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Monday, November 19, 2018

California Burning



I've a daughter and her family who live out in California. She's a couple hours from the fire, but the smoke has been devastating. Schools and businesses are closed due to bad air quality. The problem is widespread.

Of course, conditions are much worse where the fires are actually burning. We won't know for some time how terrible it truly is. The number of confirmed dead is bad and going up all the time. What worries me is the huge number of people who are unaccounted for. Most people have no idea how fast fire can travel.

As a former firefighter he whole situation stirs up strong feelings. I have a lot of empathy for those fire boots on the ground, and the people who've lost everything. The fires are in the news now. All too soon the world will move on and the people in California will still be dealing with the repercussions of the disaster.

Thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers.

Maybe some real world physical assistance too.

-Sixbears

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Van and Medical days



First the good news. We finally sold the van. Actually, my lovely wife is the one who really sold it. I'd given up after dealing with too many idiots. Some people are not cut out for sales. My lovely wife took over. It was a Facebook ad that finally did it.

We didn't get anywhere near what we originally asked, but it was time to let it go. On the bright side, we got more than salvage rates, so that's good. My vehicle insurance is due at the end of the month and it'll be cheaper with the van off it.

Mainly, I get a much needed winter parking space back. I've had to park the car in a steep part of my summer driveway. It's my summer driveway as it's pretty tough to get out of it when there's snow or ice on the ground. There's just enough hill to make it nasty, plus there's a wall for cars to fall off of. It's happened.

As for my leg issues -they aren't getting much better. On the plus side, they aren't infected. However, they aren't healing because my legs have swelled up. Apparently, I'm retaining way too much water. Hopefully diuretics will do the job. The leg doctor happened to notice some other medical issues. He set me up at the hospital to be checked out. Well, there were lab tests and x-rays. I don't really want to get into exactly what's on.

In fact, I have more appointments on Monday to find out what's happening. Right now I'm not super worried, but it's one more thing to deal with.

-Sixbears

Friday, November 16, 2018

The good snow



We have good snow cover and this current storm will give us at least another six inches. I'm actually pretty relieved to have some early snow.

Why is that? Regular readers may remember all the fun I had with my water line from the well. In the end I went with plan B. The supply line is buried too shallow for our climate, but not it's also covered with two inch thick high density foam insulation panels. Having snow on top of unfrozen ground provides a lot of additional insulation.

Most people don't realize how good insulation snow is. Think about it though. What's insulation? Usually it's a material that traps air pockets. Snow has a lot of air trapped between the crystals.

There's a reason the people of the north lived in igloos. You would not think that being in a house of snow is all that warm. It's not T-shirt warm, but it's a huge improvement over outside conditions. When it's forty below with the wind blowing, being out of the wind in a 30 degree shelter is a big step up.

Some years ago a friend and myself went on a snowshoeing adventure. We decided to build an igloo to test it out. It was a fair amount of work, but it was comfortable. We did make one major mistake. The weather was pretty nasty out so we decided to cook breakfast in the igloo. Pro tip: don't fry bacon in an igloo. The camp stove put out enough heat to melt the roof causing water to drip into the hot grease. The cooking was quickly moved outside.

People tend to think of snow as a being a killer, but it can be put to good use.

-Sixbears

Thursday, November 15, 2018

I've got nothing



I've got nothing for temperature that is. It's zero this morning. Yesterday was a tad warmer at eleven, but the forty mile an hour winds more than made up for it. I spent a fair amount of time yesterday digging out. We got about eight to ten inches of heavy wet snow the day before.

Another eight inches of snow is predicted to hit us in the next storm. Lovely fall we are having.

In other news, I've decided to go back to the doctor for a follow up. It's weird, the leg infection doesn't look as bad, but it hurts more. In fact, it hurts badly enough that it's really cutting into my sleep. As soon as the clinic opens I'm going to call and see when they can get to me.

The vast majority of the time I've been able to take care of my own medical issues. Sometimes you need the professionals. It's too bad our medical/industrial/insurance industry is so messed up. On one end we have plenty of people in need. On the other hand we have a lot of dedicated medical professionals wanting to help. It's the stuff in the middle that's a mess.

A good number of my friends are dealing with medical issues right now. I guess I'm just at that age. One of the guys has what's supposed to be good insurance. He went back to work after retirement just for the medical insurance. Now he needs a life saving operation and the insurance company is giving him a hard time. All the doctors agree he needs the operation and that it'll work. Crucial medical decisions are not made by doctors, but by insurance companies.

