'Til Loss of Health Insurance Do We Part?
It used to be that couples considering divorce might stay together "for the children". Now it may very well be for the health insurance. Among the financial considerations facing a pair splitting up, health coverage surely ranks right up there with house payments. In fact, your monthly cost of insurance may well exceed that of your house. Do we now promise to love, honor, and provide health insurance?
Wedding vows: "We shall henceforth walk the road of life together as long as we both have medical and dental coverage".
Right now, in most of the US, health insurance is available for purchase only through one's job. Often, employees have a choice of only one plan -- and that option may not truly fit the needs of all workers. If one is lucky, his or her spouse may have access to more comprehensive protection. Sometimes, insurance isn’t offered at all. This is especially true for part-time workers and those in lower paid jobs.
I wonder, what do people sacrifice in order to retain quality coverage at an affordable price? I’d love to hear from anyone out there who has stayed married in order to retain health insurance for themselves or for their children. ~ Grace
Ignorance is Bliss
When my daughter and her cousin were little, we used to go to the local park, which had various games. They loved to play Skeeball and the fishing game.
One evening, the kids decided to try the ring toss. Well, every adult knows it's nearly impossible to do, after all that's why the ring toss game gives out the biggest stuffed animal prizes. But they each got 20 rings to toss and I knew that would be fun for them and last a while.
Here's where ignorance is bliss. We didn't pass along our own experiences with the ring toss. We just said have fun. My niece, not knowing it couldn't be done, just tossed her rings and actually got one on a bottle. Everyone cheered and looked at my husband to congratulate him. We just pointed to the little girl at our feet and said "she did it!". Everyone was shocked, but my niece didn't know she couldn't do it, so she did it.
What a proud moment for her. The best though, was the next day when my brother arrived to pick up his daughter to take her home and we presented him with a gigantic stuffed frog to somehow fit into his car. Now, that was bliss for me! - Grace
Revelations in Pizza Hut
Sometimes, I give advice or help people to view a situation in a better light. “Did you learn that in therapy?” they want to know. I do learn things in therapy, but like a good joke or a snappy comeback line, it's rarely anything I can remember at the moment when I need to. Usually, I find that the best advice comes from a memorable snafu. There is a saying: Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment (Jim Horning). On the other hand, sometimes the lessons learned stem from when things go right. You have a precious "ah-ha" moment.
Let me give you an example. My daughter and I were eating at the local Pizza Hut. She had faced a predicament on the playground at recess. Her arthritis sometimes made her unable to keep up with the other kids in the some really fun activities. My daughter felt this impeded the development of friendships. Her choice many times, she said, was running with the other kids or swinging by herself.
My heart was full; I knew this was one of those times when I couldn't do something for her or even be there physically, but rather she would have to succeed or not on her own. She had always been a “go-for-it” kind of kid and we had never held her back due to her disabilities. But, realistically speaking there are limitations – some days worse than others.
For a moment I panicked. I couldn't think what the right advice was. What if I told her the wrong thing and made her friendless for the next 12 years in school? Ack! I'm a terrible parent - why don't I know what to do? I felt like batting my head and saying "Think, think, think" al la Winnie the Pooh.
Well, when emotions are strong, thinking seems to take a back seat. So, I stopped trying to give advice and simply reflected on what she must be feeling. Man, I said, you are really between a rock and a hard place. She sighed and agreed. And then went happily about the business of enjoying a pizza. At that moment, I had one of those magical parental experiences where time seems to stop. I realized that I didn't have to have all the answers. Sometimes kids just want to know that you really listened and that you understand their predicament.
Afterwards, we worked through the problem and we came up with some choices. As a family, we were somewhat new to the "adaptation" game, as well as the "negotiating with the school" game that parents and their kids with disabilities become increasing adept at as the school years go on. But, at that moment in time, I discovered an important lesson. And do you know what? I can still picture exactly where we were sitting and I still get a chill up my spine when I recall that “ah-ha” experience. I never forgot my revelation in Pizza Hut.
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Fry It Or Put It On A Stick
I went to the Allentown State Fair last weekend. This state fair started in 1852. It's so nice that it's in our own backyard here. After the first hour, I used my cane, because my knee gave out. But I came prepared! I got a little make-up makeover from Mary Kay (I didn't like most of it, but it was fun none-the-less).
