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Day 21. in which Alex's spidey senses kick in, and she conquers the XBox Live 360.

We all learned a few things today.

Liam linked shaking his head from side to side with the notion of "NO".

Lily learned how to hang off the banister of the stairs and chirp like a "monkey princess".

Seth was reminded that he is not helping his mother by doing his own laundry; Seth is helping Seth when he is doing his own laundry.

Some lessons learned are better than others...

This morning I went back to the chiropractor. I've had to reschedule my last two appointments because of my tight schedule. He wanted to see me twice in one week, and I haven't been back since the initial visit. It's hard to commit to seeing a chiropractor twice in one week. For me, it's hard to commit to even once a week. This seemed to surprise the chiropractor. He lectured me about why it was really important to take care of myself, and how I needed to come in twice a week, telling me how he wished he had taken more time when he was my age (he's 55 now...). It's hard to argue with that, but at the same time, I can't just leave the kids and Dad behind at the house, nor can I wrangle them all while I am laid out on the chiropractic table. Since he doesn't have office hours at 9 PM, my options are limited in a very real way.

After I canceled one of my appointments, he actually called me at home to check in on me. He said he was calling just to see how I was feeling. This is nice. But I stopped going to a dentist once because he was his own receptionist, and that gave me the geebies. I need a degree of separation between myself and my doctor. I don't know why really, but I like this buffer of impersonality.

But what really got me was this. My co-payment was higher for a chiropractic visit than it is had I gone to a primary care doctor. So, when I came into the office today, I had a balance from the last visit which was 10 bucks.

I settled in to read a magazine I brought with me because I was about 20 minutes early. I don't often have much time to read at home, but I have a subscription to WIRED which I really enjoy. I don't think I've ever read one cover to cover, though.

I heard the doctor telling his secretary that there was something that needed to be taken care of before he could see me. And the next thing I knew this timid secretary came out of an office in the back, and told me how I had this balance because the insurance company co-pay was more than I realized. No biggie. I had only brought enough cash for my co-pay for today (which would now be more than I thought for today's visit, too), but I would be certain to pay it at the next visit. I was returned to the waiting room.

I became aware that there weren't any magazines in the office. I thought this was weird.

Not even a minute later, the doctor whisked me into another office and had me lay face-down on the chiropractic chair. He put a hot pack on the back of my neck, and asked me if his secretary (can't remember her name...) had talked to me about the matter of my balance. Was it all taken care of? He's asking me this as I'm laying face down. I was surprised he mentioned this, or even knew about it really, but no problem. Sure, we had talked.

Good, good...

I'm laying on the table for a bit, and my arms are uncomfortable from the position I'm in. I'm a little tense, but I'm not sure why. I feel weird, and I'm not entirely relaxed. He comes in and snaps me a few times. I admit it does feel good. I could hear my neck popping and cracking.

He directed me to get up, and made a suggestion on how to stretch. It was a basic yoga stretch. Then he told me again how he really needed to see me twice a week, and how since I had not been in sooner than today, that he was not surprised at how little improvement I had made. He said the numbness in my hands and arms that I experience at night probably won't go away without more frequent visits.

Then he said, "So is your financial situation not good right now?"

And I said, "No, actually, it's not money; it's time that is the biggest issue because I work in New Jersey most of the week."

And he went on to tell me about how I needed to make another appointment, and that he didn't care if I had to cancel it the same day, the hour before, whatever, and that I should ignore his sign in the waiting room about how payment for canceled appointments was unnecessary, that they had never actually made anyone pay ever for an appointment they could not keep. The sign was just for those inconsiderate people who didn't even bother to call and cancel.

And the whole time he's speaking my spidey senses are tingling, and he's giving me bad geebies. I'm shaking my head like I'm understanding what he is saying, but I'm thinking I'm going to get the hell out of here, and never come back.

I decided my first visit where I thought it might be evil masquerading as warm&fuzzy (actually, I said 'corporate' but same difference...) might not be so far off. My spidey senses have never been wrong yet. And I couldn't help but think of my friend who called me after bringing me last time to tell me that he met someone else who went to this doctor who called him a butcher!

So he said, "How are you going to pay for your balance today? Could you put it on a credit card?"

And I told him I was going to pay what I had thought was my co-payment for today, and next visit I would pay the rest.

And he said, "I think I'd prefer if you just pay it all today on your credit card and then we'll be straight."

Maybe I totally over-reacted, but I felt the discussion centering around my balance, which was 10 bucks was...well...weird. It just left me unsettled, and I wondered if he was the one having the financial problems right now...probably because he spent all this money on the NASA-developed scanning machine!

Anyway, I thought about it a lot of the day because it just was not 'right'. My posture will have to suffer for the short term. I may try chiropractics again, but I think I'll go with a reference from a friend next round. Maybe I'll try acupuncture...By the end of the day, I was actually aggravated about all of this. So, I called his secretary and told her I wouldn't be coming back, and I'd appreciate it if the doctor didn't call me at home again, and that she was welcome to tell him that I thought his comments about my financial state to be odd.

Is it me? Please feel free to tell me if it is. It may be one of those things about myself that I can't see. But my spidey senses are almost always right. I swear I tingle in the presence of evil.

* * *

When I came home from the chiropractor, I reported to Seth's room for XBox 360 training. We played a number of games I could barely mentally process where enemies were attacking me from all directions. We even played a version of Tetris that I thought I'd be able to beat Seth silly at, but with no such luck. It didn't seem all that different from the version of Tetris that I was familiar with. The background music was nearly the same. One of the songs it played was a rendition from the original version. Another had this sexy, breathy sounding voice in the background which would announce each of your successful rows of color-combinations "singles" or "doubles" (or, if you're Seth, even higher!). Seth and I thought it was pretty ridiculous, and resorted to yelling out the announcements ourselves. We live in such a house that this didn't cause a ruckus like it might in a quieter house...It likely seemed normal to whomever was downstairs at the time that there were two people upstairs hollering out "Single!" or "Double!" every thirty seconds.

Anyway, I can't quite put my finger on what makes this version of Tetris so challenging for me. It couldn't possibly be my aging brain. So, I'll blame it on the controller, which honestly, has way too many buttons. Since I can only use a couple of buttons at a time, the functionality is entirely lost on me. This is probably why I am such a bad player. When a game calls for more than two buttons, or worse yet, a certain combination of buttons, I am entirely useless. I can, however, chew gum and walk at the same time.

I'm officially set up with a XBox Live 360 account. Of course, I don't have the highest level of access that Seth has. But I can now go online and battle others, and look up my stats for a particular game. Incase any of you want to play me, I'm known as sleepjunky on Xbox 360 Live. Or Xbox Live 360. Whichever one it may be...

Setting this account up was endlessly painful. I had to use the controller to type in letters. Seth is super speedy with this. He can do it as quickly as I could type it.

The set up was so grueling that I didn't actually play many games after setting it up, and unfortunately, Seth didn't even let me know it was possible to set this up until after we had been playing for awhile so the games we played together were not recorded. I suspect he was just scared at how good I could do. After all, he wouldn't want his mother's stats to be better. The fear!

I can barely navigate the screens without Seth's help. If there is any fear that users using the products I work on won't be able to understand how to register or navigate a product, it has been completely negated for me. These kids today are just so tech savvy! If they can register for Xbox 360 Live, they can register for MyReadingLab! and I suspect these are likely the same users.

With that said, I'm getting better and will continue training with Seth.

So many lessons learned today!