Now why don’t he write?

As previously explained, it hasn’t been a smooth time in the Thinga household with the recent coughs and phlegm and brain transplants. Oh, but it’s not all bad news.

Remember that baby boy I had 10 months ago? I neglected to mention that my wife’s beloved employer, just 2 weeks after his birth, surprised us with a phone call to say it was time for Mom to return to work otherwise our insurance benefits would be circumcised.

Oooh, sorry, bad word choice. I mean chopped off at the base of the stem and reattached when she’s legally required to return to work at the end of 3 months.

You’re probably thinking, doesn’t the federal Family and Medical Leave Act protect you? And don’t you have the California Family Rights Act to help you? Well, no, and no. There are 10 centimeter loopholes in those laws in the case of a mother who goes on pregnancy disability leave about 3 months before birth.

Got that? If you want to keep your insurance, go against your doctor’s advice, ignore the premature labor and other nasty symptoms you’re experiencing, and just keep working with a smile on your face until it’s time to deliver your baby like the textbooks say.

Man, if this happens to a nurse employed for 10 years at a birth center, you just know the rest of this country is screwed. Well, screwed if your family’s insurance is supplied by your wife’s employer.

So, how is this good news? Around the time my boy was turning 6-months-old, my brilliant wife began her new job as a university nursing instructor. It’s a tiny bit of justice being able to leave after you’re essentially told you’re not appreciated by administrators (her department supervisor totally went to bat for her, but struck out).

Oh, okay, that’s a low blow. She was appreciated because she was given a “10-year pin” at a special employee ceremony while she was on her unpaid leave and paying her own insurance.

The new job is intentionally part-time like her last job so that she gets an armful of our kids as often as I do. It also puts her on a new career track which we both know is better suited to her potential.

So, why don’t I write? Well, she was asked to, and did, double her load this semester with a nursing lab course. We’re entering week #2 of 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. workdays while our boy has just embraced bipedalism (in a lumbering Frankenstein sort of way, but oof, stop chasing the cat!). The bright side for me is that the lab course ends after six weeks.

My mother is here helping out for a couple weeks, which is appreciated, but wow, I took for granted how our household operates… all those little rules and ways of doing things that are totally different from how your parents do things.

Anyhow, life in the Thinga home is topsy turvy at the moment. Things will return to normal on the blog once I acclimate, but don’t be surprised if I do mostly complaining this week. And yes, I remember there are a couple blog contests desperately awaiting winners. All in good time.


4 Responses to “Now why don’t he write?”

  1. Stephanie says:

    I work for the Federal Government. I’ve got stories. Sending Thinga-love to your family during this crazy, crazy time.

    February 2nd, 2009 at 6:03 am

  2. Dani says:

    Sorry to hear that things are topsy-turvy. At least you have an endpoint in sight. We’ll all survive while you get your house in order. Good luck to you and all of the thinga-household!

    February 2nd, 2009 at 6:04 pm

  3. Diana (Ladybug Limited) says:

    Your absence was noted! Blessings to you and the thing-fam as you weather stormy times.

    February 3rd, 2009 at 1:48 pm

  4. Jeremiah says:

    Thanks for sharing, actually. It’s nice to get the personal side once in a while, and your story points to the serious issues with the FMLA. I’m curious to know how many fathers out there (non-self-employed) were able to take paternity leave. I was entitled to it under the FMLA, but ended up negotiating a two-week absence from work, and feeling lucky for it, rather than risking being on my employer’s “naughty” list forever. It wouldn’t have bugged me so much if my wife hadn’t had a lot of post-op complications with an unplanned C-section. She could barely pick our daughter up when my two weeks were up – made for some interesting weeks for us all, even with a local grandmother’s help.

    February 4th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

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