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Archive for July, 2018

Crab Boil--Work Event

July 29th, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Yesterday was a nice day. We went to a crab boil at DH's boss's house. DH went out on the boat with them in the morning to help catch crab. They had two boats out with 5 people per boat so they were able to catch 50 crab. The shellfish and seaweed harvesting license was $27 and it paid for itself, since all four of us went to the party. Plus, DH will likely go out again with either his boss or his cousin's husband. If he gets invited to go regular fishing again he'll get the salt water fishing license for that, too. His boss had invited him for Friday evening, but he didn't want to give up his overtime, so only did the crabbing on Saturday morning.

Now that overtime will be dropping from 15 hours a week to 10, he can work in such a way that his Fridays will end earlier and he can go fishing. His boss caught a really big King salmon. One King salmon would pay for the fishing license. Those puppies are big. It would be great to put some salmon in the freezer and to can some more.

We had a great time at the crab boil. All four of us went. There was crab, spot prawns, corn on the cob, baby potatoes, and sausage. Everyone brought deserts and there were a lot of them, but I didn't have any. I filled up on real food and the corn was as sweet as any dessert could have been. I don't like to eat desserts where I don't know what the ingredients are, because if it has something in it I am allergic to I will spend the whole party feeling sick. I took Benadryl preemptively in case something in the seasoning affected me, but nothing seemed to.

I was a little nervous at first, but I zeroed in on a lady who was looking kind of abandoned and started talking to her and it turns out we went to the same high school two years apart and were both in choir. Then we started talking about Disneyland and a few other things and spent like an hour chatting. Turns out she is the wife of DH's boss's boss. Apparently, I shmoozed the right person, although that was not my intention. I really liked her, she was nice.

Usually I am much more anxious around people I don't know, but yesterday was a good day for this introvert. Plus, all the free food makes me happy. And now I won't be so nervous when the full company picnic (this was just DH's department) happens in 2 weeks. We went home with a bag full of crab and prawns, too, so that will be for dinner tonight. I don't have to cook on a day that is rapidly approaching 90 degrees.

New Health Insurance Information

July 27th, 2018 at 02:41 pm

So DH's company is self-insured. I hope we don't bankrupt them. Anyway, here are the numbers.

Deductible is $1000 per person and $2000 per family. Co-pays do not count towards the deductible. $500 of well care is covered before meeting the deductible (like physicals). The out of pocket max is $2000 per individual and $2400 per family. If we go outside of network the deductible is $4000 per person and $4800 per family. Prescription co-payments are not included in the out of pocket max, unfortunately.

Our co-pay is 20% whether it be for a regular doctor or a specialist if the provider is in network. It is 40% if out of network. I have no idea yet about my doctors, but 40% is still less than a $55 co-pay for a specialist. I think. Diagnostic testing is 20% co-pay.

The prescriptions are high, though. $30 for generics and for brand name without a generic equivalent, and $50 for a brand name that does have a generic equivalent. So with me having 8 prescriptions and my daughter having 9 (currently, this may go up), and my husband having 1, all generics, that will come to $540 a month in prescription costs. Ouch. I wish it went towards the out of pocket max and you can see why.

I am used to prescriptions being $10/$20/$50, and some of them have been free, so this will be quite a jump. Still not anywhere near having to pay full price, though. I think we can get some of them for the monthly price if we get a 3 month supply through their mail order company, though. DH mentioned it, but I haven't seen any paperwork on it. A couple of our drugs won't qualify for that because the insurance and the government don't allow you to have more than a 30 day supply. For me that is only one drug, it might be two for DD.

The do have an FSA so I may do that with $540 a month going into that because we know for sure we will use that much, and it is pretax dollars. That is always better than post tax dollars. We'll have to see how much of a rigamarole it is to get reimbursed. If it is one of those nice ones that allow you to use an FSA debit card from the money you put into the account I will be very happy.

We will be coming out very far ahead, though, because the premiums are so much lower, so despite the high prescription costs, I have very little to complain about here. So long as I don't have to change all of my doctors, but I'm pretty sure that the primary care and the rheumatologist are in network as they have been for every one of the various insurances we have had for the last several years. It is probably my sleep doctor they will have issues with if they have issues with anyone. For some reason a couple of the insurances don't want to go with them. I only see him once a year now, though so it shouldn't be that big a deal if I have to have a 40% co-pay for an out of network doctor.

