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Holy Crap! (aka First Day of School 2012)

From this (2000):

Vampire Boy’s first day of kindergarten (2000)

To this (2005):

Social Diva heading off to Kindergarten and Vampire Boy heading off to Fifth Grade (2005)

To this (2012):

Middle year of middle school/grade 7 for Social Diva and ::sniffle, sniffle:: Senior year for Vampire Boy (2012)

Holy crap, where have the years gone?!?!

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner whimpering and rocking myself! Does anyone have one of those white coats with the long sleeves that I could borrow?

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It was just yesterday!

Seventeen!

I am the mom of a seventeen year old!

It was just yesterday that I decided to go off birth control.

It was just yesterday that I got pregnant.

It was just yesterday that I was admitted for induction.

It was just yesterday that I was sent home with a delightful bundle of joy.

It was just yesterday that the handsome little boy I gave birth to started kindergarten.

And then middle school.

And then high school.

Holy crap, he’s a junior in high school! He’s (hopefully) getting his driver’s license within the next few months. We’re choosing classes for his senior year of high school. He’s thinking about attending college. He’s trying to find a summer job (fingers crossed for the second interview at the Zoo!).

He’ll be a senior soon.

Senior pictures.

Girlfriends.

Senior prom.

High school graduation.

The kids laugh at my tears at the end of Toy Story 3.  How am I going to make it tear-free through graduation? It’s going to be impossible!

While he may be an introvert and doesn’t like to do much with mom these days, I have been blessed with handsome, well-mannered, polite young adult. ::sniffle, sniffle::

He is 17 today, and I wish him the happiest of birthdays!

Can someone please show me the rewind button?

Drunk Girl Theater

My first theater experience was when I was when I was in my early 30’s.  Growing up in a small town 20 miles south of downtown Pittsburgh, my parents never brought us into the city and certainly never to the theater.  Now that I am a parent, I want my children to experience all that they can.

Since his freshman  year, Vampire Boy has been involved with theater arts as part of the lighting or stage crew.  In May 2011, our high school’s spring musical production was The Wizard of Oz (I went to see it twice).  Once the advertisements started in May for the Wicked production and it’s performances in Pittsburgh, I knew I wanted to buy tickets for the three of us to go to a performance.   With my tight budget, I decided to get the least inexpensive tickets with the rationale that there isn’t a bad seat in the Benedum.  I also learned the lesson that one goes directly to the box office to buy tickets rather than online ($27 in convenience fees? ouch!).

Finally, September rolls around.  I think I am more excited to see the show than the children are (and I gave up going to see one of my favorite Rock Boat bands, Ingram Hill!). We spend a week figuring out the logistics of how we’re all getting into town for the evening.  We determine (and agree) on a place for dinner.  I leave work early on show day and drive home to pick them up so we can drive back into town.  We have a great dinner at Wingharts Burger & Whiskey Bar (yeah, I didn’t realize it was that small of a place but the burgers? YUM!).

After dinner, we head over to the Benedum to get settled into our seats which are at the top of the Benedum.  The lights go down, the curtain goes up. The kids and I enjoy the first half of the performance.   We’ve been sitting in our seats for about two hours, so at intermission, we get up to stretch our legs in the hall behind our seats.  We’re standing there for about 5 minutes before it happens.   All of a sudden, a young(er) woman (I’m horrible with ages but guessing in her late 20’s) FALLS from the top step into the hallway.  Her friend, who was walking up the stairs behind her, then shoves her, causing her to face plant into the carpeting.  Social Diva notices Vampire Boy and I looking over, so she turns around to see what we were looking at.  Both kids then look at me like “What the hell?”  This woman was so sloppy, shitfaced drunk that she could barely pick herself up from the floor.  She was stumbling around not sure where to go.  Escorts immediately came to her side and guided her from the stairs to the elevators.  Intermission show over, we head back to our seats and enjoy the second half of the performance.

I can’t help but wonder who the hell gets so shitfaced drunk before going to the theater on a Tuesday night? What kind of friend even allows you to go to the theater that drunk? What kind of friend then pushes you out of her way instead of helping you up?  This behavior is the norm on the South Side, but certainly not in the Cultural District.

At the end of the night, the kids and I spent a great evening together. I love sharing these experiences with them.  We had a nice dinner, saw an excellent performance, and had the added bonus lesson of how NOT to behave.

Oh, the irony!

Times are tough. Everyone is re-evaluating their budget and looking for ways to cut back. I have been fortunate to be blessed with two healthy children who picked up all their “kiddy krud” during their day care years. Once they started regular school, their immune systems were pretty tough and fought off most of the viruses circulating the school grounds.

Having the reliable-with-good-benefits job of my marriage and divorce, I have always carried the health insurance that has been (knock on wood) rarely used for more than healthy child visits. During open enrollment last November, rather than quickly electing the higher paycheck withdrawal of the HMO benefit, I did extensive research on lowering my payroll deductions. You say I can save $80 a month by choosing this PPO coverage? I have the same coverage as before but I now contribute 20% towards the charge? Sign me up!

For the past three years, I also had a medical flexible spending account to cover out of pocket expenses. The laws changed effective 1/1/11 and you could no longer purchase over the counter items with this fund. Also, the “administrator” of this program had changed in 2009 and was now requesting receipts for everything (three month’s later no less!). Given these changes, I elected (and now regret) to not contribute to a medical FSA.

Nine months since this new health insurance has gone into effect, I’ve had my son at the pediatrician twice. The first visit was for hemorrhaging nosebleeds that were occurring with an alarming frequency and flow. Of course, there’s a co-pay for the office visit and then the recommended blood work. Today’s visit was the result of his complaints of chest pain and trouble breathing. There’s another office visit co-pay. Let’s throw in a script for more blood work to rule out mono and liver problems and a script for a chest x-ray. Lucky us!

Granted, the co-pays and 20% responsibility charges are not much as an individual charge, but add these expenses to my already-strained budget, and I’m feeling the stress. Let’s hope “Mr. Large” from the UK (who has picked me to share his wealth with) comes through with his donation of $500,000. I don’t think I’ll hold my breath.

Moral of the story: I am truly thankful to have healthy children. If you have access to better health insurance coverage, don’t be like me and try to cut corners. Sign up for the best coverage possible or be smart and contribute to a flexible spending account to cover these unplanned expenses.

Thanks to @ThePGHA for the song reference giving me this blog idea.

[Addendum:  This post is just a venue for me to gripe about my poor planning. Given the tragedies in the world today (hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and the 911 anniversary), my complaints are trivial.]