February 27, 2014

Cabin fever and a grammar hammer

Well, this winter seems never-ending and cabin fever is bringing out the worst in me. I just read a list of the most 'contented' states - states where life expectancy is longer, that have a very low percentage of obese people, and have higher yearly incomes. Most of them were damned cold; Minnesota and both Dakotas. I'm thinking people live longer because their organs are frozen for about a third of the year, and so, are better preserved.

But, that's neither here nor there. Cabin fever is making my worst nit-picky side come out. Everything annoys way too easily. So I've decided to have a pet peeve a week and kind of spread out the irritation until spring blooms and I can get into the open air and take a walk. (To those of you who will point out that I actually can take a walk in the cold - I don't want to.)

This week's peeve is grammar. My mother was a funny lady and pretty lenient about most things, but when it came to table manners and grammar she was a real stickler and I like to think I'm carrying her torch, so to speak. Yes, I know that English is a fluid, ever-changing language. But I believe it's important to master the basics before creating something new.  

There are a few things I've given up on. "Hopefully" when you mean "I hope" for example. Though strictly incorrect, the meaning is clear. My mother held hopefully this was used by politicians in the hope that no one would actually associate them personally with what they were hoping. Probably a good assumption.

And the other day I heard a newscaster say "impactful." What can you say to that? I just shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. And using "are done" when you really mean "have finished" just makes me sad, but I feel it's here to stay.

However, the misuse of the pronouns "me" and "I" still has me yelling at the television and muttering under my breath when I can't really, politely, correct someone out loud.

Growing up, one of the big errors that seemed to abound was the misuse of the word 'me'. "Johnny and me are going to the park." My mother would say "Hmm?" and wait for a correction to "Johnny and I." Then she'd give the okay nod.  

Somehow the pendulum seems to have swung so far that much of the English speaking world is afraid to use 'me'. So now I hear from teachers, friends, TV reporters, and characters on the screen, say, "Would you like to go to the park with Johnny and I?" or "They were having lunch with Mom and I?" It's the object of a preposition for crying out loud. What you really want to to say is, "With me." It's making me nuts and, as my husband will attest, I'm already walking a fine line on that front.

So please, for the sake of my sanity, let's nip this insidious practice in mid-bloom and go back to the good old days when spring was in the air and we loved to say, "I ain't gonna say ain't 'cause ain't ain't in the dictionary."

February 7, 2014

Insurance Debacle Update

So many people have been kind enough to ask how we are getting along with the whole insurance debacle that I feel I should publish a little update.

This week we ended up getting Eileen private pay insurance. This will give us some breathing room to see if we can work through the system or not.

After a week spent on the phone and in the Affordable Care Office set up in the Prince George's County Social Services office, my feeling is that we will not be able to unless we go to Annapolis and sit on Anthony Brown's desk and make him notice us.

Unbelievably, even the poor saps who work in that office have no more access to the powers that be than you or I. After spending almost two hours waiting last Wednesday we finally met with a really nice guy named Ronald. He understood our problem, could not fix it there, and spent an hour to get through to customer service, only to be cut off once he connected. And he wasn't even able get the same person back on the line! It's enough to scream.

Some have asked if this has caused me to change my political affiliation - it has not. I figure you don't disown your children because of mistakes, even disastrous ones. You just end up being bitterly disappointed and you don't vote for them for Governor.

On a cheerier note - MDHMH sent a correction letter. They realized that Eileen is the Ward and that I am the Guardian. Will wonders never cease?

PS: A dear friend has given me a 'special number' that she called and got immediate help. This may work for us, but because of other circumstances to do with Medicaid, we haven't used this magic bullet. I'm saving it though, just in case.