Sunday, June 25, 2006


1. I'm sick as a dog. It was over 90 degrees in our classrooms on Friday, so hot that no one believed me when I told them I thought I had a fever. Then I went home, lay down, took my temperature: 102.5. I've had to run around all weekend looking for an apartment. I missed the 8th grade graduation because the trains were all messed up and I was late to my first apartment visit earlier that morning and then was too far away to make it back to the ceremony.

2. Anyway, I think I've found a place: it's too expensive, but it's huge, beautiful, in a pre-war building in Inwood, and, most importantly, they liked my credit and let me leave a deposit to hold the place until I can fax them a hundred more financial documents. The whole process makes me so angry. Why do you need my last three paystubs, my last bank statement, my tax returns, my social security card, my last six rent receipts... I pay my bills! That's what the credit check proved! They are charging a high fee for a "broker" who, as far as I can tell, doesn't exist and has done nothing to rent the apartment (although I have her business card and have to make out a money order to her. The previous tenant posted the ad and showed me the place. He's as pissed as I am. But enough rage, the point is, it's a gorgeous apartment in a pretty and safe neighborhood.

3. My health plan won't cover my typhoid vaccine for India. Luckily, they will cover the malaria vaccine. I'm irritated that I have to pay $75 out of pocket for something that will protect my health while travelling, but that's not the main issue. We have to fill "maintenance" prescriptions through a mail-order service. I didn't think a typhoid vaccine was a maintenance medication, so I took it to my normal pharmacy, way back in May when I got the prescription. Two days later, they told me they couldn't fill it, so I mailed it in. I got two automated messages on my voicemail telling me the mail order pharmacy had received and filled my prescription. But nothing arrived in the mail. I started to get a little anxious, because I have to start taking this at least two weeks before I go (I'm leaving July 5th - we're now well past the two week mark). So, I called customer service to ask about the missing prescription. They told me they would re-order it and mail it overnight mail, but I'd have to pay the co-pay again. Okay. Two days later, guess what arrives? A letter informing me that they couldn't fill it, and my original prescription. Upshot? I can't get the medication until Monday, and as a result, I will be at risk of getting typhoid for the first few days I'm in India. What I fail to understand is why they didn't tell me on the phone - or earlier - that they couldn't fill the prescription. I could have gone to my doctor for another, taken it to a local pharmacy, and filled it myself a week ago!

4. Earlier this week, my exchange partner emailed me, saying I needed to fax her my transcripts immediately, along with copies of my diplomas. I faxed the transcripts the next day but.... I have this weird situation with my master's degree diploma, which you can only understand if you work in NYC. Basically, I got my masters during a two year period when Teachers College, TFA, and the DOE teamed up to pay for teachers to get masters degree in exchange for a longer commitment to teaching in NYC schools. It was a sweet deal; I didn't have to pay very much for my degree. I did my part, and Columbia did theirs, but of course, when it came time to pay the bills, the DOE never came through. So, when I graduated, I couldn't get my diploma. The school acknowledges that I graduated when asked, but no diploma. I went back and stood in line at the registrar's office three or four times in the year and a half after I finished my degree, but each time, the story was the same. The agreement was between TC, TFA, and the DOE, so I couldn't really apply pressure on the DOE directly, as it wasn't an agreement they entered into with me personally. Finally, I gave up, figuring I had the degree, TC would back me up on that, did I really need the piece of paper? Hmmm. Now I do. I'm hoping that when I stop by TC on Monday afternoon, the problem will have resolved itself and they'll be able to give me a diploma. But I have to admit, I'm not confident of this.

5. Monday is our awards ceremony and Tuesday is Field Day, both of which I am really, really involved with planning, only I've been too busy and too sick and waiting on information from other people, and now... I don't know how they're going to happen.


Blogger annie said...

I ived in Inwood for 5 years. Great neighborhood! Good luck with TC and the typhoid vaccine. Gotta love the bureaucratic nightmare of the UFT and DOE.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

1) I second the Inwood vote. My sister lives right near Inwood Hill Park. You'll love it and so will your exchange partner. Have you figured out the commute from Inwood to the South Bronx?

2) I totally feel your pain on the vaccines. When I went to Ecuador, I needed some shots recommended by the State Dept. No one in NYC would give me the shots, and I found some clinic in Jersey, had to take a bus out there ( I don't drive) and walk a long way to the actual clinic, pay a boatload of money, and wait a long time for a bus back to the city.

3) Can you take legal action against the DOE? Did other people in TFA have the same problem? Hopefully, Columbia will be understanding about your situation. Are you allowed to send an unofficial transcript?

4) Good Luck!!

5:49 PM  
Blogger aphrikandreema said...

Good luck with figuring out vaccines and diplomas. Things like this are a little frustrating, but so worth it:)
I finally accepted a position and forfeited the housing subsidy to work at a great school in UWS- i feel good about my decision though:)

7:49 PM  
Blogger MommyProf said...

About the typhoid, make sure you drink only sealed, bottled things and that food you eat is cooked and steaming hot and you should be ok. The vaccine isn't 100% effective anyway - we got it before an extended trip and my husband got typhoid anyway.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...


I live in Inwood and work in West Harlem.

I teach 6th grade...

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Blogger breakdown said...

Wow I didn't know New York got that hot. 90%!!!


1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It stinks you gotta pay out of pocket for the vacine, but trust me, better safe then sorry! You do NOT want to get sick with that.

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Blogger Jonathan Siberry said...

yeh vacines should be free

Im having to pay for loads these days and im putting them all on my west ham credit card which in turn puts me more out of pocket for paying interest

a good example is i was doing my usual daily thing of going to work when my car breaks down, i pay £50 to get it towed, £50 to get it looked at and then £300 for a new gearbox. then they service it for £20. thats £420 or more than a weeks wage and i aint even got to work yet.

sometimes life just has it in for you

10:28 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Siberry said...

Vacines should be free, but then if they were there would be no money to figure out new vacines.

I guess you have to accept the fact that you will have to pay to be safe and move on. shame though.

Jonathan (vauxhall part manager).

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Blogger Kerol said...

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