Bullying and the Schools who Look the Other Way

So this happened:
Bullied boy dies when life support was pulled

I cannot be the only one whose heart breaks when something like this happens. This has become an epidemic. Actually, this has been an epidemic for some time. I can remember a fool on the bus throwing gum in my hair on the day of the science fair. I had no idea what happened until a good friend pulled me aside. She spent the next 40 minutes carefully pulling all the junk out of my hair, in the hopes that we’d be done before the judges got to our aisle.

Kids have always been mean. Odds are, they will always be mean. However, that does not mean that grown-ups (supposed grown-ups) should turn their backs on these kids and expect the problems to solve themselves. They won’t.

My older was being bullied. The school’s solution? Mediation sessions with the kids doing the bullying. Because they expected that to help. A few weeks later, I was called to the school to pick up my kid. He had told his friends that he wanted to kill himself. He’d even thought out ways to do it. How could this have happened? How did I miss it? I don’t know what I could have done to fix it–I’d sent countless emails to the school. I filled out dozens of “bullying/harassment” forms. Nothing. The kid doing most of the bullying? He’d been tormenting other kids all year.

And then my boy just couldn’t take it anymore. Fortunately for us, he reached out to friends who he thought “wouldn’t care” to let someone know. So we spent 8 hours in an emergency room, waiting for the doctors to release him. They originally wanted to admit him to the psych ward at the hospital–a psych ward with both adults and teenagers living in the same spaces. How is that an acceptable option? It’s not. You know what else in unacceptable? Our insurance was not accepted by any of the programs the doctors recommended that we use. Other, local professionals did not have openings for WEEKS. How is this acceptable? Finally, through the magic of coincidence, an acquaintance of ours just happened to know someone who just happened to have had a cancellation that night and could squeeze him in. Thank goodness for the occasional happy coincidence–even if they only sort of accept our insurance.

Now, my boy can get the medical help he needs. How long before the stigma of mental health and support goes away?

My heart goes out to all families who are going through the pain of trying to save a bullied child.

Editing…and Other Things That Require Me to Focus my Time

I do not want to edit.
I do not want to revisit my novels.
I want them to magic themselves into readability and loveability.

Oh, right. That is not going to happen. So sad.

I have three manuscripts that need love and attention. They’re good. They’re not great. It makes me sad that I am sitting here, frittering away time that I REALLY need to use to do IMPORTANT THINGS (yes, that’s how those words look in my head–except they are also an angry red), including calling the mortgage company to find out if they are going to fix the mess they have made of my credit, my joint bank account, and my mental state. I swear they drove me into a seizure a few weeks ago. The doctor had to up my meds. (No, I’m not crazy, even though it feels like that sometimes. And, since I am officially neurologically broken, many people seem to think that means crazy. Boo.)

So there are many other things I need to do today before and after I edit. (Yes, I know I can’t edit all three books in one day–maybe parts of all three if I start feeling closed-in–that WOULD be nuts.) But first, I need to actually do something. I have my computer on. My legal-size notebook with yellow paper (so I know it is not “finished manuscript” material and, therefore, not needing to be perfect yet) is open next to me, and my purple pen is sitting on top with its cap off. I have hidden my phone.

So I should be all set, right? …Right?

Well, no. Today I am nervous. Yesterday, I was nervous. I was also nervous two weeks ago. I will probably be nervous forty years from now, when I’m half-senile and cannot remember why I’m nervous. (It runs in the family, but at least we all seem pretty happy when we’re off-planet. So there’s that.)

Fortunately for me, though, today I found a blog entry that really motivated me. Check this out:

http://lukeromyn.com/blog/2012/01/17/wasting-is-such-a-wasteful-waste/

First off, that’s an outstanding title. ;-) Second, if anything can get a girl moving, it’s reading something in a tone that is no-nonsense, yet humorous. We (as a people) often forget how good we have it. Even though, right now I am broke, broken, and sick (and nursing a 12-year-old whose sinuses and nose are so congested that he’s become a mouth-breather), I can take a step.

I can say: “Forget you, Feelings-of-Craptastic-ness! Forget you, Despair and Lethargy! I will accomplish these things!” And then I will write myself a list, so I do not forget what I am to accomplish today.

First on the list: Re-read Book One of the determined-to-be-a-trilogy, so I can make sure my characters are consistent. That would help.
Second: Fuss some more at the mortgage people who don’t know how their systems work. They like it when I call. I can tell.

But first: Open up Yellow Flags and get that puppy re-read!

