Figuring It Out

I’m trying to not be anxious today… which in itself seems silly, as I’m either gonna be or not… but something about today being a Monday is making it more difficult. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It might be because I have a doctor appointment coming up in a couple of days, where not only would I rather not to be leaving the house, but also because I’m nervous that the appointment could lead to additional appointments or tests or whatever. πŸ˜• It’s nothing serious as far as I know, but with my luck… who knows.

That, and I’m noticing that I’ve got a toothache that hasn’t gone away after a couple days. It’s not bad bad yet, but just the idea of possibly having to make a dentist appointment where I’ll have my mouth held wide open – in a room with people who’ve been around dozens of other people with their mouths held wide open… heh… I’d just rather not, but I may end up not having a choice. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s funny how “little things” start feeling a lot bigger when all this other stuff is going on, eh?

The family has all been checking in with each other in a roundabout way, where we don’t necessarily all talk to each other, but one of us will know that another bunch of us are hanging in there, so we can pass that info along. πŸ™‚ Most of my cousins work in jobs where they’ll be able to / have to keep working despite the crisis, so I guess that’s both good and bad. Hard to know if the government will actually come up with something that would really enable folks to pay all their bills and keep food on the table if they do lose their jobs.

And of course anyone with retirement money in the stock market or other investments around this time… of course nobody is gonna be happy with how things are going. ☹️ Not only do I worry about friends and family’s health and safety regarding the virus, but I also hate that some of them are really taking a financial hit or at risk of losing their jobs for the time being. 😳 Nothing’s good for anyone right now, and there’s no way of getting around it.

There wasn’t a “virtual” race to distract us all today, but one of the guys I watch on YouTube quite a bit… Steve Lehto… he’s been holding livestream discussions more often than his typical weekend shows, so it’s nice to just sit in a chat room with a bunch of randoms (while also watch something else on TV) and have some sort of “normal” conversation to take our minds off of things at least a bit. πŸ€“πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Of course the topic still comes up in conversation there, but there’s plenty of other topics bounced back and forth. (You’ll hear my name mentioned a few times as he reads and responds to one of my questions or comments.)

So I dunno… not much better or worse than yesterday… it’s just the couple of unpredictable medical concerns that probably have me more anxious than I’d otherwise be. 😐 Getting to that age where I’m like that old car that you take to the shop for a rattle, and they find the rattle… and a leak… and a cracked seal… worn tires… etc. 😏 Just really hoping that I can get those things wrapped up quickly so I can just settle in to this isolation period and hope for the best like everyone else. ‘Cuz other than that stuff I mentioned, I feel like I’m fairly prepared and ready for a few weeks of this at least. (Knock on wood)

Lowered Expectations

I’m not sure if this is what I should be doing, but I’ve been seeking out more of Steve Lehto’s videos (and others) where people get legally screwed over and that’s just how it is. The unfortunate thing is that it isn’t that hard to find tales of people who have been bent over by the legal system and just have to deal with the injustice. 😠 And when a person can legit say “I haven’t done anything wrong or “I’ve done everything right yet things still go south… I’m starting to be able to imagine how they feel.

It’s obviously not good to dwell on my WC case more than I have to, but I also want to prepare myself if things don’t go “how they should” in the future. I mean, I’ve spent years dealing with things not going how they should, but they’ve been smaller, monthly problems that I could sort out in other ways or remedy via other solutions. But if I get into real, productive settlement talks… when that’s it, that’s it.Β  😳

My ask would likely be simple, although I haven’t discussed this with my attorneys yet. Figure out the standard estimate of how much longer I’m going to live, and provide me an amount that covers the current true cost of my doctor appointments and medications each year, for as many years as I’m predicted to live. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I should probably also include an amount to cover bigger things like x-rays every couple of years, an MRI now and then, along with the potential need for further surgery… but those numbers would require more “figuring” than I care to do at home on my off time. πŸ˜’

So my ask would essentially be what they’re already required to pay, and their benefit in agreeing to that would be that they would no longer have to waste thousands of dollars on legal services each year to fight me and eventually lose. 😏 They’d be unhappy that they’d still need to cover my actual costs, and I’d be unhappy that it wouldn’t likely be an amount that considers extra or unexpected needs. Also, it wouldn’t account for inflation… but each side has to make some concessions, so…

I’ll almost certainly be required to sign an NDA no matter what agreement we come to, so I don’t expect to be able to talk about the details once it’s done. 🀨 But like I said, I’m almost expecting to feel like I’ve been screwed over, so I just wanna try to prepare myself for it. Even though I can’t put a dollar value on “not having to fight anymore,” I also can’t ignore it as a real mental / emotional benefit of settling. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh…

