I’ve Got Too Much *clap clap* Time On My Hay-unds

I’ll do this and that on any given day, but overall, my life feels like it has been on pause for a long time now. πŸ˜” Three big things are much of the reason behind it. Getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years back and then surgery to have that removed, my workers comp situation that’s been going on for well over a decade, and then waiting while my lawyers try to hammer out an agreement for the medical portion of my WC claim. 😐 So, technically, it’s guess it’s just two “big” things that have me on pause. πŸ€”

I mean, like everyone else, I’ve got a billion other little bitty tiny things that will pop up and add to the stress or anxiety whenever they feel like it, but it’s those things mentioned above that feel like they’ve put the brakes on “who I was” the most. πŸ˜• This entry isn’t about getting into the finer details of how or why… even though it’s relatively obvious, at least on the face value things, how it would make life different for anybody if they had to deal with them as well.

I’ve got a “checkup” ultrasound scan that I’m supposed to schedule sometime around the end of spring / beginning of summer, and I’m not super excited for that. 😬 My yearly check up last fall, which included a second dose of radiation and a gamma scan, went fine… in so far that there wasn’t anything to be immediately worried about. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But of course with something like this it’ll take a few return trips before anyone’s gonna be so bold as to declare me cancer free… and it’s hard not to be anxious about your future with that just floating out there. (It is a good sign that I’m only getting an ultrasound vs the whole other shpeal.)

And then the workers comp stuff, which (considering the above) should feel smaller than it does… but it’s another thing that’s been hanging over my head for what feels like forever, and as some of you may know – it has a way of being a thorn in my side almost every month, so it’s something that once it’s “solved” that month – I immediately start thinking about next month and what dumb shit I’ll have to deal with then. It’s just another “always there” thing. 😠 It’s a shame what a pain in the ass it all is, considering how great my doctor is. And it’s been the same d00d for all this time… πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‚ I’m lucky, there.

Even though I probably won’t, I could say that I’m gonna start tomorrow… trying to change whatever it is that needs to be changed in order for me to feel like I’m restarting things. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Granted, not the best time, given the stay-at-home stuff goin’ on… but still, I’m gonna at least give it a little more of a shot. Tomorrow, the next day, the day after that… while allowing myself to have days where it’s just not working, but without letting those days totally sink the idea of getting myself headed in the right direction. πŸ€žπŸ»πŸ™‚

I gotta get out of this trap, where just because I know that some big shit is gonna go down soon regarding my WC settlement talks, it ends up causing me to waste most of my days as I sit there just waiting and wondering when “the next thing” is gonna happen. πŸ˜’ I miss so much of each day because my brain is looking too far ahead, fearing the worst. I suppose that applies to both of the examples that I mentioned in the first paragraph.

It’s not that I’m feeling sorry for myself or anything like that. I look around, I watch the news, I read the articles, and I know that I’m extremely lucky compared to a whole bunch of people. That’s all the more reason that I need to figure out how to stop being so affected by my stuff in the way that I am. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜” Meh… so yeah, this has been bouncing around in my head all day… figured I better put it in print so someone can remind me about this post and rightfully wag their finger at me if it seems I’m not doing what I said. πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ»

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™‚

Partial Reprieve

I’m half disappointed and half relieved. πŸ€” Lead attorney said I’d probably get a call to set up a meeting with everyone towards the end of the week… and now the week is over. So, I’m gonna guess that the letter I sent with my concerns, pre-meeting, may have caused a little more research and discussion among the team. Or I’m a piddly case and they’re working on something bigger and didn’t even think of me this week. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜

Obviously I’m torn… part of me is ready to get this shit taken care of as quickly (but firmly) as possible, but part of me is glad that it’s the weekend so I’ll have two whole days of not having to think about it. πŸ™‚ (For the most part.) I did get a printout from the pharmacy though, with the records for all of my meds from 2019… and at some point this weekend I have to go through that and figure out when the WC insurer did pay for things and when they didn’t. 🀨 (As well as calculating the true total cost of all my meds.) That’ll be fun, considering the printouts have no payment info other than the type, date, and cost. πŸ˜’ Meh… I’ll figure it out.

I’m gonna go to the rarely-used “sitting room” in the basement this evening, to watch my shows in complete isolation from the world… 😊 then the weekend is supposed to be nice, or at least sunny, so I’m gonna try to go see Dad on one of those days. The one year anniversary of Mom being called Home is coming up, so of course that’s been bouncing around in my thoughts along with all of the other stuff. 😒😌

It sure doesn’t seem like it has been a year already…

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? 😏

Christmas Eve

It sure would have been nice if there was some snow on the ground or at least some flurries falling… but we get what we get. πŸ™‚ And tomorrow, that will be 50 degrees and mostly sunny throughout the day.

