<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
You are viewing: Main Page
 

Oh, yay

December 7th, 2016 at 11:53 am

Looks like the Christmas spam is starting early. Barely readable, spent too much time using a theasauras, completely off topic, trying too hard to be high brow spam, too.

Unemployment and Emergency Fund Usage to Date

December 3rd, 2016 at 08:18 pm

DH has been unemployed for 15 weeks. So far I have withdrawn $14,000 from our Emergency Fund to live on. Of that $3597 has gone to pay for insurance premiums, $2970 went to pay for out of pocket medical costs the month we had no insurance, and the stuff insurance does not cover, $1100 went to cover 2 eye exams and 2 pairs of glasses, and $560 went to pay for dental. So $8227 of the $14,000 withdrawn so far has been for medical related expenses.

Of the remaining $5773, $1325 has gone to pay for utilities. $681 has gone to pay for storage. $292.92 has gone to pay for life insurance, $327 for our family gym membership, $91.23 for Netflix, $26.07 for hulu, $350.70 for our cell phones (4 phone basic plan), $242.46 for internet, $200 on feed and bedding for the turkeys, ducks, and chickens (the rabbits are self-supporting), $100 on toiletries, and the rest on groceries, which is about $700 a month or $2100.

Medical costs will remain high. There is no way around that, but we certainly won't have to worry about glasses again for a year or more and dental will be spaced out so we don't get a big hit all at once and will just be cleanings for the four of us.

So there is $6000 left in the Emergency Fund and then I'll have to start dipping into the $45,000 down payment fund. DH has had two phone interviews with one company (not an oil company) and is scheduled for an in person interview with them on the 14th. If he gets it, it won't pay very well, we'll still have to use savings, but it will help until he can get back on elsewhere. And it will be very valuable experience in the aeronautics industry.

The oil companies seem to be holding off on hiring until after the Electoral College confirms Trump as president. One or two have said they are waiting until after the swearing in ceremony, just to be sure. I don't think at this point the election results will be overturned, but the industry is very jumpy still. Hopefully they will be hiring by the time unemployment runs out. Unemployment has all gone to medical, not that it is very much to begin with.

We're getting by. It's hard to see our savings dwindle, but this is precisely what I worked so hard to save this money for. On the bright side it appears as if DH is going to get some sort of company bonus for the portion of the year he did work since they sent him the paperwork asking if he wanted to deposit it to the 401K or just be sent it as a check. No idea how much it will be. It's been running around $3800 for the last several years. With only 8 months instead of 12 months qualifying, it'll probably be 75% of that. Or less.

Whatever week we receive it, we won't get unemployment for that week as it will count as income, obviously. So that will stretch the unemployment out another week. If he does get 75% of the usual, that'll be $2850 which will stretch out our Emergency Fund a little while longer. Then we'll have our tax refund in the February since we always file immediately. We might be able to stretch through February without touching the down payment fund if the timing is right and DH doesn't get hired before then. One can hope.

Cashed Out at Pinecone

December 3rd, 2016 at 10:38 am

I cashed out at Pinecone yesterday or the day before. It had been a while since I had done it. I had a balance of $48. I've had a lot of surveys lately and one product test from them, so it was a little above average for 2 and half months. Usually I cash out monthly and it is around $12 to $15.

My Opinion of the Doctors at My Doctor's Practice Just Plummeted

December 1st, 2016 at 08:16 pm

I do not need this drama. Why do I flipping attract so much drama? Am I a drama magnet? Seriously, I just want to get better. Why do so many doctors think we don't know our own bodies? Why do they have to be so arrogant in their attitudes? And why, when told why they are wrong do they continue to believe what they want anyway?

No, on call doctor, I cannot take penicillin. I will get hives. I will feel like bugs are crawling all over my body. And if I stay on it long enough, my hives will turn into blisters. And just for kicks and giggles, 5 days in I'll get a roaring yeast infection. See that thing in my chart that says what I am allergic to? Penicillin is the first thing listed.

No, on call doctor, I cannot take doxycyline. It does not work for me. It has not worked in 20 years. None of the cycline drugs, do. Yes, I know the doctor had me take it last year, even though I said it did not work for me. Yes, I know I didn't come back afterwards. That does not mean I got better. That means I finally got into the ENT doctor and he gave me something that actually worked. Which was what I asked you for this time, because I can't get into the ENT until December 13th and I couldn't get into my own doctor until December 7th, even though I was supposed to see him today which is why I'm here seeing you.

Yes, I have had indigestion for the past 3 days. No, that has nothing to do with anything. It has nothing to do with 6 weeks of sinus pressure, fever and chills, stuffiness, coughing up phlegm, painful ears (no longer painful), headache, joint aches, sore throat, and enlarged lymph nodes in my neck. Two weeks ago, they said it was bronchitis and most definitely not the flu, but did not give me antibiotics, just steroids. Now you are telling me it is not a respiratory infection, even though nothing has changed.

So when you finally got over your brilliant idea that it was somehow related to GERD, which I don't have the symptoms of, except for the last 3 days my stomach was a little upset due to a muscle relaxant (Valerian root) I was taking for a muscle knot, which I told you, you grudgingly agreed to give me an antibiotic. We agreed on one by name, and a 14 day supply.

The nurse comes in with a prescription for a 10 day supply--of doxycycline. I was very unhappy. I made her bring the doctor back in. Her excuse was oh, well, that other drug wouldn't actually work for what you have, it's for skin conditions. I asked her why she even brought it up then. She said she made a mistake. I'm like, you don't know your drugs? I'm thinking, isn't that kind of basic?

So we went over again why I couldn't take doxycycline. And then she went back to saying how she didn't think I needed antibiotics, that she thought it was a stomach issue and I said I'd already been down that route and been cleared, there is nothing wrong with my stomach . I'd also already been down the lung route. It isn't that. My lung capacity is fine.

I reiterated what worked and she finally agreed to give me that drug, but only half of the amount I needed. And only after a lecture of how it is bad to take antibiotics when you don't need them, not just for you, but for the whole community. I was so close to flipping her off because of her condescension.

My voice got very deadly at that point and I told her that as an organic farmer I probably knew far more than she did about the abuse of antibiotics and I also knew my own body. I knew what worked and what did not work, and what I needed to beat this thing. I went on to inform her that not treating something long enough with antibiotics was even worse, because of how it only killed the weak versions of the bacteria and allowed the powerful ones to thrive and that that was exactly what she would be doing by not prescribing the medication for long enough. It happens this way every single time, regardless of whether she wants to think it can or not.

Her response was if you are still sick after finishing this course of medicine you can come back. I said I've already been here twice and paid for an x-ray. I can't afford to go to the doctor 3 times in 5 weeks, because you don't want to prescribe the proper amount of medication the first time. I also told her I was tired of doctors who refused to actually listen to patients, who had a lifetime of experience with their own bodies.

She said I needed to see my own doctor from now on then, because seeing all the different on call doctors when I was sick made it difficult on them to diagnose me since they didn't know my history. I said I'd tried, but they scheduling people had screwed that up and I had just told her my history, twice, but she wasn't listening.

They had screwed it up, too. I had an appointment scheduled with my doctor. I even had the card with me and showed it to them, but apparently he wasn't in today and they don't make appointments for one in the afternoon as that is the lunch hour there. But it was clear as day on the card. She told me he had on call slots available for tomorrow. I said then I'd have to pay another co-pay tomorrow. And anyway, the front desk had said it would be a week before I could see him, which was the only reason I'd agreed to see her, so I highly doubted it. I checked on the way out. He did not.

I'm going to write a letter to the practice tomorrow after I've had time to cool off a bit detailing my experience with this awful woman. Then I'll sit on it for 48 hours and then edit it to make sure I'm being polite. I'm thinking about finding another practice altogether, because this is not the first on call doctor to act like this, although this is the worst case of it. I don't like my own doctor well enough to put up with this kind of crap from the on call doctors. I don't dislike him, but I have no loyalty. I do think he deserves to know why if I decide to leave, though. Maybe it is time to see a naturalpath.

Edited to add: Went to get the prescription later and she'd prescribed something else. But the pharmacist won't let me have it, because it interacts with a different medication I'm on and the two together could cause heart problems. Which, you know, I could have told her if she'd flipping told me what she was going to do. That's two medications she knew squat about. Unprofessional piece of work.

Thanksgiving with No Drama

November 24th, 2016 at 11:50 am



I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving this year. We are staying home as we did last year and looking forward to a day of peace. My MIL and FIL are going to her brother's house. I don't care what my SIL is doing. My one sister never spends turkey day with anyone but her husband and kids. My other sister will probably stop by in the evening, but otherwise it will be just us and my mom.

