It Feels Like a Countdown


My kids are good kids. They’re not spectacularly well behaved and they aren’t straight A students. They are smart and funny and I enjoy smart and funny people. They aren’t completely altruistic though they have moments of stupefying goodness where my eyes well with tears and I know I’ve done my job well. They’re just sort of good kids, the kind of people you want to spend time with.

I got a new dance game for the Kinect the other day (I’d thank whomever sent it to me if I knew who it was) and Jane and I danced and laughed and found out that my reflexes are a lot slower than I’d ever imagined. Alexander sat behind us on the sofa with his cell phone instagramming and Kik’ing his life away and every so often he’d glance up and scream about us scarring him.

Note to self: be sure to dance in front of his friends if he ever needs a major punishment.

We’re only a few days past Jane’s 14th birthday and I can’t help but feel like there’s a countdown in this house. We are refinancing the house at 3% which is a rate I never thought I’d see in my lifetime but we’re doing a 10 year fixed because in 10 years it will be just Mr. G and me and there’s no reason to be in a house with all these bedrooms if there are no people around to fill them. Jane is applying to high schools now which means that we only have four years left until she applies to college and that child will leave me.

She wants to go to NYU. She loves New York and she loves downtown (I love it best too so I understand) and I always say that when Jane learned to walk she learned to walk away from me. She has forever been wildly independent and it’s one of the many things I love about her. Her independence has me feeling both successful and sad.

When we met with the headmaster at one of the high schools we talked about the commute. “It’ll be rough the first year or I’ll pay for a bus,” I explained to him, “But by November of her Sophomore year Jane will be driving and it’s officially not my problem.”

He asked me if I was worried about her driving and I sort of shrugged and said something to the effect of she’s a good kid, she’ll be a fine driver. And then headmaster (who has been in his position for more than 30 years) said that I was the first mother who had ever spoken that way.

I don’t mind being different but when thousands of families all have a deep worry that I simply don’t have I start to second guess myself. If she’s not ready to drive at 16 I won’t toss her the keys but why would I tell my 14 year old that I’m scared of her driving in two years? How does that set her up for success?

We’re counting down for everything. She’ll be driving and then she’ll leave me. And every so often when she reminds me that she’ll be going to Tisch (and she’s a persuasive child) I just look at her and ask her, “Why don’t you love me? If you loved me you’d go to USC.”

That’s normal, right?

What Should Celebrity Kids Do?


Can Jason Combs ever win in our eyes?

Calling Dr. Freud



I can’t get my fax machine to work and everyone with a chronic condition knows that you must have a fax machine because physicians can’t email anything because of HIPPA. I think HIPPA was written to benefit psychiatrists because I’ll be needing one by the end of the day.

Alexander has a pre-op appointment today. We’re going ahead with surgery #4 for strabismus. I’d hoped that we’d be able to do it in December of 2012 but for a variety of reasons it really needs to happen now. None of the reasons are particularly interesting.

So once again I’m at UCLA hat in hand and begging for a cancellation appointment for my son.

In order to be put on the schedule Alexander must first have a pre operative physical exam from his pediatrician. This is mostly for the anesthesiologists.

I’ve known for the past few weeks that Alexander needed another surgery but it took me until Friday to act on it. I called the office at UCLA and requested Alexander be put on the cancellation list. The folks at UCLA told me they’d fax forms over and I explained that the fax machine was not on and that I wouldn’t be home Friday to turn it on so we agreed on a Monday fax.

This morning they sent the documents over via fax and I didn’t have it set up quite right. I adjusted the settings, called the office and asked them to resend it. They resent the forms and the first four pages are great, the next twelve are blank. My all in one was out of ink. Of course.

So I call to have them try for a third time but no one is answering the phones at just 11.30. I’m pretty sure they take lunch at noon so the lines must be jammed. I ask the service to please fax them a note and ask them to fax me and the doctor’s office directly. They don’t like sending faxes directly to the pediatricians because they get lost she explains and I try to not scream or cry.

I’m picking my son up from school early today to bring him to a doctor’s appointment, he doesn’t know why he’s having it. I didn’t want to ruin his weekend but I did ask him on Friday how he felt about his eyes. I asked him if he wanted to fix them because it’s a close call as to whether or not they need fixing. Medically it’s undeniable but if he wants to learn to live with it I’d be open to that, or at least I think I would be.

I’m back in the world of medical nonsense where gifted surgeons are surrounded by blithering idiots led by a team of lawyers who won’t allow them to simply email me a blank document because someone told them that someone might sue.

All because I ran out of ink.

UCLA Lecture: Social Marketing


Last night I had the honor of speaking to a class at UCLA about how to bring marketing to their online communities.

A special thanks to Beverly Macy for inviting me, and to everyone in attendance. Some related links can be found on Delicious.

A Little More Strabismus


This morning we were at UCLA before our 8am appointment. I know from past experience that two families will have 8am appointments, but one family will sign in first, and they will be first.

Alexander had an eye exam, no dilation, but an exam nonetheless. I thought that today they would schedule a surgery, unfortunately even after two sets of surgery, nine years of wearing glasses and diligent patching Alexander’s eyes aren’t in perfect alignment.

I thought his right eye turned out a little, but it’s actually his left eye coming up. My son cocks his head to the side when he’s concentrating. I thought it was adorable, but now that I see that it’s compensation for eyes that aren’t quite straight I find it crushing.

The doctor changed the prescription on his contact lens and we’ll see if that corrects the issue in the next three months. At the end of the quarter we’ll have another exam and evaluate the progress, the prognosis and make a decision about surgery. It’s a small surgery, only two, maybe three muscles, possibly only one eye.

Unless it’s your eye, then it’s a big surgery. Oh, or if it’s your child. That’s a big surgery too.

Alexander is old enough, and perceptive enough that he’s in on the discussions. He understands that we’re fighting to get him depth of vision, and he really loves sports, he wants to be able to see everything. It’s nice that he’s so mature, and that he can talk about what he needs and wants. We are somewhere beyond privileged that we live in Los Angeles and have the best physicians practicing here. We are just plain lucky that insurance handles everything.

But I still don’t feel lucky, happy or privileged today. Today I feel like vomiting. Tomorrow will be different.