St. Francis in the news (and Mia too)

Remember my long rants about St. Francis? And the update here?

Their killing of innocent animals and horrible business practices made it to the local news. KOIN contacted me via my complaint at the BBB. The BBB called me about a month ago and told me KOIN wanted to talk to me and got my permission for them to give KOIN my contact info. So that’s how I got involved. I find it funny that the one and ONLY time I’ve ever filed a complaint about a business at the BBB … it makes the news. Sure it’s two years later, but still. 🙂

St Francis Animal Hospital has an F rating at the BBB. You have to work really hard at SUCKING to get and maintain an F at the BBB. They have killed people’s pets and will nickel and dime people for every cent they can get while mistreating animals. They KILLED Jack’s co-worker’s dog! He’s in the news piece as well. 😦

If you love your animal, you won’t take it to St. Francis 24 Hour Animal Hospital!

Here’s the news link: Vancouver vet called out by pet owners, board of health

The good, the bad, the ugly

Good: We’re going to be grandparents! Can you believe that?? We can’t either. When we first heard, poor Jack could only stare out the window in shock. Then we got excited. We can’t wait to spoil our first grandbaby!

Bad: Mortgage companies suck. We’ve essentially received a 90 day notice (plus 20??) even though we have a short-sale in review. It’s just all bad in that regard and I don’t even want to go into details.

Ugly: Jack hates my guts. That’s what he said. He said my guts are ugly and he doesn’t like them. When the doctor took my ovary out last month, she took a picture of my uterus and other ovary and showed Jack. Uteruses and ovaries aren’t pretty. In fact, I hate my guts too.

The other good news is the cysts on my ovaries were benign so I can relax about that.

In other ugly news, we haven’t found a place to live yet. It’s not for lack of trying, believe me! It’s very difficult to find a house or place big enough that will at least keep most of our kids in the same schools, that will also accept our dogs.

Just what is up with that anyway? I get some big dogs are destructive. I’ve heard horror stories. But mine aren’t! It doesn’t matter though. Renters seem to think if a dog is over a certain weight, they’ll tear apart the house and you can’t convince them otherwise. The ones that really make me laugh are the ones that say cats only. Like cats can’t do damage? Ha. Cats pee on things when they’re mad at you. Cats shred anything they can sharpen their claws on: walls, wood, carpet, curtains, even the weather stripping on your front door. I know this from experience! And we no longer have inside cats.

Oh well. We’ll keep on looking… and in 90 (+20?) days we’ll be moving somewhere either way. If we have to get an apartment we will. But we’re trying hard to avoid that.

P.S. To any potential renters out there, we have nice, trained, well-behaved, non-destructive Golden Retrievers, and a 15 lb Rat Terrier all of which are fully house trained and do not chew on walls or stair banisters, or carpet, or anything else.. I’m home all day with them and we provide plenty of chew toys and they are good dogs.

P.S.S. Only four of our eight children live at home still, so don’t let the subject of this blog scare you!

P.S.S.S We are good renters, I promise!!

Anniversary Weekend

Anniversary Weekend

August 21st must be a good day to get married. Jack and I saw three wedding parties at the places we visited this weekend.

Jack and I just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary and 16th year together this past weekend. We started off by seeing Inception (which we enjoyed) at our favorite movie theater, Cinetopia. Then Friday night we stayed at The Heathman Lodge for free thanks to buying the winning raffle ticket at Sissa’s school fundraiser last year (for only $5.00!). We had a blast! The hotel was beautiful and the beds were actually comfortable! The accompanying $50 gift certificate to Hudson’s Bar and Grill was just another treat as the staff and food were great. We stayed there Friday night then Saturday we spent a good portion of our day at Portland’s Saturday Market.

We haven’t been to Portland’s Saturday Market in years. We forgot how fun and adventurous it can be. From the unique entertainment,

Anniversary Weekend 2010

video: Some guys playing buckets at Portland Saturday Market

to the strange people you come across,

PotHead at Saturday Market in Portland

to the amazing items you can purchase!