I'm so tired of the extended family drama caused by DH's sister and I'm just not willing to put up with it anymore at Thanksgiving and I'm starting to feel that way about Christmas. She's making things so hard on her parents this year and quite frankly, she's always made things hard on us. Every holiday we've spent with them turned into a screaming match between her and her now ex-husband, her and one of her daughters, or her and whatever random guy she brought to Christmas each year after the divorce even if they'd only been dating for 3 weeks, until DH and I put our feet down several years ago about not bringing random men to Christmas. That didn't stop the fighting between her and her kids, but it kept the stranger element away.

DH's sister is having a fit apparently because we said this would be a good year to stop exchanging gifts with her since DH is out of work still and we don't have an income. She now has a grandchild and a new generation to focus on and DH doesn't have a job. She can funnel her money there and not worry about us anymore. She consistently gives us stuff we don't want, have specifically asked her to stop giving us, and can't use due to allergies and she knows it and ends up with it because of it. So really she's just buying it for herself anyway. The kicker is, she often manages to find a way to have FIL pay for it than never reimburses him.

My sisters and I stopped exchanging gifts 20 years ago. My mother and I about five years ago, other than a token. It's not like we're singling her out. But she's just being so selfish about this. This is the same woman who expected her parents to pay her mortgage for her when she lost her job and couldn't work for 2 months due to losing her credentials (she got them back, it was a wrongful termination), and totally lost it and didn't talk to them for 6 weeks when they didn't.

Even though her father is going through chemotherapy, is retired, and needs every cent to pay for the frequent trips to Seattle for treatment and his own mortgage and bills and food. They don't have extra. She had access to a HELOC, but her parents have always bailed her out before. She's tried to get us to pay her mortgage before in the past, too, right after trading in her car for a newer one she didn't need, and other questionable financial choices. We refused. The woman doesn't know how to pay money back to family.

It didn't occur to her that the circumstances her parents are in have changed since the last time and that they don't have the money to do that anymore. Oh, the fit she pitched about that. DH had to really go after her on that because she couldn't believe they didn't have the money.

And she's been stealing from his parents. They made the mistake of putting her name on one of their credit cards. Fortunately it only has a $2000 limit. The point of the card was so that when FIL was first recovering from surgery and DH was still working in Alaska, SIL could use the card to go pick things up at the grocery store for them or to pick them up food at a restaurant or to pick up prescriptions, at least until he could drive again. MIL doesn't drive anymore.

Turns out that she'd go to the grocery store and she'd buy their groceries and her groceries at the same time, on FIL's card. She'd go pick them up fast food, but she'd get food for herself and her daughter and eat it first before bringing them their now cold food from the restaurant. She'd go pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, but she'd slip some other items onto the bill. FIL sent her in to pick up some undershirts for him and she ended up buying herself several tops and her daughter a couple of pairs of jeans.

So the credit card is now maxed out and FIL is keeping it that way for now. DH and I agree they have to get the card back and take SIL off it, so hopefully DH can convince them. FIL is capable of driving now, DH is home when he's not, and heck, I'll take him, if it comes to that. I think FIL will be easy to convince. It's MIL who always gives in to SIL.

Though I think after the most recent stuff she might be finally seeing clearly. The latest was she finally called them the other night saying she was going to pick up something to eat and asking her if they wanted her to pick them up anything. But it was clear from her message that what she really wanted to know was if there was room on that credit card so she could use it to pay for her own meal and incidentally bring them by some food. FIL and MIL were asleep and didn't answer the phone.

I'm really at the point where I just don't want to have Christmas with her at all this year. Neither do the kids and I flat out asked DH and he said no, not really, but he was worried about how his folks would take it. I said we can still see his folks, just on our own. Two of the grandchildren are adults now, one with a child of her own. His parents will have to get used to the changes now anyway. And if we end up moving to Kentucky or Kansas we won't be coming back for holidays at all.

Rough Week

November 19th, 2016 at 03:48 am

I was finally able to see the doctor, not mine, but the on-call doctor, on Wednesday. At least it was the really cool Vietnamese guy that I really like, even better than my own doctor and I'd totally switch, but they have some kind of anti-poaching rule at the practice.

Not that I don't like my doctor, it's just sometimes I feel like he doesn't pay attention to my history. I wish my old doctor was still around, but sadly, he died a few years ago in his 80's and worked up until a year before that. I'd gone to him my whole life, he'd delivered me, even. Talk about knowing my history.

He sent me for an x-ray to rule out walking pneumonia. He wasn't sure but thought I could be borderline between that and bad bronchitis. Didn't find out until Thursday that it was bad bronchitis. He put me on prednisone, but the pharmacy didn't have it. Apparently no pharmacy had it, so they ordered it, which meant I didn't get to start it until the next morning when it came in. Then it cost $250 out of pocket because our insurance didn't cover it and apparently it doesn't qualify under the cash discount program.

I'm not sure why he didn't prescribe antibiotics since I've had this for four weeks so it's got to be bacterial at this point. I mean, I know I'm allergic to penicillin, but there's got to be something else. I've had bronchitis before and been treated.

So still feeling pretty miserable, drinking a lot of Throat Coat and Breathe Easy teas from Traditional Medicinals. I throw a tea bag of both in one cup of water to steep. I love the combo and it seems to work for a couple of hours. Also taking the orange and blue cold pills of various store brand varieties to at least manage the symptoms.

Then on Wednesday night I got my foot caught up in the bathroom rug and somehow went up on my toes, then over them, bending them backwards so my body weight came down on the top of my foot stressing my ankle. It would have been okay if my other foot hadn't gotten tangled in the rug, too, making me lose my balance and in the process I went sideways onto my ankle fully rolling it to the outside and down onto my ankle bone.

I grabbed for the vanity, even touched it, but I couldn't grip it and down I went onto my right side. I managed to turn a little so that my hip didn't take it straight on and it got more of my butt, and I got my arm up to protect my head from the floor and the door, but knocked my elbow hard and the outside of my hand and pinky.

But I saved my head. The only thought I had after I knew I couldn't stop my fall was don't get a concussion. I have only gotten my short-term memory working like normal again after last summer's concussion for about 3 months now. And this would not have been a mild concussion if I'd hit my head like that one. I probably would have knocked myself out.

By Thursday morning I had a round purple bruise covering and surrounding my ankle bone, and a flat inch wide and four inch long bruise across the front of my ankle. It was swollen to 4 times the size of my other ankle. The inside of the right knee hurt from the pull of the ankle roll and swelled, too. It still hurts, but the swelling is gone. The ankle swelling, with a lot of icing yesterday and today is only about 3 times as big as the other one now.

The weird thing is, that as much as it hurts, it really just feels like a great big bruise. It doesn't feel broken or like I tore any ligaments or tendons. I don't think it is sprained, just strained and badly bruised. I can still flex it in all directions without anything shooting or stabbing, it just aches, like a bone bruise. I can walk okay, though I put on one of my ankle braces that I normally just wear in the pool for support. Walking doesn't make it hurt more than just existing. It hurts to go down or up steps and I have to go down on my foot with the bad knee because I can't do it on the strained ankle.

Tomorrow I will start alternating ice with heat. I am taking painkillers. It is interfering with my sleep, but so is the cough so who knows if I'd be asleep anyway.

Tomorrow we go to the farm to pick up our turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We didn't get big ones this year because we waited too late to order them and all they had left was the small size. 8 to 12 pounds. That's okay. Thanksgiving is just us this year and if I have my way, Christmas will be, too.

So Many Didn't Even Bother

November 11th, 2016 at 10:24 am

70,000,000 registered voters did not vote in the election this week. A further 20,000,000 eligible voters did not register to vote. That means 90,000,000 people, give or take a few thousand due to life circumstances like a heart attack or stroke or giving birth, in America did not think who became the next president was important enough to vote for or register to vote for.

Or else they thought it was a done deal because of a media that wished it so and pollsters who over sampled in predominately liberal areas like large cities and college campuses and got such skewed data that it made them think they did not need to bother. Or they did it on purpose just so their polls would have the results they wanted them to have. If you looked at the collection data and not just the charts it was obvious what they were doing. But most of America didn't look. The propaganda machine did exactly the opposite of what it wanted to achieve.

