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Archive for September, 2013

More Medical Maladies

September 17th, 2013 at 08:16 am

My father is 78 years old. He's in excellent health over all.

I got an email from him. He was admitted to the hospital with atrial fibrillation. At least, I think that's what it is called. They monitored him overnight, then changed his prescription for BP medication and released him. He's downplaying it, but 78 years old is still 78 years old.

The same day as the above, I finally went to the doctor. I told him what happened, and will be having an MRI soon. The orthopedist thinks I've torn my ACL (is there more than one of those?). The thing is, I tore it when I was in my 20's, but it's just now causing me intense pain. I must have turned my knee wrong while working or climbing onto a drilling rig last week. I'm in a knee brace, taking pain meds, and rubbing cortisone on my knee three times a day.

MIL had a scan done, and the doctors are very upbeat about her condition. They think that a mastectomy, removal of the lymph nodes, and a short period of radiation treatment will take care of all of her issues. Prayers or wishes for the doctors' correct prognosis are welcome.

DW, at least, is doing well. She's mostly moved back in, and has finished most of the unpacking. Our storage locker has been released, so we're now $132 more per month into our pocket. The price had just increased two months earlier. I forget what it had been, but it was around $10 per month cheaper. She is upbeat about her mom when I talk to her, but I know she must feel stressed.

I offered both DW and my father the option of me coming back for a couple of weeks. Both of them declined. I'll wait and see, and keep my options open.

I can't win for losing

September 15th, 2013 at 06:28 pm

This isn't very financial in nature, though it definitely touches on financial plans.

The doors arrived and once unpacked were damaged, so the house updates are not even started. Most of the interior is painted, and DW has moved everything out of storage and back into the house. That's $132 (there was a recent increase) per month no longer being paid out.

We received news that MIL has breast cancer that has already metastasized to the lymph nodes. MRI coming soon to see the extent. DW will be going up to visit, so that's a plane flight that wasn't planned. Also, dog watcher to pay. Also, all the other associated travel bills.

Of course, DW had already allocated the main EF for her move back to the US, so we're hitting investment funds for this; not already-invested money, we're just not putting any more toward retirement while we get over this hurdle.

Luckily, I have a bonus coming within the month. That should set things right again, but some of it will need to be sent to Uncle Sugar for taxes. Just when we needed the cash, too.

At least DD2 has finished her move in to her new place. I'm sure she and DW are glad to be under different roofs. (editor's note: Why is the plural of "roof" = "roofs" but the plural of "hoof" = "hooves?")

We've postponed DW's return to Dubai so she can take care of her mom. Sometimes you just have to make sacrifices for the good of others. DW lost her father years ago, so her mom is all she has left.

Both of my parents are still alive. My father is doing very well; still very active in his late 70's. My mother, though, is having severe age-related memory problems. It is not impeding her apparent quality of life, but her lack of short-term memory is very noticeable. She's seeing specialists and on medication. My father says her symptoms seem to be arrested at the current stage. It's really quite sad to see this happen.

Getting old stinks, but it certainly beats the only alternative I'm aware of: dying young.

What is your life worth?

September 11th, 2013 at 08:09 am

So, you would think that this question would be philosophical, but in my case, I think it is literal. I've been in contact with a company in a very unsafe country, especially for Americans.

I qualify for the position they need to fill - there is no doubt of that - but eventually, I'll be required to state how much money it would take to get me to the location.

I've been in dangerous locations in the past. In the military, I was shot at and had mortar rounds lobbed my way. They didn't pay me any extra. We weren't even in a combat zone, because of Congress. Personally, I figured if someone was trying to kill you and folks around you, it should count, but I'm not a lawyer or tax accountant, so what do I know?

The position I have now has great growth potential, and I'm in a secure area. It pays well. I have a great bonus plan and its limit is pretty much set by me.

The question becomes, how much would you have to get over and above your present position to go somewhere that is relatively unsafe? Figure you'll be there for ten years, for maximum benefit.

What do you think? Is $100K per year enough? How about $250K more than you're making now? Or would you need even more? I'm considering the position, but I know the "How much would you cost" question will eventually be asked.

How much is your safety worth?

...And One Step Back

September 4th, 2013 at 10:34 am

Well, the elation didn't last long.

Just got a call from DW. It seems that when the painters showed up to do the back bedroom - let's just say that DD2's style doesn't match our own - they found a sponge where the wall should be in the closet.

Further investigation (tearing out not-so-drywall) revealed that there was some damage to the sill plate, and water coming from somewhere.

The good news is that it is not from the plumbing. Apparently, our AC drain is too close to the wall, and it's been seeping onto our slab and from there to the wall. It was caught early, but it's going to cost about $1K to fix it. If I were there... maybe $100.

Anyway, the main problem is to eliminate the situation and then repair the house. Total cost will include new sill plate, some dry wall, some texturing to match the existing wall, and the paint.

That doesn't sound like one thousand dollars to me, but it certainly looks like that on the quote sheet. I have to pay. This is yet another cost of living overseas while maintaining a house in the US.