Toothbrush Holder and Matching Cup

Toothbrush Holder and Matching Cup

It’s not very often I get excited about a mundane purchase, but I have to rave about these toothbrush holders Jack and I found at the Saturday Market this weekend. I’ve seen many handmade pottery toothbrush holders but it’s always the same: holes are too small, holes too close together (my kids can’t stand it when the brushes touch), they are hard to clean, etc. These totally caught my eye. They are unique, pretty, and functional in more ways than one: nice wide holes, matching cup, the brushes don’t touch, easy to clean, and there’s even a holder on the back for the toothpaste. It’s perfect!

I found these at FarPoint Stoneware and Porcelain at the Saturday Market. And we’ll be going back to buy another set for mine and Jack’s bathroom considering I found MOLD that I can’t get out at the bottom of our traditional cheap holder. EWWW.

After soaking in all we could at the market, we had a couple hours to kill so I decided to show Jack where I used to have lunch every chance I could when I worked in downtown Portland many moons ago: The Ira Keller Fountain.

Anniversary Weekend 2010

This is a short walk from from the “Black Box” where I worked, and I loved eating lunch there any day it wasn’t raining. Jack was really taken by the uniqueness of this fountain and explored it for a long time. 🙂

Saturday night we took a dinner cruise on the Portland Spirit. This is the third time we’ve spent an anniversary on the Portland Spirit and they’ve never disappointed us.

Anniversary Weekend 2010

Sunday we slept in, had breakfast, then decided to go for a drive and quite by accident ended up on the The North Clark County Scenic Drive. This took us through Battle Ground, Yacolt, by Lucia Falls and Moulton Falls. We stopped at Moulton falls to explore a bit.

Anniversary Weekend 2010

Anniversary Weekend - Moulton Falls

It was an amazing, perfect, romantic weekend and I’m so very happy to have spent it with my soul mate.

P.S. There’s a few more photos here.

David Lawrence XVII aka the Puppet Master was here

I just wanted to say, that I never in a million dreams figured a celebrity would ever post on this blog. I mean, it’s just a family blog, where we (mostly I) inconsistently ramble about stuff. But my little attempt at finding the humor in the freaky door to door sales people I get earned a little bit of attention, including a post from none other than the PUPPET MASTER from Heroes himself. He even admitted to knocking on me door with his Jesus pamphlets. I emailed him thanking him for making my day and he emailed me a back a few times. How cool is that?

The only downside was the scary comment he made about IF there is going to be a season 5 for Heroes. I hope there is, David! I hope there is!

Door to Door Part III

A couple of years ago I wrote about some interesting situations regarding door to door salespeople. I wrote about how some are kinda stupid, I wrote about how some are kinda scary (Part I), and how some are downright psychotic (Part II).

I don’t remember if I ever wrote about the time we were almost suckered into buying $14,000 windows? If I did I can’t find that post. So the short story version is, at our previous house we had aluminum windows and we were caught in the right mood by some door to door window salesmen who wanted to sell us triple-paned windows and promised to save 60% off our heating and cooling costs the first month, or they’d pay our electricity bill for a year. They also offered us a $100 gift card for a local gas station and I figured it was worth sitting through a presentation for that alone, and besides, the deal they had sounded pretty awesome. So, we sat through the extremely pushy THREE HOUR presentation. We even got to bang on their sample windows with rocks to see for ourselves how unbreakable they were. We were so impressed we wrote them a check for $100 for ‘good faith’ and signed our life away. It wasn’t until the next day that I got an extreme case of buyer’s remorse and went into full panic mode: we just agreed to pay over 14 THOUSAND dollars … for windows. Stupid much?

I called our electric company and asked them about the windows, and if they heard of this company and if they thought new windows would really knock 60% off our bill. She laughed. It was a kind, sympathetic laugh, but still, she laughed. I felt pretty darn stupid. She explained that we don’t live in Alaska and don’t need triple-paned windows, and they can agree to pay our bill for a year because they are charging us about 11 grand over what it should cost to replace our windows. We canceled the deal and got our check back, pronto. (We got to keep the $100 gas card.)