It makes me wonder how many of those now protesting voted and how many did not. Based on my reasonable knowledge of statistics and my cynical opinion of human nature, I'd estimate at least 55% did vote but of those 5% voted for Johnson or Stein, 30% did not vote, the rest may or may not have but of those 10% are paid protesters, 3% didn't have anything better to do, and 2% are there just to try to incite violence to break out so they can riot, steal, beat people they pull out of random cars, and set things on fire, all of which have happened in most of the protesting cities, even Seattle, although at least in Seattle they are just burning garbage.

I wouldn't believe any polling data coming now that breaks down how America voted by race or sex, or any other label they want to put on us to divide us out, either. We saw how they polled only in select areas, not across America, certainly not in rural areas. We saw that people obviously lied to the pollsters as well, due to fear of getting beaten up, shame, or privacy issues. I think if there is one takeaway anyone should have from this election, it is that you can never believe the polls again, if you ever did in the first place. With my knowledge of statistics, including how to manipulate them, I never did.

Medical Insurance for 2017

November 3rd, 2016 at 05:29 pm

We have decided to stick with the plan we are on for insurance for next year. It is going to go up $137.44 per month in January, making it $1336.44 a month or $16,037.28 a year. What a racket. I hope DH finds a job soon that has medical. This is going to burn through our savings once unemployment stops.

If DH doesn't have an income next year, the fine for 3 adults and one child for not having health insurance is $2432.50. With an income it is 2.5% of gross income. That's a difference of $13,604.78. That's three months of living expenses. It is just so much cheaper paying out of pocket without insurance. I am just afraid not to have something as backup. Ugh. They really just need to change that to the Unaffordable Care Act.

I know if we want to give up seeing the doctors of our choosing and let the government into every aspects of our lives next year we could get super crap insurance and be subsidized, but I don't want to give up the quality of my health care and the relationships with my doctors and nurses that I've formed. I don't want to see whatever doctor is available at the clinic and have to wait 6 hours in a crowded waiting room to do it because they are running so far behind.

I don't want to have to take government charity, either. With unemployment it's an insurance program that is paid into as part of your job benefits. With subsidies, it is not. It is for folks who it will cripple financially if they don't get help. I know that eventually it might do that to us, but not yet. We'd just last a lot longer if the rules weren't so ridiculous.

I guess I will deal with that when the time comes. I wish we were a healthier family without auto immune and other long-term issues. If we didn't have the prescriptions and all the doctor's visits, we could have a plan with a less expensive premium and it wouldn't really matter if we could see our own doctors or not as we'd only go in for yearly physicals. Prescriptions wouldn't matter. But we're not and they do.

Probable Diagnosis

November 3rd, 2016 at 03:55 pm

My daughter has been struggling with something that has seemed to baffle the regular doctor for a year now. In the last couple of weeks the purplish brown patches on her feet really started to hurt and darken and as a last ditch effort he sent her to a dermatologist who said, "I'm Dr. D and that looks like granuloma annulare," before he'd even sat all the way down. After he did a full skin exam, he took a biopsy to send off, but he's pretty confident.

It's an auto immune disease and they don't know what causes it. It is not common, but they don't consider it rare either. Obviously he could look right at it and be 98% sure of what it was. Untreated outbreaks can run the course of 2 to 5 years. Normally it doesn't cause pain unless it occurs over joints and then the skin thickens there and starts making it hard to flex those joints. That is what is happening to her.

Treatment will be a series of injections, numerous pinpricks of cortizone throughout the spots. It might be two sessions, it could be up to four, depending on how well she responds to it. They will be six weeks apart. They do have a topical treatment, but it is daily application for 6 months and fails in 75% of patients. And when the patient is in pain they don't recommend it.

She also has a big patch of eczema on her shin. So he gave her a prescription for a cream which she will also use on the patches until the biopsy comes back and we can start on the injections. I'm not sure what the insurance will cover here, but we'll pay it outright if we need to. This is something that is making it hard for her to walk without pain.

Hopefully the insurance will cover at least part of it. Injectible cortizone has been around for decades so I doubt it is still under any kind of patent. I'm pretty sure there are generic versions.

I'm just glad he didn't take one look at it and say cancer. I know we still have to wait two weeks on the biopsy results, but he seemed very confident. I told DD it was probably going to be something where the doctor had never seen it before or knew immediately what it was. I'm glad it seems to be the latter.

Unemployment and Emergency Fund Usage

November 2nd, 2016 at 02:59 pm

DH has officially been unemployed for 10 weeks (and 3 days) now. I did the math for what we've been spending up until now. So far I have withdrawn $9000 from our Emergency Fund, which works out to $900 a week. We don't use it like that, my withdrawals have been $2500, $3500, and $3000, and we go until it runs out before I transfer more. Close to $2000 of that went to pay for glasses and eye doctor visit, dentist visits, doctor appointments, and prescriptions during our uninsured month.

We have also received 4 unemployment payments, but one came today and is going towards November and the other we haven't used yet so is also going towards November. It will pay for the November medical insurance and whatever other medical we have until it runs out. Each payment is two weeks of benefits. So we have used 4 weeks of benefits, which is $1576. That has all gone towards paying for medical insurance, co-pays, c-pap supplies, and prescriptions.

We have 14 weeks left before DH runs out of benefits. He's worked a job that has paid into unemployment insurance for 32 years, far more than he will ever see back in his lifetime. It's too bad that he can't withdraw based on what's been paid in for as long as he needs to. I'm still hoping he'll find a job by the end of the year, but if not benefits will run out by the end of January and we will have to cover our insurance and other medical costs without any help.

There is $11,000 left in the Emergency Fund, so at the rate we are going that should last until the middle of January, at which point it will be gone and we would have to start dipping into the farm down payment fund of $45,000. I don't want to have to do that, but if we have to it gives us the option of another 10 months or so. After that I don't know what we'll do.

I think if the refineries don't start hiring in November we're going to have to tighten our belts. I know its not as tight as it could be yet. I've not wanted to go full on if there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I know where to cut and I'm prepared to do it.

Interest Income

November 2nd, 2016 at 02:26 pm

The savings account earned $36.05 this month. I added it to the Moving Fund, which I really should just rename as the Temporary Fund or some such thing as it really isn't designated for moving until DH has a job again and we start saving money. I actually took $200 out of that fund this month before the storm just so I'd have cash on hand and then felt like it would be too much work to shift it around afterwards and have just been using it for gas money and allowance instead.

Anyway with the interest added today the new amount in that fund is $271.17.

I've Got the Blahs

October 27th, 2016 at 02:38 pm

I'm having a major case of the blahs. I really don't have much of a desire to blog right now. It's not that I'm letting things go by the wayside. It's just that without an income coming in, I have no goals other than to just get through this until DH finds a job. And with that being unlikely until after the election life is in limbo.

If Trump is elected, there will be more oil exploration and more projects going forward and more oil jobs. If Clinton is elected their won't be, because they won't be approved, unless Congress stays overwhelmingly Republican. It's a fact of the oil business. Republicans favor it. Democrats don't. Isn't that a fun place to be politically? Especially now when I'm losing faith in Johnson and I still don't want to vote for either of the other two. Ugh.

There will still be new projects here, though. So there will still be new jobs in my state, but with fewer openings so more competition for DH. And it is doubtful there will be any new jobs up there where the pay is usually better. We did find out for sure what happened there with Company B.

Company B didn't actually want to hire anyone from Company A at all even though parent company was very strongly saying you need to hire these specific people so things will run smoothly and the transition will work right. We want these people here. So basically anyone that was strongly recommended conveniently had their resumes "lost" on purpose.

DH's former co-workers who did manage to get hired say it is absolute hell up there. A lot of the people who were originally hired from Company A have been let go because they are being blamed for all the problems Company B is having, instead of Company B's complete willingness to be total donkey bottom fedoras and follow what has worked for the last 20 years because their way worked that one time with the small job so it ought to work on this much more massive scale. It doesn't.

I hope it was worth taking the lowest bid from a company that is not delivering and is acting like a snotty college kid in their first real job who thinks they know better than senior management because they did a class project their senior year and got an A on it, but were only hired because their daddy is CEO and can't actually be fired because of an ironclad contract, but is wreaking absolute havoc meanwhile.

In hindsight, I'm glad DH dodged that bullet. As for life being in limbo, I'm not really railing against it like I was before. I'm kind of numb to it. I'm not firing on all 8 cylinders. It's the onset of SADS. I'm using my happy light and I've upped my vitamin D intake. My diet is on track. But I haven't been able to exercise since I hurt my back and that is something that really makes a difference. And I haven't been able to spend time outdoors because of the foulness of the weather and being outside usually helps, too.

