It’s crazy how much my life has become all about Jack in such a short period of time, but we have been doing other things. It’s been wonderful staying with our friends Cori and Greg, and after a long summer and some crazy travel, I finally feel relaxed, and it’s also been very productive. So here is a bit of a hodge-podge of what we have been doing. Some of the things were PJ (pre-Jack) and other were PO J (post-Jack)!
First off, not long after we arrived I saw my first tarantula in the wild! Maybe not a big deal for many people, but it was really close to our RV and freaked me out for a couple of days. I know they are not aggressive, but I was walking around barefoot, so I immediately stopped doing that! Lee came out and took a picture, and I don’t have anything for scale, but it was only slightly smaller than my hand. Yikes!
After that event, I was thrilled to accept Cori’s invitation to spent the day out and we went and visited her Dad. Don is a really nice man and I enjoyed talking to him, plus he treated us to a wonderful lunch at Krause’s Cafe in New Braunfels. I am German on my mother’s side and love trying out German restaurants. Turns out not only was it a great restaurant (the potato soup was to die for), but also an historic place and when I walked outside I saw a big plaque with information about the building. One of the things I like about Texas hill country is that so many Germans settled here, it gives the area a European flavor along with Texas. I mean how many restaurants offer both Po Boy’s and schnitzel on their menu?
I eventually put the image aside (thankfully it’s the only one I have seen), because Bill came in to see us. He drove down to see us from Arkansas and we were going to watch his cat Callie, while he flew back to Pennsylvania to be with Kelly (who was already there) for their daughter’s ultrasound and the big gender reveal of their first grandchild. They are going to be grandparents in March and it was nice that it all worked out so they could be there when she found out the sex of the baby. If you want to read more about that you can check out Kelly’s blog here.
While Bill was with us, we did have a bonfire one night and we all went to a local Mexican restaurant for some dinner. It was reasonably priced, there was lots of food, and the setting was very casual.
After Bill left, I spent most of my time looking for a dog and other paperwork type stuff. I signed up for the Affordable Care Act next year again (third year running) and because of my doctor’s bills looked at upgrading to a different plan. Unfortunately those were $600 a month (versus $175 a month for my current plan) and the deductibles weren’t low enough to make it worth it. So with the attitude of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, I went ahead and signed up for the same plan. On the plus side, I finally heard back from the Providence Medical Center and they approved 100% aid for my medical bills. That was a huge relief, and Lee was really happy although I still had mixed feelings about it. I like to pay my own way, and wasn’t crazy about asking for assistance in the first place, but I had zero luck negotiating the bill down to something reasonable. Since Blue Cross paid them $1100 for the room and equipment and I paid my full piece of the doctor, ultimately I felt the amount paid was just. After all it was 50 minutes in a regular doctor’s room, and the bill was an outrageous $3K for the room alone. I knew with the payments they received they were covering their costs, which made the entire experience more palatable. And thankfully this protects what’s left of our HSA account which I have been using for incidental medical expenses for the last four years. (I vigorously disagree with her on this. She and the insurance company paid more than a fair price. After lots of discussion with them, she was basically told they can charge whatever they want. Over $4700 for a biopsy is just absurd, so as far as I am concerned, all they did was sheepishly adjust their price to something realistic, and only because she didn’t back down. This wasn’t “aid” or charity, this was them correcting an unethical and immoral move. – Lee)
While I was working on admin stuff, Lee was trying to work through his list of repair items. One of the biggest one was to finally fix our door, which as you might remember was shattered by a wind storm back in April. Lee has spent weeks trying to find a solution and ultimately called the door manufacturer who said they could make a custom window insert for the door. We were both excited when it arrived in a heavy packing crate, but were disappointed that one metal corner was bent and more importantly the plastic catch for the window had broken off in transit. Lee was faced with sending it back, which we didn’t want to do, but then realized he could take the catch off the previous broken window, and put it on the new one. That sounds easier than it was though for a variety of reasons, but now we have a working window in the door and you can’t even tell it was broken. Awesome, and I really appreciate all the trouble he has gone through to get this done.
Not long after he got the window done, Kelly and Bill arrived and we finally celebrated Cori’s birthday. This was the first time we have been with Cori on her birthday (we are usually working) and we all had a great time. Everyone brought steaks and we chipped in sides, and there was lots of alcohol!
I always love it when we happen to be with someone for their birthday, and was really glad we got to celebrate Cori’s with her. There has been lots going on and we are getting ready to put our names in for a gate soon, because as fun as this has been it’s time to get back to work!
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