In The Background

A small silver lining of the world catching fire is that I haven’t been stressing about my workers comp situation quite as much. Things are still moving along anyway, of course, and I did get to talk to my attorney on Friday so he could give me some updates. We’re at a bit of a stalemate when we have our numbers and they have theirs, so it looks like it’s going to a somewhat unbiased 3rd party so that they can determine what the numbers should be. I haven’t had great luck with “independent” (whatevers) when it comes to my case, but I’ll just keep hoping that things work out fairly. No timeframe.

C’mon… Really?

I had an afternoon and evening of absorbing all the coronavirus news, and once I settled into the recliner and started catching up on The Bone Collector… *poof* … the power goes out. πŸ˜ πŸ•―οΈ I grab the phone to check the outage map – and there were only 10 houses affected. Across the street is on, up the street where the lawn decoration people live was on… with their St Patrick’s Day lights all lit up… 😏 Could it really be just a few houses on my little block? (It wouldn’t surprise me… for whatever reason, this has happened before.)

I got up, put my shoes on, and walked out back (in the newly fallen snow, mind you… after summer-like weather just yesterday πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ) to see if it was really just ten houses, and right as I did – the AEP truck pulled up to the pole about 50 yards away from me, shined a light on it for about fifteen seconds, and then they left. 😐 Not sure where they went, but the power remained off for about two hours before it came back on.

When I came back in from investigating, I discovered that the beast had stolen my seat. πŸ€” It was getting a bit chilly in the house, so I’m guessing it was partly due to my butt having warmed up the chair… but yeah, she was there and wasn’t going to move. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

You might have to click the little icon on the bottom right to resize this to fit your screen. But yeah, she plopped her ass down in my seat and obviously had no intention of giving it up. 😸 Of course I wasn’t going to forcefully evict her, so I ended up sitting on the floor and listening to this Dale Jr / Michael Waltrip podcast that I’ve been putting off for a while now. It’s over two hours long, and I’m still only about 3/4 of the way through it, but man… they’ve got some amazing conversations goin’ on. 😊

Interesting evening, for sure.

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Fell asleep early yesterday, woke up at 3am, then fell asleep around 9am and slept through 2p. 😐

Yeah, so anyway… how about that Tesla stock, eh? πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

I swear, there’s been so many things that I took a look at when they were really low. Whether it was eBay, PayPal, Bitcoin… it’s a little frustrating to be able to say “Man, I actually pondered getting in on that.” now that all of those things have gone through the roof at some point. πŸ€”πŸ˜’

I’ve never been a stock investor and likely never will be, in part because my history with silver isn’t great. It’s silly to let one investment chase me away from the idea of investing in something else, especially when it’s not like I’m doing bad. Silver is pretty damn low right now, although there seems to be a really small recover curve going on… but my investment in that, my purchased averaged out – I need it to be at around $22 an ounce before I can even break even. 🀨 I’ll be holding on to that for a while, it seems…

If we could only predict the future. And while I get why there is hype behind the company and their products, there’s no reason the stock should be this high. πŸ˜… Their financials are a bit of a mess, Elon is a wildcard with all of his antics and sometimes-questionable investment choices, so to see the stock go from the $200 range to the $900 range in six months’ time… it’s kinda ridiculous. 😯😧

tesla

Model 3 production rates have helped, along with the excitement (and sometimes confusion) about the CyberTruck, and with China being almost 15% of their market it was a smart choice to build their most recent GigaFactory there. But even though they tout the $35k starting price for a base-spec Model 3 as being an “entry level” price, I don’t think things will really blow up until their market segment includes shlubs like me.

The early Roadster was their sports car, then the Model S came along as their near-luxury sedan, followed by the Model X to serve as a crossover, and then the Model 3 (basically a smaller Model S) for the mass market. Vehicles coming down the pipeline are the Model Y which is an updated crossover, the CyberTruck for the pickup segment, and then the semi. πŸ€” Now, I understand why he’d go after the transport industry, injecting a bunch of money into the company to further whatever “the next thing” will be, but it’s disappointing that Tesla is not yet able to provide a small, $25k range subcompact hatch.