I'm sure resignation to wait things out also is contributing somewhat to a less than optimistic attitude, but I won't put pressure on DH. He is working hard on trying to find a new job and puts in hours every day on his job search between running his dad to chemotherapy here and to the follow up appointments and blood draws and the big cancer center in Seattle for other things and doing all the driving for his parents to do their errands since his mom doesn't drive anymore and his dad is so tired out by it.

Hopefully it will shake off with the higher dose of vitamin D starts taking effect.

The Storm so Far

October 15th, 2016 at 11:04 pm

On Thursday night we got hit hard enough that it ripped the corrugated roofing off the butcher station, but the turkey coop, chicken coop, duck coop, and rabbit shed survived with no damages.

On Friday we had to staple down the greenhouse plastic on the raised beds, because the clamps weren't strong enough to keep the wind from tearing it free. There was a pretty good lull in the afternoon so we were able to do this.

We ran out to get more bottled water. The first store we went to the power was out and it took a while to get away from there as the stop lights were out, too. We went across town to the other Fred Meyer and halfway through our shopping trip the power went out there. Backup generators came on and then about 5 minutes later the power was on. We finished up and hurried back home. A few more stoplights were out. We beat the rain home, but only just.

The wind died down around ten this morning. Several neighbors had lost shingles, but we didn't. The house, the garage and the rabbit shed roof were all intact. We let the birds out for a few hours, but cooped them early when the winds started to pick up again. We gave them extra food and water in case they can't be let out tomorrow.

The wind has been pretty ferocious for the last four hours. It sounds like a freight train at times. The rain is lashing pretty hard. So far we've not had any power flickers at all, though. It's supposed to go on like this all night and then drop down to winds of about 16 to 18 miles per hour at around 8 a.m. and through the day with lots of rain.

I think flooding is going to be more of an issue than anything unless some trees come down on the power lines. We won't get flooded out, we're on top of a hill and far enough from the major creek or the river or the bay or the lake, but the basement will flood as it does in every major storm so we'll have to have the sump pump going.

I am thinking we might not get hit as hard as they have been predicting, but you never know. I saw that a couple of tornadoes touched down in Oregon briefly yesterday, F2's. That is incredibly rare for this part of the country. It devastated Manzanita. I always wanted to visit this incredible bed and breakfast they have there. I don't think I'd even know the name of the town otherwise.

I really hope all the storm hype has been (pardon the pun) overblown. So far, at least for our area, it doesn't seem any worse than the bad fall blows we usually get. Just have to wait and see if it floods any worse. Right now there is just water over roadways, nothing unnavigable in some of the county. But more rain is on the way so it could get worse.

Storm Prep

October 13th, 2016 at 04:52 pm

So we're getting ready for what they are calling a post typhoon cyclone coming our way. This will likely be the worst storm to hit the west coast in my lifetime. Actually, it is to be a series of 3 storms to hit in rapid succession which are stemming from a Super Typhoon called Songda that is making its way across the Pacific Ocean from Japan.

We have plenty of shelf stable food, I've canned so much, and we have all of the staples I normally keep in food storage. We have our regular two cases of water in food storage and tonight we'll fill one of the bathtubs just in case we end up needing washing water or flushing water. We also have the 3 50 gallon rain barrels for further backup and to water the animals.

We've got a new, full BBQ-sized propane tank and 2 of the smaller propane tanks for the camp stove in case we end up having to cook on that. We've filled up the gas tank in the van. We've got the power station charging. It'll run my c-pap machine and DH's b-pap machine if we lose power. DH and I have been talking about getting a generator as well. I'd like to have something we can plug a couple of heaters into and a lamp and the fridge.

Our batteries are stocked up. Our cameras and cell phones are charged. Our computer batteries are charged. Our flashlights that don't take batteries are charged. Our regular flashlights and candles and lighters have all been rounded up.

We've tied down the garden low tunnels but we are talking about 50 to 70 knots of sustained winds so I am not sure it will make any difference in the end. Hopefully it will though. We've got all the empty pallets stacked in the garage now so they won't get rained on or go flying.

The rabbits have been taken care of early and the shutters are locked on the rabbit shed. The birds are going in early as well with extra food and water in case they can't come out tomorrow. Garage chicken has been secured with extra food and water (she's recovering from an injury) in her cage.

I can't think of anything else we need to do. We don't generally get storms quite this bad. Those of you who go through hurricanes on a regular basis over on the East coast, can you think of anything else I might need to do to prep?

Used Our New Insurance

October 5th, 2016 at 05:03 am

Today, well technically yesterday, we used our new insurance for the first time. They weren't entirely sure as whether or not they fall under regular doctor or specialist doctor. I think they are specialist, but since we see a nurse practioner for this not an actual doctor that might change what the co-pay is. It'll get sorted once the cards actually arrive in the mail.

The bill arrived in the mail so we were able to set up automatic payments to one of the credit cards. That way we won't have to worry about it again until such time as we need to change it. We also could have set up direct withdrawal if we'd wanted to. I prefer the credit card though as it leaves a better paper trail. Then the credit card gets paid in full when it is due.

I have an appointment on Thursday afternoon so I hope the cards show up between now and then. They are so much easier to do when they can just swipe them.

Totally monthly premium comes out to be $1199. So the unemployment should pay for that plus prescriptions and a few doctor visits a month. I am glad of it as it will really help our money to stretch longer.

September Run Down

October 3rd, 2016 at 08:42 pm

DH has been unemployed for 6 weeks now with not a lot of progress, unfortunately. He did have his resume accepted by a local refinery and was contacted to say he had been placed into the pool of candidates to be considered for upcoming jobs starting November through February. And that's pretty much what we've been hearing. Most jobs in his field won't be hiring for a few months.

A short term (4 to 6 month) job listing came up today here in town for a job he is qualified for, probably over-qualified for, so he sent a resume in for that. Even if there is no prospect for a job before the refineries start hiring again, we will be okay for a while. But I do hope he finds a good job soon. I am trying hard not to put pressure on him, since he is working hard at looking. These lulls happen. He's just never been caught in one before, and shouldn't have gotten caught in this one, but you've heard that rant already.

I made the second withdrawal from our Emergency Fund today, $3,500. We should be able to get through most of October on that, plus the unemployment when it comes again. That brings the EF down to $13,500, but remember we still have $45,000 in the House Down Payment Fund we can tap if we need to. And a few hundred in the Moving Fund.

The reason why we won't make it through the whole month on the $3,500 is that we will have to make an insurance premium payment and that is somewhere between $1100 and $1200. Ouch. I'm just not sure when. We will likely charge it to get the cash back points. We finally got approved and our acceptance letter came today with a paper we can use temporarily until our cards come which should be later on this week. That will put our prescriptions at $10 each and regular doctor visits at $20 each and specialist visits at $45, period, without the deductible kicking in. It is a $5000 deductible for everything else for the family.. No vision or dental for anyone but DS, since it is law to require it for anyone under 18, but they don't care about adults (even though 75% of the population in the US wears glasses or contacts).

We ended up going with a silver plan, because when we plugged in all the numbers it was going to be cheaper for us to do a silver plan than a bronze plan. And while the gold plan has a $2000 family deductible, it wasn't worth the difference in costs since doctors visits and prescriptions were so reasonable outside the deductible.

Both DD and I had to buy glasses in September out of pocket as we both had severe prescription changes in just one year. Out of pocket costs were close to $1000 (including her eye exam which happened after losing our insurance). But seeing is necessary, and it has made a tremendous difference for me. My headaches are gone and they were getting quite bad.

I didn't post much in September. I pulled that muscle in my back again and was in a lot of pain. Still am in some, but it is starting to improve. I have to budget what I can do, though. I have to make choices. If I need to go grocery shopping, that is all I will be doing that day. If I need to can tomatoes, they get chopped up one day and canned the next. I finally made dinner tonight for the first time in a while, but had to have help with chopping things. And it was exhausting.

DH has had to take over my rabbit duties. I miss them and have only managed to go out twice in three weeks to do general health checks. Good thing I did, as Ruby had an abscess. DD (vet tech student) was able to drain it and treat it, but if I hadn't checked on them no one would have known to do so.

I didn't get too much of a fall crop in, as the time I should have been planting was when the muscle pull happened and I went down really hard. I can still plant some carrots and turnips and put some greenhouse plastic on the supports that normally hold netting to keep out the birds and squirrels. I can put in radishes, green onions, and kohlrabi as well. I just have to have the energy to do it. I worry about bending over the garden bed, too, even from a chair, as I don't want the muscles to spasm again. I have another month until I need to plant my garlic.

