Monday, December 28, 2009

the high cost of insurance

I am amazed at the cost of insurance. Not for us, although that boggles the mind as well, but for pets. We have not had pet insurance in the past, because the dog has pre-existing conditions. Yes, you heard me -- the dog had pre-existing conditions. I finally found a policy today, that will cover the dog and his hip dysplasia and heart defects... for only $588 per year. It has a $20,000 per year cap, and a deductible; in short, it works just like a people plan. For my dog.

Because, with every advance in people medicine, there are corresponding advances in veterinary medicine. Your dog can have chemo, he can get insulin for his diabetes, he can be sent to PT for his hips. He can even get glasses for his eyesight (no, not making that up). I have no idea how they do an eye test on a dog. And you can pay thousands and thousands of dollars for his care.

I got the insurance for two reasons. 1) history tells me that the dog's vet bills are averaging more than $3000 a year and 2) I read a very sad article on the increase in financial euthanasia for pets. What this means is that more and more people are having to choose to put their pets to sleep rather than pay for medical care.

I saw this myself at the vet's the last time I was there. A woman had to put a 4 year old cat to sleep, because she couldn't pay $3000 for the minor surgery it needed. She was heart-broken, but she just didn't have the resources.

So now I have pet insurance for the dog. Next month, I add the older cat to the policy, and then after that, the younger one.

Because it is better to go broke slowly, than all at once.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a terrible decade, NOT

Last night, Katie Couric did a piece on how this decade was one of the worst in modern times. It got me thinking about the last ten years, in my own life.

In the last ten years:

we moved twice, both times improving our life immensely
our son got into the school that's changed his life
I went to work at Johns Hopkins
my husband started telecommuting, which has made him very very happy
I started graduate school, which has made me very very happy
we've watched our son grow from a little five year old boy to an almost sixteen year old man
we've met endless wonderful people who have become friends
we've travelled to Belize, Paris, Nova Scotia, to Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, New Hampshire, North Carolina
we got a dog who has become family
we've made (and spent) more money than we ever thought we would
we've had marvelous dinners with friends, great parties, seen wonderful art, heard great music, read good books

Sure, there are tons of negatives to the last decade (George Bush, Dick Cheney, 9/11, the sniper, the financial crash, global warming). I am no pollyanna. But all in all, I wouldn't ask for a do-over.

Friday, December 18, 2009

so this is what it feels like

So this is what it feels like to be stupid. Or I think this must be what it's like. I had a very minor car accident last Saturday. I was stopped and someone ran into me. Hard. My head snapped forward and then back. I didn't hit anything like the steering wheel or the windshield or anything. I walked out without a scratch.

But, I had a headache. I am now in day six of the same headache. I went to the dr yesterday. She said the headache was the result of the brain in my head meeting the inside of my skull. I should be fine in a week or two. In the meantime, it is NORMAL that I am thinking very slowly. And I am mixing up words. And I have to type everything over and over to get it right. My balance is a little off. I am, technically, what you would call "punch drunk".

So, I can't spell, can't come up with the right words, can't type, can't concentrate on anything for long.... this must be what it's like to be stupid, and I can't say I am enjoying the experience. But boy does it make me value my normal old self. Can't wait to be back.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

another semester is done

I just finished my term-paper, and that completes the semester for me. Last night was our last class. We had a presentation on Ground Zero as a locus sanctus. Then we had wine, chicken nuggets, cookies, more wine. Then an Elvis tribute artist came to class and performed for us. Tommy El was terrific -- a truly talented impersonator. Then, we had some more food and wine. After that, we had presentations on a trio of holy people: Gram Parsons, Che Guevara and Edgar Allan Poe.

Here's the thing, and it's the big "why I love this program" -- it all worked. It really did. Mostly because my classmates are a brilliant, eclectic, fascinating group of people with endless curiosity.

The other part of it is the amazing and talented people who decide to teach our classes. Gary Vikan was our professor this term. He is director of the Walters Museum here in Baltimore. But he's more than a name for the program - he's a gifted teacher. He created an atmosphere where we could explore the topic, be ourselves, and enjoy each other's company.

It was a blast, from start to finish, and I am really lucky to have had the opportunity.