As soon as we get the paperwork in September about the mail order prescription company I will have to go and get written 90 day prescriptions from 3 different doctors, which will be a bit of a hassle, but I can call ahead and have them notify me when they are ready. None of my doctors are anywhere near my other doctors so I'll be running all over town, but so be it. I'll do it to save the money.

Payday Report for 7/27/18

July 27th, 2018 at 02:11 pm

So the paycheck this week was only $666.11. Yeah, that's always a lovely number to see. The reason for this is that his former employer said he could just take the insurance for August out of his last paycheck for July so no one has to deal with COBRA paperwork, so that is what we chose to do. The new insurance starts on September 1st. It seemed the easiest of all options.

I also got my Thrive Life paycheck and my youtube/google paycheck, which are small, but that number is reflected in the tithe. I transferred $1500 out of savings, $500 of which I am saving for next week, to make up the difference. That $500 will be for groceries, medical, and household for that one week and then we'll get the two week paycheck and be on a bi-weekly budget.

$800.00 Monster Mom Loan
__82.32 Tithe
__56.83 DH Life Insurance
__45.30 My Life Insurance
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
_200.00 Medical Fund
__50.00 Household Envelope
__45.00 Allowances
_100.00 DH and My Monthly Blow Money
_100.00 DD's Birthday
-------------
1679.45 Total Money Out

Monster Mom Loan Payment

July 27th, 2018 at 01:59 pm

I like to imagine taking a flaming sword and hacking away at this evil Monster loan. Today I took out an $800 slice. And that first digit has dropped at last from a 3 to a 2! That makes me very happy. We were able to pay off $2400 this month. Normal budget would allow for $500 payments, so the 60 hours of OT allowed us an additional $1900.

$30,300.00 Starting Balance
-__,800.00 Payment Made
------------
$29,500.00 New Balance

Grocery Ad Lull, Endocrinologist, and Wal*Mart Trip

July 24th, 2018 at 06:40 pm

Well, this is the second week in a row where I have gone through the grocery ads in preparation for my Friday shopping and only found one thing that was worth buying. Last week was a milk sale and this week is a beef roast sale. Since I am not sure when we will get down to the farm to buy more beef, I will probably stop into Safeway for the meat deal and for the organic milk, lettuce (mine has bolted), and radishes, but the rest of my shopping will be at Winco. The other stores are just so high priced when there is not a good sale going on.

Things went well at the endocrine doctor. He has ordered more specific blood tests, checking individual hormone levels. The took 5 of the large vials of blood. DD was a little woozy afterwards, as she hadn't eaten in case they needed fasting bloodwork, so I got her some onion rings from the last of my blow money. I get more on Friday, though, so that is okay.

We stopped at Wal*Mart as well and I got two packages of white wash cloths. They had product shrinkage though. Used to be those were 12 packs. Now they are 9 packs. It has gotten so hot here that we all need to wipe down during the day at least twice. It's too expensive to keep hopping in the shower every couple of hours! So having a big stack of wash cloths will be very helpful for quick, icy cold sweat relief. I had 12 white ones that were just for me, but I use those on my face morning and evening and the others kept stealing them even though they have their own color codes ones. Now maybe I can keep up.

I also bought a couple of cheap notebooks for budgeting and meal planning since the back to school sales have started. I'll probably get a few more in the coming weeks, but two was sufficient for now. It took me forever to find college ruled, but I did. I also got an accordian file for my daughter to keep her medical records in and a dry eraser for the white board. I also got DD some gum. I spent $20.83 out of the household envelope.

I really should have picked up tissues while we were there, but I totally forgot we needed them by the time we got there. So they will be on Friday's shopping list. I'll probably just stop into Kmart, though, because it is closer. Wal*Mart is a ways out, but it is near the endocrine doctor. I don't like making special trips just to go there.

I don't want to make dinner. It is so hot. But I really don't want sandwiches two nights in a row, either. Maybe I will make fajitas in the Instant Pot. Then at least I won't be heating up the house further. Man, I wish we had A/C.

