This is my life

Friday, 2 December 2016 05:15 pm
carose59: adulthood (without being supervised)
"Well, A Person Who Thinks He Has Walls Is Infinitely More Interesting Than One Who Does."*

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Two weeks ago, I finally got around to seeing a lawyer to deal with the house. I called and left a message, he called back, and we made an appointment.

I had gotten his name from the AFSCME website (that's the union I belong to, and union members get a discount). His address was listed as being on Alabama Street.

I saw that he had his own website, so I thought I'd check it out—I like to get my information from as close to the source as possible. On his website, his address was listed as being on Market Street.

So the day of the appointment, I drove downtown, parked, and walked over to the address on Market. I went to sign in and found someone had spilled coffee all over the sign-in sheet. I found this by sticking my hand in it. They'd also spilled it all over the lobby and there was a trail of it going to one of the elevators. Right about then someone who apparently worked there showed up, noticed the coffee, and went to get it cleaned up. I went upstairs and washed my hands in the ladies' room.

It was an interesting building. Built in 1955 (according to the cornerstone), it had been renovated and decorated with non-fuctioning clocks. I've never seen so many clocks with the wrong time on them. It was, as I say, interesting.

I waited until ten—my appointment time—nervous because there was no-one to check-in with and I couldn't figure out where his office was. I played out the worst-case scenario: I didn't get to see the lawyer today and had to come back. Oh, no! The world would come to an end. Or, I'd just have to come back at a different time. Anyway, at ten I called and left a message saying who I was, what time it was, and where I was, and that if either the time or place were wrong, I'd really appreciate him calling me back.

In a few minutes he called back. Right time, wrong place. He'd moved to an office on—you guessed it—Market. I told him I'd gotten the address from his own website, and he was quite embarrassed. He asked if I'd like to meet him at the City Market—a block away from where I was—and get some food. I thought that sounded good, so that's what we did.

We talked about the whole thing—which is really just probate vs no probate, depending on the value of the estate. His wife is in real estate and said the house looked to be between forty and sixty thousand dollars; fifty is the cut-off for not having to go through probate, and he said that with me being an only child (meaning nobody contesting my inheritance), we could squeeze by with the house being worth under fifty. I told him that the house was built just after WWII and the plumbing and electric has never been updated, and he laughed. "Definitely under fifty then," he said.

He outlined what he was going to do and I gave him a check for a thousand dollars, but I should be getting money back. It's all really easy.

I'm really glad to be getting this taken care of, but I'm particularly glad that I was able to handle the whole wrong-place thing so calmly. It was a little adventure. I got to see a cool building.

*Lillian Carlson
carose59: dreams (whose mind watches itself)
"They Might Not Know! They Might Be Idiots!"*

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A few nights ago I dreamed Pat was alive and it was back when she was healthy and we did stuff. We were living where we did before we moved into my grandparents' house. It wasn't an apartment, but the bottom half of a two-story house and all the walls were painted blue. (That might not be true, about the color of the walls, but in my dreams those walls are always an old almost-turquoise color. If you know what old rose looks like, imagine it in turquoise.)

It was summertime and we were involved in some sort of church charity for children. They put on circuses and fairs for children which . . . apparently made money. It seemed like the circus/fair was for the children, but they must have been making money as well because I stole it.

This was the third year in a row we'd been involved in the charity. I don't know what we did. But the money was kept in a downspout extender (I can't even begin to imagine where this came from—feeling like I'm pouring money down the drain?) and the first year we accidentally took it with us when we packed up to go home. (How you accidentally pack up a downspout extender when you don't own one is beyond me.) We didn't return it and nobody asked about it.

So the next year I took it on purpose.

And nothing happened.

So now we come to present-day in the dream. The circus/fair thing was just ending and I was making plans to steal the money again. Pat was waiting in the car, a car we never had. It looked something like a 1960 Chevrolet El Camino—it had a truck bed instead of back seats and a trunk. She'd thrown our luggage in the back and had the engine running. She was wearing shorts and cowboy boots. She was an outlaw.

I had to climb a ladder to get the downspout because this year they'd threaded it through a basketball hoop as a security measure. (I don't know.) And unlike the two previous times, this was all in plain view of lots of people. Nobody seemed to be paying attention and I was determined to get the money, but I was having trouble getting the downspout loose and bills were falling out and floating away.

