Archives for April 2014

Thursday Ten: Oh Look I Have A Blog edition

1. One of these days I really WILL follow through when I say I’ll write on a day other than Thursday. This week, unfortunately, is probably not that week. And it’s too bad, too, because I’ve got this awesome post about Shel Silverstein books and National Poetry Month marinating in drafts (BUY THE BOOKS. Except The Giving Tree, because the Giving Tree is crap).

2. Work is very busy – and while I’m not complaining! – I still feel very new, very fresh and very behind the curve. I want to do an exceptional job on everything! And it’s hard to do when there’s so MUCH to do. And when work emails come in after hours, I’m tempted to dig in and solve the problems and do what needs to be done but I’m fighting the urge because…

3. Work-life balance, man. I don’t really do it well. Business idea – take it, please – an email app that automagically (WHY DIDN’T AUTOCORRECT CORRECT THAT?!) turns off work email after a certain time and on weekends. Sure, I can turn on DND on my iPhone, but that would turn off all my emails and I don’t want to do that. Because I cannot be trusted to not read work emails on a Saturday morning, I should somehow be prevented from doing so.

4. Love me some latte art. Was glad to continue the latte tour of Grand Rapids with Chris over the weekend, trying a lovely coffee shop that I’d driven past but never before tried.
232 | 365

5. Now that the weather is warming up, the fuel economy of my Prius is EVEN BETTER. God, I love that car. (Except when I, uh, forgot to turn it off the other day. I remembered, of course. It’s just that it’s so quiet! And it’s a push button. AND OH MY GOD I FORGOT TO TURN OFF MY CAR.)

6. I caved and signed up for StitchFix this week because I’m tired of my clothes and I really hate shopping. But they’re so busy that my first “Fix” won’t be coming until June. When it does, you’ll hear about it.

7. I’m planning on walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this fall- want to support me? Click the link to donate!

8. I’m back to using the Lose It app because I’m back to not being able to breathe in my pants. Sigh.

9. Diners Drive Ins and Dives would be way better if Guy Fieri wasn’t such a tool.

10. I have made plans to do something spring like and color-y to my hair. Mostly because the gray is now winning. Because those 10 gray hairs are more noticeable than the billion brunette ones. Sigh. Aging. Whee?

Thursday Ten: What The Heck Was THAT edition?

1. And somewhere along the way, I added a plugin that made embedding images a huge pain in the heinie but it’s A-OKAY because I’ve gotten rid of it now and VOILA. Random Darth Vader in my living room.

don't underestimate the force

2. It’s been a crockpot week. I made a crockpot chicken taco recipe yesterday and a repeat of a crockpot chicken tortilla soup will be in my slow cooker waiting for me to get home tonight. The tacos were great – but far too spicy for the kiddos. A great lean recipe – just spices, chicken breast and salsa in the slow cooker for hours plus the tortillas to serve them on. I’m convinced the leftovers will make great nachos and since the kids didn’t eat any, there is plenty left over. Sooooo, nachos anyone?

3. Easter is coming and the girls will be with their dad and after shelling out bucks TWICE on the behalf of the Tooth Fairy last week, I guess I’m okay with the Easter Bunny skipping my house. And yeah, the Easter Bunny still comes because one is a believer and if one is, they both kinda are by default.

4. These mythical gift-bearing characters are a pain in my ass.

5. While waiting for The Princess to be done with gymnastics last night, I did squats while Pumpkin hitched a piggy back ride. This is what happens when you can’t afford a gym – you get creative.

6. This weather this week? I am NOT okay with getting snow again. Here’s hoping those days are behind us. Again. (The kids have missed FOURTEEN DAYS OF SCHOOL THIS YEAR due to snow. FOURTEEN. That’s… kind of a lot.)

7. I feel sorry for boys who have to get creative while asking girls to prom these days. I’ve seen a lot of kind of extravagant “asks” being posted by moms on Facebook, to which I say: I think teenage boys have it really easy when it comes to a lot of things but my god, to be forced to come up with some kitschy way to ask a girl to prom should just not even be a thing. Not that it’s even remotely as awful as dealing with periods and the whole mean girl thing that girls are dealing with – but you know what? If you’re a teen girl and you need that much fanfare for a prom invite, maybe you should just stay home. Alone. Also? When did this become a thing?

8. Eventually, I imagine I’ll get back to blogging more than once a week again.

9. New Ingrid Michaelson album was released this week and I’ve yet to download it and something is seriously wrong with the world, right? (Just being frugal, is all. I’m sure I’ll cave eventually.)

