Saturday, February 2, 2013

Congratulations.. It's an Aunt.

Before I start, I have to say this.
Pete Rollins (we called him Paw Paw) was my grandpa. He was the only grandpa on my father's side that I knew. He was my dad's dad.
He did all of the things that dads and grandpa's do. My dad tells stories of the memories he has being the son of Pete Rollins.
I will not discredit Paw Paw.. He was a good man.

Although it wasn't a secret, it was taboo to discuss the fact that although Pete was my dad's dad, he did not biologically father my dad.
That would be my grandmother's (June aka Noonie) first husband, Leo Gerrie (shorten from an Italian surname)..
Noonie had divorced Leo when my dad was only and infant and remarried Pete Rollins.
Back in the day it was unnecessary to file court papers to assume a name, and it was decided my dad would be called Jack Rollins..
When I was older and had a child of my own, I started asking my grandmother questions.. Before she passed, I got a handful of vague and evasive information..
Mostly just enough to make me more curious..
My grandmother passed on August 9th, 1998. She took with her, the only real knowledge of Leo Gerrie available to my family.

Fast forward to late 2010..
I was asked randomly if I knew what surname Gerrie was shortened from.. It was something I recall my grandmother telling me, but in the many years that had passed, I had forgotten.
So I did what any red blooded American would do - I googled.
The search was "Italian Surnames". Several bazillion hits popped up on the screen..
Again, I did the American thing, and clicked on the one linked to a facebook account..
I posted a simple statement on the wall of this page. Something like "my dad was born to an Italian man with the last name Gerrie. I would like to know what Gerrie is short for".

The person on the other side of the wall, Erminia Angilletta-Pisecny, replied telling me she could help me..
She explained that her site had been down for some time because her website partner Carole W. Whiddett Bienati, had passed away.. And that I would be one of the first projects she had taken on since the death.
Sadly, with the many cases of catfishing, internet scamming, and the increasing dishonesty in the human race, I was hopeful but remained skeptical and guarded as I answered this persons questions about my family and my history..
I am happy to say that my skeptisism was unwarranted.. And I have come to call Erminia Whom I now call "Nuccia", a very dear friend..

Nuccia, provided me with a detailed family tree of the Geraci "Gerrie" family tree..
And although there is much larger blog post required to explain the extraordinary events the took place over the following weeks, I came away with some very important information.
Leo Gerrie was deceased. He had been married to five times to four women..
And along with having a son born John Phillip Gerrie, otherwise known as Jack Rollins, Leo also fathered a daughter named Sharon.
Nuccia's information provided me with the name Sharon Peters.
Back to Google.
Google was a bit stingy with it's contact information for Sharon.. But after a couple of inquiries I dialed a number and left this message "My name is Kerri Rollins. Leo Gerrie was my biological grandfather and I think I am your niece".
Less than an hour later my phone rang..  The kindest voice was at the end of the line..
I wondered if she was feeling the same confusion, fear, excitement and uncertainty that I was feeling..
It wasn't a long conversation.. But it was a conversation that confirmed everything Nuccia had given me.. 
And I do indeed have an Aunt that until then I didn't know existed.
Since then there have been many emails and conversations between Aunt Sharon and me.. She is someone I felt an instant connection with and I am very comfortable talking to her.
And, I not only have a brand new Aunt, but an Uncle Harry and three cousins, Amy, Kelly and Jim..
Today (February 2nd) is Aunt Sharon's birthday.. To me, I guess it's only her third birthday..
I am very blessed that with some instant miracle grow, my family tree grew another complete limb.
And I hope this spring will include a road trip to visit and meet them all in person.
And give Auntie Sharon a big ol' late birthday hug.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In addition

I sort of feel the need to clarify my post on Obama care.

Keep in mind; this is only my personal opinion.
I am not anti-medical card.  I am anti medical card abuse.
There are people who genuinely need and deserve financial aid and Medicaid.

People with true physical and/or mental disabilities.

For these people, there should be no limits. All medical doors should be wide open and all services should be available.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  I have friends that fight the Obama care red tape to get even minimal medical services.

Friends that have fought the system to get nursing care for family members that very obviously need them. Yet they are forced to provide documentation and proof that they are truly unable to care for themselves or work for a company that offers insurance plans that they can purchase..

People that have maintained steady employment and find themselves in medical crisis, should NOT have to fight the system. And they should not have to fight the insurance company they have been paying premiums to, for specialized medicine, medications, nursing hours etc…

I would also interject that with a personal history of depression and long term treatment of attention deficit, these things do not qualify.  There was a point in my life when the idea of slamming my car into a wall sounded like a more peaceful option than simply getting out of bed. Facing each day was torturous. But every day, I put on my big girl panties, and drug my ass to work, grocery shopped, put gas in my car, kept the house clean enough to avoid infections and parent my children.  Depressed parenting is better than no parenting. And looking at my son and his huge heart full of compassion, I think I did a pretty good job (we’re still working on the female 15 year old).

