29 November 2010

Mondays Were Invented By The Romans As A Particularly Effective Form Of Torture...

WARNING: Eating or drinking may be hazardous to your health from now until you reach the end of this post. You have been warned. [Also, if you are in a public place, be aware that your jaw dropping may attract flies... or odd looks from those nearby ~ This added because I thought Midlife Army Wife's comment, hilarious]

Today is Monday.

For me, it started off with a really bad headache and went downhill from there. An hour after dropping off the kids at school, I got a call to go back and pick up our youngest daughter, who was suddenly not feeling so good. So being half of the parental equation of the chaos that is our family, I texted my husband just to give him a head's up.

For my husband, today started off with what sounded like a suck-fest. In actualityThis Monday Morning was special. This was the morning his brain decided to stay at home, in bed, and go back to sleep, while the rest of him went off to work.
Me: I had to skip my doctor's appointment and go back to pick up Erin from the Middle School nurse's office. She says her stomach is queasy and she feels a little dizzy, so I'm running her over to the doctor's office. Will let you know what happens.

Husband: Nice. It's just that kind of day around here too.
[Later...]
Me: Erin's ok. We're heading home. The billing office at the pediatricians says that CHAMPVA has still not payed our bill. We owe $312.87. Could you try to take care of this medical bill issue... again?

Husband: Great. It's just that kind of day. Ok. I'll try after lunch. I need to get out of here. I love Mondays.

Me: Mondays were invented by the Romans as a particularly effective form of torture.

Husband: I hate Romans. I hate everyone today.

Me: My headache is making me hate the universe at large at the moment... unfortunately, it hates me right back. [by now my headache is pounding out a particularly energetic tattoo that feels something like a cross between a reggae, mamba and a polka combination]
[Later...]
Husband: I now get to miss lunch so I can meet a contractor who will pretend to fix a problem that his company's sh*tty work caused.
Me: Well, sh*t. You win. Your day IS worse than mine. I really wish that made me feel better...
[Fast forward to my husband arriving at home.]

The husband hands me an envelope and tells me to read it. At first glance, I notice the envelope is open and has a yellow sticky note on the top right corner of it, telling him to go see his boss about this. The letter is addressed to his Squadron's Chief Master Sergeant and it's from the Tricare Dental [insurance] Program Office in Harrisburg, PA.

Now, let me give you a little background information here [in case you are a civilian] just so you can appreciate the full scope of what has happened this bright Monday Morning. First off, my husband had a rather large filling that fell out while he was temporarily stationed at Nellis AFB in Nevada. The base dental clinic was really great about getting him in right away to get it fixed. [Tricare is active duty medical/dental care insurance] Second, a Chief Master Sergeant is the highest enlisted rank there is in the Air Force, with the exception of the top Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. [An E-9 for those in other branches of the military who can relate to the equivalent rank] In other words, if a Chief says to see him about something?   You'd better know what is going on and be able to explain anything he cares to ask you about it.

Now back to this envelope. Inside were three sheets of paper. The first page was a dental claim form from the Nellis AFB Dental Clinic listing all the pertinent data that tends to get recorded on just about any medical billing office form [civilian or military] such as Name, Address, Telephone Number, your Girdle Size, etc. BUT, this one had three numbers brightly highlighted with a highlighter pen towards the bottom right-hand side which immediately drew my eyes, after having seen my husband's name at the top. Two numbers highlighted were the cost of services rendered. The last one being a very large total bill amount. The second page was a letter all government offices seem to love to send when rejecting any claim... Instructions on how to fill out the specified claim formThe THIRD page was from the Tricare Office of Claims and Eligibility in Falls Church, VA to the attention of my husband.
The letter read as follows:
This letter is to inform you that claim number 06418456 has been.
[ ] Approved
[X] Rejected
Reason Code: 06
Reason Code Explanation: The applicant was not on title 32 Status at the time of the claim. [In other words, he did not have military orders activating him to active duty status for the time the service was supposed to have taken place.]
Due to the serious nature of the fraudulent claim, we will require the full balance in the amount of $737.00 be paid within 30 days in order to avoid any further action under Page 1132 Paragraph 118-A3 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.
Payment Due Date: 12/17/2010
Please Remit Cash Payment to:
Tricare Office of Rejection and Claims
[Street address]
[Local City and State]
Privacy Act Notification [paragraph etc]

