Friday, October 24, 2014

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

Geez, at some point, this blog seemed to turn into a place for me to complain about things. Mostly my medical problems. Gaaah! What has happened to me?

Well, I thought, you know, I should offset all this whining with some positivity. So, some good things today:

1) October is a beautiful month here, and today is a great example of that. The temperature is just perfect this morning, touched with a bit of fall crispness without being too chilly, and the sky is that perfect, flawless, intense shade of blue that you have to just keep staring at, because if you look away, you'll stop believing it exists. Twenty-five years in New Mexico, and I still have not gotten over that sky.

2) Speaking of October, yay for seasonal treats! I have caramel apples and Boo Berry cereal. Yum!

3) I stopped at Page One, Albuquerque's awesome indie bookstore, yesterday, and picked up a couple of books I'm really, really looking forward to reading. I now have so many great-looking books awaiting me. So many.

4) I am off work today! Admittedly, I have a lot of crap to do (which this blog post is maybe helping me procrastinate on), but at least it's my crap and not my employer's.

5) Also, it is payday! Yay, I can pay my bills! And maybe I'll finally spring for that Leonard Cohen album. Cohen always cheers me up. Strangely enough.

In Which My Dealings With Everyone Continue To Be Absurd, And Probably Expensive.

I went up to Albuquerque yesterday for an appointment with my podiatrist because I need new inserts for my shoes. The old ones solved my foot pain perfectly, but they're falling apart now, and it's coming back with a vengeance.

So, I go up and they x-ray my feet and stuff. Then they tell me that they would just take casts of my feet right then, but they need to get prior authorization from my insurance company. You know, I tell them, they covered it just fine last time, but even if they don't and I have to pay for the whole thing out of pocket, I'm still going to need it done, as suffering stabbing foot pain every time I walk really is not an attractive lifestyle choice for me. (Well, I may not have phrased it quite that way.) They told me, yes, but if you don't ask them ahead of time, they might decide not to cover it, just because you didn't ask. All right, then. Fine. I can make another appointment to do the cast. With my work schedule, I don't know exactly when, but OK.

Today, they call me and tell me the insurance company said they wouldn't authorize it. Which kind of angered me, because when they forcibly switched us onto this bone-crushing high-deductible plan, they assured us our coverage wouldn't change, and, again, it was covered last time. So I call the insurance company myself and ask about it. The conversation ended with this little gem:

Me: OK, I apologize if I'm just repeating things now, but I want to make sure I have this right. You won't pre-authorize it, but if they submit the claim afterward, with the reason it was medically necessary, you might or might not cover it?

Her: That's right.

Thank, Cigna. Thanks a bundle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Just A Little Pinprick

Got my flu shot today. I've been trying to be conscientious about doing that of late, not just because the flu is no fun, but because it's good citizenship. People who don't get the flu can't infect other people with the flu, and thus we all avoid a real-life re-enactment of The Stand for another year. Right?

And apparently medical science has made great strides in needle technology, because I went in there with my eyes screwed shut and my body all tensed for the horrible invasive poking, and got what basically felt like a quick tap on the arm. It was so uneventful, I half wanted to accuse the guy of not actually giving me the shot after all (no doubt in order to pocket the stuff and sell it on the flu vaccine black market). But I'm not complaining!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bibliophile In Denial

Me, six months ago: OK, that's it! No more library sales for me this year. The TBR shelves are almost completely full, plus, no matter how ridiculously cheap the books are, I really shouldn't spend the extra money. Not until I'm caught up, at least a little.

Me, three months ago: Well, maybe I can go to the local ones. But I'll strictly limit myself to stuff that's already on my wishlist.

Me, a week ago: I'm definitely not going to the one next weekend, since I have to work that night, and I should be asleep for most of the time that it's happening.

Me, yesterday: Then again, maybe I'll just duck in for the last hour or so and have a quick look through whatever's left.

Me, today: wakes up at 8:30 AM, goes to sale, and buys thirteen books, none of which are on the wishlist

Honestly, I don't know why I expected anything different. You'd think I'd know myself well enough by now.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

October Currentlies

A little earlier than usual, perhaps, but what the heck.

Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. A t-shirt depicting the lifecyle of stars. White socks. Brown boots.

Current mood: I am trying very hard to get past the stress of the last few days. I think I may be about about sixty percent succeeding. Which is actually pretty good for me.