So in a nutshell, between that experience, and others (including falling for a scam involving a “poor, broke student trying to go on a school trip so buy this magazine subscription” we never got), I’m pretty against door to door salesman. I just can’t trust them!

It’s spring. And apparently spring means the door to door salesmen come out of the woodwork. Yesterday morning this guy knocked on my door:
Eric Doyle, puppet master from Heroes

No really. It was HIM! OK, fine if it wasn’t actually Eric Doyle, the puppet master from Heroes, it was his twin brother! He was dressed in a 70’s brown suit, and holding a pamphlet that said, “JESUS LOVES YOU”. I could see all this through the blinds in the window that faces the porch. I chose not to open the door.

Do you blame me? PUPPET MASTER from Heroes? SCARY!

I just pretended no one was home and as soon as he walked away I locked our security screen.

Yesterday while I was out with Melissa, Jack said some random guy wanting to sell us steaks came by. This isn’t a new one. We’ve had these guys come by before. I just LOL because seriously? Who’s going to accept RAW MEAT from some random stranger who knocks on your door? Well, obviously some people do or the steak guys wouldn’t be around still. To those people, I just bow to your braveness.

This morning my doorbell rings (sending my three rabid Cujo dogs into a frenzy) and when I peeked through the windows, it was some guy with a clipboard. This immediately reminds me of the time an insurance guy came knocking (with a clipboard) and I told him NOT INTERESTED and shut the door in his face, only to hear him say through the door, “but ma’am? I’m not a salesperson, I need to ask you about a car break-in that happened to your neighbor”.

I was so embarrassed.

Danny Devito

So today I opened the door to the guy with the clipboard, and it’s another heavy-set bald guy, but this one looked more like Danny Devito than Eric Doyle the puppet master from Heroes. Unfortunately he wasn’t here to talk about car break-ins. He wanted to talk about my finances. LeSigh. I LOL’d at him then shut the door. I know, I’m mean. But I can’t help it. He did look like Danny Devito, though!

That really should be the end of this post. But it’s not. I wish it was, but.. it’s not. Because you’re not going to believe who rang my doorbell only 3 minutes after my beloved, adorable, and oh-so-vulnerable children got off the school bus today.

Charles "Chuckie" Crandall Finster

That’s right, Charles “Chuckie” Crandall Finster, the non-cartoon, grown-up, seemingly stoned and turned surfer-dude version rang my doorbell. (Seriously? CHUCKIE? From The Rugrats??)

And he had a clipboard.

DAMN THE CLIPBOARDS.

He muttered, “aw, hi ma’am. Ah am in the NAY–ber-hood… and like… we are having this totally tubular (he really said ‘awesome’) deal on new windows… and uh, like, I was just wondering… ”

I don’t know what he said after that. Cause I LOL’d again and exclaimed “NOT INTERESTED” and shut the door IN HIS FACE.

Then I threw up my hands and demanded to know why FOUR! FOUR solicitors have been at my house in two days?!

It’s definitely time to get that “NO SOLICITORS” sign–dripping with blood for added effect–hung up on our house with a picture of my three rabid cujo dogs.

And clipboards be damned: I’m not falling for it anymore.

The one with the flood

Tuesday night last week Cody came running up to me around 3 PM to inform me something “really bad is going on upstairs” and to come quick. I get upstairs and the bathroom is flooding … from the overflowing toilet Lil Miss decided to NOT tell me about. Lots of screaming for towels from anyone who could move ensued. Unfortunately that included a friend Melissa had over for the first time ever. Yes, I made her run and grab towels too. She also got to hear some choice words come out of my mouth. It was definitely a proud moment in my life. (That’s sarcasm in case you’re wondering). I had to take her home early and apologize to her parents. Fortunately they were understanding.

It was a gross, disgusting, stinky mess. To say the least.

The worst part was after getting all the water sopped up, the floor squished like a sponge UNDER the hardwood floor. I knew right away the day to finally get around to redecorating the “seizure room” had come, whether I wanted it to or not.

