Monday, February 21, 2011

Just Hangin Around

Micah, that is....

Uncle Bela helps Micah tie his gee.

Micah strikes a pose.

Friday, February 18, 2011


We are only about nine weeks away from heading north. In retrospect yesterday seemed like a good day. I made reservations for the ferry to get us back to the top of the world in early May, and back out in late September, and also have the 5er transported across and back out as well. With the ferry running I suspect the barge has less business, and the captain gave me a much better price than last year. That was serendipity. The extra cost is part of having a home up there, and when standing in elation overlooking the river I think worth every penny. The loose ends are coming together. I've been procrastinating on three items. I need to order siding, four picture windows, and a hot water heater. I'll procure drywall and insulation up there some time during summer and bring them across myself on the ferry.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Insurance Update

If you read the previous post you know we have a huge potential medical debt over our head for my kidney stone in Alaska last summer. Today I spent all day trying to get to the bottom of the insurance payment problem because of hospital insinuation it would turn the matter over to a collection agency. My preconception saw the problem as a matter of insurance not pre-authorizing my procedure because I was out of our HMO area. Turns out all my diligent pre-procedure calls to insurance did matter. Here is what I found. Though not sure apparently insurance did authorize due to my calls. Normally the stone blast is an outpatient procedure. When I had complications and had to be hospitalized the staff was responsible to call for insurance authorization. Authorization obviously would have been granted. Since the hospital did not call now hospital finance personnel need to provide a bunch of paperwork showing I was indeed hospitalized. So the hospital dropped the ball! The non-payment is due to their lapse. The humorous part is the hospital did not want to admit the reason for non-payment was caused by their omission, and especially not admit that I was off the hook. The gal stuttered and stammered and said she would have to talk to her superior.
OK, I'm smiling. This isn't over, but looks like the problem is not ours.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nothing of Note

Our lives have been relatively quiet except for a few burbles. Our biggest surprise was how well our retirement money did last year. Fear still seems rampant about the economy. As recently as a few weeks ago I heard someone advising friends prior to a Bible study he was staying away from the stock market. Almost no one realizes we are on the verge of crossing into the third year of up trend since the bottom. Quite amazing really.

After watching used material's ads regularly we now have much of the plumbing and electrical for Alaska stacked out by the garage. One setback is that we figured on using the ferry to get our RV transported to Gus this year at 1/5 the cost of using the barge last year. Turns out the ramp at the brand new dock isn't allowing any trailer over 20 feet in length. I can't imagine how any engineer would design a brand new multi-million dollar dock and then not make it capable of handling anything the ferry could unload. But that's apparently what happened. In essence they designed to deprive themselves business. To us that means the overall cost of getting to Alaska this spring will set us back about double what we thought due to the huge cost of being barged the last 50 miles. A disappointment to be sure. So I try to think about three grandsons waking up in the Alaska morning to take on the day with us and the cost seems viable.

The hospital informed me insurance rejected the claim for my kidney stone crisis last summer. (I even called insurance prior to the procedure to make sure there would be no problem.) The hospital says we owe them $21,000. I am not shirking the responsibility, and have been in contact with their finance personnel regularly as they try to re-file the claim so they can accent my conversations with Anthem Blue Cross before the surgery. I feel the insurance company has culpability due to those conversations. Because of this we are looking at getting some sort of supplemental insurance for the future due to our HMO saying we are not covered when over 30 miles from home unless one is hospitalized directly from an emergency room visit. We still have options. I'm trying to get to the bottom of the problem.

In spite of these two negatives we walk by faith and are doing quite well.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bela's Ballet

Son-in-law Bela's prize possession is a snow board. It is perhaps the only non-essential possession he dragged here from Europe, carefully protected in its own custom bag. Then the airline lost his board. Most of the way home from the LA airport April craved Mexican food while Bela worried about his snowboard, which he feared was now snug in the trunk of an airport employee's automobile. He filed a claim and prayed. A few days later the airline delivered the way-layed item to our door. Ever since Bela has wanted to find snow. For Christmas he was given two lift tickets. At first availability it was off to the slopes. Years ago I mastered skis enough to call myself intermediate. Bela, on the other hand, was out for perhaps only his third time on the snowboard. To me these single platform devices look difficult. One would think balance is much more critical than two skis. That first day on the slopes with him I found my ski legs early, though my feet had not been on skis for over ten years. I was mentally back in the saddle even though my muscles threatened to boycott on every run. After a few trips down the easy slopes Bela was ready for the long steeper runs from the windy top. His biggest problem seemed to be dismounting the lift. Wanting to capture that courageous moment for posterity I surged ahead and caught an early chair. I was in position with camera when his chair arrived. I hoped to record a full swan dive. But Bela saw the camera and, like a football player refusing to be tackled, managed through great physical effort to retain his dignity. This was a turning point. I don't think he fell but once after this video. Way to go Bela!