Thursday, August 28, 2014

Big ... Beautiful ....Sky

All set for a relaxing Holiday in Montana. Yes Big Sky is the right name for the town.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Health Insurance Maze

Insurance in general is always a mystery.  Who for example has read their entire (word for word) coverage for home, auto, and umbrella insurance?  Likewise have you read word for word your Health Insurance coverage - unlikely.  Reading it is one thing - understanding the language is another.  So if you are elderly (lets call that 86 and above since I'm approaching 60), what hope do you have in understanding your policy and/or monitoring the claims process?

That is exactly what Mom and Dad face now and that I have been digging into lately.  Luckily, I have a personal friend M.I. who is an executive at Anthem to help me at a moment's notice (I called him last night to clear up part one (or as they say Part A, B, C, D, etc. of Medicare) of my confusion.

The interaction of Medicare with Private supplemental Insurance (Medigap, or Medicare Advantage) creates another set of players to add to the confusion.  Add to that four different doctors/specialists, a Skilled Nursing Facility with their staff, and outsourced therapists and you create an almost infinite set of opportunities for human error. 

Last time I visited Dad, he handed me the Medicare Booklet that the government sends to all Medicare Part A beneficiaries.  I've forgotten the number of pages but it approached the size of a Metro phone book.  Who has read that?

So -  I have entered the land (or should I say abyss) of Health Care Insurance. 

I think this is like having children - nothing prepares you for this, and it becomes "learning on the job".

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Renovation Blues

Susan and I love renovation projects.  We started our fifth major construction project on June 8th.  At the completion of this project every room in our home will have been touched or altered.  This renovation was particularly hard since every bedroom closet had to be evacuated.  So for three months we have been dressing in chaos. 

The stages of emotion during renovation are very predictable.

(1) Planning/Architectural Drawing -  This is probably the most fun stage. For the least amount of money, you get to dream about what you want; play with multiple ideas; exercise creativity; and scope the project for what you think will be the overall cost.

(2) Preparation/Teardown - A difficult but interesting phase.  Moving furniture out, finding alternate places to temporarily allow normal living; actual tear down to infrastructure layer; and the excitement of the project starting.

(3) Initial Build out = The most fun and where progress seems to go the fastest.  The conceptual drawings begin to take on physical reality.  Detail decisions and adjustments not thought out during architectural planning or blueprints enter the picture.  Excitement continues as daily progress can be seen physically.

(4)  Rough finishing -  This phase includes first coats of paint, hardwood floors laid or refinished, lights and electrical fixtures installed.  To the novice it looks like move in is only weeks away.  This phase is a little slower in noticing progress but the anticipation of completion keeps the spirits high.

(5) Final detailing and Finishing -  Suddenly the project crawls to a halt.  It appears they will never get done.  The molding, the door adjustments, window trim, final coats of paint, and even cabinetry adjustments all cause the project to drag (with the emotional blues).  When will the project ever end?

So we've been in Phase 5 for the last three weeks and counting.  Here is where patience is tested.  There was even the quote "This is the last time I'm doing this". 

Yes until it is all done -  and then we both begin thinking of the next project to do.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Ellen

Today is the big One Five -  or officially the starting the third year of teenager years (age 13-19). Actually the key date will be six months from today since that will be when Ellen can get her Learners permit to drive. 

Out in rural Kansas, Dad continued the tradition of teaching each of his Grandchildren how to drive.  That was only natural since he also taught both Jenna and Ellen how to ride a bike.  So Ellen experienced her first maneuvering experience in the parking lot of Derby's municipal park.

Already Ellen is pointing out "cool" cars to me - hinting that there will soon be a need for a third car to be available.  It all fits together as the social teenage years of independence converge with weary parental taxi cab requirements.

Happy Birthday Ellen

Friday, August 22, 2014

Like or Love

I watched Frontline's "Generation Like" a program that explores how the perennial teen quest for identity and connection has migrated to social media — and how big brands are increasingly co-opting young consumers’ digital presences.

While I'm not an avid Facebook fan, I have been incented by contests and certain web sites to "Like" the product, service, or site.  So I began to wonder about the quote "You are what you Like"? 

Sure - conceptually what we like (what we watch, eat, read, people etc.) defines our priorities, our purpose and over history builds our memories and our life experiences.  But my likes change constantly and what I "liked" a decade ago bears no resemblance to my "Likes" today.

So  it could be that "Likes" are transitory and what matter is what we "Love". 

Maybe that's the next Facebook App -     Love

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cowboy Philosophy

Last week included a drive back to Kansas to see Mom (in rehab) and Dad.  It was also a great opportunity to prepare for the Labor day holiday trip to Montana.  K.C. had warned me that when you are in Cowboy country you better "fit in".  So it was off to Sheplers to find the correct accessories.  Dad gave me my Grandpa Wisner's string tie, and I supplemented that with a belt buckle that Dad and I modified to be Grandpa Well's cattle brand "The Rocking W".  Dad then gave me his hunting knife to round out the ancestral history of my Cowboy inheritance.

So it was natural that I decided to go down memory lane and rewatch the 1989 mini series "Lonesome Dove".  I had forgotten most of the details of the story of the Texas Rangers cattle drive from Texas to Montana.  But I got very intrigued with the sign for Gus McCrae and Woodrow F. Call's Hat Creek Cattle Company that includes a Latin motto, "Uva Uvam Vivendo Varia Fit." Captain Call had placed this on the horizontal stake at the cross of Gus's grave.C

What did it mean?  Well it appears to be a reference to a proverb first attributed to Juvenal (a Roman poet).  And without going into all the detail analysis ( - suffice to say it followed Gus's Cowboy philosophical comments during the journey. 

Translated literally it means: "A grape is changed by living with other grapes" or maybe as the show illustrates "We are changed by the lives around us."

Hmmm ....   Cowboy Philosophy ranks right up there with the Ancient Romans and Greeks.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Virus Wins

So the virus won this time.  After five days of no relief in sight, I decided to bring in the experts -  Doctors and Nurses. Yes, with weak knees I succumbed to the families pressure to go to the Doctor.

The bottom line:  get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids  -  $104 for that prescription.

The human body's ability to heal is nothing short of a miracle. In fact, there is alot of medicine and medical practices that only disrupts this process. Part of healing is patience - sometimes there is no quick fix. Part of healing is work - working to recover. Part of healing is to surrender- surrender your agenda and priorities to what really counts - your health.

Oh yeah - the final part of the prescription: "See me in 3 days if your condition worsens"....... for another $104.