Hey! Sorry it’s so late in the day to write the Wrapping Up the Year of 2010 post, but I was working today. Put in 9 1/2 hours, I did. On my last day at my *counting on fingers* third temp job since I haven’t found anything (yet/still) and then we went out to Applebees for supper which was good in theory but not in practice since the daycare didn’t know when kids would go home so they didn’t enforce Aitch’s nap who whined nearly the entire time except when she was busy scooping up Dad’s corn with her hands off his plate and shoveling it into her mouth while a majority of it sprinkled on the booth and her clothes.

Of course there’s not much from this past year to recap. Finished my “temp” job of 18 months ago back in August and then started my second temp job shortly afterwards and then finished it shortly after-afterwards to only begin the third temp position. See above.

Now 2010 wasn’t ALL bad. At least I have my health!

Oh, wait. Nevermind.

Happy (or at the minimum – happier) New Year! - Here's to the end of another shitty year we'll one day be strangely nostalgic for.


After waiting nearly eight weeks from the time the request was made until the observations and testing was done, the Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team Conference (MDT) concluded that Doodicus did not meet the needs of an Individual Education Program (IEP).

In short, his ADHD is not detrimental enough to require special considerations from his school.

It’s funny, this mixed feeling I have about that. Of course I’m thrilled to know that on the one hand his ADHD is not keeping him from excelling in many areas of his school work, including “strengths in nonverbal reasoning/visual processing.” On the other hand, he will be twisting in the wind in the areas we know will be his Achilles, especially next year in 4th Grade which is heavy in writing and reading assignments: “[Doodicus] struggles most in writing and the creative process. He will require numerous prompts, examples and guidance with such assignments.”

A reminder that the eight weeks wait is because the one school psychologist (the same one we met with two years ago when Doodicus was in the 1st Grade and we first found out about his ADHD) for this district is through the public school and our son goes to a parochial school. The public schools get priority. By the time the doctor was able to observe Doodicus in class, the major hurdle that he seems to have – adjusting to an adjustment to his schedule – had already been surmounted.

How can one feel disappointed with the determination when Doodicus brought home straight As for both quarters completed so far? He is finally doing his homework nightly without too much nagging. After twelve weeks in school, he had eleven perfect spelling tests. The exception? The first test when he didn’t know what to expect.

The psychologist provided us with two and half pages of narrated observations. I’ve paraphrased some of the more interesting points below. To me anyway, since we aren’t describing your kid, right?

  • His desk in appearance is somewhat disorganized (very diplomatically said because I have seen the inside of his desk – it’s the reason he’s had several late assignment slips since he can’t find anything) but his school work is very neatly done (his handwriting is enviable, even by me).
  • His best friends are from outside interactions; none from school.
  • He rotates his head when speaking, either to the left or the right and rarely at the examiner, and responses would need repeating as he is soft-spoken and speech more monotone. Apart from this, he’s rather articulate using words uncommon at his age. The words were not so advanced as they were just specific.
  • A relative weakness for him is working memory, which is the ability to acquire and store diverse information in short term memory, to sort it, and then to present it in a new format. Math story problems, presented orally, is one example of a task requiring working memory.
  • He’s a reluctant writer. He can rewrite a sentence to correct grammar or punctuation but seems unable to create a paragraph on his own.
  • Other notable characteristic he has is that he seems to have a high level of anxiety but not in the clinically elevated range. For example, he expressed a concern of his mother’s health…He’s a worrier and seems to have greater self-doubt than most.

Like I said, most of it probably seems like a lot of mumbo jumbo because we aren’t talking about a child you know personally. A child who internalized so many of his emotions, by the end of the day he’ll burst into tears because instead of getting eleven french fries, he only got ten; a child who once frustrated with his homework will take an eraser and rub the paper so hard it rips into shreds; a child who still needs reminding to use the bathroom.

So, yeah, no disability, but with that means no additional help. Next year I won’t wait for the frustration and fighting before asking for IEP. I will request a new evaluation with the first request for tuition. Maybe the psychologist will squeeze us in first this time.

Special Delivery

Time for one more bitchy post before Saturday, which in case you didn’t know, is Christmas.

A friend on facebook asked for help in what to tip her mail carrier. Now being a bitter and unemployed ho-bag, I decided to pipe up with “why tip them for doing their job? It’s not like waitressing where they make less than minimum (far from it).”

Another friend responded: “They perform a service to you, and your habits (catalogs, ordering lots of stuff shipped thru the USPS, etc) can make their workload heavier. Anyone whose job regularly provides a service directly to you deserves a small token of acknowledgment at the holidays. Even when he’s a prick.”

Another friend then asked, “What if you consistently don’t get your mail or it goes to the wrong house? should you still give them one?”

