where I complain about money

So I’m going to write a post about money, prefacing it by saying that I tend to be Chicken Little when it comes to money issues and scream THE SKY IS FALLING while Gabe says, “Money is not real.” So we have vastly different opinions when it comes to these things. It’s not that I can’t afford to pay things off, I do- and it’s not that Gabe doesn’t pay things off or believe in the value of a dollar, but he doesn’t think it’s worth stressing out about.

All of that being said, when we initially learned we were pregnant- we were both completely freaked at the prospect of how much having and raising a baby/child costs. Different websites give you different averages, and then there’s college- which they say will cost upwards of $300K when Thumbkin decides to go– although these days I may discourage education since it doesn’t really seem to benefit people in anyway other than to saddle them with unyielding student loan debt and set them behind uneducated people who’ve already been in the workforce for 4 more years gaining seniority and hogging up all the good vacation days around Christmas.

So when we talked about pregnancy/raising kid costs, we said- “Well we’re both employed, with salaries and insurance, certainly we’re much better off than MANY people right now- we can do this.”

And we can.

However,  when I started budgeting for paying back student loans, I took a look at the credit cards I’d stopped using but had attempted to start just paying off. I have paid off cards before, so I realize it’s no small feat and takes a long time. I just decided I’m DONE paying interest and I’m DONE using fake money I really don’t have. This means, that (gasp) if I don’t have the money in my pocket for something, I have to save up. I can’t put it on a payment plan, etc. It’s not like it’s that strange really- but when a person already lives pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck it can be really scary in case things “come up”.  So we started saving and started paying off the big-bill of maternity/prenatal bill costs. Excuse me if this number sounds very small to you, but to me and my very detailed budget, an extra $600 is a lot of money. We JUST paid it off last pay period and I felt so good about it. I was under the impression that (until we checked out of the hospital) we were done with paying doctor bills for a while…like at least 4 weeks.

Then I got a call from the fancy schmancy hospital I chose (perhaps my first mistake) asking for $300 deposit upfront “as a courtesy”…. And I said, “Exsqueeze me what?!” and immediately- not $hitting you, I feel my blood pressure spike and start seeing bright lights in my field of vision. Do they mean this is a courtesy for ME or for THEM? My insurance covers all but 20% of the costs so they create an “average” ahead of time and ask if I’d like to pay it now.

No. No, I would not like to pay it now. I would like to cry.  I asked the lady, well what is the approximate cost? Give me a ballpark figure? She said I’d have to call their customer (poor people) hotline for that information. Then she said that having a baby is seen as an outpatient procedure. I said, “Everything I’ve read and was told said 2 days for a vaginal delivery…do I not stay 2 days?” The lady on the phone started fumbling…didn’t know what to say and opted for, “Well we wouldn’t send you home if you still needed to be there honey.”

I’m thinking, hand me my baby, cut the cord. Yank out the damned placenta, sew me up, write me a script for percosets and send me home then- $HIT. Send me the bill. And as a courtesy you can….*#%K  right off.

I asked, “Well what do you ask from people who don’t have insurance?”

She said, “You don’t want to know.”

I think they ask for the uninsured’s baby. Like Rumplestiltskin.

Gabe and I have good jobs, I mean- we HAVE jobs which (right now) is in and of itself good. The fact that we are both employed with insurance, maternity leave and whatnot covered- we get it, we’re lucky- we say it all the time.

I just can’t stand this feeling of impending doom all the time like- I’m never going to get ahead. And the thing is, is I AM going to get ahead- faster than most of America in fact because I DON’T have credit cards anymore, we don’t use Gabe’s. We cut out a lot of expenses that aren’t necessary like cable and gym memberships (sigh).  My car is paid off. In 9 years my student loan payments will be forgiven completely- POOF gone. We’re in much much better shape than most of the people yet I still can’t shake this feeling of….WHEN WILL IT END?!

