The Situation, Day 30

09 Apr 2013

Original Blogger tags: The Situation 2013

We have miserable weather here today. Yesterday was ugly, but today is just an endless, pouring rain. My mood has been commensurate with the weather. When I’m done with this, I’m going to hit the gym to try to get some dopamine pumping.

There’s some good news and a bunch of non-news. The good news is that Grace’s doctor has finished examining her recent imaging, and concluded that there is a small scarring problem with her pancreatic duct — but her pancreas itself looks fine. That’s great news, and in the context of the past couple years, what it seems to mean is that she has healed quite a lot from the effects of the mis-placed stent. This is encouraging because it indicates a probably trajectory of further improvement, if she does nothing except continue to use the pancreatic enzymes.

In non-news, I’m waiting for any followup to my phone interview last week. I’ve requested a college transcript I can send. I found my high school grades, if they want those too, although that would be a first. (Short form: I clearly just didn’t care that much about grades as a goal in itself, at least for my first couple of years of high school. When I was applying for colleges and realized I needed better grades, I brought them up to 4.0, but they slipped back down a little bit in my senior year. That pattern more-or-less continued in college.)

Skimming over my old report cards, I realized that the value of a class, to me, in terms of what I learned and how much I was inspired. That didn’t necessarily correlate strongly with my grade in the class. I still remember how much I loved taking Chemistry and Physics and how very, very much I got out of those classes. It makes a certain sense, if you consider that I tended to enjoy a challenge, the struggle and the process — and the teachers that graded harder tended to be better teachers.

Anyway, I continue to refine my résumé and apply for other jobs. Some of them are actually recruiters or staffing agencies and don’t actually represent an open, funded job. I don’t expect much, if any, follow-up from these. It’s become very clear that living in Saginaw is a big liability in this job search. There just isn’t much, locally. I’d consider a fairly long commute, but I just don’t think driving 200 miles a day or more would be bearable. For one thing, I’d have to earn an awful lot to pay for that much gas. There is work in Dearborn and Farmington Hills and those environs — work I could probably get, but work I’m not sure I can afford to take.

Grace and I are facing some hard choices about whether to consider moving, or whether it might be bearable for me to go off to live in, say, Boston, work there, live in the tiniest and cheapest accommodations I can find, and send money home. It’s a little heart-breaking to contemplate separating from my family like that. But it’s also a little heart-breaking to consider trying to get out of our house and move the whole family again.

Speaking of hard choices, we also have to decide soon whether to pay COBRA. For the three months including May, that would cost us over $4,000. That’s in addition to co-pays. We… could go without. The state has ruled that Grace and the kids are eligible for Medicare coverage. I’m not. We could cover just me on COBRA, and let everyone else go onto Medicaid. Or I could go without health insurance of any kind.

There’s a scene in The Muppet Movie where Steve Martin plays a waiter. Kermit orders a 95-cent sparkling Muscatel from Idaho, and tells the waiter “You may serve us now, please.” Martin says “Oh… may I?” It sort of captures my feelings about health insurance. Take $480 a month from my paycheck for insurance? Why, yes please! Still leave me with hundreds of dollars a month in co-pays? I’d be ever so grateful! I have to pay $1,600 a month for COBRA? Why… [backing away slowly, bowing deeply, over and over] “thank you… thank you very much… thank you…”

Grace continues the process of applying for food assistance, so we can stretch our remaining savings a little further. We should also know soon if we can get the lead testing. I’m still waiting on promised paperwork from Metropolitan Life to finish doing our 2012 taxes. It looks like I’ve got to harass them on the phone all over again. So that’s the news, that isn’t.

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