The End of pig as savory -- Mo's Bacon Bar --
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The End of pig as savory -- Mo's Bacon Bar --
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
So Rob devoted this last Sunday to 'fixing' the shower. Unfortunately he barely made a dent in Step 2 (that's w step 1 being 'Go to Home Depot and buy shit') -- when he pulled up the tile he found that ALL of the floor of the shower was covering what effectively had become liquified concrete... in fact I'm pretty sure it defies the laws of chemistry - what used to be concrete is now like really stinky wet beach... it's TERRIBLE... I will never be able to do this horror justice in virtual media - until they develop a USB powered smell machine...
SO we're starting to move out of paralysis. Rob's gotten a recommendation for a bathroom genie... does he come w a bottle and three wishes? We'll see...................
So for now - and for the first time since before we lived together, Rob and I are sharing a bathroom.
We've lucked out and had some awesome weather so at least we've been able to open windows and slightly dissipate the stench - which is in our master bathroom - which coincidentally of course is part of our master BR - the BR where we sleep every night :(
OH and yes you might be reacting like we did -
Why the hell wasn't this caught by the home inspection? And do we have any recourse? Unfortunately that's a 'who knows' and a 'no.' Home inspectors are smart w their 'if you take us to court and we're found liable, you'll only get the home inspection fee back' -- so really I don't think $300 is worth small claims court... my tune might change though when we get an estimate for fixing this disaster...
What about home warranty coverage?! Ahh well - instead of being caused by something 'major' - ie fundamental issues w plumbing... since this was caused by something 'minor' - ie no maintenance/upkeep on 28yr old tile (would it kill them to do some grouting?!) it's not covered under home warranty...
Flippin brilliant! ugg
Monday, February 2, 2009
In the quest for continual home improvement most of you know that I've recently made a new nemesis... WALLPAPER...
So how better to understand the enemy than to put some UP myself... by myself... (as I type this I think - WTH was I thinking?!)
So I took Friday off - I just needed a day. It's hard coming back from a long holiday and getting back into the swing of January - by far the crappiest month by my estimation. (No offense MLK Jr day) -- I'd add February into that if it weren't so short and included Valentine's Day -- formerly known as Singles Appreciation Day (sadly enough, 'S.A.D.') but now that I'm squarely in suburban almost-married life, I sorta like the chocolately celebration.
ANYWAY, so what better to do on a day off than procrastinate from putting away laundry?! How about putting up some wallpaper?!
It all started bc of a big sale at Target... BEFORE I opened the mail to the horror of gads of medical bills... I found and bought for $20 a pretty groovy roll of wallpaper... I thought I'd do the laundry room wall that has horrendous paper in it already over w this paper. However, when I walked into the laundry to plan it all I realized that in addition to the royal pain of having to move a fridge and dryer, that I'd have to work around the fuse box... water+electricity - never good...
I also didn't want to have to purchase any MORE than the 1 roll of paper bc of the recent bills...
So I arrived at doing the smallest wall in the guest room... and I think it turned out pretty well... this is the image on Target - though the metallic is a copper/tan not the silver they show here and the background color is a matte aqua (luckily perfectly matching 2 shams I got for supercheap post Xmas at Macy's - so decorating scheme DONE) ... it's very simple/asian inspiration - looks like those chinese brushpaintings of cherry tree branches...
And here it is in the room -- not too shabby... and coordinates perfectly w the neutral (boring) taupe paint and white trim that the former owners painted it right before selling (believe me - I found DARK BLUE on the lowest parts of the baseboards)
I had some snags - not enough paper to keep up the matching -- and old Mr Azmo walked in when I was on my last super long piece and stepped through the paper - leaving little VERY VISIBLE holes in one of the metallic flowers - so there's a big fat seam where I had to cut it out and match up w the paper a foot down... figgers!
Now onto the... Another
When I was doing the wallpaper on Friday, I was using my upstairs tub to soak the paper (self adhesive on back.) I noticed while doing this that there was a 'soft spot' in the tiled floor near the top of the tub. There wasn't any water underneath it - just what looked to be once saturated wood that splintered into oblivion and dried... damn... that means replacing the tiles... luckily it wasn't wet, there appear to be no leaks in the tub itself and I wonder if someone just didn't have a shower liner or something in place bc it's right by the nozzle where water can spray out if the curtain isn't drawn. Didn't feel too urgent - and at some point, we'll redo the entire bathroom... something to file to mention to Rob later...
So I did - and he came to the same conclusion I did.
Now keep in mind the story of our lives recently has been all about timing... like the Alanis 'Isn't it ironic?' lyrics...
Yesterday Rob comes downstairs to inform me that apparently HIS shower stall has a 'soft tile' patch - except under his is the equivalent of the sludge you see in a new housing development when it's rained for 2 weeks and there's just foundations dug...
