Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bad Form

I wonder how many trees had to die to create the forms that I'm supposed to fill out this month?

Forms, forms, and more forms!!!

The ones for Rose have been the big volume lately. We signed her up for a new summer-care program, so they needed umpty-something different forms filled out, from the emergency contacts to the vaccination dates to the contract to the field trip permission et cetera, und so weiter. I think I had to put all our names, address, phone and e-mail on every single form. Well, OK, maybe no e-mail on the form about the preferred brand of sunscreen and bug spray. Sure felt like it though.

Then there are the forms from the elementary school. Tell us about Rose so we can put her in a well-balanced class next year. Buy petunias to support the PTA. Scholastic Books order form. Sponsor sheet & t-shirt order form for the all-school walk/run in May.

And we signed her up for piano lessons again for next year. And I think there are a few more forms lurking in a pile that I'm forgetting about. If not, I'm sure some will come home in her backpack now that spring break is done.

Of course we can't let Joy get away without paperwork!! The contract for the daycare renewal at Lynda's is an easy one, I just haven't gotten to it yet. The one I'm actively avoiding at the moment, though, is the re-registration for medical assistance. Not that it's a particularly long form or anything. It's just... well, kind of a mess. It appears that they're trying to use the same ridiculous form to accommodate everyone from preschoolers with special needs to economically-disadvantaged applicants to people with work-related disabilities -- and for first-time applicants as well as renewals. Sure, THOSE are all going to need to answer the same questions. These government-program-forms give me the willies anyway. As confusing as they are, I have this icky fear that I'm going to accidentally mis-interpret something, give the "wrong" answer, and *POOF*!! Joy's future eligibility will go up in a puff of oily smoke, and I'll never figure out the proper incantation to bring it back.

Silly, I know. Right?

And all of this is just a warm-up for the Big Ugly later this spring, the annual re-certification or whatever the heck it's called, for medical assistance on the whole and the intensive autism program in particular. The one where I get to ponder and enumerate all of Joy's deficits, failings, shortcomings and abnormalities in excruciating detail, to prove that she's wretched enough to merit the help. (But simultaneously demonstrate that the program is doing enough good to be worth continuing.) Goody, goody.

It's just not right. Won't somebody please speak for the trees?


pixiemama said...

Me, me! I will speak for the trees and our sanity - what happened to a paperless society? Yesterday I finished Foster's paperwork for Social Security, tomorrow I must pay the piper with the taxes, later in the week, Finn & Sophie's insurance needs to be renewed and later in the month, I must reapply to Social Security for Reilly, who now requires a medical card for continued therapies.

You and I are on the same path to paper madness.

Niksmom said...

Oh, I hear you, sistah! Just did our forms a few weeks ago. Ugh. Now we have to gear up for SSI application...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, JoyMama. I only treat people. But. I believe if the system were organized differently - to reduce angst of mothers like you, pixiemama and Niksmom, trees would ultimately benefit, too.

As you know, I have been a failure at treating the system, and use the blogosphere to share my professional angst. Sigh.

Sincerely wishing I could offer some alternative to the forms. If we were still using stone tablets at least we would get some exercise hauling them around!


Word verification: exhaim
Sounds Yiddish, yes?

AuntieS/ARatK said...

Our school district (1 kindergarten, 4 elementary, and 2 middle schools) went "paperless" this year. It was a sudden, all or nothing, cold-turkey system where no papers are supposed to be mailed home or sent home in kids backpacks. Sounds wonderful, yes?? Well, it has been a bit of a nightmare instead. All info for school, PTO, and afterschool programs must be put up on the district and individual school websites and parents are expected to check all of these various sites to locate the info and the forms. Yep, you heard me right, there are still forms!! The difference is that now, instead of the district or the school sending home paper, each parent must print out whatever forms they need to complete and send it in to the appropriate school office or PTO location. Paperless???? Not really, just "paperless" for the school. It still involves the paper in our home printers and forms to fill out after printing!! And, as a PTO chairperson, I can say that it has been very difficult to run a fundraising event that involves an outside agency with their own order form, such as gift wrap or school supply kits or Entertainment Books. The hours and hours of back and forth we did with the companies to create an online form that was also somewhat user-friendly for parents was amazing. And then, we lose a lot of sales because so many parents don't or can't or won't check out the website regularly enough or print out the forms or check back with the websites to confirm due dates. It ends up costing the school district after all, because the money that the PTO raises ends up coming from the school budget when our fundraising falls short due to this new policy. I am not opposed to trying to go green and paperless, but there must be some happy medium between the JoyMama overload of paper and the life of everything only being available online!! LOL! Rose is such a smart and wise child, maybe she can help out her AuntieS and think up a solution to this "world problem."
-AuntieS/ARatK (award winning running at the keyboard, I think, this time!!)

JoyMama said...

I guess I should mention -- the plaint of the trees is really at least a little bit tongue in cheek. As AuntieS so eloquently points out, putting the same ol' stinky forms into an online environment can cause just as many or even more problems! The paper is icky, but form-filling-outing is even worse, whether on pulp or online. Growl. Hiss.

mama edge said...

I fill every inch of white space on every form with scrawled notes about my boys and generally have to staple additional pages when the white space runs out. Then (forgive me trees) I attach copies of all relevant documentation.

And my suspicion is that no one actually reads any of it.

Elizabeth Channel said...


Catch! calls the Once-ler.
He lets something fall.
It´s a Truffula Seed.
It´s the last one of all!

You´re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.

Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.

Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.

Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.

Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.

JoyMama said...

Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better.
It's not.

Osh said...

I have saved a lot of trees since the government decided Evan isn't disabled enough (good and bad) and that we make too much money (uh...)

Anonymous said...

hear ya, lady. i HATE them. and, like mara, i'm convinced no one reads them. as soon as you sit down with any of these people, the ask you exactly what's on the form.

Anonymous said...

i seem to spend all of hope's nap time filling out paperwork and making phone calls. i've done "intakes" on the phone and then they send more forms to fill out asking me the same questions all over again!