I have to admit that I didn't pay attention to the envelope at first, except to notice the yellow sticky note and the Chief's name. My jaw dropped when, after glancing at the first page, having my eyes immediately drawn to the very bright highlighted charges at the bottom. A glance at the title of the second page about filling out the form had me skipping the rest of the print on that page and turning immediately to the third page as transcribed above. Warning bells were starting to very quietly ring in the back of my mind but the seriousness of it over-road any inklings at this point. So I looked at my husband and was about to ask him what the Chief had said to him when...
Husband: Go back and look at the sender's address on the envelope. [the light is dawning on me right about now]

Husband: Now look at the address on the letter. [envelope says from PA and the other says from VA]

Me: It's a prank.

Husband: Yeah. It's a prank. [I'm trying to keep from laughing]

Me: So who got you?

Husband: Tony [not posting his name to protect the not so innocent, but still, I think I'll spend some time tomorrow making his favorite sweet... which I know happens to be Rice Krispie Treats... How do I know this? When you are sending care packages to deployed members of your husband's squadron, you tend to remember these things.]

Me: So I take it you were pretty mad this morning.

Husband: I spent TWO HOURS on the phone trying to clear this up. [I'm really trying to keep a straight face.]

Me: So how do you feel now? [I get THE LOOK]

Husband: Not so much now.

Me: I have often told you that I am amazed that no one at work has fragged killed you before now. He even got you with a variation of one of your own pranks. [I can't help smiling. I'm now thinking that TWO batches of Treats might be in order]
I can't help but think that as often as my husband has played pranks on everyone else in the shop at one time or another but Tony has finally re-payed him in kind... spectacularly might I add.  Talk about shades of chickens coming home to roost.  I guess he'll need to go buy some bird feed for all of them chickens at work.  I know I should commiserate with him. And I will. As soon as I can stop laughing. The irony just kills me.
TO TONY - Now in my husband's defense, I DO have to admit that, in my experience, for the past, oh... thirty-five years or so, that he is not only extremely intelligent, but more importantly... he is pretty damn clever!  I have to admit that I think this normally would not have happened quite to the extent it did.  He has been working every spare (and some not so spare) minutes working in the basement trying to finish building our daughter's new bedroom and he has been in a tremendous amount of pain (while doing said project despite my objections) as mentioned in previous posts.  [he had two more chiropractor appointments for this this week and since I know he actually has to be at death's door to take time off from work to go to see a doctor and the fact that he hasn't been sleeping at night too well, I know his pain has to be pretty severe] So although I think that when playing pranks one should always expect the same in return, I also looked a little closer at the evidence provided and noticed a bunch of things that normally would have sent flaming red flags and given your prank away.  (although, I admit, I doubt that 'I' would have caught on so soon)
- On the envelope... the real postage stamp 'marked' with a red 'pen' instead of a real post office stamp, although I give you points for placing the sticky note over that part of the envelope.  The envelope had also never been sealed closed.  Tony, he does not have immediate access to DNA testing, so next time, go ahead and 'lick' the envelope closed.  Oh and also spell a city name with a capital letter... just sayin'...  :)
- The sticky note... So the boss didn't mind helping you out with his handwriting the note... (He certainly deserves to be congratulated because I KNOW what my husband did to HIM on his computer... again... I'm still amazed my husband hasn't been killed before now)
- The Dental Form... Sponsor's Social Security Number was within ONE number of being my husband's own cell phone number?  Now THAT amazed me until I realized how much sleep he has NOT been getting.  And the dentist's name? John Fohloff DMD? (Fall Off?) When I mentioned this to my husband, he told me he thought I was getting a little too much enjoyment from this.  I was afraid I might have to sleep on the couch... Luckily for me, our daughter's room was not yet done and so the couch was already occupied.  The description of services... Amalgum Prioxophil Metallide and Novacin Canitis?  There is no such thing as either one of these and my husband KNOWS that '-itis' on the end of anything generally means an infection... so a Novacaine (you might want to consult a dictionary on that one) Canitis would be something like administering a drug that gives an infection?  LOVE the signature, though!  It is universally known that most doctors and dentists never seem to have a readable signature.
- The second page.  Brilliant!  Something anyone with any experience with any government, military or VA related office would expect.  (ah. um. I guess I should not be so admiring of your wit in this... I still would like to be married to my husband for at least another twenty-five years... so... let's downgrade that 'brilliant' to... say... 'Interesting?')
- The third page.  Ummmm.  Well...  YOU would know that you all have NOT yet received your 'hardcopy' orders even though you are all actually back from the TDY.  (Something I had NEVER in my life, seen or experienced before!  Things must have changed a heck of a lot since I was on active duty.  It use to be... No hardcopy orders... no wheels-up (plane ride).)  Still, the fact that you did NOT state which ARTICLE of the UCMJ would also have normally been flagged my husband [He would have looked up something that was relevant... he's tends to make sure the 'details' are believable.]  (BTW, I am sure you did NOT Google the page and paragraph, but I did.  The JAG office would have LOVED that one!)  But the 'la pièce de résistance'?  Was your personal address for remitting the 'cash' to.  All in all.  Well done! 
PS  Unfortunately, you will probably have to be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life... because you might want to reread what I said above about the 'intelligent' and 'clever' part of this post.  Basically, you are TOAST.  It might take him a while to come up with the TOASTER... but even the sun rising in the east isn't as sure as PAYBACKYou will notice that 'I' NEVER risk playing a prank on him.  Growing up, he had SIX brothers and sisters who ALL inherited that gene.  Remind me to sit down with you and describe some of his SIBLINGS escapades... He IS the PRANK MASTER... Like I said.  You are SOOOOOO TOAST... and since 'I' don't want to spend any time in the 'toaster'... as much as I want to, I think it is more prudent for me to hold off on those Rice Krispie Treats until your next visit to the sandbox...

