For a Good Deal, Call Kevin

Kevin has become a hoarder.

Okay. No he hasn’t, but it sure feels like he has and if you look closely, it sure LOOKS like he has.

Kevin and Roy haunt yard sales every weekend. Every. Weekend. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, without fail. And to be perfectly honest, it’s sort of amazing how much junk stuff they have found that has actually been pretty useful.

For example:

Washer/Dryer $75 for the washing machine – they paid Kevin/Roy to take the dryer and they fixed the dryer for $12.
Pressure Washer: $30 – retail $275
Lights on stands: $10 for both – retail $35 for both
Hedger: $5 – retail $75
Dresser: $20 – retail $150
Six/Seven pairs of sneakers for Roy: $4 – retail: $60 (one was a pair of Nike Jordans)
Leather Cowboy boots: $5 – retail $150
Coats/Jackets for Roy, Kevin and the boys: $3-5 – retail: $40 average
Two ceiling fans w/ lights for Roy: $3 – retail: $75
Two ceilings fans for our house: one for $3, one for $.50: retail $75 each
56 inch TV (works perfectly) for $15 – retail: $200
Antique cabinet $20 – retail $100
Nightstand $5 – retail: $35
Two gamer chairs $2 / $5: retail $80
Two brand-new pairs of jeans $10: retail $35
Air mattresses for the pool $1: retail $5
Painting over our sofa $8: retail $30
IBM Thinkpad $1 (and it works like brand new!): retail $150
Countless DVD’s and XBox games: $.50 a piece.
StarWars DVD set $3: retail $80 (!)
TV FREE: retail $150
25 lb weights $12 total: retail $20 each
20 lb weights $10 total: retail $17 each
Free toolbox (it’s a red toolbox on wheels): retail $30
Shelves $5 each: retail $30
Powerstrips $1: retail $5
Laser printer $5: retail $150 (yes – it works great)

That’s what really surprises me about all of the stuff he’s gotten at these sales – they were all in new, or like new, condition. Whenever I think of garage sales, I think JUNK. And not just JUNK – JUNKJUNK. Like broken, missing parts, dings, scrapes, nicks JUNK. But honestly, God was watching out for Kevin and Roy. And here’s why I think that… Remember, Roy moved into the house with virtually nothing. NOTHING. And not a lot of money. He gets a monthly paycheck from the government every month and that’s it. And because our government welfare system is so messed us, he HAS to spend all of his money every month – he is not allowed to save any of it. And if he gets a job, he can’t work over a certain number of hours or he will lose his benefits.

Tell me that’s not asinine.

But I digress.

So, he has enough money to pay rent and buy food. He doesn’t have a lot left over for any extras. And remember, he’s not allowed to save his money so you can see our challenge – he’s on his own, doesn’t have a lot of things he needs and doesn’t have the money, or the permission, to save for said need.

Kevin and Roy started garage sale hopping. And it would ASTOUND me becasue not only were they able to find everything on their list and the things that Roy needed, but that the items they found were not only dirt cheap, they were in good shape. I think that’s a pretty big testament to Kevin and Roy’s faith. What are the odds that they found exactly what they needed, and it was in great shape, for dirt cheap?


No. I have not gone with them when they hunt for their goodies. Garage sales have left a bitter, BITTER taste in my mouth. I have nothing against garage sales, per se, but I grew up on garage sale stuff and hand-me-downs. Now mom, don’t take offense, you did what you had to do to feed and clothe three children. And might I add, you did a DAMN good job of it. Though I knew the stuff I had was used, second hand, I never wanted for anything, not really.

But when I left my family home to make a life for myself, I was DETERMINED I was not going to live on other people’s hand-me-downs. I wanted my own stuff, call it a pride thing, I guess.

So it seems almost like I’ve come full circle now that Kevin has been bringing home things from garage sales. And though I’m not entirely thrilled that he’s doing this, I have to admit, I’m impressed. It takes a lot of patience to go to ten garage sales every weekend just to keep an eye out for specific things. And he must be doing something right because he’s bringing home some pretty good stuff.

For example, the ceiling fan in our bedroom and the spare bedroom (Brandon’s old room) are from garage sales. He bought the one in our bedroom for $3 bucks. THREE BUCKS. And it’s brand-spanking new. And I like it. And it looks nice. And Kevin says every time he looks at it, he gets a thrill because he remembers stumbling across it at the sale and immediately knew it was a good deal and where he wanted to put it. If we had bought that ceiling fan from someplace like Lowe’s, it would easily be $70 bucks.

