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Archive for November, 2018

Productive Morning

November 28th, 2018 at 02:20 pm

I woke up very early this morning, at 4:30, and couldn't get back to sleep so from 5:30 to 7:30 I worked on editing. I rewrote a significant chunk of chapter twelve and added a scene to the end of chapter eight. Then I went through chapters 13, 14, and 15 and did a proofread, then a line edit, so at the moment the book is edited right up to the start of chapter sixteen, which I hope to finish writing today. If I get ambitious or into the right flow state, I will start chapter seventeen.

I paid a doctor's bill of $253. It was for the initial consult with DS's sleep doctor. He did spend an entire hour with us, but still, ouch, new patient visits are getting expensive. We won't know anything real about DS's sleep study until the techs have had a chance to read the results. That could be a couple of weeks yet.

At 8 a.m. I went back to bed and slept until 12:30. I have another doctor's bill to pay but have to wait until Friday to pay it. It is $125 and I only have $112 left in the medical fund after all the bills I have paid this week. But I'll be putting in the standard $400 deposit on Friday and then hopefully a little extra.

DH hasn't had a chance yet to straighten out the hospital bill. He probably won't until Friday when he only has to work a couple of hours. Since he can go in at any time on Friday, I recommended he use the morning to clear this up and then go into work.

I hope he gets more overtime soon. I would really like to fill up the medical account in preparation for the deductible starting over in January. I hate it when things are a struggle. I just want to get more than our heads above water. I'd much prefer waist deep or wading levels than this constant treading of water.

Maybe once I get this book done and self-published I might be able to earn a little something on it that will help with this situation. Here's hoping.

Not Much New Here

November 27th, 2018 at 07:57 pm

The diet is going well so far. Famous last words, though. It always goes well in the beginning. I've lost 5.6 pounds.

Yesterday I wrote 5664 words on the novel. That was two chapters, plus 882 words into the next chapter. The day before that I wrote one chapter of 2500 or so words. So after a 27 day stall I've put out 4 and 1/3 chapters.

I didn't spend any time on it today, mostly because my right wrist hurts, but I did spend a bunch of time watching writer videos on youtube. I am learning a lot. I've been writing for a long time, but I find there is always more to learn.

I think there are a few books I want to get on writing, too, but that will have to wait until I have more money. Or maybe that is what I can get from MIL. They are ebooks, though, so she'll have to give me cash. I'm not sure you can buy an ebook that is delivered to someone else. Maybe if we buy from my account and use her credit card? Anyone bought an ebook to be delivered to someone else?

I made a payment to the dentist yesterday for DH's crown. It was $473. I owe an additional $400, so will pay $200 this coming payday and another $200 the payday after that. Ugh. HR signed us up for the wrong dental plan, which is why the crown wasn't covered. We still don't know why the dental insurance said that it was covered at 50% during pre-approval, though.

We also have to resubmit a hospital bill to the insurance company because something went wrong somewhere. Another ugh. I wish people could just do their jobs correctly. We should only owe half of what it says. DH is working on sorting it.

All of the OT money is going to be eaten up, though. It's annoying. Just when we finally feel like we are pulling ahead we fall back again. And who knows how much DS's sleep study is going to cost. At least $1000, possibly much more. They kept him for a second day for further study so I am pretty sure that means they found something. His dad will be picking him up in about five minutes to bring him home, so hopefully they will be able to convey things properly. I am just too wiped out today to go pick him up and talk to them myself.

On the plus side, after getting further info from the doctor, the insurance company decided to authorize the enbrel. Now I have to find the paperwork she gave me about it, because it has the phone number of the pharmacy that mails the drug out and the info for the discount card. I kept track of it until it was denied the first time. I know I didn't throw it away, though, so after a bit of serious looking it should turn up.

DH and I got the HBO add on package for Hulu and have been working our way through Game of Thrones. He's watched it before, but I resisted due to the language, violence, and nudity. I finally gave in a while ago and now we are down to the last episode which we will watch tonight. Then nothing more until April. It is very good. There is more violence on The Walking Dead and I think there was actually more graphic nudity in True Blood.

