Tuesday, September 22, 2009


[Graphic courtesy of Ms. Crafty - thank you! I'd explain what it means, but it's a long story. A select few will understand its meaning in relation to this post. For the rest, just enjoy the cute, lumbering blue whale that can't seem to not bash itself in the head repeatedly.]

So, I know my story is nothing compared to what many people are dealing with, but I thought it was worth mentioning as another example of how "regular folks" are affected by the lack of affordable coverage for basic care.

Some would say I'm far from regular, but I disagree. I get lots of fiber.

When we got back from Canaduh I signed up for a basic plan from a provider, the name of which rhymes with Flue Yield of Palifornia. Seemed like a good plan that would let me see a doctor if I needed to but not cost a fortune every month. My premium is about $135/month and the deductible is $2,900 per year.

I saw the Caribbean Gyno for an annual exam and had no co-pay. That was cool. The doc wrote me two referrals, one for a mammogram (haven't had one in three years) and an ultrasound to look at one of my ovaries, the one that explodes like a super nova every few months.

She was very helpful, explaining when to schedule the ultrasound during my cycle to ensure the best results and said I could likely get both tests scheduled on the same day. I went away happy to have such a proactive doctor helping me out with my Lady Parts.

Later that week I got everything scheduled - same day, perfectly timed - and felt great about getting that taken care of. Neither test is pleasant, but I was actually excited to find out what might be going on with the ovary. If that thing blows up again, I'm going to take it out myself.

The day before my appointments I got a cryptic phone message from someone at USCF. I called back the next morning and spoke to a friendly guy who explained to me that because my deductible is $2,900, they'd be charging me $700 for the mammogram and $1,500 for the ultrasound.

I thanked him very much for the information and told him I'd be canceling my appointments for the day. I forgot about that big ol' deductible... When my annual exam was covered, I guess I didn't realize the tests the doctor had ordered wouldn't be. Actually, I don't know if my annual exam IS covered... I might get a bill for that at some point.

If I were working full-time or more consistently, I could probably afford $2,200 for standard tests or just buy a better plan that covers them.

The silly thing is, if there is something wrong that requires major care down the road, the insurance company will likely pay out way more $$ than they would if the problem was found (and fixed) much earlier. i.e., If they covered the tests I need now, they'd probably save money in the long run.

But hey, as someone recently said, health insurance is not a right - you get what you can afford. If all I can afford is a plan that prevents bankruptcy, then that's what I get. But I'm paying $135/month, and all that buys me is one annual doctor's appointment and $10 generic drugs? Really?

I would love to see health insurance reform that makes the entire process completely transparent. I want price lists posted on doctors' websites like you'd see for auto mechanics. I would love to see independent audits that keep everyone honest.

The goal now is to work harder at making good money so I can afford the kind of coverage I want. The American way, right? While I'm busting my ass to afford a better plan, Flue Yield of Palifornia will clear another 8 Billion - BILLION - dollars (or more) this year. Billion with a B.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stupid Tired


We keep waking up soooper tired. So tired that even when we wake up after 7 or 8 hours in bed, we feel like we could sleep all day. I wonder if there's a carbon monoxide leak somewhere, but I'm too tired to find the detector.

I was so tired this morning that after looking inside two different boxes of cereal only to see the bags inside closed up with a "chip clip," I had toast.

It was way too much work to reach inside the box, undo the clip and unroll the plastic bag. Not to mention having to find a bowl, pour the cereal into it, then walk ALL THE WAY over to the fridge - christ, I'm exhausted all over again just thinking about it.

The painting of the soon-to-be-former-blue room has taken nearly a decade, when you include all the years I've wanted to paint it but never made the time. Since before we moved in I've wanted that sad, dreary color sandblasted off those walls.

Well, it's finally happening. After two years off & on - mostly off - as of today we have:
  • stripped the window trim & doors (done two years ago!)
  • spackled four hundred tiny cracks in the plaster walls and ceiling
  • built a proper frame for the access "door" I made to repair the wall the plumbers cut open years ago to fix broken shower pipes
  • sanded more than we wanted to (mmm... lead paint)
  • made & vacuumed up enough dust to clog the estuary
  • ripped out all the window caulking (something we get to redo when we're done painting - yay!)
  • TSPed top to bottom (though, not the ceiling, 'cause who gives a shit if there's stain on the ceiling - there's nothing up there I need to look at)
  • slapped two coats of primer all over that goddamm room
This room has been the worst - way worse than a much larger room where we removed all the wallpaper. Not sure why. I think there's a ghost in there that really loves that shitty color.

Everything takes five times longer than you think it will and now there's a part of one wall where the old paint started peeling up as soon as the primer hit it, so we have to go back & scrape all that off as best we can without destroying the 100-year-old plaster, then hope the primer sticks.

But - BUT - once that's done, the new paint is going up. A warm, inviting, cozy color... dare I say it, something pleasing to the eye. I'm not sure I'll believe it until I see it, on the walls, in real life, instead of tiny paint chips taped onto the wall.

Then, we're gonna move a Barcalounger in there and I'm going to curl up in it and sleep there for seven years.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ads That Fail

A minor thing, but it's irritating the sh*t out of me. I present the following:

The Wells Fargo billboards with the copy, "With you when you have questions." The words they chose to underline? "With you when" Wouldn't the better emphasis be "With you"? We're with you. Regardless. All the time. Always. With you when? I'm not sure - when? Where? Lame.

Next, Kaiser Permanente's billboard promoting fitness/getting outdoors, a nice photo of a trail in the woods with the copy: "Do tread on me" The word they emphasized? - "tread." Not "do," but "tread." Why not "Do tread on me"? Do it! Get off the couch and do it! Or just leave out "do" and make it "Tread on me." Lame.

Then there's the homegrown cable TV ad for a channel that provides info about local road trips. It's a computer animated piece that shows a road winding through a barren landscape, nothing on either side of it, and the road ends at a cartoony sign with the channel info.

So, not only is the "road trip" ad showing you absolutely nothing that might sell you on the idea of a road trip, let alone the idea of tuning into the channel for road trip info, the road DEAD ENDS in that barren landscape. Not at a lovely destination of some sort - beach, amusement park, vista point, mountain lodge or similar - just a barren, empty, wasteland of lame public access cable TV. FAIL.

Finally, the latest BMW ad showing a dufus holding an unlit light bulb in the dark. He's talking about how Americans are so responsible or something, but the bulb is UNLIT and he's standing IN THE DARK.

Not sure what a light bulb has to do with being responsible, except that it is a compact fluorescent bulb he's holding... But wouldn't it have been much more effective, nay, clever, to have the dufus hold a LIT light bulb? Wouldn't that be much more engaging, visually? Hello! Television!

Then, as he's talking about how BMW is committed to helping to lower emissions - I guess they're trying to be environmentally responsible - the room lights up with a million ginormous bulbs that are not CFLs. HILarious. FAIL.

Just wanted to get that off my chest.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


This week I got to be a guest on a friend's podcast on the topic of boobs. I thought I could be helpful. Brought to you by Alan Home on UGTV.org.