Sight-seeing North Clark County

I know I haven’t posted to this site lately, but right after New Years I got the flu, despite having a flu shot. Also, some other tests came back rather bad, and my new doctor (yay! I finally got a doctor!) has taken me off a lot of my medication, so I’ve really had to watch my diet until he prescribes new medication. Hopefully, that will happen Friday.

A cool bridge out in the middle of nowhere
A cool bridge out in the middle of nowhere

I was down sick for more than a week, and I was just starting to feel semi-normal when my friend was due to arrive for a visit from Denver. We still had snow when he arrived, but the roads were clear. However, rain was expected the day he arrived, and all the reports from Portland sounded bad. My husband wanted to ask my friend to take a taxi or bus, but I insisted on driving to the airport, and as it turned out, the traffic and the weather were fine.

The gristmill
The gristmill

We spent the next week entertaining our guest. Our contractors had come in to shave down and rehang the doors in the guest suite, so that was more or less ready for our friend. We spent a few days in because of the weather (rain on snow, but afterwards the snow melted away) and one day because the contractors were working on the new hearth and my office, but otherwise, we bopped in to Portland a couple of times and spent a day going up to Multnomah Falls. That was a kind of hairy drive, as the old highway between Vista House and the falls was down to 1 1/2 lanes where snowbanks had been shaved off, and lots of cut trees testified to the number that came down in the storm.

The creek by mill
The creek by mill

One of our most fun times, despite rain all day, was the day we decided to take the North Clark County scenic drive. We did not have the map, but just started following the signs from Battle Ground. We stopped at several falls and saw lots of beautiful scenery before losing the trail in La Centre.

One of the nicest sights was an old grist mill and covered bridge, right next to each other. We drove down a hill and around a corner, and there they were.

P.S. I forgot to mention, when I originally posted this, that one day when my friend and I were driving away from the house, we saw a bald eagle! It was sitting on a branch right next to the road, about 12 feet up. I turned around and went back to look at it, but it flew away.

Adventures with the health care system

Far be it from me to have anything negative to say about Obamacare. I believe that it is a great thing that everyone in the country now has access to medical care, at least theoretically. But it has had some impacts to us we didn’t expect. I’ll be getting to that in a bit.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we have already had some adventures with the medical system. My husband got bit by one of our cats when he was trying to capture it in Austin, and he visited an emergency room in Fort Stockton on the way out and ended up in the hospital for three days when we got here because of infection from the bite. It turns out that cat bites are somewhat toxic.

But another problem was his Medicare. He has been retired for almost 11 years, and during that time, I insured him through my work. He had to apply for Medicare Part A, but our insurance did not require him to apply for Part B, so he didn’t. But my insurance that I get as part of my retirement requires both of us to be on Part B. I applied for social security online and Medicare Parts A and B at the same time, and my cards came through in a miraculous three weeks. But Wayne had to apply on paper, because he had to get a form completed by my workplace showing that he had been insured by them up until now and his insurance was ending. There was a delay getting this paper signed, because I had to have submitted my resignation and my resignation had to have been accepted by my management before they would complete it, and there was some fiddling with dates for a while because of various factors at work.

Before he left Austin, though, my husband dropped off his Part B application at the social security office. Then to be sure they got it, he also mailed it to Baltimore (or wherever). His mistake was in not getting the form he dropped off date stamped, because apparently both went astray.

I may have mentioned that about a month after we arrived, I found out that my husband had practically shut down from an inability to deal with some outstanding issues. One was that he was late filing for our extended income tax (which he gets an extension for every year for some reason I do not understand, maybe just because he’s a procrastinator), and the other was the Medicare issue. So, that day, we went to the social security office in Vancouver. We spent two hours there, one waiting and one getting things done. I have to say that the guy who helped us was nice, apologetic, and effective, because by the next day, Wayne’s Medicare was showing up with our insurance agents.

Because, of course, our insurance turned him down for not having the Medicare. He had talked to them once and they had given him until January 1 to get it straightened out, but we did not know that we should have also discussed this with our retirement agency, because they cancelled his insurance.

So, knowing it would be useless to expect my husband to take care of this, I spent another two hours on the phone with my retirement agency and our insurance. Everyone was responsive and helpful except, I regret to say, the woman at the retirement agency, who was the only person to get chippy with me. She basically said there was nothing to be done until January. So, I got chippy with her, telling her she was behaving as if this was our fault, that this wasn’t our fault, it was the Federal government’s. And what do you know? There was something to be done. By the time I got off the phone, my husband had insurance.

