Monday, March 29, 2010

YAS Venice - Got a family emergency? They don't want your business

Adventures in Eldercare - What do you do when your spinning instructor threatens to ban you permanently for texting your elderly father's caregiver during class?

Good question. I'm open to suggestion.

A little history. For the last several months, I've had to deal with what a lot baby boomers are facing - elderly parents living thousands of miles away who now need constant care and attention. Spinning class is one of the few times I have to myself, although even then I often can't get through a class without being interrupted by the caregiver - but we've worked out a system where she can text me so I'm not bothering anyone else.

It's worked great, until today.

I thought surely, if I explained to the instructor that Mom had just gotten out of the hospital, and that my Dad was under 24/7 care, all would be forgiven.

Uh no. Didn't move her much. In fact, it was kind of like poking a bear.

A really fit, really hip, bear.

Pick up my cell phone again, and I'd be banned, she said. Why, I asked? Because I was bothering the other students, she said.

Really? Texting quietly in the corner, surrounded by dozens of sweaty, heaving bodies with music blasting at rock-concert levels was an issue for somebody? Anybody?

This was news to me.

I was pretty upset. I'm sure I raised my voice. I didn't use any bad language (although a lot of it was floating around in my head), and I tried to keep my end of the conversation respectful. What struck me about the whole exchange later was how annoyed this woman seemed to be that she even had to deal with me.

Me, the the unfit, unhip, frumpy and tired non-bear.

In the end, I went home and did what any courageous American woman would do, write a strongly worded email and demand a refund. To their credit, I got a reply pretty fast. But - wait for it - from the same hip, fit bear-lady instructor.

Here's that reply, in it's entirety. And yes, I'm including the bear's name - not because I'm being a dick, but because she's representing herself as an officer of the corporation. Corporate bears don't deserve anonymity.

Marta, we will be happy to refund you your money. I am the VP of YAS Fitness Centers.
Our instructors and members have complained to me about your texting for quite some time now. I have made more subtle attempts to stop you but you continue to do it. It is not only disrespectful to the instructor but it is also disrespectful to the other people in the class who are living in the moment, being present and trying to have fun.
I know a lot of people who hold high level positions, people who have family who are ill (I am one of them) and they take the 45 minutes or hour to enjoy our studio and be part of the experience. Regardless of what is happening in your life you had no right to come at me as you did. Your combative behavior has resulted in your situation with YAS. We don’t want members who disrespect our instructors and our members. Perhaps a gym environment would more suitable for you since they probably don’t care as much about pleasing their members
Sherri Rosen
VP of Sales & Operations
YAS Franchise Inc
YAS Fitness Centers.
Feel free to draw your own conclusions. I know I have.

* the photo is of Kimberly Fowler, the owner of YAS, not the fit, hip bear-lady instructor.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

ACTION ALERT! Loretta Sanchez Threatening To Vote "No" On Health Care Reform!

Sorry for the late notice, but it just came out late tonight, and a bit unexpectedly, that Lorretta Sanchez is the lone holdout among CA House Democrats, and her vote is critical to passing the bill tomorrow.

This is it. There is no next time. Please do whatever you can to contribute to this effort.


Attend the rally

At her campaign office tomorrow, Sunday, from 11am-1pm.
Click link for full details and to sign up:

Phone bank from OFA HQ in Culver City

To turn people out to the rally, starting at 9:30am.

Make phone calls from home

starting at 9:00am using the super-easy Neighbor to Neighbor tool - you will be given voters in her district to call. Click link to get started:

Call her campaign office in Santa Ana and fax her DC office!

Loretta Sanchez Campaign Office Location and phone number
604 S. Harbor,
Santa Ana, CA 97204
Tel: 714.839.4431 (call and leave a message if no one picks up)

DC Fax: (202) 225-5859
(even if you're not a constituent, send letters as a Californian,
and an American)

President Obama needs our help in these final hours. He has pulled out all the stops and put his neck on the line to get health reform done, not because it benefits him politically, but because it's the right thing to do and will help millions of Americans. Let's show him we have his back, and be part of this historic achievement.

Let's get it done.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

End Game

Dear friends,

It's been a while since we've talked. You might not have noticed, but there haven't been too many emails from me since January, when Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate race, and the Democrats lost their filibuster-proof 60 seat majority.

Within a day, it seemed that everything all of us had worked towards in health care reform for the past year was gone, finally swept away in a partisan tide of Republican obstruction and teabagger furry. There was no direction from the White House. OFA had gone dark.

I stopped writing, because frankly I no idea what to do, and because a new and overwhelming priority had come into my life - the declining health of my elderly parents.

Mom and Dad had me pretty late in life, so I'm dealing with issues most of my peers won't have to deal with for another decade or more. Mom has late-stage emphysema and is on oxygen 24/7. Dad has diabetes, glaucoma, moderate dementia and had a heart attack last year. After being hospitalized for pneumonia this year, it was pretty clear he wasn't going to be able to take care of himself anymore - let alone Mom.

So I've been dealing with a bewildering number of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, home health care agencies, insurance providers and assisted living facilities trying to find the best and most appropriate care for my parents.

Despite all the stress and worry, I know in a lot of ways we're lucky. My parents were both public school teachers, so their insurance picks up the 20% Medicare doesn't cover. Every doctor visit, every hospitalization is covered. They were smart enough to get supplemental long term health care insurance, so even the home health care worker who stays with them 10 hours a day is mostly paid for.

So yes, we're lucky. Because we get to focus on what's best for their health and well-being, free from the worry that their health care needs will ruin them or their family financially.

In the end, that's all this fight about health care reform has been about. Not death panels, or socialism, or Obama's "waterloo". But about the simple dignity of being able to receive the health care we need to live, not just what we can afford.

This is our right. This is what we've been fighting for.

This weekend, if reports are to be believed, Congress will finally vote to make health care reform a reality. It's not the reform we had hoped and fought for, it is deeply flawed and we must work to improve it in the future, but it's all we can get out of our government right now.

I will be calling my reps in the House and in the Senate this week, and telling them vote for the bill. I ask you to do the same.

If you don't know who your reps are, or how to contact them, go to this link to find out.

Make the call. Do it because no journey can start without taking the first step.