Current music: Nothing much. I have been looking longingly at the new Leonard Cohen album, but I need to limit my unnecessary spending at the moment, and have done way too much of it lately already. So I have sternly commanded myself to wait until the cash flow situation improves a little bit.

Current annoyance: The existence of other human beings. Also dogs.

Current thing: I may have just recently spent an entire week listening to 56 straight episodes of Welcome to Night Vale, which is now my new New Favorite Thing. For those unfamiliar, I will explain/gush about this show: It's a podcast that takes the form of a community radio show, featuring local news and events and such, but the community in question is the weirdest town on the face of the earth, a place where every conspiracy theory is true and the bizarre, horrific, and inexplicable are considered absolutely mundane. It's been described as the News from Lake Woebegone meets Stephen King (Or H.P. Lovecraft, or Clive Barker, or insert your favorite horror icon here), but while that maybe gives you an inkling of what it's like, I don't think it remotely does it justice. It's a fascinating combination of comedy, genuinely creepy horror, existentialist philosophy, and sheer surrealism. It also features surprisingly consistent continuity and character development, an actual story arc (eventually), a weirdly adorkable romantic subplot, and a more diverse cast of characters than you're ever likely to see on your TV. I'm not sure I recommend listening to 56 episodes in a row, though; it could have unpredictable effects on your brain.

Current desktop picture: It's still this, but I'm finally starting to think about changing it. I might need some Welcome to Night Vale wallpaper. Or maybe something featuring the 12th Doctor. I mean, if you can't nurture your fannish obsessions via the medium of PC wallpaper, where can you?

Current book: The Hidden Land by Pamela Dean. This is the second book in a kids' fantasy trilogy from the 1980s. The premise is good, but the writing mostly just irritates me. I can't help thinking I should have just stopped after book one, but I've got the rest of the series, so I feel like I might as well finish it.

Current song in head: I had breakfast at Denny's a little while ago, and "The Great Pretender" was playing on the music system when I left, so it's now stuck in my head, at least temporarily. Mostly because that song always pleasantly reminds me of my unreasonable fondness for the 90s TV show The Pretender.

Current refreshment: Peach tea.

Current DVD in player: Disc 5 of season 9 of Supernatural. I don't even know why I'm watching this show anymore, but somehow I can't seem to motivate myself to stop.

Current worry: I AM NOT WORRIED ABOUT ANYTHING. EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE. LA LA LA LA!

Current thought: Well, at least the ants finally seem to be staying dead.

Friday, October 03, 2014

My Possibly Even Worse Day

So, after the dog bite incident last night, I talked to my neighbor and told him I wanted proof the dog had had its vaccinations. Oh, absolutely it had, he said. But he couldn't find the paperwork. Or the tag. Gosh, the kids must have removed the dog's collar. Don't know where it is. But no problem he said -- and actually sounded very nice and accommodating -- if I came by in the morning after I got off work, if he hadn't found the papers yet, we could call the vet and get the proof. Great.

So, this morning, I go by the house. No answer. He's not there, or he's ignoring me. I give up and try to get some sleep. Four and a half hours later, I wake up, and try over there again. His mother-in-law is there, babysitting. She knows nothing, but I at least manage to find out their names.

I call the vet where they told me they got the dog vaccinated. The vet's office has a record of treating the dog, but say they never gave him any shots.

I figure I'd better go to the doctor, just to be safe. They can tell me whether I need a rabies shot or something. So I manage to get an appointment, and the medical professional -- I actually think she was a nurse or PA -- frankly knows less about rabies than I do. Seriously, actual snippet of conversation:

Her: So, I guess be on the look out for... I don't even know what the symptoms of rabies are.

Me: I do. And once you start experiencing them, you're dead.

Also, she asked me if I knew whether there'd been any rabies in dogs around here lately.

Not that it matters all that much, anyway, since they don't even have rabies vaccines. I'd need to call the state health department for that, apparently. She had no idea whether I ought to or not.

Both the vet and the doctor told me I should call the cops and/or animal control, that in a case like this, the protocol is for the dog to be quarantined.

I hadn't wanted to get the authorities involved. It's a very minor bite, I didn't want to press charges, I'm not a making-waves kind of person, but... OK. I called the cops, who told me to call animal control, who told me to call the cops.