I'm pretty sure I finally got the money, but the head of the church was chasing us when I woke up.

Yes. In my dreams, I steal money from churches and children's charities.

*Nick Greenwald
carose59: money (what it don't get i can't use)
"You Have A Favorite Number And A Lucky Number?"*

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I've used my last check; at least, I've used the last check in the last book of checks I can locate.

There should be more checks. They should be in the writing desk in the dining room, the one that used to be my grandmother's. (The writing desk, that is. Although the dining room also used to be my grandmother's. The whole house used to be my grandmother's.) There are two writing desks out there; the other one was Pat's, came from her family. Neither of them has any checks in it.

Now here's the problem. I don't write a lot of checks, but I find it unlikely I could have taken the last book of checks without it even flitting through my mind that maybe I should order more checks, or that I don't need to because I don't use checks much anymore. It's the sort of thing I would have noted; it's the sort of thing I would have thought about.

So where are the checks? Is there someplace else I would have put them? I have no idea where that would have been. I've looked around, but I haven't found any boxes of checks.

The only other possibility I can come up with is somebody stole them. This is not impossible, but my house hasn't been broken into in over two years, and would somebody really steal several boxes of checks and then not use them for over two years? This seems not only deeply improbable but bizarre.

It worries me when I can't follow the trail my own mind has blazed. If I can't follow my own thought process, how can I ever figure out what other people are thinking?

The check thing, and the problems with the credit union keep leading me to the idea of closing my account and opening one someplace where I won't have an anxiety attack every month just trying to pay my bills. I hate doing this because in theory I support the credit union.

And then there's where to open the new account.

Chase and PNC are out because my name is already on my mother's accounts there and I'm trying to uncomplicate my life. The two most obvious choices are Teachers Credit Union (which is right across the street from work) and Elements Credit Union.

The only reason I'm considering Teachers is its location and the fact that it's a credit union. Elements' connection to Eli Lilly makes me question their . . . lack of evil but I already have my health savings account there (because the library has a deal with them) so I'd just need to open a checking account. And they seem to have the better deal. But again, I worry about the evil.

And of course there's the whole talking-to-people thing and making-decisions thing, both of which require a lot of emotional wherewithal that I don't always have, so things don't get done. I waffle. I'm a waffle who can't order new checks until she knows where she should be ordering them from.

*Peters, Psych

Money matters

Saturday, 12 March 2016 06:39 pm
carose59: money (what it don't get i can't use)
"Four Fifteen. Not Four, Not Four Thirty, But Four Fifteen. Hm. She Thinks To Intimidate Me By The Use Of Quarter Hours?"*

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Whenever I find myself in a quandary—which is far more often than I like—the first thing I think of is Robert Benchley's book My Ten Years in a Quandary, and How They Grew and I wonder if I ever read it. Then I think of The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew and I wonder if that's what I read when I was in San Antonio when I was thirteen, because I certainly read something like that and I'm sure it wasn't Mary Poppins. Well, reasonably sure. And then I think of the interlocking watermarks on my aunt's dining room table and wonder what book that came from and how that one series of Agatha Christie books had marks that looked like interlocking watermarks on the covers, and usually by that time I've forgotten what the problem was and I'm thinking about something else, which might have something to do with why I so seldom accomplish anything.

The latest quandary is what to do about my bank. I've been a member of this credit union for a really long time and I'm mostly happy with them except that they've started charging fees for things and also giving credits for things and it all pretty much comes out even, but it's annoying. It's particularly annoying that they're calling the credits fees; there's a reward fee for direct deposit. This makes me want to slap someone, preferably whoever came up with this remarkably stupid term.

I could deal with the fees. I could deal with the stupid terminology. What I can't deal with is the password bullshit.

This is what I know about online passwords: long and strange and filled with symbols is better. For this reason, I have a system for creating passwords. These are my credit union's criteria for passwords: Your password must meet the following criteria: not contain your user ID | be at least 8 characters | be no more than 12 characters | not be consecutive numbers or letters (for example 1234 or abcde) | not be numbers or letters in a series (for example 11111 or aaaaa) | not contain your SSN | not contain your phone number | not contain your name | the password cannot be recently used | not contain the word 'password' | not contain the word 'Fiserv' | not contain special characters other than '! # $ * ? @ . - _' | contain at least 3 of the following character types - uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and special characters '! # $ * ? @ . - _' |

I can work with this, except for the insane twelve character limit and the limit on special characters. These rules are counter-intuitive. For over two years I've been unable to come up with a secure password I can remember.