But the fun part hadn’t started yet. It was time to find a medical provider. Here’s where Obamacare comes in. It turns out that this area has been flooded by people wanting to find doctors who had for years been using the emergency room for their medical care. In addition, very few places took our insurance. I spent a whole afternoon calling clinics to find someone who would take our insurance, Medicare, and new patients. The best I could do was to get an appointment to get an appointment at a place with a two-month waiting list. They took our information and said someone would call me in 7 to 10 days to let me know when we might be able to get in. (I was not sure if I would actually get an appointment then or not.)

I still hadn’t heard from them yesterday, and it seemed that 7-10 days had passed, although I stupidly didn’t write down the date that I signed up with them. I called them yesterday, and it turns out that my first call to them was two weeks ago, so they were overdue. But the person I talked to this time was far less helpful than the first person and just told me she would tell “her” that I called but didn’t know when she would get back to me. I will wait a couple of days and try again, because once we really get into the holidays, things could be delayed by several weeks. So, we may not have a doctor until, say, February.

It also turns out that the number was listed as being in Battle Ground (the nearest town) but that office had closed, so we were going to have to go to Vancouver, and not close by in Vancouver, either. And, our insurance is changing again in January. This clinic will take our new insurance, but I wonder if it would be worthwhile to go back and call clinics again to see if they take the other insurance.

Ah, the fun just gets to be more and more. Tomorrow, I will have to call my doctor in Austin to get my prescriptions extended until we have a new doctor.

On the weather front, more snow all weekend, although it is melted today. Unfortunately, at least at this time, it doesn’t look like we’ll have a white Christmas.

A relatively peaceful few days

If any of you are waiting to find out what happened to our money and our moving containers, the last few days have been relatively pain free, except that I’m still working and too tired at night to pack. Our money showed up on Monday, whew!

I stole this image off the internet.
I stole this image off the internet.

We had more conversations with U/MF about removing our shipping container, and it finally got picked up on Monday. I have to say that the person we’ve been talking to at that company has been very nice and has tried to take care of us. Still, we are understandably not happy with them.

There was a slight bobble with the other shipping container company this morning, but it all worked out all right. They didn’t tell me they were going to call me a day ahead of time to confirm. They just said they would call the day of delivery, and if we didn’t answer the phone, they wouldn’t deliver. So, when I got to work this morning and had a phone call from them on my work phone from the day before (after work) asking to confirm the delivery, I was anticipating problems. But my husband reports that the new shipping container was delivered this morning. Despite my calling them back and changing my work phone to my home phone, they still called me at work to tell me they were coming. This is what comes of not having a real cell phone. I have one of those antique pay per use phones and I keep it turned off most of the time. I am not in the habit of handing out the number, so I don’t know it. I guess I need to start using it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in Washington, so I’ll have to get a real phone.

What else could possibly go wrong?

Two important events today. The first was that I had to submit my resignation letter at work and get it signed so that HR would fill out a form for my husband to submit to get Medicare, saying he would no longer be covered by my insurance.

That went okay until I got home, at which time I got an email from my boss saying that HR was alarmed by my resignation date and did I know I wouldn’t get a very big check for October if I left October 5? Well, duh! And let’s not mention that I already changed my resignation date once because of a discussion with HR. They also said that they usually didn’t “allow” people to retire except at the end of the month (our retirement agency said they didn’t care when I retired), even though the HR person I talked to said they did it all the time. They also suggested I use my vacation time up to fill up October, something I had explicitly been told by another HR person was not allowed by the agency (called “terminal leave”). In other words, I have to be there on my last day, and I ain’t flying back for it from Washington. So, after I stopped cursing these people who all tell me different things, we went to close on our house.

This is what we got so far for our house.
This is what we got so far for our house.

That went just dandy until my husband checked our bank accounts. Instead of paying off our mortgage, the money for that got deposited into our checking account. That is easily remedied. My husband just needs to transfer it over. But the other sum, our six-digit profit, is nowhere to be found. We hope it’s not in someone else’s account being spent, but the title company can’t do anything about it until Monday, because the credit union is closed.

And in the meantime, I started wondering about our storage container, which was supposed to be picked up today. You might have read my last post, where I reported that the local franchise for the company went out of business and I was going to have to get my second storage container from another company at a higher cost. Well, that made me worry about the container we already have that is full of half our worldly goods, but yesterday they assured us they would pick it up today.

In the meantime, I scheduled another shipping company to bring a second container on Monday. Well, guess what? Today I heard from the first company that they were looking around for equipment so that they could pick up our container. So, I had to get on the phone to the other company to delay our second container being dropped off, because there is not enough room for two. And although she assured me it would be picked up on Monday, she assured me yesterday that it would be today. I am happy as a lark.