So we’re going to end up paying 20% of whatever-it-costs-to-have-a-baby in a hospital. Which, according to the research I did on the computerwebs, will be somewhere between $4500-$8000 depending.  I just paid $600 in prenatal care- what did that cover?

AND what do people WITHOUT insurance do? I mean- do they just hope they don’t get pregnant? *cross your fingers!*

It just reminds me of the last time I thought I had face cancer because I was getting headaches in my FACE due to a botched root canal. I couldn’t afford the root canal so the doctor forced me to get a credit card because they wouldn’t allow me to just pay them each month (this is one of the credit cards that I consolidated so now I’m paying off a root canal WITH INTEREST like a freaking sleeper-sofa) Anyways, my doctor wanted to make sure I didn’t have some sort of tumor in my face because of all of the swelling and strange pain. I had a CAT scan. Insurance covered a teensy bit. Then a few months later I got a bill- that I didn’t think was real. Then they called me. And I told the lady, “Look I can’t pay all of this right now so I don’ t know what you expect me to do.” She said, “Well maybe next time you think you need a procedure done you’ll think about whether or not you can afford it first.

So that’s what I’m getting at people: I’m already completely freaked out about the whole- splitting in half to shoot a child from between my legs. Now I will also be glancing around the room wondering how much I’m paying to sit in their chairs, to get the drugs, to sleep on the crappy bed and use the pillows. I’ll be tallying all of that up WHILE ripping in half. Because that’s just who I am.

That’s a load of shit. And I have insurance. I’m one of the “lucky” ones.

*EDIT* I just read this post on another person’s blog. About halfway through she talks about how she’s being asked to pay ahead of time for her delivery, too. Messed up. She jokes about considering a home-birth next time. The more I read about that the more I think that might be the way to go in the future….as if I were as strong as the women I’ve seen on youtube or something…or ricki lake.

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Pre-Registration

So nowadays they have Pre-Registration for hospitals, that you can fill out up to three months out of your due date. This way you’re not forced to explain your Group Health Insurance Policy # and all that other worthless stuff while you’re writhing in pain upon entering the hospital to give birth.

So this morning I decided to fill out this information online and get it over with early. I started filling out the online forms and it appears that the form is similar for those pre-registering (like I am) and for those requesting an appointment (something completely different I guess)… 

The form gets to a point where you have to select:

  • Are you a maternity patient? Yes or No. I click Yes.
  • What date are you due? (select from the calendar)
  • Is this appointment due to an accident? Yes or No.

Hmm….um, technically I should’ve clicked Yes I guess. But I don’t think that question was meant for me. But it made me laugh and made me wonder- if it WAS for me, would they be more proactive in suggesting birth control options on our way OUT of the hospital? Or would they be exchanging knowing glances amongst themselves when G comes into the room with his tongue ring and obscure band t-shirt? I don’t know. But I thought it was a funny question.

hospital tours and more

Whoa, this is how I feel today:

gunner passed out
gunner passed out

Pay no mind to the big drool stain on my couch (and thanks Gunner!). This past weekend I dog-sat my furry nephew Gunner again, and took him on numerous long walks in the hot weather. He was so tired that he could barely walk when we got home. I felt the same way. I still do in fact.  It’s funny how much more tired I am these days. This morning I woke up feeling like I worked out yesterday, even though I hadn’t. Just achy in general. So bizarre. And the sleep I’m getting is that weird in-between-sleep that doesn’t really count. It’s like taking a 20 minute nap when you don’t ever really fall completely asleep and you don’t ever feel completely rested. You just feel awake and tired. I’ve felt that way for about a week now, and I realize this is probably as good as it gets. Meh, whatever.

This past weekend was also Memorial Day weekend. I worked on Saturday, but then Sunday G and I went to Lowe’s and got some flowers. This entire outing took entirely too long for both G and I. It was hot and miserable and our cart was shitty and kept going askew instead of straight where we’d push it. We always laugh at the people at Lowe’s since there are always couples there getting into domestic disputes and arguments. “You’re such a GD asshole my godwhat’syourproblem!?” THESE ARE THINGS I OVERHEAR AT LOWE’S EVERYTIME WE GO THERE. Inevitably G and I get into a discussion over this versus that, and it never escalates, but he tries to make a scene just so we fit in, and then I laugh so hard I end up having to pee. Yes, I can tell you where the restroom is at Lowe’s and Home Depot. What of it?!

