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Viewing the 'Medical Issues and Spending' Category

Payday Report for 5/25/18

May 30th, 2018 at 12:24 pm

I had some money leftover from this paycheck but we ended up using it to go over on the grocery budget. I had to buy pudding and Jello and extra milk to make the pudding for DD for after her surgery. I didn't think about that ahead of time. The Jello and pudding were on sale for 99 cents a box if you bought four boxes. I'll get the hang of this, but it may take a few more weeks. There is about $30 left in checking.

I added the tithe for my Thrive commission check into the tithe from DH's paycheck so it is a little higher than usual. My commission check was close to $50.

$128.72 Tithe
__55.00 Co-pay eye doctor
_175.00 Sleep doctor
_175.00 Groceries
__50.00 Household
__81.00 Truck Tabs
_125.75 Van Tabs
__35.00 DS Allowance
__25.00 Blow Money Me
__25.00 Blow Money DH
_100.00 OTC Medications and Vitamins
_150.00 Gas Money
---------
$1125.47

Surgery was a Success

May 29th, 2018 at 09:29 pm

DD came through her surgery with flying colors. The doctor said she did amazingly well. Her gall bladder was white because there was so much scarring from gall bladder attacks. The doctor said it was full of sludge and gravel. No big stones as she had been passing them all week.

She already looks and feels so much better. Her color is back and she's up and walking around. Her operation was textbook. We left the hospital about an hour and a half after she woke up. She can try eating very lean red meat in a month, so she'll still be on turkey, chicken, fish, beans, and lentils for protein. The first 24 hours though will be pudding and Jello, broth, and maybe mashed potatoes if she is up for it.

Thanks for all your prayers for her and continued ones for her healing would be appreciated. Now we wait for the bills to come in.

ER Visit and Surgery Date Set

May 23rd, 2018 at 01:36 pm

I spent all day Monday, from a little before 1 p.m. until midnight at the ER with my daughter. At midnight DH tagged me out and I went home to sleep because I had an early appointment on Tuesday morning, but they were home an hour later. They sent DD home with percocet and we were able to get a relatively quick surgery date of the 29th, so she has a week to wait. The meds should last that long. I will be so glad to see the backside of her gall bladder.

I don't know how much everything is going to cost and I don't know how we will pay for it if it costs more than $6000, but we will figure it out. DH says he will probably start getting overtime in June again, which will be a great help. The current project he is on, the one with no allowance for OT, wraps up at the end of the month.

They have him lined up for several more projects. His boss has said he contractually can't talk about bringing him on as a direct employee until June 4th. I don't know if that means anything or not, though, like is he going to talk to him on June 4th and bring him on, or just a statement of fact.

I do hope they bring him on as permanent because the benefits are outrageously good. Better insurance than we have now (which is really good, but expensive) for $250 a month for the whole family. Plus vision is $14 a month and dental is $100. So $364 total. Which is a far cry from the $1500 we are paying now. A share of company stock, which is worth $16K. 6% matching in the 401K. Paid vacation and sick days. Paid jury duty days off. I believe he also said good deals on disability and life insurance as well. I really hope this happens.

We'd have to pay COBRA for a couple of months, though, I'm sure. And that'll be $1500 a month. Worth it in the long run, though.

So I had to pay $413 today to the surgeon for the upcoming surgery. I don't know how much I will have to pay the hospital yet as a down payment. I am guessing around $1250. At least they can't turn her down for this surgery based on her BMI. Of course that is why it will be in the hospital and not the surgical suite at the doctor's office. I think DD has met her deductible now.

I have a killer head cold. I woke up with it Monday morning and so yeah, I had it the whole time we were in the ER. It was worse on Tuesday. Today I think it is at its height so hopefully tomorrow I will feel a lot better. Unless I caught something in the ER to add on top of it, because you know how my immune system likes to do things like that.

I got an email today saying that an old virus software on a computer we no longer have had been renewed automatically and charged to a credit card number we no longer have. I think it is the same card, just with a different number. I hope that means it didn't go through anywhere.

I am keeping an eye on the card that it used to be the number of just in case and then will dispute it. They worded it like they had already done it, but it hasn't shown up. I thought I had stopped any auto renewals, so maybe they are just trying to pull a fast one. Trying to figure out how to contact them through the info on the email is nearly impossible. We no longer do auto renewals on things so if they are trying this again we have to nip it in the bud, pronto.

Taking Steps to Move Back to the Envelope System

May 17th, 2018 at 04:41 pm

I went to the credit union today and took out $475 in cash to fund 3 of my envelopes. I put $175 into the groceries envelope, $50 into the household envelope, and $250 into the medical envelope. For medical I am going to start using an old checking account at a different credit union. I took the $250 there this afternoon, deposited it, ordered a box of checks, and ordered debit cards. They even had some pretty checks that were the same cost as plain ones. I chose an American flag with the bald eagle soaring in front of it. I didn't think my husband would fancy the butterflies. Big Grin So that took $16 out of the medical account right there, leaving a balance of $234.

I tend to write checks for medical except prescriptions. We have been using the credit card for that because we usually go through the drive-thru and it is easier than trying to write out a check on the steering wheel. So we will use the debit card for prescriptions once it arrives. That way DH can have a card, he usually picks up the medicine, and I will have the checkbook. That debit card will be used only for medical. It just makes it a little easier than playing with cash and not having a paper trail. I need a paper trail for medical if we need to deduct again.

I will be funding the medical account with $800 every month, with $200 coming out of each paycheck starting on June 1st. That should cover co-pays, prescriptions, and allow us to save for DD's surgeries. This does not include the amount for the chiropractor which is a monthly set amount for the entire family and I will just pay that out of regular checking. It has it's own budget category.

When the medical account reaches $1000 I will send any additional to the online bank and earmark it for medical on the spreadsheet. I'm not sure when they will let DD have her surgeries, not until her BMI is 40% however long that takes, so the extra will go to save up for that. But whenever the account drops below $1000 I will start adding money back into it. I am not sure how much we really need to set aside for medical. It varies so much in a month. This month alone has 6 co-pays, not to mention the numerous prescriptions.

Because we are switching over to mostly using cash and checks, I am not sure we will be able to make a payment on the loan to Mom until June 8th. I figure if I make the $500 payment towards the beginning of the month, then I will have to stick to the budget the rest of the month. If there is any extra at the end of the month of June I will tack it on to the July payment. If I treat it like a bill due the 2nd payday of the month, that should keep me on track.

I think I'm going to like this Gazelle intensity thing. Even if I can't do it 100% like Dave Ramsey, because we have to keep the EF at $6000 instead of $1000 for upcoming medical reasons, I am trying to focus in like we are. And really, we are. The EF is $1000, the medical fund is the rest of it. Once the surgeries are over than we can be fully doing it, but I don't know when that will be. I guess until then it will just have to be baby steps. Yeah, I saw it. Did it anyway.

This and That

May 2nd, 2018 at 02:47 pm

I haven't posted since the 22nd. A lot has been going on. My son had his wisdom teeth out and it really knocked him for a loop. Everyone had to pick up the slack and it was a lot of slack as that kid does a ton around the place. It cost $1250.20. They gave us a 12% discount since we had no dental insurance.

We finished transferring soil into the garden beds that need it. About 2/3 of the bee balm we transplanted made it. I've got my tomatoes planted now. I've finished my garden plan and have decided I am going to plant bush beans this year instead of pole beans. I've been having trouble with my shoulders, so picking above my head will hurt. By putting them in 2 foot tall raised beds, I can just pull up a chair to pick them instead of kneeling on the ground.

Normally I prefer pole beans because they go a lot longer, but if I plant now, I can get two crops of bush beans in this summer. I went with Provider green beans. They are a high yield bean and they had organic seeds available locally. If I had to order it would have been a toss up between Providers and Contenders, since they have the highest yields. With pole beans I usually do Blue Lake or Kentucky Wonder. Or blue coco for fun. It is a purple string bean that turns green when you cook it. I'm mostly going for yield this year, though, because I need to can a lot.

I am going to grow my zucchini and cucumbers vertically on stakes instead of letting them sprawl all over the place. There is a place in the front yard that gets good sun on the edge of the deck. I just have to keep tying them up as they grow. This gets the plant off the ground, making it less susceptible to powdery mildew. It also allows for something that usually takes up a huge amount of space to be grown in a more compact area.