My point..  Don’t tell me you’re on a medical card, living in subsidized housing or collecting a social security benefit because you’re too depressed to work. Suck it up Buttercup. We all have hardships. Life is tough..  If we all took the easy way out, the government would run out of housing.

My beef is mainly with the children’s clause of this plan..  If Obama care is going to award one child the ability to receive services from the best doctors, and access to the most up to date technology, free of charge, then all children should be awarded the same privilege.    According to Obama care, I make enough money to pay for my children to have insurance.  But however it may appear on paper, I do not make enough money to seek out special treatment or tests that I think my child might need.  For anything that my doctor does not recommend, or anything my insurance carrier (in another state) deems unnecessary,  I must pay out of pocket.

Obama care for children should be across the board.  No matter what the family income is. No matter what tax bracket a family is in.  Whether or not the parent/parents are employed by a company that offers health insurance.  Every child should have the magic card that allows them access to only the best doctors. 

That’s what I would call socialized medicine.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Our life saver lost his dad this week.

In the seconds, minutes, hours following Andrew’s accident on July 4th 2010, there were several  people that were instrumental in saving his life. EMT’s, nurses, doctors, pilots.

I will forever be indebted to those people.

There were 3 in particular.

#2 Was a nurse that we refer to as Berta.  We named her this because of
her disposition and physical likeness to Berta on Two and A Half Men..

Immediately after Andrew hit the ground, there was blood flowing from inside his ear.  I assumed he had damaged his ear drum.

It was Berta in the emergency room who finally realized that it was NOT blood that was draining, but spinal fluid..  Presenting the first indication that there was a severe traumatic brain injury.

She instantly ordered a CT of the head and neck.  Before the x-ray department could whisk him away for the scan, Berta was on the phone to the Life Line dispatch operator ordering a helicopter transport.

#3 Was nurse John, a long time ER nurse who has seen every type of injury possible.

Andrew was having some short term memory issues and his cognitive ability was less than engaged. 
He asked repeatedly where he was and what had happened.  And when things were explained he couldn’t understand.. 
For example he punched the CT machine several time because he thought it was an MRI, and that his pen ink tattoos were going to explode.  Even though it was explain to him that it was not going to be much more than a normal x-ray, and he didn’t need to worry about his tattoos.

He just didn’t understand what was being said.

So when he heard the word helicopter, he lost his mind.. Tried to pull his IV out, verbally attacked anyone in earshot and said he would walk to Carle Hospital and meet the helo there.

The pilots pulled me aside and said they were not able to take someone so combative in the air.

The doctors said he was not stable enough to travel by car or even ambulance..  And he could not be sedated until he was seen by the neurologist.

While several of us were brainstorming on ways to get him loaded a quiet nurse that had gone unnoticed until the point, strolled over and leaned down into my sons face.

He only said these words “lay here and die, or get in the chopper”.   
A calm washed over Andrews’s body and he said “what time is take off”.

These two people and so many others played such a huge part in his survival.

But the first, the #1 life saver/changer was an EMT that was one of the first responders on site.

A familiar face that I quickly recognized at one of Andrew’s ice hockey team mates.

Andrew laid in the road for several minutes while I called 911.. When he finally stood his equilibrium was compromised.  He walked in a circle like a puppy chasing his tail until he finally stumbled toward the house.. I followed him half trying to keep him from falling and half keeping an eye out for the ambulance.

By the time it arrived Drew was in the house lying down and convinced if he would just take a nap, he would be fine..  I couldn’t convince him that he needed to go the hospital.

A line of 6 or 7 EMT’s and firefighters filed through my front door.. In the midst of them I saw the face that I knew would make it okay..  Small in stature but mighty in spirit, Caleb Melton walked into my house and without a word walked straight to Andrew.  Drew relaxed at the familiar face of a hockey teammate. 

As he started to speak, I walked away.

Within minutes Andrew agreed to go to the emergency room but only if he was allowed to ride in the car, not the ambulance.

I don’t know what Caleb said to Drew that day.. What I know is, if Caleb hadn’t been here, I’m not sure Berta or John would have had their chances at saving Drew’s life.

This week Caleb lost is father Kirk, in a tragic accident.. My heart bleeds for him..   
I only hope that the EMT’s and first responders were half the person Caleb was for us.

The loss of a parent is nothing less than devastating.

Prayers for Caleb and his family.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Soap Box Derby

Dear Obama Care..  I have a question.

Where can I get me some of that???

Five days a week, I catch three seconds of about ten different songs that sneak into my fabulous state of REM sleep, as the crushing blows become increasingly violent against the snooze button on my alarm clock. 
My alarm clock that is set 27 minutes fast in a hollow effort to trick my mind into thinking it is later than it is..

And even with my inept math skills, and my slumberous state, my mind is still able to calculate the 27 minute advance on the clock. Times or multiplied by the seven minute abyss between smacks of the devils button.

Until finally I surrender, and with my eyes still closed, head for the shower..  Wash, dry, make up, dress, brush teeth and pour coffee in a styrofoam cup.. Fighting road construction, school buses, train traffic and an endless stream of moony (not mooning) drivers, making that chronic trip what could easily be programmed into auto pilot.

