Friday, January 30, 2009

Insurance Woes

The saga continues. (If you don't want to read all of this - mom - skip to the last two paragraphs, I am asking for advice there.)

Last summer - July and August - I had a couple of doctors visits that were not covered due to my doctor leaving my insurance and me not wanting to deal with finding a new doctor for two visits,I have out-of-network claims. And as you know, I got married in August. Upon return from our honeymoon I processed my name and address change with HR and filed the out-of-network claim.

Now my insurance says they will cover 70% of reasonable and customary charges. What they actually cover is 37% of what I paid. I really want to know where they are finding this reasonable and customary - because my doctor actually charges a little less than several others that I looked at in Manhattan. This kind of stinks, but I still want my $130 back. It's not a ton, but when you are unemployed, it's a godsend. Why then is the insurance making it so hard to claim this smallish amount.

In October I got a call from my doctor saying that the insurance had reimbursed her, not me. Which is wrong. So she sent that check back with a letter explaining to send to me. I heard and waited. Finally November 30 I called about the claim. I felt it should have been issued by now. And I was told the check had been mailed four days earlier to Kasey Powers at MY OLD Brooklyn address. Unfortunately because Kasey Powers never lived in Brooklyn, Kasey Frazier did, the check will not be forwarded. And until 30 days have passed the insurance won't send a new check. Also they tell me that they can't correct my address. I have to do that through HR - which I did when I changed my name. I confirm with HR that the name and address were both submitted.

I called on January 13 and was told a new check would be sent to the right address and I should expect it in 7 - 10 days. Because the address has now been fixed.

This brings me to today. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with a very nice customer service agent at the insurance company. Who can find no record of the check that was authorized on the 13th. And says that it looks like the check was cut under a different claim number than originally submitted. I told her I didn't care how it was submitted as long as I get my check that was authorized for me nearly six months ago. We found that the problem finally. The name change went through on my old address, and my maiden name was attached to the new address. You would think this is an easy fix. But no, I have to fix it through either my company (where I don't work anymore) or the overall insurance - there are all these sub-divisions in the insurance we have (where I am no longer insured because I don't work there anymore) So the very nice customer service agent tells me that she will put through the authorization (why couldn't she do that without all the explanation and my HR department (where I don't work) already submitted all the information TWICE, because I made them re-do it in December. Anyway, it will take up to 30 days for the name / address issue to be resolved but I should call back in 10. And then, only then will I be allowed to receive my check. Ridiculous I say.

And as the eve of losing all insurance coverage through Rob is upon us, I am trying to weigh the options. I know we can't afford good insurance, or COBRA, a downfall of the no-job thing. I have been looking into catastrophic coverage, also known as major-medical. But I can't find anything for under $320 a month. And I'm not sure I can justify spending $4000 a year on the chance that something might happen and we'd still have to pay $10,000 before insurance would start covering most costs, where there would still be co-pays, and most likely physicians fees (which surprisingly are not covered under many of the catastrophic plans)

So what do we do. Insurance companies are a nightmare and expensive. Any advice on how to go when stuck in the place of having to buy your own insurance.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nothing to Write Home About

The monotony of nothingness has set in. I have no job. (I am freelancing some - those are good days, and sending out resumes from home) It is cold out. And today it is snowing and raining. And overall just not fun to be out walking around. So I bake. And watch Gilmore Girls. But there is really nothing new and exciting. But I want to keep updating this blog. And I wonder - is the nothingness worth writing about, does anyone want to read it. This week I am considering it a good day to shower and get dressed each day.

My week:

Last Thursday and Friday - I had freelance work. Out of the house - it was awesome.

Saturday - I finally got dressed late in the day. I won't say how late. And we went out to dinner at TJ's Asian Bistro and had sushi. For those in Woodside I highly recommend the Tokyo Roll.

Sunday - Sunday's are always good because we have church. And last Sunday Sarah had all the girls over for muffins and coffee. A great way to spend the morning.

