Posted in writing

The House

Imagine you just purchased your dream home.  You’ve been working for this all your life.  You’ve saved, you’ve done all your homework and you found the perfect home for you and your family.

The house isn’t brand new.  In fact, it’s almost twenty years old.  The realtor called it a “starter home”.  It does need some work, mainly a little TLC.  Each room could use a paint job, probably even some wallpaper.  The carpets are worn in each room.  The driveway needs repaving.  The yard needs mowing and is in dire need of serious landscaping.  The basement is solid.  No cracks in the foundation.  No water.  The home inspector said the support beams are in “fantastic shape”.  No signs of termites or other pests.  The house is far from perfect but you love it anyway and you know in time you will turn it into the home you’ve always wanted.

The house is very habitable so your family move in.  You can survive living with some areas that could use updates.  Updates are always good.  The important thing is you have a solid foundation.  Because without that you can’t follow through with anything else.  At least you’re not starting from scratch.

This may be a poor analogy but it’s one I’m using to demonstrate what Congress had and decided not to use.  They really could’ve made it very easy for themselves.  They had a solid base to work with but they weren’t satisfied with that.  Instead they decided to gut the whole “house”, make it difficult on themselves and start from scratch.  All they had to do was keep the base and do some updates over time.  Now they’re stuck with a mess and they don’t know what to do with it.  Nor do they care because if they’re left with a mess of a “house”, they can easily just leave it for someone else to clean up.

Those “someones” are roughly 23 million Americans.

So much for our dream home…

 

 

Posted in Politics, Things that make you say "hmm...", Things that piss me off

Here’s the “Skinny” on “the Skinny”

As of this moment the bozos in Washington are dicking around with an 8-page “bill” that took them seven years to create.  They call this the “skinny repeal” plan because it repeals some of the ACA.  The problem I have with it is what it repeals.

The “skinny repeal” plan would likely eliminate the individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.

This is the part of the ACA that young people have been bitching about.  They’ve been bitching about it because they’re young and healthy so their thinking is “why should I be required to pay for insurance if I don’t need it”.  That’s like someone saying they’ve been driving for twenty years, have never gotten a speeding ticket and have never been in an accident.  Why should I have auto insurance?  I’m a great driver.  Then one day–BOOM!  They hit someone, total their car and send the other party to the hospital.  Bet they wish they had auto insurance.

It’s the same thing with health insurance.  You’re a 20-something young stud, never smoked, don’t drink or do drugs, eat right, exercise, do all the right things.  But one day you start to feel “not right”.  You start to become clumsy.  Your stamina has gone AWOL.  You lose complete sensation in both your arms at the same time.  After many, many visits to many, many doctors and many, many medical bills you have had to pay out-of-pocket from your $15.00 an hour job because you were too ignorant to get health insurance, you learn that you have Multiple Sclerosis.  Health insurance would be nice right about now.

On the surface the option of not being required to buy health insurance may seem appealing to some.  Shit, we could all save a lot of money, right? Maybe take that dream vacation we’ve always wanted but won’t be able to take because we now have cancer and are bankrupt from all the bills we couldn’t pay.  Because we didn’t buy the health insurance.  Because we didn’t have to.  But now we wish we had.  Coulda.  Shoulda.  Woulda.  Didn’t.  Do you think Washington gives a fuck about your bad decision?  They should all be shot for even wanting to give you the fucking option!

Then there is the elimination of the employer mandate, which obligates larger companies to provide affordable coverage to their full-time workers.  The company I work for is a rather large company and I do obtain health insurance for me and my family through them.  If they are given the option to eliminate affordable coverage, what kind of health insurance options am I going to have as an employee?  Great, they can save money by offering some watered down shit plan.  Oooh, maybe they’ll install new windows with their savings.  Christ, the plan they offer now isn’t even that great but it’s first class compared to the health insurance offered at my husband’s company and at a few other companies I know of.  I can’t imagine what the plan would be like if they were only “obligated” to offer the “minimum”.  I’d probably be better off with nothing.

