To file under the category of “things I didn’t were involved in having a baby”: Bureaucracy.
Those who are military will understand my frustration this past week. It started with my filling out the paperwork to get Spartacus a spot in a daycare by my school for when I go back to work. They needed a pediatrician for their records. This should be an easy answer, seeing as I know who I want to be his pediatrician, but Noooo…never in the army. Here is my Friday which resulted in a total Mommy Meltdown:
In order to get Spartacus on the rolls of the pediatrician I want, he must be enrolled in TriCare. So far, so good; it is perfectly logical to need to add my baby to our health insurance – but I can’t do that directly through the insurance. In order to be added to TriCare, he must be enrolled in DEERS – the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, basically the database of all government workers and their dependents. In order to get him enrolled in DEERS, I need his Social Security card (check – arrived less than a week after we got home from the hospital) and his birth certificate or the hospital verification (check). And, if my sponsor can’t be there, I need a power of attorney (because having both our names on the birth certificate apparently does not certify that he is our child). Oh, and we need an appointment with the DEERS office on post.
The hospital sent us home with instructions for how to get an appointment to get him in DEERS to get him in TriCare to get him a pediatrician to get him in daycare. The instructions said that Hubster, my “sponsor,” had to make the appointment online with his ID card. Well, he tried; he tried from home, he tried from work, the website was down, and the phone number listed never had anyone pick up. After three weeks of this, I googled it, to find instructions completely different from the ones from the hospital; these ones said I, the non-Active Duty civilian family member, needed to make the appointment. So I do; the first available appointment was at 8 AM the next day, with another one not available for several weeks, so I take that one.
In order to get on post with a vehicle one needs either Department of Defense decals on the car or some sort of visitors’ pass, with some exceptions. Since I don’t yet have permanent plates on my new Mercedes (did I blog about my new Mercedes? 2001 E-Class…that I paid cash for!), I knew I’d need to stop at the visitors’ center and get a pass. Every time I’ve been in the visitors’ center, I’ve waited at least half an hour; I figured first thing in the morning there would probably be lots of people there trying to get on post for the day’s activities, so for our 8 AM appointment, I calculated that I should try to get to the visitors’ center about 7:00. This means I need to have me and my newborn in the car to leave the house at about 6:45, which means that we, who haven’t slept more than two hours at a time since June, must start getting ready about 5:30. Of course, Spartacus has a diaper blowout as I am trying to put him in his car seat, so we still end up behind schedule…
I arrive at the visitors’ center to find it completely empty, and am told that I don’t actually need a pass to get on post if I have a DoD ID and a temporary license plate. This makes no sense to me; my permanent vehicle needs official stickers and they ask to see registration, license, and insurance to be able to get these stickers…but any guy that sticks a paper license plate to his vehicle (which can’t be that hard to forge, let’s be honest) can get on post with just an ID? Seems too sketchy to be true, but I pack Spartacus back into the car and head to the DEERS office on post. The guard at the gate didn’t even scan my ID like they do if I have decals on my car…
I park about 80 miles away from the building since the parking lot was already packed and lug my car carrier with my sleeping newborn inside to get in line. There’s nothing posted that says anything about people with appointments, and I’m pretty sure most of the 25 people ahead of me don’t have one…thankfully the line into the office starts moving quickly once the door opens, and I’m optimistic that this will be a quick trip [I really should know better by now].
The office is set up with a front desk and a dozen or so cubicles where I assume we will get sent after checking in. After about fifteen minutes in line I reach the front desk and give her Spartacus’ birth record, SS card, and my Power of Attorney. The lady looks it over and hands it back to me, informing my that my Power of Attorney is expired. I am shocked; my husband got it done since we moved here, and I didn’t even know they COULD expire (though thinking it through, I suppose you’d hate to forget about one and have you ex-wife come and take all your stuff because you forgot to revoke a decade-old PoA), let alone in two years. She blamed Homeland Security for requiring the PoA but didn’t sound too sympathetic.
On my sorry way out, holding back tears, I saw a kiosk where we could make another appointment. Feeling the futility of the exercise, I took the next available appointment: 8 AM on August 25th, over two weeks away…which means I couldn’t get Spartacus into DEERS and then into TriCare to get him a pediatrician to get him in daycare AND to make his 2-month follow-up appointment. When I come back, I’ll need Hubster with me, since I doubt he’ll have time to run to JAG and get another PoA made up, but he has hardly any free time at work (and NATURALLY, the DEERS office is open from 7:30 to 3 PM…because the average soldier works 6:30 to 5 PM).
BUT WAIT it’s not done. On my way home, Sparatacus and I swing by the grocery store so at least one good thing could come out of this trip. I buy blueberry muffins from the bakery and fancy coffee to brew since I felt sorry for myself. When I get to the check out line, I open my wallet and realize my DoD ID card is not in there…I left it on the appointment kiosk on post. I pay as quickly as I can, get to my car, and burst into the tears. I have an appointment on post on Monday and I can’t get on without my ID since I don’t have decals since I don’t have permanent plates, and even if I got my plates I couldn’t get decals since they need my ID. Thankfully at this point Hubster picks up his phone, to hear me in tears, explaining how awful my morning was…he said he had time to run and see if my ID could be retrieved, and that he’d meet me to get the DEERS thing done this week. I doubt he had time to do either, but my ID was retrieved and today my son was enrolled in DEERS so he could be added to TriCare so he could get a pediatrician so he could go to daycare near the house that Jack built. Oy.
|Thankfully, Spartacus slept nicely through the whole ordeal…|