But I am concerned. He is wracking up quite a few things and though he finds places for these things, and a lot of times we need these things, we’re getting to the point that he’s having to be creative on where he’s placing these things. He’s talking about opening up an eBay store and running it with Roy which I’m okay with, but the problem with Kevin is, he gets attached to things. I mean REALLY attached to things. He has trouble letting anything go.

Hence my concern.

Kevin says he feels like a rich man because of all of the deals he’s found these past months. And now, every time we go shopping, I hear, “there’s no way I’m paying that much for that item when I can find it for a quarter at a garage sale.”

(Sound familiar, mom?? HA!)

I’ve married the male version of my mother. HAHA!

Too Many Changes in Too Short of Time

I can honestly say, these past three months have been the most exhausting, frustrating, rewarding and fulfilling months in my life. Well, maybe not my life, but they certainly rank in the top five.

1. We moved offices.

It was a confusing, whirlwind mass of chaotic activity. We all knew we were going to move to our new office at the hospital, it was inevitable, but we were told it wouldn’t be until closer to Thanksgiving, so though we knew we were moving, we weren’t really PSYCHED to move. Suddenly, our new office was done and the CEO of the company didn’t see the need to delay the inevitable so we got the green light to move.

It wasn’t a slow, organized move, it was a crazy, throw everything in boxes and load up our cars move.

We moved on a Friday but we didn’t close up shop to move. It was business as usual and we packed our crap up in between patient phone calls. Each team was allotted about two hours to pack our crap, load it up and drop it off at the new office. Then, once the phones shut off at 4:30, we all went into frenzy mode and moved the rest of our stuff. We unloaded just the stuff we knew we would need for clinic on Monday and the rest stayed in boxes.

It was a crazy, disorganized but sort of fun time. And we survived our first clinic in our new place. My doctor was pretty patient, (what choice did he have?) and when we explained the situation to the patients, they were pretty understanding and patient, too. (Again, what choice did they have?)

I love this office. I truly do. It’s spacious and still has that NEW smell. We’re located on the 7th floor and we have a spectacular view of the city. We are the only specialty on our floor so we have the place to ourselves. I’m proud to work here. I know it’s impressive and people are impressed when they get to us.

We’ve had issues. We’ve had doors that wouldn’t open and doors that opened so fast that they were seriously a hazard to anyone within slapping distance. We have been unable to locate light switches and we still have problems with light-motion sensors that are too sensitive and often shut off leaving us in the dark and either having to wave our arms to bring the lights back on or we have to work in the dark until we physically get up to turn the damn things on again.

The toilets flush so loudly they are seriously damaging our eardrums and everyone has to hold their ears when they go off to protect ourselves. At least we won’t have to worry overly much about clogging them as I’m pretty sure they have so much suction they would suck a small child down the pipes if given the chance.

Our docs don’t have offices. Instead, we have collaboration spaces within each “pod.” We have five pods total. In fact, I’m using a collaboration space right now to write this. (More on that later). These collab spaces are intended to allow the physicians to sort of disappear whenever they need a break or want someplace private to eat their lunch. These collab spaces also double as meeting rooms or in my case, study spaces. Since the doctors are only in the clinic two times a week, they are in surgery the rest of the week, they didn’t see the need to have permanent spaces for temporary occupancy.

We’ve been in our space now for three months. Three months, in some ways, it feels a lot longer. We still don’t have enough stools to sit on in the exam rooms and supplies to supply 55 exam rooms. (Each pod has five exam rooms each – we also have one large procedure room in case the doctors need to treat wounds or more complicated issues). For several weeks, we didn’t have enough scales and we had to routinely share and move scales around in order to work our clinics.

Even though we are the only specialty on our floor, we still have room to grow. The front part of our floor is undeveloped and locked off. I have no idea what the hospital plans on doing with this undeveloped space and can only guess that it’s intended to add on more doctors, but we’ll see. So that’s exciting, knowing that at some point, there are likely more changes in our future.

If you can count on anything in business, it’s change.

Let me see if I can explain this set up for you …

When you get off the elevators, you can only go one way and that way is to a centralized podium. The person at the podium then “blues” you in on the schedule so that people like me will know you’re on the floor. The podium person will then direct you to the pod where your doctor is located. I work out of pod 5. Patients will then settle into our waiting room and wait for me to call them back to a room where I start their charts and get their vitals.

On Wednesdays, we share the waiting room with another doctor and last week it was so crowded it was literally standing room only. It’s so weird how the patient flow works out – we will be an hour ahead of schedule and suddenly, we have an influx of patients and we’re an hour behind.