And why do I put myself through so much abuse before 8:00am every day..

To go to the place where I WORK doing the JOB I was hired to do..  And when I’m finished WORKING at my JOB, I get PAID for the WORK that I DID.. And the WORK that I DO after hours as I am on call 24/7.

And on my 20 minute lunch break, at my JOB, I don’t eat lunch.. Instead I try to squeeze in errands to the places I need to go that are closed or that I am unable to go to, when I get off WORK at 5:30 or 6:00pm..  And at those places, I am generally elbowing my way through retirees and/or NON-workers.

When it’s all said and done, I get PAID for my WORK.. But BEFORE they hand me a pay check they take out taxes that I PAY for having an income.  Some of those tax dollars are used to pay for non-worker expenses. Medicaid, Financial aid, subsidized housing, Link cards.. 

They also take out a hunk of money for HEALTH INSURANCE for my family, that I BUY through the company that I WORK for.   HEALTH INSURANCE that if I decline to BUY, I am asked to sign a waiver and provide proof of alternative coverage because Obama Care says everyone has to have health coverage.

What do I get with the HEALTH INSURANCE that I PAY for?

1.       I get to pay a $500.00 out of pocket, up front deductible for each family member insured.
2.       I get to PAY a co-payment for all services rendered.
3.       I get to be told what doctors I am allowed to see based on which medical group is covered in my HEALTH INSURANCE plan.
4.       And if by chance I find, let’s say, a lump in my breast, I get to:
·         Call one of the doctors in my covered medical group to schedule an appointment for some time next week.
·         Go to the doctor’s appointment to discuss my concerns, and hopefully be examined.
·         Have the doctor refer me for a mammogram, sometime next week.
·         Go to the mammogram and then go home (or usually back to WORK).
·         Wait until my follow up appointment with my doctor, sometime next week.
·         Have the doctor refer me to an oncologist.
·         Schedule an appointment with the oncologist, sometime next week.
·         Go to the appointment with the oncologist and be told I need more extensive tests. Likely some blood work that with be sent to a lab in a different town with results available, sometime next week.
·         Go back to the oncologist to hear the results of the blood work and be told a breast biopsy is in order.
·         Schedule a breast biopsy, for some time next week.
·         Use a sick day or vacation time to have the procedure and wait for the results that will be ready sometime next week.
·         Go back to the doctor for the biopsy results and for the sake of tedium, we’ll just say it was nothing to worry about.

But you get the point..

Now let’s replay this game under the premise that when I got pregnant for Andrew at the age of 19, I decided it would be easier to just hang out at home instead of working a full time job and putting myself through nursing school with a toddler in tow.

In that interpretation if I had found a lump in my breast I could:

1.       Bee Bop my way into the emergency room which has now become nothing more than a doctor’s office.
2.       Tell them I was having pain in my chest/breast area.
3.       Have and x-ray and/or mammogram.
4.       Have blood drawn and sent to a lab on site.
5.       Wait awhile laying on a bed with a TV. remote in my hand and button attached to my bed. A button that if I push, I can have a nurse bring me a diet Pepsi or an extra blanket.
6.       Have a doctor come in and read me the results of all the test performed in the last couple of hours.
7.       Have said doctor either tells me I have the all clear or tell me that I need to see and oncologist.
8.       If the latter, the E.R. staff will call around to see what oncologists will see me with my medical card, and schedule me an appointment.

I will have spent only the afternoon lying around, and made no phone calls for myself to receive further treatment.  All at no cost to me..

Or..  As a hard WORKING employee PAYING for my own HEALTH INSURANCE, I can wait 7 weeks, deal with the ramifications of taking time off work, pay a $500.00 deductible and 20% of all fees, assuming every medical provider is in my covered medical group and stand in line at CVS behind the dude buying Twinkies and Mountain Dew with is link card, to get an ice pack for my sore mammogrammed breasts.

Now before I start getting a bunch of nasty grams, I have a disclaimer.

I am in no way opposed to Medicaid, Financial aid, WIC, or any other government assistance offered to deserving people.   Which in my mind would be a displaced employee, a person in school or any other program that could make them marketable in the work force and/or someone recovering from an injury or illness..

As a matter of fact, I applied for Financial Aid during my last semester of Nursing School.     I was awarded a medical card for my 4 year old son, and $32.00 A WEEK, that was taken from his father’s pay check as child support..  No WIC, no food stamps, no subsidized housing, no child care assistance.

Disclaimer over.

A couple of points.