I had to go change the ducks' water around four today as it had gotten so hot they couldn't drink it. I moved it further into the shade and they were so happy to get cold water. They all splashed around in it and then I filled them again and they drank it. Then they all waddled off in their little line to hide out under the raspberries where it is cooler.

I feel bad for the rabbits with their fur coats, but they all have an individual fan attached to the front of their cages and they are hanging out directly in front of them and seem to be doing fine. I'll have to watch them closely if we crack the next temperature decade. Or whatever you call groupings of ten when it is temperature.

Stuff and Other Stuff

July 23rd, 2018 at 09:02 pm

I managed to pick green beans on Saturday night and then took a hot bath and then iced my back after that and used some Valerian root as a muscle relaxant. That really helped. I had to pick them again today and will again in a couple more days. The combo of a hot soak followed by ice seems to be keeping things at bay. I got a belt that I can wrap around my body that holds two ice packs so I can get them in the correct place and not just have to lay on them so that is very helpful. I've also gotten decent sleep the last couple of days so I am feeling more positive.

Tomorrow is DD's appointment with the endocrinologist. I am really hoping we come out of this with some proper treatment so she can get her life back. I tend to be quite hesitant with trusting doctors because so many of them have been so lackadaisical about trying to get a proper diagnosis. Not just for her, but I've gone through it for decades myself, first with the endometriosis, then with the tumors, then with the gall bladder dying, then with the RA. It has been very frustrating to watch my daughter go through many of the same issues.

I will try not to bring an attitude of skepticism or despair in with me, because based on what little interaction we've had, this doctor appears to think there is something wrong and based on her test results we know that there is. Still, it is hard to be hopeful when meeting any new doctor and it is hard to take at face value that they actually want to help when we've both been jerked around for so many years.

Once things get settled (if they do), I want to have my own cortisol levels tested. I have some of the same symptoms as my daughter, though not to the degree. Enough, though, that I want mine checked.

I finally made it to the grocery store today, but I am too tired to do a grocery tracking post. I went to Trader Joe's and I did buy some convenience items because I am just too strung out. I think I may have a sinus infection and it is draining me, but I can't even think about going to the doctor until I get through this week's current appointments.

After DD's appointment tomorrow I need to can the green beans. Fortunately green beans have a fairly short processing time and it won't take all day to do them. I hope to get some more planted this week for a second crop as well. I did finally get the cilantro out of the pots and into the garden. I hope it makes it. That leaves the celery and the onions to transplant. It is probably too late for them to do well, but I ought to get a little something.

Rough Week Physically

July 21st, 2018 at 03:27 pm

My rheumatoid arthritis started flaring up on Tuesday and steadily got worse through the week. On Wednesday I started fighting off a migraine, successfully with medication, and on Thursday I strained some muscles in my low back because I had to pick the green beans and apparently I stayed in one position too long. I also started seeing floaters in my good eye. Yippee. Who needs to be able to read clearly? *sighs*

I need to pick green beans again and I am just really not wanting to. DH worked on my back for a couple of hours last night so I am doing better, but I'm afraid if I pick them it will go back into spasms.

Just to add to the fun, DD started throwing up blood, so Wednesday night was an ER visit, and it seems like on top of all her other issues, she has an ulcer. We will follow up on that after she sees the endocrine doctor and I see the surgeon for a follow up on my toe next week. At least is wasn't a bowel obstruction. They took x-rays.

At least things are going well for DH at work and things are running smoothly on the financial front. Since going full force onto Dave Ramsey's plan, I can really see the difference in the budgeting and accountability, as well as the intensity to get this last debt paid off. I try to watch at least 3 of his live streams each week and I have read three of his books now and one of his daughter's books.

I am currently reading Zero Debt by someone else. It is large print so that helps with the eye issues. I am also working my way through The Tightwad Gazette. I had to turn it back in once because someone had put it on hold, but I got it back again a couple of days ago.

I have been reading a fiction book, too, but I'm about to give up on it, even though I am halfway through. I don't really like the main character that much. She's hard to empathize with. I may just stubbornly forge on as I hate not finishing a book. I don't usually read mystery novels, but when I do, I expect to be more interested in the outcome than I am here. I've been trying to read this book for 9 weeks. The only reason I checked it out was because the title was a funny pun. I should probably stick to sci-fi and romance novels in the future.

