Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spring is here!

I do believe that spring has arrived. I had a lone clump of daffodils bloom in the dirt that once was my backyard, and the plum tree is flowering. Actually, this year for the first time our baby plum tree is flowering, too. Each year when the plums fall from the tree we try to pick up and use the good ones and rake the others up. A few years ago I noticed what looked like a very small plum tree starting to grow near the side fence where a plum had rolled down the slope and gone unnoticed. I watched the tree and once I was sure what it was, tried to guard it against lawn mowers and wayward weedwhackers. Jerry kept threatening to "accidentally" run over the little tree with the lawn mower because he didn't want to think about having even more plums to contend with. Well, he didn't, and it has really grown over the past couple of years and now is blooming for the first time. I hope that now with two plum trees that the plums we get will be bigger since there is another tree to pollinate now.

Tom just left a few minutes ago for orientation at his college, which starts Monday. He seemed a little nervous and when I asked him about it, he said that he's more nervous about getting to the Metro station and getting on the right train and making the right transfers to get to the school. There is a new Metro station at Branch Avenue which isn't really all that far from us, and so he'll be catching the Metro there and taking it to Rosslyn rather than trying to drive to Arlington, Virginia and find parking there. He'll need to transfer to a different train about halfway there because the Branch Avenue station is a Green Line and the Rosslyn station is Orange and Blue. I'm sure he'll be an old pro at it within a few days, though. Today for orientation he is able to bring Sam with him. She is somewhat familiar with the Metro since she and her family have used it before to go places, so surely between the two of them they will find their way to the school!

He'll only need to go to the school on Mondays and Wednesdays. He has four classes; two at the school and two online through the school. He's eager to start, but a little nervous at the same time.

I haven't written much lately because Andy and I have been busy. We've made yet another change to his lessons! One day last week as I was putting away his schoolbooks (the ones we used before the computer curriculum), he picked up his science book and looked longingly at it. I knew he had been growing bored with the computer curriculum, especially the science - where you watch a man do experiments on the screen and then write down what he found out - boring! At least we actually used to do experiments ourselves. Anyway, I didn't say anything but after several minutes he sheepishly asked if we could go back to the old way of doing things. Secretly I was glad because I missed the books we read together and the experiments we did, but I also didn't want him thinking that we would change the curriculum every time he got bored with something. We compromised and have kept the computer curriculum for Bible, Spanish and Math, and everything else (Language/Grammar, Geography, Science, and History), have gone back to the old way of doing things. We will probably be switching the Math over soon, too, but we will wait until he finishes the unit he is currently on.

One day a couple of weeks ago I was looking at his grades on the teacher portion of his computer curriculum (before we switched back). I noticed that I had been given notices that his math assignments were not up to date, and in fact were quite a few days behind. When I questioned him about this, he was very quiet for a long time. Then, shuffling his feet and not looking me in the eye, he informed that he liked Spanish so much that he had been working on that rather than his math for the past several days. Apparently he must have liked it a lot. He had done the Spanish assignments all the way into June. Now if only he could be as enthusiastic about Math!

I am waiting to see what will happen with my work. With one of the companies I work for, I do the transcription for John C. Lincoln Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. I usually do the work for their Deer Valley Hospital, but sometimes switch over to North Mountain. With this company's transcription software you are given templates specific to each account that you do reports for. Usually you are given two sets of templates and so if work runs low on one account (hospital), you can switch to your other template and do work for another one. Since each hospital wants its reports done differently, the templates are created by the company to make it easier on us, so basically we can just choose the template and type the information and it will be formatted specifically for that hospital. Several months ago the company asked for transcriptionists who would be willing to do work just for John C. Lincoln. Personally, I think switching between templates is a pain and although the differences between accounts aren't that monumental, it is a pain to change because I lose time due to a learning curve when switching between accounts. Anyway, I was more than happy to volunteer for this, and had gotten to where I could do my day's work in about an hour and a half to two hours. Yesterday morning while I was working I finished the discharge summaries, so then moved on to consults. Hmm - got those finished too. I then went to the op reports - and there weren't any. This seemed kind of unusual as this account is usually very busy and it is rare to actually catch up on the work. Then later on in the day there was an email from the company informing us that the work was caught up for this account and to switch over to our other accounts to work on until they emailed us again. I don't have another account to work on, nor am I particularly keen on the idea of learning the format of a new one. Since my work was done for the day, I got busy with Andy and general stuff and didn't think about it anymore until this morning when I went to sign on and begin work. I dialed into the hospital just fine, but when it asked me to enter my passcode, I did and it told me it was invalid. I tried a couple more times thinking that I must have not dialed the code right in my pre-coffee state, but it wouldn't accept my passcode. All of the transcriptionists for this account have the same passcode, so evidently the hospital is doing something and we are not being allowed to access their system. This is reminscent of a couple of years ago when one hospital decided not to renew their contract with the company and "locked out" everyone and then informed the company that they weren't renewing. Oh, well. We'll see what happens. I'm not worried about actually having work - the company has several accounts and I know that I would just be put on another one, but I am not looking forward to the learning curve and the time lost . I have a doctor's appointment today so I'm not worried about it as I wouldn't have the time to devote to it today anyway. I hate going to the doctor's but it's one of those necessary annual female things. Yuck!

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