Valerie's blog about stuff

Trouble with Obamacare

My five month old baby just lost her health insurance coverage. Not because I failed to make a payment, but because despite having a US birth certificate and a Social Security card, I was unable to provide adequate documentation to prove her citizenship.

In a way it is my fault. I received a letter from the Healthcare Marketplace asking for documents to prove my baby was a US citizen or national.

I didn’t bother reading the list of documents considered acceptable (mistake #1) and just sent in a copy of her birth certificate.

Another letter came saying the document provided was insufficient and to provide additional documentation to prove her immigration status. Flabbergasted, I called the marketplace and explained my situation. The phone-bank worker told me the Marketplace probably had not processed my original submission and to just wait. Mistake #2 was believing this person.

Mistake #3 was when the next letter came saying additional docs were still required to prove my baby’s status as a national, citizen or immigrant. Frustrated, I resent her birth certificate, again without reading the specifics of what documents were required.

Two more letters came.

Deciding it must be the US mail causing this debacle, I went online and uploaded a copy of her birth certificate and SS card, just to be safe.

The deadline to submit information passed.

And the next bit of mail said her coverage was being dropped.

I called the marketplace and finally learned why I had been getting so much mail (over 40 pages, all in all.)

The Marketplace wanted a copy of her passport to prove citizenship. If she did not have a passport two documents would be required.

So far so good, right? I mean I gave them two documents.


Because those two documents were from the same column. I needed to send a document from column one and column two.

Column two consisted of photo ID’s issued by the state (drivers licenses or state ID cards) or daycare, school or preschool records or health records that have identifying information (hair color, eye color, height, weight, age, race.)


The good news in all of this is that I can appeal. And, hopefully, by sending the correct information, get my daughter back on insurance.

So yesterday I called my daughter’s clinic- only to find out her medical record wouldn’t cut it- as it is hand written and missing some of the information required.

We ended up at the DMV- getting an ID card. There is a two week wait to get the card- meaning my daughter will most likely have a gap in coverage. She will probably not get her 6 months shots on time.

Overall, I feel like an idiot. Like back in school when some pompous teacher gives you a test, and you’re sure you answered every question right. But when you get it back, graded, you have a big fat zero because the directions said, “Don’t answer any questions, just write your name on top.”

That test is suppose to teach you to read directions carefully- but it always felt like entrapment to me.

So does this healthcare situation. And just like that test, if you fail there really isn’t any kind of defense.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t stupid!

About that novel I wrote…


I started writing books back in fifth grade when I moved to Virginia. The school system had a contest call “Young Writers” and I entered a book every year. I won the whole shebang in 8th grade but usually my work didn’t even make it past the classroom level contest.

It may have been that my writing, as one would expect from a 10-17 year old, stunk. But I like to inflate my ego and think it was because rather than handing in some 1000-10,000 word short story like my cohorts did, I usually handed in a 100-300 page manuscript. The contest was judged by the PTA and I somehow doubt they actually took the time to read my manuscript. That and part of the contest was how pretty your books cover was and I never took the time to make a pretty cover.

But I digress.

After high school I discovered another writing contest: National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. And pretty much every November, starting in undergrad, I’ve sat down and attempted to write the first draft of a novel, in a month.

The best thing about NaNoWriMo? You *win* by word count.

Write 50,000 words and you are a winner!

Even better: if you don’t win you don’t lose- you’ve still written more than you would have if you didn’t participate.

I’ve won NaNoWriMo twice.

And that brings me to April. Because April is Camp NaNoWriMo. And Camp NaNoWriMo is editing time. A time to take your rough draft and polish it.

You see I’ve written about 10 full length novels (many of which are lost to time, I’m NOT afraid to say- they were pretty horrid.)

But other than the PTA back in primary school- I’ve never let anyone read them.

I hope to change that.

My goal this April is to edit one manuscript into something that I’m not afraid to let other people read.

I have no plans of publishing it- but I do look forward to sharing it.

Pah! Who am I kidding- the idea of sharing my writing is scary as hell (I even had a Freudian slip and wrote writhing instead of writing…)

But part of growing up is doing big scary things. And I do so want to grow as a writer.

Editing here I come!

And come May I should have something I can show off.


**Photo by Kiran Foster, “Typing” Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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Orange Pie

imageI’m a goals person. I like working towards something. My goals for maternity leave?

1. Bond with child.

2. Lose baby weight.

3. Become a better cook.

One and two are going well. Three is a work in progress.

So far I’ve cooked several things that taste good and exactly one thing that I know is awesome.

Orange pie.

Best of all its super easy! My recipe is an amalgam of about five recipes I found online, but closest to this cream pie recipe:

Here’s my take:


  • Zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups orange juice (extra pulp is what I use)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • cooked 9″ pie crust


  • Smash the orange zest into the sugar using the back of a spoon. Stir occasionally, until the sugar is a bright orange color and the zest well incorporated.
  • With a hand whisk, blend the sugar and egg yolks until the sugar is dissolved. (I do this in the sauce pan to cut down on dishes.)
  • In a medium sauce pan combine all ingredients (save for the pie shell, of course) and cook on medium high heat. Stirring constantly, let mixture come to a bubble. Continue cooking for 1 minute and stir, stir, stir!
  • Remove from heat and pour into pie shell.
  • Let cool on counter until room temperature then place in fridge for 4 hours (or overnight.)
  • Serve with whipped cream (or not- I like it plain.)

Early wants me to try to make a grapefruit version…

Baby’s first cold

The past two weeks have been rough. Figgy got her first cold and, being the uber parents we are, we freaked out.

Humidifiers were going, essential oils were diffused. I brushed up on chest therapy procedures and listened to her lungs to make sure they were clear. Early had me up my vitamin intake and we debated putting Figgy on vitamins (we didn’t.) We also didn’t sleep, but rather just watched her breathing in and out and in and out… Because nothing is worse than being woken up by a baby who is screaming in terror, because her nose is stuffed up. A close second is not being able to tell the baby to just breathe through her mouth.

I became an expert at nasal suction. And I feel both proud and saddened by the fact that my three month old knows how to blow her nose (unfortunately, not on command.)

But I am so glad everyone is feeling better. And hopefully Figgy will never get sick ever again!

Other things that happened these past two weeks?

-Figgy decided to be a thumb sucker.


- I successfully made Naan bread- omnomnom!