The friend who thought they should get a token still felt that they deserved something because it’s the holidays.

Okay, fine. I’ll give in on the idea of giving a gift and ignore the tip concept. But hell no would I ever acknowledge crappy service just because it’s the holidays. You mean they should expect it?? I don’t even think so.

Do you “tip” your mail carrier? I’m talking about the guy who is employed by the United States Postal Services, not your 12-year-old neighbor kid who throws the paper into the bushes. Do you agree that s/he should get something even though they might consistently deliver you mail to the mail box five houses down?

By the way, maybe mail carriers in your area are different from what we have. Our mail carrier drives up and down the streets and pulls up next to the mailbox and without leaving his car, shoves the mail into the mailbox set up next to the road, and then drives away without changing gears.

Ten Weeks Later

I had what is probably my last post-surgical follow-up with the plastic surgeon today. I should note here that the other surgical oncologist never did schedule return appointment with him. That kind of makes him an asshole to me. On the other hand, that kind makes me an asshole as well as I didn’t call him out on it and darken his office doorway.

I didn’t really care for the plastic surgeon when we first met. He seemed a bit standoffiish and impersonal for my liking. However, over the past couple of appointments he has grown on me. My only complaint now with him is that each time I see him, he tells me something he should have told me at the last appointment.

Today he asked me if I was rubbing the scar. No, I answered, should I be? Yes, he said and I should get some silicone gel to rub on it as well. So now I wonder how long I should have been massaging it. Bah.

One side of what I should now call The Scar is still quite tender. As he poke and prodded that side he suddenly gave it a pinch on a particularly inflamed area. Once I climbed back down from the ceiling he told me that I had an ingrown hair and he had opened it up.

Now you see, he does sound like bit of an asshole, doesn’t he? But he’s direct and doesn’t try to schmooze and I think that makes up for everything else. He asked what I was doing for Christmas and when I asked him, he easily told me about his four children – mostly adult-aged but single – and how they would all be home this weekend.

I took advantage of him and asked him if he thought I’d be a good candidate for restylane to help my “smile” lines and the dark bags under my eyes. He wheeled his stool up close to survey my face and said, “You’re not too bad yet…” YET?!!

Ok, so he could have left off that little word. I still kind of like him.

Updated pictures are on my Flickr page.

My Daughter Was Five Months Old Two Years Ago

Let’s revisit the whole work and lack thereof issue again, shall we?

In two weeks I will be once again sleeping in, eating bon bons and watching soaps all day. I can hardly wait. In two weeks, I will basically be celebrating two full years of unemployment. You have no idea how almost sick to my stomach I get when I think about how utterly stupid I was for failing to see how good I really had it at the stupid hospital. I honestly thought my wage was pathetic. I thought my benefits were paltry.

This last temp job has sucked my will to live right out of me. The only positive it has offered is that I finish up in time to pick up the kids from daycare/school and go home. Preggo has long left the building, which all I can say to that is THANK GOD! I never told you the story she shared with us on one of her last days about her first pregnancy: she and her mom found out that they were pregnant at the same time.

Oh, yes. You read that right.

She then went on to say how her mother went in for her 14 week ultrasound, her first prenatal appointment after finding out she was pregnant, and her baby had died weeks earlier. Of course Preggo said, “It was for the best.”

I thought that finally the office would become a quiet, if not dull, place to continue working. Then Snake took over Preggo’s desk. Snake was what ADHD looks like in a 26 year old man, specifically sudden outbursts of irrelevant and inappropriate statements including the time he called for the attention of the supervisor by asking loudly across the room, “Kassie, is it OK for me to totally dislike my kid’s mother?”

I watched the supervisor as she tried to stutter out a response before I interrupted with, “I hardly think Kassie is in any position to voice an opinion if she doesn’t even know her.”

Snake continued to get on my nerves and finally one day after watching him check his email, read the news on the computer we were assigned for this temp assignment, and send a hundred (I am not exaggerating in my guess) text messages on his phone, I informed a supervisor since we had been instructed on day one that our computers were not to be used for personal reasons. Yes, it was petty and obviously a case of me not minding my own damn business, but seriously, I could hardly concentrate what with keeping track of him (of course that’s sarcasm). The next day, Snake was moved to a station next to the supervisor who could monitor him more closely.

My new neighbor was an emo-type girl with too long of hair and unkempt hair who only spoke when she needed something from a supervisor. There was no idle talk or chit-chat, which suited me perfectly. Unfortunately, the comfortable silence I enjoyed must have been too much for a couple of the other temps who made fun of customers’ names or their addresses or made overt attempts to kiss the supervisor’s ass by asking about her drive to work; her kids’ sports; the office party; whatever. It didn’t matter as long as they could hear themselves talk.