So here's what happens when I go to pay my bills: I go to balance my checkbook and I can't remember my password. I tell the website I can't remember my password and because I'm on a Mac, it gives me an error message. Then I have to call and get my password reset. This can take several days, depending on when I start the process. I've gotten to where I dread paying bills and very often they're late and I'm stressed out and anxious about it all the time.

So now I'm trying to figure out what to do. I've tried talking to them about it at the credit union but they treat me as though I'm mentally unbalanced, and by the time I'm talking to them, I usually am fragile and emotionally unsound with frustration. Apparently I'm the only one who has this problem

So what else is new?

*Miss Jean Brodie
carose59: doctors (they understand matter not spirit)
I Told The Doctor I Broke My Leg In Two Places. He Told Me To Quit Going To Those Places.*

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OK, so after I made the appointment for the sleep apnea test, I went downstairs to the dental office that's affiliated with the doctor's office where I was having the sleep apnea test done. They wanted me to make an appointment for the following Monday, but were unable to tell me if they took my dental insurance, or even if this would be a dental insurance thing.

Non-parenthetical entitlement rant: I am completely in favor of businesses where Spanish or French or German or whatever is the primary language spoken—at least in theory. In practice, it's not practical, at least around here, and I'll tell you why. At the very least, it's off-putting. Every encounter I've had with this clinic has been complicated, frustrating, and made me feel as though I was doing something wrong because I didn't speak the right language. The people I spoke to about the insurance couldn't give me the information I needed because they didn't seem to understand what I was asking. For that reason, I did not go to them.

Most of the clinic's business is walk-in, and I'm going to guess it's people who don't have good insurance, or any insurance. They aren't making money on these people, which means they aren't going to be staying in business very long unless they have people with insurance coming to them, too. And if those people feel uncomfortable, or are getting bad service because of the language barrier, they'll go elsewhere—it's something we can do because we do have better jobs that pay us more money. I admire my GP for working with the clinic and referring his patients there, and I want to do what I can to help. But I don't want to have an anxiety attack just because I need to reschedule an appointment and the odds of me talking to someone who will understand what I'm saying are very low. Not to mention my stress reliever is making jokes, and language barriers make that really tough. End of non-parenthetical entitlement rant.

Where was I? Oh, yes, a dentist who deals with sleep apnea. There various forms of sleep apnea, and mine is obstructive. I have a big uvula (try looking that up online and see where it gets you), and a big tongue. My tongue obstructs my airway. One method of dealing with this is a device that fits over the teeth and pulls the jaw forward, which keeps the tongue out of the way.

The guy I've been seeing is both a dentist and a medical doctor, and this treatment was approved by my insurance, who I've been fighting with ever since for reimbursement. I've worn the appliance twice.

Well, one and a half times. The first time I did exactly what I was told: I wore it for a while in the evening to get used to it, then went to bed. I did breathe better. I also had a pain in my jaw that wouldn't go away for several days.

The half a time I just wore the bottom part, which without the top part shouldn't have been doing anything at all. (The top part hooks around the bottom part and pulls it forward.) I got another headache.

I have another appointment with him tomorrow, to make adjustments. You see, you start off with the thing not really doing anything, then a key is turned, bringing your jaw forward, then it's locked into place until the next adjustment. Right now the thing isn't really doing anything and it's giving me a headache.

We're talking about a hundred and forty-eight dollars to go in and say, "I don't think this is working," and then be argued with. I don't want to go back at all, but that seems both cowardly—which I can live with—and rude—which causes me physical pain. I hate being rude to people who have been nice to me. I hate arguing with people who have been nice to me. (Patrick told me he's the same way.)

They're going to tell me I need to give it a chance, but the truth is, this was a bad idea from the get-go. For God's sake, I get headaches at baby showers and weddings and things because it hurts the muscles in my face to smile for that long a time. I should have fucking known this wouldn't work. I'm owing that. I turned down the wrong path, do I have to go farther down it?

Am I just rationalizing? I talked to Diane about it, and she said she wished doctors were more open-minded about listening to patients, that we know our own bodies better than they do. And this appliance is what the guy does, it's like his hammer. And I don't think I'm a nail.

*Henny Youngman

July 2017

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