Monday - Rob had some of the One Stuck Duck guys over to talk about progress on the music video. When they were done I turned off the Gilmore and did some socializing. Oh yeah, and in the morning Rob took me grocery shopping.

Tuesday - Hmmm, I guess here is where the nothing really set in. I watched Gilmore and made sugar cookie dough. And Rob made chicken parm for lunch. Yum! Then we walked to the mall. Yes, there is a mall in Queens, about 3 miles from here. So we walked to the mall, looked around, and then walked home. We were SOOOOOO tired.

Wednesday - This morning I made the cookies. And was showered and dressed at a decent hour. Today is a good day so far. And as I sit here typeing about nothing, and the play-by-play of my week, it really hasn't been that uneventful after all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Still Got It!

The spark in our marriage that is. Yesterday I was sitting on the couch and Rob leaned down to give me a kiss, and he felt a little shock. And started laughing. You see we've been wearing a lot of fleece in the cold weather and it really kicks up the static electricity. So Rob rubbed his arm on the back of the couch and kissed me again. A bigger spark! One more time, and yep it happened again! So that's it, the secret to keeping the spark in your marriage: static electricity.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Funny Kid

So we were at this school Friday with Sesame. And we showed the video and I was asking this kid some questions about the show. The conversation went something like this:

Me: What was the show about?
Kid: Diego.
Me: Yeah, but what was the show we just watched on the tv in there about?
Kid: Dora
Me: (ok let's go on) (show picture from show) Can you tell me what happened in this part?
Kid: Elmo.

Ok, we are getting somewhere. I ask the rest of the direct questions about the show, and the kid gives correct (or at least Sesame related) answers. Then we have a minute to wait until he's ready to go back to his classroom.

Me: Did you have fun today?
Kid: Yes. It was awesome! I got to see Diego!

Oy! He was only three, but come on.

Back to Work

This whole working thing - it's hard work. I've grown accustomed to sleeping in 'til around 10, eating a breakfast type snack, checking email and blogs, sending job hunt related emails and searching online for jobs, making lunch, running a few errands, dinner, tv, and more blogging as late as I want. It's been a nice surreal existence. But I was really happy when Tuesday I was asked to work Thursday and Friday, with a stop by the office on Tuesday afternoon. This has been a crazy week. I worked. And I forgot how exhausting it can be. Wow. And in reality I didn't even truly work a full week. Two networking events (I was too tired for number 3) and two days of work.
Monday I went to an even on how to network better. It was insightful, and I made it through without too much anxiety in talking to new people. We talked about the biggest setbacks encountered when networking and some techniques to overcome them. Then on Tuesday I was asked to freelance at Sesame Workshop Thursday and Friday. I stopped in for awhile that afternoon to view the tape we were going to be showing the kids. Then onto How to Get York Book Published, part 1. It was interesting and not that I'm planning on writing a book or anything, knowing the process can't hurt. (Unfortunately I skipped part two - Editors and Publishers because I was just too exhausted.) Wednesday was frigid cold, so luckily all we had was a condo board meeting and then a dinner with Bill and Jess. Of course since these were in the evening - it was frigid cold. The downside to the first three days of this week was I didn't fully prepare myself for sleep deprivation and an early rise. I spent several hours on Wednesday with this blog, posting and updating the format, and finally told myself I'd fix it later it's after midnight and I have to be up at 6! This is not so good for a non-morning person who has been sleeping in for a month.

Thursday, I was up at 6:20, showered, I even made lunch, and out of the house at 7. At Sesame by 7:35 and on the way to the school. We hit a little unanticipated snow (unanticipated because I never checked the weather) and when we got to the school the lack of cars in the parking lot was of some concern, but the kids were there and ready to go. We set up, and research was on! We showed a 40 minute (so almost full length, missing short segments) episode of Sesame Street to the kids. Then asked them some questions. Then we did it again. And again. I got to watch three episodes of Sesame Street in a row. Or I should rephrase, I got to listen to the SAME episode of Sesame Street three times in a row. I had almost forgotten how there is a threshold of how many times you can watch something before you never want to look at it again. I did not hit this on Thursday. I did hit the threshold of how many times I can listen to others sing the Elmo's World theme though, as it wasn't stuck in my head from watching, but only after the repeated singing. It's almost gone. When we got back I entered data for awhile, and then headed home. It was 4pm when I got there (just after the plane landed in the Hudson) and I took a nap. When I woke up for dinner at 5:30 I knew there was no way I was going to be heading back out into the cold for the book event. But I did watch a little tv and go to bed at a reasonable hour so that I could get up at 6 on Friday.

