Monday, May 23, 2016

Kool and the Gang Would Not Approve

Last night, I washed Marigold's (really old cat) face and brushed her long Persian fur. I brushed Sonic (ten year old boy cat) and cleaned his ears. I tried to trim the kitten's nails, but he wasn't having it. Then I decided to groom myself with a shower, hair-washing, shaving my prickly legs, removing old nail polish that started to chip, thoroughly flossing and whitening my teeth. The whole time, this song was stuck in my brain.

When I felt so good, fresh, clean and groomed, Sonic (ten year old boy cat with all kinds of anxiety) decided to spray smelly kitty urine* under Chad's side of the desk. I got to climb under the desk in my pajamas with a flashlight, Nature's Miracle cleaning spritz and a roll of paper towels to clean up the stinky spray. This was stuck in my head:

*Sonic has been to the veterinarian about the urine spraying. He always gets an excellent bill of health. He does not spray because of any type of infection or illness. His spraying is purely behavioral. He is also a resource guarder: blocking the other pets from food, water, litter boxes, the good toys. He was neutered at seven months old. Sonic is a fifteen-pound bruiser of a cat who started life as part of a feral cat colony. He is also our only cat allowed outside. He has a waterproof, heated little house on the deck with dual exits. I fear if we forced him to live only inside, our entire house would end up covered in his stinky musk. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Love Will Keep Us Together

This is stuck in my head today. You're welcome.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ten Years Ago

On this day ten years ago, Chad and I signed a bunch of papers and started making mortgage payments for The 1952 House. We've made this sweet old house a lot prettier and a little safer over the past ten years. I'm so proud of all we've done to make this house a home for ourselves and our ever-growing menagerie of pets.

The 1952 House Today

In 2006

Backyard Today

Backyard in 2006

Back of house today

Back of house in 2006

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I Performed Something I Wrote

I performed a few weeks ago as part of testify ATX storytelling at Spider House Ballroom. The theme was death and taxes. My story actually covered two deaths, a betrayal, an inheritance and taxes. I also made a reference to Bleak House in my story, of which I am very proud.

I don't want to post the full story on my blog, because it's too much dirty laundry to air on the interwebs. I don't want to change names and details to protect the guilty. I don't want to edit for fear my story might meet the wrong set of judgmental eyes. If you were there that night, you got to hear it. If not, there will be no transcripts without very special exception. 

The house at Spider House Ballroom was nearly full the night I performed. Everyone was so supportive. I was VERY nervous. Performing my own story felt overly intimate, but I’m glad I did it. People laughed in the right places mostly, but one person gave a big guffaw right after I said my dad dropped dead while exercising on a treadmill in his garage (the second sentence of my eleven minute spoken story) which threw me for a fraction of a second. I got choked up in the first paragraph describing the day my dad died, but recovered quickly. My story was well received. Approximately ten people said encouraging things after the show. My husband and a sweet friend were there for much-needed moral support. 

If I had another solid story to fit the monthly theme of testify ATX, I feel like I could do it again, but I was SO nervous beforehand. I’m equal parts proud of myself for doing it, and relieved it is over.

The other storytellers at testify ATX are talented people with a gift for words and spinning a great tale. I was humbled and honored to be among them. 

I will be at every future testify ATX show that I can reasonably attend. You should check it out too if you're in the Austin area. *Click here for the testify ATX website.*

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I'm Performing Something I Wrote

I'm nervous, excited and my tummy is aflutter. I'm performing an original piece that I wrote at testify ATX this Thursday, April 28. If you're in Austin, the show is only $5 at the Spiderhouse Ballroom. Doors open at 7:00 and the show starts promptly at 7:30. Including myself, five storytellers will conquer (the theme of) death and taxes.

I love to write, and I love to perform. Performing something I've written seems overly intimate. Depending on how Thursday night goes, this may be your only chance EVER to see me perform my own work. Just sayin'...

Friday, April 01, 2016

Health Insurance is Hard & Makes Me Cry

My hunky husband, Chad, closed his business this past summer after a successful six year run. (That is not my story to tell here.) One of the consequences of closing his business was that we needed to find new health insurance, since his business would no longer provide that for us. Chad did all of the tedious research to find a health care plan that fit our healthy lifestyle and hardly-ever-visit-the-doctor needs. We got the (not at all) illustrious bronze plan, which is basically just catastrophic coverage that helps keep us out of bankruptcy if something awful happens health-wise. Bronze coverage should be cheap, but it is not, as I'm sure many of you are painfully aware.

We hardly ever go to the doctor, but I recently spent three weeks with itchy hives on my chest, arms, ears and shins. I thought it was an allergic reaction to soap. I threw out the soap, but the hives stayed. 

I decided I should go see my new Primary Care Physician on my new health insurance plan about these bothersome hives.  

I tried to call my new Primary Care Physician listed on my insurance card. The phone number on the card was incorrect. I did an internet search to find the correct phone number for Dr. A, and called.


