Friday, April 24, 2009

January, February, March, and now April. where art thou?

MonkeyGirl in her latest blog welcomed SewWhat? back into blogsphere. Yes, the posts have been few and far between in the past 4 months. So, I'll bore you and let you know why.

January--three shows that started in back to back weeks that I costumed. A little one, a medium sized one and a big one. Luckily the big one only required me to make 14 outfits for the VonTrapp kids for Sound of Music. But that was enough.

A new group of students at my college from SE Asia came for an 8 week whirlwind English Language Institute. They were wonderful, but enrolling them and getting them going in our classes about gave me a heart attack. It was so stressful. I had to hire a new teacher on Saturday to start the following Tuesday!

February--went to a new doctor this month. Now that I'm on Medicare, I made the change to someone other than the doctor I had been going to for a couple of years. Found out when I went to fill the prescriptions he gave me that I did NOT have Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage because of a clerical error. This could be very costly, because the next open enrollment period would be Nov 2009, to start Jan, 2010. A lot can happen in a year, so I started with my daily onslaught of calling to Medicare, insurance companies to try to get this problem solved. Very frustrating!

Also got into a tangle with SS over a pension I receive from the teacher's retirement fund. SS wanted to know how much the teacher's pension gave as a cost of living benefit, so SS could take it away from my SS pension I receive as a spouse of a deceased man who paid into SS for 40+ years. AND they wanted me to pay back what they overpaid me because I should have intuitively known that each year I needed to report this, and I should have known intuitively who to report it to. This generated another daily "put on hold for 45 minutes" call to try to get this solved.

Started with the most recent play, Stepping Out. I am the assistant director, which means go to every blooming practice (the ones with lines and stage movements at least) plus, as the costumer, I needed to sew these 9 x 2 costumes for the dance numbers.

Got a pneumonia shot because all people over 65 need to get one. Maybe that was why I got three 2 week viruses in a row, coughing, sneezing, raspy voice, feeling crappy. I'm not a fan of vaccines, and this is why I don't like them.

Oh, on Feb. 1, in a weak moment, I agreed to host a Korean girl who is attending our college for the rest of the semester. She is lovely, but having a houseguest for 3 months does put somewhat of a strain on a person who is used to living alone. Besides, I never cook for myself, and she doesn't like to eat out. So, we had to resolve that issue, besides some other issues. She came at the busiest most stressful time for me, it is just one more thing to consider each day. How is she going to get to and from school, and what is she going to eat? Daily connundrums, which need adjusting on a daily basis.

March--after all my frantic phone calls to Medicare and SS, I took my spring break to finally resolve the issues and get to the bottom of things. I spend 2 half days at the SS office, one day preparing a long, long 10 page document to tell them why I shouldn't have to pay them back the money they said I owed them (they wanted $750 back because I got $600 more in my pension--how does that figure? Must be that faulty calculator they use to figure out how much money they should take away each year because I receive a government pension). I'm not double-dipping, I legitimately earned my government pension, and my husband legitimately earned his SS through 40 years of paying in to it, and receiving 15 months of benefits before he passed away. I couldn't live for very long on either of them alone. So, shut up, SS and give me a break.

The prescription drug thing got resolved after I got so upset on the phone by being shoved from one entity to another, I was crying, shaking, and telling them, "you made a mistake, and you can give authorization to correct this mistake, so correct it and enroll me right now!" I guess that is what it took, because now I have Medicare Part D coverage. Hooray. Take another blood pressure pill, SewWhat, and calm down!

Practices for the play went on, in freezing cold church basements, with actresses who couldn't remember their lines, costumes that were too tight at first fitting, and other frustrations. On one weekend when it was prime time to sew, I got hit by another virus, laid me low for 5 days before I felt decent. I'd sew for an hour, sleep for 2, sew for another hour, sleep for 2. I got things done, but it was miserable!

Ah, April--hope of spring, then dumped on by snow. The play loomed ever so close and the costumes were still unfinished. Holy Week approached, with hours and hours spent in church singing my heart out. Did you know I play guitar also? Somehow, we moved in to the theatre, and after a tearful Good Friday, when I about left town in frustration because I was sure the tux coats would look like bathrobes, I got all the costumes finished (except for Vera's "bold" costume). Luckily, they all fit except one, I had Monday to fix that, plus make up the missing costumes.

If anyone has ever done a play, you know tech week can be exhausting. We got through it OK, and I was sewing my last costume detail on Wednesday night, in anticipation of Thursday's dress rehearsal and picture taking night. Two inches from the end of this sewing gig, my serger quit cold on me. It was on electrically, but the gears and mechanism would not move. I took it as a sign from heaven that I was indeed done with these costumes, and that was it!

Our show started Friday, and this weekend is our second and last weekend. Hope all goes well. We got great reviews from our local theatre reviewers, that really made things feel good.

So, that is the synopsis of the last 4 months, and why blogging hasn't been on my list of things that I could accomplish in a day.

Oh, and SS send me a letter saying, "you do not have to pay us back"--HOORAY, chalk one up for the old lady, let's give her a cheer!

1 comment:

NV said...

The mother has had her own share of Social Security issues since becoming eligible in 2007. I've decided that the SS really stands for Stupid Sh*t. :-)