A little over a month ago President Barack Obama posted a message on Facebook regarding the Republican plan.  One thing he said that stood out to me was:

“Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family—this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”  

Folks, this means all of us.  We’re only human.  You know at some point in your life you will get sick, even if it’s just the common cold.  Hopefully you will live long enough to get old but along with age comes a myriad of health issues from simple ailments to complex diseases.  And you may or may not start a family.  But if you have any kind of dependent in your life, whether it’s a child or spouse, they may rely on you for health insurance.

WHY WOULDN’T YOU WANT IT??????????????

Posted in 80's

The 80’s Live On

One cool thing about being a parent of a “tween” is that I’m once again living my own “tween/teenhood” through my daughter Melanie.  Thanks mainly to YouTube and Netflix, things that were once old are new again and 80’s pop culture is still alive and well in my household.

A few years ago my daughter was first exposed to the TV show “Full House” via re-runs on Nickelodeon.  She couldn’t believe it when I told her that John Stamos started out playing a guy named “Blackie” on “General Hospital” and that Bob Saget was the first host of “America’s Funniest Videos”.  So when “Fuller House” appeared on Netflix, it was a no-brainer that she would be watching it.

I viewed an episode with her where DJ, Stephanie and Kimmy have a girls’ night out at a club.  While Stephanie sings a duet of “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” with Macy Gray, DJ and Kimmy do the “lift” part of the famous dance scene.

“Johnny and Baby did it much better”.

“Who?”  My daughter asked.

I then explained that the song and dance were from the movie “Dirty Dancing” and that she wouldn’t be able to see the film until she was 15.  But she loves the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”.

Having OnDemand TV has allowed my daughter to see her fill of older kid-friendly movies.  Thanks to the mediocre movie “Daddy Day Care” and a frequently seen television commercial, my daughter’s favorite song for a while last year was Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking On Sunshine”.  Ugh.  I didn’t even like this song the first time around.

My daughter also has a fascination with Weird Al Yanchovich and some of the parodies he’s created from popular 80’s songs.  “Eat It”, “Girls Just Want To Have Lunch” and “Like a Surgeon” are her favorites.

Aside from “Full House” we can’t leave out many of the other TV shows and movies my daughter has discovered and come to love.  She recently discovered a cartoon on YouTube that I vaguely remember seeing myself in the 80’s.  It’s called “Just Say No” and it opens with an introduction from George and Barbara Bush, which certainly dates us.  The first time Melanie showed me the video with the intro just so happened to be the day after Super Bowl LI, the very one where George and Barbara were carted out on to the field for the coin toss.  I pointed this out to my daughter and asked her if she recognized them.  Of course she said no.  Anyway, the cartoon features Garfield, Alf, Disney characters, Looney Tunes characters, and the Smurfs and as the title says, it’s about just saying no to drugs.

We recently exposed her to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, she loves watching “Uncle Buck” and she’s become obsessed with Donger from “Sixteen Candles”.  Over the years my daughter’s gone through her attachment phases of various cartoon characters.  She’s been in love with everything from Betty Boop and Felix The Cat to the Looney Tunes and The Flintstones.  Her latest fascination is with the Muppets.  Not so much with The Muppet Show but with all the movies.  In fact, she has discovered Muppet movies I never knew there were.  Thanks to “Muppets From Space” she now knows and loves the Kool & The Gang song “Celebration”.  She’s even discovered reruns of “The Jim Henson Hour” on YouTube.  I never knew there was such a show.  Most recently she’s discovered “The Fraggles” and “Dinosaurs”, neither of which I watched when I was a kid.

So the 80’s live on in our household, at least for now.  I’m enjoying it while I can because who knows how long it will last.

Posted in writing

Unless It Happens To Me

For now it appears the Affordable Care Act remains in place.

Although I’m happy with the results, along with millions of other Americans, I do understand there are people out there, for whatever reason, who really aren’t pleased that the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace the ACA failed.  I’d say I’m sorry to them but I’m not sorry.  Because I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want affordable insurance.  Would you rather have unaffordable insurance or no insurance at all?