I have also been watching Westworld on my own because I really enjoy the actors Ben Barnes and Evan Rachel Wood. But the amount of nudity in it is astonishing. I mean I know the robots aren't humans, but you'd think some of the human techs would be uncomfortable with people that look like humans just walking around like that all the time. I don't care whether you are human or a robot, if you have your stuff hanging out casually, it is going to embarrass me and make me uncomfortable. But the story is so good. I think it would be better without the gratuitous nudity, though.

I think HBO, Netflix, and a lot of show makers today could do with leaving just a little bit more to the imagination. The stories they are telling are intricate and could easily stand on their own and the majority of the language and nudity just don't further the plot. A good story-teller can convey it all without these crutches. They simply choose not to because they think shock value is more important in drawing viewers than the story. They are wrong. I am watching the story in spite of all that stuff, not because of it.

Household Purchases and Building a Desk

November 24th, 2018 at 06:05 pm

DH has made a couple of household purchases this week. He spent $20 on a cast iron heating duct cover for the bathroom floor. The heating duct in the bathroom is really close to the toilet and sometimes gets stepped on. It is really poorly placed and it should have been moved when the remodel was done a few years ago, but they didn't do it.

We have broken the last two plastic covers in a relatively short amount of time. This one is solid. You can literally stand on top of it with no issue whatsoever. Not that we will on purpose, but the fact that we can without it breaking is wonderful.

Then today he picked up a box of screws and spent $12. He needed it to assemble the desk he and DS are building. DH got two gorgeous desk top pieces about a year ago free from a store that was at the end of a close out sale and just wanted to get rid of them. They had been trying to sell them for $5 the week before, but there had been no takers.

So they built legs for it and DS sanded them and stained them a really pretty dark blue that will match the curtains and bed spread in the room. They will finish the assembly today and put it in his room. The only thing it won't have yet is a pull out keyboard drawer. DS will be purchasing that and attaching it once he has saved up the money for it. We paid for the wood to make the legs, the stain, and the screws. I told DS that if he wanted the drawer he had to pony up the money himself.

The great thing about this is they were able to cut the legs to the exact right height for DS to work comfortably at it. Sometimes when you are tall the desks are way too short. As for the other desk top, DH put it on top of an old high sewing table he'd inherited years ago for his own desk. It looks great and gives him much more surface area. He didn't even need to attach it so many out on that one at all. Not bad for free.

Food Holidays

November 23rd, 2018 at 07:37 pm

Well, I've successfully made it 2/3 of the way through the food holiday gamut. I did not indulge in Halloween at all and I had a very balanced plate of food on Thanksgiving (no desserts, my carbs went to stuffing and potatoes, which I'd always rather eat).

However my day to day choices have sucked this year, I'm eating poorly and I'm back on Pepsi (sugar kind, not corn syrup kind), and all my clothes are tight. The store where I usually clothes shop is going out of business soon so I wouldn't even be able to buy new clothes. And I shouldn't. I have plenty of clothes one size down, so I signed up for a $30 Dietbet.

It will hopefully give me motivation to get back on track every day of the week. It starts on the 25th. I wavered a bit on choosing the one I did and one that starts on the 26th. The one I chose has less players and a smaller pot, but that always feels more intimate than being lost in a horde.

Mine's called The End of Year Showdown with Cristinadown100 and is a 4 week Kickstarter. I need to lose 13.5 pounds in that amount of time. I should be able to do that because I'll be getting back off the soda and that is usually ten pounds of retained water right there.

Normally I don't like to do Kickstarters, I like to do the Transformers which last six months, but I don't have that amount of money in my blow money envelope. I always like to prepay the entire six months because then you get one month's discount. So the plan is to do the Kickstarters. leave the money in, and hopefully earn enough to pay for a Transformer.

Thanksgiving was okay this year. MIL bailed the night before, which was disapointing, because I'd bought a ham specifically for her. She decided to spend the evening with her daughter instead, even though they are doing a Thanksgiving for that side on Saturday and SIL will be there. I don't know. It was very hurtful. The kids and DH were not happy.

