One Day at A Time

Fox Sports did a great job with the “virtual” race that they put on today. I forget what the official name was, but it was an eNASCAR / iRacing / Invitational / Exhibition race… that they somehow managed to get on TV with an impressive presentation. Sure, there were more wrecks than in a real race, and a few glitches here and there… but overall, if you were just walking in and out of the living room, only half paying attention, you wouldn’t have even noticed that we were all watching a video game.

A nice little escape for a couple of hours today. Back in reality, Mike DeWine declared that Ohio will have a stay-at-home order starting on Monday. We’re all basically doing that already, but I think this may actually affect folks who were still wanting and trying to work. Only certain jobs are on the approved list, so here’s hoping that the government comes through with unemployment or another form of relief quickly – ‘cuz as if the virus itself doesn’t cause enough anxiety, now people are gonna have to worry about utilities, rent, car payments, food, etc.

The problem is, the way they’ve worded things, the way they’re going to enforce this order… it’s way, way too soft – and the people who want to be out, or just don’t want to be told what to do, they’re gonna find and use all the loopholes. I’d give it a week or two before DeWine gets fed up with the lack of cooperation and puts something stronger in place. But right now, you can still go out to the park, walk around, walk your dog, drive to shop, visit family, go to doctor appointments… I mean, I don’t know what the right amount of “enforcement” would be, so maybe that’s why it’s starting off light.

I didn’t watch Trump’s press briefing today, and I’m probably a whole lot better for it. I’ve seen a couple clips, and have read things that he said or did… and yeah, as many, many people and journalists are starting to say on Twitter – there’s no reason that these things should be carried live, since there is so much misinformation that causes fear and anxiety. So my day was a bit better than I was feeling last night. Honestly, I don’t really know how I feel at the moment… it’s almost like anticipation… not knowing how I should feel until we start seeing things happening closer to home each day.

I’m probably still right on the edge of that same anxiety that I had last night, so after I get off of here I’m gonna seek out Airplane! (the movie) so I can kick back and absorb some stupid, clever, dumb comedy as I hopefully get sleepy. I hope everyone out there made it through the day as uneventfully as I did today.

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.

Unfortunate Opportunity

In the same way that it can be awkward to discuss “after death” financial topics with someone from whom you might be getting an inheritance, talking publicly about investment possibilities that are coming on the back of a stock market that’s plummeting due to fear of a COVID-19 pandemic… it does feel a little bit wrong, but the opportunities of a down market also cannot be ignored. 😐

The Dow Jones has lost more than 12% of its value over the past seven days of trading. Unfortunately, the cause isn’t solely due to “scary thoughts” around the spread of the virus. 😟 With China being ground zero, the precautions that need to be taken and the effects that are already being experienced by the industries and workforce there… it was inevitable that markets around the world would reflect the disruption. 😳 Global economies, global trade, global investing… it’s all great stuff, until it isn’t.

Before COVID-19 was even a thing, I had already started researching different types of investing that my family (historically speaking) never really took advantage of. πŸ€” I’ve tended to use methods that I’ve seen work for my dad and my aunt, and they probably used methods that they saw work for their parents. 🧐 It makes investing feel comfortable, but the returns are usually modest in comparison.

The volatility in the markets isn’t going anywhere, so I’ll have plenty of time to continue reading, learning, and eventually planning… even if “the plan” ends up being that I don’t change much of anything. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And while loads of people have been cashing out, to “protect” their gains from the past year or longer, the farther the markets fall – the better it is for folks who are only just now wanting to get in. 🀨

I suppose I should mention that I’m not thinking about individual stocks when I’m talking about all of this. I don’t know enough yet to speculate on individual companies and their ability to bounce back. I’m thinking mostly about ETFs with holdings that are properly weighted to match gains / losses of the Dow. πŸ˜πŸ€“

Historically, you’re on pretty solid ground if that’s what you’re invested in… but just as there have been extremely good years, there have been some really bad ones as well. More often than not though, the gains for each year have been remarkably good. (Which doesn’t mean a heck of a lot if you didn’t buy your shares on (and only on) January 1st of each year… heh) Meh… just kinda thinkin’ here… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

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. 😠

Got My Stuff Done

Well, that seems to work. If I don’t promise myself or anyone else that I’m gonna do something on a particular day, for some reason that makes it easier for me to do those things… even if it’s on that particular day. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

(Don’t ask… I don’t get it either.)

My knee, shoulders, and neck are extra fucked today, but I guess the best way I can describe getting ready for today was how a diver psyches themselves up and takes the deepest breath possible before sinking into the water. 😚 That’s kinda what I mentally do when I have to go out and do a bunch of stuff when I’m not feeling great. Heh… actually, any time that I have to go out and deal with the humans for too long. 😏

It was a productive few hours though. Stopped by the pharmacy and managed to get my money back (finally) from one of the more expensive meds that WC was giving me trouble with… then I picked up my new glasses and a few other things from Walmart, dodging all the trashy looking people as best as I could. πŸ˜’ I mean, I try not to judge, but my gosh… the things that some of these people wear when they go to Walmart. I think it must be some sort of ironic thing that they do on purpose these days.

