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?

"Acme Counseling".

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!

So there.

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?

Excuse me?

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)


carmachu said...

Yup. Their your kids. If your not a raging psychotic person oevrtheir best interests, then your either a bad parent or dead....

Nice job mom....!

Otter said...

I finally figured out why I really enjoy your posts. You remind me of my bestest friend and neighbor. She is also a raging B in her bunny slippers. Her daughter has a learning disability and she regularly stomped and smashed her way through the school hiarchy....one teacher at a time.
But she can also make me laugh till I almost pee my pants.
ps...have you heard anything from Ma T? I am worried

Big Pissy said...

Glad it all worked out!

Sometimes we all have to be a raging bitch in bunny slippers.... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Not diplomatic or patient? Okay by me. But you are fearsome and awesome - and you sure know how to handle B.S. when you see it or hear it.
(Ever scream - big-time - in a police station while dealing with that kind of bureaucracy crushing your kid? It's now kind of a fond memory of mine.)

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Love the "Attila the Mom" star...

you too, remind me of a friend!

I really need to figure out how to do my very own blog! My husband does my son's blog... I only comment!

Poor_Statue said...

I always sit uncomfortably during the mother's medical history part of our meetings for our special ed kids. It seems so intrusive to me.

Anonymous said...

Two things come to mind (and while your mind is sharper than mine, mine is older and has more life experience)... bake something, etc. for the college witch and kill her with kindness. Do the 'gosh I know how tough your job must be, have a cookie and I appreciate all the help you've given me (lie like a sumbitch)... TRY and get her on your team or she'll continue to f*ck the kid over. If she won't play nice then go for the gusto at least your tried to win her over.

2nd I understand the lack of group part, but be careful who your impressional young one associates with. My lil middle heard a talk by a bunch of recovering junkies when she was a young teen and years later when she was an old teen with substance abuse and other problems too personal to relate she looked me right in the eye and said she thought the junkies were so cool she wanted to be one. It still stuns me to even type that much less the horror at the time.

I'm not saying your young lad will follow her in this spiral, but beware that they are like sponges... don't let him soak up the wrong spill....

Hugs..... and scratch that "don't let him" part...the bottom line is we do the best we can to hope they make wise choices, but it's THEIR choices in the end...

Anonymous said...

Can I just say that I love you, with your fuzzy bunny slippers and temper?!

'Cause I do!

Anonymous said...

Yeah- I didn't really get the diplomatic and patient vibe from your posts at all! Cutting through the BS though for sure. I envy some of your quick fierce responses- I always think of the best ones 2 days later... ;)

Anonymous said...

This will likely sum up my first response to your post....



Anonymous said...

Sometimes a poke in the eye with a sharp object focuses the mind. I find a sharp tongue has equally the same effect :0)

Anonymous said...

Som 100% deserved slapping down of the verbal kind.

I found that if I add "...and if you continue to harras me you will find a restraining order and an internet page with photo's docuemnting it. If you don't believe me please visit [[URL OF BLOG]]", then most people wet themselves and leave you alone (especially when you turn up at thier office with a camera and some vauge official looking papers (say a letter for your MP 3 years ago)).

Claire said...

Lady you sure do kick butt! Can I borrow you to come and sort my problems out? Pretty please? :-D

Anonymous said...

A bitch in bunny slippers? I don't believe it - you have always seemed like a gentle, flower sniffing little pixie. OK maybe not LOL

Nice work BTW. Oooh, I hate nosey, officious busy bodies.

Anonymous said...

Damn girl you totally rock. I find you an inspiriation.

RC said...

keep on pushing through...

at least you have people making you cool blog graphics :-)

abfh said...

I agree with TxGoodie... drug addicts can be dangerous company for naive young people. Be careful. Even though they're in rehab, I'm sure most of them wouldn't be there if the court hadn't ordered them to attend.

Has Big Kid looked at any of the bipolar support forums on the Internet? That might be more helpful.

