But what if I continue to pretend that breastfeeding is both free and easy, despite evidence to the contrary? Because what if I very badly need it to be both?
So, I just got my EOB for my son's birth. Mostly OK news! We owe $1,000 flat for the birth and hospital stay, just as my policy lead me to believe. (The total billed cost was over $8,000.) One weird thing: the ultrasound and fetal non-stress test they sent me to get when I went past my due date seems to be a $40 co-pay this time. The 20 week ultrasound was about $300 out of pocket, of a much larger billed amount. Same ultrasound provider. I'm glad to only pay $40, but, what? Was my 20 week "just for fun" in the eyes of my insurance company?
The shelter closest to my heart has somewhat different policies, so I usually wind up buying food and litter for my fosters out of pocket, plus some quasi- rational purchases like a nebulizer of my very own, to help bring some very sick kitties back to the land of the living. I can't afford it right now, but want to do it again so badly, especially since it's high kitten season where is live.
Timely! I'm due tomorrow. I don't have most of these in any version, but I do have a bunch of crazy crap that relatives and co-workers have given to me. Baby's gonna have to learn that we can't have nice things. Thanks to my parents and a terrifying and excellent local personage called The Carseat Lady, we do have an extremely high-tech and relatively easy to install car seat, which the Carseat Lady nonethless showed us how to install and told her about for well over an hour. (Part of the time was spent watching her give the what-for to another client, who had foolishly not heeded the Carseat Lady's advice in carseat purchasing.)
I graduated from a private college in seven semesters and completed a senior thesis, in part because my degree was in straight-up "English." You know, just, like, generally. What that meant was that I had a lot of flexibility in which courses I could take, both as far as packing 'em in and in building a schedule that allowed for me to do other projects that I got partial course credit for (get this: a paid summer internship at a local paper. It was a simpler time!) The pre-requisites were pretty slim. It meant that instead of being locked out of an important course for a semester, I could choose to take another same-level course that was slightly less interesting. I took the second semester of my sophmore year off, and had not previously planned a course load around this gap, so the next two years were catch-up. For better or worse, my school had distribution requirements that were categorized in very old-fashioned ways, so instead of a math requirement, there was a category called "formal studies," where math, music, or languages counted equally, so I never had to sweat through even a basic math course. I also found a couple of professors who liked me, and liked my writing, and could maybe overlook me not doing the reading, or writing papers based on a few not-necessarily-related passages of text that I would argue had deeper meaning. Life hacking! My last two years of grimly taking literature and writing courses because that was what I could do with the least effort until I got the degree weren't wasted, but I was also making some extremely weird personal and social choices, and refusing to prepare for any career whatsoever other than "financially solvent writer of boring fiction" or "I don't care, I'll live out of dumpsters." So, I got a BA in English and English Alone, and this is weird, but, it didn't catapult me into the white-collar world. I have a lot of regrets about my college experience. In some ways, I wish I'd let the issues I was dealing with take over to the point of forcing me to really drop out, so that years later, I would be in the position of going back to school to finish right, with a better handle on what skills I have beyond bullshitting, and what it is I actually enjoy doing (just about anything other than bullshitting.) To say "College isn't for everybody" after having squandered a college experience that others have been utterly blocked from imagining would be pretty gross on my part. I think college is and should be for everyone who wants it. But, I think there should be incentives in place for private companies and for local, state, and federal departments to remove degree requirements from a lot of entry-level positions, and sub experience requirements for higher-level positions. Because no matter how you pare down what you "really" need for a bachelor's degree, there are always going to be people who are forcing themselves through it as fast as possible just to get that brass ring, and it's not helping the students or their future employers.
My spouse and I do this: automatic payments of a set dollar amount per week to a savings account. Joint credit card for most bills, paid out of savings account once a month. I contribute cash for most physical purchases due to sometimes receiving cash tips. He pays a specific bill every month. All groceries, booze, medical bills are shared. Random home purchases tend to be shared. Personal clothing and fun stuff, usually separate, unless we're shopping together and it's easier to ring up one pile of stuff. Works for us, somewhat.
I finished my 2013 taxes yesterday, and now I feel like I should be DONE with 1 thing. One damn 1 thing after another. I just want to curl in a very small ball. My 1 thing will be dishes/laundry. In many ways, it is 2 things, but alternative 1 things are still more arduous.
Right now I have some ominous shit going on where I'm getting cc'd on letters from my midwives' billing dept to my insurance company, begging to be reimbursed for some pretty standard prenatal testing, and replies from the insurance co where they say "medical review is required." Who will win??? Me, probably. Right? I am dragging my feet on calling to see if they will cover the AFP test, where they screen for neural tube defects like anencephaly and spina bifida. Like, most babies have closed spines and plenty of skull, right? The lab they used for the nuchal translucency test already sent me a bill directly. It is really frustrating.
Thanks for writing this.
Ooh, girl. I did derby for about 5 years. It was exhilarating and fun, and I made just about all my friends in this town, and my now-husband. I learned that it was possible for me to be athletic, and I learned a lot about committee work, and my own capabilities when it comes to planning big events with a lot of moving parts. I also went through a number of years being pretty bitter and regretful about the whole thing, because of the opportunity cost. If you're already well on track with your paid career, your experience is probably going to be different from my own, but as one lady with overdeveloped quad muscles to another, I say to you to be careful about setting boundaries with this sport, and be careful you're not pouring all your career energy into roller derby. Even if you're carefully skipping beers and t-shirts, don't let (for example) derby e-mail or whatever your league uses to communicate eat up your working hours. It's pissy and spoilery to go on like this, so I will say congratulations for finding a sport you love and finding your toughness.