πŸ₯ΊπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚️

Lengthy Grumpy Ramble

I’m glad that I don’t have anything on the agenda for the rest of the week, since that allows me to take the things that I wanted to do today and move them to tomorrow. I must have slept funny or rough last night, because man did I wake up feeling beat up today. 😣😟 It looks like I’m going to have to actually go in to the pharmacy to deal with two of my WC prescriptions, since I’m gonna have to get some printouts proving that they’re unwilling to pay this month. πŸ˜’ But with my knees and neck acting up today – tomorrow just seems like the better option. (Stress can add to my physical pain, so I don’t need the BS at the pharmacy to pile on today…)

The insurance crap that I was gonna work on… that didn’t go anywhere today, since they needed all kinds of specific info that I didn’t have handy when I made the call. I figured since a bunch of paperwork had already been sent in, giving them the account number along with my name would have been enough. But nope, gotta get into my files and dig out the little notebook with a few dates and some other specifics that I need.

So I dunno… I guess the little bits that I accomplished today will serve as the “getting ready” for tomorrow, when I’ll hopefully conclude things with both of those situations. πŸ“žπŸ˜•πŸ€žπŸ» My mood is shit today anyway, so waiting until tomorrow will probably help me when it comes to not barking at the people who are trying to help me, since they aren’t the folks who are making things difficult. 😏 Those call center / customer service jobs must be awful, since most folks aren’t as considerate to their lack of power or responsibility when it comes to any given account or situation. πŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ“žπŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Oh, speaking of crappy jobs… I guess Jim felt like he wasn’t gonna be able to cut it at the Whirlpool factory where he recently started working. πŸ˜• He’s worked in stocking type positions most of his life, sometimes also driving a forklift – sometimes not, so when he’s basically worked one type of job for most of his adult life – you could imagine how his first taste of assembly line work would feel intimidating. 😯😳😬

The difference between his job and my former job… the line at Whirlpool is controlled by the machines, where my line was controlled by the people. Plus, even though we worked at a ridiculous pace (that did end up eventually damaging me) we didn’t have parts that weighed upwards of 40 pounds to deal with. 😣 It’s also concerning when he tells me that he hurt his neck, and that it also caused his shoulder and arm to hurt… ‘cuz that sounds way too familiar. πŸ™πŸ€•

It just sucks that after years of being able to switch stores and jobs if he wanted to, and having an excellent employee / work record, he’s hit a phase where nobody wants him for those positions now. I mean, he didn’t “job hop” a lot, so I don’t think it’s that… so I’m wondering if it comes down to employers seeing his age on the applications. Glowing work histories don’t help if you can’t get past the HR people who see “47” and throw his application on the “nope” pile.

I was trying to think of what to say to him to keep his optimism up and his twichy-ness down, but it’s difficult when life seems to constantly bag tag a person. 😏 It sucks that he lives so far north of Columbus now, because I have a friend that could probably get him into Jiffy Lube almost immediately. But after I described the job to Jim, pointing out the ways it would be so much easier than a factory, he just replied that he doesn’t know how to work on cars, so the job wouldn’t be for him. πŸ˜’πŸ€”

It’s frustrating, because he’s almost always good at whatever job he’s working at… and you don’t have to know how to “work on cars” to work at a Jiffy Lube. Not to mention the fact that they’ll obviously train you before letting you loose on customer cars. πŸ€“πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ”§πŸš˜ For example, if he started off working in the pit, under the floor, he wouldn’t have to do much more than locate the oil plug, drain the oil, plug it back up, and perhaps change some oil filters on the cars that have them more easily accessed from the bottom.

I hate to see him not working and struggling, but I think the anxiety from all of the things that have happened… it’s got him to a point where he’s questioning his own abilities, and thinking that he’s not good enough for even basic “some skill required” type jobs. 😟 And I get not being a “car guy” but employee training will give a person the skillz required for any given position. πŸ˜žπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… he’s a good d00d, and he’s done a lot of good things for other people who were struggling at various points in his life, so it just sucks watching life doing its best to chew up yet another friend who doesn’t deserve it.

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?

Rambling… Skip

It’s amazing that over a decade in, and this workers comp stuff is still affecting my daily life so much. I mean, of course the disability has and always will affect my days, but all of the other stuff around it… the appointments, the communications with my attorneys, the problems getting medications approved, the inaccurate reports from “opposing” doctors, the supportive reports from my doctors, the Industrial Commission hearings, etc… lately, it again feels like an inescapable cloud that’s surrounding me.

This week has just been one of those weeks. Starting with my WC doctor appointment, discussing my condition while also discussing his progress on the report, then more mail during the week from my attorneys, this time about one of my other doctors writing a report, and then more mail from my main insurance regarding meds that are supposed to be covered by workers comp, but that I’ve had to fill through them – due to the WC insurer currently disputing my need for them and therefore not covering them.