So now we're scrambling to figure out if our home warranty comes into play here... and Rob's now using my shower... ugg
Here's the offending 'patch'
So if anyone knows a tile guy - or has some advice, we're seeking!!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
So I'm sure there will be upcoming developments on this front that's worthy of blogging...
Monday, January 26, 2009
I about had a cow yesterday when sorting through the week's mail, I found bills for my surgery in early Dec - totally $4200?! What could this be?! I already paid $1100 at the surgeon's office beforehand. That's a fuckload of money right there. I mean this procedure is COVERED by insurance? $1100 sounds reasonable... pricey but doable -- and for my avid readers you already saw my rant about that bill...
Oh how I wish it were *just* $1100. (This of course on top of the $300 or so I'd paid already toward deductible.) Who would think my earlier blog rant about that only covered a small amount of the 'holy shit I'm going to become a dividedwefail commercial.'
"I had a job. In fact I HAD insurance coverage -- but the medical bills kept coming in."
Well FUCK. And eff my company for year by year making our plan shittier and shittier - but not really cheaper... and ironically they were touting how 'great' it would be for 09 since 'benefits weren't changing.'
So shock, disbelief, tears characterized Sunday. Seething anger began Monday morning.
Kate -- "But I have a max out of pocket each yr of $3500 -- I already satisfied my $1000 deductible and my co-insurance is only 30%!! And I already paid $1500 to healthcare in 08 - WTF?! "
Radiologist - "Call Aetna."
Surgeon's office "Before you call anesthesiologist ($800 bill opened Sunday) or St Mary's ($3400 bill opened Sunday) -- CALL AETNA"
Kate -- "Ok." so I call Aetna...
Astoundingly this poor woman was able to make me understand WTH was going on. Oh and by the way - 1 night in St Mary's (NOT counting surgeon's bill) -- $33K - HOLY SHIT. And w Terrible Teri to boot?!
Well apparently due to some strange LIFO type insurance payment scheme - or perhaps just really delayed billing from the surgeon's office, their claim was paid out last. Which means I should be getting a full refund of the $1100. Unfortunately that's bc I'll be LEGITIMATELY having to pay $4200 which satisfies my deductible and co-insurance max out of pocket for 08.
The only concession is that St Mary's allows you to take 10% off if you pay within 30 days - so you BET I'm gonna be racking up the rewards points w Chase as I pay that off to the tune of saving me over $300. Hoping all still goes well, my bonus in March will go COMPLETELY to medical bills and some 'we just bought a fucking house 6 mos ago' expenditures.
To add insult to injury, my fill -- that took all of about 15minutes (w 2hrs wait time) -- guess how much that cost?!
I'll give you a minute...
A 'negotiated' price of $3307. Negotiated apparenlty meaning that some pay MORE.
Which means I'm now smack dab into 09 with another bill coming soon from St Mary's for $1700 -- satisfying my 09 deductible at $1000 and already going another $600 into my max out of pocket of $3500 in 09.
So the moral of the story is 'multi-fold'
1. Insurance STINKS. PERIOD. Even if their bookkeeping was totally accurate - about which I am floored. The cost of healthcare is outrageous.
2. Put whatever you can in FSA. Worst case you end up with hundreds of dollars to blow at Walgreens EOY.
3. When in doubt, call and make them itemize upcoming expenses -- I figured my bandfills couldn't be that much since they *used* to do them in their office for a $50 co-pay. How WRONG was I?! Wish I'd done this and coulda padded FSA way more.
4. We'll never afford to get married. Great... fucking great... we haven't even ever taken a vacation together. And it's not due to spendorama - first it was moving to RIC and building up some $, then my 2nd back procedure, then buying a house - and now medical bills. DAMMIT - how at 29 do I feel like I'm telling the story of a 50yr old?
And as if that's not bad enough - of course BEFORE all this shit of the last week... I got my tax forms for all my accts. That includes my 401K - of which I lost $30K. Which was 30% of my total acct -- the acct that I started 8 years ago. How bout them apples? Thank GOD I'm not retiring anytime soon.
Oh yah and last Thursday we announced a loss - first time ever.
At least I still have a job (SO FAR) and a house to live in.
And if we elope, I can get on Rob's (also Aetna - eeks!) health insurance... it's the Aetna plan I had years ago - when I never even GOT a bill for my 1st back surgery.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I couldn't be happier having taped it based solely on getting to watch Nathan Hottypants for 2 hours. But much to my surprise (it also stars flippin Felicity... oh and Andy Griffith!) I hit the jackpot! I thought this movie was PHENOMENAL.
It's called 'Waitress' -- it absolutely qualifies as a chick flick but w/o the ultra happy and sappy bits that epitomize chick flicks. It deeply resonates with all things 'woman and love' but not in any feminist way nor perfect love story nor fairytale way - just in what is frighteningly real.
