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 actuality? This 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.
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]
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...
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 form. The 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
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
[Local City and State]
Privacy Act Notification [paragraph etc]
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
fraggedkilled 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]
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 PAYBACK. You 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...