Agh. I'm sore, I'm achy, I'm tired, and I'm stressed - but at least I have some idea of what's going to happen for the next week or so.
Today started as any unpleasant day does - woken up early by a combination of pain and the noise of people rummaging around the house. Apparently, our house is being examined by a home insurance adjuster - something wrong with the plumbing, I believe - and as such, it was noisy and busy in our house all morning.
Also, Steve's school called to inform us that he was being suspended for two days for having an MP3 player in school. Unimpressed, Laura asked how many days were left in school. "Three." So eventually, they decided to just suspend him for three days - the remainder of the school year - and be done with it.
Once that was done, the place was promptly infested with kids instead who'd had a half day at school, and were now being very loud and hanging out with their friends... so we took the better part of valor and went off to accomplish our tasks for the day.
We decided to pay a visit to our local Social Security office before my doctor's appointment; the kids, and Laura, need to replace their Social Security cards. (I might, too, if I can't find where it got to, but that's not directly important.) We headed over
there, but thanks to having to hasten out of the house, we both realized we hadn't eaten yet. (See why you should eat before you leave? Yeah, I know, but sometimes life doesn't work out that easily.) Laura had some money on hand, so we decided to stop at Friendly's, because it was located right next door to the Social Security office.
We ended up ordering a couple of meals where you receive two side dishes with your order ... and should have realized in advance that our waitress wasn't exactly on the ball when we discovered that one of each of our side dishes had been switched. No big deal, though, right?
Then Laura ordered a PBJ Sundae. (Sounds peculiar, but I suppose it's very good.) While she was waiting for it, I went off to the bathroom - and when I returned, she was calling for a manager. Turns out that instead of giving her a PBJ Sundae, they'd given her a strawberry sundae - which she found out about only after she'd taken that first big spoonful... and for the record, Laura is severely, severely allergic to strawberries. One bout of anger later, we ended up not having to pay for the meal - at least not financially. Laura has been having a nasty nauseous allergic reaction to it since, and is currently sleeping after having taken Benadryl for it.
Next, we headed over to the Social Security office, got ourselves a ticket, and waited. I honestly didn't think they'd get us in in time, but they did after only a half hour's wait. Not bad considering some people were complaining about having gotten appointments and still waiting for an hour or more. We found out that we could get Laura's done, but for the kids we'd have to go in the back to do it (since it was so many people at once, it'd've taken too long to do out there and blocked up the line, so to speak), and birth certificates wouldn't count as ID for them because they only prove they were born, not that they're not dead, so we couldn't get it done that day anyhow. Still, we can bring in a letter from their schools saying that they went there, to count as their identification (since they don't have photo IDs yet.) We'll probably take care of that soon, because we have to get that together in order to apply for food stamps and similar government assistance programs.
Afterwards, we headed over to the occupational clinic, where after much waiting, I was seen by a doctor (a different one, this time), who checked me out, noted that I was indeed all muscle-spasmy, and filled out another restriction report (this time, down to 10 lbs.) We explained what had happened with Wal-Mart, and he suggested pestering their Human Resources department or getting a lawyer, and agreed that although it wasn't listed on the restrictions, there wasn't any reason that taking a rest would have been unreasonable given my condition. Laura asked if he could give us a note to that effect, and he agreed. He also gave a prescription for physical therapy, and wants me to stay on the naproxen and skelaxin for now.
We headed out to the front desk, got the papers copied... and waited expectantly for that note. After all, such a thing would come in handy, I'm sure. We asked for it at the desk, and they said 'just a few minutes.' So we waited. And waited.
Eventually, a woman who wasn't dressed at all like the people working at the desk or elsewhere in the clinic (they were in blues and whites, mostly scrubs; she was wearing a 'business casual' brown skirt and light brown patterned shirt) came out to demand why we needed this note. After we explained that the doctor had promised to write it and the fact that I was requesting it because my place of employment had terminated me, she then started demanding 'clarification' for how I'd gotten terminated, and once she'd gotten that, started insisting that I'd been justifiably terminated, because I was in the break room. Not that this had anything to do with the note itself.
By this time, I was in a lot of pain and exhausted. This is why Laura comes with me on days like this - for moral support, and more importantly, to yell at stupid people. She explained (loudly) to this annoying person that it was a big store, I wasn't exactly going to wander the entire store looking for managers to beg permission from, and reiterated the demand for the note. Miss cranky snapped that it would be a few minutes. Laura pointed out that they'd already been waiting a 'few' minutes, and the cranky person replied with, 'Fine, then come back tomorrow.' Which wasn't happening.
Eventually, she stormed off, either to talk to the doctor or just to hide somewhere and hope we'd leave. We didn't. Eventually, Laura went over to talk to the desk people - both to find out where the note was (they claimed that the doctor was with a patient - odd, since I'd seen the doctor and the guy who was assisting the doctor pass within view of the door at least once, and they didn't seem aware that anyone was out here waiting on their responses), and to find out the name of miss cranky and exactly what it was she did. (Her name is Linda, and according to them, 'she's occupational... um... you'd have to ask her'. Interesting.)
Eventually, miss cranky returned with a note (somehow, I suspect that instead of actually going to get the doctor's say-so, she typed it in herself), that grudgingly stated that I could be allowed to rest 'with management permission.' That dubious victory accomplished, we made our way home.
When we got home, we found that we'd received my unemployment packets. After careful study and examination, it appears that I may or may not be eligible - based on the fact that my workplace did terminate me for misconduct, however unreasonably, and based on the fact that I'm currently in a worker's comp claim. However, I have two appointments - one at a Reemployment Services Orientation meeting on the 12th, and a phone interview on the 18th - that will hopefully clarify all of this and determine whether and when I'm getting unemployment benefits.
In the worst case scenario, as far as I can tell, either they can deny me benefits for five weeks (if they determine that I was truly a misconductful - that can't be a word, but my brain won't come up with a better one - employee), after which I can receive them normally; or they can deny them to me because I'm incapable of working, in which case, I'd instead be filing for disability. Either way, hopefully those two dates will help me work out what's going on, and have some sort of direction to go next.
So. We're copying our federal tax return, so that we can mail it in to prove that, yes, I do have dependents and as such need that little bit of extra cash one gets for such, and... other than that, waiting.