I wish I could read more, but my eyes can only handle it for so long with these stupid floaters swimming around while I try to focus. I am feeling a little negative because of the amount of pain I am in and the amount of swelling that is going on in my body right now. I would appreciate prayers for healing and for a more positive attitude.

Payday Report for 7/20/18

July 20th, 2018 at 06:39 pm

$201.95 Tithe
_200.00 Medical Fund
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
__50.00 Household Envelope
__45.00 Allowances
_441.41 Auto Payments
_100.00 Laptop Fund
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_600.00 Monster Mom Loan
------------
$1888.36 Total Money Out

I did not budget all of the money out this time as there are a couple of things we need to purchase off of Amazon. I'll be using the debit card there for the first time. I'm not quite sure yet how much we will be spending, so I left plenty of room. After we buy our things, I will allocate what is left to another category.

The Medical Fund is currently sitting at almost $600. I want to get it to $2000 and then I will stop contributing $200 weekly deposits, though when it drops down below $2000 I will start them up again. I have a ways to go before I get there and of course I'm taking out any medical expenses as we go. $2000 is the amount the new deductible will be on the insurance that starts in September, so I'd like it available to us so we don't have to scramble when we start on deductible number three for the year.

Monster Mom Loan Progress

July 20th, 2018 at 06:21 pm

$30,900.00 Starting Balance
-__,600.00 Amount Paid
--------------
30,300.00 New Balance

Benefits Continued--Vacation, Holiday, Sick Leave, Insurances

July 15th, 2018 at 10:39 pm

So the additional information on benefits I have follows.

Vacation Pay:
During the first five years vacation accrues at the amount of 80 hours a year. Each year after that 8 hours a year is added up to a max of 160 hours (or 4 weeks) of paid time off. You can also convert some of your salary to extra vacation time as well (like if you were working overtime, instead of getting paid the overtime, get the pay saved towards extra vacation time).

Paid Holidays:
7 a year with New Year's, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and one floating holiday.

Washington state requires 1 hour of sick leave to accrue for every 40 hours worked, so it'll have to be that amount.

Health Insurance is free for the employee, $167 a month for the spouse, and $83 a month for children. So $250 a month. A far cry from the $1500 a month we are paying now. The deductible is $2000 a year. Free preventative well care visits, up to $500 per person, are allowed per year without a co-pay. I will get a further breakdown on benefits later on, probably the day he actually starts as a direct employee.

They also offer two dental plans. One is $167 a month and one is $255.09. The high one is worth it if you are going to get crowns, implants, dentures, and other high cost items done. The lower one covers 2 visits a year per person and x-rays with a $50 deductible. I did the math against private paying with the 10% cash discount and that one would be a wash, but since it would be pre-tax dollars instead of after tax dollars it is still worth doing. If someone gets a cavity and fills it, that will make it even more worth while.

The vision plan will cost $14.87 a month. We'll have to see what kind of restrictions it has. I won't get my glasses at a cut throat vision place again. And I won't get my eye exam there, either. They screwed up my prescription and my glasses. So it needs to at least allow us to go to whatever doctor we want. It works out to $178.44 a year and one eye exam is $90. Multiply that by 4 people and it is $360. So even if we have to pay to get our glasses made elsewhere, the cost savings on the eye exams would still make this worth it.

They provide a company paid $50,000 life insurance policy, which is doubled if there is an accidental death. If we want to take out more we can take out more at a discount through them, up to $250,000 without a health exam. We are probably going to do this. DH only has $250,000 of term insurance currently and we really would like to have $500,000 on him, but because of his weight he can't get more on our current insurance without an exam, which would shoot our premiums up way higher.

They also provide company paid short-term and long-term disability coverage.

Hopefully, I will get the nitty gritty details on everything soon. I like knowing exactly how much co-pays will be and how much prescriptions are covered and what the out of pocket max is. I also want to know which companies are providing the insurances. Especially the health insurance, vision, and dental. And then if the health insurance will play nice with my sleep doctor. Aetna doesn't. They won't cover anything from them. Everyone else does. So I am hoping that whatever it is, it isn't Aetna.

The benefits are fantastic. These are on par with old time (not modern day) union benefits, only no union. Like the benefits my dad had when he was a mill worker. Only no pension, but I'd rather have a 401K I can control any day of the week.