10. I really try to not get all crazy with eating horribly because by and large I like to be healthy and not buy bigger pants, but I tell ya, when I’m stressed, I WANT COOKIES. All of the cookies. Give me a cookie please.

Thursday Ten: Spring Break without the Break edition

1. Sometimes the internet really annoys me. I’ve been reading articles about the latest internet security breech and I wonder just how hard it is for people to live their lives with these tinfoil hats on. Not the people who are worried about security, but the people with the conspiracy theories about the breech. Nothing is ever just an honest careless mistake anymore. Everything must always be some calculated evil thing done by {insert political party or religious affiliation here}. It’s tiring.

2. Anyway, changing passwords.

3. It’s Spring Break for the girls but because I don’t have time off this week, it’s been business as usual for me. As much as I wish I had time to just hang out with them, I know we’ll find time this summer. Yesterday, they got to help my stepdad babysit their cousins and so they’re definitely keeping busy. The Princess has managed to lose two teeth, as well. She’ll be needing dentures when she goes back to school if she loses any more before Monday!

4. GOOOOOO DETROIT! (I haven’t been watching hockey this season. I admit it. I haven’t followed anything over the past few months but Project Runway, but still….PLAYOFFS.)

5. Have finally decided to get a few inches of hair cut off. My hair is getting to be too overwhelming. I feel like I look like someone who is philosophically opposed to cutting my hair or something. I’m not. I just wanted long hair. I still want long hair. It’s just… TOO long.

6. We wrapped a MAJOR project at work this week. Feels GOOD to have it done.

7. Treated myself and the girls to manicures for our “spring break” this past weekend and have had nail color remorse since. Ugh. Resisted my favorite dark colors and got a bizarre light blue/gray. I kind of hate it.

8. The fuel economy on my Prius? I’m in love. It’s unbelievable.

9. Since we’re not going anywhere this week, the best part of spring break is how fast I can get ready in the morning when I’m not also helping two kids figure out what they’re going to pack for lunch or make for breakfast. I’ve been getting ready, on average,  a full fifteen minutes earlier the past few mornings. Whoa.

10. Hopefully, spring has finally sprung and my energy bills can continue dropping. This brutal winter was also brutal on the wallet. I’m ready to turn off the heat and crank open some windows!

Thursday Ten: Preventative Healthcare FTW edition

1. Whoohoo! I have insurance! Whoohoo! Just in time for my yearly appointment with my dermatologist to have my moles checked out. I’m a bit mole-y, and though I’ve had no problems ever, there is a history of skin cancer and other cancers in my family. So, once a year I go and get checked over and my doc uses some iphone app to see if the moles are staying the same and it’s all very bizarre, but you know, better safe than sorry.

2. Work has been VERY. VERY. BUSY. And that’s good stuff, except a) I’m still learning and b) learning when a place is insanely busy like that is exponentially tougher. It’s been challenging and there have been some days this week where I have felt completely drained. I can see where, once I get through this learning curve, I’m going to find my stride. For now? Trying to learn while everyone is too busy to breathe is tough. I CAN’T WAIT TO NOT BE NEW!

3. I’m so hooked on the 2048 game and I STILL HAVEN’T BEAT THE DAMN THING.

4. Pumpkin’s Girl Scout troop leader quit the other day amidst what must’ve been some sort of dramatic behind the scenes accounting issues because the letter she sent home was…dramatic. Also, “I can’t balance a checkbook” is apparently a reason to quit leading Scouts. Don’t get me wrong, I give her credit for running the group as long as she did – and I probably won’t have done it – but what the heck, lady.

5. Gymnastics season is OVER for the year. The Princess is talking about taking dance for awhile instead. I have all these awful visions of Dance Moms in my head. Do. Not. Want. Her. To. Do. Dance. The reality is that I’ll support whatever she chooses to do – but the thought of dance and stupid recital outfits and all the makeup for shows, ugh. It doesn’t appeal to me for my daughter.

6. So, baseball season started and that means absolutely nothing to me. TOUCHDOWN! (Just kidding!)

7. Speaking of sportsball, this year has been my absolute worst worst worst showing for my March Madness bracket. All my teams managed to bite the dust early on so I haven’t really paid much attention this year – even though I usually LOVE it. Boo.

8. Drove to Detroit last weekend in the new-to-me Prius. It was pretty awesome watching my fuel efficiency in action – I’m so easily amused by that miles per gallon measure. It’s also interesting to see what has an impact on your fuel economy – your speed, whether your heat is on, whether you’re using the bluetooth, all that stuff seems to play into it.


10. It’s very nearly Friday. I hate to wish my weeks away, but I’m pretty sure I need a Friday.

It’s No Joke*: Today I Have Health Insurance Again. Finally.