1.       You can get an associates in 2 years..  6 months after completion of an associates, you should have a JOB and be PAYING for your own HEALTH INSURANCE.  If you flunk, cash flow stops.
2.       Look around.
·         The streets are full of litter.
·         There are elderly people sitting in filth because they cannot do for themselves and do not have family that can or will help them.
·         There are kids that are virtually raising themselves.  Parent’s work too many hours, strung out, disinterested in their children.  Become a mentor.. Big Brothers/Big Sisters is always looking for matches for kids that might not otherwise have an adult role model.
·         There are beautification programs throughout every town.. Go help plant some trees.
3.       There should be two separate Link cards.
·         The first one with 90% of the total gift.  This card would deny junk food.  Only accepted would be meat, milk, veggies, cereal even frozen pizza.
·         And because I don’t think anyone should go without a HoHo and a soda, the second card would have the remaining 10% for snack food.
·         Link card should be attached to your driver’s license or state ID. All merchants would be required to scan the Link card and the driver’s license to verify a match.
·         No more selling a $60.00 Link card for $30.00 because the Escalade is out of gas.
4.       Anyone receiving any kind of government assistance should be able to pass a drug screen at established intervals.
Would you not have more pride if you were actually earning that money?

Had it not been for supportive parents, I would be just another statistic.

In retrospect…   How do I get me some of that..  I’m tired of fighting with my snooze button.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dear Danville.. Really???

Dear Danville, Vermilion County, Townships, State of Illinois,

Are you really freaking kidding me right now??
I have single handedly solved the unemployment issues in Danville.

People here in D-Vegas don't work, because they can't get to their jobs.

Of course I've been lectured about how different road construction projects are governed by different "departments". But tell me this, Do these "departments" not communicate with each other???

I am already on my "Plan C" route to and from work. I live in the Lincoln Park Historic District and I work at Thyssenkrupp Presta on East Gate..
On my way to work I take my daughter to Danville High School..
Ideally, I would drop her at the front doors of the high school and head East on Fairchild following it around Oregon (I think that's the name of it) and turning on Main Street at the light. Whelp that's out.. Fairchild has been closed for months due to a crumbling viaduct. And as I hear it, is slated to remain closed until 2013 or 2014..

So that means dropping her at school and zig zagging my way back to Voorhees to hit Lynch.
Hmmm.. On the news this morning I hear Voorhees/Lynch will be closed for railroad repair..
Oh joy.. Lets make it easier for more trains to travel through, because what ever agreement whoever made with whoever else, that allows an increased flow of rail traffic, doesn't already inhibit the steady flow of traffic.

So, I can't take Fairchild and I can't take Voorhees. Williams is out of the question because for whatever reason each corner on Williams holds three school bus stops that all pick up at the same time.
I seriously watched 3 school buses wait in line to pick up kids from the same corners.

Seminary is a bust because the rest of the town people trying to get from East to West or West to East or anywhere for that matter, are already flooding Seminary. And apparently no one thought that traffic flow through because no signal or stop sign provisions have been made to accommodate the increased flow of traffic.

My choices then, are Main St. and Winter.. Have you driven Main street during morning rush hour traffic?? oy vey. Make sure you plan your trip around the 7:15 and 7:28 rail schedule. And trust me if you hit one light on the main drag, you will hit them all.

Winter, although totally out of the way, would be okay. Taking the back roads is pretty quick.. But again, I would only be able to come out on to Voorhees BEFORE the road repair that is starting on Lynch. So I would have to back track to like Daisy Lane, or whatever road that is that TeePak is on.
Not to mention, the last time I took those backroads, they ended up being closed because they were laying new rock.
And let me just point out that Bowman was closed for how long so they could remove a hill in the road that was a dangerous blind spot. THE HILL IS STILL THERE, AND I STILL CAN'T SEE ONCOMING TRAFFIC.

So while crews were repairing pot holes, laying new gravel on already existing roads, removing hills that didn't really get removed, and making train tracks less "bumpy", the viaduct on Fairchild sits untouched. Sitting there letting the elements take an even bigger toll on the already crumbling walls..

I've pointed it out before, and I point it out again. It's much easier to hit I74 and head to the Champaign Walmart where the people are more friendly and the drive is less stressful.

As for a paycheck. It would be so much easier to sleep in until the crack of noon, get up one Tuesday of every month and punch a few numbers into an automated phone service and wait by the mail box for an unemployment notice that says my money is in my bank account (I don't even have to travel the dreaded Danville streets to get paid).

And while we're talking about travel in Danville. I'm all for the "round-a-bouts". They have them in Carmel and they really seem to keep traffic flowing.
But must we start yet another road construction project before we make it possible to get through other streets?
And really? A "round-a-bout" at one of the highest pedestrian intersections around. Kids walking to school, Cemetery walkers trying to get fit. Round-a-bouts are great for vehicle traffic, not so great for pedestrians.
And because the other roads that travel East to West are under construction, Voorhees has become a high truck traffic zone (Even though the bridge by the Spirit Shop has a limited weight capacity.

So Danville, enjoy your commute. enjoy waiting for the school buses to stop all all rail road crossings, delaying you just long enough for the safety arms to come down as it's your turn to cross. Enjoy the badly laid school bus schedule, enjoy the pretty colors of the detour signs spread throughout town.

And if in my fit of road rage, I flip you the bird, please do not take it personally.

Friday, October 14, 2011

If I knew then, what I know now.

As I painfully watch Ryleigh, in her freshman year of high school, go through the same gauntlet of hardships that I went through, I ask myself this question - If I could go back and give myself one piece of advice, what would it be?