6 Intelligent Comments:

meleah rebeccah said...

why do Mondays always have to hurt so bad?!

Lemon Stand said...

I think if we canceled Monday from the Calendar due to non-support, then Tuesday would become the dreaded day.

Midlife Army Wife said...

That was hilarious! Probably only because it didn't happen to me because anything involving money like that would have sent me into a panic! As it was, I'm sitting here in Starbucks reading through your post and when I saw the "not on active duty" and the "you owe $700+" my mouth dropped open and I literally sat here with my mouth wide open until I realized the guy next to me was staring at me probably wondering what national disaster I was reading about. Then I closed my mouth :)

Can't wait to hear what the TOASTER involves!

Lemon Stand said...

Midlife Army Wife - When I asked him to check on the OTHER medical bill (courtesy of the military/VA health care system)I didn't know that he had just gotten this letter!

My jaw had dropped too after reading this whole thing. (Luckily, the only one seeing my own dental work, was my husband. I can just picture the look of horror you must have had and I had to laugh all over again) MY mind just went blank. My husband, however, truly has played variations on this theme to other co-workers. I should have thought to link an example. I have now corrected this error. :)

Now, maybe the other guys DO retaliate and I just never hear about it but I have often thought that if this is not the case, then my husband was seriously over due.

Still, I LOVE his humor and I know that although he has not yet come up with the necessary TOASTER, it's only a matter of time. He's very patient and it may be a year or more before all the planets are in alignment, but that day will surely come and I will get to hear about it. :)

CGHill said...

When I was growing up (so to speak) in the land of Carolina beach music, we had a DJ who refused to use the word "Monday": it was always "Tuesday #1" and "Tuesday #2." Didn't help much, as I recall.

Lemon Stand said...

CGHill - You grew up? (sorry, I couldn't help it... it just popped up in my mind...) :)