I call it the seizure room because the colors in that bathroom were seizure-inducing. The previous owners painted it dark pea soup green. Ceiling and all. It wouldn’t be so bad but the bathroom is on the small side and I thought everyone knew you don’t paint small rooms dark colors, especially the ceiling too! So it basically had a walls-are-closing-in-on-you effect. To make it worse, the vanity was bright turquoise. Bright turquoise and dark pea soup green do NOT mix! Especially in a small bathroom. What were they thinking??

So I’ve always wanted to paint it. And since we had to rip out the floor, and the toilet, and remove the vanity temporarily, now was the time.

Upstairs Bathroom

Here you can kinda see what I’m talking about. The floor was hardwood. The tiles you see in the above picture is what was underneath the hardwood (you can see one section of hardwood left). At least the old flooring made the vanity make sense… they matched. But why are the walls dark pea soup green? WHY?? (The toilet in the bathtub makes me giggle. We are replacing the toilet by the way since it’s part of the problem…)

Jack came home and he and Cody promptly set about tearing up the floor.

bathroom floor being ripped up

The damage went all the way to the base floor. Fortunately it was OK but the subflooring, the layer of old vinyl, and the hardwood had to go. It was a stinky mess. On top of that, whoever built this house didn’t seal anything at all. There was NOTHING to stop any sort of water damage. As such, the flooding caused water damage to the ceiling in our office and lord knows where else in the void. 😦

Friday night Jack’s brother and father came over and helped him put the new flooring in. They were at it till after midnight! Instead of cheap press board subfloor like what was there originally, Jack went with a thicker, stronger plywood. And fake “hardwood” over that. One large piece of vinyl that looks like hardwood but will be much more water resistant. Surprisingly, it’s very realistic looking. And everything is sealed properly against future water damage. It’s the kid’s bathroom so you know there’s going to be water on the floor!

new bathroom floor

The white area there is what’s behind the vanity… and yes there’s water damage there too from when Kevin flooded the sink.. At least that was just water. But it dripped down into the office then too. Our poor office!!!

Since we had the vanity and the toilet out and the new floor in, we (mostly I) set out to painting but only after a full day of applying primer. LOTS and LOTS of primer. I chose a light green to compliment the vanity since we can’t really afford to replace it and there’s nothing technically wrong with the vanity. It’s just got a turquoise counter-top. The bathroom will have an ocean theme. I have fishy wall hangings and Finding Nemo wall stickers (it IS the kids bathroom after all).

Unless you really hate fish and/or the ocean, it shouldn’t induce seizures anymore. I’ll post pictures when it’s done.

P.S. The title idea is from Friends.

Kevin in tights

Last night Kevin’s high school choir held a benefit concert to help raise money. It was hilariously fun. Kevin emceed the entire thing along with his friend, Dany.

Here’s a sample of some of the hilarity: Men in Tights I did not record this video. I did get pictures, though!

Like this one:
Choir Benefit Concert 056

Yes, that’s my 18 year old son in tights.

Here’s a sample of him and Dany emceeing the concert. (I did shoot this video.) One of the mics was having unexpected issues (it was cutting out, likely due to a short) so instead of allowing it to throw them or annoy them, they found as much humor in it as they could and it only added to their performances as emcees. I was proud!

They also did a Star Wars parody that cracked us up. A little factoid: all the props used in this performance came from our family. From the storm trooper helmet to the blasters, all ours. Even the Chewbacca on the one boy’s back… came from Kayla. 🙂

It was a great night!

Now, Jack and I are off to celebrate my birthday at the coast. A weekend away, just the two of us. We only get to do this twice a year. And it’s always a much needed break!

St Francis Animal Hospital = Horrible Customer Service

So remember all the vets and issues, etc we had to deal with two days after we adopted Mia? We were so fortunate that everyone we saw treated us wonderfully, kindly, with compassion, and understanding.. EXCEPT: St. Francis 24 HR Animal Hospital. In my experience, they have the most unprofessional people working for them than I’ve ever encountered in my life. And they saw Mia only once. For about an hour.