I'm not sure I'll be able to grow any potatoes this year. The ground is just not prepared for it and it is more work than I can do on my own. Maybe if I grew them in barrels or grow bags. We'll see. We have 3 old water barrels that could be cut in half. But I can buy potatoes fairly cheaply from the no spray garden when it is time to can them, so if I can't plant any, that'll do.

My big goals for the garden are to can enough green beans and tomatoes for the year. Maybe even enough tomatoes for two years, which I've done before. I picked good, local producers this year, so as long as we don't have a cruddy growing season this year (last year's was awful), I should make it just fine with what I planted.

I've been writing. I've written 5000 words in the last two nights, so I think the writer's block is over. It would be nice to get this novel finished. I have a much better idea of where it is going now. It's like a veil has been lifted. I haven't finished a novel in four years, so I am very happy with myself that it seems to suddenly be going so well again.

I know I haven't done any payday updates in a while. I'll start again on Friday. I just don't have the energy to go back and write everything up. No big deal. It's just for my benefit anyway. I doubt anyone is really just itching to see the state of my budget every week! Smile Today is the first no spend day in ages.

Well, I've got a free hour before I need to get back in the garden again, so I am going to work some more on my novel. My goal is to write 10,000 words this week and 45,000 by the end of the month. If I keep up the rate I'm going at that should be easily doable.

Urgh

April 5th, 2018 at 09:49 pm

So yesterday after I posted we got a call to say that my daughter's surgery had been cancelled. Even though this has been on the books for 2 months, it was only yesterday that the anesthesiologist practice bothered to look at her chart. And they cancelled it based on her weight. They want her to lose 20 pounds. She's already lost 40 and we were told that was enough.

They claim they are worried about her airway during the surgery. I'm worried about her ability to breathe day to day, because with the one side crushed in like it is and the other side not super great either, she has about 40% of the air flow she would have if it was fixed. Her quality of life is nil. Of course these same anesthesiologists will do a gall bladder surgery, so I don't get it.

Anyway, so I started the refund process with both of the people I paid yesterday. They say it should take 2 weeks, which is fine since the credit card isn't due until the 3rd of May. I won't have to transfer any money to take care of it so I won't get charged interest, it'll be off with time to spare. I wish the anesthesia people had been on the ball, so I wouldn't have had to go through that rigmarole.

So whenever she loses the weight, I am going to ride the doctor's office about riding the anesthesia people to make sure she's lost adequate weight so I don't have to play these reindeer games a second time.

Meanwhile, DD and I are going to buckle down again on the weight loss and exercise regime. If I had known they were going to pull this crap, I would never have gone for the more expensive insurance program. Now we might not even be on it when she is able to have the surgery and we'll have wasted all this money for nothing.

On the bright side, it does give DD the kick in the pants she needed to get her diet going again.

Yesterday was Spendy on the Medical Front

April 4th, 2018 at 04:14 pm

So yesterday I took my son to the dentist to get impressions for a mouth guard. He's been grinding his teeth badly and it is causing damage, but also pain. So that cost $517. The good news is that also pays for the next visit where they fit the mouth guard after it arrives from being made.

After that DD had her pre-op appointment and we had to pay a down payment on the surgery of $300. Then we went over to the surgery center and paid a down payment of $1202. So a total of $2019 went out for medical. Ouch.

We can absorb the $517 since DH has been getting overtime, but the rest has to come out of savings. It is a lot when we only have $4500 left in savings. Well, $3000 now. I am rounding. I can't remember the exact numbers off the top of my head, but thereabouts. The income tax refund should be here by the time all the final bills come after insurance so we can pay the rest of it without touching anymore of savings.

DH found out some stuff about the medical plan if he gets hired on directly at his work. It is $250 a month for medical, $140 (I think) for dental, and $170 for vision. Compared to the $1500 that is coming out for just medical now is great. I so hope he gets hired on directly when his contract is up June 6th. Of course, I don't know what kind of plan that is, it could be a high deductible plan, though he's been told their benefits are very good. I hope they are, because we could really use a medical break for a while.

Jury Duty Update and Taxes Update

March 30th, 2018 at 02:21 pm

DH's boss told him that if he gets called in during his week of jury duty he can work on the weekend and come in after jury duty if he wants to to get as many hours as he can. If he worked for them directly, instead of through the job recruiter, they actually still pay you for the week.

I told him to call the job recruiter and see if they offer something similar, because that would make things easier. But even if they don't, he can still get some work in, so it won't be a no pay week. We think he should be able to manage 30 hours. 30 hours of pay I can work with. Even 20. Just losing that full check would have been too much.

It's also possible they won't call him in for some of the days. They have you call in each morning to see if you are needed that day. If he only gets called in for 3 days, then he can get a full five days of work in. Best case scenario. Well, best case would actually be if they don't need him at all, but I don't know how likely that is.

DD has a cold. I hope she is better by her surgery on the 9th or we will have to postpone it. She has a pre-op appointment on Tuesday so I guess we will see if she needs to go on antibiotics then. It's not like we can wait until she's well. She's never well.

If it does get postponed that'll put us closer to when we get our tax refund. DH did finish the taxes the other night. I just hope it doesn't get audited or something. We claimed $21,000 in medical expenses and that might be a red flag. I do have all the receipts. We might have even spent more, but that was all I had the receipts for. We also never got the HSA people to issue a corrected form, so I'm just kind of hoping we slide under the radar with that. We should be getting $8000 something back.

Once we get the $8K back, I feel like we'll have some breathing room. DH has been given a new project, so he's still employed for a couple more months. Hopefully by the time June 6th arrives, they will offer him a direct job. They do like him and like his work. There are people that are going to be retiring within the next year or two, but I don't know how soon.

If not, then slope work is picking up again. If he goes back up there it is a lot more money and we could sure use it to get back to a place where I feel financially secure again and I can finish paying Mom back. I think as it is, I am going to give her $1000 out of the tax refund. Unless the surgery costs are just too high. We'll see.

Ugh, We Don't Need This

March 27th, 2018 at 08:17 pm

A summons for DH to do jury duty came in the mail today. It is only for a week, but right now we really can't afford to lose a week's income. We are still in recovery from all the unemployment and with the upcoming medical bills we will have for my daughter's surgery and my son's wisdom teeth it is going to be tight enough. If we lose that week of wages we will be struggling really hard. We will try to get him excused based on financial hardship.

I have set up the appointment for the consult and the x-ray for DS's wisdom teeth. The consult is $90 and the x-ray is $96. I also set up for him to get impressions done at the dentist for a mouth guard. He has been grinding his teeth and it is starting to cause some damage and worse, cause pain. The mouth guard will cost around $500. Life without dental is fun, not that dental would pay for much of it anyway. I am not sure how much the wisdom tooth removal will be but I imagine around $1000 to $1500.

DH needs to get our taxes done so we can get our refund and have a little breathing room again. He's been working so much overtime he hasn't had a chance to do it. He's got it half done, he just needs a chunk of time to finish. Hopefully he can get to it this week. This is the first time in years we haven't had our taxes done by early February.

I really need to put my head down and get some writing done. I have kind of been in the wrong head space, but I think I just need to set a goal of 1000 words a day and start churning it out. It doesn't have to be good, but I have to get back into the practice of doing it and then worry about making it good. Writer's block can be such a bear.

Payday Report for 3/16/18

March 20th, 2018 at 07:55 pm

I have been sick and not really staying on top of blogging, but I have been staying on top of bills. I got my Thrive Life commission check of $59.68 and DH's pay with overtime was $1685.22. I am still waiting on my Google/Youtube check to be deposited, but it should be in there soon. Usually it goes in on the 15th, but not always.

$1000.00 to Citi Visa
__174.52 tithe
__110.54 Medical
__452.88 Car Insurance (6 months)
--------------
$1737.94 Money Out

I had a little money left from before so that was really what was used for the medical bill. This leaves me with $68.52 in checking until Friday. No bills are due, so that is fine. I transferred my wages to savings. I am not really sure what will end up happening there. I am not really specifying savings until after DD's surgery. After that gets paid for, then I'll go back to specifying EF and sinking funds, but for now there is really no point. It is pretty much all medical until it isn't.