I’m spending this evening watching a bunch of Christmas specials and movies, getting as much “in the spirit” as I think I’m gonna be able… plus during the day I’ve been texting with Dad, Genesee, Bri, Squirtman, and Cassi… so even though I’ve not been feeling good enough to go out and do anything – at least I’m still keeping in touch with folks. (I’ll assume Amy’s lack of reply today is because she has a house full of boys that will be awaiting Santa’s services, which may also be taking up a good chunk of her time and energy. 😏 )

This is the first Christmas without Mom, and that’s sure full of suck… 😒 but I’m doing my best to focus on all the good memories from my childhood, when Mom and Dad made sure that Santa delivered quite the elaborate experience. 😌 Remembering the music, the big old complicated tree, the bubble lights, the angel tree-topper with the cotton all around the base, hanging up all of the ugly ornaments that I’d make – including an “ET” alien, obscene amounts of icicles, leaving out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, leaving a letter for Santa and getting a reply the next day, the little boot that got filled with M&Ms, and opening presents such as a Knight Rider slot-car track, my first Atari 2600, a talking KITT car, a little programmable robot that made all kinds of racket, Dukes of Hazzard BarnBusters stunt set, etc…

(Crikey… 😯 don’t look at how much that stuff is actually going for now… it almost hurts. πŸ˜… )

Back then it was probably 50/50 “about the presents” for me – but now, of course, it’s all about the memories surrounding everything. 😌 I hope that all parents do their best to see that Santa gives their kids at least half as good of an experience as I had – cuz even at that, they’d still be happy. It’s strange how few years the “Santa” years really were, yet Christmas still retained that same feeling all through the years. And those relatively few “Santa” years still feel like they went on forever back then. 😌

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?

What Was Their Secret?

Other than being a little frustrated while trying to fix the dirt spots in my yard today, it’s honestly been a decent day. I’m getting a little bit better at having those moments of “grr” and then letting them go… for the most part, anyway. But I can’t help but think about my grandparents – Grandpa S and Grandpa B in particular – and remember how even when they probably had plenty of things they could have been grumpy about, and maybe even were, they still never seemed to carry their frustration or aggravation with them for long.

With Grandpa B, it was more when he was working in his workshop, or tending to the grass, bushes, and flowers outside… 😏 which is kind of ironic, considering the latter of those things is what causes my frustration. But those were “his things” and when he was doing them, you’d have no idea if anything was bothering him. 😌 He’d just let himself get lost in whatever project he happened to be working on.

And Grandpa S, much like Grandpa B, was a man of few words… so even if he was in a bad mood or had something negative on his mind, you’d never know it. I can still “see” those memories in my head, when we’d have family reunions out at their house when I was much younger… and Grandpa S would quietly sit there enjoying the company, making an occasional joke or comment here and there, with a slight smile or ornery grin on his face. πŸ™‚ And even when we would see him on just a “normal” visit, it was like he had an invisible shield that was keeping all the “bleh” away from him.

I’m not completely naive… I know that there was plenty of stuff that both of those grandparents could and did get irritated, annoyed, or bothered by… but that’s why I look at how they were and envy it. Maybe it’s a generational thing, where being a grump ass or expressing your “bleh” out loud just wasn’t a thing that you did. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But however it was that they did it… I want that.

I’ve got plenty of things to be frustrated by, annoyed with, pissed off about… and like I said, I’m actually getting better at letting it go… but I wanna keep working on allowing myself to have those feelings, because there are legit reasons behind it all and it’s not good to keep things bottled up, but then letting them go once the initial feelings are over and no good can come from continuing to dwell on them.

And I’ve mentioned it a couple of times recently, but I do think that the “always connected” nature of the world today makes it harder to escape any “bleh” feelings – because when you’re already bothered by whatever your own “thing” is, it’s so easy to get online and unintentionally drown in all sorts of unrelated negative news. Where just “keeping up to date with things / people” can end up feeding whatever crappy feeling you’ve already got if you’re not careful. πŸ˜• But yeah, I’m feeling better from earlier, the race is almost over, so it’s time to get off here and get on those couple of chores.

Meanwhile, I’m gonna treat this “project” as a very early New Year’s resolution. πŸ™‚Β Somethin’s gotta give, eh?