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.

What were we thinking??

Have you ever had a moment where you stop, take stock of your life, then wonder what the HELL you were thinking?

Today I counted. I counted how many lives Jack and I are responsible for and I damn near had a panic attack.

We have eight kids. EIGHT KIDS. The mere thought of us having eight kids is enough to give unsuspecting people a massive heart attack.

But it doesn’t stop there.

We have three dogs, two cats, 6 fish, and a hamster.

When you add it all up:

8 – kids
3 – dogs
2 – cats
6 – fish
1 – hamster

… that’s 20 living creatures we’re responsible for. Except… wait. I forgot to count ourselves. We need to take care of ourselves too! So that is…. 22. TWENTY-TWO!

Some might think the fish don’t count… since they just swim around all day in a tank. But that’s not true! You have to clean the tank regularly, check and maintain the ph, the nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia levels and treat accordingly, feed them, etc. It’s more work than you think! And the hamster? Technically that’s Sissa’s job to care for but ultimately we’re still responsible.

I’ve never really stopped and counted just how many we’re responsible for. And when I did it today (I have no idea why….) I instantly understood why I get overwhelmed sometimes. TWENTY TWO.

I have zero regrets. NONE. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just such a large number and I couldn’t help wonder just what the hell we were thinking?! I don’t think I’m going to be so hard on myself the next time I feel bad about getting overwhelmed.

I love each all 22 of us and wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. But still.


Ratdog 2.0

Ever since Cassie passed away, I’ve missed having a small dog around. Jack and I had discussed it many times and we knew that some day we’d get another small dog. We figured down the road… far far down the road.

Then yesterday an article came across my news reader that really tugged at my heart. It tugged good and hard. Words cannot describe the disgust I have for anyone who abuses or neglects an animal. And here is this article that discusses how hundreds of Shepherds and Border Collies were being left in the cold to fend for themselves. Thankfully the Oregon Humane Society rescued them. The article mentions that the Oregon Humane Society was also trying to find homes for another group of more than 100 rat terriers, taken in from a Tillamook, Oregon breeder who was neglecting the dogs.

I was so upset that so many dogs were found in this condition that when I read “rat terriers” I instantly thought of Cassie… and Boston Terriers. She was, after all, our little Ratdog. Then said, “wait? what? RAT TERRIERS?? What are those?” and googled it.

I went to the Oregon Humane Society’s website and read their article about the rat terriers (it appears to be gone now) that led to this video and that’s when I knew we reached the end of that not-so-long road.

I did quite a bit of research last night on the breed to be sure, then today Kayla and I headed to the Humane Society and found her. Unfortunately she was meeting with someone else so we were too late. We chose to meet a little boy puppy instead. While we were waiting for Jack to arrive, Kayla stayed back at the kennel with the puppies to see if the couple looking at the one we wanted to meet changed their mind. Just as it was our turn to meet the little boy puppy, Jack arrived, and Kayla came running out with the paperwork for the little girl we wanted. The couple DID change their mind. They felt she was too boring when out of her kennel. Scared is…. “boring”??? Whatever.

The handler said we could actually meet both but then couldn’t figure out where the little boy was placed. So we got to meet the little girl and it was all over from there.

Meet, Mia:

There’s absolutely nothing BORING about her. She’s beyond adorable and so very sweet. She loves our Golden Retrievers and hasn’t even had an accident in the house yet! She’s 3 months old and weighs about 2.5 pounds. We are all thoroughly in love.

Here’s a few more pictures.

Kevin singing

Kevin’s choir performed a few weeks ago and in one of the songs Kevin had a solo part. There’s two solos in this song. Kevin’s is the second solo.

Kevin's Fall Concert 2009

If the above doesn’t work, here’s a direct link to the audio file: Kevin’s Solo

Kevin has always loved to sing. In fact, when he was little he never went to the bathroom without all of us knowing it because while he was in there doing his thing, he’d belt out song after song (some he made up on the spot). When he got older and we’d tease him about it (lovingly of course), he would just shrug and explain the bathroom had good acoustics. 😀

By the way, this was recorded on an iPhone. iPhones ROCK!