Friday I did it all again. When I got home I decided that I really just wanted to hang out on the couch. If it's not too windy we MIGHT take a walk to get some air, and break up the cabin fever. This working thing is hard stuff, but I am so happy I'm back in the rat race. Let's hope I can do it again next week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Family Photos

When Rob first moved into the condo, the small bedroom / office looked a little like the picture to the left. Or maybe that's exactly what it looked like. The room was full of furniture we weren't sure what to do with, the artwork waiting to be hung on the walls, and boxes of stuff from the storage unit where Rob put the things from Uncle Al's house. We spent a couple of months cleaning out this room to make it a respectable office and now guest room. In the process there were all the family photos to deal with. There were thousands of photos and slides to look through. Rob was at first tempted to just toss the lot, but instead we sorted. The photos from Rob's childhood, and his Dad's were all put into a box. Along with slides of family events that someday we may have transferred. Tossed were pictures that were blurry and out of focus, and there were a ton of nature pics of birds and such that also went. What we were left with was two photo boxes full of Rob's family pictures. When we got back from New Mexico I decided to do something with them.

I had an empty photo album, so I went through the boxes and found the best 200 pictures. Then with my limited knowledge of chronology, dates on the back of some photos, and Rob's really awful sense of time, I organized and made an album. The only downside is after I was all done I found the roll of Rob's first birthday party, and there is no way I'm moving everything back to put them where they belong. So now we have a Power's family photo album. I'm going to have to enlist Val's help in labeling some of the people in the photos. I think I can get them all.
For my next project I want to print out the best of the digital photos from the last few years and put those in albums. I really love having them and that is the downfall of the digital camera.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


To my earlier post. As I was spending much to much time online today, as I didn't have work to do and it was really really cold out, I decided to look for a new layout for the blog. What I liked about the old layout is that it allowed for a wide space for teh body of the text. But what I like about the new one is the pretty pink skyline - so perfect for My Life in the Big City. I'm hoping to sit down this weekend and maybe figure out how to widen the posting area, maybe I will maybe I won't (you decide if I mean try or actually figure it out)

The other downside is somehow in the process of changing I accidentally deleted all of the links on the right sidebar. So now I have a clean slate - do I want to be the blog hopper / stalker. I decided I do. So in my trying to recreate, I added a space for the links to blogs of people I don't know, that aren't necessarily written for the masses, or maybe they are. So read and hop with me if you dare.

Also, if you are a friend who has a blog that used to be linked (or maybe not and you want to be linked) but aren't seeing your blog at the moment, send me a message or comment and I will add you. I am having a hard time remembering who all was there, what with all the blogs I read and everything.

