I mentioned in an email to my parents the other day that I thought the rage of my first trimester was finally starting to calm down a bit and people were slightly less moronic than they have been. And then Monday happened.
The first wrinkle is that the pool people wanted me to get the permit for the pool. He said that they do it for the in-ground ones but for above-ground the home owner does it. He said it should be simple that I just draw on the survey where we're putting it and it's a done deal.
Nope, not that simple. I tried to go Friday afternoon after taking the afternoon to buy the pool, but even though they close at 5 they don't do any permits after 4:30 (not sure what they do those last 30 minutes. Oh, to have a civil service job!). There was a nice guy there named Mr. Reynard that told me they needed specs on the ladder to show that it can be locked to prevent entry so I can get a "barrier permit." I told him this is all new for me but I must have looked pitiful because he said if I got those printouts then it would be all taken care of. I told him I'd be back Monday at 8:30.
I parked in the nearest downtown garage and was standing outside their doors at 8:20. They literally have a sign they put up every morning that says not to pull on the doors and that someone would open them at 8:30. Oh to work in civil service.
I came back in and Mr. Reynard wasn't there but some lady was. You know that lady from Monsters Inc that makes them fill out their paperwork? Yeah, it was that lady. I had talked to her briefly on Friday and told her I was back with specs for my ladder. Mr. Reynard assured me it would only be a few minutes to get my permit but it was not looking good after talking to her. She said that my ladder specs only said that the ladder could be slid up and locked but not that it would be locked. I looked at her blankly. She took my sheet and said she would have to check with her boss about it. I pressed my temples as she left and came to understand where these headaches I've been getting off and on were coming from.
She came back and made me write on the paper that as the home owner I would remove the ladder after each use. Whatever. She also said that they wouldn't make copies of that brochure. I told her Mr. Reynard said he would tell me what I needed because I didn't know what sheets she needed. She literally needed a picture of the pool (ok, copy those pages from the brochure) and something saying its dimensions (ok, same page, no biggie). I asked if she knew the closest place to get copies and she said "well, we used to have copiers here but with cut backs you know ..." and trailed off. Um, ok. I told her I would try the community college and it was her turn to just look at me blankly. Apparently she didn't know she was a block from her local community college. She suggested the public library. I figured that was safest and wouldn't involve me asking around at TCC, so I drove over there.
I drove the mile over to our local downtown public library and noted it still had its big sign out front so I was in the right place. Unfortunately, after I parked in the mall parking garage across the street, walked across the street and went up to the front door, I found out the public library building has been condemned. In the meantime, the library guts have been moved one block behind to some random building. I walked down there but they're not open at 9am. So I drove back over to the original garage and tried my hand at TCC. The nice guy at the info desk said I should try the school library across the street. I made my copies (with some "help" from the well-intentioned but completely techno-clueless reference librarian) and then walked back to get my permits. So at least TCC came through for me. As all their billboards say around town, "from here you can go anywhere."
You know that whole section of the Gunslinger series Drawing of the Three where Eddie is freaking out in the airport trying to get through with the drugs he's got strapped to him? That's how I felt in that municipal building with my permit form and my photocopies of happy families in pools. Any suspicious movements I made were going to ruin it and she'd gig my permit. But I learned the power of being nice. I had been nothing but friendly and helpless to her, playing the "I don't know nothin' 'bout getting no permits" card and asking her all the questions as the permit expert. She started warming up to me. When she asked if I was Genevieve (I had put Genie on the permit application) I said yeah and she said "wait, don't tell me ... is it Scottish?" It's totally not Scottish at all but French, but I'd tell her my maiden name was Haggis if that would get me this permit.
Me: "You know, I think it is, but I'm not sure." Her: "Oh well your red hair gave it away." Me: "Well, I get a little help with that red hair from the beauty salon, but the freckles are all natural." Her: "Oh honey you don't have to tell me about dying hair. I'm almost 50 and I'm going grey all over."
What is this? Is she now opening up to me and being my buddy? Being nice works! By the end, she had stamped everything and told me to "enjoy the pool this summer, ma'am!". So 2 hours later, I had a permit and could finally go to work.
I was able to get exactly an hour's worth of work done at the office before I had to go to get lunch and head to my OB appointment. I schedule these at 1:30 (the first one after lunch) so that if I showed up a little early, I can hopefully get out in a jiffy. It's just a visit where they take my blood pressure, check my urine, weigh me, look at my blood sugars and ask if I have any questions. I should be out of there in 20 minutes tops.
I got there at 1:18pm and did not get called back until almost 3pm. I was livid. Did I mention they needed a urine sample so I had been sitting there for an hour and a half waiting to pee? At 45 minutes of waiting, the receptionist had checked because she thought it was strange I had been there so long. When she checked again at 90 minutes THEY HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT ME.
