.

Thank you,
Mrs. L

P.S.  Sign and return.

I wrote her back:

Dear Mrs. L:

It’s been approximately 40 years since you wrote my mother-in-law a letter about my husband’s poor behavior in 2nd grade, and I thought you’d like to know how he turned out.

First, and most glaring of all, he still goes to the restroom without permission!  I keep telling him that he needs to tell me if he wants to go to the restroom, but it’s like you said: He does exactly as he wishes, and when he has to go to the restroom, he goes!   Also, he doesn’t always face in the direction that I want him to.  For example, I would like him to turn around and look at me, but he keeps his back to me, toward his computer approximately 100% of the time. I know you feel my pain.

Even though your letter home seems to have been completely ineffective at changing his behavior, I am glad you wrote.  I will keep the letter as a reminder that a kid can be a complete pain in the ass, and still grow up to be a doctor and, eventually, hopefully, someone else’s pain in the ass.

Thank you.

P.S.  Sign and return.

Health insurance advice

As a public service, I’d like to explain a few commonly used health insurance terms. The term “allowed amount” is a euphemism for “whatever we want”. The “allowed amount” is a value you will never know in advance, understand in hindsight, or be able to use to predict future bills.  This holds true even if you a masochist who thoroughly scrutinizes your “EOB,” which stands for “Explanation My A$$,” because it explains nothing and makes sense to no one, ever.  If you don’t believe me, try calling the billing department, who also doesn’t understand it and will not be able to tell you what amount you will have to pay next time, other than X% of the whatever-we-feel-like-it allowed amount.  Do not fall prey to reason and think that a physical therapy appointment will cost approximately the same amount each visit, or that it surely would never be billed for 3 times the amount an MRI of your brain, because you will be wrong.  In no other realm would a fiscally responsible person ever agree to pay a percentage of an unknown amount.  But I suggest you just go with it if you don’t want to spend 50% of your allowed amount of time on earth on the phone to nowhere.


As I’ve already passed my half-century birthday, I’ve decided to adopt some new policies about how I live the rest of my life, including:

  • I am not going to follow all the rules. To quote a song, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”
  • I’m denouncing the American way of putting commas and periods inside
    quotation marks no matter what. The British way of putting them inside only if Continue reading

Ready or not

I’m doing this all wrong and I know it.  This blog is not ready to be a non-secret blog that people actually know exists.  Here are some reasons I should delay publicizing it:

  • I should have amassed a bunch of posts, ready to go, so there’s not a delay between posts.  I have amassed nothing.
  • I never got to the point of really understanding WordPress (i.e., understanding it at all), and there were such long periods of time between posts that I would forget everything I had learned. If my common core math calculations are correct, I actually may know less than nothing about WordPress now.
  • I shouldn’t have dead fish as my header image.  As my husband pointed out here, having a dead fish header is just plain weird.  I should have learned how to replace my header with a different image, but now I can’t even remember how I got that image there in the first place.
  • (Insert a bunch more valid reasons to delay here…)

Here’s why I’m doing this anyway:

  • Tomorrow is my birthday and, after half a century, I can’t think of a better time to take this step toward the edge of my comfort zone.