It's the same kind of favoritism she often shows towards her daughter over her son and her children over ours. I should be used to it by now, but I'm not, because it hurts my family. I am choosing to not make a fuss, though. MIL has been very generous to us financially this year. I guess it is okay if she just wants to throw money at us and not see us. I'm not sure what that means for Christmas, but I'm bracing for a repeat.

I did find MIL a lovely gift for Christmas, though. It is a beautiful blanket with a carousel horse on it. She collects carousel horses and music boxes and it has gotten harder and harder to find her one she doesn't have or that plays something other than the carousel waltz, which she has come to loathe. DS ordered the camera he wants with his Christmas money so that should be here soon. I have purchased part of my own gift which is a queen size electric blanket. The other part of my gift is season 11 of The Big Bang Theory.

DD wants to get an electric blanket like the one I got for me and a really good heating pad. DH is narrowing down what he wants and then he'll order that and Christmas shopping will be done for the year. We don't exchange gifts with my side of the family. We quit years ago. I will likely make some fudge for my mother, though. We are on budget, so I am thrilled. We might even have $50 left.

I don't think I am going to make a turkey with all the trimmings for Christmas this year. Tearing up the bread for the stuffing and doing all the stirring for the gravy did a number on my wrists and I'm not sure I want to repeat that any time soon. Even with DH and DS peeling and chopping the potatoes, it was just too much.

I think things are just going to be very low key. We'll go out and look at lights this year, though. We skipped that the last two years and I miss doing it. Although it'll probably be a few days before Christmas. So many people go away for the holidays that you can miss some really good displays if you wait until the day of or the night before. I just want to keep it all simple. I'm tired of putting out effort, to be honest.

Pre-preparing for Thanksgiving

November 20th, 2018 at 07:52 pm

I took the turkey out of the freezer on Saturday and except for a bit in the center it is thawed out. So one more day and it should be fully defrosted. The ham is also thawed. I'll be making the picnic ham in the crock pot, 4 hours on low with one cup of water. It comes out perfect that way every time.

Tomorrow I will be tearing up bread for the stuffing and making it so that all I have to do on Thursday morning is put the stuffing in the bird.

DH and DS are on potato peeling and chopping duty. That is the hardest one for me to do with my hands the way they are.

I am going to do the green beans in the instant pot from fresh. They turn out beautifully that way and I can do them ahead of time and then just keep them on warm.

We are keeping it very simple this year. Ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, gravy, and sliced oranges. Normally I do corn, but last year there was a lot of corn left over and this year my biggest corn eater can no longer eat corn, so I'll just eliminate it and save myself the extra step. I need DH to find out if his mother wants a can of cranberry jelly. None of us eat it and I can't remember if it was her or FIL who liked it.

I haven't decided about desert yet. I might ask mom to make an apple or blueberry pie (she has home-canned pie filling on hand and I think I have TJ's frozen pie crusts in the freezer) or I might make pumpkin cheesecake. I have to get out to the store and see if I can find the right kind of graham crackers for crust. Trader Joe's is the safe brand (or Annie's graham cracker bunnies) but if I go, I have to go early as their parking lot is a nightmare after eleven on a normal day. I can't even imagine how bad it will be the day before Thanksgiving. I also need to get some Yukon gold organic potatoes there.

Then I have to go find the safe type of plain cream cheese, which is at the food co-op. Having kids with allergies is so much fun. At least there are versions of things I can use, though.

I need to go through the freezer and pull out all the bread heels I've been saving for the last six months and let them thaw out tonight for making the stuffing tomorrow and then see if I need to add anymore bread in. I have an extra loaf if needed since we buy two loaves at a time. I already have sage and poultry seasoning. I don't know when they stopped putting sage in poultry seasoning, but it irritates me that they quit. It's been at least four years now since I've been able to find a brand with sage in it.

I am going to make up frozen TV dinners again with the majority of the leftovers. They are very convenient to have during the winter. I have many days during the cold season when I don't feel like cooking, so if I can just whip these out we all have a good home-cooked meal anyway. I can do both turkey and ham dinners, too. We will be making an extra five pounds of potatoes so we will have plenty for these TV dinners, too.