I think this week, I’m going to ask my doctor if he would mind if we used the main waiting area – the area that people see when they first get off the elevators. It’s just too confusing for patients and awkward for me to try and keep track of everyone.

I’m all about efficiency. In fact, I’ve sort of developed a reputation for being “on top of it.” I probably over plan clinics but in my mind, a little preparation goes A LONG WAY towards a more organized clinic. In fact, I’m pretty sure my doctor has come to expect this preparation from me now so there is no way I would NOT plan my clinics, I wouldn’t want to disappoint him.

Which leads me to the second big work change ..

2. We finally switched over to the hospital charting software program in August.

The hospital has been “warning” us for years this change was going to happen so it’s not surprising that it happened once we moved onto the hospital campus.

We spent weeks staying after work transferring people over on to the new schedule program and into the new charting system. It was exhausting but it allowed us to make extra money and to familiarize ourselves with the new program so that ultimately, we taught ourselves how to get around it faster than if we hadn’t stayed to do data entry.

The first week we went live, we had software representatives available for questions. Which sounds awesome on the surface, but wasn’t really awesome in reality. Though they knew their way around the program, they were unfamiliar with our specialty and our specific needs. I can’t tell you the number of times I heard, “well, this is the way it’s supposed to work, but the feature is not working now.” After a time, they were just in the way and became super annoying to have around.

You could FEEL the tension emanating off our bodies that first week we went live. IT. WAS. FRUSTRATING. to say the least. And it’s still frustrating to this day. It’s hard to find anything, let alone quickly. Everything is filed into folders, each doc has a folder, I have a folder for all of the documents I put into the patient’s chart, every type of document has a folder, days have folders, it’s pretty insane, quite frankly.

And the programs, the charting program and the scheduling programs, are GLITCHY. Things will disappear, or we get error messages, or the program will just shut down. And our servers SUCK. They are SO SLOW. In fact, these programs are SO glitchy and slow that our ER finally put their foot down and refused to use it. They use something different.

It’s not unusual for me to completely shut down my computer, several times a day because it just locks up.


I think our docs had the most trouble with the program. They were definitely not set up the way our physicians wanted them to be set up and we’re constantly coming up with ways to get around restrictions. The hospital will likely figure out some of the workarounds we’re doing but that’s the only way our physicians can get their work done so I’m sure the hospital, at some point, will no choice but to make those changes. In the interim, we make do.

So. We moved on July 17th and went to a new software system one month later.

I was working 60 hour weeks for WEEKS during this process. I’m just NOW getting to a point where I’m now going home at 6:00 instead of 8:00. I haven’t seen my family in three months. Truly, I haven’t been home to have dinner with Kevin or the boys, during the week, in three months. I haven’t had time to stop. It’s been crazy.

Some of that crazy came from our phones.

3. We FINALLY went back to voicemails.

Some knucklehead had the bright idea that answering all of our calls live was the way to go. And for a while, it seemed to work. We answered live calls and did our best to help the patient with his/her questions/requests. But after a while, that’s ALL we did. Let me break it down for you.

Monday – I was in clinic. So I didn’t answer calls. I focused primarily on making sure the clinic ran smoothly.

Tuesday – I needed to schedule the Monday clinic patients for testing, but I didn’t have time to do that because I was in the pit answering live calls. So, I was taking calls for other doctor patients who had to tell their stories, from the beginning, to me because I was not familiar with their background. And then, being on a new system, it look three times as long to look anything up because we couldn’t find the damn information. AND/OR we had (still have to) access our old system – so in essence, we were working out of four systems, our old charting/scheduling programs and our new charting/scheduling programs. And when you answered live calls, you had to stop what you were doing before the call, to take the call, and when you hung up, you didn’t have time to start your own work because the damn phone would instantly ring.

Can you tell I LOATHE the phones??

Wednesday – I’m back in clinic. And I haven’t had a chance to touch my Monday clinic.

Thursday/Friday – I’m back on the damn phones. And again, I do not have a chance to get my clinic work done because I”m now forced to take care of patients for all of the docs. So the ONLY time I had a chance to clean up my week’s clinics AND prepare for my upcoming clinics, was after hours.

It was an insane process.

And to top it off, I started having chest pains. I don’t know if it was because I was under so much stress and working 60 hours weeks, or if it due to gas from starting to take Coconut supplements, or maybe a combination of both, but I ended up in the ER one night.

