Saturday, January 21, 2012

3446 Peanut Butter (Jasper isn't feeling original today...)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A way to take up more space is with perfume.
-- Andy Warhol --

Hmmmm. I never thought of it that way, but yes, it's true.
Perfume almost shouts "This is MY space!"


There are windows on either side of my front door. As I come down the stairs I can see driveway, lawn, street, houses through the sheer curtains. This morning I was confused. I couldn't see anything but white. Something on the porch obstructing the view?

Snow. Our first real snow of the winter. I didn't measure, but it looks like maybe four inches or so. I don't know if I'll shovel the driveway. It will be in the 40s or low 50s on Monday. On the other hand, I'm out of yogurt, eggs, veggies, and laundry detergent.


Well, the end of another week when I felt very busy, but have accomplished very little.

I had three things on the to-do list last Monday morning:
  1. Deposit a check at the bank.
  2. Call the doctor and see if they got the results of the urine culture, and if so, get the antibiotic prescription filled.
  3. Go to the optometrist and get my eyes dilated to complete the exam, and pick out some frames, get new glasses.
Well, the bank wasn't open, being as it was a holiday, so that left two.

The doctor's office said they'd mail the prescription. No, they don't call pharmacies. "Mail? Egads! I want it NOW!" So I said I'd come in and pick it up. She said after 2 pm, after the doctor comes in. Ok.

Monday of last week, when I knew I'd be getting a prescription for the UTI, I had looked for my prescription insurance card. IBM has changed the carrier. I found the letter saying I would get my 2012 card at the end of December. I never got it. I called, and IBM forwarded the call to CVS Caremark, and the guy there said they'd send me a new card (which, by the way, 12 days later, STILL has not arrived), but in the meantime I could just have my local CVS call Caremark, and they'd verify my insurance and give them the number.

Went to optometrist (her office is in the LensCrafter store). I'd had the exam before Christmas, but she said she couldn't get me to 20-20, so she wanted to dilate my eyes to see why. Surprise. In each eye I have a small spot of age-related macular degeneration. She says it's common at my age and my spots are small and not a big deal, but we'll want to watch them, and I need to eat more dark green veggies.

Then I went to the LensCrafter section to pick out some frames. I always get two pair. As I explained to the saleslady, if my car breaks, I can rent one. If my glasses break, I can't rent or borrow. I need a backup.

I wanted a pair that wouldn't clash with silver jewelry, and one for with gold jewelry. In the past, I'd get like a neutral brown, but they didn't have anything like that, and besides my hair is too light now for brown. I want a very lightweight-looking frame, like the frameless ones, or with just the top frame and the cord around the bottom. I wanted metal, not plastic. And I definitely don't want those stupid narrow weasel glasses! I want a large visual area so I don't have to move my head just to look up and down. I watch TV and do needlework at the same time, and I'd get seasick in weasel glasses.

That all narrowed my choices to a few. (Note - remind me to select frames BEFORE getting dilated next time.)

Now, the silver ones were horribly expensive (Tiffany & Co., made in Italy? Close to $400 list), but were on sale at about a 50% discount. The gold ones were less expensive than the silver, even with the sale. My vision insurance pays 100% for one pair of glasses, including frames and lenses. I wanted to use the insurance for the silver, BUT the saleslady told me I could EITHER get the sales discount, OR use the insurance, but not both.

Huh? Is that even legal? They're on sale, but not if you use insurance? Um, what if I paid the sale price for them and then submitted the receipt to the insurance company? Will LensCrafters even know?

She said I had to use the insurance on the gold pair. My eyes were dilated. I felt confused. I decided to figure it out later.

I think something else went wrong there, too. I'm supposed to get 100% coverage for one pair, but I think I got $100 off. Not the same at all! Given that my lenses alone are over $260, something's wrong there. I have to sit down and look at the receipt and figure it out, call the insurance company, go back and have LensCrafters explain the receipt to me, raise a little hell.

Well, they had in stock only one pair of lenses that would fit the silver frames, and that would take an hour or two. They had NO lenses in stock for the gold ones, they would take two weeks to come in.