 

 

Two days of ups and downs

Well, such a time we have had. It started out Monday, which our realtor had told us was the last day our buyers could make changes to our contract. I had a friend over helping me pack (thanks so much to my dear friend), and I was on pins and needles all day obsessively checking my email.

When no word came in by 5 PM, I shot an email off to our realtor about it and my husband and I went out to Amy’s for ice cream to celebrate. Too soon, as it turned out, for when I came home, I had an email from my realtor that said “Tomorrow at 5. Sorry.” He tends to be succinct.

So, on Tuesday, we had a message at 9 AM saying that “an amendment will be coming shortly.” We waited all day until almost 4 PM only to find out that our buyers wanted us to come down on our price by $80K! They had five inspectors come out over the past 10 days, and the buyer’s agent said that the house was in horrible shape and that everyone who had looked at it had said to tear it down. But they can’t tear it down, because it sits right on the creek, which is no longer allowed by the city. If they want to tear it down, they have to move it back from the creek.

Why it wouldn't be convenient to try to multiple list
Why it wouldn’t be convenient to try to multiple list

Now, we have been living in it comfortably (or, we would have been comfortable if my husband wasn’t a hoarder) for more than 20 years. A few minor things need repair, but I couldn’t imagine it was in that bad of shape. But on the other hand, we had moved pretty far past being able to rapidly put it on the market. Our agent offered to come over and take pictures and get it up on multiple listings by today, and that would have been possible until two days ago, but the past few days we had amassed lots of boxes that haven’t gone out into the pod yet, and we had not had the cleaners come out this week because of the chaos.

My husband was all for accepting their offer, but he has wanted to take every offer they’ve made. I talked it over with our agent, and we decided to offer a $20K reduction. My husband panicked after we decided this and called the agent back to ask him to accept the offer, but luckily, he had already told them our price.

Luckily, because they came back almost immediately splitting the difference, which means that we still made more than their original offer. We accepted that, and we’re still closing on Friday, cash. The main reason I decided to accept it is we would have had to disclose anything the inspections found, which might make it hard to make a higher selling price. We had already decided to move anyway, but we would have moved out to Washington not knowing how long it would take to sell our house, which would have had us being very short until that money came in. Overall, I feel okay about how things worked out, if a little roughed up. And, of course, I would have liked to have the extra money.

On to our next challenges!

 

A fly in the ointment

Since we counter-offered on our house, the buyers changed from just requesting a survey to sending out a series of inspectors. This is obviously an attempt to find something seriously wrong with it so that they can lower the price. As far as we know, there is nothing seriously wrong with it, but because we didn’t fix anything, there are lots of small things wrong with it. But it keeps me on tinterhooks and makes it harder to plan our move and my retirement.

Hans
The devil dog himself

To make things worse, my husband has absolutely refused to crate our dog when people want to come over to the house. He used to be crate-trained when we both worked, but shortly after my husband retired, he decided the dog didn’t need his crate anymore, and took it down. Since my husband is home almost all the time, the dog has gotten to be very neurotic and can barely stand for my husband to be out of his sight. This has gotten so bad that the dog was booted out of the kennel where he has stayed on and off since he was a puppy and now the vet won’t take him either. This was a source of serious stress for me after my husband hurt himself, as I wanted to check the dog into the vet for a week so that I would have one less thing to think about. Instead, I had to go right back and pick him up.

What do we do when people come over? Shut him in the bedroom or keep him on a leash. He is a volatile dog at best.

When the realtor asked if another set of inspectors could come over today and not have my husband there, it was difficult to schedule because my husband has appointments almost every day this week with doctors or physical therapists. The idea of crating the dog came up, and he got very angry. I really don’t understand this, but he seems to think that people wanting to get into the house in a normal way during the selling of it are somehow inflicting themselves on us. How he would have handled people coming to view the house, I don’t know. I’m guessing, not.

Yes, our dog needs training. I have suggested this to my husband many, many times.

Sigh.

Great news

Goodbye soon to our beautiful view of the creek.
Goodbye soon to our beautiful view of the creek.

We have sold our house. Of course, it’s early days yet, so things could still go wrong, but on Tuesday we got an offer and we counter-offered, and on Saturday we agreed on a price. Our neighbor is buying the house, cash, and so we can go ahead and start putting our plans in place. We can now set my retirement date.

Of course, my knee injury has slowed down our packing impetus, because my husband doesn’t seem to do any work unless I do it, too, and most of the last week I spent with my feet up and an ice pack on my knee. So, now we have to get to work, whether I’m up to it or not.

As a bonus, we also got an offer on our Fort Davis property on the very same day. This property could have been on the market for years, but we have already settled on a price. Looks like we’ll be moving within five weeks!