And then I had to suffer through the diabetes educator woman who I hate asking if she's going to "like my numbers" like this is some damn test and I might earn a lollipop if I'm good. Ugh! And while I'm lying on the table covered in slime from the nurse checking for the baby's heartbeat, she comes in and asks where my book is. I told her it was in my purse so she reaches down and puts the purse on my chest so I can dig it out for her while I'm covered in slime. I hand it to her (it's my printouts from my Google docs spreadsheet) and she says "this isn't a book" to which I snipped back, "I hate your book. You'll never get a book from me." Then before she even looks at the damn papers I have she says "but I can't see what you're eating!" My spreadsheet lists every thing I've eaten with carb counts but she never looked because she just doesn't like that it's not her magical book. This is one of the many reasons she and I don't get along. And normally I'm more patient with her but after being forgotten for over an hour I'm not happy with any of them.
Oh and the nurse who tries to get the heartbeat has to do the ultrasound again because they can't find the baby in all my copious torso, and she sees the baby's head she squeals out "HELLLLOOOO BABBBBYYYY!! AWWWWWW!! HELLOOO THERE!!" in this sing song voice and waves at the ultrasound monitor. Every God Damn Time she does this. This is practice for when people act like fools over my newborn child. Did I mention this is the nurse that forgot about me?
My OB eventually came in and asked how I'm doing and I blurted out that I'm fine and don't need anything and don't want to keep taking folic acid since it's not necessary anymore and that I'll get my refill for vitamin D and I'll participate in their random study by getting blood drawn and can I go now? I asked when I would need to come back and she said at this point that I had been scheduled for two weeks but I could wait until three if I wanted to which I said, "I want to spend as little time as possible here. It's bad for my health."
She looked concerned and through gritted teeth and with clenched fists I explained that I was forgotten and had spent an hour and a half in the waiting room. I told her, "I am SO angry right now! It's all I can do to not just storm out of here." My blood sugar was going up from being pissed off, my blood pressure probably was too and I wanted nothing to do with any of them. I told her "you're awesome, but everyone else here is incompetent. It's shameful that they treat people this way." She apologized and said she would find out what happened and moved my appointment to three weeks out. I told her I just wanted to go home.
Apparently the system shows that a patient has "arrived" and the nurses are supposed to work off that list. Well, two nurses saw that I was arrived and each of them thought the other one had brought me back after one of them marked me as checked in. I told the nurse and doctor after that explanation that I didn't think I would need to start my maternity leave at 16 weeks just so I could hang out with them all day, but their system was not very understanding of my schedule and life. I pretty much can't schedule anything for Monday afternoons after those checkups because something always goes wrong. The nurse who screwed up (who's nice but flaky) looked sufficiently hang dog about it and I went to check out.
My OB came over after a bit and said, "this may not make you feel better but at least you can commiserate. I went to my orthopedist and when they put me in the exam room I decided to lie down and rest until they came in for me. When I woke up I heard a nurse calling out 'I'll see you on Monday!' and when I stuck my head out and asked when I would see the doctor they told me he had gone home. I had fallen asleep for 2 hours and they were about to close up the office!" I told her she was about to be that kid left on the hot school bus.
If I go to my appointment in three weeks and don't see someone within 15 minutes, I'm just going to start flipping furniture in the waiting room.
So after all that I got to pay $3 for parking because I had been there for so long (only the first hour is free and I have only been there less than one hour once and it was for 59 minutes). After all that, I got back to work at 4:30pm. Great. Why did I even bother to come back to the office? I had shit to do but it was all pointless then and that's when I realized I had to meet some random pool guy at our house the next morning. I was just done.
I left the office and cried the whole way home. I was just ready to pull the eject cord on Monday. No one respects my time and I'm running around trying to get shit done. And I feel like this pool is my project since Rich doesn't have much interest in it and doesn't know the pool people and hasn't been involved other than to say "that's fine, get a pool if you want." But apparently whatever I want to get done is a great big inconvenience to everyone else.
But Rich took me out for sushi dinner and our waitress was really nice and she complimented my chopstick usage and we came home and he brushed my hair (the only good thing about growing my hair longer is hair brushings). So things perked up.
But this morning my pool guy didn't show up until 10:15 instead of 8:15 and I had to fuss at him. And the whole thing he showed up to do, he didn't need me for because we'd already marked where the pool should go ourselves. He said the pool installers would be by this afternoon but would need to finish the pool the next day. I asked if they needed adult supervision and he said no, so I'll just freak out and throw things at them if they can't manage to put the pool where they're supposed to. When I arrived home this evening no one had been on site and no one had called. I have come full circle when it comes to contractors now and I sound like my brother did when we first started construction on our house. They're like wild animals I've let on my property and I need to watch them constantly. Eventually, I will have to bite their necks and prove to them who the alpha contractor is.
I thought about that when I left the doctor's office and everyone was all "so sorry, Mrs. Stryker" "you have a good afternoon, Mrs. Stryker" "call if you need anything, Mrs. Stryker" that I did manage to not yell while there (which took a lot of self-control) but I don't think they'll forget who Mrs. Stryker is. I haven't yelled at the pool people yet, but I'm convinced it's going to be necessary at some point. Here's hoping they can do their job without screwing up. It's not rocket science.
Ironically when I talked to Gary on Friday he said his (in ground) pool was installed 18 years ago by the same pool people we hired and he's been very happy with it. He also said it was important for me to have a pool so I could have a space to chill out and relax while at home. So any day now this will be relaxing and not a giant pain in the ass.
Maybe I didn't quite get rid of all that first trimester rage after all.