Monday, August 30, 2010

Rest & Relaxation

This weekend was a great weekend.  Not that anything truly remarkable happened, but maybe because it was just an ordinary weekend. W has been off playing casanova the past couple weeks so M and I have the house to ourselves.  We both took off Friday, but not to go anywhere or do anything.  Not that we did absolutely nothing, but sometimes M feels the need to have an agenda, somewhere to go, things to do, I sometimes like to just relax and have no plans.  So this weekend we had no real plans.  Friday we got errands ran, and just took care of things that needed to be done during the week but we never seem to have time for while working. 
Saturday we took the bikes down to the Heritage trail and rode 14+ miles, then went to a friend's pool party that afternoon.  The weather cooperated, wasn't unbearably hot.  The trail is shady so that helps! Sun was out and pretty warm at the pool party but then that just made it feel good to jump in the water.  Got to swim a few laps and tease a couple of the dogs that wanted to follow along the side of the pool back and forth... I always loved swiming.  I miss having a pool or a gym membership with a pool.  I did forget though to watch my knee while trying to swim laps.  I have a tendancy to hurt my left knee while kicking unless I either wrap it first or pay close attention and dont kick hard and just use my arms to pull myself along.  Well, I forgot.  But nothing serious.  We had fun. 
Sunday we loaded the bikes up again, and went back down to the trail and this time did 18 miles.  It was a little warmer on Sunday, but there was a nice breeze and of course the shade on the trail.  This was first weekend in over 3 weeks that I was able to get out on one of the trails and ride.  I'd been on-call the previous 3 weekends. 
Riding helps my knees, but then they are stiff afterward.  They were stiff when I woke up Sunday morning, and stiff when I started out riding Sunday, and stiff this morning as I went into work.  By now they have loosened back up.  Relaxing in the Hot tub also helps my arthritis a lot.  I am sooo glad that my MS didn't take that away and I can still enjoy soaking my aching bones in the hot water.  There have been some times, usually in the midst of a flare that I can't tolerate the heat but normally it still feels good.
So here's to rest and relaxation.  And to a great weekend.

Friday, August 27, 2010

the future, predictions, predictability

I posted about being worried because of being denied disability insurance.  But for the moment, I feel pretty good.  As M told me the other day, she's glad I'm as good as I am.  I am sure not going to run any marathons, and some days I limp and hobble along, but that is the bad knees, not the MS.  In some ways, the whole MS thing hasn't really hit home.  Sure I saw the little white lesions on my brain MRI.  Sure, I have had issues with numbness in my feet and legs, some of which will flair back up, I sometimes feel like I walk on a pair of balled up socks under the ball of my feet.  But is it really real? 
I believe that I still have a long productive road ahead, of work, life, etc.  There are a lot things I haven't done yet that I want to do.  So, I am stubborn enough, determined enough, to want to do them.  Right now, M & I are working towards getting healthier, eating better, getting more physically fit, losing some of the excess weight we have both put on over the past few years.  I get frustrated with things that seem to keep jumping in as road blocks - things like breaking my ankle, finding out I have MS, etc. But I'm no quitter.
I have had to learn to reinvent myself several times in my life.  M likes to say I grew up in "leave it to beaver's" household.  In some ways I did.  When I was small both my parents worked, but my mother quit her job and took care of me and the house and my brother by around the time I started school.  My parents were married more than 52 yrs when my dad died.  So yeah, I was fortunate. 
It didn't stop me from wanting to get out and on my own as soon as I could.  I couldn't wait to leave home, to leave the small town and everything behind.  I dropped out of college to get married at 18. I followed my husband overseas where my daughter was born.  We had a very rocky relationship.  Abusive.  I thought many times about leaving and heading back home, but I was too proud.  So I stuck it out.  While overseas, I managed to snag a good job with good pay, as a graphic designer I liked what I was doing. Then I found out I was pregnant.  We came back to the states soon after J was born.  I was trying to figure out if we could make things work.  What the future was going to be.  If I had the guts to leave and strike out on my own again, this time with a baby.  I didn't have to make a choice.  One night the police called to let me know my husband had been picked up.  He was trying to arrange a hit on me for the insurance.  Didn't much care what happened to our daughter, then decided she was worth more to him alive, due to being able to stay in on post housing and out of the barracks. So my choice was made, and I again had to start over. Thankfully my family welcomed me and my daughter til we got back on our feet.  I went back to college and managed to graduate with honors.  I obtained two degrees, one in accounting and the other in computers.  During the final years in college I worked at a local accounting firm, and went there full time and become a CPA after graduation.  I worked hard, raised my daughter and life was good.
After another 7 yrs or so, I guess the 7 yr itch struck, and I also fell for someone who lived 1000 miles away.  I also felt stifled in the small town, in the bible belt where I was raised.  My lifestyle was not that welcomed there.  I met someone online, what started as a friendship, chatting online, exchanging emails and phone calls, and long letters, even trips back and forth across the country turned into a relationship.  So I packed up me & my daughter and we moved.  Once again, my choice in a relationship continued to be lacking, so that didnt last.  M tells me, that it was a necessary step, one that brought me here to meet her.  Perhaps.  I can't argue with that.
M & I have been together almost 10 yrs now. Good years.  When I moved across country 15 yrs ago, I reinvented myself again.  I gave up the accounting which I had come to find tedious and focused on the computers and then branched out into networking and then VOIP.  Most of the time it is work I enjoy.
Whatever happens going forward, I'm not afraid of the future.  It will all end up ok.  I am a believer in good karma if nothing else. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One of those people...