So I drove to the doctor's office to pick up the prescription for the UTI, then the other direction to the CVS to get it filled. When I told the guy behind the counter that he'd have to call Caremark about my insurance, he said the woman who handles insurance was not there, so they couldn't fill the prescription until she came in, in about two hours. So then I went back to LensCrafters. Where I sat and waited for an hour until my glasses were ready.

By the time I got the new glasses, it was 4:00 pm. My eyes take a very long time to go down from dilation, so I can't see any detail, and I can't drive when headlights start to come on, even with sunglasses. The CVS was only slightly out of my way going home, so I went back there.

The clerk who "does insurance" wasn't there, sick child or something. "Come back tomorrow." I had a small fit, so they gave me five pills (of the 20 on the prescription), no charge, "That'll hold you until we can fill it."

I drove the 2 miles home very carefully and slowly because every oncoming car was a supernova in my eyeballs.

By 10 pm my pupils had gone down enough for me to notice that the groove in the bottom of the new left lens was incomplete, so that the lens was sitting on top of the nylon cord instead of the cord being tightly in the (nonexistent) groove. Guaranteed that the lens would pop out eventually. And the top of the same lens had a rough spot where it met the frame. Unacceptable. I'll have to go back to LensCrafters.

So at the end of Monday, my to-do list for Tuesday was:
  1. Deposit a check at the bank.
  2. Get the antibiotic prescription filled.
  3. Get new glasses fixed.
Look familiar?

Tuesday morning. Had to be home by 12:45 to babysit Nugget. Deposited checks. Went ok. Then to LensCrafters. They recut the groove and reset the lens. That's ok now. The rep said that it was just a bit of plastic and wax at the top of the lens that made it look rough. They cleaned that off and handed the glasses back to me.

Uh, no. With that filler gone, it is now obvious that the lens is badly cut on the top. There's an actual space between the top center and the far left corner of the lens and the frame. The lens meets the frame in only two spots across the top. The rep said it was not noticeable and would hold just fine. I pointed out that for what those glasses cost, I have a right to perfection, "...and this ain't it!"

So they're ordering new lenses. I get to go back in a week or two.

Then to CVS. They searched for my pills. Nope, no bag anywhere with my name on it. They finally found the prescription form. It had not yet been filled, because "the woman who does the insurance isn't in yet, come back at 2 pm."

I had a minor fit. This is my third trip already. And I'd have the Nugget all afternoon. The pharmacist then came over and said that I already had five pills (down to three since I'd taken one last night and one this morning) and that should hold me until they got it straightened out.

At that point I confess I lied. Calmly.

I said I was leaving town that evening, returning Friday, and three pills wasn't going to cut it, and there's no reason for them to not at least TRY calling. ANYONE can call Caremark! All you need is for them to verify that I do have the insurance and the plan number is whatever!"

So a clerk called. And guess what?

Caremark couldn't find me in the computer.

The problem is an old one. My last name is one of those European double names, acquired from Ex#2. He always writes it with a blank between the two parts. I always write it with no blank - all one word - because as two separate words it confuses computers and alphabetization. And because I'm smarter than Ex#2.

For some dumb fool reason (probably because IBM is so patriarchal), the blank pops up occasionally in IBM benefits processing, particularly randomly in the medical plans, because that's where I was "connected" to him having been under his plan for a while, even though we've been divorced for 29 years. That's a subject for another rant.

So when I realized what the problem might be, as he was about to hang up, I said "Try it with a blank", and they found me in the system, and I got my pills, and I made it home in time to keep the Nugget for the afternoon.

(Incidentally, they gave me the full 20 pills, although I already had been given 5. This could be a serious mistake depending on the prescription. Probably not serious for Cipro, though, so I'm not going to say anything to anyone and just take them all. Two and a half more days of antibiotic probably won't hurt and might help. I figure they owe me something for jerking me around.)

Fred the van has been in the shop since last Saturday. The guy called yesterday, and they're going to have to find a junkyard part that's no longer manufactured by Dodge, and even then they may have to fudge some stuff to get Fred to pass inspection. So they still have him.

The whole week has gone like that. Everything has taken longer than it should, or had to be postponed for other silly crap. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to try to organize my life with to-do lists. And goals. And plans. The rest of the world refuses to cooperate.