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file under: are you fucking kidding me? Jun. 12th, 2008 @ 10:36 pm
June 12, 2008

Steven Hansen, DVM
Senior Vice President

Harold Trammel
Vice President, Knowledge Management

Animal Poison Control Center
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
1717 South Philo Road
Suite 36
Urbana, IL 61802

Dear Sirs:

I have just gotten off the phone with your emergency animal poison control center. I am utterly incensed. I am appalled at the level of service provided. Most significantly, I am grateful that my situation wasn’t actually a dire emergency.

In the unfortunate event that you come home to find your dog has chewed up ant bait, the thing you’d want most is immediate access to a helpful, reassuring, and reliable source. In a frantic and scared state, you would want to have your call picked up within a reasonable amount of time. You would want to speak to a qualified, intelligent human—if not a veterinarian. You would certainly want to know as soon as possible how to help your ailing dog.

Both my local vet’s office and the local animal hospital advised your call center over speaking to a vet. So it’s unfortunate—and almost unfathomable—that the only national call center of this kind has the worst customer service in the history of help lines.

What you get, instead, by calling your control center is a 10-minute wait on a static-filled phoneline, while you listen to disco-themed hold music. When an operator finally picks up the phone, you will have to answer a battery of personal questions read from a script before you can explain your emergency. If you don’t know the name of the poison your dog has chewed (possibly because the dog has chewed it), you cannot be advised in any way as to the symptoms to watch for—or any possible side effects of poison. But you can speak to a vet—provided you have an easily-accessible credit card and $60 to spare.

If you hang up and scramble around looking for the box that the poison came in—or go to the store to find out what it was—you have the opportunity to go through the call center experience again. And it doesn’t matter if you have the EPA code, the active poison, and the serial number of the product; you’re not getting any help without that credit card and a charge of $60.

If your mission is the prevention of cruelty to animals, your poison control center is failing abominably. With a budget of over $4 million a year, I would hope that the center could do a little better. I almost regret having donated to the ASPCA.

etc etc.

apple, tree May. 22nd, 2008 @ 05:34 pm

A sunny day in Annapolis
Originally uploaded by Supergenius.
From Jasper this morning:

Mommy! I had a Star Wars dream last night. I dreamt that I was R2D2. I was on the millennium falcon but it was a bigger millennium falcon. All the robots came on the ship but I knew that the robots were being controlled from the planet. Then Han Solo and everyone went down to the planet but I stayed on the ship. There were 3 R2D2s: an all yellow one, a red one and a blue one – those had the ‘regular’ colors. I was the blue one.

IMPENETRABLE BLOCK OF TORTURE May. 6th, 2008 @ 04:45 pm

I can't crack this thing open to save my life. Or my chocolate craving.

It's Peony Season May. 5th, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

Buy some for yourself. Or someone (me) that you love.

Whiteboard for 5.1.08 May. 1st, 2008 @ 03:18 pm
Other entries
» I miss my favorite biscuit bean.

Now he looks like mommy.
Originally uploaded by Supergenius.
Jasper's off from school this week and is spending it at Camp Gamma. He's been treated to light-up sneakers, repeated movie viewings, and probably more treats than I even want to know about.

He had a chat with the landscaper doing work at my parents' house.

Landscaper: And who's this lady (my mother)?
Jasper: That's my Gamma.
Landscaper: Are you sure she's not your girlfriend?
Jasper: [looks at him] I'm a kid.

They went on to chat about other things, Jasper being as straightforward and honest as ever:

On football: "I haven't learned that yet."

On baseball: "I'm working on it."

We always blow each other kisses when we say good night, or when I'm saying goodbye at school. I told my mom the other night to tell Jasper I'd blown him a big kiss and to be on the lookout for it. The next day, on the phone, he exclaimed joyously "Mommy! I caught your kiss!" Then we went on to blow and catch several more kisses from each other.

Ranks in the top ten list of best possible things that have ever happened in my life. Easily.

» Child displays logical thought processes
Papa Steve explained to Jasper the meaning of the word "instinct."

Ok, says Jasper, so what's "outstinct?"
» Happy Keys

Wednesday's solution to the mean reds. </pout>
» That's not true, Jasper. That's impossible.
So this kid in Jasper's class - Anselm - told Jasper that Darth Vader is Luke's father. Then his buddy Jakob confirmed that this information was true and added that he was burned on a volcano but came up wearing a black suit. So I have no plausible deniability.

So much for holding out until age 5, when he might be old enough to handle the like darkness of Empire Strikes Back. Jasper seemed to accept it, too. Like such information is not a big deal.

Way to go, kids. Why don't you let Jasper in on the nonexistence of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

And how can he be ok with that information. I don't even think I'm ok with that information!
» Can't sit still

Originally uploaded by Supergenius.
Yesterday, the note home to me explained that Jasper skipped Circle Time because he "couldn't keep his body still."

Zina and I had a team meeting with Jasper yesterday. He says he hates Circle Time. I kind of don't blame him. It's a learning environment, rather than one where he can play with blocks or run around with friends on the gym equipment. But next year is kindergarten, so he's going to have to get used to learning. Of course, now he doesn't want to go.

I have a meeting with Jasper's head teacher today. I want to get clarification on his behavior so that (in addition to trying to fix it) I can speak to his doctor. My theories so far (in order of most evidence to least) are:

THEORY 1: He is frustrated with being unable to read and write. Many of the kids are older and (at least the girls) are more advanced in reading and writing. Jasper contends that he CANNOT read or write and gets bothered when we try to work with him. On the other hand, he was able to read the label of a toy the other day in the store (with help from me) as "WATER FUN." He believes people either know or don't know how to do things.

"I've always known my ABCs!"

"No, Jasper. Daddy and I taught them to you. You learned them."

"No. I've always known them."

THEORY 2: He's bored with Circle Time. He's a smart kid and I wouldn't be surprised if boredom has something to do with his disinterest in Circle Time.

THEORY 3: He's spending too much time with some friends who are a bad influence. One, in particular, is not well behaved. Is not well spoken. Toddler-swears a lot (That's STUPID. What the heck is that? You're dumb. POOPY!). And Jasper spends all day every day with him. 8 am to 5:30. And he's in summer camp with him, too. I'm trying to find calmer, more polite children for him to play with. I wish Parker lived closer... I love Parker.

THEORY 4: ADHD. I'm sorry, but I'm thinking it. Theory 4 doesn't hold much water because Jasper is perfectly capable of good behavior when he wants to do it. He spends plenty of time doing quiet, calm activities. He plays well with others.

THEORY 5 is, of course, he could also just be a normal 4 year old.

Fucking Circle Time. Now I hate it, too.

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