The First Step is Admitting the Problem

I have a problem, or I might say had a problem, because through not purposeful steps of my own it is seeming to resolve itself. You see I am a blog-stalker, a more polite term is blog-hopper. It's when you are reading the blog of someone you know, and then decide to look at what their friends are posting and find a couple of really good ones, then start looking at what their friends are posting, etc., etc. This isn't the worst of problems, I mean some blogs are meant to be read by the masses. And the whole reason you post on the web is so people can read it. It's just that the blogs I like to read are just about people's lives. Reading about the everyday fascinates me. I think the most I was every reading consistently was 12. But really 12 blogs about people's lives who I don't even know. And I change the blogs that I read some, when people stop posting often I lose the urge to check in everyday, or sometimes life circumstances change and it's just not as interesting., sometimes I get a little bored and find someone new who is more interesting through the newness, and sometimes I realize that maybe it is a little weird to feel so invested in someone else's life. Like my Grandma when she watches her soap operas, you don't know these people but you feel like you do. So yes I have a problem.
But I'm finding that lately I'm not reading as many blogs, or at least not checking in quite so often. My blog is my homepage, so I do look to see who's updated in the last day and check those every morning. What changed this is that I am home now. And I'm not sitting on the computer all day, for the most part - now I'm watching tv :) Really I am getting a chance to hang out with my husband, and I'm going out and doing errands. And more importantly I am going to networking events and working a little. All things that pull me away from the screen. I still get the urge to hop around and find new blogs, but I don't check in as often. So is it really a problem, I don't know. There is a small part of me though, that hopes there are a few other freaks like myself who find this blog worth stalking. We'll see. If admitting the problem is the first step, do I really need a second. What's one more blog hopper in the world really going to hurt?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What a Week For Good Things

Going down a roller slide on a playground, definitely a good thing.

This has been a crazy week to start my new year. It all started with an email. In my quest to find a job, and my hope that my old one will start again soon, I keep going back and forth between wanting to find a full time job and wanting to wait it out. Depending on several extraneous factors my anxiety over what to do fluctuates. Some days I am calm and able to believe that everything will be fine. Other days I am scouring the web for any and every job opportunity that may be out there. I've even met with a couple of recruiters at staffing agencies in the hopes of finding some full time work, knowing that if my hope (of more Bubble Guppies, that I do not believe in these moments) does come true, that I may have to pass...if I am in a full time position that I like that pays well and I have committed to. Of course this is also all resting on the fact that you snap your fingers and have a job. I found that really I can relax because the job market right now stinks, and if I just trust that when I do get offered a job it will be the RIGHT job for me then all is well. So back to the email. Last week, before I went to Indiana, I sent this email. It is one I had debated on for awhile, I don't know why. I think it has to do with me not promoting myself well, and being shy when it comes to networking. Most people I know don't really get this, I have an open and outgoing personality...with people I know. Talking to way. And even people I kind of know, unfortunately for me that is what networking is all about. Working those minor connections. So I sent the email. To someone I have never met, but emailed with in the past, and not knowing what would happen, but it's just cyberspace so how bad can it be?

Then I got on a plane and went to Indiana (I can't say home anymore, cause when I did that to Rob he said, "no you're not here" so Indiana it is. On Sunday I check my email and there are four of importance. One: for an event on how to network better in times of needing a job. Check - signed up for that one. Two: for an event on how to pitch a children's book; Rob wanted this one because it may give us ideas on how to pitch a show too. And it is a two night event, so more networking. Check - I'm in, and because it's through an organization I belong to, FREE. Three: from an old friend I haven't seen in awhile saysing yes to my invite for drinks. And as this friend is from somwhere I used to work - it counts. And Four: back to the email I sent, a response. Yes, he'd like to meet with me and talk about freelance, and when can I come in next week. I set the meeting for Tuesday. And enjoy the rest of my weekend.

Tuesday comes and I have my meeting, but not just me Rob has one too! (His was set while we were in NM) So we head into the city for our interviews. And a good day! Rob came back and was excited. He won't know for awhile if it's a go, but he has some things in the works, and his music video and website are coming along smashingly.

I had a great interview as well at (this is what you've been waiting for) Sesame Workshop! The dream job, what got me into this in the first palce. I was asked to come back on Friday for a training session and to bring my passport for the paperwork. YAY! Wednesday I had drinks with Jack. We caught up on life and work and what's going on. And he knows some people at "the Workshop" who aren't necessarily research but more networking... So I have those names to contact when I have a chance.

Friday I went in for my training on how to be a freelance researcher for Sesame Workshop. It's a lot like being a researcher at Nick Jr. So for me it was pretty easy to do the observation, but it's a new recoding sheet, so I have to get used to the format. At the end of the day, they'll call me. But I am officially on the freelance list, and that means work! And all because I finally got the guts to send one little email.