We are getting kale, lettuce, broccoli, kohlrabi, peppers, tomatoes, basil, and sage still. Chard will be ready to start harvesting in another week or so. No sign of the first frost yet, but that usually doesn't happen until Halloween at the soonest, sometimes not until well into November. Last year it was December before we got a frost hard enough to kill anything except the tomatoes and we overwintered kale and chard.

Tomorrow I need to chop and freeze peppers. I have serrano, ancho, jalapeno, Anaheim, and sweet bells. And we need to start chopping and freezing onions, too, though they will last a lot longer than the peppers without it. I'll have to take it in steps with DH helping me. Fortunately peppers are easy to do, just have to wear gloves.

Not much else to talk about, though I'm sure I'm missing all kinds of things.

Finally Unemployment Arrived and a Job Hunt Update

September 21st, 2016 at 09:48 am

DH finally got paid by unemployment, he's been unemployed for a month now. They pay 2 weeks worth at a time, so he got $788, or $394 a week. 4 weeks of this should cover our monthly insurance premium with enough left over to cover our prescriptions. That will make our Emergency Fund stretch a lot further. I do wish he was getting WA state unemployment instead of AK state unemployment as that is $600 something a month. Oh, well, this still helps so much.

So far for September I have used $3000 from our Emergency Fund, bringing it down to $17,000. I will end up using at least another $1400 this month. Right around $520 will go to pay for our 6 month car insurance premium due on the 28th (though we are looking at other insurance, we are not really seeing much savings). $90 will go to physical therapy. $392.12 will go for the autopays that come due the first week of October. $400 goes to Mom to pay the utilities for October. And the rest will be for groceries. So maybe some of that will count towards October money, but it still has to be in the account by the end of September.

DH submitted his resume to the local refinery owned by the English on Friday and got an email yesterday saying it has been reviewed and passed on to the next stage of consideration. They are going to be hiring in the next 3 to 4 months for numerous jobs DH will qualify for. Hopefully he will get something there. It would be even better than a job in the next county over.

We have not heard anything from the mollusk refinery in the next county that will presumably be hiring in the next 3 months yet, other than that they will be using the placement company DH is signed up wtih, but there aren't any official rumblings so that's to be expected.

DH still has not heard back from the school he signed up with to pursue his BS in Electrical Engineering, though the money has been charged to the card. How long does it take to review transcripts anyway? It shouldn't take a month. I'll need to prod him to follow up with them again.

Not much is going on here otherwise. Some canning of tomatoes and some freezing of peppers. We lost Firefly, but she was getting old. One of the chickens is recovering from an injury. One of the other chickens swatted her off the roost and she fell 4 feet onto her wing and leg. She couldn't walk for a couple of days, but is standing now. We have her in a cage so the others won't pick on her. Chickens can be really mean to their wounded. We keep her in the garage at night, but leave her outside where the other chickens can socialize with her during the day. If they forget about her, reintroduction later will be brutal, so they need to see each other every day.

That's about it, I guess.

My Very Wordy List

September 17th, 2016 at 09:32 pm

1. My husband and I have been married for 21 years, but have been together (next week) for 26 years. We should have met long before we did. We were often in the same places at the same time (same berry field working as youngsters, junior achievement one door down from each other, Sunday School (big group of teens in a huge church that met altogether and was then separated by class and we were one grade apart), numerous things like that. We kept being put in each others' paths, but did not meet until we both worked at the same restaurant chain and he transferred to my store.

2. I never discuss politics, religion, or major issues on my Facebook page because people are crazy with their opinions and I'd like to keep my friends and family. Except for prayer requests when stuff gets really bad. Only exception.

3. I have 2 children, a girl and a boy, but we originally planned to have 4. Life didn't work out that way and by the time my youngest was 3, it was definitely for the best.

4. We started raising our own fruit, vegetables, and meat animals due to my son's massive allergies to food additives, preservatives, colorings, and artificial sweeteners. It changed our lives.

5. We are a one car (van) family and that van is paid for.

6. I am a massive Doctor Who Fan. To the point where I wrote fanfiction for several years. I am also a huge Labyrinth fan even 30 years later, but I did not get involved in the fandom, other than the time suck that is watching fanvids on youtube.

7. I love to read, but for many years I barely did. This year I have really gotten back into it again. I have probably read more in the last 6 months than I did in the last 6 years. My favorite things to read are epic military fiction with a strong female captain (think Kylara Vatta or Heris Serrano or Esmay Suiza) or flat out romance novels.

8. I dislike historical dramas on TV, but love historical fiction. I don't get it either.

9. On rare occasions I have had violently accurate intuition. For example the time I'd been driving behind a hay truck on the freeway and felt a sudden need to get out of the lane. I moved over and one of the cords securing the load snapped and hay bales fell off the truck into the space I would have been in. Or the time when DH and I were dating and were (ahem) parked and I was overwhelmed by the irrational urge to leave right then and DH listened to me and we got out of there. I found out the next morning that someone was murdered 10 minutes later who had been walking to her car parked in the same area. Within a few feet of where we'd been parked. Or a time when I chose to take a different route than my usual one because I got a weird feeling of dread as I approached one intersection and would have been involved in a multi-car pile-up where several people were badly hurt and 2 people died if I'd gone the usual way. I'd say about once every 5 or 6 years something like this happens. It scares the crap out of me every time. But I always listen to that feeling.

10. I love to cook, but I hate to clean up the kitchen. I have created dozens of my own recipes in the last 25 years.

11. I hate it when people say "It's only" in reference to money. It's only 3 cents or it's only a dollar or it's only 5 bucks. And then complain how they have no money and they can't save anything. It's just as important to mind the pennies as it is to mind the $100's.

12. I love bubblegum pop music. I love almost all forms of music, but bubblegum pop is always fun and floaty and puts me in a good mood.

13. Instruments I have learned to play over the years with various degrees of success: violin, viola, mandolin, piano, organ, flute, harpsichord, and a few chords on the guitar (my hands are small, so guitar is hard for me). I want to learn the banjo. A lot.

14. I wrote my first novel in the 3rd grade. I love writing. Even more than reading. I am always working on something.

15. I desperately want to be good at drawing. I am mediocre. I can paint, though, in both acrylics and watercolors.

16. I have taught myself to loom knit, but not to needle knit. I want to learn both it and crocheting, but my brain and my hands don't want to communicate properly when it comes down to it. I have the dexterity due to playing instruments, but there is a serious disconnect when I try to knit on needles. Crocheting is not any better. I also want to learn to machine sew more than hems.

17. I love farming. I didn't think I would take to it anywhere as much as I did. Both the animals and the extensive gardening have added so much to my life.

18. My mother drives me crazy, but she is the best person I know. Aside from my husband, she is my best friend. She is the person who taught me to always keep going no matter what life throws at you.

19. My short-term memory has not recovered fully since my concussion when I broke my nose last year. I have to leave post it notes everywhere so I don't forget things I should remember. It is getting better, but it still is disconcerting, considering once upon a time I had an eidetic memory. I've had 3 concussions in my life. This one has been the hardest to bounce back from.

20. People always think I am a much more serious person than I actually am. My humor tends to be dry and sarcastic or punny and fast wit, but I don't generally let it out until I know people pretty well. Until then I am pretty reserved and quiet. Once I am comfortable, though, it all comes out.

Update--A Bright Spot

September 13th, 2016 at 12:24 pm

I haven't really posted this month, just the interest update at the start. I tweaked my back while the chiropractor was on vacation and that put me down for a few days. I finally went and spent the money to get a deep tissue massage and it was the right choice because I was functional again that evening and out of pain other than a few twinges here and there the next day.

Then I came down with something, but it didn't act like anything normal. I felt run down, exhausted, a little achy, and had been running a fever over 100 for 10 days. That's it. No other symptoms. I did get a spider bite and it had a massive rash with it, so perhaps its related to that. But it made me too tired to do much in the way of writing, especially since I was canning, dehydrating, and preserving food.

On the other hand, there is a major bright note. You all know how I have struggled with walking since a year after my knee surgery. I was doing so well that first year of recovery, even hiking, and then everything went downhill and I had severe pain in my knee when walking and it would swell up with fluid randomly and for no apparent reason. No one could explain it and MRI's didn't show anything new. Long walks were out of the question and if I went grocery shopping I could only go to one place before the pain got so bad I'd have to go lie down the rest of the day.

