It’s broken. I’ve thought so for years, but recent Covid testing really just reminded me.
I have good health insurance through my employer and have generally had access to care through work-related insurance as an adult. And dental, too. But I also know that as a kid, we only went to the doctor when ill. In theory my father was supposed to provide health insurance but I don’t think he ever did. Or if he did, it was through his employer and limited to the employer’s location (out of state and thus useless).
All that to say that I am aware that I am fortunate in my relative health and insurance.
I needed a timely Covid test recently. So I arranged one that my insurance would cover, but the results were not timely, so I paid an obscene amount of money out of pocket for a rapid test.
Then I had to have another test to return to the US. It was easily arranged, cost 30 €, results in an hour.
Today the billing info for the the too late test results arrived – it’s fully covered – showing the charge of $164.
The difference in cost and timing is striking. There’s no good reason or explanation for the divergence. There is no real reason that Portuguese labs are able to promptly, efficiently, and affordably administer tests and get lab results but the US can’t. Or won’t. Because the US healthcare system is broken. Or designed to profit to the detriment of actually providing care.
Healthcare is a human right. My negative covid tests are not a big deal in the scheme of things. But I’m guessing the disparities there are visible in areas of more critical care, too.
Everything is irritating me lately. Little things. Large things.
Upstairs neighbor had a leak under their tile that showed via my ceiling. Them: it’s not my problem. Me: I had a plumber cut the drywall, it absolutely is your problem. Them: crickets. It’s fixed now, but I’ve gotten no response re my ceiling repair, so I guess I’ll organize it and file a claim with my insurance, who will then pursue theirs.
I’m just done with the upstairs neighbor. Between the dog that cries whenever left alone, the refusal to comply with floor covering rules (either that or there’s an elephant living there), and the leak, I’m just…done.
At work, newish colleague is very defensive of her staff, which I get. But her staff keep breaking The Thing. I asked if they could not do X to avoid breaking The Thing. No, that’s too difficult. Okay. Then I’ll forward every complaint about how frequently The Thing does not work to her to handle.
I’m worried about a friend with family in Ukraine. Which is obviously a bigger deal for them than me, of course.
Trying a meal prep service. It’s fine? It would be cheaper to shop and prep myself but the reality is that I will not. Haven’t decided if I want to keep on with it. I like some of the recipes but the choices are odd sometimes. Ex: recipe called for two tbsp of minced onion. Obviously the can only include whole onions. But maybe include a small one, not one that yields a cup of chopped onion.
Frank Turner’s Fifty States in Fifty Days tickets went on sale this past week. Road trip in the mid Atlantic in June.
Trying to read the new Kearsley book, but I keep bouncing off.
I’m just cranky. Maybe I should take a nap.
When looking at my budget and expenses over the last year, one thing became very clear: I spent entirely too much at a certain coffee chain. I don’t like black coffee, but do like lattes made with non-dairy milk. (And cappuccino in Italy and galão in Portugal and café manchado in Spain. But that’s a different post.) Anyway, I bought a low end espresso/latte maker and have zeroed out the chain coffee.
This morning I realized I was out of alt milk, until I remembered the condensed milk in the pantry. Good enough in a pinch, right?
Turns out this is café bombón. Too sweet for my regular morning caffeine but would be a good dessert substitute. And fine until I make it to the grocery store tomorrow. 😁
To say that I am not particularly fashionable would be an understatement. My wardrobe isn’t small, but the section that I wear on a regular basis is. While I joke with colleagues about how bland and uniform-like most suits are for people in our particular line of work, there’s a certain relief in knowing that there’s a uniform of sorts for days with meetings and for business casual.
But I am always keeping an eye out for clothes that travel well, are easy to mix and match, and are wash and wearable.
A few days before leaving for Portugal, I stopped by REI, looking for a pair of shoes. They didn’t have exactly what I wanted: the particular style had been on clearance and sold out. But I ended up buying a pair of Merrells and a pair of Mammut pants off the clearance sale rack.
The Merrells are as excellent as Merrells usually are: the black Dassie shoe worked with pants and casual skirts and wore well for walking miles on cobblestones. The Mammut pants wound up being better than I anticipated for traveling. They are made of lightweight material that dries quickly when rained upon, didn’t feel binding even after 12+ hours of wear, were easily cleaned, etc.
Highly recommend both…although it looks like the pants aren’t available any longer.
Still…if you don’t want to wear sneakers as you travel but still need good support and sturdy shoes for walking, Merrell might be a brand to try. And I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for more Mammut on the sale rack.
Next time, permit more time for wine tasting. Two port caves per day is really my limit, but there are so many, and I won’t have time to try them all. 😍
Also: this fascinated me. Up close, it’s a bunch of mangled car parts stuck on the corner of a building for no apparent reason. A few yards away, it is clearly an Art Installation…maybe one with a message I don’t really get. But still, it’s ingenious.
And then there is this installation across from a hipster-y coffee place. Those are car tires sticking out of or affixed to the building.
(Where I had a pastry and a latte. Yum.)
I’ve had Our Kind of Traitor to be read since the beginning of summer. I meant to read it in time to see the movie, but I missed the movie in theaters and have only just finished reading the book.
It was…kind of a drudge. I mean, it wasn’t badly written, in terms of language and narrative. It was just dour in the way that Le Carre is. He’s got a particular world view that is present in all of his work as far as I can tell. (Or maybe just the few books I’ve tried?) And I find it to be less than engaging; it seems (to me) replete with casual misogyny, classism/racism, and a sort of Cold War remnant worldview. All of the characters in this book were cliches or stereotypes. There was an arc of sorts but little or no resolution. I need to remember in future that he’s not to my taste.
Apprentice in Death by JD Robb
Why can’t I quit this series? The story lines are stale or recycled. The editing is sloppy. Meh.
Today’s beach events have me wondering if social scientists have looked at beach etiquette. There are square miles of empty beach; why drop your umbrella two feet away from a stranger’s umbrella? Cell phones mean you can have that conversation anywhere; but should you have a conversation about what sounds like confidential work stuff while screaming over the waves and gulls on a beach full of strangers? What is the psychology or sociology that has people do this kind of stuff? Or smoke on the beach, or track sand on someone else’s blankets/towels, or play a radio without earbuds, etc?
One of my beachy neighbors failed to secure their umbrella today. As the wind picked up, the umbrella took off, whacking me in the throat with the pointy end hard enough to knock me down (I was standing and didn’t see it coming until the last moment). The underside of my chin has a huge welt, along with my cheek and the side of my neck, despite icing. I’ve got a weird throat/ear ache and it kind of hurts to swallow. If it still hurts in the morning, I may try to get a doctor’s appointment and head home early 😦
ETA: I’ve finished listening to the first of five sections of Middle March. The sections are based on size/time, not by chapter or book section. But it’s still further than I’ve ever managed to get when attempting to read it in paper or ebook. I like the reader’s voice, but I don’t really care about any of the characters so far.