They tried to get me to pay them a thousand dollars claiming my dog had parvo. (She didn’t). They apparently don’t even know that a modified live parvo vaccine can cause a false positive and that there are varying degrees of “testing positive” for parvo. A weak positive, which Mia’s was can just be the vaccine.

Apparently this is common knowledge. Don’t take my word for it, though. Google it. The links above all describe it.. and I’ll quote another website:

False negative results can be obtained because parvovirus is shed for a few days only. Test results are most accurate if taken the first few days after infection, or within 5 days after clinical signs appear. False positive results are often a result of recent vaccination with a modified live vaccine (within 5-12 days of vaccination).

St. Francis forgot to bill me for the parvo test so they called and asked that I come down right away to pay for it. I told them I would but then as you know, Mia got sicker and it was a crazy week, so I didn’t get to it right away. Not even a week later they sent me a letter stating I better pay them for it or they would send it to collections. They used a yellow highlighter to highlight the part about it going to collections. I thought this was rude, and tactless, but hey, I did say I’d come down there and didn’t… and sure it’s only been a few days.. but sheesh.

I called them to let them know I’d be paying it soon and explained how Mia got sicker. While on the phone, I mentioned to them the ‘false positive’ and was happy to report Mia did not have parvo and was doing much better. I didn’t tell it to them to be rude or rub it in their face. My tone and attitude was “hey guess what?! She’s better and doing great and didn’t have Parvo.. isn’t that awesome?”… Their reply was, and I quote:

A positive result is a positive result. There is no such thing as weak or false parvo test.

I replied that the other vets told me about the weak positive / not parvo thing, and that she never actually had true parvo symptoms so it probably wasn’t parvo.

Their reply:

A positive result is a positive result. There is no such thing as weak or false parvo test.

Yes, they just repeated themselves. They didn’t even comment on the fact that I just told them Mia was all better. They were just right, everyone else was wrong… where’s their money?

I paid them on Monday as promised but guess what? I got another letter, the same one, yellow highlighter and all on Tuesday. So they were sending me letters weekly apparently to be sure they got their $36 bucks.

A couple weeks later I had to go back there to have them fill out the pet insurance claim for the visit. East Padden Animal Hospital filled out the forms while I waited. Columbia River Veterinary Services tried to fill out the claim forms while I waited and were also very friendly about it, but they had an emergency come in and didn’t know when they could get to it and hated to keep me waiting. So they offered to fax over all the claims (even the ones not pertaining to them) if I left the docs with them. I said sure. They faxed them in that night as promised and called me to let me know it was done. Very nicely done.

St. Francis on the other hand took the forms and told me they’d get to it whenever. Maybe Sunday. This was mid-week that I was there. When I inquired about the wait, they said only their administrative office handled those forms. They acted like it was a major inconvenience and practically shooed me out the door. I was dumbfounded but I thanked them and left without so much as another mumble.

I thought I was done ever having deal with them until the pet insurance needed more info ….The NON-PROFIT humane society got me the information within minutes and had it waiting at the front desk for me. They offered to fax it too but I have no way to receive a fax. East Padden emailed me the information within an hour. CRVS emailed it to me within 5 minutes of my phone call. All easy right?

St. Francis told me they’d call me when they had the information I requested. When I asked when, they said they didn’t know and couldn’t give me a time frame. I explained the situation ($1000 claim, kinda hinging on their information the most because they were the first to see Mia for the issue) and that it would be helpful if I knew when I could expect the information. They said it could take up to two weeks. I was thinking a couple hours. Or maybe a day. But TWO WEEKS?

All the insurance company wants is the chart notes they took for the visit. That’s IT. So it’s not like we’re asking for major stuff here. Just the notes… Like I said, the three other vets managed to have that to me within minutes, or hours. Apparently St. Francis 24 Hour Animal Hospital has to go through their administrators to provide their clients with information. I kinda jokingly asked “well what if Mia was dying and I needed those notes to take to a vet so they’d know her history?” She replied “this is hospital policy”. I asked if THEY had access to their own notes if a patient comes in during an emergency. They said “This is hospital policy”.