It's difficult to come up with just one thing.. There are so many times that I think about what I would have done differently.

I guess the best thing would encompass many things.

For me, that would be the following.

Dear Teen Age Kerri,
Slow down. Don't rush everything. Even though it seems like it will never end, this time in your life is so short. Take the time to enjoy just being young. You have time to take advantage of the many things that are offered you.
It isn't necessary to rush through school work, there will be time to play later.

As much as you fell in love with that bundle of joy when you were 20, you will be a better mother to both of your children, if just wait a few years.

If you wait a while longer before you move out of mom and dad's house, you will be able to afford something better than that trashy trailer that was your first home.

Enjoy your family. All too soon your brother and sister will move on and build families of their own. You will all get wrapped up in working, parenting and adult responsibility, and find you have little time to just hang out and be goofy with your siblings.
Your parents will age and the fear of the inevitable will haunt you. You will regret the things you put them through in your rush to grow up.

If you just stop trying to grow up so fast and enjoy your youth, I promise that you will be a better, happier adult. I also think that by slowing down, you will feel less of a need to be one of the "cool" kids and allow yourself to be your own person.

Love, me

Readers.. I want to hear from you.. What is one piece of advice you would give you high school self? Click the comment button, and share.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

As Seen On Sheridan Street

Have you ever wondered if the "as seen on TV" commercial are really telling the truth?
Do those products really do what the "pitches" claim they do?
We've all been there.. Dozing off to that calming late night episode of Little House on the Prairie. And just as you're about to hit R.E.M. (you know that space in between awake and out like a light. That moment that you can't tell if you're aware of your surrounding or if it's all just a dream). And right at that moment you go from hearing Laura Engals saying "But Pa, Nellie started it" and the next thing you hear is that booming voice of the late great Billy Mays saying "Don't just get it clean, get it OxyClean..... Super charge it with OxyClean". Pretty sure he was super charging that shit right up his nose. As if his voice wasn't loud enough, the commercial filming freaks have to adjust their audio to make it seem even louder.. But hey, it worked.. He got our attention and made us want to know if he was lying. Which is a stupid question, all drug users lie. And yet I still ask the question - If Billy Mays was psyched up enough about a product that he had to snort coke to sell it, it has to be the real deal, RIGHT? And because of that, I have become the "As Seen On TV" Queen. Dead Billy has caused me to hit the A.S.O.T.V section of every store I walk in to.. Let me give you a little rundown of my findings. Oxyclean - In the Oxyclean pitch Billy has a bowl of water tinted red. He dumps a scoop of Oxyclean in, and it's suddenly crystal clear. He cleans grout, pet poopy stains, laundry and his nostrils (is that joke getting old yet?). So what's the verdict.. I love some Oxyclean. I do put a scoop in every load of laundry. I clean the bathtub soap scum with it. I've even cleaned my counter tops with it. Sometimes I'm even tempted to brush my teeth with it. It's not quite as easy as Billy's claim. You do have to use a little elbow grease.. But I keep buying it. So I guess that means it gets a thumbs up. Ab Lounge - I don't think Billy actually pitched this product.. But its my opinion that everyone needs one of these. This is the greatest invention EVER. I use mine every single day.. Place it in a convenient location and you will seriously get your moneys worth. I personally have mine placed by the front door. And this is what I've learned - The Ab Lounge can hold 15 pairs of shoes, a purse, a book bag, 10 days of junk mail, 3 winter coats, a shake weight and a lazy sleeping cat. Order yours now. Sobakawa pillow. I truly do love my Sobakawa.. I can wiggle my 20 pound melon down into the micorfiber beads and sleep all night. But don't let the commercial (or the picture on the box) fool you. The lady in the picture has obviously been the voodoo doctor and had her head shrunk. The actual pillow is about half the size as it appears on the box.. Overall, I'd buy it again. Ab Belt. Okay, I haven't actually bought this particular item. But I did at one time have a similar product. The pitch - put this belt on and it will send electrical shocks into your abdomen causing the muscles to contract in the same manner as doing sit ups. Well there is a mental issue while wearing this thing (and yes, while buying it). There is just something very wrong with electrocuting yourself. I never felt any actual muscle contractions. It was more like your abdomen was licking both the positive and negative connections of a 9 volt battery. Needless to say, I donated this to the church rummage sale. Fushigi - Magic gravity ball. The pitch - Everyone loves the Fushigi, it's entertaining it's relaxing, it's therapeutic, it's AMAZING - IT SUCKS. I bought one for my nephew and my son as Christmas gifts. I have yet to see either of them defy gravity. But if you need a good paperweight, I hear if you call in the next 20 minutes they will double your order and you only have to pay shipping and handling. Oveglove. Oooo. I love my Oveglove.. This is great for grilling.. Well grilling ribs. it's not so great for burgers or steaks. Since I cook my ribs "slow and low", I need to turn them. I can pull them right out of the rib rack and flip them with my Oveglove. And when it comes time to cut them, I can hold them with an Ovegloved hand and slice right through them with my Ginsu. Downfall. They don't clean well.. Mine is stained and nasty looking.. Has the appearance of never being washed. Topsy Turvy Tomato and strawberry planters. These things are a nightmare.. Unless you have Billy Mays at your house to hold them while you fill them, forget it. Each Topsy Turvy holds an entire bag of potting soil. I hung one on a shepherds hook to fill and plant it. IT BENT THE HOOK IN HALF. They are so heavy we had to actually build a structure strong enough to hold them off the ground. Then they were up so high, they were nearly impossible to water. To top it off, I still had to pull weeds out of them. Don't waste your dollars. PedEgg. yes it really does scrape the dead skin off of your feet. Yes, I use mine on a regular basis. Yes, if you turn it wrong when you're done, your dead feet skin will spill out all over your snuggie. Shake Weight.. LMAO.. sadly I own one.. This might actually work if people didn't look so ridiculous using it.. You really do look like you're shaking a jug of Koolaide to mix it up. Except for the the fact that you kind of have to hold your head funny because while you're shaking yourself stronger, there is a very real chance you will hit yourself in the forehead. And because your family will be laughing their asses off, there is an even bigger chance that the shake weight will slip out of your hand and hit them in the forehead. Store it on your Ab Lounge. Get out a half gallon milk jug and fill it half way with water. It will do the same thing. Kaboom. Great stuff.. It is about as scrub free as any cleaner can be. Although nothing is totally scrub free.. We use it on just about everything around here. I actually mopped my floors with it just yesterday. And last night Ryleigh cleaned her shoes with it.. I recommend the foaming aerosol version.. It's blue when you spray it on and turns white when it's time to wipe (and scrub, depending on your dirt). Slapchop. This sits in my pantry collecting kitchen dirt. At first I thought it was great.. But then I found myself using a knife because it was quicker. The Slapchop can only handle very small amounts of whatever your chopping.. So it still requires a knife and cutting board.. It doesn't do well with celery or onions. It turns meat into babyfood.and the blades dull quickly. Best thing you can get out of this is a little more upper arm exercise than you'll get from the Shakeweight. InStyler. This thing is only good if you want a hair cut and a trip to the emergency room. I've known a few people that have tried this (I don't have enough hair). It was actually the same InStyler that got passed around because everyone hated it. And everyone managed to burn their forehead and or neck with it.. And if you don't manage to singe your flesh off, you will manage to get it so tangled in your hair, you will have to head to the locale beauty shop to have them cut it out. UltraSmooth.. The pitch - If you rub your hairy places with this, you will remove unwanted hair and have smooth skin for up to eight weeks. Well you better have 8 weeks to get the hair removed.. It takes about 45 minutes of rubbing to remove a 1 inch patch of unwanted hair. So that's it (Probably if I look around, I could find some more useless purchases that we've all wondered about) A few things I'm still trying to talk myself out of buying. * Pajama Jeans * Sauna Pants * Neck Line Slimmer * Aluma Wallet * Potty Patch. I don't have a dog. But I think it would be great around the toilet for when the guys miss * iRENEW bracelet What's your "As Seen On TV" moment of weakness?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Time to open the pool.