Aside from that I also have planned a regular night of just leftovers, then leftover turkey casserole, turkey noodle soup with warm ham sandwiches, and some turkey enchiladas to use up leftovers. I might make loaded baked potato soup with ham instead of bacon as well. We'll see what is left. I will also dice up leftover ham to use in omelettes and egg bricks. I will freeze the diced ham and take it out as needed. I will dice up some turkey for salads, as well.

If I plan like this going in, then I don't waste and that is important when you are using an expensive organic turkey. Well, that is important period. No need to throw any food dollars out the window.

Payday Report for 11/16/18 Plus Lots of Miscellany

November 16th, 2018 at 06:00 pm

Been a while since I felt well enough to do one of these, but things are improving with the rheumatoid arthritis this week after about three weeks in full inflamation mode and I am typing with relative ease again, which is why I've been posting this week at all.

We had some overtime this week, 10 hours. All of it went to DH's crown, because it turns out our dental insurance didn't cover any of it, even though it said it would when they did the preauthorization. DH is going to talk to HR at work, because the plan they say they have they don't. So that means we have to come up with another $700 or so out of pocket.

I was able to put $600 into the medical fund instead of the usual $400 this payday, but that means that all of that will have to go towards the crown. Fortunately with this deposit there is $961 in the medical fund. We won't have the breathing room I had hoped for, but we will be able to pay for the rest of the crown.

I have done the budget for December and I am including the extra paycheck for November 30th onto that budget and not the November budget, since it is paying for December things. So on 11/30 I can put $400 into the medical fund and on 12/14 I can put in $700, and on 12/28 I can put in $900.

DS has a sleep study on November 26th (at least if they don't reschedule again) and I am not sure how much that will cost us. The family deductible is $2000 and DD has met $1000 of it (her limit), and I know I have met some of it. I think maybe $500. I know DD has met her out of pocket max, but I think that has a per person as well as a per family, too.

So I don't know for sure whether or not we will have any money left for next year's deductible. That $1500 for the crown instead of $750 is blowing us out of the water. Plus DH wants to get new glasses. He's more than due. At least the vision is decent, but it'll still be around $200. He's getting cheap frames no matter what. Nothing fancy. He's already cost us too much medical money with that crown, even if half of it had been covered.

Here's what went out today:

$319.93 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_600.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_596.31 DH's Crown (plus additional from last payday)
__61.74 DH Life Insurance
__60.46 Me Life Insurance
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances
_100.00 Clothing Envelope
_100.00 Christmas Envelope
_172.84 Computer Fund
----------------
3051.38 Total Money Out

DH purchased his new computer online today, so the computer fund is now wiped out. I'll start over in December, but I think at only at $50 a month. We were doing $100 because DH's was on it's last legs and it really felt like a race to the finish line on whether or not it would last until we had the money. His was five years old.

We all have newish computers now. Mine is the oldest at barely two years old and it is still in excellent shape, so there is no urgency to build the fund back up. Still, I want to have something going in there, and it is possible a phone could go and have to be replaced, though it is doubtful. I don't think any of them are a year old yet. Maybe mine. But it is serviceable. Who knows what the status of my computer will be in another year and having the money sitting there to replace it if it goes kaput is always the better option.

Monster Mom Loan Paydown with Chart

November 16th, 2018 at 05:28 pm



I threw another $500 at the Monster Mom Loan today.

$26,500.00 Starting Balance
-__,500.00 Amount Paid
------------
$26,000.00 Balance Remaining

Two more months and it'll be $25,000 left, which is a big milestone achievement for us. I am so looking forward to it.

Medical Money and Cystoscopy Results

November 15th, 2018 at 05:49 pm

The good news is that at least the insurance covered the cystoscopy 100%. There will be ten hours of overtime on tomorrow's paycheck. It is earmarked for the medical fund, though some of it may have to go to pay for DH's crown since the dental insurance, which said they would pay 50%, denied it when it was actually billed. DH has to look into that and also see if he was signed up for the wrong plan and correct it for next year, because he needs another crown.