If Elon and crew can ramp up the production lines to where they can really produce on the Y and CyberTruck, that’s when investors need to start looking for hints about the next vehicle. First hint is China. New factory in China, lots of people there wanting to buy, and cities outside of the United States have a lot of roads that aren’t built for bigger cars – or they are dominated by mass transit. πŸ€“ So not only would customers benefit from the lower price, a smaller car would also be infinitely more practical and, therefore, marketable. πŸ€‘

Meh… don’t mind me, this is just one of the thousands of things that come and go from my brain at any given point during the week. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ I kinda wonder how it has the room or processing cycles sometimes.

I Ain’t As Good As I Once Was…

This has been on my mind, so I’mma ramble. πŸ™‚ If we’re able to come to a settlement agreement regarding the medical portion of my claim, I wonder if I’ll be able to eventually undo all of the damage that’s been done. πŸ€”πŸ˜Ÿ Not the physical stuff, of course, since that’ll slowly continue to get worse over the years… but the way the whole process has mentally changed me, especially over the past several years. 😞

It’s just that I’m guaranteed that one week out of every month will be filled with anxiety and stress, simply because I have to get my medications filled. 😐 The meds are required to be covered by my claim, and many years ago I could pick them up without issue – even being able to get them a few days early at times. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Then the problems started. πŸ˜’ Short delays turned into long delays, and long delays became even longer. Eventually the delays were so long that I’d have to pay out-of-pocket just so I didn’t go without, and then wait and hope that I’d get paid back. πŸ˜• If my doctor prescribes a new medication, it can be denied pending an IC hearing. Even when a prescription doesn’t change they can still sometimes deny coverage pending an IC hearing to prove that it’s still necessary. (Which, after a decade, it obviously will be.)

Three weeks of “tolerable” pain at best, followed by a week of worrying, fussing, and fighting just to get the meds that they’re legally required to provide. 😠 Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat… πŸ™„πŸ˜ž Combine that stress with fluctuating pain and lack of ability, and eventually it consumed so much of my thoughts and time that I started backing away from everything else.

(Don’t mind my rambling… like I said, this blog sometimes acts as my therapy…)

When I can’t guess how I’ll physically feel, and I can’t even count on having (or being able to get) my meds to help… things became too unpredictable to continue like I had been. πŸ™ A couple of years ago I had a long phase where I couldn’t do anything if it meant someone “counting on me” for something. Family started getting shut out, friends definitely got shut out, all because I never knew how I’d feel when I woke up that day nor if I’d be facing (or getting pulled into) another hearing or lengthy process with the pharmacy.

That hasn’t changed. 😐 The concern and worry, that is. πŸ˜’ Along with my family and friends’ understanding, I’ve been able to make some adjustments that has kept me from totally isolating myself these days… but lemme tell ya, sometimes it feels easier to just remove myself from people’s lives than to disappoint them over and over again when things are bad. πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜ž And that leads me back to my original question… how long does it take for a person to escape that mindset, if that 1/4 of each month no longer has that anxiety and stress from the fight? 😐

The stress now, for better or worse, is making sure the settlement (whether an annuity or lump sum) is truly enough to cover the things that it will need to cover. If not, I’ll just be trading the stress of fighting for meds each month for the stress of not being able to take the same meds, because I won’t have the funds to pay for them. πŸ˜’ Medicare is technically supposed to step in at that point, but they’ll require all kinds of proof that I spent the settlement money only on applicable things, and the more expensive meds still might not be covered. πŸ˜– So as you can see, there truly is “always something.”

Kinda makes all the “You’re so lucky that you don’t have to work anymore!” folks reconsider, eh? 😏

Am I Ready For This?

I burned out early today. Woke up and began work on a bullet list of questions and concerns regarding the settlement talks that may start soon. Plus I banged out a quick letter to go along with it, basically expressing my concerns about some of the things that have been suggested so far, and making sure that this upcoming meeting is one where we’re going to further discuss things – and not one where they’ve got papers that I’m expected to be ready to sign.

So I dropped that off in the mail when I went in town to hit the pharmacy again. Half-success this time. One of my two workers comp medications was approved and covered, but I had to pay for the other one in order to not go without for who knows how long. Luckily I dealt with the two people there who are probably the most familiar with how I get jerked around, and they were both great and did everything they could to help.