We are in the process of shocking the pool. Although it in itself, is quite shocking.. Scott put some deadly, do not huff or inject this crap because you'll turn into a skin sloughing zombie, chemical in it.. Along with half a gallon of muratic acid (isn't that the stuff that eats hair out of you drains?)..

A winters worth of leaves, branches and hibernating mosquito's bubbled to the top. This is not an overstatement.. It bubbled like a friggin fountain soda..

The directions read something like - Put this flesh eating chemical into the slimy above ground pond that sat in the yard all winter because when you finally had time to drain it and pack it up, it was already full of autumn leaves, had been frozen three times and had a dead squirrel and two dead birds fished out of it.
Once you add the magic dust then add half a gallon of muratic acid and sit back for 10 minutes to watch the miracle. Anything and everything that had sunk to the bottom amazingly bubbles, not floats, bubbles like hot deadly lava to the top so you can skim it off.
Once skimmed (or skinned), you then turn on the pump and let it run for 48 hours. After your 48 hours, your pond will magically turn back into a pool with crystal clear blue water (though the thought of what WAS in it, makes you question whether you really want to put your body into it).
Helpful hint: Before adding the deadly, magic combination, you might want to check to see if your pump still works. Ours did not and it was too late to go buy another one.. So we had to wait.. The bubbling of course caused all of the lovely thawed bacteria to move and agitate like the spin cycle on a washing machine, creating the most pungent Lake Vermilion-like smell that wafted through the entire neighborhood. In addition the 101 degree sun that followed the next day, managed to burn the existing chemical out of the still brownish-green water.

So after 24 hours enjoying the aroma of the swamp things farticals and the chemical reaction we added, we are now running 10,000 gallons of pond scum and an additional 2 gallons of pool shock, through the filter.. The lady at the pool store swears the water will be drinkable in 48 hours...