The dentist says we can do a payment plan, but I am not down for that. We'll pay outright with the OT if we need to. Fortunately there will be another 10 hours of OT on the next paycheck, too. Again all earmarked for medical. I want to build up the medical fund so that when the deductible starts over in January we have plenty of cushion to cover it. I had hoped to have the full deductible amount in there by January, but the dental issue may make that impossible.


TMI Medical:

Well, according to the urologist, there is nothing wrong with my daughter's bladder. No reason for why she peed blood for weeks and why it is still leaking. At least the bleeding has stopped. But the pain hasn't. I am going to call them tomorrow and see if there is a pill or something she can go on that might stop the leaking issue. Otherwise, I think they are done with us. Which sucks, because there is obviously an issue.

I am not sure where to go from here. I am still convinced she has endometriosis and it is strangling her organs from the outside. Endo does not show up on anything. The only way to diagnose it is to do exploratory laparotomy and they won't do that due to her weight because all the gyno surgeons in my state are chickens and more afraid of a malpractice lawsuit than failing to help their patients. And she can't lose weight due to the hypothyroidism and gastroparesis and adrenal issues.

Having dealt with endometriosis myself until the hysterectomy at 33 and knowing that her paternal grandmother also had it before hers, and knowing that they now know it runs in families and since she has all the symptoms, I am pretty darn sure. I just don't know what to do about it. I mean, she did just fine with the gall bladder surgery even though it had to be in the hospital instead of the surgery center so it isn't like surgery can't be done on her. It's an issue of won't.

We have gone to specialist gynocologists in Seattle and they won't do it, either. All they want to do is give you a pill or an implant and send you on your way. But that doesn't always help. It might prevent new stuff from growing, but it doesn't make the old stuff go away and stop strangling organs if adhesions have formed on them.

The endocrine doctor suspects PCOS, but since her pain was never confined to ovulation, I think it is endometriosis. They have many of the same symptoms. When I first was diagnosed, they tried to push PCOS, but I knew what I had based on the limited research I could do (pre-internet, y'all, I used books). And I was right. And I am 99.987% convinced I am right this time. But being right doesn't matter if doctors can't be bothered in treating you because of your weight.

/Rant.

My mother is still not speaking to my son, which is making the house extraordinarily peaceful. She is acting just fine with everyone else. DS is actually relieved. She can't argue with him if she's not speaking to him. We'll see how long that lasts. She'll need him to do something for her sooner or later and I'll push it if she tries to get DH to do it instead, but not before that. I'll say he's too tired and she needs to ask DS instead. DH has been working a lot of OT so it is true.

She needs to stop with the silent treatment. It only punishes her, not her intended target, and it is outright childish. And it only works as a weapon if it bothers the person you are doing it to. I think she wants him to apologize, but since he isn't the one in the wrong, I'm not going to make him. She needs to be the one to do it, but I can count on one hand the number of times my mother has truly apologized for something she has done, so I am not holding my breath. And by truly I mean saying she is sorry for what she did as opposed to I'm sorry you feel that way, which is not in any way, shape, or form an apology. It's an apology dodge. And she doesn't even do those ones often.

This is going to bug me for a bit, but whatever. I am not going to fix it. They may be my monkeys, but this is not my circus.

My Mother is Frustrating Me but I Refuse to Let Her See It

November 14th, 2018 at 06:31 pm

My mother keeps making snide remarks to my son. I have told her in the past that if she has issues with something she needs to talk to me and DH about it, not bring DS or DD into things they have no business being in.

Well, for years she has thought we weren't paying our fair share of the utility bills. Now I know we have been overpaying our share all along. Not because she would show me any of the bills, though, but because I found them and went through them on numerous occasions to make sure we were actually paying enough. I never wanted to be underpaying and made sure we never were.

She was complaining to my son about it yet again, so he said fine, to give him all the bills, and he was going to work it out mathematically, and for some reason she did give him the bills. He added everything up and divided it by five. And sure enough, we are overpaying by $96 a month. And that is for winter numbers. In the summer we are overpaying by close to $200 a month.