Well.... Crap. I can think of many other words, but that sums it up.  M and I are in the process of getting some of our financial things in order.  I'm basically the bread winner.  What the heck does that mean anyway? Did people enter contests to try to win loaves of bread? Same with bringing home the bacon? But I digress.  It is my income that pays our mortgage and most of the bills.  M most definitely contributes, but we could squeak by without her income, we can't even squeak without mine.  So one of the items on my list of things to check out was something called mortgage disability insurance.  This would pay the mortgage payment if some thing were to happen to me to keep me from working and being able to earn the income needed to pay it.  Sounds good.  Should be easy enough.  I know M had a similar policy a few years back.  So I stopped in to see our insurance agent.  Uh Oh.... I have .... M. S.  which apparently means I can't qualify to get any disability insurance.  She apologied and said she was sorry, but that they can't write policies for that exclusion for any form of disability insurance or life insurance.  Hmmm.... so I couldn't even get life insurance?  Well... I currently have both life insurance and disability insurance through my work.  Wonder if they are still valid? wonder how I would find out? or if I should even open the can of worms to ask?  Sometimes it is nice to play ostrich and stick your head back in the sand.
From what I understand, those policies are still ok, but private insurance won't write policies for "our kind"... you know... the ones with .... M. S. 
What a bummer.  I know I have MS, but really, I'm relatively healthy otherwise.  Ok, I have bad knees thanks to the osteoarthritis, and I'm over-weight.  I am working on the weight thing tho, M & I both have been, counting points with weight watchers, working out, riding our bikes, using our wii. We are doing pretty good with it too.  I've lost 14 lbs since beginning of July.  Still have a lot to go, but that's an accomplishment.
So, hopefully things will continue, and I will still have a lot of productive working years ahead and we won't need to worry about how to pay that mortgage.  The 66% disability from work's policy would be a significant pay cut.  And it really isn't that we couldn't make it on less if we had to, but it would also mean making a lot of changes, downsizing, etc.
We will just have to look at the whole finance thing from all the angles and see where to go from here.  This news doesn't really change anything, but it is still a bummer.  Leaves a little more uncertainty hanging out there. 
Well.... Crap!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

generosity of people

I'm rather amazed at how much I was able to collect for the MS Bike Ride.  As of right now, the total is $1350.  M was able to raise $381. When we first started talking about riding in it, M was concerned about being able to each raise the $250 minimum to ride (actually it is $150 to ride 1 day, $250 to ride both days.) Originally we were going to have a team, made up of me, M, W & M's sis and her partner L.  W started having problems with his back and leg and decided he wouldn't be able to do the ride.  He did try the French Creek ride a few weeks prior (which is similar hilly terrain) and was only able to do a couple miles, so he would have had a hard time with the MS Ride.  M's sis and L thought the cost was too great - not the registration fee since that was similar to other rides, but the idea they would be required to raise at least $150 or $250 each to participate. So they opted out fairly early.  L would have had as hard a time with the ride as I did, but Sis could have done it as easily as M. 
Next year we are planning to do the Gettysburg MS ride instead which should be a lot flatter.  I should be ok with that one.  I just can't handle the large hills, especially during the heat of summer.  But I'm not going to kid myself, I couldn't have handled the hills even if the weather was cool.  Now sis is saying that she will join in and ride with M next year since M finished this one by herself.  Of course talk is cheap, neither M or myself will hold our breath to see if sis decides to join us next year.  When the time comes she will once again worry about how much $ she would have to raise, and feel like that $ was coming out of her own pocket.  As it is, neither Sis nor L made a single donation to either me or M for this years ride.
So back to the point of the post.  Granted times are tough these days with the economy being the way it is.  Everyone is having a hard time.  Different people also have different beliefs about what and where they want to support when it comes to charitable donations, if they even want to dontate at all.  With money tight, I can certainly understand the feeling that "charity begins at home" I am not so free with making donations to just anyone or anything.  However, if someone I know is trying to raise $ for a good cause, I'll make a contribution.  Even a couple bucks is that much.  And this is a personal cause for me.  So maybe I take it a little more personal.  Why wouldn't you contribute at least $5 to a cause that is raising money for research that might impact the health and future of someone in your family? Even M was disappointed with her sis and L for not making any contribution.  I think she was more ticked off by that than I was.
Both M & I were a little worried about meeting the $250 goal we each were targetting.  In the beginning dontations were slim.  A dollar here, $5 there.  I got most of  my donations from people I work with.  Some of them people I really don't know, other than to say hi in the hall, and maybe not even be able to tell you their name.  My circle of "friends" here at work - the ones I eat lunch with, sometimes see outside of work on occasion, consider as friends.  They contributed.  Others I work with that I would have thought would, didn't.  And lots of people just at random because they all "know" someone with MS, and believe this is a worthy cause.  I am impressed.  Our company does a $ for $ match to chartible contributions made to qualifying entities.  So a good amount of my fellow employee's donations were also matched by the company.  So I think I feel somewhat humbled by my fellow employees and how much they were willing to give.  Some of them to a cause for a complete stranger.  Pretty cool really.  M was a little surprised too. She says it all has to do with that I work with a different class of people than she does.  She was happy to get a dollar here or a couple bucks there from the people she works with. 
I guess what impresses me is that people who are connected - inlaws, my family (with the exception that my mother did donate, and my daughter who is a struggling student and I didn't expect her to) didn't, couldn't, wouldn't bother to come up with even a $5 to contribute.  Sad really.