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Archive for November, 2016

Thanksgiving with No Drama

November 24th, 2016 at 07:50 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rough Week

November 19th, 2016 at 11:48 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Many Didn't Even Bother

November 11th, 2016 at 06:24 pm

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

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

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

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

Medical Insurance for 2017

November 4th, 2016 at 12:29 am

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

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

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

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

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

Probable Diagnosis

November 3rd, 2016 at 10:55 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unemployment and Emergency Fund Usage

November 2nd, 2016 at 09:59 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Interest Income

November 2nd, 2016 at 09:26 pm

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

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