We ended up getting these plants:

our cart at lowe's
our cart at lowe's

which ended up costing like $70 or something which I believe is pure shit. I mean, there’s no guarantee I won’t end up killing these things and YES we already discussed how we probably should’ve tried the plant thing or the pet thing before attempting the parenting thing. We just never wanted that much responsibility. Ha!

Then after our Lowe’s outing we went on a walk with our friend Ryan and the dog up to get ice cream at Jeni’s. This time I had lemon blueberry and reisling pear. The girl said, ‘Be careful-it’s really soft due to the all the alcohol in it…” and I was like, “BRING IT!” Yea I did not get a buzz from the ice cream, bummer. But it was quite tasty on that hot hot day.

Monday we then had cinnamon rolls at home and ended up cooking out. A few friends came over and it was a good time. Still I was exhausted by the end of the day. G ended up planting some of the flowers we got last night with the only gardening tool we have: a plastic child’s Spongebob Squarepants trowel that we bought at Lowe’s. It worked though. And we have an adorable little toad who likes the basil and lavender plants we put in the the flower bed. He’s so cute!

I could go on and on about work but I’m not going to- but mainly you should know that we’re getting to that time of year where schools are letting out and we’re about to be infiltrated by massive amounts of bored children and their parents who are looking for something, anything to do with their kids that is free. Of course we promote coming-to-the-library and we WANT them there….but somedays I wish there was a disclaimer attached to that sentiment…like:  (*assuming your children are well-behaved and not maniacs, YES we would LOVE to have them*) but that would never fly, and I should be ashamed for even thinking such a thing. So yea, we’re getting busier and busier with angry people and bored kids. It’s awesome. Add onto that the time on my feet in uncomfortable shoes and you have one happy lady at the end of the day!

Tonight was our big Hospital tour, which I thought might be unnecessary but after going through it I’m really glad we did. First off, I grew up being INCREDIBLY familiar with one hospital in particular. It is a tiny tiny hospital in comparison to the one where I’ll be giving birth. The hospital is color coded for your convenience, Yellow, Blue, Green, Red, etc. The women’s center is Yellow- and there are two floors you might be on within the Labor and Delivery– either 3 or 5. I’m hoping for 3 since it’s one of my favorite numbers. Anyways, we were there at the “tour” with two other couples- one due in August and the other in October. When I hear someone say they’re due after me, it makes me feel so good now- like there IS an end in sight and yes there WILL be a baby coming out of here soon. Ironically, there are butterflies painted on the walls of the hallways in the maternity areas (I have an irrational fear of butterflies). G says he remembers everything from the tour, but I felt way bombarded with information. I’m sure I would get lost the next time I’m there. Most of the time I was too busy sizing myself up in comparison to the other lady that was due in August, and wondering how those adorable (but seemingly ginormous) babies in the nursery could ever come out of my body…YIKES.

Anyways, the rooms at the hospital offer a host of things- birthing balls, cd player, dvd player, and we are welcome to bring our iPod docking station. And I asked G, “What kind of playlist do we play in labor?” You’re allowed to use cellphones and the wireless in the hospital, no problems. The place just seems really- unhospital-like which is GOOD. 

It was freaky to be there, but I’m glad we went. I don’t think we’re going to do a childbirth class, mostly because they’re over $100 and we can both think of a million other things that money could go towards. Instead we’ve rented a bunch of library DVDs to watch. I’ve had them for two weeks and no we haven’t watched them…but that’s because I also have Six Feet Under and Notorious to watch…

I have some other funny things I wanted to tell but I’m not concentrating right now…I’m so tired and I just kind of want to lay down…. Will promise to write more interesting stuff later…