Anyway, enough of that. Must be the pain talking. Just annoyed that I've stuff to do and not well enough to get it all done. Hope everyone has a good day. I'll have a coffee, get moving, and my attitude will improve.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Slow Heal



My leg infection is taking its own sweet time to clear up. If it doesn't show faster improvement in a couple days, the doctor will hear from me again. Right now they itch like crazy. Of course, they weren't bad all day long. It's only when I'm trying to sleep that they act up.

I've been pretty good about following doctor's orders, with one exception. He recommended I do more walking and I haven't been. In my defense when it's raining buckets at 37 degrees it's not nice walking weather. When the rain stopped my lovely wife and were in a hurry finish outside chores. To top it all off, we just received about a foot of snow.

To be fair there's still time for the wounds to heal within the time period the doctor expected. Two years ago, with a similar infection, they didn't seem to be healing. Then over the period of a couple days they cleared right up. Here's hoping.

Having no insurance, the cost is of no small concern too. So far I've received three out of five expected bills. My guess is that my current expensive is about $1100. As bad as that is, that's not much more than insurance would have cost me for one month, but with a $6000 deductible. Even worse, paying out of pocket, they give me a 40% discount. Our medical insurance system is messed up.

I've a credit card with no balance on it. The card is offering a 12 month no interest period. It might be a good idea to put some of my medical expenses on that card. That way some bills could be put off until after Christmas.

At any rate, I'm staying on top of this and will follow through until completely healed. Once the ibuprofen kicks in I'm going back to bed for more sleep.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Moving to the country



So there's this family who've moved out to the country. They are living the dream. Unfortunately, they are somewhat underfunded and have no idea what they are doing.

When I say underfunded, I mean they don't have furniture. Now that might be romantic for a young couple starting out, but this is a large family of ten. Having basic things like beds might be nice.

They also are having difficulty with their well and septic. Their house has a well and septic system rated for four people, not ten. Not only that, they don't know that there are many things you don't flush down a septic system. In fact, they have no idea that a septic system is a living system with little creatures breaking down waste. When they started having problems, they flushed down gallons of bleach, thinking that would make things better. Turns out killing all those little hard working creatures only makes things worse.

I've no idea how they are going to deal with winter. They may not even own a snow shovel.

Dreams turn into nightmares.

Now I can truly understand wanting to live in the country, but you need some knowledge and skills. That's especially true if you can't just write checks to solve problems.

They may have been much better off moving to a town of about ten thousand people or so. Big city problems are avoided, but some basic services can be had. That family of ten would have benefited greatly with things like town water, sewer, and other services. Small town living can be a pretty decent compromise.

-Sixbears

Monday, November 12, 2018

Who does the finances?



Home finances are a big deal. A couple really should have some idea how money is going to be managed before getting married. Money is one of the major things couples argue about. One of the things my lovely wife and I discovered soon after we met was our similar philosophical approach to money. Neither of us have ever been too focused on it. Money is not a big motivator in our lives. That's good in some ways but bad in others.

Someone has to make sure the bills are paid.

At first we tried to manage the fiances together. That only worked for a little while. At one point we ended up paying some bills twice and other bills not at all. That's when we figured out that one of us had to take the lead on that.

Over the decades of our marriage that's a job we've both done. Sometimes it made sense for me to do it. Other times my lovely wife took the lead. When I got injured at work, she handled the day to day financial business. Frankly, I was too messed up to do even that basic a task. Years later, I returned the favor when she was dealing with health issues.

Since then I've pretty much been stuck with the job. However, my lovely wife and I communicate about where the money is going. Should something happen to me, all the accounts and bills are written down in a notebook. That includes on-line logins. Should something happen to me, she should be able to sort things out. However, I probably should write down exactly how I do things -bill schedules, priorities, due dates, and that sort of thing.

Currently, we are dealing with more medical bills than normal. We'd been in the process of paying down debt, but those medical bills have set us back a bit. By this point in my life I'd planned on being debt free, but life happens. At some point you've got to figure out what's worth your time and energy and what to let go. It's whatever works for you. The decisions my lovely wife and I make are not decisions most other folks would make. The main thing is not have any secrets about money and to be working towards the same goals.

-Sixbears