Payday Report + Haircut + Mom + Murphy + Food Waste

March 10th, 2018 at 05:13 pm

Well, I did it. I got my hair cut to my collarbone. It was a foot or so of hair taken off. I had it thinned and layered and the curls are just crazy bouncy now. I am very happy with it. I can't remember being this happy with a haircut in a couple of decades. It is easy to care for and simple to style, though it takes more time than just braiding it or putting it up in pony tail. It just looks so nice that I don't care if it takes me an extra 10 minutes to curl it around my face.

Mom is home from the hospital and doing very well. She is only taking Tylenol for the pain and hasn't needed anything else. She is getting around very well and able to do much for herself. I am so happy. This is way easier than the shoulder surgery or the knee surgery.

We had quite a lot of overtime on the paycheck yesterday. As quickly as it comes in it is gone.

$255.00 Tithe
_474.36 AMEX (in full)
__56.61 Garbage (2 months)
_876.93 BoA Visa (in full)
_124.75 BoA MC (in full)
1000.00 Citi Visa (not in full, but not due until 4/3)
-----------
$2782.65 Total Money Out

This is over the amount of the paycheck. Mom and MIL both reimbursed us for stuff we bought for them so we had an extra $310 in checking from that.

As for Murphy, DH got a flat tire. He got a piece of metal in the tire. He's down at the shop now seeing about the repair. I don't know how much it will cost or if it will cost anything. Tire shops are weird that way. Sometimes they fix flats for free, depending on how bad the damage is. I am hoping we won't have to get new tires. This is on his father's truck that we technically have inherited, but we haven't taken the title to it yet. MIL is going to pay off the loan on it when the life insurance money comes in, but it hasn't yet. After that, we will take ownership of it.

If we have to buy new tires we will buy them from Costco. Still the cheapest place for tires I've ever found and good quality ones, too. I have loved the ones they put on the van. They drive very well. But I sure hope that expense is not one we have to shell out for right now.

DD's bed broke. The box spring and the frame collapsed. It's an old bed, a hand me down from my mother. We can't afford a new bed now. MIL has a bed we can take, but it has to be excavated first. She has so much junk in that room. The bed is covered with it and the path to the bed is covered with it. FIL was a real pack rat and MIL still is.

So after the tire is repaired, DH and DS will take the truck out to MIL's and try to get the bed out.

DD's surgery is scheduled for the 9th of April. We have to have $300 paid before then. Her deductible is $500. She's met some of it, and will meet some more with the pre-op appointment so $300 is what they reckon will be left to meet. The doctor's portion of the surgery itself costs $5449, but we won't have to pay all of that. The surgery center is supposed to get me a quote on their portion. I don't know about the doctor who administers the anesthesia. I believe our out of pocket is capped at $3000 per person. It might be $5000, though.

We still haven't been able to get the HSA to issue a corrected form. I think at this point we are just going to put the proper amount on the taxes and keep our fingers crossed that no on notices that proper form isn't there. And if we ever have an HSA again, it won't be there because they really don't know how to pull their heads out and do their jobs.

Otherwise, still muddling along. Still thinking I need to make up a meal plan, but still not doing it. I ended up throwing out a lot of veg and leftovers this week and so I really need to get back on top of the food waste issue. I kind of really let things go for a couple of weeks. I need to not do that, because is just wastes so much money. Some went to the ducks, some to the compost, and few things had to be binned.

I have been watching a show this week called Eat Well for Less. It is British. I found a couple of episodes on youtube and a few others elsewhere. It's a really good show. It focuses on fixing a family's food budget. It deals with brand addiction, food waste, picky eating, shopping without checking the pantry and fridge first, everyone eating different meals instead of the same meal, all of that stuff.

I found it very informative. And it gave me the incentive I needed to try to get my act back together again. I've got all my veggies that were left after cleaning the fridge prepped and ready to go so that it can get used up this week and not wasted. I am going to plan my meals around that when I finally sit down and make my meal plan tonight.

I don't need to buy any meat this week. I may need to buy salad greens and bananas, but I may hold off on the bananas because we have plenty of oranges and apples. I'd like some blackberries, though. Oh, I've got some freeze-dried ones. Those will do nicely. We have freeze-dried bananas, too, if it comes to that.

Help on Taxes--HSA Related

February 16th, 2018 at 04:18 pm

We are having an issue with our taxes in regards to our HSA. We maxed it out in the first half of the year and spent it in the first half of the year on medical costs. But then DH got a job with medical insurance after that that did not have an HSA. So now they are saying that we can only claim part of that based on the months we had our own self-payed insurance, not the fact that we used it all during the time we had one.

We can't just put the money back because the government counts that as putting in additional money, not returning it to the fund. We don't have the money, regardless, because we spent it on medical bills. The people at the credit union where we have our HSA have no idea what to do to fix it. They assume there should be some paperwork, but they don't know what is is and have never had this issue come up before.

We really can't afford to go see a tax professional as we are barely keeping our heads above water right now due to medical costs, so I was hoping one of you here that is one could tell us what form we need to fix this and possibly where it is located? DH is looking for info on the IRS Website, but you all know that that is like looking for a needle in a haystack, assuming you even have the right haystack to begin with.

Long Weekend Plus Birthday Monday Update

February 13th, 2018 at 12:36 pm

Last week my husband worked 4 ten hour days so that he could have Friday off. We got a lot more done in storage, pulling out five large bags of trash and 2 bags full of recycled paper. We also pulled out another box of papers to shred. We donated another stack of books, probably only 15 this time, not a full box

We have reduced the amount in the larger unit so much that we should be able to get everything in there now. We have until the end of February to finish cleaning out the small 8 x 10 unit that is still here in town. Once that is in there we will just have the 10 x 18 and the 10 x 10 in the county. Then we will transfer what is in the county 10 x 10 into the county 10 x 18 as we go through it. Once we are done it will all fit in the 10 x 18 and our storage costs will be reduced significantly.

I found $0.79 this weekend bringing my found money this year to $3.47 American and $1.60 Canadian.

Monday morning I had to go and sit through a joint replacement class with my mother, as she is getting her hip replaced in March. It was 3 hours long and then of course my mother had to stay and talk for an additional 45 minutes, because she's never met a conversation she can leave. It was awful on my back and hips because their chairs were crap. Of course her care after the surgery will all fall on me again, because neither of my sisters will do anything.

I am very irritated with my mother because she refuses to go into a nursing home for the first week after she leaves the hospital. Medicare will cover it, but she refuses to go. She might be getting all her joints fixed, but mine are breaking down. She's just so selfish about it and I have to suck it up and do it. Last time I ended up on the verge of pneumonia and with so much pain in my joints I had to be on hydrocodone to function. If she would just go in for that first week when she needs round the clock care, I would be able to function so much better during the following five weeks when she will be able to sleep through the night and so will I.

Then in the afternoon I went to my rheumatologist for an appointment ($55 co-pay) and crossed off yet another drug I can't take. The sulfa affected my vision. Now she wants to do an MRI of my hands, but I can't afford it so that is on hold. She gave me some paperwork for an injectible drug, but one of the side effects is cancer, so no. I will just have to muddle along with the hydroxychloroquine.

So all in, yesterday was not one of my better birthdays, especially with the fact that I couldn't even have cake on this diet. But I have lost 13 pounds in two weeks, so it is kind of worth it. I miss sugar and flour though. A lot. I need to update the side bar to reflect my new age of 48.

We still haven't got taxes done, but we are working on it. It looks like we will be getting around $8000 back. I was hoping it was more, considering we spent around $30K in medical expenses last year. We'll need that money to pay for DD's surgery.

This and That

February 5th, 2018 at 10:16 pm

We spent the weekend working in storage again. I found 55 cents, bringing my total of found money this year to $2.68 American and $1.60 Canadian. We pulled out 5 big black garbage bags of stuff and filled an 18 gallon and a 25 gallon tote with paper to recycle. I also have another box we filled about 8 inches high with papers to be shredded. We donated two more boxes of books.

I paid off all of the medical bills from my daughter's ER visit. It was upwards of $8000. Our Emergency Fund is down to $5000 or so. I don't have the exact numbers. It is depressing and a little scary to have so little in savings, especially when we still don't know how long DH will actually have a job for.