So all this week, no matter how I might have been feeling physically, it’s been a heavy week when it comes to dealing with a lot of this stuff, or at least having it forced to be in my thoughts. I’m anxious for the next hearing to get scheduled, just so everything’s not hanging over me like this. It makes it difficult to relax, difficult to focus on other things, difficult to just try and have some nice, normal days when each day brings another reminder (above my disability and pain) that I’ve still got this seemingly endless fight in front of me.

So the weekends are nicer lately, because at least I know I won’t have to deal with any calls regarding any of this stuff, but even the couple of days of the weekend don’t feel like much of a break when I’ve still got the cringe of wondering what the next week is gonna bring. I don’t know if the other side’s tactic of using false, personal attacks against me is part of the overall plan – because that’s what gets to me the most. If I lost every hearing based on truthful evidence that just didn’t meet IC guidelines, that would be one thing… but year after year of wild claims and personal attacks… I don’t think there’s anyone out there that wouldn’t feel compelled to fight back with everything they’ve got, and there’s no way that doesn’t take a toll (mentally and physically) on someone eventually.

Obviously there are spans of time where it’s not quite as bad… not quite as “present” in daily life… but right now is not one of those times. I’m glad it’s sunny out, even though I don’t think I’ll be out doing anything today. It lets me sit here, feeling a little better while I ramble and let some of the frustration out. I won’t hold my breath right now, but I’m hoping that I might get a break next week – since everything dealt with this week shouldn’t need any immediate followup. If I don’t have something reminding me of it each day, at least I’d have a better chance of stealing a “normal” week while all the nonsense goes on in the background.

Okay, guess it’s time to do something productive while the sun’s still up… gonna see what I can do about making at least the next couple of days feel a little less stressful.

Vicarious Eavesdropping

That little nap yesterday afternoon…Β πŸ˜’Β screwed up my entire night. Didn’t fall asleep until about 3am, and I was up and down almost every hour on the hour from then on out. I don’t know if I was dreaming, since I was watching a huge storm front going through Illinois and Indiana as I was getting sleepy, but it was either that or I just barely slept through what sounded like a huge downpour. πŸŒ§οΈβ›ˆοΈπŸ‘πŸŒ§οΈπŸŒ§οΈΒ As if someone was spraying a hose against the side of my house. (Probably just my imagination.)Β Meh… now I’m just tired and grumpy and have a friggin’ neck / headache again, but hey… at least it’s Saturday. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Took my morning meds and some Aleve, so I’ll be feeling better soon. Also, I’ve got a package on the way. 😯 And how can you be in a shit mood when you’ve got a package coming? 😁 Before bed each night, I usually spend a while listening to the scanner, and relaying any interesting bits to Amy, my night-time / insomnia texting wife. 😏 We use that term jokingly, of course… but everyone (if they’re married) has a real spouse, but then you often have a “work wife”, an “internet wife”, a “texting wife”, etc. Anyway, the scanner is great, but I’m far enough from town that reception is sometimes a problem. πŸ€¨πŸ“»

So I found a cheap, wide-band, glass mount antenna with the bitty SMA connector that my Uniden HomePatrol 1 uses – and it’s supposed to arrive today. Hopefully by one of their delivery people that has the GPS system where it’ll pop up a little map, showing where they are, and how many stops until they reach you. πŸ€“πŸ§­πŸšš Gonna tuck the antenna behind the curtain on the picture window, which somewhat faces towards town, so hopefully it’ll give me just enough boost that I’ll stop getting garbled transmissions.

At this point, $20 was about the limit that I was willing to throw at a possible solution, but I did also consider that my metal awnings could possibly used with a magnet mount ground plane antenna. But not only does that start to get outside of my wheelhouse when it comes to antenna knowledge, but they’re also more expensive, and I don’t have an easy way to run the connecting cable into the house. Besdies, I’m not sure I care enough about “perfect reception” to bother doing whatever I’d need to do to get it perfect. 😏 Most services in the area have gone to digital broadcasting anyway, so I imagine it’s only a matter of time before they start using encryption as well – which would make my receiver useless. πŸ˜• Gone are the days of getting a $20 “Bearcat” scanner at a yard sale that would give you access to almost everything you’d wanna listen to.

Okay, enough rambling… just wanted to bang out an entry to help me wake up and get my day started. I doubt I’m gonna be out of the house much over the next couple of days, having no appointments or obligations (and also wanting to avoid the bizarre 90 degree “fall” weather), so that gives me even more reason to anxiously await the arrival of that antenna for one of my toys. πŸ€“πŸ˜Œ It’s honestly too cheap, so I’m not expecting much, but if it gives me just enough gain re: these two specific channels it’ll have been worth it.

Makes me wish for a “Fall Hamvention” … but I probably wouldn’t go to that one either. πŸ˜…Β I miss Hara Arena.