Monday, April 30, 2007

Letter to an old Love

Hi old love,

I haven’t heard whether or not you took early retirement when it was offered this time. In case you did, and in case you are leaving at the end of April, I wanted to drop you a line.

I wish you well with the rest of your life. The love is still there, and I want to think I have largely forgiven the cruelty of the silence that ended our association. Forgotten, no. Put up shields I’ve not yet been able to lower, yes. Believe I may understand some of the reasons behind the silence, yes. Agree with them, probably not all but perhaps a few. Curious about whether or not I am correct about the reasons, mildly.

It was a complex relationship between two complex people with a lot of baggage. At least we tried, for a while. Whether or not it’s in this lifetime, I do think we’ll meet again.

If nothing else, you were a good catalyst in some ways. I go up on my roof when I need to, and I have Fluff and all that she means to me. I do wish she could meet you again, because she loved you a lot and I think she would still remember you.

Again, OL, good luck in your future. I wish you joy and abundance.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Health Insurance

Right now I have health insurance based on COBRA coverage. Recently I had a few minor blood levels checked (mostly thyroid, IIRC). I just received my insurance statement.

The lab billed the insurance company for $171.35. The discount was $139.30, for a net cost to the insurance company of $32.05. That is a discount of OVER EIGHTY PERCENT! Is this reasonable? Which is the "real" cost of the service: 32 dollars or 170 dollars? I used a lab at the local hospital because it's "in network." Recently I talked to a lab scientist who works there, and she told me that that hospital does over a billion dollars' worth of charity care a year. Is that counted at the "normal" rate or the "discount" rate, I wonder.

If I can't afford health insurance, wouldn't a blood test for $32 be more reasonable for me than $171? How would I afford the blood test to tell me the reason I had such low energy that I couldn't keep a job was because my thyroid was almost devoid of function? Given the blood test and the (pretty inexpensive) natural thyroid, Icould get the energy needed to keep a job and then hopefully afford insurance.

This is a harsh, cruel, stupid system. Would that I knew how to fix it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Saved by the Receipt!

The phone rang this morning with "Scott" asking me about my car payment (due last Saturday). I said I had made the payment on Friday the 13th, so he said they had no record of it, but okay, and hung up. I called customer service to see if Scott was legit, and sure 'nuff, they don't have me as having made the payment, either. The nerve of me for making the payment at the local branch instead of by phone or electronically directly to the auto loan people! She could not possibly check on a payment made via branch.

Called the branch who said bring down what you have, unless you can fax it, and we'll figure out what is going on. Off to the branch with my receipt, the kept part of the payment voucher, and a fresh balance from my checking account to verify no bouncing scenario possible.

Strangely the branch guy had to call the auto loan folks, too, but after about 10 or 15 minutes they figured out the branch teller had somehow applied the amounts to principle and interest without actually marking it as a routine payment. Very odd. It's fixed now, supposedly with no late fees applied. Teller is probably going to have a review of "how we handle auto loan payments". The branch guy had the grace (and sense) to apologize for the inconvenience.

I am pleased that I was able to find the receipt quickly and easily (although since it was on an end table, probably no one else would've been able to find it), despite the overall disorder of my papers. Yay, me!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Household Horrors, or You're Not a Domestic Goddess, Are You?

Last night I decided to vacuum for the first time in forever. While chasing cobwebs in the kitchen, I took a swipe at the overhead light fixture, a tacky stained glass monstrosity in shades of brown, orange, and cream. You know things are bad when the amount of light in the room noticeably increases as you remove the dust.

Tonight I fixed the dogs' suppers from my leftovers. As I finished adding and mixing in the supplements (old dogs, like old people, get a lot of supplements), I dropped Sleek's bowl upside down on the floor. Quick calculation: she'll get more of the supplements if I let her eat supper off the floor than if I scrape up what I can from the floor and put it back in her bowl, plus I won't waste any supplements by restarting her meal.

And of course the bathroom didn't get cleaned this weekend, despite an obvious need.

Update Monday: the shame of confessing the bathroom situation led me to cleaning the toilet and tub before going to bed. Thank you, blog!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dogs are Weird

I'm talking food here. Both my dogs love food. Sleek is more discriminating -- she generally wants some form of meat in her snacks -- but Fluff will often eat things like blueberries or apples. I think when she was young she helped herself to some tomatoes from the vine. That's one reason to go with cherry tomatoes: at least you can probably get some toothmark-free tomatoes. Sleek was mad about prune plums for a few years when we had a tree in the backyard. She would eat several windfalls at one sitting, including their pits. All that fiber, surrounding all those very hard, pointy things. I felt for poor Sleek when she said goodbye to those pits.

Anyway, I have leftover Easter eggs and decided to give the dogs part of one of the egg whites. I did a good job with the boiling, so these were very nice eggs. Each dog sniffed her ~1/2inch cube of egg white very suspiciously but took it from my fingers. Fluff laid her egg bit on the floor, where it seemed to be difficult to pick it up again. I handed it to her again, and she mouthed it for a while before swallowing it. Meanwhile, Sleek is chewing and chewing hers. Now, this dog eats a raw chicken wing in about 3 crunches, with none of it touching the ground after its first introduction to her mouth. I have seen her swallow entire four-ounce chunks of meat, but she has to chew 3 grams of hard-boiled egg???? Sleek caught and ate a baby rabbit one time, and I think she chewed that less than she chewed this stupid piece of egg. If she deigns to take a Cheerio, it's the same thing. A single Cheerio must be chewed 20 times. A quarter pound of liver need not be chewed, only inhaled.

I've read that dogs have fewer tastebuds than we do, and that seems reasonable given that most of their diet doesn't stay in their mouths long enough to even leave a flavor. Good thing they have the 10x stronger stomach acid!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Which is worse? Having a single eyebrow, or finding you've inherited your father's eyebrows in that there was an inch-long, curly hair growing in one (of two) eyebrow?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A new one for the neighbors

Ms. Fluff got a bath and blow-dry today. She was soooo filthy. To the casual glance, she still looked okay, but if you took a second look, those whites were cream-colored. If you touched her, you really knew, because of the residue on your fingers. Yick.

I borrowed a dog blow dryer for the big bath because I knew there was a whole lot of undercoat that would be coming out with the dirt, and even more that would be loose but unable to work itself out during the actual bath. Xena loaned me the dryer and gave me some hints on how to get the dog dry and the dead hair out with less tangling. Most dog dryers of this type don't have heat -- they just blast the water out with a lot of air. Essentially they're vaccuum cleaners turned to "push" instead of "pull."

We did the bath in the tub and the drying on the front stoop. You don't want to blow dry in the house because the hair goes everywhere. I really don't know how much was blown out because it just went with the wind. The stoop gave Fluff an idea of where she was going to be, and she was okay with that. Not much fussing or trying to dart off into the front yard to roll. She was a little surprised that I chose not to let go of her neck fur when she decided she wanted to hoot and holler at the neighbors for coming home. Fortunately for Fluff, only 3 steps lie between stoop and driveway, so she landed okay when she launched and I didn't let go.

She looks, smells, and feels much cleaner. In really good news, I had no allergy symptoms during her bath and dry! Last time I bathed her, I had to use an inhaler and didn't even try to blow her dry. Digestive enzymes and other supplements seem to be helping my body cope with its overall load of allergens.