We have no safety net now if he loses his job. DD still needs to have her sinus surgery, so we will use part of the tax refund for that. It really can't be put off any longer and who knows when we will have insurance again if DH gets laid off. The insurance is really good at least for however long we get to keep it, even if they are taking a boat load of money out of his paycheck for it.

It was nice to see the extra money in the paycheck this week from the tax cut. We'll only see it for this month, though, since in March it will go into the 401K. We really don't want to not put money in the 401K, so as soon as he qualifies it is going in even if it is only 2%.

I've been doing a low carb diet for a week now and lost 10 pounds. I am keeping my total carbs to 60 grams a day, which is what the bariatric specialist recommended last time. This time I am doing it without a weekly cheat day. I am really pushing the water. I feel better already, which is nice because last week I had that nasty stomach virus that's been going around.

The only thing that is bad about this diet is that my acne is acting up. It is supposed to be because when you lose fat the toxins that were locked in those cells come out whatever way they can. In my case it is through cystic acne. It hurts and I hate it, but I'm not going to give up, because I have to get this weight off my body. I don't want to spend the rest of my life like this. It physically hurts too much.

There really hasn't been much going on. Well, other than we lost another rabbit and now I'm afraid there might be something going around the herd. We lost Bonfire, who was out of Firefly and Wildfire, who are both gone, too. But we have her daughter Sadie and we haven't yet sold or butchered her other three offspring so if we want to keep another one, we could.

Then again, I've been thinking of downsizing, so I don't know. But right now this puts us at only 3 breeding age does and I'd like 4. But I might like a doe out of Sadie and Vincent when I breed them, so I don't know. They might not even have a likely candidate in their first litter, either.

The garden is starting to put some volunteers up. There is spinach growing and sorrel. There are onions and garlic as well, that I did not plant in the fall, so maybe they seeded or maybe ones I planted early last spring that never came up, came up now. The kale overwintered and there are some beets, too. I am looking forward to spring and rebirth and growing things and green coming back to the trees and flowers. It always makes me feel better when the dreariness of winter lifts.

Another Day, Another Purge (and Venting)

January 21st, 2018 at 10:36 pm

I found 13 cents today, bringing my found money this year to $1.26 American and $1.60 Canadian. We spent 2 hours in storage today, which isn't much, but all four of us went out. DD was able to last long enough to get through 3 of her totes. Most of it was either thrown away or put in the donate boxes. That clears a lot of space. I made it through 3 boxes of mostly paper. I had to sort it between keep, shred, and recycle. There was very little keep. I did find some old poetry I'd written, so that will get put into the computer and then that can be recycled.

We had so many manuals from products we haven't had in years. I had 3 fridge manuals, 2 stove manuals, a manual for every electronic gadget I have ever owned, including ones we haven't had in years. I found 3 parts of the pasta maker. I am still missing the bowl part and the attachments, but I am sure they are in one of the kitchen boxes we haven't sorted through yet.

We came home early because it started to pour and the wind was whipping the rain into the unit. We brought home three boxes that I will sort through tomorrow. One is papers and I'm not sure what is in the second one. It might be kerosene lamps, in which case it just goes out to the garage in an easily accessible location for power failures. The paperwork will probably take me an two hours to sort and shred. I'll work on it while listening to Ben Shapiro's podcast tomorrow.

The other box I have already sorted. It was mostly shirts that my son could wear that used to belong to my husband back when he could fit into XL tops. 3 of them are lined flannel, which is perfect for winter farm chores. The box does have a few odds and ends in there, too, that I need to find homes for including my husband's professional baton from when he was a drum major. I told him he ought to put it in his golf bag so it is out of the way. There is also a marble chess set which will go with our games on the top of a book case.

My mother has been remodeling one of the rooms in her end of the house and when it is finished DS is going to move up into it. The room is 12' x 12' and will give him a lot more room than his current 8' x 12' room, which isn't even a bedroom, but a storage room. Once DS is out of there than DH will move a lot of his stuff out of the living room. We will also put one set of shelves in there for our long term food storage. He's going to build me a couple of shelving units as well for the living room, so that for once everything can actually be put away. I get so tired of living in 1000 square feet. Just having that extra 8' x 12' feet available to us with DS out of it will be amazing.

We found some laminated desk tops for free and he will use those for the shelves and attach them to 4" x 4"s to hold them together. The top of one will be at the right height for me to cook on. We will have space to put out our Nuwave oven, crockpot, electric skillet, air fryer, and rice cooker all in a row. That will make meal prep much easier. Cooking is difficult without a stove. We have enough appliances to do it, but not enough usable work space to have more than two out at once, which is limiting. Having even three out at once will change things dramatically. I will also have DH build a little section to store the lids while I am stirring things.

As cramped as things are, I have nowhere to set down lids while I stir and have to hold them and some of them are heavy. If I am having a day where I drop everything because of the RA, they end up on the floor. If I need to add anything in while stirring I have to call one of the kids to hold the lid while I do it or set it on the floor on a towel. It is really quite ridiculous. We don't even have room for a kitchen table, because the "almost" kitchen is so tiny.

The appliances go on the sewing table and a TV tray when I need to use them. The only counter space we have is taken up with the Kitchen Aid stand mixer, the microwave, the toaster, the coffee maker, the knife block, and a dish drainer.

I hate living this way. I know it could be so much worse, but I am ready to leave and find our own space. We just can't afford it. Not with the drain my daughter's medical stuff has on our finances.

Oh, well. I can't change anything right now. I'm not sure if we ever will. I'm so discouraged right now. It's been one thing after another for the past two years. Obamacare has almost bankrupted us. We will never be the same.

Even More Purging and Medical Blathering

January 20th, 2018 at 11:01 pm

We went out to storage again today and spent 5 hours there. We packed a lunch this time and plenty to drink. It was nice to sit in the van with the heat on and get warmed up while we ate. The wind was blowing so hard today.

We got two more of the large black Hefty garbage bags full of trash and one of the large moving boxes as well, which is probably the equivalent of two more bags, ready to take to the dump. We sorted through over a dozen boxes and totes and reduced the contents significantly.

We have two medium size moving boxes and one paper bag full of paper to recycle. A lot of it was magazines. Of the 100 or so magazines we only kept 7. We also are tossing a bunch of old school papers, some from our college, some from the kids younger years. I found my old typing book, which was for an electric typewriter. Some of the keys are different from what a modern computer has now.

So far I have found $1.13 American in change and $1.60 Canadian in change. My son has found over $5 in change, but those were in his boxes, so that is his money.

We got the third bill from the hospital and this one is $6354. I've already gotten two others for $569 and $582, which is what I was expecting for the ultrasound and the doctor bill. I am going to call them on it, because I call BS. She had one urine test and they are charging $1312 for that. No blood draw. She got one bag of saline. And she had a CT scan (which runs anywhere from $1000 to $2000 outside of the hospital, depending on whether or not contrast is used).

She had almost the exact same stuff a year ago, and while we had insurance, I still have the bills that showed the total amount and it is almost triple that. The whole thing should be costing about $3000, since it was $2500 last time, allowing for inflation. At the very least I want to see if they have a discount for paying in cash. Most places do.

I will be so happy to have insurance again. We just have to get through 11 more days. I told my daughter she is just going to have to wrap herself in bubble wrap and not leave her room until February. And no one else is allowed to get hurt or so sick the have to go to the ER either.

Well, I better get to bed. We'll be spending another 5 or so hours at storage tomorrow.

Picking a Health Plan, Running the Numbers, and a Farm Update

January 18th, 2018 at 09:09 pm

Last night DH and I sat down and took another look at the health plan offered by the job recruiter company. They offer 4 different plans.

The gold plan has a $500 per person and a $1000 per family deductible. Prescriptions are $10 for generic and $50 for brand names. Co-pay is $35 whether it is a regular doctor or a specialist. Out of pocket max per person is $4500 and per family is $9000.

The silver plan has a $2000 per person and $4000 per family deductible. Prescriptions are $20 for generic and $80 for brand names. Co-pay is $45. Out of pocket max per person is $6850 and family is $13,700. It has an out of pocket max of $10,000 after the deductible has been met.

It offered 2 bronze plans. Plan 1 has a $5250 per person and a $10,500 family deductible. Prescriptions are $20/$80 and then they have a third tier and a fourth tier of 30% and 50% respectively for the really high priced drugs. Co-pay is $50. Out of pocket max is $7150 per person and $14,300 per family.

