This rant is based on my local health department. I fantasize that health departments in other cities employ more informed citizens but since it is a government entity, I suspect mine is representative of the rest of America. You can see my initial vaccine post here, where I explain why I have created a select/delayed schedule.

Today I took my child to the health department for a single vaccination. One shot. We went there because they are free for children and I do not have health insurance or Medicaid. My pediatrician charges $50 for a vaccination, on top of a visit fee. I explained to the amazing nurse that I am very particular and concerned about my child’s immunizations and that I only came for the DTaP. She was understanding and sweet but since I was alternating from their schedule, she had to get her supervisor’s opinion. Her supervisor was also extremely kind but thought that they needed one more supervisor to weigh in. Awesome, but what are the chances I encounter 3 nice people in one visit?

The chance was zero. The second supervisor walked in with an attitude, ready to argue with me. I did not see this coming and I do not handle confrontation well so I turned red and spend the next 15 minutes trying not to cry in front of this woman, because I was so angry. Highlights:

-She said my child would never get into a daycare and probably not school. I told her that was perfect because I don’t want her in daycare or public school (at least not here and an apology to my local teacher friends [you too, mom]).

-She basically said (not an exact quote) that it was dumb to give my child some vaccines (as opposed to either all or none) because I do not qualify for a religious exemption from the state and therefore, can’t get my child into daycare or school. She is quite wrong about that; you can get an exemption for none or select vaccines. In fact, I have been to that exact same office with a friend who has done partial/delayed vaccinations and had no problem getting the waiver signed. Maybe it’s time for an office-wide memo? Or a fancy lunch that Oscar can pay for with his tax dollars?

-I told her that one of the reasons I do not do all of the vaccines is because they contain cells from aborted babies. She laughed at me and said “where did you read that?” I told her that it was a FACT and they also include fetal monkey, pig, and cow tissue. Now, I am sure they don’t list “dead baby” on the ingredient pamphlet but they are in there. And I feel really awesome that you are administering them and have no idea. Let’s not even start on aluminum.

-I told her that Beau has not had the Hep B vax because that is transmitted sexually. She told me I was wrong and that it was a blood disease. Well, yes. You can also get it from needles (drugs, tattoos, piercings) and being around infected blood but at 18 months, that is not a concern for us and regardless, she should know that it is transmitted sexually.

In the end, Beau got the vaccine. They put a note in her record that I see a pediatrician who is supportive of my choices and that Beau is not one of their patients (you know, we just dropped in for a cup of tea). I was a little disappointed in myself that I let this woman bother me so much and that I was not better prepared. It’s not just the fact that she didn’t understand why I was skipping a lot of Beau’s shots it’s that she thought I was stupid for doing so and it made me so angry that I couldn’t focus. I could never be a defense attorney.

So, I hope this is helpful to someone. I know I wrote in my previous post to not let people intimidate you but I should have added, don’t allow them to make you cry. And if she thinks I’m an idiot, what do I care? This woman was not respectful of my choices and I’m sure if I would have shown up with 6 kids sniffing MSG off of a chicken nugget, chased with shots of formula, but who got all of their shots, she would have been much more impressed with me. I also want to reiterate that the first two nurses were reasonable, amiable, and not judgmental and I know not all employees of this facility are dim.

Photo from flickr via swanksalot

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happy rabbit

23 December 2010

I don’t do a New Year’s resolution, but I do make goals for myself; somehow, that feels like less pressure than a resolution. The recent issue of Real Simple had a great article on happiness and it got me thinking about recognizing and savoring what makes me happy in 2011 (the year of the rabbit). As it turns out, it’s pretty easy to do this. It’s almost as easy as being cynical and angry. The article mentions that people who are happy have better jobs, make more money, are healthier, and have more satisfying relationships; although, it’s not clear whether that brings them happiness or they have those things because they are happy. Either way, I thought I’d give it a go and list some of the pedestrian things that I don’t typically dwell on but actually make me very happy.

-This photo of Beau River, at 16 months

-Not taking the subway

-Oscar making the bed

-Not being 9 months pregnant (or in labour)

-Florida winter

-Beau dancing

-Not working at U-Save grocery store (my high school job–U save, U really do)

-Arrested Development (watching it, talking about it, eating it)

-My tattoo (and everyone else’s tattoos, unless it’s a swastika)

-Finishing a To Do list

-Key West (oooh, and key lime pie)

-No clutter

-Sharp knives and scissors

-Coffee, wine, cheese, and chocolate (together or separate)

-Having books around

-Whole Foods

-Beau’s scowl

-Thinking about Spain

-Christmas

-Former life in NYC

-Less socializing, more home

-Giving

-My sewing station (or, a dining room table, as my mom calls it)

-My Emmy’s ring

-Butter bell (people! room temperature butter at ALL times)

-West Elm catalogues

-Adding British u’s to words (double happiness if it’s followed by an Oxford comma)

-Symmetry

-Blogs (the reality television of the internet)

-Hugs from Oscar (elusive)

-My mom’s short hair (ah, a happy part of cancer)

-Stationery

-Drinking from my favorite tumbler

I am sure there is much more than that. Now go make your own list and bathe in it.