When the chiropractor got back from vacation, I asked him to do traction on my neck with this loop thing he has. It basically fastens around the hairline tightly and has a strap with a handle on it and he gently pulls to get some of the tightness out of the neck. Well, we had a miscommunication and after a few traction pulls, he did this adjustment on me he had never done before where he basically tried to yank my spinal column out of my body (that's what it felt like).

It felt like every single vertabrae from my tailbone to the top of neck moved into alignment. After the shock wore off and I could get up, I immediately felt something different in my hips, left knee and left ankle, which had been getting very bad over the summer. It took me a few steps for it to sink in that I wasn't limping for the first time since 2010.

I wasn't sure what to think, but I knew it wouldn't last. But it has. I walked around Costco the next day without pain or exhaustion afterwards. Every day I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept thinking I should try going for a walk, but I was scared. I was without daily pain in those joints for the first time in 6 years. I didn't want to screw it up.

Well, to make a long story slightly longer, yesterday DH and I went out to Bellewood because the Tsaguru apples are ready. They are my favorite apple and have only a two week picking window. It's 30 cents a pound cheaper to pick them yourselves than to buy them already picked. I wanted 20 pounds, so we would save $6 by doing U-pick.

But all of the golf carts were out. They use golf carts to take you to the orchard if you don't want to walk. Well, frugalness won out and I decided I would try to walk it. They said if it was too much for me to walk back to call them and they'd page someone to get us. Of course the apples I wanted were at the farthest end of the orchard!

It was a fifteen minute walk to get there. We had to go past the corn maze and the massive pumpkin and sunflower field, and over a bridge that crossed a stream before we even saw the orchard. Then on to the far back corner. It did not take very long to pick, though we had to go several trees down the row because the near ones were picked clean. We filled our two ten pound bags in about 10 minutes and headed back.

I did start to feel it a little bit when we hit the bridge, but it was more being winded. I am used to doing water exercise and keeping my breathing even. This was a little harder. I did feel a bit of a strain from using muscles in ways I hadn't in a long time and I was really afraid I was going to pay for it today, but you know what? I'm not. My muscles and joints feel fine.

I walked for a total of 30 minutes. I walked. You have no idea what this means to me. I am going out for another walk today, just to make sure it is not a fluke. If I can start walking and not be in pain...I might truly have my old life back. I'm scared to believe its even a possibility, but...I have a little hope now. The skeptic in me says to be guarded as it may not last, but oh, I hope it does.

C1-360 Interest to Moving Fund

September 4th, 2016 at 01:12 pm

$356.65 Starting Balance
+_40.61 Interest Added
--------------
$397.26 New Balance




One Thing or Another

August 31st, 2016 at 11:01 am

Have you ever heard of any government office starting their work week on a Sunday? Every government office starts their work week on a Monday. And ends it on Friday, but they definitely start on Mondays, so the corollary ought to be that if they did for some unknown reason work on weekends, their work week would end on Sunday. Logical, yes?

DH's work week started on Monday and ended on Sunday, also, logical. Every job he's ever worked, every job I've ever worked, Monday has been considered the first day of the work week and Sunday the last. The only place Sunday is the first day of the week is on the calendar.

So why, then, does unemployment consider the work week to start on Sunday and end on Saturday, instead of starting on Monday like the rest of the country?

DH's last day of work was on a Sunday. So that means his first week of being unemployed does not count, since he got paid for that Sunday and his wages that day are more than a week's unemployment. If he'd made less than that amount he'd have gotten the difference up to the max, but he did, so nothing for that week. He won't get anything for that week at all. *sighs*

I guess he didn't have qualifying job applications for that week anyway according to them, so it wouldn't even matter, but the hoops they special little qualifications they make you jump through here are ridiculous. He's been paying in without fail for 32 years. It should not be this hard to get a tiny little bit of it back.

Well, he's got properly qualifying and documented applications for this current week so it should start then, but won't arrive for a couple weeks after that. I want to tear my hair out. Actually, no, strike that. I want to tear someone else's hair out. Preferably one of the lawmakers who came up with some of these hoops. Or maybe they can just get stuck inside a giant stack of hoops conveniently dropped by a formerly unemployed fork lift driver with no hope of rescue for 24 hours and only 2 bottles of water and no bathroom. Actually make that 6 bottles of water and no bathroom.

I am actually thinking maybe there isn't much point in going after the gold plan. We might do bronze and pay far less out of pocket. In adding up our prescriptions and office visits at out of pocket cost, with the lowest cost plan that is still good insurance in a catastrophe, we'd be paying less than $1000 a month. With the gold plan we'd be paying about $1600 to $1700 a month out of pocket once we hit the deductible. Turns out the gold plan only has vision and dental for kids under 18, not adults, so that is all out of pocket anyway and is a game changer.

So back to the drawing board I guess. We have to do what will make our savings last the longest.

On the bright side, and I promise it has not all been doom and gloom around here, I sold a rabbit on Saturday for $83. That will pay for 3 to 4 month's of rabbit feed. We haven't sold any duck eggs because we are eating them all, but they have picked up production again, so between the ducks and the chickens we are getting enough eggs to eat daily again.

I am preserving food left and right from the garden. I have put up plums (canned, frozen, and dehydrated, made fruit leather, canned potatoes, green beans, and corn. I have frozen poblano, Anaheim, and bell peppers and am working on chopping up onions to freeze. The tomatoes are starting to produce. I might have enough to can two pints. That's not much, but they should start exploding in about 2 weeks.

The second crop of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and lettuce is coming along nicely. The third crop of kohlrabi and radishes is too. My first crop of chard planted this year is struggling a bit, but with the weather turn and some real rain for the first time this summer it is perking up. I will be planting carrots, radishes, and turnips today. And possibly spinach if I can find starts or seeds. The last frost has been mid-November lately so I should get it in under the wire. Carrots are 60 days, turnips are 50 days, and radishes are 24 to 40 days depending on variety. And I can use frost cloths if we get an early frost.

All right, well, I better get back to the garden as there is a break in the rain.

Ducks All Over the Place

August 30th, 2016 at 04:37 pm

We are trying to get all of our ducks in a row with unemployment, but I think it's going to take a lot of hoop jumping before our ducks aren't scattered all over the place. Just one example is that we were asked if we wanted direct deposit or a debit card with the money on it. DH checked the box for direct deposit. They said it would be a couple of weeks from the time the process it, but it was going to be a couple weeks anyway so whatever. But then they sent a debit card anyway???

I'm not sure why as that is the least convenient way for us to possibly use the money and we said we did not want it. There is no money on it yet, because he hasn't been unemployed for 2 weeks yet. It'll make it difficult for us to use for the thing we want to use it for, buying health insurance (direct withdrawal or credit card, no option for debit card). I don't know why the government has to make things 20 times harder than it has to be. Plus fees are deducted every time you use a debit card. We need all of that money.

They also want DH to apply for jobs their way and not in, you know, the way he should for his industry's standards. So he can send stuff in the proper way for the job he is applying for and through the correct channels, or in the way that unemployment will give him credit for but will be less likely in netting a job interview. He's trying for a happy medium, because the intended outcome is to actually GET a job, not remain on unemployment for 6.5 months.

DH is dealing with this, so I am only frustrated by default, not like crazy about it. I am sure it will all get ironed out eventually, it is just how many bumps there will be before it does. And you all know how I like for things to run smoothly. I just have to keep going along, put my head down, and keep my faith that God knows what he is doing.

Insurance Decision, Job Hunt

August 26th, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Well, we have decided what we are going to do about insurance. We are going to buy the Regence gold plan through Costco that starts October 1st. We are going to pay out of pocket anything for September and not do the COBRA, because it will be far cheaper.

We, however, can do the COBRA retroactively for September if something happens, like a major hospitalization, so a big emergency medical issue is covered. We have up to 60 days to do a retroactive COBRA.

Also we won't get fined by the government for missing a month of insurance. Apparently you get 3 months between losing your insurance and getting a new one before you'll get fined. I hate that part of the ACA. It's punitive and stupid and a money grab. Insurance should be available to anyone who needs it, but not enforced with what amounts to an unconstitutional tax. *sighs*

I added up everything we will be doing in September and it is far, far cheaper to do it this way. It is also a lot easier. We can sign up for our plan and just send them the paperwork when we finally get it. That is a big weight off our shoulders.

It's still pretty pricey, at $1543 for 4 people, but that beats the $2230.17 by a lot. And it's such better insurance $2000 family deductible. $8 generic prescriptions. $20 co-pay for doctors. Better dental. Better vision. I know we probably will be paying out of pocket for a while, but our money will still go a lot further this way.