The second bronze plan is an HSA plan. It has a $7150 deductible per person and $14,300 per family. Prescriptions are $35/$100 with the other tiers again being 30% and 50%. Co-pay is $50. The out of pocket max is $6550 per person and $13,100 per family.

Based on our prescription costs and the fact that my daughter is going to need 2 surgeries in the next couple of months, we knew both bronze plans were out, so it really came down to which would save us more money this year, the gold or the silver.

DH ran the numbers and on the gold plan weekly take home pay will be approximately $1177. On the silver plan it will be $1232. This is without any overtime, his guaranteed 40 hours a week. If he gets ten hours of overtime a week the amounts would be $1523 and $1577.

They are currently on an overtime moratorium for this week and the next two weeks, though DH has been getting 50 hours up until now. But they put the freeze on because they have pushed the end date of the job out to mid-April instead of mid-March, so the rush to get the work done on time has slowed. It means DH will be employed for another month at least, though.

So not feeling we could count on the overtime at all, my numbers to budget with had to be $1177 and $1232. I sat down and figured out the budget with the lower amount to see if we could swing it and still be able to start the 401K contributions in March when he qualifies.

We can swing the more expensive plan and we are going to because in the long run it will be cheaper. I have 7 prescriptions, my daughter has 6, and my husband has 2. I know we might only be on this medical plan a few months and if DH gets hired on through the actual company it will be all different medical than this and a different 401K plan, too, but since I know what is coming up and how much we would be spending, the gold plan will be cheaper, especially since more of it will be in pretax dollars, which will also lower our taxable income.

I have determined we can at least contribute 2% of his income to a 401K which is $36 a week. If after the first month of that he is still working there we will try to bump it up to 4% or $78 a week and see if we can handle that. We will proceed forward with 1% bumps until we get to 6% to get all the matching funds.

I can make some cuts in the grocery budget and we can cut out eating out again. Not that we eat out much, but we do. I think the amount I have allotted for medical expenses will drop, too. I am not sure we will be able to contribute to the Emergency Fund or pay back my mother anything, though. I will try for at least $100 a month into the EF, though.

Our insurance will go up once the will finishes up whatever it is doing and the title of the truck gets transferred into our names and MIL is no longer paying the insurance on it. I reckon it will double, but it might not, since we ought to get a multiple vehicle discount. I am considering at that time dropping everything but what we need for if we are at fault since we will have two vehicles. When you only have one vehicle that is a chancier prospect. We'll see. DS is about to start learning to drive, which doesn't change anything yet, but will once he gets a license.

I hate the idea of having such a cramped budget, but we've lived on less before and I know we can do this with enough self-discipline. Once I can start growing food again that will help, too. The fruit and veggie portion of the food budget from May through October really goes way down.

At least with the turkeys and chickens gone I don't have any animals that are hemorrhaging money. The rabbits pay for their own feed as well as the ducks' feed. We don't get enough eggs for the ducks to be self-sufficient, but the rabbits make up for it. We are down to just 4 ducks and 1 drake now and they forage a lot. They also eat a lot of garden produce in the spring, summer, and fall.

This month has been a rough one with the animals. We lost Annabeth the duck shortly after the new year started and last night Luna Blue died. Luna Blue was the rabbit I had to feed with a dropper full of raw goat milk because her mother died when she was 3 weeks old. Only 3 out of 7 of that litter survived without their mother. But she was the runt and she needed the most help. I adored that rabbit. She was the sweetest thing.

We had a vicious wind storm yesterday and all I can think is that the loud noises scared her and she flipped and broke her back. We've had that happen before with really loud noises and her back was definitely broken. I've lost rabbits when the Med-Evac helicopter has flown illegally low over our house on the way to the hospital on three occasions and twice now to wind storms. It is frustrating. We have more wind on the horizon as well and I hope I don't lose anyone else. I'm not particularly attached to the others like I was to Luna, but I do love them and it is always hard to lose animals.

Week 1 2018 Payday Report and Work Related Musings

January 5th, 2018 at 05:20 pm

The outgo was slightly higher than the intake this week, but I had money left from last week in anticipation of that. I also have some money left to pay the surgeon consult on Monday and get the cash discount.

DH didn't get any overtime last week because of the holiday. He at least got his 40 hours in, though, by working 4 ten hour days. That $300 of overtime pay sure makes a difference.

I am not sure if we will be able to put anything in the Emergency Fund this month. Or at least not the full $500 I budgeted. And nothing to the College Fund, either. Maybe not even a loan payment to Mom. I was not expecting an ER visit and surgeon consult. If I can manage to not take any money out of the EF, I'll be happy, but we'll have to wait and see. I am hoping the hospital does not bill us until the end of the month.

I am really dreading when they start taking medical out. We are going for the plan with the lowest deductible and most coverage due to the anticipated surgery after running the numbers, but that will mean a normal paycheck is a little over $1000 a week, and overtime might be $300. They may take out less in taxes, though with the tax cut, but I don't know when that goes into effect so I am not counting on it.

I really wish he had been hired on direct with the company and not through a recruiting service. They are talking about keeping him on after this job is up and I hope that pans out. The job he was hired for only goes mid-March. If he gets asked to stay, he will have to work through the recruiting service through May, though, unless they buy out the contract, which the recruiting company may go for after they see the medical bills we're going to generate. The actual company has much better benefits and medical shouldn't be anywhere near what it is through the recruiter company.

Here are the bills I paid today:

$275.00 Chiropractor
_500.00 To Mom for Utilities
_149.12 Tithe
_315.21 AMEX
_158.01 BoA MC
_108.30 Comcast
__42.96 Garbage
----------------
$1548.60 Total Money Out

Well, That Was Dumb

January 5th, 2018 at 04:10 pm

I just discovered I didn't actually make a payment on the 30th. I recorded it in my check register, but I must have gotten distracted before I actually went online and paid it. Fortunately I had made a payment the week before, so there was no late fee, but that does mean we got charged interest for the $1400 balance. Ugh. I hate when that happens. I hate giving a single cent to the Evil Empire.

Okay, we were a bit distracted having to deal with DD's gall bladder attack, but still. I am usually so on the ball with paying the bills. Lesson learned, though. Don't enter it into the register until I've actually made the payment. I wish I'd realized this two days ago.

I was wondering why the balance was so high on that account. I couldn't find the payment there, so I checked my checking account online and couldn't find the payment there, either. I can't believe I did that. I know I haven't been feeling good and have been kind of spacey all week, but still. This is the second time I have done that in 4 months. *sighs*

I did finally catch all my budgets up to date on the spreadsheets. I finished up September, October, November and December, including entering all the medical bills into each month. I haven't added up the numbers yet, but I know as of August we'd already spent over $20K on medical bills for 2017. I'd say it is going to be around $27K from a guesstimate.

Can I just say again, the Affordable Care Act was badly misnamed? Burdonsomely Unaffordable Care Act would be a much better title. Or Bankrupting the Middle Class Care Act. That would be an acceptable title as well. I know it has helped the people that get it for free, but it has hurt just as many people, if not more so by driving up the cost of everything insurance related, making it more expensive for employers to offer plans, and shifting the expense directly to those who don't get any subsidies. And I'm not sure it is going to get any better any time soon, either. They like to talk about health care, but they don't like to do much, no matter what side they are on.

So Far So Good on the Pantry Challenge

January 4th, 2018 at 08:40 pm

I am doing really well on the eat from the pantry challenge. So far we have not bought anything from the grocery store since I started the challenge. I really didn't feel like cooking tonight at all, so I pulled one of my pans of enchiladas and made it tonight instead of one of my planned meals. That's what they are in there for. I am down to 1 pan of enchiladas, 2 pans of chicken and broccoli bake, and 2 fajita kits. I try to keep them for the days when I feel like a house dropped on me.

I am in the middle of an RA flare. Part of it was because I ran out of medication and was off it for 3 doses. Part of it is because I've had to do all of my daughter's chores. Part of it is because I had to drive to Burlington and back. I don't do well with driving that long anymore and I've had to do it twice in two weeks. We had to go and pick up oats for our rabbits. I should not have had to go, but the order we got the two weeks before was contaminated. It had all kinds of other things in it besides oats, including lime dust, which can kill rabbits. They put lime dust in the goat feed, I guess. Anyway, we caught it before giving it to the rabbits.