A cop came out, took a picture of my bite, heard the story, and went over to talk to the neighbors. He then came back and said, "Well, she says the dog's been vaccinated!" -- at the same vet I'd called earlier. "She's going to get the paperwork from them. She also says the dog bit you because you chased it, and that you yelled at her daughter."

I then, as politely as possible, pointed out that the vet records she was referring to, according to the vet did not exist, that the dog was running loose, that it had bit me from behind, as was consistent with the position of the bite mark, that I thought it fairly natural to yell when you'd just been bitten by a dog, and that the woman in question wasn't even there at the time and hadn't seen it happen.

Anyway, he just kept repeating that she said the dog had been vaccinated. All right, I said, but what if she couldn't prove it?

The cop didn't know.

What would happen with the dog? Was someone going to quarantine or examine it?

The cop didn't know. But he'd seen the dog, and it seemed OK. (Which is interesting, because the guy told me they were planning on getting rid of the dog today, and then that they were going to take it somewhere last night.)

Was she required to provide proof of vaccination to the police? Would they call me back and let me know any information that might determine whether I needed a shot?

The cop didn't know. But, hey, she was going to the vet to get the records now, he said.

And what happens when they don't have the records?, I said.

The cop didn't know.

So, I said, it sounds like what's happening is that you're going to take her word for it and do nothing.

Oh, no!, he said. That wasn't true at all.

So what are you going to do?, I asked.

The cop didn't know. But if I wanted, I could pick up a police report in 3-5 business days!

But I need to know if I need a rabies shot!, I said.

Well, he could go over to the vet and check himself and come back and talk to me if I really wanted, he said.

I told him that would be great, yes.

And then he got an emergency call for something that I cannot argue sounded a lot more important, and ran off.

So, yeah. I think what's going to happen is jack and shit, other than my neighbors being pissed off at me for something that is entirely their own damned (and quite illegal) fault.

Anyway. The odds that the dog actually has rabies are exceedingly small, really. Of course, exceedingly small times 100% fatality rate still adds up to something worth taking seriously. But at this point, I do not think I am going to call the state health department and demand a rabies shot, especially if the dog is behaving normally, except for the biting-me thing.

Update: Just as I was finishing typing this up, the neighbor woman knocked on my door and said they'd taken the dog in for quarantine. She was mad at me, I was mad at her, but we talked things out, there was mutual reconciliation, and she swears the dog will not be running around loose anymore. I really, really hope that's true. I don't want to have to go through something like this again.

But, god. So much suck today. SO. MUCH. SUCK.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go to the pharmacy and pick up some antibiotics.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

My Day

My day:

Woke up after six hours of sleep, feeling grumpy.

Got an e-mail from the roofers, who had told me they would let me know when they could schedule my roof work. They want to do it on a weekend when I'm working 12-hour night shifts, and nobody is available to cover for me. E-mailed them back, but did not hear back on whether they could reschedule.

Had coffee and a shower, tried to feel less grumpy. This was not helped by the fact that there were five small children standing in the middle of the street just outside my house having a screaming contest. As far as I could tell, all of them were winning.

Realized there was practically no food in the house. Went out for some tacos. Tacos make me feel better. Also, it would get me away from the screaming children.

On the way back from the tacos, which did make me feel better briefly, the neighbor's dog -- an annoying, vile mutt they let run all over the damn neighborhood -- ran up and bit me.

I want to do today over.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Gets In

So, I've finally had the new roofer out to take a look at things. According to him, the reason why I'm getting leaks is obvious enough: basically, the roof was installed with a lot of corner-cutting and does not have the flashing it needs. (In fact, he says, the only reason I'm not getting a lot more leaks is because they installed the new pro panel roof over the existing shingles, which are still providing some protection.) Under other circumstances, I'd be a lot warier of "Oops, you don't need a small repair, you need something major installed!" as a verdict, but this, sad to say, is honestly about what I was expecting. Plus, they'd warranty the new work for another ten years, and, just based on a side-by-side comparison of the customer service levels I've seen so far, they seem infinitely more likely to actually make good than the original roofers, whose idea of fixing things appears to be solely limited to applying one more layer of caulk every time they come out. Not to mention the novel concept of actually communicating with me.

And in return, they want... Well, pretty much exactly every penny I could realistically scrape together right now without going too much deeper into debt. Sigh. But if it means I can fix this problem once and for all, and never have to deal with the other guys again, it's probably worth it.