Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Thanks so much for all your encouraging comments! I think Melanie in Orygun hit the nail on the head when she called the Cranky Admissions Lady "power-tripping 'big fish in little ponds' ".
This is how it all played out. It's all rather anti-climactic really.
I went to the Contacts page at the college website to try to figure out who to call to go over the Cranky Admissions Lady's head.
On the list was the number for the cashier. I figured that this was a good place to start.
So I called and asked what number I could call to pay for our tuition over the phone. I said nothing about Big Kid's suspension.
Very Cheerful Cashier lady said I could pay it right there. I gave her my student number and she told me the total. I gave her Big Kid's student number, and she told me the combined total. I gave her my credit card number and that was that.
No kidding! Can you believe it?
The Cranky Admissions Lady had absolutely nothing to do with the payment of tuition whatsoever! What is UP with this dame?
Boo over at Always Reach for the Moon sent me a really nice email and made some fabulous graphics for my blog. I'm so verklempt about it and for all of your kind compliments on my patience and diplomacy.
But I have to come clean.
Most of the time I'm not patient or diplomatic.
I'm a raging bitch in bunny slippers. Especially when I'm dieting.
Yesterday, right after the whole Cranky Admissions Lady thing, we got a phone call from the Acme Drug and Alcohol Counseling Service.
Let me explain.
Big Kid has had the same therapist for about 9 years. Although he is a great guy, our therapist can't really help with social skills issues. A group therapy situation with his peers would be ideal, but there aren't any in our little town or even in the closest city. In the city there is a group for adults coping with Bi-polar disorder, but none of the attending members are in Big Kid's age range, and he didn't think he'd benefit from it.
So his therapist and I got our little noggins together to try to come up with a creative solution.
The therapist who goes on call for OUR therapist practices at the local Acme Drug and Alcohol Counseling Center. This is a place where people come for group therapy because they are either 1) just out of rehab, or 2) ordered by the court to attend because of some sort of drug or alcohol violation.
One of the groups they have is a bunch of young adults in Big Kid's age range. They do a lot of talking about feelings and coping with life sober. Since Big Kid is at risk for "self-medicating", this seemed like a great idea.
He has limited resources insurance-wise that are earmarked for counseling, so we decided to keep that for his regular therapy and I worked out a pay-as-we-go deal with the therapist for group. As he was there voluntarily, we didn't have to fill out the loads of gubment paperwork either. It's been working out ok so far.
So anyway, after my teeth-grinding experience with the college, Big Kid gets a call from Acme Counseling. He came into my office with the phone.
"Mom, what's my social security number?"
Who wants to know?
Tell them it's none of their damn business.
"I can't tell her that!"
I gave him the hairy eyeball.
You HAVE been known on occasion to call me an effing bitch when you're throwing a fit, and you can't tell somebody that your personal information is none of their business?
"I can't do it. It's mean. [oh, the irony!] Will you tell her?"
Of course he didn't cover up the phone during this exchange. I took the phone and put on my bestest mommy telephone voice.
I'm sure you heard all that, so I don't know how to put it any other way. His social security number is none of your business.
"Uh, I'm asking because we need it for our federal funding."
No you don't.
"Really we do."
No you don't, and if you don't know why you don't, then let me take a moment to enlighten you.
My son is attending group voluntarily for social skills counseling. He hasn't been in rehab, he isn't court ordered to attend, you don't administer urine tests for him and we pay up front in full every visit, so we aren't asking you to float us a loan.
One thing he certainly DOESN'T need is the name Acme Drug and Alcohol Counseling Center attached in any way to his social security number in some bureaucrat's records for the rest of his life!
This kills me every time. I've gone through this with the school system for over 12 years advocating for my children and other families who have children with disabilities.
You don't have to tell them just because they ask! Even though we're the Oprah generation, some things really ARE nobody's damn business.
Every year our district used to send out a stack of forms (I don't know if they still do it because they wouldn't dare send me another one) to the families of children who receive disability services. Of course there was the request for information for things you would expect----name, address, phone numbers, emergency contacts, etc.
Some of the questions were downright insulting.
Under Mother's Information: How many times have you been pregnant?
My kid has a disability and you think this makes you my gynecologist?
The rest of the questions were nearly as intrusive and irrelevant to the education of my children.
So I filled out the relevant questions and X'd out everything else with a big black marker and wrote N/A (not applicable).
And I got the first phone call.
"But you have to fill this out!"
No, I don't. What are going to do, kick my kids out of school? I'd sue you so fast that the district will be buying me a summer home in the Hamptons!
I'll tell you what. When the school makes it a policy to send this questionnaire home with EVERY student and not just the disabled ones, then I'll think about filling it out.
I ate that lady for lunch. I feel kind of bad about it, because she's a nice lady who was required to do a crappy job and my guys are always happy to see her in the grocery store.
She still flinches when she sees me. I think she's afraid I'll rip her arm off and beat her over the head with it.
Second phone call. This time from the school psychologist.
"It seems as if you're resistant to filling out these forms. You seemed to be somewhat hostile when Mrs. B called."
Yes he actually said "hostile"!
It "seems"? You mean I was vague? This is what it all "seems" like to me. It "seems" as if someone is doing a research paper using the students in this district as guinea pigs without asking the permission of their parents.
The school is in the business of educating my children, not diagnosing, treating or medicating them. We have our very own doctor, therapist and neurologist, and none of them work at Happy Camper Elementary School, thank-you-very-much!
I gobbled him up with dispatch as well.
So despite all of your kind words I must confess that I'm really not a very patient or diplomatic person. I'm truly touched that you see me that way, and I hate to burst your bubble.
But thank you all, from the bottoms of my fuzzy bunny slippers on up!
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.
---Sherrilyn Kenyon (I think)