So I asked if there’s any way to speed up the process, if there was someone I could call and I again explained why.. They replied it was hospital policy. I asked if I could have their admin office’s number. They said they weren’t available. So I told them in a “ya know…” type of voice that I’d probably not ever come back there and this is why. They said “whatever” and hung up on me.


….
…..

I called back and got someone different. I figured SHE wasn’t the rude one so I wouldn’t bother her with the issue. I simply asked for a supervisor. . She said without even a moment’s hesitation that the supervisor wasn’t available. So I tried to explain the whole story, nicely, calmly, but she kept cutting me off saying “it’s hospital policy and you were told that”. I kept trying to say “I TOTALLY WITHOUT A DOUBT GET that it’s HOSPITAL POLICY … but the issue has turned into horrible customer service” but she wouldn’t let me talk .. AT ALL. She just kept repeating that I was already told about HOSPITAL POLICY .. and I kept TRYING to say “I KNOW, I GET IT” but she repeated herself so many times I finally said “Look, just let me talk to your supervisor”. She HUNG UP ON ME.

I would totally understand if I was being irrational or rude, but I wasn’t. And now I’m not even sure they are going to “forward my request to the administrators per hospital policy” because both had hung up on me!

So I waited a while… then I called back and simply asked for the administrator’s office. She said they were unavailable but could take a message. I asked if I could leave a message myself (why would I trust them to leave a message at his point?) and she asked my name. I told her and she WENT OFF on me saying that if I kept calling she’d make my request take longer to process. What the? I told her I didn’t appreciate the threat, I just wanted to talk to the admins myself, leave a voicemail, anything to ensure my request was even processed. She hung up on me!!!

At this point I was pretty ticked off. Instead of calling them back I called the insurance company and explained what just transpired. I explained that I wasn’t confident they would even put my request through. No one ever said at that point they would, they just kept hanging up on me.

The insurance girl was baffled and said she’s NEVER heard of a vet taking weeks to provide chart notes, or having to go through weird administrative red tape for something so simple. I asked if it was absolutely necessary I have the info from St. Francis. By then I had all the other vet’s notes, it was only St Francis holding things up. She said they must have it but offered to call St. Francis herself and see if she could get anywhere. I told her go for it and wished her luck.

She called me back only a few minutes later and guess what? St. Francis gave her the proverbial finger too.

I really don’t think these people should have named themselves SAINT anything.

To sum it up, St. France 24 Hour Animal Hospital:

  1. Doesn’t know much about parvo tests or the vaccines and how they work — “a positive is a positive”. They need to learn how to use Google.
  2. HARRASSED and THREATENEND ME for payment not even a week after THEY forgot to charge me.
  3. Didn’t care about my dog. Just wanted my money NOW.
  4. Gave me nothing but horrible, rude, and unprofessional customer service
  5. Have weird policies no other vet I’ve dealt with has that make it impossible to get information in a timely manner.

The whole thing was like an episode out of the Twilight Zone.

Just as I was about to hit publish on this post, East Padden Animal Hospital called me. Not only did they already send me their chart notes, they also happened to have the chart notes from St. Francis because they requested them for THEIR records when Mia was first admitted to them (I told them the story about St. Francis and their weird policies). So they are sending me the ST. FRANCIS notes now via email. They didn’t have to do that… but they did.

THAT is good customer service. And St Francis will never get another dime from me again.

Update: LOL the BBB gives St Francis Hospital an F rating… 27 complaints. For a little city Vet who hasn’t been around all that long, that’s pretty bad!

St Francis 24 HR Animal Hospital

Word of warning.. do not EVER EVER EVER take your animals to St Francis 24 HR Animal Hospital. They are the WORST organization I’ve ever encountered in my LIFE. They are rude, unprofessional, don’t even know how to keep records of their patients. If you love your animals you’ll NEVER go near the place.