Ferreira Fête

13 October 2010

Somewhere in between sleeping on a urine-scented couch, driving seven hours, and attempting to eat what Burger King calls a “veggie burger” (it’s actually just a pureed latex glove with corn poop),  I had the most amazing time this weekend. The Ferreiras hosted a costume required, Tim Burton themed birthday party, which can best be described as a carnival of the macabre. There’s probably also a made-for-tv movie monologue that would do it justice. In honor of Lady Ferreira turning 30, I am cementing the most peculiar and memorable moments in time, by blogging it. Blogging is forever.

-All of the classics were represented: Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, Beetlejuice, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman Returns, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Where, I ask, was The World of Stainboy? And just because Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Frankenweenie are in pre-production, no one even considered those?

-Tara and Seth were Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd. They were exquisite. Meat pies and rolling pins. I was the White Queen and yes, I can get whiter. A Revlon color master chose the lipstick and nail polish I wore (thanks, Rhonda). Oscar was not in attendance, since Tim Burton does not have black characters. It would not have been true to the theme.

-The animal kingdom was not without representation. No less than 3 snorms (snake worms) from Beetlejuice, Absalom the Caterpillar, and a tenderly trimmed dinosaur bush set the mood. And a clown. Large Marge was not available to escort Pee Wee, so a clown did the job. We all know clowns aren’t people.

-By the end of the night, a group journeyed to the roof. This was promptly followed by a helmeted football player head-butting street light posts, in order to snuff them. I believe that could be used against him, in the court of law.

-One taxi taken. One couch arm broken. In my defense, that couch is old. And I do lift a mean 5 pound weight. 55 meat pies eaten, despite roaches and dead fingers. Three layers of red velvet cake devoured.

-Why were my fingertips stained purple the next morning? Pigeon poop purple.

-You can’t just show up to a party like this all willy nilly. There were reenactments. People knew their sh*t. Scenes were filmed under the direction of Seth that I daresay give Tim a run for his money. Dances were danced. Songs were sung. Remotes were controlled.

-Avon. Hookah. Live Nude Girls. Sand pit. Attic. Door that leads to nowhere. Flowers with baby faces. Handbook for the Recently Deceased. Curioser and Curioser.

-At midnight, I got clearance to disrobe and spent the rest of the evening lounging in Tara’s vintage, holey pantaloons. And yet, I still made friends.

-Tara is stunning at 30. Which is why I proposed this weekend.

Every time I add something to my Taskmaster 5000 list and think “I don’t have time for this,” a judgmental voice in the back of my head reminds me that if I have 15 minutes to blow snooping into other people’s lives (or blabbing about mine) on Facebook, I have no excuse to not do tasks on this list. Let this be encouragement and a bit of chastisement; you too! can do these things and certainly, much, much  more.

-Hang clothing on a clothesline. If you have space, buy one. If you live in FL, they should be handed out on your 18th birthday. We use an umbrella-style dryer which you can buy for about $40. Save money on your power bill, get a dose of vitamin d, and extend the life of your clothing. It won’t take long to recoup the cost of purchase with savings on your power bill.

-Make your own cleaning solutions. I use vinegar for almost everything. I keep a mix of vinegar and tea tree oil in a spray bottle for basic cleaning. For scrubbing, I make a paste of either baking soda or borax. Since I eliminated chemical cleaners, I rarely get headaches. Think about it–when you spray anything with your windows closed, you are absorbing it through your lungs and skin. Other things I use vinegar for (which is super cheap, BTW): rinse aid in the dishwasher, air freshener, fabric softener, floors, stain treatment, windows, microwave, kill fruit flies, boiling eggs, getting rid of cooking smells, and you can see more ideas here.

-Read. I used to read so much. In NYC, I took the local train on purpose so I could spend more time with Pillars of the Earth. Now I have these piles of books and lists on my phone (aka TM5000) that seem so daunting. Where is the time? Oh, it’s on the computer.

-Learn to do something new. In my case, sew, which I can now remove from the “Things I Want to Do” list on the Taskmaster 5000.

-Exercise. I’ve already gained 4 pounds since I entered suburbia. I blame the sweet tea. I got free DVDs to test from Fitness Magazine, so there’s really no reason for me to be on Facebook.

-Everything else I have intentions of doing: create and send a birthday card to my brother, figure out which state offers the best 529 plan, realize I shouldn’t have a 529 plan until I have something significant in a retirement plan, journal, blog, finish Beau’s baby book, edit photos from 3 weeks ago, file my claws, decide on a costume for a Tim Burton party, and vacuum. Mary Ellen made sure I got the vacuuming done.

It Takes a Village

18 July 2010

We’ve only been back in the family compound for a few weeks but I have to admit, things are going pretty well. As a matter of fact, one could get used to this style of living. I am beginning to think it does take a village. Check back with me in six months to see if I still feel the same. I was dreading this transitional period so I am more than pleasantly surprised to highlight some of the salient benefits to living with mom and dad.

-Part-time FREE nanny.  Although not as hot as the one I paid for in NYC, someone who gladly changes blueberry and broccoli poo and takes kindly to screaming spawn.

-Cooked breakfast. Not daily, but dailyish. Top this off with an appetizer of freshly juiced veggies–I think I’m getting healthier.

-No rent. No mortgage.

-Skills tutorials. Mary Ellen has promised to teach me how to sew, quilt, and eat expired foods.

-Another set of boobs for breastfeeding. Kidding.

Yes, there are some disadvantages but why dwell on that?