All I heard were people (mainly 20 and 30-somethings, mostly single people) complaining about how high their premiums were under the ACA.  Then I had to laugh and tell them that if they thought their premiums were high now, they should wait until the GOP’s plan passed.  Then they would know high premiums.

“But why should I be forced to have health insurance?”

That is the most ignorant question anyone can ask.  Why wouldn’t you want it?  Are you never planning on getting sick?  Are you never planning on having a family?  Are you never planning on getting old?

It’s like asking why you need auto insurance because you’re a great driver and you only go two miles down the street each day and nobody hits your car, etc. etc.

To these people I say:  Look up the definition of insurance.  Insurance is something in place for the “what ifs” of life.  We never want to use our auto, home or health insurance.  But if we must use it, it’s a nice security blanket to have.  Don’t even get me started on life insurance, which, in my opinion, is the most underrated form of insurance, yet is probably the most important.

I want to share my story, which is one of many stories I shared with various members of the Senate regarding why keeping the ACA was important to me.

When our daughter was nine years old she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Asperger’s is a form of autism.  A lot of my daughter’s issues stemmed around various levels of anxiety and behavioral issues.  We had many issues with her attending school.  Long story short, it was suggested we try to get ABA services for her.  Easier said than done, especially when the insurance I have through my employer does not cover ABA services.  And because it’s private insurance, the Massachusetts mandate does not apply.  Thankfully a therapist we were seeing at the time told me to apply for Mass Health.  Mass Health is the combination of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  With Mass Health we could now seek ABA therapy.  Although we had an in-take with a program and were set to start ABA therapy, they then turned around and said they didn’t have anyone to come out during the hours that we needed (which was before school).  So, it was back to the drawing board.

We were able to do therapy for a while with a great in-home clinician.  We then did a six-month stint at the Center For Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CANDO) Clinic at UMass.  There our daughter obtained speech and physical therapy, as well as neuropsychological assessments and evaluations.  Without Mass Health, we would’ve gone in the poor house from all these treatments.  And that’s not mentioning her medications.  Our daughter’s only twelve and although she’s learned how to better manage her feelings and behaviors over the years, she still has a long way to go.

That’s just one of my family’s stories I shared with the Senate.

Considering all that has happened pertaining to America’s health care–the years and years of the GOP wanting to do away with the ACA, the hiding behind closed doors, the countless times they dragged it out, only to beat it up and kill it again–I think a lot of people should reconsider their thoughts about health coverage and what it means to them.  We can’t keep thinking that unless it happens to me, it’s somebody else’s problem because it could very well be your problem before you know it.

Posted in 80's, Entertainment, music

It Was Our “Woodstock”

A #ThrowbackThursday moment on the 32nd anniversary of LiveAid

 

July 13, 1985.  Thirty years and many musical memories ago.  I’m so glad I was alive to be a part of that event.

No, I wasn’t there in Philly.  Nor in England.  I didn’t get to ride the Concorde with Phil Collins.  But I had dragged my 14-year-old ass out of bed at 5:30 a.m. on a summer weekend so I could tune into the concert of the decade.

It started around noon UK time, which put us at 6-ish.  They were broadcasting the entire thing on the radio so I had my cassettes and tape recorder ready to go.

Then there was JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.  To be there must’ve been something else.  I longed to see Powerstation and Madonna.  Waiting to see Duran Duran perform was like torture.  I remember getting to see the last few hours of the show broadcast on TV.  Another thing to thank Dick Clark for.

Thirty years later I still have some of the cassettes that I recorded.  I have the “Live Aid” book.  I’ll have to scan through that later and continue with my walk down memory lane.

Such nostalgia for such an innocent time in my life…

 

Posted in writing

Casual Sex, Fake Orgasms

I’ve been single most of my adult life. Don’t believe me? I was eighteen when I had my last boyfriend. You know, the holding-hands-staying-over-every-night-meeting-the-family-and-friends-making-future-plans sort of boyfriend. The guy that you introduce to everyone and they go awww when they see you two together. The guy that you introduce to your friends and they’re actually happy for […]

via Casual Sex, Fake Orgasms