Things are getting interestinger. We’re in the wonderful situation where no bank is interested in giving us a home equity loan because we need one. We’ve applied a couple of times and in a couple of ways, at a couple of different banks, and it would appear that the
only people a bank is interested in lending money to is a person who doesn’t actually need a loan. It would also appear that Casey doesn’t have enough credit, and I have too much credit. I’m going to spare this page the diatribe about what is wrong with our banking system, since I think the Occupy Movement is speaking about that, if not eloquently, then at least noticeably. We’ll leave aside for the moment that TARP funds went to bonuses for overwealthy bankers, many of whom were at least complicit in the bad, post-deregulation decisions to create toxic debt and overinflated mortgages. We’d like to borrow enough money to install a heating system in our house, which we own outright. I guess a house and 6 acres just isn’t enough collateral though, against a $30,000 loan. Call me bitter, but something really stinks here. Thank you, Chase Bank. Thank you Rhinebeck Savings Bank. I’d recommend taking down the “We’ve got money to loan” banner so proudly displayed on the outside of your bank.
I’m going to say one other thing in the negative, and then move on. New to New York state, we’re looking to switch to a different health insurance provider. Since we’re self employed, we need an individual plan. What we found is that Empire Blue Cross conveniently offers a range of plans for people like us. One may choose from a platinum Level, and Sterling Level, and a Budget Level. Any guesses on pricing of those plans and on what they provide? Don’t bother, I’ll tell you. $1200 and change, $900 and change, and $163, respectively. So on the off chance that I make the sumptuous gross annual income of $25,000 a year, I Empire Blue offers me the chance to pay HALF of my gross income for health insurance. Even if my gross income is twice that, I still will pay a quarter of it for health INSURANCE, not health care, mind you, just insurance. The top google hit on “recommended personal budget” suggests spending 6% of your gross income on “medical.” Finally, that Budget Level, $163/month covers just about nothing – no doctor
visits, no preventative care, no specialists, no prescriptions, etc. It’s exactly catastrophic coverage. Oh, and also, no out-of-pocket maximum. If this is all you can afford, why would you even bother. Your catastrophic event would be covered, but all the associated care to that event would bankrupt you. And if you got the mid level coverage, that would bankrupt you. Either way you’re pretty well screwed without health care. This stinks, and it sure doesn’t feel like anyone is interested in doing anything about it.
Deep breath. OK, sorry about that. This stuff raises my blood pressure. Moving on. The real quantum shift of the week was a purchase of… A wallpaper steamer!!! I should note here that my beloved is an avid, tenacious, incredibly driven wallpaper remover. It gives real meaning to her life at Owls Hoot. I am in admiring awe of her, because removing wallpaper makes me want to claw my eyes out and run screaming to play in 4 lanes of traffic. In the ol’ Dark Ages,
pre-steamer, I would visit a room that Casey had worked on all night, and not be able to see the difference, from one day to the next. Now, in the space of an hour or two she’s finishing whole walls! It’s remarkable. She even discovered a covered up door in the guest room, confirming a suspicion of mine. What the door led to, or serviced is still unknown, but it’s nice to have a little more mystery in your life. Moreover, the walls are really beautiful looking, in both color and texture. Huzzah!
Meanwhile, for me, I got the front-end loader on the tractor, which seems to run only sporadically. We’ve got some battery issues on that old girl – i.e. the battery doesn’t want to hold a charge. But Super Pete, the mechanic, is on the case. I don’t know where we’d be without him. I’ve also got half of our first collection of radiators pressure tested – with the help of our boiler installer, Super Ron, I rigged up a pressure tester to work with our compressor. Fill them radiators up to 40 psi, and see if the pressure drops over a couple of hours. If not, you’re good to go. ish. Incidentally, I don’t recommend taking out a radiator plug at 40 psi. I learned this the hard way. The logic seemed good to me at the time – use the pressurized air in the radiator to blast out the rust and scale that had accumulated inside it. Turns out, though, that 40 psi is a lot of psi, and when rust, scale and a cast iron plug shoot out
under that pressure, they can really put a hurt on your hand. On my hand. All’s well that ends well, though. Mostly healed up, and I’ll not make that mistake again. Heat, you’re so close!
Ok. I’m off to try to trap the rat that was munching under the floorboards last night and that kept me awake from 4:17 AM to about 5:25. Bastard. I’m coming for you.