Receptionist: Hello, Dr. A's desk.

Me: Hi. I'm a new patient for Dr. A. I'd like to make an appointment to see her.

Receptionist: Dr. A is a hospital-only doctor. She doesn't see patients who aren't in the hospital.

Me: Oh. Umm, she's listed as my Primary Care Physician on my insurance card.

Receptionist: Let me guess. You have BCBS?

Me: Yes.

Receptionist: You're like the hundredth person to call. We called them several times to correct this, but they keep sending patients.

Me: Oh. Oops. Thanks for the information.

Receptionist: Sure. Have a good day. Bye.


I called BCBS. I got the royal runaround from an unhelpful "health advocate" who told me that I had to wait sixteen days to see a new Primary Care Physician, even though it was BCBS's fault that I'd been paying for months to effectively have no Primary Care Physician. My "health advocate" told me to take some Benadryl for the hives, and to find a new Primary Care Physician on the BCBS website. I explained that Benadryl wasn't working. (I took the pills and applied the ointment to no avail.) Then I cried. The phone call was recorded for security and quality control purposes. Fortunately I was very nice to my health advocate even while I cried, in case someone reviews that recording.

I filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance. For a government agency, they have a very user-friendly website! (I am not one to sit idle in the face of injustice. I start ripping red tape, filling out forms in triplicate and raising a stink.)

During this debacle, still having no Primary Care Physician, I was enjoying my usual breakfast of peanut butter on a flax waffle with sliced banana. This has been my personal breakfast of champions for years. That morning, my chest hives suddenly flared up even worse. My lips got puffy like Goldie Hawn's fresh from collagen injections. My ears got itchy. My throat tickled a bit, causing me to cough. My face flushed. It hit me like a mean wallop that my beloved peanut butter might be to blame. 

I didn't eat peanuts or peanut butter for two weeks. The hives cleared and my self-inflicted scratch marks healed. (So itchy!)

Two weeks later, I told myself it was ludicrous to suddenly become allergic to peanuts, and ate three small bites of peanut butter. My chest and face flushed red. My face got itchy. My throat tingled in a bad way. My lips swelled. DANGIT!

During the two weeks I refrained from peanuts, I also found a new Primary Care Physician on the BCBS website. According to the BCBS website, Dr. H accepts bronze coverage and is currently accepting new patients. I called BCBS again, and got a much more helpful health advocate who immediately changed my Primary Care Physician to Dr. H, and made the change retroactive. I did not cry this time. I sincerely thanked my health advocate for her help.

The new health insurance card with my new Primary Care Physician listed on it arrived in the mail. I called the phone number on my card to make an appointment with my new Primary Care Physician. Again, the phone number printed on my insurance card was incorrect. I did an internet search to find the correct phone number for Dr. H, and called.


Receptionist: Hello. Dr. H's office. How may I help you?

Me: Hi. I'm a new patient for Dr. H. I'd like to make an appointment.

Receptionist: Dr. H is full for patients this year. You might try and check back with us in like... September?

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought he was accepting new patients. You might want to tell BCBS that Dr. H isn't accepting new patients. They referred me to Dr. H.

Receptionist: Oh we are accepting new patients, we're just full for this year.

Me: Okay... I'll check back in September. *big eye roll*

Receptionist: Oh, also, there is an annual fee if you want to be Dr. H's patient.

Me: How much is the annual fee?

Receptionist: Sixteen hundred and fifty dollars... per year.

Me: Thank you for the information. Good bye.


What? What do you mean Dr. H is accepting new patients, but not until September? What do you mean there is an annual fee to have a doctor? What? 

Now I will wade back into the BCBS website and try to find a new Primary Care Physician amongst their sketchy data. Before changing my Primary Care Physician with BCBS yet again, I will call and thoroughly vet the doctor's office. I will make sure they are actually a Primary Care Physician. I will make sure they are currently accepting new patients. (Now. Not in September. Now.) I will make sure there is no annual fee for them to be my doctor. (Because how is that even legal?) I will make sure they actually take my lame bronze BCBS insurance. (For which I will likely never meet the high annual deductible anyway. *knock on wood*) 

In the meantime, I made an appointment with my doctor of nearly twenty years, who unfortunately doesn't accept my new health insurance. He's retiring very soon which is why I thought it would be best to get a new doctor on my new health insurance plan. I'm going to pay out of pocket. I will not be able to apply the cost of my medical care to my high annual deductible. I'm doing this because I don't want itchy red hives, or to possibly die from something supremely ridiculous like anaphylactic shock due to an allergic reaction. 

The takeaways from this mess are: Health insurance makes me cry. I miss peanut butter.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My New Favorite Song

Now that we share an office, Chad has been subjected to this song playing on repeat. He's not mad about it. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I'm not sure if this is the "official" video for this song, but I like it.