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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ice storms and other distractions



There's an ice storm in progress this evening. My lovely wife and I were invited over to some friends but we aren't traveling anywhere. More ice and snow are in the forecast. Hopefully it will clear by the end of the week so we can head south.

The White Mountain Cafe in Gorham NH has a ham sandwich called the Monroe, named after Mt. Monroe. It's the closest thing I can find locally to a Cuban sandwich. It's good, but it's not quite the same as those sandwiches made by actual Cuban immigrants in the Florida Keys. You know it's an authentic place when it has a small boat out front in which young Cuban men dared the waters from Cuba to Florida.

Those Cuban sandwiches are pretty healthy too. So how can a pork and ham sandwich be healthy? Well first we have to kayak from our boat to land. Then it's a long walk across Boot Key to the restaurant. Those sandwiches are earned.

People ask me how I can boat in shark infested waters. It must be so dangerous. Yes, it is possible to tangle with a shark that wants to take a bite out of your inflatable kayak. However, here in NH it's much more likely that someone will get hurt and killed slipping on ice. Falling down isn't as dramatic as a shark attack, but it's much more likely.

For the last couple of days I've been sorting out my personal business. One company was giving me a lot of trouble. I had on-line payments with them before, but because I closed one account they automatically closed on-line access to my remaining account. Since I'm staying in town I don't have access to all my paper work back at the lake. Their “security policy” would not let me pay my bill. Finally I told them that if they didn't straighten out the on-line payment system they would not get paid at all. Suddenly they found a way to make it happen. Imagine that.

I'd planned on sorting out this stuff in the fall, but my dad's sudden illness put everything on hold. As a stop gap measure mail was forwarded to his place. Eventually my business will be simplified even more, but as a mid term solution I'm setting up more on-line payments.

Last winter while traveling in rural Texas I purchased an AT&T hotspot for Internet access. When I got home in April I let the service lapse. Yesterday I was able to charge it up and reestablish the account. Fortunately I'd kept good notes on how to set up the hardware and software. It saved me a lot of grief. The service isn't cheap. Currently I'm paying $75 for 8 gig of data. Last year I often found myself adding a couple more gigs at the end of the month for a few extra dollars.

There are cheaper services out there, but AT&T provides good coverage in most of the areas I travel in. If it allows me to spend more time out at anchor than in a marina it pays for itself.

A good part of the afternoon was spent dealing with my health insurance -a very frustrating and eventually pointless exercise. The government informed me I might qualify for cheaper insurance, about half of what I'm currently paying. After dealing with their crashing web site, spending long stretches on the phone, mostly listening to crappy on-hold music and plowing through paperwork, I got the final result. Not only do I not qualify for the cheaper rate, my insurance is going up $50/month.

While it's not great insurance, it's still $600/month cheaper than what I was being billed before Obama care. In fact, I couldn't afford insurance and had none at all. It was tempting to let it go, but since my dad just passed away I'm feeling a bit more mortal than usual.

Most of my business up here in NH is done. One more trip up to the lake to raid my old boat for gear should do it. However, I'm not going to budge until the ice is clear. Schedules are killers so I'm doing my best to avoid having one.

-Sixbears



10 comments:

  1. It's a shame that you HAVE any payments to complicate things.Sometimes, life is such a pain.

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    1. Indeed. Had I not gotten hurt at work all those years ago there would not be any payments to deal with. You know how it goes. Between the big drop in income and the addition of medical and legal bills . . . well, I never fully recovered from that.

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  2. Got a notice in the mail yesterday - our insurance is going up again on January 1st. Getting to the point where we will have to start giving up other things to pay for it.

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    1. Hope you don't have to give up anything healthy, like eating good food, to afford health car. Our system is so messed up.

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  3. Putting Hubby on a Medicare Advantage plan has been headache city! Proof that he has had continuous coverage through my company took about 6 weeks, and now they want proof that he had continuous RX coverage. How do I prove that? Show all the receipts for 7 RX a month to show what the insurance paid?
    But, at least I still have the company plan. It's gone up this year, too, but it could be worse. Next year will be my turn to enter the complications fray ...

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    1. We have the worse medical system of the industrialized world. Heck, most people in Cuba have better medical coverage than the average American.

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  4. The department you worked for must be some back water operation, not to provide health benefits for retirees. Especially a member, like you, that left for health reasons.

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    1. It's a state plan. They contributed about $730/month towards health insurance. In spite of that my bill had gone up until it was $1000/month. That's insane. I dropped coverage for two years then got in on Obama care.

      In those two years I smashed up both legs pretty good with deep bruising. Broke a toe. Jammed a pickaroon in my leg and ripped the skin off a thumb. Never saw a Dr. for any of it.

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  5. It's wise not to go out when there's ice. That stuff is a recipe for disaster.

    We are keeping my wife's insurance from work. Couldn't find anything close to it anywhere else, not that it's all that good.

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    1. At least you have that option. Better than nothing.

      It warmed up enough to rain, washing most of the ice away. Supposed to snow tomorrow. I hope to get out on the road on Friday.

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