So it would seem I just may not be suitable employee material. Everyone and everything annoys the shit out of me. I think I am better than they are; that the work is beneath me. And yet, their reasons for being there are because they are leaving for school soon or extra holiday spending money or newly retired. I am there because I can’t find something better. And the dislike and annoyance I have for them is really just me projecting the dislike and annoyance I have with myself.


It was just a couple of months ago that I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. It seems odd to even say or think the word cancer since in my case the diagnosis and the removal of it occurred within days of each other. In other words, could I really be a cancer survivor when I really don’t feel as if I ever had cancer?

Very shortly after I lost my job at the hospital two years ago, I found out one of my friends still working there was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. They gave her six months to live. As of last week, she is still alive but in so much pain that she refuses to see anyone. The only treatment available to her at this point makes her violently ill and unable to function physically or mentally. Her family doesn’t know if she’ll make it through the holidays.

Last week we received word that Sparring Partner’s CousinP from Boston, the one who graciously gave up his free time to me while I was visiting there, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. We don’t know any more than that right now except that he has taken the news very, very hard.

S.P. told me I should give him a call and talk to him “about what we had in common.” Obviously, I understand where he was coming from but the suggestion was ludicrous because I just don’t feel as if I do have anything in common with him, just as I don’t know how to talk to my friend who is quite likely on her deathbed with cancer.

I had a cancerous growth. I had it removed. I don’t see myself as a cancer survivor and quite frankly, I’m sure many feel the same way towards those with this particular type of cancer…some might even say it’s a pseudo cancer.

I rarely think of it, except when I accidentally hit my leg against something or when Aitch demands to see my “big owie” (to which she always exclaims “Oooh! That’s a big owie!” and then kisses it to “make it better”). Sometimes I examine it while getting dressed. I stopped commenting out loud about how ugly the remaining scar is as S.P. would remind me, almost reprovingly, “The cancer was ugly. This (he would look pointedly at the hole in my leg) is not ugly.”

I appreciate his sentiment, but I guess I’m vain. The large scar seems to be the “pay off” for what seems to be a curable (for the time being) cancer; simply cut it out much like a rotten spot from an apple.

My friend with terminal cancer is a survivor, regardless of what comes in the next few weeks. My husband’s cousin will be a survivor because of the uncertainty he will face. If I am lucky (very, very lucky) my cancer will not return and I will never have to perceive myself as a survivor.

Do Good

Mrs. Soup’s husband continues to have some progress following the stroke he had ten days ago. She updated her blog recently with what has been going on with Ryan. They were able to break their lease without penalty so that Mrs. Soup and her daughter could move back in temporarily with her parents while Ryan continues to heal.

Mrs. Soup also included in her update information on where donations can be made towards their family’s medical expenses. If you wish to help, charitable contributions can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank under the name Ryan and Katherine Campbell (Oregon). Maybe you are looking to do something outside the norm of exchanging white elephant gifts with your co-workers at your office party…

Finally, Katie, a friend and photographer is forwarding all December’s proceeds from her Etsy store to the Campbells. If you’d rather have a gift for a family or friend to unwrap this season, maybe a print from Katie’s store, Bird’s Eye View. Below is just a peek into Katie’s talents:


In 2005, I wrote for the first time the birth story of my son. He was turning four.

In 2006, I created a slideshow to commemorate his fifth birthday. It wasn’t very good because frustrated me almost to tears.

In 2007, I couldn’t believe that I now had a six year old. I was also in the beginning of my pregnancy with Aitch and I wondered if he would ever really become a big brother.

In 2008, for his seventh birthday I got lazy (like this year) and linked to the past years’ celebrations. I even included some cute pictures.

And then in 2009…he was an amazing eight years old. Too old to be called “my little boy”. I recapped his birth on this blog since most of those who were reading weren’t back in 2005. We were all different people.

Friday, he turned nine. To me it was a monumental birthday in that this is the last year of single digit birthdays. As I tucked him in on Friday, I smoothed his hair from his forehead for a kiss. He had been in trouble earlier that day and feelings were still raw with anger and resentment. I said, “It’s not easy, this getting older and having to grow up, is it?” “No,” he muttered back.

I then knelt by his bed and told him that I would like nothing more than for him to be three years old again; when he was still of the age and size to sit on my lap or even once in a while, let me rock him at bedtime. Things were easier for all of us then. He didn’t have a will of his own nor could he offer valid opinions. I told him that growing up isn’t just about growing taller. It means more responsibilities and making decisions. Mistakes will be made but growing up means learning from those mistakes. But that’s when we know we’re growing up, when life’s little lessons are no longer easy.