A day in the life

"What you plan and what takes place ain't never been but similar." -- Jayne Cobb

The plan for a normal Monday was simple enough. Monday is Jimmy's turn to get up at 6:20 a.m. with Boy and supervise his morning routine to get him out the door by 7:15. Then I would nap a little more, getting up in time for me to start my shift at 9:30 as usual. (Of course, my commute is generally a lot shorter than his.)

He leaves for work at 1 p.m., so we usually get to grab lunch together. I finish up about 5:30 or 6 p.m. on a normal day, Boy is home by then, we have dinner and Scouts. Added this Monday was an orchestra fundraiser we might or might not attend at 6 p.m.

Work has been kicking my ass lately, with seven electoral races on my dance card. The election preview stories are the biggest issue, with in-depth interviews and issues questionnaires from each candidate. Chasing politicians is my new mission in life. I had a pretty heavy Monday slated: writing up two more previews from interviews I caught by phone over the weekend, thanks to more than one candidate being totally unreachable all week. Plus an upcoming race preview that needs attention, and wrangling the Worst Spreadsheet in the World for my only non-election work of the month.

Are you still awake? Hey, my job is important, pal.

Here's how today actually went:

6:20a - Alarm goes off. Jimmy stumbles out of bed and wakes Boy. I drift back to sleep.

7:15a - Boy leaves for the bus. Jimmy is about to collapse when I ask if Boy has a lunch. Jimmy runs after Boy to get him to come back for a lunch. This is a biweekly occurrence.

8:30a - Phone rings for me - it's the boss. Seems a senator and Congressional candidate will be speaking in an hour at the local university. I begin rescheduling my day in my head while I change into grownup clothes.

8:50a - Phone rings for me - it's the school nurse. Seems Boy got a little overenthusiastic in gym and fell on the soccer field, landing wrong on his right wrist. It's pretty badly swollen already and she thinks it needs to be seen.

Commence the phone calls. First: Pediatrician. They don't have radiology in the clinic, so she says he needs to go to Cardinal Glennon or Childrens Hospital ER, where they have pediatric ortho departments and can get him a cast immediately if it's necessary.

Next: the orthopedics department at Childrens Hospital, which we have used before... the last time Boy fell wrong on his wrist. I gotta teach that boy to fall gracefully. Ortho says they'd want him to come through the ER anyway, they won't take him directly.

Next: Insurance of the Damned, asking what our coverage is for an emergency room visit. It's... discouraging. First we must meet a $600 deductible. Then a $150 copay. Then the remainder of the bill is covered at 70 percent. Ow. For this I pay actual dollars in a monthly premium.

Next: Boy's father, to inform him and ask if his insurance (which also covers Boy) is better. He doesn't know for sure, and refers me to his wife.

Next: Boy's stepmother, who also isn't sure, so she directs me to Other Insurance's phone number. Keep in mind during all of this I'm getting dressed, packing my bag with laptops and camera and notebooks while waking up Jimmy to kick him into the shower.

Next: Other Insurance, which says since I'm not the insured or the patient, they can't talk to me. They  tell me that neither Cardinal Glennon nor Childrens is in-network on their plan.

Next: Boy's stepmother, asking her to call Other Insurance and get the rest of the info. She does, and leaves me a voicemail telling me they cover it at 80 percent and Anderson Hospital (which is closer by far) is in-network by both.

Next: The Boss, to inform him of the circus that is my life. He kindly offers me the option of skipping the press conference, but I'm already there, so I might as well go ahead.

9:30a - Press conference with the Senator and the Candidate, the latter being an emergency-room doctor in his non-electoral life. The irony does not escape me. I resist the urge to ask him for a consult.

10:15a - Seated in the student lounge writing 20 inches on early voting and the candidates, with a phone call to Jimmy to instruct him to retrieve Boy from school, though we still don't know where we're taking him.

10:45a - Story is finished, then I'm dashing back home. Time for another phone call, this time back to the pediatrician to find out if I absolutely have to take him to Cardinal Glennon or Childrens, seeing as how it's going to bankrupt us. The assistant checks with the doctor herself, and says we can go to Anderson, as they have a Cardinal Glennon pediatric station in the ER.

11:00a - At home, where Boy is miserable and Jimmy is fretting. I collect my crew and sufficient materials to work out of my bag all day.