Fortunately, that feed can also be fed to the ducks, so we are mixing it with corn and peas for them. We did not have to pay for the new round of 300 pounds of oats, either. We just had to send them photos of the contaminated feed. I guess if I look on the bright side of things, we got a bunch of free feed. But it wasn't much fun having to go to Winco to buy oats over the holidays because the mill was shut down. At least they have 25 pound bags of whole oats, though. I might have been able to get some at the farmer's co-op, but we've had trouble with contaminated oats there, too, with both brands they sell.

We've scheduled an appointment for DD with the surgeon for the 8th. She can't have surgery before February because we won't have insurance until then. The initial consult may cost $240. They gave a range, with $240 being the top of the range if we paid in cash. That is a 20% discount.

DD is doing okay with the low fat diet, though she had some major carb cravings yesterday and wanted bread really bad. She ended up having mashed potatoes with just salt and pepper on them to calm the craving down. It seemed to do the trick. We just have to think outside the box a little more now.

The Nuwave oven has been wonderful for cooking chicken and fish without fat for her. Well, other than the amount I spray on the rack to make it non-stick, but that is minimal. But I can steam vegetables in a foil packet as well with no oil at all, just a sprinkle of water and some herbs. I am getting the hang of this. Today I made boneless skinless chicken thighs in it. I just rubbed them with a combination of ground cloves, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, a little paprika, salt, and pepper. It was very mild and she loved the flavors.

So we are adapting. I think she is losing weight, too. I just hope her weight is not going to be a problem when it comes to surgery. We've run into that problem before. If it is, she will probably have to go to Seattle to see a surgeon and if she does, it means I will have to be the one to drive there since DH works a normal job now. Which will mean at least a week of recovery time for me each time. If not more.

Payday Report for 10-6-17

October 7th, 2017 at 10:09 pm

$1867.89 American Express (in full, as per usual)
__475.00 Best Buy (Paid off 12 months same as cash)
__102.13 Life Insurance for DH and Me
__500.00 Mom's Utilities
__196.35 BoA MC (in full, as per usual)
___20.00 Food Bank donation
__477.78 Medical
-----------
$3639.15 Total

A little of this money was carry over from last payday. I did also reorder two boxes of checks, but forgot to ask them how much. It doesn't show up in my bank account until the day they are shipped, not the day they are ordered. It's usually around $15 for a box. We don't go through checks very fast since we started putting almost everything on the credit cards and just paying them off, but I wanted to get it out of the way before we have to start living on our savings again. It's not like they won't get used eventually.

This coming week my daughter has a physical therapy appointment and I have one. My son has his physical. My PT is $90, but I don't know how it will work for DD. I pay my own out of pocket because it is no longer deemed medically necessary, but it is what keeps me walking so it kind of is. What they really meant was the insurance didn't want to pay for it anymore and they didn't think there was anything further they could do, despite the facts that the sessions keep me from being crippled. Every time I have to skip a week things get bad. I've tried to not go and I end up using my cane and curled up in pain must days, so I deem it necessary. Don't know what will happen once we can't afford it anymore, though.

We have a $30 co-pay for regular doctor visits and $40 for specialists. I have no idea where her PT will fall, because sometimes specialists are not considered specialists. So it could be $70 out for them or $80.

Also, I know in the past that this company likes to wait until the full set of therapy is done before charging it, but I don't like that as it means a big bill at the end instead of paying as you go. But that was back in 2011 so things may very well have changed since then. I will have to wait and see, but I will ask about it when I take her to the first appointment.

I have no other spending that needs to be done this week, so other than going to the grocery store to get milk, we should be good.

Rheumatologist Visit and Opthamologist Visit

September 30th, 2017 at 04:30 pm

On Thursday I had my appointment with the Rheumatologist, so that was a $40 co-pay. She is pleased that the medicine I've been on for 2 months is helping to the extent it is, but she thinks we could see more improvement to get my quality of life back close to where it was before things got so bad. She prescribed methotrexate, which is only taken once a week. The most common side effect is nausea, which I don't do well with, but so far no sign of it. The dosage gradually increases every two weeks until it gets were it needs to be. I am to continue to take the hydroxychloroquine as well.

The new prescription cost $36.09, plus I have to take vitamin B-9 with it, only that one is daily. It is a prescribed vitamin, but it was only $2.79. I also renewed my rescue inhaler because I am trying to build up a supply and it allows me one a month. I don't need a bunch, but it would be nice to have 3 or 4 extra. With the way the smog was this summer I needed it a lot more than usual. That was $50.

On Friday I had my appointment with the Opthamologist, another $40 co-pay, and I had all kinds of tests done. The did several photos of the eye and then an extensive visual field test, then health checks for glaucoma, etc. And the baseline scan of the retinas to make sure the hydroxychloroquine was not turning my retinas yellow. It can in 20% of the population. So far there is no discoloration in mine.

The torn spot in the retina has healed very well. He said the scar tissue from the repair is nice and healthy and this will be my last follow up from the laser surgery and I didn't have to come back again for a year. I was there for two hours. I almost had an asthma attack while there, because when they dilate your eyes they move you to this dimly lit room instead of keeping you in the exam room and tying it up.

About 10 minutes after I went in, they brought another lady in. I'm not sure what she had on. It smelled like layers of fragrance, but not floral. Like she probably had used scented body wash, scented shampoo, scented lotion, aerosol hair-spray, and then perfume on top of it and they all clashed and none of them smelled good. It smelled more like chemical air fresheners.

She was so heavily made up that her skin looked the color of a peach, except her cheeks which were creme rouged in orange and her lipstick which was coral. Her hair dye matched her lipstick. It was like someone used all the bad Avon samples from the 70's or something. So her makeup products might have added to it. The heavy-handedness was not doing her any favors. It was caked in the creases.

I think she could have been a very beautiful older woman with different, more natural choices or even a naked face, but was so afraid of being old that she tried to hide it all with pancaking on the foundation, etc. Why are some people so afraid to just let their face be their face? Why can't women just allow themselves to age like men?

I started reacting as soon as she walked in, but I thought I was going to be okay, but after two minutes I had to get up and leave the room. I used my inhaler, which helped with the breathing, but also felt a headache starting behind my eye from the cacophony of fragrances, since I am so freaking sensitive to inhalants.

So I discretely flagged down someone and told them quietly that I was going out to the main waiting room, and could they let whoever needed to know where I was, because as judgey as I can be in my head or when I rant on here, I didn't want her to feel bad that she was making it hard for me to breathe. Although, maybe I should have, because wearing that much scent anywhere where you are going to be around people, like a waiting room, is wildly inconsiderate. Especially in an office that has signs saying it is a fragrance free zone.

At least the regular waiting room had circulating air. It was way too bright, but I thought it was better to breathe and stave off a possible migraine, so I sat there with my eyes closed until they called me back again. My breathing was really affected by the wildfires this summer. It has not fully recovered since and I am more sensitive than ever to things that trigger it.

On the bright side, my hips did not hurt from sitting in all of the uncomfortable chairs for two hours. Thank goodness, or I might not have been able to get anything done today.

My new glasses came in, so I went over to pick them up today and it is taking some getting used to. It's usually a rough 24 hour adjustment and then a continuing minor adjustment for the next 10 days or so when I get a new prescription before my eyes feel normal again.

After that I stopped at The Spice Hut and picked up 2 oz of vanilla powder and impulse bought 2 oz of pumpkin pie spice. I usually make my own, but they had a little jar of it you could smell, and it was so wonderful, I wanted some. I'll use it at Thanksgiving when I make my pumpkin cheesecake. I spent a total of $12.02. Vanilla powder is a little pricey, but so worth it and I needed some for a recipe I want to try next week.

I do have to get my son a new coat tomorrow. His shoulders are getting so broad. But after that and the two medical bills I need to pay, I shouldn't have to spend anymore money this week. The two bills are $61.15 and $16.97 respectively.

I did get another bill for $477.78 for the new c-pap machine (deductible should be met after this), but that will come out of next payday. It'll be a day late, but they don't charge interest unless it is 60 days over and that will put me at 31 days. I asked if this was okay and they said fine because I always pay my bills. I would have charged it if not and then just paid it off, but this way is much easier.