I was working clinic on a Wednesday and I just couldn’t breathe. I felt like I had to continuously take large breaths in order to function. I made several trips to the restroom just so I could pause, close my eyes and force my body to settle down. I took my blood pressure and it was way high. And my heart rate was over 100. I had chest pain but no arm/jaw pain so I really didn’t think I was having a heart attack but something was OFF.

Then that night, I just couldn’t sleep. My heart was racing double time and I was laying down!! I started hyperventilating and text Kevin (because he was at band practice) and he rushed home and took me to the ER. They hooked me up to an EKG machine and luckily, I wasn’t have a heart attack. They put me into a room and gave me liquid Ativan. Liquid GOLD, I say. That calmed me right down and my blood pressure went back down to normal. They didn’t give me an explanation for my crazy, but I’m pretty sure I had a panic attack. I think the pressure just got to me and I snapped.

I haven’t had an attack since then. I’ve adapted and learned to cope with this stress.

We had another person in the office break out into a rash because of the stress. When the director of our department found out about our physical manifestations to all of this stress, he put his foot down – it was time for changes.

We narrowed down that the phone situation just wasn’t working for us. So, we called our communications department in and they set it up so that each doctor has a voicemail now. Now, I can get to phones on MY time. And I’m already familiar with my doctor’s patients so that cuts down on response time. And I can return phone calls all at once so it’s way more efficient for everyone.

We’ve been back on voicemails for several weeks now and everyone is WAY more relaxed. We have time to BREATHE. We can all go to lunch together, if we want. We’re more in control of our processes and time. And that has left more time for me to pursue my next goal …

4. I’m studying for my CMA test

The CMA test is the Certified Medical Assistant test. The hospital has put together a pretty sweet incentive package for the medical assistants to become certified. It’s better for us, for the doctors and of course, for the hospital. So that has motivated all of us to study for the thing. A few of use have been staying late, or coming in on the weekend (like today – but I’m writing to you instead because I was feeling it today), to prepare for this. It costs $150 dollars to take the 3 hours test so I’m also motivated to take this pretty seriously because I don’t want to blow $150.

I’ve purchased study materials and I plan on purchasing a practice test so that I can focus my studies on the sections that will be on the test. I’ve only really been studying seriously for the past several weeks and I already feel like I’ve learned a lot. It’s stressful though – I feel like I’m cramming four years of medical school into about six weeks. I’m not going to tell you, or anyone I work with, the actual date I plan on taking this test, that way, if I fail, no harm, no foul. My goal is to just announce to everyone that I passed. If I told everyone my plans, took the test and then failed, I’m pretty sure I would be too mortified to show my face again. Everyone is wanting to go take it on the same day, but I simply can’t do that – I will be a bundle of nerves anyway, let alone taking the test with a bunch of people I work with.

The hospital is not only offering a bonus for becoming certified, but they’re also offering an hourly pay increase. And it’s a pretty sweet jump, let me tell ya.

So yes. I’m focusing my energies onto passing this thing now. I’ve been staying after work not only to finish my work, but on collaborating with my fellow co-workers on studying for the CMA.

I’m looking forward to the day when things get back to normal. Our entire worlds, and not just working worlds, but personal worlds, have been turned upside down these past several months.

But then I’ll have continuing education requirements after I pass the CMA in order to KEEP my CMA status.

It just never ends, does it.

Throw Back Thursday

Blake. On Kevin’s dirt bike. Back before Kevin had his motorcycle accident in April 2010.

I’m pretty sure this is the closest Blake will ever get to a motorcycle after watching his dad recover from a crushed pelvis.

Thank God.

Whose Fault Is It? Yours, Most Likely. Own It.


It’s amazing how things have changed over the years, especially in the realm of education.

Once upon a time, there was this magical concept called personal responsibility and students were expected to do their homework, study, work hard, and get good grades.

When a student doesn’t do their job or work hard to get good grades it’s the teacher’s fault, not the kid’s incredibly flabby work ethic.

This lack of personal responsibility is why we have a future generation of self-entitled knuckleheads making a career out of being on welfare.

This applies to adults, too.

The Power of Dance

I told you I wanted to be a dancer, didn’t I?

No? Well, now you know. But I didn’t have the flexibility for it and … oh fine, I never went down that road because dancing is HARD.

Whenever I’m feeling … off, or need to relax or simply escape, I will crawl into bed, put my earbuds on, open my Pandora app on my phone and fantasize that I’m a great dancer who spontaneously breaks into dance at work, or I’m a professional dancer on stage, or I’m simply out and about in daily life and no one ever finds that weird or disturbing and I MOVE people with the my interpretive dance.

I think that’s why I love, love, LOVE this video.

Did anyone else get goosebumps watching this?