We have a spider on our patio that is the size of K-Fed. It's obviously a female spider setting up to hatch a million baby spiders. Parts of the web stretch from the drain spout on the second story to her actual web, which is about eight feet high up on the side of the house. She's just a big brown spider, about the size of a man's knuckle. She's also fast. I think she's got little tiny spider sneakers on. I loathe spiders but I haven't had the heart to remove her. She's worked so hard on her intricate web. I've tried taking some pictures with both my cell phone and my digital camera but they don't do justice. I'm all about leaving Nature outside where Nature belongs, and I'm not thrilled with our new housemate, and the prospect of a million baby spiders, but I'm going to leave her alone, for now.
Sometimes, I Forget How Far South We Are Geographically
Although the whisper of fall is in the air in other places, not so much in Indy. This morning, it's seventy degrees with ninety percent humidity. I love the heat and love summer, but this isn't summer, it's like living in a swamp in back woods of Georgia. It's overcast and it's rained the past few days, but not enough to break the stupidity, I mean, humidity. At least it's not snowing, right?
All About The Pennies
I have new found love for Aldi. I realize that a lot of people just don't "get" Aldi's. If you use a shopping cart, you pay a quarter deposit. You have to bring your own bags, or buy them at the checkout. You bag your own groceries. The stores aren't huge and they don't carry high end name brands. Nearly all of the the Aldi brands I've tried, however, are if not comparable, are even better than name brands. One of our family favorites is the frozen chicken Kiev and cordon bleu selections. They are individually wrapped and cost 99 cents each. With some noodles and a veg, they make a very nice, very easy, inexpensive dinner.
I love seasoning salt. I'll put it on just about anything. I thought I was buying the five and a half ounce fifty cent seasoning salt at Wal-Mart, but had grabbed meat tenderizer by mistake. At Aldi, I got a sixteen ounce container of seasoning salt for $1.29. All of the basic pantry staples are considerably less than even Wal-Mart. It's all about making that food dollar go a little farther.
Did You Know, President Obama Is Black?
On the political front, I'm beyond tired of hearing all the backlash and criticism about President Obama. All of the thinly veiled and blatant racist crap is just that, crap. The majority of the people in this country elected a black man. There were no shenenagins in the election, Obama doesn't have a brother who is a governor who manipulated his state's polls or a family who is in financial cahoots with terrorists because it's all about the oil and the money. He was elected by popular majority because obviously, voters thought he was the best choice.
I have no patience for racism. All of the Bubbas who have issues with the color of Obama's skin, let's see what they've accomplished. After all, the Bubbas think they are superior due to their skin color, so they should have used those advantages to get the best education possible and use that superiority to further their beliefs, and make the world a better place for Bubbas, right? They may know all about the history of their Aryan heritage and how to tattoo a swastika on a recently paroled cousin, but most of the Bubbas can barely string a comprehensible sentence together, let alone organize a piss up in a brewery when the beer is free.
The health care debate, and all the teabaggers, and all the conservative talking heads, are not doing anything to elevate their credibility. If they would actually read the proposal, they might understand it. Obviously that fool who shouted out "You lie!" hadn't read it. Not even the Cliff Notes version.
My family has been without health insurance. Both Martin and I have decades of experience in our fields and had always worked hard, paid our taxes, and tried to live the American dream. Neither of us had anything to do with the fact that the companies we worked for were mismanaged and driven into bankruptcy by the greed of the company leaders. The Tier I automotive supplier that Martin worked for actually paid their CEO a huge bonus while he dismantled the company, closed locations that had been in business for decades and devastated more than one small community. The same company also cancelled the health insurance for their retirees and manipulated their self-funded 401(k) plans, to the company's advantage, of course. That whole mess settled in a class action lawsuit that recieved little to no fanfare.
Sorry, got off on a tangent, but that whole situation still infuriates me and it's the same scenario that has been played out all over the country in recent years and no doubt is still going on.
We're living in a country where people die because they can't afford to be sick. If you have health insurance through your employer, and your job is eliminated for whatever reason, you may be given the opportunity to purchase the health insurance for a limited time, usually 36 months. The only problem with that is the cost of the insurance. It's generally out of the reach of someone who just got dumped from their job. So what do you do? You don't qualify for any sort of state assisted insurance. If you have any sort of pre-existing condition, your premiums are even higher, if the insurer will cover you at all. Do you feed your family and pay your light bill, or pay for health insurance so you can afford your prescriptions so you don't die from complications from high blood pressure, diabetes or a myriad of other easily controlled conditions?
We are fortunate that the company Martin works for is huge and is able to offer their employees not only a very good health insurance plan, but several options in coverage. However, since Martin has chronic psoriasis and the only drug that has helped with it is Enbrel, we still pay a $100 co-pay every two weeks for his medication. The pharmacy techs at the drug store are always a little hesitant about telling me how much the co-pay is until I tell them, "Look how much it would be without insurance." Then, they gasp. It's $1600 for a two week supply without insurance. There is no way you can tell me that the drug company isn't making some sort of ridiculous 2000% profit. Enbrel is not made from the tears of butterflies as far as I know. Getting help with the co-pay for those who can't afford it? Yeah, good luck. Even when were destitute, after jumping through hoops and doing a mountain of paperwork, and communitcation from the doctor to the drug company, we didn't qualify for any assistance. I don't know what the magic formula was; obviously being destitute and sick wasn't it.
One of my oldest friend's husband has cancer. He beat it the first time, and now it's back. Because he had cancer, the insurance offered through his former employer, who declared him disabled and unable to work, even though Social Security didn't and denied all benefits, dropped them. Now, the cancer is back and unless the chemo and radiation fairy drops a huge chunk of money into their laps, he will have to stop the treatment because they have no insurance. There is no back story there; the fact is that he was handed the cancer card and there is no safety net, no alternative plan.
I have a friend who is a single mother. The company she works for has cut her hours, cut her pay, and raised her health insurance premiums making it incredibly expensive to cover her son. She makes too much money to qualify for Hoosier Kids, or whatever it's called, but a huge chunk of her paycheck goes to provide health insurance for her son. She has no option for a a basic preventative policy that would cover his routine doctor visits. Does she drop her son from her policy and hope he doesn't break his arm or something or does she feed him beans and Ramen to provide health insurance for him?
The health care system in this country is not working. It's time for a new approach.
Lots of things in this country aren't working and it's time for a new approach. We have an opportunity to get America back on track to being the great nation it once was. I don't think President Obama has all the answers but he's trying and he's actually adressing the problems. I think from a personal persepective, he has dealt with many of the problems the average family deals with. This is much more than Bush theorcracy of fear mongering has ever done. Domestic issues were ignored unless they benefited big business. I don't think Dubya gave a shit about the average family, because he never had to deal with the day-to-day reality most of us do. He always had his wealthy elite family to fall back on when he screwed up. He was never in the position of making a choice of paying the house payment or keeping the lights on and the twins fed.
Before some of my more conservative friends get all twisted, let me reiterate, these are my opinions. You don't have to agree.