After that I grabbed some things that Genesee requested, along with some Chinese take-out for me and Dad, and then I headed over there for a visit for a couple of hours. πŸ™‚ I’ll say one thing… it’s good that Dad and I share almost identical views on how things are going with our government at the moment. Heh… the conversations would go a lot different otherwise. I also got to explain a little more about what’s going on with my WC case, even though I’m still basically in the dark regarding the half that’s going through the actual Ohio court system, or at least soon will be. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

He asked if I ever wondered if WC people every tried to watch me. πŸ€”πŸ”­Β And the more that I think about it, man do I wish that they would. Because 90% of the time they’d be paying someone to sit somewhere in my neighborhood to document that my ass rarely leaves the house. πŸ˜„ There’s an easy job for someone, eh? But I don’t know, I suppose anyone that wanted to find fault in something that an injured / disabled person was doing – they could probably find it.

I don’t mow my own grass anymore, but I once did. (On a riding mower) It caused my shoulder to be all jacked up that night and the next day, which is the reason I stopped and started paying someone to do it, but anyone that saw me would have been able to “Look, he’s mowing his grass!” me. πŸ˜•

One of the few “extra” things that I indulge in every now and then are concerts with friends. And while the disability in my neck / shoulder doesn’t have anything to do with whether I can physically “attend” a concert or not, let it be known that those concerts are never without their own unique form of punishment afterwards. Even that rather limited physical activity screws me up for days. 😟 Hell, I didn’t even go to the Skillet concert a few months ago when they were in town… basically because I didn’t want to feel beat up afterwards.

But like I told him, I don’t worry about it too much because everything about my case is real. I don’t try to exaggerate anything, and I don’t make it a secret that I sometimes do things that end up causing me extra pain in the affected areas. πŸ€•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’d wager that my doctor’s notes have quite a few remarks from where I’ve told him about things like, I dunno, going to the fair, walking around, taking pictures of the day… because the days following that sort of thing cause me added pain, which is something I want him to know.

So it just is what it is. 😐 Most of my time is spent avoiding things that cause me additional pain, but sometimes I do things that I have to do that cause me pain – and sometimes I do things that I want to do that also cause me pain. I’d hope that anyone who was genuinely, fairly judging me wouldn’t hold it against me that every now and then I wanna pretend like I’m not as damaged as I am, whether it’s a random task I have to do myself or if it’s an occasion where I just wanna do something fun for a change.

I just do me. If anyone decides to follow and takes notes, I don’t have anything to hide. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

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.

Move/Buy/Sell/Apartment/Hotel

In the relatively small circle of folks that I talk to (along with those who I might not talk to, but still kinda know their business) there’s been a lot of thinking about, talking about, or actual “moving” going on. One cousin already moved from where he was, aunt and uncle are selling their original house now that they’ve moved into their “retirement” house, and then me and a couple other cousins are feeling just restless enough with our own situations that the thought of moving does pop up now and then. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ Oh, and I almost forgot yet another cousin and her hubby who recently purchased their first place together on the edge of town.

Then there are other folks who are considering or planning to move, even though it might not have been in their original plans. Whether job situations change, family situations change, relationship situations change, or the neighborhood itself changes enough where folks just want out… yeah, it’s become a common topic among a whole bunch of us. 😟 Even a couple friends in NJ have been taking a “serious, but not that serious yet” look at other potential homes around their area. It’s like a seed has been planted in all of our brains. πŸ˜‹

I’m not gonna get into “all that” much more right now, other than expanding on the reason why I started this entry in the first place. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Now, this is something that I’ve heard of happening in bigger cities, but I wouldn’t have thought that my relatively small town would have been affected by it already. 🀨 But investors will swoop in and buy up all the “cool” apartment properties, do a little bit of renovating, and then rather than living in them or renting them out in a traditional manner – they use those properties as short term, almost “vacation-like” quasi-hotel type rentals. 😠

In particular I can see that this has happened to many of the downtown apartments that used to be available above businesses, retail, restaurants, etc. A few years ago you would see a couple of them become available every few months, but now the majority of what I see are listings by folks who rent them by the week, weekend, or even sometimes by the night. πŸ˜•Β And in a way, you can’t blame them. Why rent a place out for $900 a month when you could average $100 a night by renting it out as an AirBNB or similar-type destination for well-off folks who only come to town for a few nights? πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ“ˆπŸ€‘

It’s exactly what already-expensive rental markets in bigger cities are experiencing. Locals, who actually want a home, who want to rent via traditional terms, are priced out of the market by the influx of investors who buy up apartments for higher priced, short term rentals. 😯 I guess in some cities on the west coast, more than 50% of the apartment market has been gobbled up in that way – and the only thing that might be able to stop the practice is if local ordinances are put in place to prevent it. πŸ€” But, to me, short-term renters would probably sound appealing to a city council, since that type of traffic would also be the type that would be spending money while they’re staying in their nifty vintage loft, or at least more so than a regular monthly tenant probably would be.

But yeah, all of this rambling just comes from one evening of quickly browsing through a few different apartment search type sites – so I may be assuming too much without having done enough research. 😏 But after that hour or so of browsing, when the net result is “Well… that seems like some bullshit.” πŸ˜… it only makes sense that it would also end up here in the blog, eh?