DH's unemployment will just cover that and hopefully he will find a new job before the 6.5 months of unemployment runs out. I just wish he could get WA state unemployment and not be stuck with Alaska unemployment. WA state is almost double Alaska.

He's got a couple more leads and someone asked him to send his resume for a specific job so hopefully that leads somewhere. It would be a very good long-term job, contracted directly to parent company, not these sub contractors that come and go. So cross your fingers, and say prayers if you do that for us please.

Meanwhile DH has completed his entry essay for the BS, which I corrected about 5 times, but it was very good by the end. He's sent for his transcripts to be sent there, so the ball is rolling on that.

I am trying not to let things overwhelm me. It is easier with DH home. He has a calming influence on me.

We got DH's last paycheck today. Once this is gone we will have to start dipping into the Emergency Fund. I will try to make it last as long as possible.

Question on AMEX Every Day Blue Cash Card

August 26th, 2016 at 10:05 pm

Back in April when I got my new AMEX card, part of the deal was that if I spent so much in the first 3 months I was supposed to get a cash reward. We easily met the $3000 spending in the first two months, but so far there is no sign of that cash reward. Shouldn't it have shown up by now? It's been 4 months.

I can't see it as a credit on the account anywhere and they didn't put it on any of the statements as a check or anything so is there a special place I should be looking for it or to redeem it? It's not in the redeem rewards section.

I just want to double check any obvious places before I call them and ask what is going on. Does it actually take longer than 4 months before they issue the reward?

Medical Insurance through Costco

August 24th, 2016 at 10:28 pm

Did you know you can get medical insurance through Costco? I mean, it's not Costco insurance, but they offer plans through major medical insurers that actually seem quite reasonable, or at least in comparison to our COBRA, and it is much easier to navigate than the ACA Exchanges.

We are looking at a plan through Regence. Unfortunately the soonest we can get on it is October 1st, which would mean going September with no insurance. Or paying COBRA for September. And I'm not sure if we can start the COBRA and then switch in October. Being laid off is an event that qualifies you to purchase medical at a non-enrollment time. Quitting a COBRA is not a qualifying event, though running out of COBRA is.

The open enrollment period is November 1st, but I don't know if that means it starts November 1st. I am just afraid we will have to pay COBRA for a couple of months before we can buy the less expensive but far better insurance. That will diminish our Emergency Fund fast.

DH is going to have to get some more questions answered. I just wish we could start on September 1st, but apparently to do that, you need to have enrolled on August 15th. Ugh. We haven't even gotten the paperwork we need to get either the COBRA or the insurance at a non-open enrollment time, either. September is going to be a frustrating month. I may have to reschedule an appointment of mine until October.

We have been pushing hard to get everything done that we can. We've all been to the dentist this month and my son goes in for an eye exam tomorrow to see if he needs new glasses. But we may wait to get them until we are on the Regence insurance because it looks like they cover kids' glasses 100%.

I am going to try to get an eye exam in as well at Lenscrafters. I won't buy glasses there, but I do see the doctor there, because you can get in fast. I won't be able to get glasses as I got them a year ago, but I want to see whether or not my prescription has changed. I'm having some issues with night vision while driving (so I've stopped driving at night as much as possible).

I had my labs done and so did my daughter so we are good on those for a year. We're going to get as many prescriptions renewed as possible before the end of the month. I've been working on getting a stash of high blood pressure and high cholesterol drugs, because they will let me renew those every three weeks, so I've got a two month supply and if I can get one more in this month then I shouldn't have to get those until the insurance situation is all sorted out.

This is complicated. I know we'll come through it and out the other side, but I wish it didn't have to be so hard, or so expensive.

There was Fire Under all that Smoke

August 22nd, 2016 at 03:15 pm

I was right to be suspicious about something not adding up about DH not getting hired by company b, when parent company was so strongly recommending they hire him. Someone at company b sat on his resume. Claimed he never received it, although DH put it directly in his hands, and followed up with him numerous times over the past several months, until the guy suddenly went silent 3 weeks ago.

Also another employee with parent company put it directly in his hands as well and has come forward to say so. The first guy also claimed DH was never even at the first interview, when he was the second person interviewed and where there were multiple other people to verify he was there, not to mention 2 other people doing the interviews with this guy.

It looks like he made sure the resume was not there for the actual hiring process, so that the other guy would be hired, despite parent company's wishes that DH be in that position. It is being investigated by parent company and probably company b, too. DH has digital evidence and whatnot to back up his side of things. There's always a paper trail. I guess people don't realize just how easy it is to get caught in a lie these days.

Which is all well and good, but right now DH still doesn't have a job or a job offer. We do not know whether the guy who got the job colluded or just the first guy, but I suspect both, based on past behavior of the guy who was hired. They are friends.

I am shocked and yet at the same time I'm not. I knew something wasn't right. I just knew it. And now I am extremely frustrated that something like this would happen to someone like DH who is so kind, hard-working, and well-liked up there. He has a sterling reputation. It's just wrong.

Man, people can be such jerks. If you can't get the job fair and square, why not stack the deck and cheat and who cares who it hurts? How do people like that sleep at night? My only consolation is that if it is proven, he will probably be canned so hard that he'll never work up there again.

DH is pursing ND at this point and a few other things. Hopefully something will come up soon. He's home now and will go down and apply for unemployment tomorrow.

COBRA and BS (College)

August 17th, 2016 at 07:13 pm

I really wanted to title it COBRA BS, but no. I found out how much the COBRA is going to cost us. It's not as high as the $2500 we originally thought, but it is still $2230.17 a month. We're going to have to see if we can't find something cheaper.

All we really need is catostrophic coverage. It is cheaper to pay out of pocket for all our medical stuff than to pay that kind of money for insurance. We'd go without if I wasn't afraid something big might happen. Or that the government would steal our tax refund as punishment.

DH will start investigating when he gets home on Monday. Right after he goes down to apply for unemployment. There's got to be something else that isn't going to drain our resources like that. Unemployment won't even come close to covering the cost of that. Considering how much he has paid into Unemployment over the years, he really ought to be getting more than he will be, but that's not how it really works.

Mom said we can completely suspend our loan payments to her until DH finds a new job. So that will help. It's not something I like at all, but we've got to make our savings last as long as possible. Unless company b comes in with a last minute offer, we are operating on the idea of Sunday being DH's last day of work.

We are also looking at DH starting his BS in Electrical Engineering. There are times when 20 years of experience, a strong recommendation from parent company, and two AS's still don't count as much as a BS in the hiring process. Of course ultimately, BS with only a few years of experience washes out and then DH gets hired, because book learning is never the same as real life on the job experience, but some HR people only want what looks good on paper (book learning) and always have to learn the hard way. Especially with this one guy who keeps getting hired over DH over the years and yet in the end DH is the one who ends up with the job when this guy can't handle it.

With college we'd go through our savings even faster, but in the long run it will help us so much for him to have that that I think we have to do it. If he does full time it would be $10,800 a year. We are looking at half time, though, as hopefully he'll be working at something, so $5,400. He'd do it completely online. We think all or most of his credits should transfer and he'll be able to just start at 3rd year, but he'll have to have a transcript review done, which of course costs money, too.

I won't take out loans. I'm not going down that road. Both kids have said they would get jobs to contribute. Can you believe that? I don't want it to come to that, though. Especially with my daughter, who is fragile in both health and mental health and has her next year of college paid for.

I have been trying to think of things I can do, though it is hard with my disabilities. I can't work a job where I'd be on my feet all day like when I was a cook without severe pain and with me being out of the workforce for 20 years, I'm not sure any of my bookkeeping or office skills would be current. My jobs were summer farm work, babysitting, Visiting Nurse chore worker, cook, tutor (but in outdated things like Word Perfect and DOS and Peachtree and Ten-Key calculator and old Data Entry systems), and receptionist/bookkeeper. Most of that I can't do anymore because of my physical limitations. I am broken and obsolete.

So hopefully DH finds something. Something in the $5000 a month take home range with semi-decent medical insurance so we can keep paying Mom and I can keep up with the out of pocket physical therapy that keeps me walking and gardening and taking care of our mini-farm. We can survive on less, but without the PT life would be miserable for me. And without being able to pay Mom back, it wouldn't be roses, either.

If he can find that until he can find something better, we will be just fine. I keep hoping for a last minute miracle, but I really do not think we are going to get one.

Well, I Wasn't Lazy

August 15th, 2016 at 12:38 pm

I definitely wasn't lazy this weekend, but I didn't do the canning. It was in the 90's and I just couldn't face making the house even hotter. And honestly, being on my feet that much when my ankles and knees were still swollen had no appeal.