11:30a - Arrive at the ER and get Boy checked in. Jimmy explores the bilge water free coffee in the waiting room while I attempt to check my email. Thank Zod for smart phones. One of my candidates sent in the ubiquitous mug shot, which I forwarded on to my colleagues.

For the next two hours, I'm fielding emails and checking in with the office while Boy watches Tom and Jerry cartoons in the ER treatment room. Calling the county clerk's office to fact-check an item mentioned by this morning's candidates. Jimmy eventually has to leave for work, so I wait until they take Boy to X-ray to bop down to the cafeteria for a sandwich.

1:15p - Back on the phone, chasing a congressman's staff over a questionnaire we're supposed to run tomorrow that hasn't arrived yet. The doctor comes in while I'm on the phone with them, of course. Who should I be rude to: the congressman's staffer, or the ER doctor treating my son? Hmmm...

1:30p - Good news! Boy is not broken, merely sprained. There's some paperwork to sign and a nifty new wrist brace to add to our collection. Have I mentioned he seems accident-prone?

1:45p - Released! On the phone while driving Boy back to school. He complains because he doesn't want to go back, but I tell him he needs to collect worksheets and homework assignments from the classes he missed.

More phone calls! Calling Boy's father and stepmother at their respective workplaces and calling Jimmy at the factory to inform them of his status. Thank Zod for talking while driving. I know, I know, it's supposed to be the great evil of this society, but try living my life without it.

2:00p - Delivering Boy back to school. I personally give the doctor's note to the nurse, who will inform the gym teacher that Boy is on the injured list for 10 days. I then escort my felonious spawn to his homeroom, not that I don't trust him, but I don't. I talk to the substitute teacher, who says she will help him get his assignments in the last hour. I also drop by the orchestra room to pick up Boy's violin and let the director know he will not be able to play tonight.

2:15p - Back in the car, back on the phone. Updating office on my cantankerous congressmen, confirm my fact-checking.

2:30p - The office du jour: Coldstone Creamery. Dark chocolate ice cream with pecans, caramel and coconut, with internet provided by the cafe across the street. Because I damn well need some ice cream. Back on the computer, trying one last time to get the damn spreadsheet to work. A few hours almost uninterrupted, while still harassing campaigns via email and attempting to write.

5:00p - Return home, where Boy is happily ensconced in front of the television and pretends he has done his homework. Since one can technically take out the garbage one-handed, he is ordered to chores while I remove a layer of refuse from the car. My goal is to have a clean car before our next road trip, forethee I swear.

5:45p - After a quick email to the Scouts explaining why he will be absent from tonight's service project and this weekend's climbing badge, we're off to the orchestra fundraiser.

6:00p - Arrival at Our Town's new kidspot, an arcade with bowling alley, lasertag, frozen yogurt and various other attractions that makes it a smaller, less-grimy Dave & Buster's. I wondered how they could possibly have a 50-kid orchestra play here, and while I didn't hear more than five notes of their demonstration performance, I can definitely call it a success. Boy made good use of my four bucks. It's all for the kids.

7:15p - Haul Boy out of the arcade by the scruff of the next, applauding the awesome high school orchestra on our way. But there is still more to the day...

7:30p - Grocery shopping. Because that's fun. But time and Aldi's wait for no woman, and without restocking the family starves. Or more specifically, ends up at fast food, which is how we way overspent over the weekend.

8:15p - Home, and time to unload the groceries with the Boy's help. Also to take out the trash to the curb, put on a load of laundry and warm up last night's leftovers so we have something to gnaw on. Turn on the Cardinal game and cry out in anguish.

8:45p - Boy hops into the shower and I clip coupons while watching the Cardinals self-destruct. Not that I really want to clip coupons, but I can't throw away the remainders of the Sunday paper without it. Boy comes out of the shower and gnaws on some crockpot chicken.

9:40p - We can't take the Cardinal game anymore, and put on a Netflix episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation - part of the Boy's ongoing science fiction education.

10:30p - We turn off Trek to watch the last few minutes of the Cardinal game. I insist if we had watched the game, they would have won. Boy goes to bed, mourning. I make the mistake of checking my email and find info that should go into today's paper, so I quickly forward it and call into the newsroom.

11:00p - So, this is when I write? Uh, not tonight. The brain, she is dead. Therefore, I shall catch up with The Walking Dead and crash. After all, tomorrow it's my turn to wake up with the boy at 6:20...

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