That doesn’t sound like I did much, but starting on that stuff when I woke up, spending a good amount of time making a list of all the things that stress me out about the idea of a settlement, along with making it clear that I’m not super enticed by the whole thing yet… I obviously don’t want to appear “difficult” to my attorneys, but I’m also making sure they know from the start that I don’t want to get stepped on.

So working on that, trying to make the letter and list as brief-yet-effective as possible, and then immediately going in and dealing with the continuing stress (that happens each month) of trying to simply get my normal medication. When there’s three different WC related trajectories that are coming to a head, and I focus my thoughts and energy on just those things for several hours… heh… I just can’t really do that. Not if I want to be of much use in the later afternoon and evening. All of the “ugh” just wears me out.

But I completed the important things today, so I’ll let it slide that I wasn’t able to do much more than that for the rest of the day. Reset tonight and start again tomorrow. Hopefully they get that letter tomorrow, before anybody gets ahead of themselves, and before he calls me to set up that meeting. I’d just prefer them to be at least close to “on the same page as me” before I go up there and potentially waste anybody’s time.

In this situation, I imagine that a settlement requires concessions from both sides, where the final product isn’t necessarily something that either side is thrilled about… but with as much unneeded stress, anxiety, delays, hearings, pharmacy difficulties, etc that they’ve injected into my life (and it’s still ongoing…) nobody should expect me to come to the table and be an agreeable broken person that’s just gonna be happy with whatever scraps they may be willing to give me. I want my team to lean on these people with a force stronger than they might even realize they’re capable of. 😠

Feels Good

Being only a couple of days before Steven, Cassi, Athena, and their mom start moving, Cassi asked if I’d wanna come visit one more time in the afternoon yesterday – since she knows that once the process starts it’s unlikely that I’ll be making any appearances until it’s over with. πŸ˜• It’s just that I’ve already told her that I can’t risk trying to help them out, possibly hurting myself in new and exciting ways. And just hanging around while they all hustle about… yeah, no need to emphasize my uselessness in that situation. πŸ˜’

But since things are about to get pretty crazy for them, I figured I should go up for one more chill visit (and my last time at that apartment) to serve as a distraction for both of us. πŸ™‚ After hanging out for a while, I remembered that I had a little bit of free play on my casino card. And since money is obviously gonna be tight as they move, I figured I’d go over and play $100… twenty bucks at a time, cashing out any time that I’d double my money, and then whatever “winnings” I ended up with – I’d share with her. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

Maybe it was karma paying me back for helping Jim out with a little money this month, and then offering to share my winnings with Cassi… but the very first machine I played, I hit for over $500. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ Hell, if that was all that I won during that trip I would have been happy, but then the same machine – just a few pulls later – hit again for over $300. 😁 Since I was way, way ahead, after that I decided to try a few different machines that I’d never really played before, just as a change of pace.

If I wasn’t hitting decent little wins, they at least kept me “even” so I could keep playing. I eventually left not because I was losing, but because it was getting later and I wanted to spend a little more time with Cassi before it started to get dark dark. After all was said and done, I ended up going home with $700 (including my original investment) and was able to give her $400 to help with moving expenses. 😌

It always feels good when you can win enough that you can plop down a wad of bills in front of someone, and go “Here.”Β πŸ˜…πŸ˜ŽΒ (Especially when it’s legitimately helpful and appreciated.) And in times past when we’ve gone to the casino, I’ve noticed that she breaks down her winnings into five dollar bills before leaving… so I even went to the cashier and had him count out $400 worth of fives for me. πŸ˜πŸ’΅ (I did give the guy a tip, ‘cuz that was admittedly a slight pain in his ass for him… heh)

So that definitely made yesterday better than average. Didn’t anticipate things turning to shit overnight and waking up feeling like I do today, but I keep reminding myself that other than the lack of sleep and awesome new neck pain – nothing else has changed since that “goody” feeling of yesterday, so I’m trying to get the feeling of this day turned around. 😏🀞🏻 It helps that the weekend is essentially here, so I can recover without any obligations hovering over me.

