Just Like New

I think I can break self-isolation for this, and people (if they knew) wouldn’t scold me too much. πŸ€”

I’ve had an iPhone 7 Plus for several years now, and she’s finally starting to show her age, battery-wise. And with the new iPhone 9s or SE2s coming out soon, I don’t really want to be tempted by a brand new (albeit “budget”) iPhone when I’ve got one that works just fine for almost everything that I might need it for. 🀨 So getting a new battery for my current phone is the best way to squash all of that.

Another thing that’s getting close to needing a new battery is the car. Even though it hasn’t been cold this winter, it’s still turning over with a little more struggle than I’d like. Not struggle struggle, but basically you can tell it’s not new anymore. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s about four years old now, original factory battery, so I don’t know if this is an “expected” time-frame where it would be due or not… but I’ll have the battery d00d test it first and see what he says as well. (Although common and business sense may guide his opinion in an obvious direction. 😏)

The battery store where I picked up a couple of scooter batteries a few months back… really nice guy running the shop, and he was working on a phone as I was checking out and didn’t seem nervous about it. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So I could get the phone taken care of, the car taken care of, and believe it or not – they even offer windshield wiper blades… which is another thing that I haven’t changed since getting this car years ago. 😏

Everything looks competitively priced, and all of it has free installation… cuz lord knows I can’t even come close to chucking car batteries around on my own, and wiper blades can be a surprising pain in the ass if you don’t pay attention how you take the old ones off… heh… at least for me. πŸ€“ So anyway, I might end up stopping by that store whenever I have to go out anyway to pick up my meds, so hopefully I’ll also be able to get some of these little concerns taken care of while I’m at it. 😎 Total human contact = 1 person. 😷

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™‚

Shitter’s Full

There’s an RV show going on at the convention center in Columbus this weekend, and I’m supposed to meet my friend Jim there so we can check out the latest and greatest offerings. πŸ€“πŸšŒπŸ˜Ž Dad and I used to go to an RV / boat / travel show decades ago, and until I googled for information just a few moments ago I assumed that this was the same production, just years later. πŸ€” But nope… the one we went to is still going on, now in its 40th year, but it’s held at the fairgrounds expo center.

It’ll be neat, looking at everything, but neither of us are going there with any intent of buying anything. It’s more of a research mission for Jim, since when he eventually retires he’s planning on downsizing his life even further (if necessary) and living like a hippie. πŸ˜… I joke, but he actually has put a lot of thought into the logistics of it. Living in a small RV, at an appropriate park or campground… one that’s meant for semi-permanent folks such as himself, so he’ll be able to have electric, plumbing, internet, etc. πŸ•οΈπŸš

The footprint of his daily life is already so small, I bet it won’t even feel like he’s “giving up” that much. In fact, he’ll probably feel (and rightly so) like he’s gaining freedom, the ability to pick up and go somewhere else if the mood hits, etc. 😊 He’s even considering off-grid solar power with battery storage, since that setup should provide more than enough electricity for his needs. His ambitions may seem lofty, and there will be unknown / unexpected things along the way, but I’d give even odds that he’ll end up doing it. πŸ™‚

He already knows that the prices of new, current model RVs (from the smallest “pop-up” campers to giant transforming motorhomes) will be at “pants crapping” levels… 😏 but it’ll allow him to see what might be available used, at much more reasonable prices, once he is ready to make the jump years from now. And it’s not just about the RVs. It’s also about all of the stuff that goes along with them. 🧐 Solar, battery storage, satellite TV / internet, food prep / storage, plumbing / septic options, security needs, locations, info about true costs of living, etc. It might not be that kind of expo, but hopefully all of the niche industries that deal in the products that compliment “RV life” will be represented there. πŸ™‚

EDIT: And now, after talking about all of this, it makes me wish that some sort of “AutoRama” type show would come to town next. I’ve got pics of me as a kid, standing in front of The General Lee, sitting in KITT from Knight Rider… but I’d love to learn of a touring car show with all of the greatest TV / movie cars from over the past 50 years or so. 😊

Unwanted Realism

Had a good day yesterday, got a bunch of bills / paperwork / etc. done, and went to sleep in fairly decent shape. And then I had a series of some of the worst nightmares that I’ve had in quite a while. I can’t think of any reasons for them, nor can I link any of the dreams’ imagery to anything I saw or experienced during the day prior. 😯πŸ₯ΊπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚️ So along with waking up several times during the night, when I finally woke up for good this morning I was legitimately exhausted. πŸ˜“ Way too real and stressful. Hours later and I’m still having a hard time shaking it off. (Chases, knife attacks, abducted kids, assaults, horror movie deaths 😳 Oy…)

So now I feel like I’m having an awful day even though there’s nothing about this day (at least so far) that should make me feel that strongly one way or the other. πŸ€”πŸ˜ Heh… so along with just taking it easy today (since I’ve got my meeting tomorrow) I’ll have to kinda keep reminding myself that it’s not actually a bad day. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Nothing on the agenda, nothing that needs my immediate attention, so I’ll probably bubble up and just watch some YouTube and Netflix and try to avoid anything negative. πŸ€¨πŸ“Ί

