Friday, January 15, 2010

Moment of Clarity | Authspot

Please read this post by my friend, Frank. It inspired a jolt of self-awareness in me.

Moment of Clarity | Authspot

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I've spent my life trying to conform to society's expectations. I've always pretty much played "the game" and carried out my responsibilities.

As a result, I've been pretty unhappy most of my life. Now, I'm turning 40 and I just want to live for me. I want to get myself back. The trouble is: I don't know who that is. Well, not entirely anyway.

I know some of the things I'd like to do. I know some of the things I like doing now. But what I do does not necessarily make what I am.

Oh's a journey. It's time for me to find the path for me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rearing Its Ugly Head

I had relaxed a bit on the health care thing. Well...not really relaxed. I had become resigned to there being no real reform. That became very clear with Max Baucus declaring that Single Payer would not be on the table in the reform effort. As soon as that was announced, I knew there would be no real reform.

Over the months to follow, we witnessed reform being chipped away. We've seen the whole thing turned into a political sham like everything else.

So what brings it back? Why do I want to bitch about this again?

It's the fact that my family is being squeezed even more. The health insurance industry continues to rape us. Our premiums haven't gone up, but our coverage continues to erode.

My company changed our insurance provider as of January 1 this year. We received a packet back in late November or early December. There was a letter explaining that our insurance would change as of January 1. What the letter did not tell us was that we should not seek any kind of medical help during the month of December.

What happened, what we are dealing with right now, is that the old insurance provider will not pay for some services that we received in December. These were routine check-ups for two of my children. These were normal, covered services under our plan. Now, the old insurance is not paying because they can't access my company's account or something like that. Basically, they are dicking us around. They are pulling normal health insurance crap. They are finding a way to not pay.

Aside from that, the new insurance doesn't cover certain services that we use as a family. We have to meet our deductible, $1000 for me, $1000 for my wife, $1000 for the kids before insurance will pay 80% for these services.

I don't give a crap what anyone says. I want single payer now.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kickin' it.

I actually did pretty well yesterday sticking to my limit on cigarettes. I smoked 12. My limit is 10 this week.

That sounds like a fail, but considering I was a pack-a-day smoker, I think I did pretty well.

I got a couple interesting anonymous comments on my last post regarding the use of Camel Snus. I'm not sure what to make of them. A person directed me to some places to purchase Swedish Snus. I might actually try it out.

Another step I'm taking in my health quest is drinking green tea with peppermint tea. For one thing, t tastes good. For another, green tea is supposed to have good antioxidant properties as well as detoxification properties. I don't put much stock in herbal stuff, but like I said, it tastes good. So what the heck.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Boy Crazy [finding clarity in the chaos]: current

Here's a link to a fantastic poem from a blog called "Boy Crazy"

I'm re-blogging it from a re-blog by my friend Jennifer Fink at "Blogging 'bout Boys"

Boy Crazy [finding clarity in the chaos]: current

It captures perfectly a day in the life of a parent of boys.

Smoking Sux

Day 2:

Yesterday, the 10 cigarette limit pretty much went out the window. I don't think I smoked a full pack, but it was close. We'll see how I do today.

Camel has these things on the market called Snus. They are like little tobacco pouches. Unlike chewing tobacco, you don't have to spit. They are pretty mild. They don't taste as bad as chewing tobacco. However, they are still tobacco and can cause all the same problems that chewing tobacco can.

When I quit in 1994, I used chewing tobacco as a substitute. It was actually pretty effective for me. I only used it for about a month or so. It was so disgusting that I quit that pretty quick. I'm hoping the Snus will help me kick the smokes.

I may make an appointment with my doctor to discuss other possible options. I've heard Chantix is quite effective. The problem with Chantix are the potential side effects. The side effect I am most concerned with is sleep disturbance. I already have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I really do not need more trouble with that.

Another reason I need to see the doctor is to have a general physical and check-up. If I am going to begin any kind of exercise program, I want to be sure I don't end up giving myself a heart-attack or something. I have three months to prepare for the exercise. I won't be starting that until I've been off smoking long enough for my lungs to heal up a bit.

I normally would not bother seeing a doctor to determine what kind of exercise I can handle, but, once again, I am turning 40. steps. I'm going to stick to my 10 cigarette limit today. I will literally have to take it minute by minute. But I can do it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Frakin' Smoking

One of my New Year resolutions is to quit smoking. This is going to be a bitch!

I quit in 1994 and stayed smoke-free for 13 years. Starting up again was, among other really stupid things, one of the stupidist things I've done in my life.

The original "plan" was to wake up on New Year's Day and be smoke-free. There's an obvious fail. Think about it: My wife, Laura, and I agreed shortly before the end of the year to make the resolution. We had been spending roughly $11.00-$12.00 per day on smokes. That is a huge amount of money. At $12 a day, that's $4380 a year! No wonder we're frakin' broke!

So money is a huge incentive for us to kick tobacco. It is not enough though. Nicotine is truly addictive and smoking is a very strong habit to break. I know, I've done it before and it was not easy. Before actually quitting, I need a plan. I need to know what I am going to do to cope with the withdrawals and the mood swings, etc.

Here's a start:

1) Pick a quit date.

My quit date as of now is January 24, the day after my birthday. That's roughly three weeks away. It gives me time to mentally prepare, but it is not so far out that I'll talk myself out of it.

2) Take steps, day by day, to prepare for the quit date.

I need to pay attention to what triggers my desire to smoke. When I want to smoke, decide if I really want to or not.

3) Reduce the amount I smoke:

This week, I will go with 10 cigarettes a day. That's half a pack. I'll mark how much money I am saving.
Week 2: Drop to 6 a day.
Week 3: 4 a day

I'll go with that for now except to add that I have reduced the amount of alcohol I consume during the week. That should help a little. When I drink, I am more likely to want to smoke.

That's it for now.