When I had my yearly physical in January, I paid with money I had been saving for two months – money I had set aside solely for the purpose of going to the doc, putting my feet in the stirrups, getting all checked out like a responsible adult does. I was given a ten percent discount for paying in cash and when my doctor prescribed antibiotics for a lung infection for me at that same visit, she took care to prescribe generics that would be likely to be available free or at a reduced cost from most pharmacies.

And later, when I had my eye appointment so I could get new contact lenses (because the poster they have in their office of the eye infections you can get by not changing your lenses FREAKED ME OUT), I purchased my new (totally clean and hygienic) lenses with money I had saved from selling old jewelry, money that I’d wanted to use to buy my kids better gifts at Christmas, but instead used…for my eyes. And that was after my amazing eye doc gave me a free eye exam and reduced the cost of my lens fitting because he is awesome and I? I was broke.

After my divorce was finally officially final last May, I immediately went on my employer’s health insurance plan. Great! Exciting! No lapse in coverage! Whoohoo!

Until my job got cut to part time in July.

Since July 1, I have had no health insurance. Today, my employer’s health insurance coverage kicks in and once again, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

I can’t explain how it feels to not be covered by health insurance other than to say that if you think too closely about how you can be bankrupted by one illness or injury, you will want to wrap yourself in a bubble and spray everything down with disinfectant constantly. Things you might go to the doctor for when you have insurance, you think twice about when you don’t.

That lung infection I had in January? Yeah, I totally wouldn’t have seen a doc for that if I hadn’t already had an appointment I had saved for. Even though I was miserable. Even though I needed it.

There were things I did to somewhat ease my mind – I upped my car insurance a bit so that if I had gotten injured in a car accident, those medical expenses would be covered by insurance. I started taking Vitamin C. I stopped playing in traffic. Just seeing if you’re paying attention.

Anyway. There’s only so much you can do.

Anything can happen to anyone and there’s pretty much not a damn thing you can do about it – and when you don’t have health insurance, it’s terrifying.

In the midst of all that, I saw someone post on Facebook complaining of the effects of the Affordable Care Act on her copays (Note: I don’t care if the Obama administration themselves have taken to referring to it as “Obamacare” – I just don’t). What I wanted to say, and never had the guts to (because I’m not a pot-stirrer) is this: The ACA wasn’t made to help the people who are taking their family of seven on multiple trips to Florida every year. Yes, you’re awesome. You work hard, you earned your money, and you can do with it whatever you want. But… it wasn’t made to help you.

It was made to help people who are in the boat I have been in. People, for whom purchasing their own insurance was out of reach. Before ACA, buying your own insurance was pretty cost prohibitive. Yeah. It’s still expensive. I mean, hell, clearly I couldn’t afford it because I didn’t have it… but it was far less expensive than it had been previously.

Am I defending ACA? No. It’s far from perfect. I think the idea of it is a good one – people shouldn’t have to sacrifice good health and preventative care because their circumstances aren’t ideal for affording medical care or insurance.

But, it wasn’t made to help the people who could afford it. And I budgeted to get a pap smear, so my heart doesn’t break too much for those who may end up reconsidering whether or not they can afford that fourth trip to Disney this year.

(I may have been made a bit bitter by my situation. I own it. It’s been a hard year.)

A few months ago, a woman I know posted something to Facebook about people who mooch (not my words) from government programs. Drug tests for everybody!

And I was appalled and insulted.

If you’ll remember, I had spent FIVE HOURS waiting in line at an unemployment office waiting for a meager sum of money that ended up making a huge difference while my work situation was what it was. Did I not have a full time because I was a druggie? No. Did I not have a full time job because I was lazy? Did I expect to just hold my hand out and have someone fill it? No. I worked hard for years, and when times got tough I needed help.

It happens.

It sucks and it happens.

It has been a long hard road of feeling like I would never find my footing again and today, today I have health insurance again and I hope to not take that for granted, just how amazing it is that I will be able to take care of my health and well being without months of planning and budgeting and penny pinching.I look forward to not having to weigh which of the recommended routine physical tests I will do because I can’t afford them all. I’m looking forward to finally rescheduling the dental appointment I cancelled last month because I had no insurance.

So, yeah, I’m excited. More excited than I should be perhaps (“Whoohoo! I can get my cholesterol tested without pinching pennies before hand!”) but excited because if the past year has taught me anything, it’s that there’s a lot that I had been taking for granted, a lot I didn’t appreciate as I should, and now, after everything, I am so grateful, SO. VERY. GRATEFUL. to have peace of mind.




*I hate April Fool’s Day. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.