Bedtime Ramble

Not sure what was trying to get me, but those two days of cool and rainy weather that I was looking forward to… I ended up feeling like crapΒ on those days. 🀒 I did dump that bag of dirt and grass seed the prior day and did up all my dishes that same night, and it did take a little more “oomph” out of me than I expected – but I think it’s because I was already getting sick,Β and not because of the little bit of work that I did. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Regardless, it kinda sucked… but at least the rain was taking care of watering the grass seed, ‘cuz I ain’t gonna. 🀨 Once it’s out there after its initial watering… you’re on your own, blue grass seed… if you’re counting on me to coddle you with things like water, think again. 😏

But, as you may or may not be able to tell, I feltΒ pretty close to back to my normal today. Felt good enough to go have a nice visit with Dad, and when I got back home I found that the lawn guys had come and gone and also didn’t mess with the new dirt and seed. 😌 (Even though they’re probably chuckling that I think the seed will actually grow into grass in the middle of October.) I’m glad I wasn’t here though. I still feel a little weird when someone else is doing the manual labor that I can’t do anymore, while I’m sitting inside like a potato.

But yeah, I’m just glad that I woke up today feeling decent since I had plans today that I didn’t wanna cancel, plans for tomorrow that are somewhat unavoidable, and then doctor appointments on Friday. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I guess I shouldn’t count on my tomorrow and Friday though until they get here… probably gonna jinx myself. 😯

This is county fair week too, and right now I’m only half-convinced that I even wanna go. By Saturday I’ll have had “three days of stuff” in a row, and sometimes after that much “stuff” my energy / neck / shoulder aren’t as cooperative as I’d like. πŸ˜’ So it’s hard to definitely plan on a Saturday fair visit, especially considering that I’d like to avoid the sea of “weekend” humans that would also be turning up.

I actually haven’t checked to see if Jim is coming to town, but if I’m going by myself it would probably be to either take some pictures or to use the 360 video camera to get some footage to upload and share. πŸ€“πŸ“· Both of those things are just better, in my opinion, when there’s less people around. Even among a fair crowd, walking around with a tiny 360 camera on a fully extended selfie-stick still isn’t veryΒ inconspicuous. And people staring slack-jawed and confused at the camera doesn’t make for great video.

And while it’s incredibly unlikely, there’s still a tiny corner of my brain that would love to shoot an early evening time-lapse / light trail type video of the entire fairgrounds from Mt Pleasant. 😌 Ugh… I really wanna do that. 😟 Anybody wanna piggy-back me up the hill? But then I wouldn’t get to walk around and see all the critters, play a few games, and eat something good-yet-disgusting that will have even odds of making me sick. πŸ˜… I think I’ll just see how the rest of the week goes, andΒ figure it out then.

It reminds me the of the irony of my favorite game there though. For as long as I’ve been going, the game where you try to ring the little canes has always been my favorite. Not for the shitty, weird colored cheap canes though… but for the “upper level” canes, which are actually “real” canes where you hook the curved part to win one. 🀨 Nearly every year that I’ve gone, I’ve been able to come home with one of those canes. The irony part… back in the day, the cane would either go into my closet (to be forgotten) or I’d give it to Grandma B, Aunt Carol, or someone else who could actually make use of it. πŸ™‚ But now that I’m older and more broken, if / when I win a cane, it’s more like “Ahh, good, I can leave this one in the car for emergencies.” or “Kewl, now I can have one under the bed in case I wake up and my sciatic nerve is acting up.” 😏

And, you know… (I absolutely don’t feel this way, but I can see where some politically correct folks might) the idea of handing out mobility aids, traditionally meant for temporarily or permanently disabled people, might actually offend one or two people in the state if they thought too hard about it. 😐 It’s like “Throw three darts and break three yellow balloons and you win a skateboard… but if you throw three darts and break three of the tiny red balloons and you win an actual wheelchair!” πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦½πŸ˜•πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Again, I don’t feel that way… but I’m tempted to google now to see if anyone’s ever complained about this anywhere.

Okay, time for bed… early day tomorrow, and I wanna make sure I stay good with my sleep. I need all the encouragement that I can get, to make sure I’ll get through all of this stuff over the next several days. 🀞🏻