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.

More on St. Francis Animal Hospital

So… I wanted to give a little update on the awful, horrible, rotten, worse-I’ve-ever-experienced customer service I received from St. Francis 24 Hour Animal Hospital

Last week I posted that East Padden happened to have the notes I needed from St. Francis. Unfortunately it turned out they did not. They had notes from the Humane Society instead. 😦 I know they told me they requested the notes from St. Francis, but surprisingly (haha) they never received them. 😦

So that meant I was back to square one with St. Francis. I called them on Friday to follow up to see where we stood. I got a very helpful receptionist who this time actually listened to the issue. She agreed I was treated horribly was very apologetic about it and promised she’d pass along a message to management. So I thought we were getting somewhere. It turns out she’s the only one working at St. Francis with a decent bone in her body.

She called me on Monday to say that the chart notes I requested were ready but management had closed my account after what transpired the prior week. Since the account was now closed, my request was converted to a “inactive records request” or something and they don’t copy notes/medical history from closed accounts for free. She said there would be a fee if I wanted the chart notes. When I asked how much she said she didn’t know but I needed to agree to it before they’d release the notes.

Um… I’m not sure that’s even legal?? I told her that. I also burst into tears… I felt like an idiot but seriously.. the whole thing was just so beyond stupid that it broke me. I just really don’t understand how the three other vets involved in this could be so helpful… ALL OF THEM. But St. Francis was dangling me over a barrel and now extorting money out of me over ONE page of handwritten chart notes. Chart notes they KNEW I had to have in order to get my insurance claim approved. And while I’ve experienced crappy customer service before, NEVER at THIS level. Never THIS bad!

When I asked why they closed my account, she said “they” (her managers) said it was because I was “abusive”. … … … *I* was abusive? I asked her if I sounded at all unreasonable to her or if I was even slightly abusive to her. She said “no, not at all”. There was an awkward silence after that and she said it was probably due to the multiple phone calls from me and my insurance company. I explained to her that NONE of that would have been necessary had they taken the time to listen to the issue, listen to the fact that this was technically a SECOND request for records, and that their delays were costing me almost $1000.00!

I told her I agreed to the ‘unknown charge’ as long as it was reasonable and I made it clear I was agreeing to it under duress. She called back later and said the charge was going to be $20.88.. NOT reasonable at all! But… I drove down there and I paid it. What choice did I have? I walked out of there in tears saying I’d probably dispute the charge when I got home.

I then updated my BBB claim (yes I filed a complaint with the BBB. Have never done that before) to say that they closed my account AFTER I requested the chart notes (when the account was still open) only so they could charge me and I wanted to be reimbursed to resolve the complaint. No I’m not disputing the charge. I’ve had many tell me I should but they’d likely send it to collections, tack on a fee, and add interest or something.. and it’s really not worth it. THEY aren’t worth it. (My insurance claim was approved for the full amount two days after submitting those damn notes!!!)

The main doctor at St. Francis (the owner) replied to my BBB complaint that night and ADMITTED they closed my account AFTER I requested the notes. He also rambled about my one and only vet visit with them (which had nothing to do with my complaint.. my dog was never treated there.. only seen for 20 minutes then I refused their treatment and left!). He also stated he did nothing to hinder me in getting the notes for my insurance claim.

That made me LOL.

Making me wait beyond the LEGAL time period for a records request, then closing my account (how does one close a veterinary account anyway? what does that mean??), then charging me almost $21.00 for a one page photocopy is hindering. It was akin to extortion and was immoral and unethical.

I filed a complaint with the state department of health veterinary board as well. Fee disputes fall under their threshold of things to investigate but they were in violation of not providing me the records within 15 days as the law states they are supposed to. The catch is whether my verbal request when I asked them to fill out the insurance claim was going to count as a “written request” (the claim form asked for the medical history and notes.) They (the dept of health) were also very familiar with them even though the physical location of their office is a few hundred miles from St. Francis. They get a lot of complaints about St. Francis. A LOT. Had I taken the 2 minutes to look them up on Google, I wouldn’t have made the horrible mistake of going anywhere near that place.