Everyone is welcome... Bring your own straw..

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Breakin' the law, breakin' the law.

I really have to start from 3 years ago to give the full effect of the bizarre details of this story.

In 2007-2008 I was really not in a very good place. Along with a numerous other issues, the company I planned on retiring from, announced it was moving to Tifton Georgia.
They had offered me a position at the new site, and I was struggling with being a single mom trying to decide if I wanted to relocate myself and my children to a very small town in a very dry county, 14 hours from our friends and family..
Andrew was battling his own demons, and Ryleigh was a very difficult age for teenage girls. Uprooting them didn't seem fair.

I'm already an insomniac. And the added weight of this kind of decision just overwhelmed me and I let things go.. Yeah yeah.. we've all been there at some point.
Anyway.. One of the things I ignored were the reminders that my car insurance was in renewal. They kept sending me notices, I kept setting them in the "deal with it later" pile. Low and behold, my insurance lapsed.
Oh don't look at me like that.. I already got "the look" from my dad over it.
For my entire driving life, my parents have preached the importance of keeping car insurance up to date.

So, not even two weeks after it lapsed, I was pulled over and you guessed it, I was ticketed for no insurance. I was also ticketed for no registration. It was current, I just didn't have the actual registration in the car (again, stop looking at me like that. It was in the pile with the insurance renewal).

I was given a court date and sent on my way.
I showed up at traffic court as directed. The States Attorney representative dropped the no registration ticket (because I proved it really was valid at the time of the ticket), and offered my a plea agreement for the no insurance ticket.
A $450.00 fine, 12 months court supervision and a 3 year SR22 order.
For those of you that don't know (I hope most of you) SR22 is extra insurance usually applied to DUI convictions. However, they also use it as a punishment for people who do stupid shit like let their car insurance lapse..

Traffic court was on a Friday morning and by Friday night, I was at Fatman's Warehouse pissing and moaning about carrying friggin' SR22 insurance, and how I was about to be a displaced employee and couldn't afford to pay for my own stupid mistake. The day I was pulled over, I immediately called Justin Case at that company with the annoying commercials (not the one with the lizard), and bought insurance. I knew if I added SR22 to that policy, it was going to cost me and arm and a leg.
One of the guys that occasionally hung out at Fatman's happened to be a Progressive insurance agent. He piped up and said "come see me".
The following week I was in his office writing a check for my insurance premium, including the stupid SR22 additional coverage. I asked what I needed to do to let the state know that I was indeed carrying it and he informed me that Progressive took care of all of that, and sent me on my merry way.

Fast forward to January 10th 2011.
I have now become the most legal driver you will ever meet. There is always an insurance card and registration in my glove box. My seat belt is always on. I do not text and drive, and rarely will I even answer the phone while I'm driving.
I'm headed from my new job (Presta) to pick up the Queen at school. I spot a Danville Police Cruiser in the right hand lane of Main Street and I think "Go ahead and look over here, I'm perfectly legal and not speeding". I put my left turn signal on to turn on to Park Street and wait for the light to change so I can turn.
As I make the turn I see the lights. Officer Snider was pulling my ass over. And still I'm thinking "whatever, I'm legal" I pull out my conveniently placed Progressive insurance card and my registration.

Officer Snider collects my documents (including my current drivers licence) and walks back to his car.
5 minutes later he approaches my drivers side window and asks me to exit the car.
He informs me that my drivers license is suspended.. Excuse me? Ima need you to rerun that because I haven't done anything wrong in years and I'm just picking my kid up from school. He ran it again.
"Yes Ms. Rollins it is showing that you are suspended and have been suspended since 2008". I asked why and he said "I'm really not sure. It says for financial reasons". Wait a minute buddy. You're pulling me over because I paid a power bill late???? I don't understand...
He proceeds to inform me that he should technically arrest me and take me to the PSB for booking. But he must have been feeling generous because he looked at me in my Presta blues, in front of Holy Family School and says "I don't think that's necessary". Gee thanks.
But he says he has no choice but to impound my car. And I swear before he got the sentence out, the tow truck was pulling up.
He writes me a ticket for driving on a suspended licence and hands me another piece of paper. This piece of paper has PUBLIC NUISANCE TOWING (PNT) across the top of it.
"you will need to take this to the PSB before you can recover your car from the impound lot". In case you were wondering, the fine for a public nuisance towing is $300.00. And at this point, it is illegal for me to drive because technically, I am suspended.
Scott and I go to the PSB and pay the $300.00. It was too late to go to the tow yard and pick up my car. So it had to spend the night out in the cold. In addition, when I did pick it up, there would be a $100.00 tow fee. We're now up to $400.00 right off the bat.
The next day mom picked me up (in a snow storm) at took me to the DMV to find out why I was suspended - Failure to carry SR22 insurance - ever. My record showed I had NEVER had SR22 insurance in the last three years.
Don't think I didn't sit my ass down right there at the DMV and call Progressive.