And I don't care about that. I know she has a limited income and I've agreed to pay $500 a month plus pay for the internet and the garbage in full. That is our agreement. But now all of a sudden that it has been proven to her that we are actually paying most of her share (her recent contribution to a month of utility bills was less than $35), she can't complain about it anymore. Instead she is picking other fights and bringing up old things that were long ago settled in her favor and that she agreed to move on from.

But she's not doing it with us, she's doing it with DS. I keep telling him to not engage. All he has to say is "Grandma, I don't want to argue with you." And keep repeating it. After saying it four or five times, he needs to say, "Grandma, do you just want to argue? Because I don't, so I'm leaving now."

But instead he keeps engaging. She is not someone you can engage with, because if you do, she then goes into martyr mode if you prove the opposite of her point with logic. It's basically if you don't agree with her opinion than she's never going to speak to you again. Although this only holds until she needs help with something, like getting stuff down off medium and high shelves (she's 5 foot 2) or carrying things in from the car or something goes wrong with her computer. Then she's talking again.

When you refuse to engage, though, it ruins her fun and it drives her crazy. However, it works and she stops doing it. My son can't stand to lose an argument or walk away from one, though. He doesn't understand that it just makes everything worse and then she ends up lashing out at the rest of us for no reason.

She likes to throw out comments like, "I'm sorry I ruined your lives." And I'm just like, "What? No one thinks that." We think she makes our lives more difficult than they need to be, but no one says that to her. We think she makes her life more difficult than it needs to be, too.

She just gets ideas in her head and then thinks they are right, like that we haven't paid enough on utilities, even though we have always overpaid. I don't think she'd be happy unless she was paying nothing and we were still overpaying so she could just keep the extra money, to be honest. But I still don't care, because $500 is what we agreed on. It's gone up as we've lived here as bills went up, which is fine, it is also what we agreed to.

Maybe she's embarrassed because it has been proven what she's been thinking is wrong or because she knows in her heart that she is actually taking advantage of the situation and does this to try to shift her guilt. I don't know. I don't feel like she is ripping us off because we pay the amount we agreed to and I have always felt if she needed that little extra help, it was fine. What I'm not okay with is being harassed over something that is not true and then her switching to something else because it was proven not true. Especially when it is something she claims to have let go of.

The woman has a special talent for driving me crazy. I have a special talent for not letting her see that she is driving me crazy. Which drives her crazy. My little bit of revenge against the crazy, I suppose. I wish she would just grow up already. Too bad you can't tell your mother that, but I am too tired to deal with the kind of shenanigans that would invoke. It all has to slide off. I need my energy for me. So I vent here and not with her and keep the peace. I always keep the peace. Stoic in the face of unreasonableness. Steadfast in having the truth on my side. And petty enough to know it will all drive her right up the wall. You have to have something, though, right?

Weary

November 4th, 2018 at 06:30 pm

Right now I literally just want to go live somewhere else where there are rainbows and kittens and puppies and unicorns and no one is ever sick or in pain and people are kind to each other. I am just so tired, so overwhelmed, and aching so much. Everything hurts right now.

My c-reactive protein level is 14.3 mg/L. It is supposed to be less than 8. I have never had a flare this painful before. I am ridiculously swollen. What's the worst is it is in my back. It has never been in my back before, so it hurts to lay down and it hurts to sit up. When it is just in my arms or my legs or my hip I can usually find a semi-comfortable position, but there isn't one right now.

I am using a combination of valerian root, hydrocodone, sambra (a rub on cream), and a heating pad. I will be so glad when I can start on enbrel. I can't start on it until I get through with the antibiotics for my sinus infection. And we're waiting to see if my insurance will cover it. There's always that.

DD has gone to the ER twice in the last week for IV fluids and morphine. We had so many appointments last week that I am sure all of that sitting in waiting room chairs is what set off this round of inflammation. She's got a cytoscopy scheduled for the 15th so hopefully they will find out why she is still peeing blood.

I will check in when I can, but if I am not posting, the above is the reason why.