Wednesday, February 11, 2015

It's My Biannual "I'm Not Dead Yet" Post

::waving furiously::

Just being goofy!

If you are on FB or talk to me via email - most of you know I'm still alive and kicking - but not everyone does that, and I truly understand - but thought I better get something up here and let you all know I am thinking of you. 'Cause I am Tadpoles - I most certainly am.

It has been an exhausting last couple of months.  Steven is at the end of his tether with all of the woes associated with my health and the cost of it all. Meanwhile, I am plain old worn out from being sick.

I am so tired of being sick - and having it define every step I take every moment of every day. I am weary of talking about it. I am nauseous looking at our bills from it and lay awake nights knowing come March 30 our health insurance rates go up, and a new round of deductibles kicks in, so we start over again.

If it wasn't for the generosity of a very loving Tadpole, Bizzy -  we would have had no hope of a Christmas for Evelyn, nor would I have had my most valuable and expensive medication these past few months.  What is so surprising about it all is I have no idea how Bizzy knew we were in such dire straits, but these surprise packages would show up randomly in the mail [snowmen included! :) ] just when I thought all hope was lost.  She is truly an answer to all the prayers I say at night. Thank you Bizzy - I truly have no words for the extension you have given us.

Speaking of special packages in the mail. My sweetheart of a friend and Tadpole, Mare, went on vacation for 3 weeks to Key West Florida. Not only did I receive  daily updates via email of her consumption of Key Lime Pie [all time favorite] but she sent me the coolest care package from FL - including a pamphlet on manatees and a t-shirt that I had to hide from Evelyn. giggle Thank you Mare - truly brightened my dreary days.

So - comes the hard part of this post.   Steven and I have come to a very difficult decision, knowing we have to keep all the insurance we have and be able to afford my medications.

We have to move. Again.  We already left Sterling, VA two years ago because we couldn't afford the cost of living after our landlords needed their house back and we couldn't find another one in the same range.  So we moved 100 miles from Steven's work just to be able to afford a place to live, not realizing 6 months after we moved in our insurance rates would double and then our deductibles for doctors' visits, medications and hospitalizations would go beyond the stratosphere.

We can't afford both this house and my [sketch] health.  Sometimes I look at Steven and say "Sorry I didn't die already. This wouldn't be a problem and you could keep the house."  I cry as I write that because it does sound pathetic, but I understand what I am costing my family. And it crushes me, because I know, I DO KNOW, that they would rather have me here than gone. But what good is being here for them if we can't keep a roof over our heads.

We could handily afford this home when we moved in, otherwise we wouldn't have gotten it. We have 0 - yes ZERO credit card debt. We pay for our home, the utilities [electric, water, house phone and internet] one car payment [Oscar] and car insurance.  We don't go on vacations. We don't buy clothes or presents or go out to eat - ever. This is the first year since I had kids that they didn't [in this case, just Evelyn] get new school clothes for school. I just don't understand why, except that the insurance and pharmaceutical companies are greedy bastards and we are suddenly lower middle class because of it.

Please don't misunderstand - I am, I truly AM grateful for all that I have, but I don't get this. How can my husband have worked so hard for 4 decades, be 4 years from retirement and by the time we get there he won't have anything to retire on?

I have searched high and low for a place to cut our housing expense, but keep Steven close to his work. We can forget the "close to work" part of this equation. It simply can't be done. Nothing within less than a hundred mile radius is cheaper than the home we live in now.  And we have agreed with Emily graduating and Evie going off to college we we would downsize to a 2 bedroom, 1 bath if we could find something that cut our costs and we could get closer to work.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!  I have been looking for over 6 months, and the bottom line is - you are just gong to love this - the closest I can get Steven to work and cut our payments on housing down is to move him and me to Harrisonburg, VA. Why is this so funny to me? It is the town where Emily's college is located.  The town where we have been visiting her for 5 years. Nice town. BUT? We have found a few condos that would suit our needs [of size and cost] but it is 115 miles from my husband's work.

I am sure some of you are questioning why Steven doesn't simply find new employment. First, he has been in this business for almost 40 years. It is a specialized industry and to be able to afford health insurance, he needs to work where the $$ is - meaning where the pools are. There are not a whole lot of expensive, in ground pools in central Virginia.  Second, as I mentioned, he is 59 years old [in July] and in his industry he is quite well known and could find a job BUT it would be in the same geographic location of the one he has now [remember, nice expensive pools that people pay a lot of money to have others play pool cleaner].  We did talk about him branching out and trying to find a job in management in another field, since he has been in the office managing for 30 years, but no one wants to hire a 59 year old man, regardless of his experience especially if he hasn't worked in their industry.

See the problem here?  And if it sounds as though I am whining, so be it - I'm not. It's just the explanation of the reality of our life right now.

I am a fortunate woman in that I have the love and support of my Tadpoles and my family. In addition I have my faith - these things sustain me. More than anyone realizes I think, because somedays I fall asleep, despite the pain and hope that it's the last time I close my eyes.  I know what I have, I do sweet friends - but it's getting so hard to sustain it while we ponder a future we never realized we were going to have.

Thanks for listening - I have lots of new recipes and tidbits to share, but this is foremost in my mind. So this is whatcha' get. ::wink::  I am Skippy - I will always be Skippy - and the 'ol me shall return. Soon. I am sure of it.

Thank you again. We'll see ya' on the flipside froglets and don't forget to smile loudly. Life is truly a gift.