After 3 phone calls to the local office I finally heard "It looks like the SR22 certificate is in your file. We just overlooked sending it in to the state THREE YEARS AGO". oh but they would send it in right now. It would take up to a week for the state to acknowledge it and btw "you can't drive until they state accepts it".
So for the remainder of the week, Mom had to take me to work and pick me up..
Think this is crazy.. Keep reading.

Progessive proceeds to send me a copy of the SR22 certificate and a letter that says "due to a Progressive error.................." And explain the situation.

Keep in mind I still had to go to traffic court for the driving on a suspended.
In the mean time I've called Diana at Progessive's corporate office (she should be on my customer service blog as my favorite customer service provider).
Diana arranges a refund for the towing fee. I was working to appeal the public nuisance fine with the city attorney. She told me if the City Attorney didn't refund the $300, to call her back.

So I went beebopping into traffic court (in March) with my certificate and letter from Progressive thinking "I'll just hand this to the States Attorney lady and be done".. not quite.
The bailiff calls off a list of names (that I'm on) and says "these people have jailable offenses and need to fill out this financial form". HUH??? WHAT DID HE JUST SAY??
Finally my name is called to go before the judge. I tried to hand my papers to the States Attorney lady. She reads them and says "I can't do anything about this". HUH?? WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY???
The judge informs me that my offense carries a $2500.00 fine and up to a year in jail. HUH? WHAT DID HE JUST SAY??? He asked if I wanted a public defender. I guess??? He looked at my financial form and says "Oh wait, you make too much money for a public defender. you will need to hire your own counsel".
I am given a pre-trial date and sent on my merry way before I could even ask a question.

Whew long story isn't it..

Pre-trial date is set for April 12th, 2011 (today). In the mean time I call the states attorneys office and explain to the lady on the phone what happened and could I make an appointment to talk to one of the lawyers in the office.
She puts me on hold and comes back with "Adam says he won't schedule you an appointment. But he will speak to you on your court date as long as you don't hire a lawyer".. I asked "that poses the question. Do I need a lawyer?" I really didn't want to go to court lawyerless and end up in jail. She says "I can't answer that"..
So basically a crap shoot. I figured surely these documents from Progressive along with the stub from the towing fee refund and now a stub from the PNT refund (proving Progressive screwed up) I was good to go. So I opted to go to traffic court today with no lawyer.
This is how it went (I'll try to be brief).

If you show up at pre-trial traffic court without a lawyer, you go to the end of the line. I handed my papers to the bailiff and asked him to give them to the State's Attorney guy who hands it back and says "I'll speak to her on the break". Break??? How long is this shit?
So I sat for an hour and half as the court goes through Danville's cream of the crop. I honestly didn't know there could be that many types of body odor all entwined with various different knock off perfumes and colognes and I'm pretty sure the guy sitting next to me had gotten high on his way to court. And all the stinky people were complaining that it was taking too long. And might I ask WHO BRINGS THEIR SMALL CHILDREN TO FRIGGIN TRAFFIC COURT.
sorry.. rambling..
After the court goes through everyone that brought a lawyer or public defender they announce a break. And the State's Attorney guy starts calling the rest of us to his table in alphabetical order. He finally gets to me and I set my Progressive papers in front of him thinking read it and I'm outta here. Wrong.
He says without even reading the papers "this is between you and your insurance company. The fact is you were suspended when you were pulled over".
He then offers me a plea agreement. a $400.00 fine and 12 months probation (not court supervision, criminal probation).
I say "I'm not comfortable pleading guilty to this" he tried to talk me into it by saying "It won't affect your driving. you can still drive" NOT THE POINT BUDDY.
I turn it down. He tells me to have a seat I will have to go in front of the judge and be assigned a trial date.
Panic. did I do the right thing? If I go to trial and am found guilty, I get the max sentence. 1 year in jail and a $2500.00 fine. shit. now what?
My wheels are spinning. I need to call Diana at progressive, or should I just call a lawyer? which lawyer? When the judge asks, do I want a jury trial or a bench trial?
SHIT. I might have just screwed up.

So the states attorney guy finish his alphabet and he calls my name again.
I stand up. He says "I already talked to you" I sit down. He says "is your driver's license valid right now?" yes.. He motions me back over to his table and asks what the documents are. The ones I've been trying to give you for a month? OH yeah, those.
He reads them FINALLY. and says "so your insurance company didn't notify the state?". I say "correct". He stares at me for a minute and finally with a flick of his hand for me to shoo shoo he says, "go ahead and leave. I'll tell the judge we are dismissing your case".

Sooo. I have been refunded the entire $400.00 in fines.
The State accepted the SR22 certificate dated March 18, 2008. Which means I have fulfilled my obligation and no longer need to carry the SR22 (which was strange. I got the letter saying they had my SR22 order on file and a letter that I no longer needed to carry SR22, in the same week). I'm not in jail, not on probation and don't have a $2500.00 fine. Because of Diana, I have not filed a complaint against Progressive and I continue to carry their insurance. They did after all admit their mistake, and correct it.

Whew.. and that's the rest of the story. I missed a ton of details.. But I figure I lost most of my readers 45 minutes ago.