Maybe one day the medical bills will end. That would be a good day.

The Week Just Whizzed By

September 22nd, 2017 at 07:53 pm

DH arrived home on Friday morning last week and he'll be leaving again on Sunday. It feels like I've barely seen him as he's been doing so much running for his parents and appointments. DH spent all day Wednesday in Seattle with his parents. The day before that he got his permanent crown put on.

My son had a dental cleaning, my daughter and I had eye exams and I had a tiny cavity filled on the front of one of my teeth. It was an old filling that had fallen out being replaced by a new one. I had physical therapy and my daughter had an MRI.

We also went to the mall so I could find a new purse as my old one was falling apart. DS had a job interview at the same time, so we saved a trip. Now DH is over doing will and living will stuff with his parents. Tomorrow we have to butcher and then go to BelleWood Acres to U-pick apples and then run over to another farm and see if they have green beans.

DH and I did manage to eke out enough time to watch the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie together Thursday night. I need to do a couple of payday reports, and figure out how much we've spent on medical/dental this week, but the majority of money went to the Citi card.

Thing 1: Daughter's brain MRI came back and there is nothing physically wrong with her brain. Meanwhile the new migraine medication is working well.

Thing 2: The cancer doctor in Seattle is starting FIL on some auto-immune drugs that may help prolong his life. We're talking about a few months though. So we are still looking at 6 months to a year, though that seems better than just the 6 months he was told by a local doctor 6 weeks ago. He seemed in much better spirits when we saw him yesterday.

Thing 3: I've made the decision to give up the chickens. I think I've made the decision to give up the ducks, too. I don't want to give up the ducks, but I really do think it is for the best.

No Wonder it Felt Like Drowning

September 14th, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I just added up how much we have paid on medical expenses this year through the end of August. And this is assuming I actually got every bill recorded. $19,637.14. Almost $20,000. And around $15,000 of that was when we had no income and had to pay out of savings. $8022 of that was insurance premiums for 6 months for a family of four.

I didn't even add up what that stupid insurance mandate cost us in 2016. I know it wasn't as bad as this year, but it wasn't pretty either.

I wish the Republicans would get off their butts and fix the darn thing the Democrats saddled us with. Not sure how it can be fixed, but they need to DO something. At least change the name from Affordable Care Act to Bankrupt the People Act, because at least that would be accurate.

Neurologist Visit and Homestead Changes

September 12th, 2017 at 11:18 pm

Today was a long, semi-stressful day. Mostly because we spent about 2 hours with the neurologist my daughter got bumped up to see. The good news is that she doesn't think DD has MS. She is thinking just very severe migraines with something else in the brain being possible. DD has an MRI scheduled on the 18th. She does think DD needs to do physical therapy for muscle weakness, control, and balance. They can teach her how to exercise so she isn't pulling the muscle in her back all the time.

PT has a pool. We cancelled our gym membership, but we're paid up through October 12th, so if we can actually make it to the pool she could do more pool stuff than just on the days she has PT. But I don't know if that will be possible. Now that homeschool has started I don't have as much time to be running people around. Plus her headaches have been so bad, I doubt she'd want to go somewhere as loud as the gym pool.

I made it over to the school system's main office today and filled out the intent to homeschool form and got my copy of it for my files. I also found out that if DS has a job, he doesn't need permission from the school district on what he can work, so that is good, too.

I went to the pediatrician's office so DD could fill out the paperwork to get her medical file sent to her grown up doctor. It was supposed to have been sent 3 years ago and I only found out last week that her current doc had never gotten it.

I am thinking about giving up the ducks. I am so tired these days and without DD being able to pull her weight around here it is getting too difficult. We may give up the chickens, too, and just keep the rabbits. Plus if DS does get hired somewhere, he may not be available at sundown every day anyway to help put the birds in.

I'm just not sure I can handle it mentally or physically anymore. The rabbits are my joy, as is my garden. I do love my ducks, but they attract a lot of predators and they make a huge mess. The chickens I don't get attached to anymore because we have lost a lot to predation. While I enjoy them, they don't have semi-pet status.

I just don't feel capable of it with the rheumatoid arthritis and whatever else is running down all my energy these days. Even the kids are okay with it. They see the toll it is taking on me. This decision has been a long time coming. While I'm not 100% there, I feel like I am 80% there.

DH gets home by the end of the week and I hope to have made the decision by then. I am pretty sure I'll be rehoming them, though.

Doing Some Research and DD's Head Problems

September 5th, 2017 at 07:21 pm

So I did some googling and I think DH will qualify for unemployment this time around. For the state of Alaska you have to have worked in two of the previous quarters and earned more than $2500.

DH worked in May and June of the 2nd quarter, and will have worked July, August, and September of the 3rd quarter, and then October for the 4th quarter, so if I understand it right, when he gets laid off in October that should mean he can get it again.

For some reason I always thought you had to work for a year before you could qualify for benefits again, but someone (PS, maybe or MEC) pointed out that in some states it's based on what you earned and Alaska appears to be one of those states. I'll have DH follow up on that, but it is looking good.

What's not looking good is that the doctor has ordered a brain MRI for DD. Hopefully there is nothing serious behind the debilitating headaches she's been having, but I am worried. He is waiting for approval and then he will call us so we can get it scheduled. He wants to rule out a tumor or brain aneurysm and look for signs of MS since it runs in the family.

I also need to call the eye surgeon who has been seeing her for her eye and headache issues and have him send over his records for her and then call her old pediatrician and have her do the same. For some reason the ped never sent her records over 3 years ago when we sent a request for them so current doctor has no history of her skull fracture, concussion, and brain injury.

The doctor also did a blood draw for mono. She is just not functional right now.

Also, the smoke cap is back. The Cle Elum fires are sending mass amounts of smoke this way along with ash in parts of the city. It's not where we live, but is on some of the foothills a mile to two miles away from us. It's also 82 degress right now at 7 p.m. And it is humid. We are supposed to get rain on Saturday. Hopefully we will get light wind pushing it away before that. I am using my happy light already. I don't want to drop down in mood again like last time.

I am so tired. I don't feel like I am getting restful sleep with the new c-pap. I think my mask might be too small. I will call them tomorrow and see. I think they gave me the wrong size.

Yesterday we canned 32 jars of pears, but one broke in the canner. So I have 15 pint and a half jars for me and Mom has 16 pint jars for her. We've got another box of pears to do, but they are not ripe yet, maybe Thursday. All of those will be for me. I also need to do some deli-style pickles. The cucumbers have gone nuts.

I've still got to do the potatoes, too. No green beans this year after all, though. The ones that are growing locally are all hollow and woody, so I'm glad I didn't waste garden space on them this year. It's been too hot during the growing season and then the smoke cap has been detrimental to their growth as well. We still have several jars from last year, though, and if we have to buy green beans in cans, at least they are very cheap compared to other veggies.

I Still Can't See the Sky

August 10th, 2017 at 09:35 pm

Today was supposed to be clear, but it still isn't. You can at least see the foothills now, though. It is supposed to rain on Sunday and I really hope it does. It is hard to not be able to go outside much if I want to breathe well. It's too hot to leave the windows closed with it being in the 80's and no A/C.

Today was my daughter's 21st birthday. How did that happen? When did I get old enough to have a twenty-one-year-old child? We went to Outback for dinner. I had lobster and everyone else had steak. It was pretty good, but I can make a better steak at home, which is why I got lobster. Or maybe it is just the difference between grass fed beef(what I have) and corn fed beef.

I did have a couple bites of the steak, because my daughter couldn't quite finish hers, but that only confirmed my call to get the lobster. It was an expensive night, but it's the only time in a year we've gone out to something like this. Tomorrow it'll be back to home-cooking.

Tomorrow MIL and FIL and DH meet with the doctor about FIL going down to the UW hospital and whether or not he is strong enough. They've already said he'd have to do a medical transport if he goes, that he is not strong enough to go in a regular car, not even our van which is very comfortable. They still don't know what is wrong with him, but I have a feeling it is the cancer working on a systemic level. Continued prayers for him would be appreciated.

We are rehoming our tom turkey George. He hasn't been the same since Gina died, and he will be going to a nice lady with 2 Royal Palm hens. I hate to see him go, but my mother has been getting aggressive with him again and of course he reacts to that. Honestly, I'm afraid she's going to hurt him.