Anyway, I went to find out more about it - including what other movies the writer had done and found a tragedy belied it.
The writer/director Adrienne Shelley - many accolades - including for this movie - was an indie director - actually died while making the movie... actually -- was murdered.
There are a few other films she's written - though I've never heard of them.
Anyway, it's worth a netflix or trip to blockbuster. It so hit me that I *must* own it - for fear someday I might forget how wonderful it was, and then that it even existed...
What however is more depressing than eating less than 1000 calories a day, every day, is when you don't lose weight from one week to the other... With such consistency and significant reduction in calories, you begin to expect to see losses weekly... not the case. This week I hit my 2nd week overall without a posted loss. I guess that's better than a gain... but it goes to show that for a portion of the population, losing weight *isn't* always a sure thing if you 'just eat less.'
Overall, I'm still down more than 27lbs since I began this journey less than 2mos ago. Which is phenomenal - and I'm thrilled about it. I think I'm slightly more disheartened bc the last time I lost a significant amount of weight (since my 100lb loss 6 years ago) was about 2 years ago - and that was 25lbs. I need to make it beyond this hump to not feel like this is yet another 'fad' diet.
But to the new part --
I got my first fill.
A quick refresher -- the band has a hollow/balloon like piece around the band itself - this is connected to a tube that ends in a 'port' - basically a large circular tough 'pad.' (same as when ppl get lines for chemo) -- this port is attached to my abdominal wall via stitches during surgery.
There's a pic about 2/3rds the way down the page --
Anyway, fills are meant to make the band tighter - and therefore keep you fuller longer with any food consumed - and this is about 1/2cup. It is filled w cc's of sterile saline - and can hold 8-10cc's.
SO the first fill -- headed to St Mary's, checked in - had to get the hospital bracelet and everything! They do these fills at something called the 'Pain Center' -- really?! who named that?!
So you get directed to this room - the pain center is also a pain to find - you actually walk out of the hospital and then back in - it's an externally accessible room. There's a bunch of people waiting - fellow banders - some fatties, some not as fatties and one slim woman who has lost all her hair to cancer - I'm not entirely sure that she's there for a fill - perhaps taking fluid out to ensure she can eat a lot to make up for the chemo effects.
What I've discovered that's outrageously refreshing is how OPEN people with the bands ARE to talk about their experience, weight loss, issues, etc. It's like this topic that's been totally taboo for all our lives -- even most relatives you don't discuss your weight issues openly with... Because we've all gotten to a place where we acknowledge our shortcomings and need for help - and it's totally liberating as we can finally talk about it bc there's hope that this doesn't define us and that it may change in the future. So picture campfire, guitars, com ba ya, etc. I will spare the details since most folks who don't have issues with this could care less... Let's just say I think I've been a SAINT on my first few months - bc about everyone in there had some comment about having issues w certain foods - all of which were ones they told us NOT to eat! haha! (subs? icecream? WTH?)
SO I get weighed and then sit for a while - then get called into a room where I immediately recognize 2 of the 3 people from my office appts - very comforting!
I then stand in front of what looks like an open MRI machine sans bed - turned on its side. It's a stand up x ray (but w less clunky camera and smaller plates. I stand in front of it, the dr finds my port and puts mark on my skin where it is. (recall - port is subdermal - not visible from the outside - when I get smaller I'll be able to feel it and possibly see it slightly) She then tells me NOT to look at the needle - apparently it's not small...
In goes needle (all this is being xrayed) - little prick - not bad - some rooting around to get it situated and then attached is the syringe - she pulls out the oxygen (they apparently prep the bands w oxygen for surgery) - then she puts in 3 cc's. She has me take a sip of barium -- while she watches it go down on the xray - pretty cool! She has ME holding the syringe at this point so she can move to see the xray pictures - apparently bc of the hard plastic the port is made of, it'll shoot out if not held in. She puts in another 1.5cc's - I drink more barium and she says I'm good to go and they record the amount.
I asked her how she knows what the right amount is - and she patiently explained the xray pics - which were totally rad (and I will see if I can take a pic w my cell of it next time) - much like the upper GI post surgery. She shows me where the band is and where the barium is passing through it -- then she shows me - using her THUMB where my 'pouch' is - ie the piece above the band that holds the food -- and I'm shocked that it's little wider than her thumb! Then I notice how small the opening is between this and the larger stomach below the band - like the width of an ink refill! Unreal - and super cool!
Then I'm done - that was IT! Nothing scary at all :) They have you then drink some liquid before you leave to be sure it's not too tight (too tight = liquid comes back up) - I'm then on liquids the next day and a half and then mushies and then solids again tomorrow -- Friday.
I actually think the liquid part (which was terrible this time - as before) has me probably ingesting more calories bc they are 8oz portions (rather than my 4oz 1/2 cup ones) - which I attribute to this week's plateau. But damn does tomato soup still make it all better...