I did work in the garden though. It had to be early in the morning and 7 p.m. to dark, though. I managed to get in about 4 hours of garden work each day, though. Having 2 foot tall raised beds and a chair meant I didn't have to put any pressure on my knees or ankles. Building those beds was the best thing we ever did for gardening.

I harvested 2 feet by 16 feet worth of yellow onions. I had already harvested half that earlier in the week in yellow onions and shallots. I still have 2 feet by 8 feet worth of red onions to harvest.

I harvested my purple potatoes. I was disappointed, but that's what I get for growing in containers. They always do much better in the ground. I got about 3 times what I planted. If I plant in the ground I get 5 to 6 times what I plant. There are still some volunteers in last years potato patch to dig. I don't know if they are reds or golds, though.

Some of the apples got picked--5 5 gallon buckets worth and then about 1 gallon of Italian plum/prunes. There was about a quart of strawberries and a handful of raspberries as well.

I've built the beds back up with compost and I've gotten some replanting for fall crops done. I've put in more kale, broccoli, radishes, kohlrabi, chard, and cauliflower. I am debating on whether or not I should put in another sowing of snow peas. I will be planting carrot and turnip seeds, probably tonight.

This morning, before it got too hot, I went out and gave everything in the back yard garden a deep watering and then spent about an hour taking the branches off the bottom foot of each tomato plant and then taking off all the suckers to thin out the foliage. This helps allow light and air circulation to the interior of the plant and lets the pollinators get into the flowers more freely. It also helps prevent disease from water splashing up onto the lower leaves and causing blight.

I had removed lower branches early on, but needed to do it again as some more had grown. I also removed any leaves or branches that had yellowed badly. It's important to stay on top of that stuff if you don't want to end up with blight.

I didn't go to my exercise class this morning. The swelling has gone down in my knees and ankles. They still hurt, though not as bad, but I didn't want to risk doing something to make them swell again. Even water exercise. I'll go to Wednesday's class though. I have been doing strengthening exercises this week and that seems to be helping.

Hopefully I can get some potatoes canned tomorrow morning. I have a dentist appointment at 2 p.m., but I should be able to get a batch done before that. I have 50 pounds to can. That should be 2 full canner batches and then close to another half of one. I should have around 21 quarts when I finish.

A Lot of Pain and A Lot of Canning Coming Up

August 13th, 2016 at 02:19 am

I've been in a lot of pain this month, hence me not posting much, and it is making it really hard for me to function at full capacity. Right now both of my knees and ankles are swollen up. I have no idea why my ankles are getting in on the action. I am alternating heat and ice and taking hydrocodone and Valerian root at night. I should be taking painkillers during the day right now as well, but I've got too much to do and I also need to be able to drive.

My neck is still really bad and giving me these awful headaches. I've got one of those joys of being a woman, a yeast infection. And my back is aching over my kidneys so much that I think I might have a kidney infection, too. There are some other symptoms as well. Ugh. I don't have time to go back to the doctor next week. But I'll have to because kidney infections don't go away on their own.

Not all is bad though. I've gotten two and a half garden beds replanted and the soil is ready for one and a half more garden beds. I've put in more broccoli, kale, radishes, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard. When I pull the onions this weekend I will add the soil and then replant with carrots and turnips and maybe some more kohlrabi and radishes. I'm not going to put in anymore cabbage.

I've got enough garlic now for the year. My own braid, and then one I got from the no spray garden when I placed my order for 50 pounds of Yukon golds that I'll be getting tomorrow. I'll be canning those this week. I'll also be canning the purple potatoes I grew after I harvest them tomorrow. And I will be making some blueberry pie filling to can out of last year's blueberries, since they cannot survive another year in the freezer, and anyway, we have 15 new gallons in there (total picked was 17 gallons).

A large number of plums should be ripe tomorrow or the next day so those will need to get picked and I'll need to can some and dehydrate some. I'll also need to pick some more basil and sage for dehydrating and gather the last of the bee balm petals to dry for tea. I also need to gather the echinacea, yarrow, hyssop, and calendula for tea and comfrey for salve making. And deal with all the bundles of dried herbs that have been on the wall for a few weeks already.

I need to dice some of the onions and cut into strips some of the onions that I have pulled and have gone through the drying time and freeze them for future use. I also need to mince some for dehydrating and making onion powder. I need to dice or strip up my current batch of sweet peppers as well for the freezer and mince and dry my first red cayenne pepper and then grind that into powder. I need to make more garlic powder as well. It is going to really be a busy weekend and coming week.

As soon as DH gets home, whenever that will be, I want to go through all the meat in the freezers and pull anything that is old and thaw it and can it. If we catch it before freezer burn sets in, it can last several more years that way. Or get eaten quickly, which is more likely.

Since I'll be canning all day tomorrow I need to remember to put a roast in one crockpot and potatoes in the other one and have the zucchini cut up and all ready to go into the oven before getting started, because I never want to cook after a day spent canning. Which tends to lead to takeout and we are trying not to do that until DH gets a new job. The only time we have was on DD's 20th birthday, so I think we are doing pretty good.

Weight loss is going well. Things with my mother-in-law are improving. FIL is undergoing chemotherapy now. He is also being treated for 2 blood clots in his leg. They put him on one of the newer blood thinners.

DH still hasn't heard an offer for the company b job. They've hired about 8 to 10 of the 100 or so people they need to hire and are going very slow about it. No one's been hired for his department yet, though. They are supposed to fully take over in 2 days. I'm not sure how they can without a full staff. It's going to be crazy days up there for a while.

If they do ever offer him a position, I've gone through the budget and we can handle a $500 a month paycut further, but it will mean we won't be able to save for the house. And we can handle a $1000 a month paycut if we only pay Mom $500 a month instead of $1000 a month. That last scenario I do not want. Right now we have just under 3 years to go on that loan and I don't want to extend it any longer.

I guess if we do, I'll have to get serious about writing my book series. I have it outlined and the characters are all developed and the town is, too. I've got a couple friends that self-publish on Amazon and do well and say I should, too. Of course they are basing that off my old fanfiction and not original fiction. But if I can make anything with it, it can go into the farm down payment fund. Or into paying Mom off faster and freeing up that amount of money for good.

Well, this has rambled on enough and the painkillers are starting to take effect, so I'll wrap it up now and hope it all makes sense and my brain didn't wander off towards the end. If it did, I'll fix it in the morning. The post, not my brain.

I am So Tired of This

August 4th, 2016 at 05:47 pm

DH's alternate quit. He got tired of waiting for company b to do anything and got a job elsewhere. DH's company asked DH to stay over and finish out the time his alternate would have worked so DH will get one to two weeks extra, but then it's done. Assuming they don't get any bids for piecemeal stuff accepted.

We can get September's insurance paid for in August though. I'm still not sure if that is that work will pay for it or that it is simply pre-tax dollars going for the first COBRA payment. It would be really nice if it is the first thing, but even the second thing would be very helpful.

I seems to me like company b doesn't want to pay competitive wages or the hazard part of the pay. I think that if you don't want to pay hazard pay then you shouldn't be bidding on jobs that take place in hazardous environments. They are having trouble staffing up.

But the part I don't get is that DH has heard nothing from them at all, which is really weird considering they used his name in their bid paperwork. He hasn't been approached with an offer. Even a lower wage job while he continues to look that has health insurance is better than nothing and we can cut all savings for a down payment if we have to to get by on a reduced budget. With his resume and references and 20 years experience there and 10 of it in that precise job with two different companies and a good relationship with parent company it just makes no sense. No one has been tapped for the position at all.

There was an issue earlier on when someone high up in DH's company, company a, had told company b they weren't allowed to hire anyone from company a until they'd been officially laid off, but parent company told company b that was not true and company a got yelled at for pulling it. But I still think there is something going on with that, company a using leverage against company b to hold onto its employees until the bitter end regardless of what is best for the employees. Either that or someone just doesn't like DH, but considering how ridiculously likable he is and his spotless reputation, that seems far less likely to me.

It all just makes me want to tear my hair out. Nothing seems to be going on with the company next county over. They were supposed to start the hiring process mid-July, but they haven't. No news on that front.

DH is going to try to pursue ND at this point. That would be hard because he'd have to work 4 weeks on and 2 weeks off, but at this point it would be a job that pays well. Or a job that meets our expenses without us going into debt and pays for insurance.

I hate being in this limbo. I hate it. I know it could be worse, but the stress of the last 7 months has just been building and building. I just want to be able to let it go and to feel secure in my life again.


<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>