Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Story of the Kissing Clauses

One Christmastime, long, long ago there lived a schoolteacher. The schoolteacher had many students and these students came from many backgrounds. Many of the students gave small gifts to the schoolteacher as tokens of the holiday season. Some of the gifts the students gave the schoolteacher were handmade by parents. Some were bought at the dollar store. Some were purchased at department stores. Sometimes the parents spent too much on the gift for the schoolteacher. Sometimes they regifted something they’d been given. If the schoolteacher thought about the gifts years later, she would probably remember most of them and who she got them from. The school teacher may even keep some of the gifts she received from her students for many, many years.  Some because they are genuinely useful. Others because she has fond memories of the student who gave them to her. And then there are the gifts from students whose parents were sort of celebrities at one time.

The Kissing Clauses was such a gift. It was a set of salt and pepper shakers shaped like Mr and Mrs Claus. They were both slightly bent at the waist, lips all a-pucker, ready to kiss each other. Not really exceptional — the family most certainly did not spend too much on the schoolteacher, but it probably was not bought at the dollar store and probably was not regifted. It was an average teacher gift from a sweet 6th grade girl. A sweet 6th grade girl whose father was an attorney in one of the most public court cases of the year — Bill Clinton vs Paula Jones. He was on Paula Jones’ side.

One recent night when the [former] schoolteacher put up her Christmas decorations she could not find the Kissing Clauses. The schoolteacher could not imagine a Christmas with out the Kissing Clauses so she looked one last time and found, behind the doll house in the knee-wall of the attic, a box of more decorations. Breath held, fingers crossed, she opened the box and there, wrapped in tissue so they would not break, were the Kissing Clauses. Once again, all was right in the world.

Merry Christmas to my blogging friends. Kiss someone you love this season.

The Kissing Clauses
The Kissing Clauses

Is it over?

Yesterday I received a phone call that I’d been waiting for for weeks. It should never have taken as long as it did, but it did, and at least that part is over.

The phone call was from the nursing home where my dad was a resident the last month of his life. They called to say that they’d take care of the pharmacy bill. The pharmacy bill that never should have been. The pharmacy bill that my mom worried over for months. The pharmacy bill that kept rising because the pharmacy considered it delinquent.

When we (why do I want to say “interred”?) admitted my father into the nursing home one of the points that came up was his medications. Dad took several medications, some very expensive, and my mom generally bought them from the VA. Medications that were not covered under the VA plan were bought full price. Because my parents qualified for the Illinois Circuit Breaker plan I was able to change my father’s Medicare Part D supplement to a different insurer and his medications would be much cheaper. The trouble was — that plan didn’t kick in until October 1st so my mom said she’d bring my father’s medicine to the nursing home, which she did. The woman admitting Dad said that was fine and that she’d let Mom know when he needed refills.

Something went wrong, though, and my mom got a bill for $400 from the pharmacy. She knew it was a mistake and may or may not have contacted the nursing home about it. Then, of course, my father died.

When I returned to Maryland I contacted the nursing home about the bill and was told to call the pharmacy. I did and they said to talk to the nursing home because they were the ones who ordered the medication. I called the nursing home again and they said they’d get back to me. I waited for a phone call. None came. I called back, was told they’d look into and get back to me. I again waited for a phone call. None came. This happened several more times. I finally talked to the administrator who said she’d heard about the issue, but had not looked into it. She said she would and would get back to me. Finally yesterday morning the admissions person called, admitted it was her mistake and that they were going to take care of the bill.

Thank goodness. That was the last of the paperwork and now it is finished.  I hope.

If only the funeral home would apologize.