Well, it's a one-two-three punch kind of answer. First punch, the ankle. Which of course I broke late in June of last year, right in the middle of the calendar year. Now without going on some The-Affordable-Care-Act-Ain't-Really-Fucking-Affordable-At-All rant, suffice to say that our annual max-out-of pocket limits skyrocketed from $1,500 to $5,000 per year. As one might imagine, an emergency room visit, an orthopedic surgery, and several weeks of physiotherapy quickly launched to and beyond that ceiling. Unfortunately, there was the post-operative infection which required further intervention and unfortunately that wasn't discovered until January of this year, and unfortunately that means the annual out max-out-of pocket limit had rolled over. So that second orthopedic surgery, along with the PICC line procedure ($4,500 for that motherfucker alone!) and six weeks of IV antibiotics once again punched us up to the $5k limit before April Fools Day. So in short order, ye olde ankle racked up a hair over $10,000 in medical bills, *after* insurance. Also, for scale, here's the length of the PICC line which delivered those antibiotics directly to my heart at fucking point blank range. Good times, right?
Second punch, drop in income. The months that followed said ankle break, were pretty tough for Team Stewart. The first few weeks, immediately before and after surgery, were spent in an oxycodone haze, laying flat on the couch with my leg over the back of the couch, elevating my ankle above my heart. I would wake up long enough for The Boss Lady to jam another pill and half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich down my throat, before slumping back off into never never land. Now on the plus side, hey I lost weight because I wasn't awake enough to eat! But on the down side, I wasn't able to post any real updates -- which I need to do in order to earn the paper and keep a roof over my head. Now you'd like to think that if put in such a situation, you'd be able to rig up some sort of Denzel Washington type shit, but in reality that's just a pipe dream. I tried sitting at my computer desk and with my ankle down low and the blood rushing to it, it was fucking murder. So you lift it up on the desk and then you're in such an awkward position you can't actually do anything. So you try laying back on the couch with a laptop or TBL's Surface Pro, and yeah you can manage to bang a few keys for novelty's sake, it wasn't anywhere near conducive to getting actual work done. Now later on I was able to back date some posts and give the appearance of continuity, but in reality the sites grew stale and web traffic (and the revenue it generates) suffered dramatically. Not to mention that during that initial period, I couldn't get back to new people looking to advertise, and so it didn't take long before numbers really started to sag. Now we've somewhat been on the road to recovery in that regard, but much like respect, site traffic is quick to lose and slow to gain.
Third punch, Hurricane Irma. Twelve fucking years I've lived here without hurricanes causing any serious shit. Twelve fucking years! But my luck ran out this year. And as I previously detailed, when a narmed storm goes rolling through your county -- e.g. Hurricane Fucking Irma -- your homeowners's insurance deductible jumps from the standard $1,000 to a certain percentage based upon the number of hurricane protections your house has. When I first moved down here, my hurricane deductible was 15% of my home's insured value because it didn't have hurricane shutters. Think about that for a second. A $100,000 house becomes a $15,000 deductible. A $200,000 house becomes a $30,000 deductible. That shit adds up fast, right! Now the lowest of the low hurricane deductibles (1%) are for brand new homes with impact windows and doors, roofing straps every 6 inches, using 12d versus 8d nails, and a shit ton of other code changes that have happened over the last decade. After having hurricane shutters installed, I'm somewhere towards the low'ish middle of the pack, and my hurricane deductible is $6,500. Hurricane Irma caused $6,050 worth of damage, meaning it's all out of pocket.
Now it wasn't too long ago that I read a few articles highlighting how most Americans have less than $1,000 in the bank and are woefully unprepared to deal with emergencies. I am thankful to not consider myself a member of that group. I made hay while the sun was shining and Present Ernie is very grateful to Past Ernie for having the foresight to set aside a decent hunk of that hay. So I could handle any one of these three financial stressor and really be no worse for wear. After all, that's what Past Ernie's rainy day money is for, right? Even when life decided to step up its game by adding the second problem to the mix, we were still okay. Had to make some concessions of course; cut down on going out, haven't bought any new guns in a while, that sort of thing. But we always knew all we had to do was weather the storm and things would slowly get back to normal. But, then. Irma came along and kind of flipped the Monopoly board upside down and scattered shit everywhere.
In short, juggling medical bills was not a problem. Juggling medical bills while making less money was challenging, but still doable. But juggling medical bills while making less money and having to pay for a shit ton of hurricane repairs around the house -- plus in all honesty the house is in desperate need of painting, so add $$ to that -- was quickly proving to be, well, more challenging that one could reasonably be prepared for. And so there are two schools of thought when one find themselves in thie type of situation. One, do nothing, passively stick my head in the sand and hope things resolve themselves. For more on this, see Subprime Mortgage Crisis of 2007-2010. Or two, I actively take steps to better the situation by supplementing my income. Now do I really want to go back to working for someone else? Uhhhh, nope. I mean after twelve years of financial independence, who the hell honestly would, right? But since I am a big boy and wear big boy pants, there's really only one choice to make. And so... timeclock.
Saw this & thought you might like it and/or post it. Peter van Uhm is the Netherlands' chief of defense on Why I Chose a Gun. Rod (PS, if you ever get back to San Antonio, I owe ya beer)
Hi Ernie, Got a handy infographic here with 18 of the best kitchen hacks to make your life easier. Best Regards, David E
Her tattoo reads, "Scars are just another kind of memory." Unfortunately, I've lots of memories. Skip from G.R.
Yeah, the huge fucking scar on my ankle sure is a memory I'd like to forget. Unfortunately, it reminds me of my escapades every morning when I get out of bed and walk like a damaged model T-800. It loosens up after about ten minutes and I walk more or less normally from then on out, but it's still a pain in the ass. I'm just thankful I'm not up north, where I hear horror stories about people's joints aching before drastic weather changes.
Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is a 2006 British-American mockumentary comedy film written and produced by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen who also plays the title character, Borat Sagdiyev, a fictitious Kazakh journalist travelling through the United States recording real-life interactions with Americans. Borat official debut was at the Ryerson University Theatre during the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007. Baron Cohen arrived in character as Borat in a cart pulled by women dressed as peasants. Twenty minutes into the showing, however, the projector broke. Baron Cohen performed an impromptu act to keep the audience amused, but ultimately all attempts to fix the equipment failed. The film was successfully screened the following night, with Dustin Hoffman in attendance, and the film helped popularize the term "mankini". Can you find where that Borat worshiper was walking?
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