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.


Exercise and weight loss

Remember this rant? Exercise only affects 5% of weight loss… WTF?

Ever since then, I keep hearing that this may actually be true: Exercise has a lot less of an affect on weight loss than previously thought. I had such a hard time wrapping my brain around that concept, but more and more articles are saying so and it’s starting to make a little bit of sense to me.

I know many who have lost weight with the “eat less move more” mindset as posted in this article, “Exercise? A fat lot of good that is for weight loss”. I’ve lost weight with this mindset. But everyone I know who’s gone this route has gained most, if not all of it, back. I lost 50 lbs! But I gained 15 back, then lost five again and am currently plateaued and have been for two years.

Here’s a quote from The Times article where The Mayo Clinic concluded, from recent research, that:

Most studies have demonstrated no or modest weight loss with exercise alone … patients should have realistic expectations, an exercise regimen … is unlikely to result in short-term weight loss beyond what is achieved with dietary change.

So I guess instead of looking for a gym membership, I should be consulting with a dietitian? 🙂

Poor Mailbox Kiosk

The kids came running into the house a bit ago from playing basketball outside shouting, “Mom! Mom! It looks like someone took a sledge hammer to our mailbox! And it’s all twisted! And… and there is broken glass in the street!

They were all wide-eyed so I grabbed our mailbox key and went out to take a look. It’s twisted alright.

Poor Mailbox Kiosk

Poor Mailbox Kiosk, originally uploaded by SpaceyMom.

And broken and battered. Apparently the neighbor’s car in the driveway in front of the kiosk rolled down his driveway, smashed into the kiosk, then hit a parked car across the street this morning. Amazing, we didn’t hear a thing. It’s a good thing no kids were playing out there!

We can still get to our box but I’m not so sure the mailman can deliver our mail with it twisted like that.

Sent from my iPhone

Want a side of E. Coli with that?

If you follow me on Twitter, you likely saw this update:

Pretty sure I just got over a touch of food poisoning. Blech. Feeling a bit better now. #fb8:15 PM Jun 3rd from TwitterFon

Then I posted the next Friday about it:

Wednesday I got some sort of food poisoning or a strange 8 hour bug or something. Around 1 PM or so, I started feeling like crap, continued to feel like crap while spending lots of time in the bathroom until about 8 PM. Then I miraculously felt better and ate some soup. I’m leaning toward food poisoning.

Then I hear about this: Toll House cookie dough recalled, linked to E. coli

Guess what I was nibbling on the prior Tuesday night and Wednesday morning?
If you guessed Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough… you’re 100% accurate. Jack and Sissa bought a tub of it the day before and we had a few nibbles off it before cookies were baked that night. Wednesday morning I ate a spoonful right out of the tub. As a diabetic I know that’s a no-no but it was only a spoonful. Or maybe it was two? I love chocolate chip cookie dough.

But really? E. Coli?? Did I get a touch of E. Coli? I was sick for about 8 hours… Can someone even get a “touch” of something like that? I was the only one who got sick… and it didn’t last days like many with E. Coli symptoms do.. but still. That’s a weird coincidence.

TGIF … seriously.

This week… can totally kiss my butt.

Started off Monday with some drama. Drama I didn’t ask for, didn’t want, didn’t need. It only caused me stress… and took a few days to shake off and make decisions about, that hopefully will bring a lot less drama and stress in that regard in the future.

Tuesday was pretty OK. Got to spend the day with Lil Miss H at the zoo, ran a few errands afterward, spent some family time together in the evening.

Wednesday I got some sort of food poisoning or a strange 8 hour bug or something. Around 1 PM or so, I started feeling like crap, continued to feel like crap while spending lots of time in the bathroom until about 8 PM. Then I miraculously felt better and ate some soup. I’m leaning toward food poisoning.

Thursday we had this meeting to go to with the State of WA Children Services (adoption red tape stuff), which almost didn’t happen even though we drove clear across town because we brought the younger kids with us. My olders couldn’t babysit because they had rehearsals for both of their choir concerts that were both happening simultaneously at two different schools. Found a solution to the kid situation and had the meeting.

