Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friday – I’m Beginning to Feel the Difference!

Today was the first day I can say I truly feel like my life is now different – this isn’t vacation, it’s a whole new me.

Ken and I followed our normal morning ritual of coffee and outdoor breakfast and then hustled him in to Charleston to meet the boys so they could leave for the EIU Panthers Players Golf Championship by 10:30.

I had heard mixed signals on whether McDonald’s truly had free wifi, and so I stopped in to check it out. No, at least at the Charleston McDonalds, you have to be an AT&T wireless subscriber or else pay for the Internet access there. As it turned out, however, there were enough unsecured wireless signals I could pick up in the area that I was able at least for a little while to get on and check mails.

I’ve been exchanging emails on moving from our standard company health insurance over to COBRA and so found myself in another ongoing electronic interchange of how BCBS, COBRA and Medicare all must be juggled. Bottomline, we have to immediately put Ken on Part B now and based on my income from last year, we have to pay more than the $96 base, actually about $250 monthly…arghh!! It looks like that will also be the case in 2010 since that will be based on our 2009 taxable income which will include my severance. I had hoped we could stay on COBRA for 18 months but now we will likely not carry both since Ken does not qualify for the 65% stimulus reduction, meaning his monthly COBRA payment would be $400 a month. So now he will be on Medicare Parts A, B and D. I’m still studying the supplemental issue.

Ok, sorry I digressed. But I think medical costs and insurance are one of the top expenditures for most fulltime RVers and for manyfulltime ‘wannabe’s medical/insurance costs are one of the primary reasons they postpone their move to this lifestyle. Hopefully we’ll see at least some healthcare reform legislation past by year-end that will start to address this mess.

I spent quite a bit of time in McDonald’s, sitting in one of the single tables with bar stool, working on the laptop and people watching. Even though this McDonald’s is right by the EIU campus, the morning crowd seemed to be largely the senior citizen coffee klatch scene, followed at about 11:30 by Mom’s and kids meeting working Dad for lunch. I had a couple of people stop by to check out my Acer. It catches attention with its small size. However, for the most part, I felt like the invisible observer to a normal workday in a smalltown—I’m the strange kind who really gets in to that simple kind of experience.

James Larson (Pug), one of Trevor’s roommates from his first year at EIU, surprised me with a hug, and stopped for a few minutes of catch-up conversation. He was running in for a quick couple of burgers between his job and his study group. It was really nice to see him since he’s finished football so it’s a lot harder for Ken and me to keep up with those guys.

Next stop for me was WalMart. We had half dozen items or so on the list. It seems when we are on the road we just don’t consume as much of anything. The other thing I realized was that for the first time in as long as I can remember, I was taking my time shopping. How much are we paying per egg? What makes the Duracell batteries so much more expensive than the Rayovac? For many people this is the normal way to shop, but for me it seems I was ALWAYS in a hurry. While I tried to always be economical in my shopping before it was always a trade off with how much time I had. While I may not have the money now, at least I have the time to PAY attention! While Ken would question that such a thing is possible, I actually enjoyed my Walmart trip!

I went back to the RV to have lunch and walk the dogs. Then I pulled out a ‘project’ I hadn’t gotten to start yet. When we were moving Kyle, I noticed that one of his patchwork quilts from Grandma Frericks was in dire need of repair.

There were full squares missing and lots of little tears. Ken made an interesting observation – when I was so tied up in my work life, I would not even have noticed that quilt! Now I had the time to notice that something precious was in need of repair and have the luxury of giving it my attention.

Anyway, I had brought with me Kyle’s quilt and various scraps of cloth I had around the house. I needed to iron the seam ends of the new patches I was cutting so I had my first time in our 2 ½ years of RVing to pull out our ironing board and iron.

It was nice to see how conveniently it sets up on the pull-out kitchen cabinet.

While I worked at repairing the quilt, Sox and Ditka stayed at my feet, not used to having me alone in the RV with them for any extended period.

Since we don’t have satellite TV, a lot of the channels that come in here are PBS. My timing of turning on the TV was perfect since a PBS Time Team documentary just started about New Philadelphia and Free Frank McWorter. ‘New Philadelphia’ is the circa 1830 site that is the first planned integrated black/white community, organized by a freed black man, Frank McWorter. Ken and I have known for years that this site is less than 20 miles from our home but knew very little about it. The show was really enlightening and made my sewing time pass by very quickly and enjoyably. I was surprised that I even knew people on the show. They invited local spiritual singers who could help provide background on the types of oral history and music that might have been part of the community in the mid-1800’s. The ladies they talked to are both regular visitors to our Unity Church in Quincy. For more info on the documentary and New Philadelphia click here.

Working with my hands again, with the TV as background—this was the world I grew up in. If my Mom wasn’t in the kitchen cooking she was in her favorite chair, the TV on (usually to a Cardinals game or ‘As the World Turns’), with some kind of sewing in her hands. Those peaceful memories seemed to float all around me as I spent my quiet afternoon at the RV.
I used my last few hours before Ken got back for girlie stuff, taking a nice warm shower, doing my hair and makeup…just taking my time.

Maybe that’s what so perfect about the day…I realized I was taking my time, I was finally taking what was mine, my time, and I was enjoying every minute of it!

Hugs, C

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't it great!! So glad you are slowing down and enjoying the journey. It took us almost a year to get out of "vacation" mode.

Good luck on the health insurance. We knew that would be a big expense for us and it has been - about $1400 a month. Wes will finally be on Medicare in November, but from what I hear that may not be much of a savings for us. Like Ken, his Crohns eats up a lot of those funds.

Am really enjoying your blog. Great to hear your view of things:-)

Keep in touch.