Hooray, productivity!

Oh, Mortgages… (Or, Why Did I Decide to Own a Home?)

Dear M & T Bank,

Please return to me the $1195 you stole from my checking account. Please do not make me go to the State’s Attorney General. Please honor the agreement set up by Bogman before they thoughtlessly sold my mortgage to you. Please apply the mysterious $5500 to my account. Quit letting it earn money for you and not me. This is unacceptable.

Thank you for your time.

Love,

An Extraordinarily Dissatisfied Customer.

PS: Just supporting the Ravens is not an acceptable answer for your ineptitude in business matters.

Love for Lucas

Dear Blog Followers,

Sorry it’s been so long. NaNoWriMo and the mortgage companies (Bogman, Inc and M&T Bank) have made this a busy, busy month. (NaNo = good; Mortgage companies = BAD!)

I come to you with a request. Please help my friends, Beth and Luis. A better couple of folks would be hard to find. Their three year old son, Lucas, needs help. He has a serious immune deficiency, and he has been fighting it since birth. Now, they all need to spend six months in North Carolina for Lucas to receive a bone marrow transplant. They live in Jacksonville, FL. This means they will both need to take extended leaves of absence from work, for which they will not get paid. They also have to pay high deductibles and higher insurance premiums.

If it strikes you, please donate for their boy. He needs your help. Even $5 will help. Heck, even $1 would help. Anything.

Love for Lucas

Thank you for your time.

Much love,
Cheryl

How long is my Chapter?

While doing NaNoWriMo this year, I found I have become way more involved in the challenge. I blame Twitter and Facebook. Darned social media. It’s taking over the world, I tell ya. But don’t listen to me, I’m just getting old and technologically inferior. Also, I am easily distracted by the new and the shiny.

So since whenever I am not actively writing my novel or directly interacting with my family I tend to be on one of the social networks having a conversation with someone, I have noticed that one of the biggest concerns this year is: How do I know how long my chapters should be? And how do I know when my chapters end and begin?

Fortunately, this month’s issue of The Writer has a little blurb review of a book that seems specifically designed to help with that problem. “Write Your Book Now!” by Gene Perret has the answers. ;-) In it, he explains how to get writing, how to keep writing, and a bunch of the technical stuff like how exactly do you get your chapters in some kind of logical order. He really gets that no one (unless you have super magical powers, which he does not address) writes a book at one sitting. We are all writing our books in pieces and chunks. With this book, he helps us create it and put it all together.

And isn’t that what creation is all about?

(Now, off I go to try to put some more pieces together in my crazy-pants epic fantasy…)

NaNoWriMo Continues to Try Eating my Soul

Ouch.
It’s seven days in, I’m hovering around 20000 words (out of 50000, it’s kind of a game), and I am so tired. Unfortunately, I let my alligator mouth write checks I’m not sure my hummingbird butt can actually cash. I’m involved in a big old word war with a different area–it’s all in fun, but pride is on the line–and I am nowhere near where I want to be with this novel. I need my word count higher, and I need to stop panicking about where my story is going.
And I need to get my word count higher. Did I mention that?

And now, it’s time for bed, before I fall asleep on my keyboard and leave a long line of random characters. Good night, World!
:-)

Freedom!

Finally, after what feels like forever, my doctor cleared me to drive again! Hooray! :-) That means my seizures have been under control (medically, blech) for long enough that I am once again considered a safe driver. Yay me!

Now, I just have to fill out all kinds of MVA (DMV, for those of you who don’t live in MD, and have no idea what that random acronym stands for) paperwork, fax it to my doctor, have her fill it out, and then fax it back to the MVA–who will hopefully not procrastinate for months over this. Silly MVA…

But, hooray, freedom and not having to rely on our slightly sketchy buses! :-D

When the Mortgage Man Flipped Me the Bird

My mortgage started its sordid little life as $250,000 offer from my real estate agent’s “In House” lender. I laughed and told them they were insane. Later, Provident provided me a mortgage for all of two, maybe three, months. They sold it to Bogman, Inc, about whom I had never heard anything. This month, after many weeks of finagling a loan modification and making the first payment of said loan modification, Bogman sold my loan to M&T Bank. I had been with Bogman for the better part of three years.

The major problem with this? The terms of the modification require me to make my mortgage payment on the first of the month or the modification is declared null and void. The major problem with that? Neither Bogman nor M&T have sight of my loan right now. Well, they can see that I have a loan (so I can’t just up stakes and run away), but neither of them can accept payment on it. Not cute.