During the meeting we had this freak thunderstorm. The room we were in didn’t have windows but we heard thunder a few times and at one point when the thunder shook the walls in the room we were in, we took a break to watch the lightening from another area in the building with a window.

When the meeting was over Jack drove to one choir concert while I drove to the other. We compared notes via text at all the debris and stuff we saw while we were waiting for the concerts to start. The area looked like it’d be hit by a storm that lasted several days. Not only a few minutes…

When we arrived home I noticed our stone patio table had moved a good two feet and wasn’t straight.

Patio Table Damage June 4 2009 011

While I was marveling at who or what moved our table and cleaned off all the gardening crap we’d left on it from all the yard work we’ve been doing the past few weeks, the corner of my eye was registering another item out of place.

Patio Table Damage June 4 2009 003

It began to sink in that it was more of what moved these items rather than who.

Patio Table Damage June 4 2009 004

The debris here started to paint the picture.

Patio Table Damage June 4 2009 005

It was dark last night as we were investigating what exactly happened, but we could see enough to realize a really strong and extremely powerful wind from the storm caused this.

This morning I took the photos. You can see our gloves that were in a neat pile on the table blown into the BBQ pit and onto the ground. The pop can I was drinking before I left for the meeting and left it on the table, a mysterious black clothing item, (we think one of Cody’s shirts he likes to take them off when he gets hot while playing outside and has a habit of just tossing them wherever), the dog shampoo bottle from the bath the dogs got last weekend, the 20 lb bag of potting soil that was originally on the table too but when we got home it was upside down on one of the chairs. (Jack moved it before I took pictures so none would spill out.)

Last night as we were taking this all in, Cody leaned against the table and it wobbled. This is… er… was… a sturdy table. It probably weighs 200-300 pounds. Jack looked under the table and found this:

Patio Table Damage June 4 2009 002


That’s the leg off the support structure. It was broken clear off the rest of the structure.

This morning I got a better look at what all was under the table:

Patio Table Damage June 4 2009 008

This really boggles my brain. First the planter was on top of the table as well. How did it get blown off, then under the table, through the chairs to rest against the umbrella pole? Same with the towels. Those were folded on top of the table. Now they were under it and wrapped around the pole?

Even more boggling, see the two plastic packages? Those are packages of foam weather stripping. Two different kinds. Both very lightweight and both half empty. Those were also on top of the table as Jack just installed our A/C unit. How did those almost featherweight packages get blown under the table to stay put? While a 20 lb bag of soil gets knocked off? There was a ceramic dish (for the bottom of a flower pot) that was tossed off the table and broken in two. A lighter that was on the table is just gone into the oblivion, along with who-knows-what-else.

And the barbecue? How the heck did it get ripped out of the pit to just lay there hanging by the tubes that connect it to the propane tank?

We’ve had many windstorms but none that could break the heaviest item in our backyard. I’ve been told this was could have been a downdraft of some sort. There were unconfirmed reports of funnel clouds during yesterday’s storm.

We don’t have the money to replace the BBQ and the table. I’m not sure attempting to fix the structure is an option given the table was likely lifted off the ground, then dropped. There’s no other way to explain how it broke. Who knows what other weak spots have been created? The table alone is so heavy I’m not sure I’d trust the supports to just be fixed. I’d want them replaced. I’m not sure you can just replace the structure? The table was purchased at Costco during a seasonal event in 2006. I doubt we’d even be able to find parts for that exact table. We have homeowner’s insurance… but it may not even be worth the claim. I called anyway and have someone coming out in a few days to take a look.

All that said, I actually feel fortunate that’s all the damage we have to deal with. It could have been a lot worse. I’m glad we’re not having to deal with this or this, or this. I’m thankful my dogs were inside as I’m sure that would have freaked them out.

And after the crazy week we’ve had, I’m very thankful it’s Friday.

Update: Here’s a closer look at the damaged legs / support for the table:

Patio Table Damage June 4 2009

Upon closer inspection, the other leg has a crack in it too. 😦