Anonymous said...

I think motherhood requires that we let our inner bitch out when it's needed...whether she's in bunny slippers or combat boots it's all good.

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha.
I love it.
:] ♥

Anonymous said...

Who wants nice and docile? Not me!!

Kick ass and take names (I can follow behind in your wake and keep them in a notebook for you--just to keep track).

Rootietoot said...

Ahh.. I love you. I want to be you. I hate confrontation and need someone to loan me a backbone occasionally. May I borrow yours?

Anonymous said...

Hi Attila,
Perhaps all higher educational facilities should offer a course on “dealing with the yards of red tape attached to the bureaucracy”. Or “how to reduce your stress level” when trying to maneuver your way through administrative glitches. When you’re trying to handle all these irritants as well as being “house bound” and dieting, it’s no wonder you’re feeling bitchy!

If you can, take an hour “off” every day; find a good book, pour yourself a stiff drink, settle into a comfy chair and put up a sign “Off Duty Mom”….or lock yourself in the bathroom and pound your head on the washbasin while counting to 1,000.

I hope you can get out of the house and back to school soon…that’s going to make a big difference.

Anonymous said...

I keep wanting to talk to you about your kids, because of my kids... Except we don't have a diagnosis so I never know what to ask you. All I can say is my oldest is in the diagnosis process, which has taken a year and a half so far. But I understand this last post. I had to go ahead and get him labeled as having a disability (in this case learning disabilities, with others in the diagnosis stage) - why? The principal wanted him expelled at 5 years of age in kindergarten. So, frankly, I needed the legal backing. Anyway - you're just someone I relate to Atilla. 'Cause I had some interesting conversations with the principal that when along those lines.

Anonymous said...

"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup." My favorite quote! Be sure to keep those bunny slippers outta those snow drifts, ya hear?

Anonymous said...

Nothing brings out the primal side of a woman like someone threatening her babies! You have every right to stand up for what he (and you) deserve! I am loving your spunk! Remind me NEVER to make you angry! (hee-hee)

Could be worse....what if you were a raging bitch in a moo-moo? MUCH WORSE than bunny slippers!

Anonymous said...

Note to self: Do NOT mess with Attila the Mom.

Actually, I figured that one out the first time I read your screen name.

You remind me of my sister. She's short and very thin and quite nice ... until you get on her bad side. Then I run for the hills.

Special K said...

I'm not going to split hairs with you about whether your behaviour qualifies as patient or diplomatic, because I'm pretty sure I DO taste good with ketchup.

I will say, however, that you're a helluva lot politer than I would be under similar circumstances. I'm pretty sure I would say something like "Frig off!" quite without any explanation of my position.

Anonymous said...

It is so exciting to meet a parent who stands up to school districts and other agencies! As a parent of a child with special needs, I'm amazed at how many parents answer every question, sign every form, without ever asking a question! Not gonna happen in this house!! Just cause they make a form, that doesn't compel me to fill it out!!!

Anonymous said...

Crunch and good with ketchup? Too good.
I totally agree with you in re the privacy stuff. I cannot believe what schools and institutions think they are entitled to some of the information they ask about. I generally tell parents that schools shouldn't get my charts, that a letter will suffice and not give schools access to all the "gory" details--like Great-Aunt Mabel spend 30 years in an institution.

girl said...

I think diplomacy is equal parts treading softly and speaking your mind where necessary. Your kid is so lucky to have you on his side! Those other people are just scared of not following rules that they never even asked the reason for. You probably did them a favor by making them stop & think a little.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED that quote! I used to be an avid Stephen King fan and there was a good one from his book, Dolores Claiborne..."Sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto". A-MEN to that!

Anonymous said...

I read the past few posts. Ugh. I hope you quit running into asshats for a while!

I loved all of the snow pictures. But I'm crazy that way. Oh, and the quote was awesome.

Anonymous said...

While you eat 'em all up, I'm eating up all your tenacity and smack-downery. Love it.