The only thing (based in reality) that’s got me a little bit anxious is that there’s some rainy / icy / snowy weather headed this way. 😳 But I’m sure by the time I’ll be leaving the house tomorrow, if anything has managed to accumulate it’ll be gone from the roads by time I’m out on ’em. 😌🀞🏻 And, ironically, it actually helps to focus my thoughts on the meeting with my WC attorneys tomorrow. It’s still stressful, yeah, but I know what I need to talk about, and however it goes it’ll still be pushing this shit further along towards a resolution or significant change… so yeah, still looking forward to it. πŸ™‚

Balance It Out

There’s only so much that I can do to prepare for the various things coming up in my near future, but I still end up feeling like I “didn’t do enough” work on it – if at the end of the day I don’t feel like it has eaten some of my soul. πŸ˜³πŸ™„πŸ˜… I’m being dramatic, but it is pretty damn stressful when I get to over-thinking it.

So today I took a few hours in the morning before I even started thinking about it, although my cousin then texted me about help with troubleshooting her laptop that had just died. 😏 I told her that I’m currently booked up, but that I had just spent several days bringing my own laptop back from the dead, so I might be able to help when I get some free time. πŸ€“πŸ€žπŸ»

During the middle of the day I did focus on some things that I definitely needed to research further, but in order to flush it from my brain for the evening (other than talking about it here) I just got in the car, rolled the windows down, and took a cruise as I listened to some of the older and / or more obscure songs on my Spotify playlist. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It actually helped, since right now my living room is littered with letters, hearing notices, research, rescheduling, insurance paperwork, etc. 😐 Just getting away from that made a difference.

(I suppose I just shouldn’t πŸ‘πŸ» leave πŸ‘πŸ» that πŸ‘πŸ» stuff πŸ‘πŸ» out πŸ‘πŸ» once I’m done with it for the day. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜)

But for the time being I’ll just have to play it by ear like today, making sure that I don’t dwell on this stuff for longer than I should… although I know that I can’t “run away” in my car each time it feels too heavy, so we’ll see what I figure out. πŸ€”πŸ˜ Today wasn’t bad though. And I was joking at first, but I think I really will pick all this stuff up in an orderly fashion and put it on the desk for the night. πŸ™‚ Out of sight, out of mind.

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. 😠

Still Working Through It

I mailed out my rebuttal report yesterday, so today I called my lead attorney to let him know to expect it, leaving a brief message describing what I thought about the doctor’s IME report and explaining that even though I know they’ve got the situation covered – that I hoped the information I provided will help them out. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’ΌπŸ€“πŸ—’οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I also told him a return call wasn’t necessary, since I really would like to get this all out of my thoughts, but that he could of course call if he had any questions after he spoke with my doctor. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ

I realized today, though, that even though I supplied all of that extra information for my attorneys to use as they see fit, that it’s going to be hard to stop thinking about it and to stop subconsciously “defending myself” until I’ve really done everything that I can to prepare for the hearing. πŸ€”πŸ€¨ And the Industrial Commission hearings have proved to be a mixed bag for me. It’s a very stressful and anxiety-filled situation to be in, so I don’t remember every detail from every hearing… but I do know that sometimes I’ve been asked questions, sometimes I’ve been asked nothing and basically just sat there, and sometimes I’ve been asked if there was anything in general that I wanted to add.

If they decide to ask me questions, that’s great… because one good thing about my answers, because they’re based on the truth and over a decade of experience, my answers won’t be much different from anything that I’ve said to them, to any of my doctors, or anyone else in the past many years.Β But if they ask if I have anything that I’d like to add, that’s where I now need to focus my thoughts – and figure out the most concise way to convey the most amount of (what I believe is)Β relevant and important information.

I’m literally at the mercy of this “deciding body” when it comes to my future medical treatment, so I can’t afford to stumble over my words or not know what I want to say if given the opportunity to speak. So probably over the next day or two I’ll start jotting down several points, and then turn that into something that will hopefully be effective when delivered. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

When there’s a new doctor that has provided a new report that has all kinds of new claims and allegations, some of which I absolutely disagree with… some of which are simply false (there’s no other way to say it)… that’s a change since the last hearing, so of course any references to that in my comments would also be “all new information” that I’d be responding with. So I think you can see why I’m still feeling anxious, having not yet prepared what will basically be my “closing statement” if it’s asked for. πŸ˜“ So that’s the plan for the weekend.

Even if I’m not asked to speak, even if I end up not using it – obviously I’ll feel much better knowing that I’m prepared rather than not, and I’m hoping that will help me feel a little less nervous about the whole thing while I wait for all of the official paperwork to start pouring in, along with a notification of the date that the hearing will actually happen. πŸ™‚πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™πŸ» (And hopefully I won’t mention any of it for a while after this.)