Safe travels to Spevak!
I expected less property damage in the burbs than the hood - but alas, so far my annual neighborhood dues have only contributed to MORE expenditure...
Oct08 - I bitched about the pumpkin being taken off our porch and smashed down the road...
Nov08 - I bitched about the mailbox being beaten...
Dec08 - then it was run over - totally obliterated...
(drumroll please) -- and now the latest juvenile deliquient scheme - no doubt replete with cunning and rigorous planning...
Picture this - we wake up - the first Saturday of 2009, we're recovered from our houseguest and candy coma; we're bracing ourselves for the last day of vacation before 09 really starts... we look outside, it's chilly but not too cold - what will today have in store? yard work? shopping? hermitting? And something is wrong with the picture. It's not so much the inclusion of a strange element - but the opposite - something's MISSING... hmm
Jan09 - dumbass took our trashcan and drove it a block and a half away - dumping it in someone's ditch.
Luckily Rob had the wherewithall to go on the canhunt. I assumed it was stolen or we somehow had forgotten to pay our trash bill. In parallel to the canhunt, I rummaged through any outstanding mail to verify that indeed we were not deadbeats and were all paid up.
What followed was what I'd call adult temper tantrums - which I have much more frequently than my better half - well because I'm way more vocal, stressoutable, and enjoy my moments of being a drama queen... the rest of the day we went on relationship SWAT and pretty much did our own things alone so we didn't bite each others' heads off (for something that had NOTHING to do w either of us!)
For Rob that meant heading out to a bar, watching football and drinking beer. For me, it was heading upstairs to catch up on my trashy tivo'ed teen drama - One Tree Hill. Which cleverly btw - an homage to the network formerly known as the WB's original teen drama Dawson's Creek - they cast James Van Der Beek (Dawson) as a coke addicted Hollywood director - amusingly exactly what was always Dawson's dream - plus a drug addiction - SWEET!
All because of some punkass teenager - that or some Hokie that is really bothered by my UVA flag. Get over it - you got a bowl game and are now 'America's university'...
We'll stick to our #1 public university status - most recently apparently we made the 'best value in public school' designation - which I'm not sure is *exactly* the right connotation -- I mean 'best value' makes it sound like Walmart or Big Lots...
bit of a clash w our ultra pretentious 'The University' windshield stickers
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Rob and I rang in the New Year at the new house w a roaring fire, Andy Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN and the notable LACK of the staccato of gunshots outside... WOOT!
Now I am a Kathy Griffin fan (thanks to D List's endless repeats on Bravo.) When it comes to comedians, Rob is a misogynist so he's predisposed to dislike KG... well he got a taste last year w KG and Andy, and as this was our 2nd celebration, he was starting to break down and perhaps not *hate* her :) -- well she has now forever endeared herself to him - with what will likely have her FIRED from doing anymore Andy CNN NYE celebrations...
What more could there be?
We found out 2 days after Xmas -- some asshole (probably drunk bastard taking the backroads from Cap Ale Midlo) ran over our mailbox.
As in left it in 4 splintered pieces - w 6 inches left in the ground - the clearance of a car bottom... RAN IT THE FUCK OVER... And he left tiremarks in the grass - clearly showing the swerve afterward...
So thanks - and merry effin xmas to that douche. Glad that the Lowes giftcards we got for Xmas - the FIRST ONE IN OUR NEW HOUSE - will be put to such good use - as to buy a new mailbox bc of some worthless puke who's probably headed back to some b list VA college to 'get ter drinkin' w his frat bros in another week.
As I found myself stressed the hell out after a botched grocery trip for NYE provisions yesterday, I actually took some solace in cruising the hood looking for dented bumpers and our culprit. To no avail of course...
I had my 4week checkup on Tuesday - went great - except for the 1.5hour wait in the office beforehand - astounding!! I am also now scheduled for a fill - which should address my fullness issues above - on January 12th!
I didn't end up getting any visitors post surgery - which bums me out A LOT... I'm also feeling like I'm begging to see folks - i.e. to get people to commit to making time for either a visit here or at their place or in honor of a new arrival, etc. I'm telling myself this is merely bc it is December (but it's not as though my schedule was tough - we're talking home all December - weekdays and weekends) and will get better as we settle into the cold, crappy and planless months of Jan/Feb. And I think the underlying problem is I'm just STIR CRAZY - I've never had this much time off since summer after my freshman year in HS! (And even then I had a season's pass to Busch Gardens and spent all my days there!)
But w Xmas soon afterward, we got a parade of folks visiting starting mid December - which was fun and exhausting. I'm also a little shocked that not a single visitor made their bed when they left!! I mean, really people?!
But I am also relieved to say I've now been able to have some wine and thus far do not appear to have the 'cheap date' syndrome - PHEW! ;)