Once a year, on a date which cleverly (!) coincides with my WordPress anniversary, I like to provide updates on some of the stories I’ve shared over the last 365 days. Sometimes, there are worthy follow-ups. I am sharing them in no particular order.
Last July, I had shared the story of Mary, my hair stylist, who on my first visit with her was visibly excited about just becoming foster parents to two children: an 8-year-old girl and an infant boy.
“And, it’s going well” she had said. “Just a few days ago, Chloe asked if we could adopt her, and I just hugged her. I told her that the program she is part of is a wonderful way to give children a home full of love while their parents work and get ready to give them the very same thing.”
When I had returned only a month later, it was a far different story.
“Chloe had another meltdown last night and it lasted hours. She screamed so hard, it made her throw up. She hates being told what to do and she did NOT want to go to bed.”
“I am so sorry. Do they train you for situations like this?” I had asked.
“Yes” she replied “but in that moment, all training goes out the window, it was like a shockwave hitting me feeling how angry she was. She was crying and screaming and wouldn’t stop. She does see a therapist once a week to work on these tantrums.”
Mary had added that the case workers are chronically overwhelmed and it’s not easy to get regular assistance from them. She looked so drawn and defeated, I had tried to praise her choice to become a foster parent, and tried to do a lot of listening.
Ten months later, the family is in a far different place. In fact, the state is working on adoption papers for Chloe. Her biological parents have not been able to meet the requirements for custody and Mary and her husband have agreed to adopt her. There is even talk to adopt the baby boy who all were certain would be reunited with his parents and biological brother.
There is a rhythm to her days and months now with school, childcare and weekend activities and it’s just wonderful to see a new family literally rise up right in front of me.
In January, I had written about being fired up over an incident with a satellite music provider. I was livid because I created an account with them; ordering the service using the credit card in my name. Unfortunately, all subsequent communication then came to my husband. I called them to correct it and the customer service rep was unable to change the account to my name only. She did offer a phone number to call.
Well, I haven’t called yet because I’ve arrived at the proverbial Plan B. Right now, I am continuing to use the service at a reduced price (I have 7 more months.) I listen while I drive and take note of new and old favorite songs which I am pulling from several different varieties of music channels. When I get home, I quickly transfer the titles over to a growing playlist I’ve created through another music streaming service. (My son and daughter-in-law were allowed to add family members to their music account and invited us to join.)
Currently, I’m building a playlist large enough where I will be able to listen to it without any repeats for a month or two – almost like I’m listening to the radio. At this point, I’m not interested in having the name changed anymore, I’m just interested in canceling the service. I will tell them why.
And another sexist snafu has occurred since then. After throwing out multiple offers from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) over the years, I decided to try it. It was only $16.00 and included a free gift. Their discounts on certain products and services will probably make up the difference. Instead of signing up online, however, I chose to send a check and the order form by mail. This was a trial, I didn’t want to necessarily auto-renew.
It wasn’t long before I received a thank you note addressed to Dennis thanking him for renewing. He had indeed been a member over ten years ago. Of course, his name was nowhere on the form I submitted. Their original form had been addressed to me, and yet, here I was back in this fiendish cycle again. Emails started to arrive to me saying “welcome back Dennis.”
This time, I did call and got results. Sort of. After explaining that my husband had no interest in being a member, she made me the “dominant” name on the account. (Note: she wasn’t removing it.) Apparently a husband and wife cannot belong independently to AARP. We are inextricably linked. Mail does arrive in my name now (although we just received an AARP life insurance policy opportunity addressed to Dennis.)
I’ve also been having an ongoing email conversation with my daughter-in-law Allison. At age 31, she is firmly placed in another generation; one which is greatly interested in diffusing the patriarchy. (For more on the patriarchy, click here.) Our conversation is worthy of its own post. Additionally, I am putting out the call for women once again to share their experiences with any type of inequality they have faced or facing. Please! Now that I pay attention to it, I see examples everywhere, almost every day. Exposing it brings awareness, and in a perfect world, accountability. Send your experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am extremely happy to share that my surgeon’s office has given me the medical green light to have my Port-a-cath removed. The outpatient surgery is scheduled for June. The “port” is a device placed under the skin just under my left clavicle. It was the point of access to my veins for the chemo when I was sick. It’s been part of my life since January 2020. Even though I finished treatment in August 2020, my oncologists preferred to keep it in place just in case.
It doesn’t hurt. It looks a little weird if I’m wearing a bathing suit, but mainly, I grew weary of having it because I had to return to the infusion suite every 5 weeks for 19 months to get a “flush.” They infuse a little Heparin through it to avoid blood clotting and make sure to get blood return so that they know it’s clear.
Also in January, I had expressed an interest in widening my writing goals in 2022. I have felt the motivation to step up and out of my usual writing habits. This includes participating in more #wordprompts as well as researching how to submit and publish in both online and print journals.
Unfortunately, 99% of journals reject previously published material, so anything bloggers use on their sites can’t be used. It forces us to either write for them, or for the blog. I am beginning to see why many WordPress contributors take the summer off from blogging. It frees them to either recharge or write original pieces for other publishing outlets.
I have decided to give this a try for the summer of 2022. I will still leave the door open to posting if a story can’t keep quiet in my head. There may be a handful of those this summer. But I want to give the journal side a try too. Most likely, this will be near the end of May.