She's been acting kind of crazy this week freaking out on everyone for very minor things. I wish we could move. I am so done right now. After everything I did taking care of her, for her to turn on us is just demoralizing. I am never mean to her, not even when her vindictive streak comes out. I am patient and seldom react because I know that's what she wants.

Half the time I feel like I'm the parent and she's an adolescent going through puberty. She sure acts like a 7nth grade girl in full on brat mode. She can never admit when she's wrong. Ever. She doesn't apologize except to say things like I'm sorry you feel that way and even that hardly ever happens. I'm ready to move across the country at this point just to have everything fall on my sisters since that is the only way they will ever do anything.

I want to go somewhere and scream at the sky, but I'm not entirely convinced it is still there. Man, that's really getting to me. I need to see some blue before I go off the deep end myself.

I Can't See the Sky

August 8th, 2017 at 12:40 pm

It's been 12 days since I've been able to see the sky. The smoke haze from B.C. is so bad it is like a ceiling of dirty white overhead. Not like when it is overcast, then you can still see clouds in various shades of grey and white. This is like a lid has been shut over us. Washington state has the worst air quality in the nation right now. Unfortunately, I am having to use my inhaler. It is messing with my lungs.

You take it for granted, seeing the sky. Not seeing it for so long is making it seem claustrophobic, like we are closed in. I can feel it at the back of my neck, making me want to raise my shoulders up and inward against it. I know it is psychological, but the longer it continues, the worse it seems. It makes me feel like I'm in some kind of sci-fi movie where the sky disappears.

The sun and moon through it have been amazing, though. Just brilliant shades of orange shining through to let us know that even if the sky is gone, space is still up there somewhere.

There's not much been going on. I finished up the kidney infection medication and spent a lot of time in bed sleeping during that time. We didn't go out to eat at all for three weeks, but we did get something this weekend and we will go out on the tenth for my daughter's 21st birthday. Then back to not eating out for a good while.

We are up to our ears in gold rush zucchini and patty pan squash. The green zucchini is not doing as well. I lost a lot of them to blossom end rot, so now I am pulling the blossoms off them once they have got to finger size and that seems to be helping. I have green tomatoes now so maybe in a couple more weeks I'll have some red ones.

We lost 2 chickens this week. Henrietta was our oldest chicken. She was six. And then one of the leghorns died as well, but they don't live as long since they are production birds. She was 3. So now we are down to 9 chickens, 6 ducks, and one turkey. We aren't replacing anyone. We thought we might have to get a new turkey hen after Gina died, but George seems to be doing okay now. He's a little sad at bedtime when he's alone, but during the day he seems fine and hangs out with the 3 Barnevelder hens he was raised with.

I didn't do a payday report this week, but all of the money went to pay the AMEX bill in full. That takes care of the last of the medical expenses from the two ER visits and the emergency eye surgery. We still had to pull $3500 out of the Emergency Fund, but at least we didn't have to pay interest on anything.

Maybe in September we can pull ahead again. At least for a little while. Who knows with the job situation still being up in the air like it is.

Putting 2 and 2 Together

July 27th, 2017 at 06:41 pm

I went to the doctor today after being up all night and I have a kidney infection which explains everything in the past month with the exhaustion, the mid-back pain, the headache right where Ben Shapiro wears his yarmulke, the pain in my mid-back, the Charley horses in my calves, the more and more frequent runs to the bathroom, and as of two days ago, what I like to describe as kidney breath where it smells like something died in your throat somewhere.

He gave me an antibiotic, but made me make another appointment for tomorrow. He said if I felt better in the morning to cancel the appointment, but if not to come in and we'd determine whether or not I'd need IV antibiotics. He was pretty worried about me because I fell asleep on the table between when the nurse left and he came in. I told him it was just because I didn't sleep last night, but I don't think he believed me.

So do you think I came home and rested? No, I had a case of apricots that had to be dealt with today. So I made two double batches of jam and have 22 half-pints to show for it. Plus 2 more that went directly in the fridges of my family and my mother. I did it the easy way, though, and just liquified them in the Vitamix instead of cooking them down. It takes a half an hour off of every jam batch. It's a trick I learned a couple years ago when I got fed up with using a hand cranked food mill.

The rest of the apricots are all cut up and ready to be canned tomorrow. The hard part is over. Tomorrow all I need to do is put the apricots in the jars, make a simple syrup, ladle it into the jars, and water bath can it for 30 minutes. I should be out of the kitchen in an hour unless there is more than 7 quarts worth left. I don't think there is, but it's possible there is 8, which would mean doing a second water bath session as the canner only fits 7 quart jars.

I'm not doing anything else for the rest of the night tonight. DD will take over my rabbit duties. And we are all fending for ourselves for dinner. Which means I will likely just go to bed and not bother. I did way more than I should have, but I didn't want $40 worth of organic apricots to go bad. As it was I had to toss a few. I should have done it yesterday, but after physical therapy I was beat. The softest ones went in the jam. The firmer ones go in the jars tomorrow. They hold up better to the canning process.

All right, now I really should go get in bed and hope everything is better in the morning. Oh, and co-pay was $30 and $5.77 for the prescription.

Spendy Day

July 26th, 2017 at 10:50 pm

I spent $35.41 on gas today at the Safeway gas station. The van was running on fumes and that bought 16.712 gallons. I paid $2.12 a gallon. I got 10 cents per gallon off for paying in cash and then I had 4 points, so got an additional 40 cents a gallon off.

I end up getting a lot of points from my mother. She doesn't have her own club card, so she just gives them DH's phone number and what she buys counts towards our points. It really builds up fast that way.

I also picked up two prescriptions at Walgreens for $21.08, then swung by the fruit stand and bought nectarines, corn, and watermelon, all from Eastern WA. He has someone who drives over the pass and brings back produce four times a week and he also sells local stuff, but our corn won't be ready until the end of August here, and nectarines and watermelon are not a crop in Western WA.

I also had a two hour session at P.T. today, so that was $120. She did some massage on my foot, because super klutz that I am, I dropped a glass Pyrex storage bowl on it yesterday. I still occasionally drop things randomly due to the nerve damage in my hand.

The medication the rheumatologist gave me seems to be working really well, so I hope it doesn't screw with my eyes. It's the first time I haven't has severe joint pain in ages. I still have it on the left side ankle, hip, and knee, but I don't feel it much on the right side anymore except just in my hand and wrist sometimes as opposed to all the time. I still get the random swelling, but it doesn't stick around for days, just usually 24 to 48 hours now. So a major improvement.

My FIL was in the hospital for four days and has now been moved to a nursing home. I don't think it is for good, just that he needs more care than MIL is capable of giving him. He ended up getting a blood transfusion and IV fluids, but they still couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. It wasn't his heart (he's had a previous myocardial infarction), it wasn't his kidneys (one only has 4% function as a result of the heart thing), and it wasn't the cancer. His blood pressure was really low, he had a high fever, and chills that wouldn't stop. Prayers for him would be appreciated.

My daughter's new psychiatrist wants her to see a nutritional counselor, but the woman has a two month wait time for new patients. She has a partner that does the same stuff, but that woman doesn't take insurance, so she's out. We can't absorb the cost of anymore out of pocket stuff. The shrink won't see her if she isn't seeing a therapist. I thought the shrink was supposed to take the place of the therapist.

I mean, if she's just there to prescribe pills and not to help fix the underlying problems, she's not that much good to us. Although the new pill is making a major difference and I am glad to have her off the certraline. I've seen huge progress with her anxiety issues and she isn't acting depressed anymore, either. I just wish the medicine didn't make her so sleepy.

DS and I are doing low carb and heading towards the keto diet. It is nice to have someone to do things with. He is carrying an extra 20 pounds he wants to get rid of. He's been going out on 2 hour walks for the last week or so, but he's too self-conscious to go use the gym by himself. If I can stop hurting myself long enough with my clumsiness, we'll start going to the pool together again.

There's not that much else going on. We don't have any pregnant livestock so the youngest babies are coming up on ten weeks old. I don't breed for July or August delivery as it is too hard on the animals with the heat in those months. The garden continues to thrive and produce. So really nothing to speak of on the farm front, either.

I'll try to do a payday report for last Friday tomorrow. Or maybe I'll just wait until Friday and bundle them in one post.


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