So I am finally able to relax a little. I am going to see where the freelancing takes me. And keep on the tight budget. And remember to trust that everything will work out and that Rob and I will be fine.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Mexico, part 5

Date in Santa Fe:

On Friday Rob and I took the car and drove up to Santa Fe. It snowed the whole time. Wet but pretty. We saw the cathedral on the square, then went shopping! I bought a small nativity from Peru. The Mexican and South American nativities are very different from the ones I'm used to seeing. We went into a pottery gallery and bought a little pot made with black clay, and a decorative band of sparkly green clay (it's made that way because of the minerals in the clay) There is a history behind the pot and the artists who made it, I'll have to do some research to remember everything the gallery owner told us about it.

We walked to a different part of Santa Fe and went to eat at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame BBQ. The food was alright, we had the BBQ sampler and sweet potato fries. The decor though was awesome, tons of pictures of cowgirls on there horses with their lassos. I should have bought a t-shirt.

On the way back the the car we stopped at the Church of Our Lady Guadalupe and took some pictures of the statue there. Many people have left candles and flowers at her feet. Then headed out of town before the snow got worse.

Oh, and on the way back to Mary's we stopped at one of the casinos and gambled away $4.91.

And when we finally did get back we had some peppermint cake and pie a day early for Valerie's birthday.

Here are pictures from Santa Fe:

New Mexico, part 4

Christmas Day!Christmas morning we woke up and once everyone was ready and dressed we opened the presents from Santa. It's so nice to know he found us in New Mexico. I got moccasins and Mary gave me some silver bangles that had belonged to Rob's grandmothers. Rob got a vest and a new shirt. Everyone liked the wedding pictures we gave them.For lunch we had a huge meal of steak, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli with white cheese sauce, and delicious sweet potato pear soup. I really can't believe how much and how well we ate. After lunch we went to see the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Interesting movie - definitely a go see.
When we got back to the house we built a fire and settled in for another snow...and some more singing. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Mexico, part 3.2

When the sun started to set on Christmas Eve, we drove into Albuquerque to see the illuminarias. The tradition in New Mexico is that there was no room for Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus; so if your home is open to the Christ then illuminarias are lit. These are paper bags with sand and a candle, that is lit. They line the path to the door, and sometimes the sidewalks, porch walls, and roofs. Everyone in downtown Albuquerque lights them and it's miles and miles of lights to show the way for the holy family. We walked though the neighborhoods for about an hour, then headed to a Christmas Eve candelight service.

Here are some pictures of the walk. And because hot air-ballooning is so big in New Mexico there was a balloon glow too.

New Mexico, part 3.1

Christmas Eve:

This is the first Christmas I've spent away from my family. It was a whole new experience to find some new traditions with my new family.

We spent a relaxing morning and of course some hot chocolate before heading up the mountain. Mary and Ahad took Rob and I up a different trail to see their "elephant." We packed our pockets with sweets and off we went.After a hike in the warm weather, don't be fooled by the snow, I took off my coat I was sweating so much, we got to the "elephant." Do you see him hiding in the rock? Look carefully.And this explains the sweets in our pockets, they were for him. At the crack that is the "mouth" we gave our offerings and made a wish for the new year. I took some candy, of course. Rob brought cashews, Ahad, a cookie, and Mary, a cucumber slice. Here she is wishing and feeding.Also by the "elephant" Mary recently found a GEO box. This is a game I guess, where someone puts a tin with some object, and then posts the coordinates. Then others go looking for the box. When you find one, you leave something, and take something if you want. Kind of cool.

We returned home to the lunch Valerie had put together, then Mary and Ahad taught us some songs. And we sang some Christmas songs, that are favorites of Rob's and mine. Easily, the favorite of the week was "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" (Rob is still humming it.) I really like that they sing. It's something we did a little when I was in college and my dad started to play the guitar. I enjoy the family sing-a-long. And Ahad and Mary taught us some of the songs they sing at the dances they lead. We learned a few of the dances too.

Happy New Year...

...From our home to yours

A little photo shoot of the family, Me, Rob, and Mr. Theodore Monkey.