If you could fry it or put it on a stick, it was there. I saw fried EVERYTHING - dough (elephant ears), funnel cake, sweet potato fries, Oreos, and even fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - that was the worst thing I've ever seen! I've eaten stuff at fairs that I normally wouldn't eat, but the P B & J - fried - not even on a good day. You could get anything on a stick, it seems, from turkey legs and corn to frozen bananas. Oh, I just thought, I didn't see any alcohol this year either. They must have had a new organizer.
I ate, (in order through the day): Waffle with vanilla ice cream, perogies with onions, banana fruit smoothie, pulled pork sandwich, another banana fruit smoothie and took home a bag of popcorn. Brought and drank plenty of water.
I'm not sure who was playing in the concert there, but I heard a lot of girl-type screaming, so I'm guessing a boy band. Oh man, the costumes on the characters walking around were really bad year! The Geico gecko looked like he borrowed his bottom half from a frog - it was a totally different color green.
There were lots of the usual animals - cows, pigs, chickens, horses birds, rabbits, etc and even some elephants this year. They had pig races and BMX bikes doing tricks. Also had all of the items to be judged (vegetables, fruits, preserves, cakes, hay, flowers etc) as well as the crafts from 4-H and from regular folks like quilts, paintings, lego concoctions. And a good display of fair memorabilia. Booths by both political parties were signing people up to vote and giving out freebies like lawn signs.
Kids could find oodles of rides, ring toss games, and chances to win tiny fish that will live for three days. The dunk tank and haunted house were very popular, but I noticed that they did away with the "freak show" this year. Interesting. Was it considered exploitative or are people blase about oddities due to the ability to see two-headed goats on the Internet. What do you think?
No matter what, when all is said and done, my favorite part was watching the little kids enjoy themselves and remembering when my daughter was that age. ~ Grace
Choices: You Can't Have It All
Let me start by stating that I have a brother with Down Syndrome and a daughter who has had rheumatoid arthritis since age four. I love them both and can't imagine my life without them. Also, my remarks are directed toward Gov. Palin as a parent, and as a candidate, not as a woman. Whether you are a man or a woman, it is unrealistic to expect to be an involved parent of a child with disabilities and take on even more responsibilities as Vice President of the United States. Someone will get shortchanged.
To a certain degree, I'm insulted that this governor wants some sort of applause only for choosing to give birth to a Down Syndrome baby. Okay, you got it. But my loudest bravos are saved for those folks who make the hard choice to parent or care for disabled children.
It's hard to have children, but kids with problems add a level of difficulty impossible to imagine without experiencing it. Despite what you were told in the 1970's, you really CANNOT have it all, Governor Palin. Right now, you need to give your family more time and energy than ever before -- and you want to give them less? That's not very pro-child to me.
It appears that you and McCain might be of the opinion that we women are unthinking automatons who will be swayed by your sex. And are you so out-of-touch with us that you especially think to woo the pro-Hillary women? We were for Hillary Clinton because of the person she is, not because she is female. You are revealing a lot about your information-gathering and decision-making abilities, as well as your knowledge of real people.
You made an admirable choice in having your beautiful new baby. Now, I encourage you to take the time for him and your family. - Grace (end of August 2008)
"Labor Day ...is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, ...is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold." The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City." (Taken from: http://www.dol.gov/OPA/ABOUTDOL/LABORDAY.HTM ) ~ Take some time this Labor Day to remain in the present and just enjoy the moment! - ~Grace (late August 2008)
How Does Your Garden Grow?
GARDENS! Plunging your hands into warm earth, planting, tending, the joy of seeing things grow, the lessons from those that don't, and the deliciousness of eating freshly-picked produce.
Growing things in your garden, whether vegetables or flowers, helps to teach children valuable lessons. What ones can you think of? Some that come to my mind are: patience, hard work pays off, to care for things other than yourself, and when you are irritated or sad - go to your garden to feed your soul or to use that negative energy on weeding. These are lessons that come about by the process of gardening, not by lectures or lessons. (Continued below)
Above is a picture of my daughter when she was little holding up a carrot that she grew herself (and wearing a shirt that proclaims: I want to do it myself). And another of her displaying some corn freshly picked for dinner.
I always knew that it wasn't summer unless I scratched out at least a small area and threw in some bean seeds. I didn't realize how necessary my garden was for maintaining my balance until I had to do without one year. I guess that is the way of things, we don't miss them until they're gone. So I ask you to think about: how does your garden grow? ~ Grace (August 2008)