Saturday, November 2, 2013

Daylight saving time - why?

Ever wonder why we put ourselves thru all of the trouble, sleep disrurbance and worry? Watch this. Maybe it will explain some things

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My root canal: a public service announcement

This post is about the financial crisis that ensued after my root canal. This post contains a lot of words. If you don't want to read them all, skip to the bottom and read the last few lines. 

I complained to my dentist of some sensitivity in one of my upper molars, so he referred me to an endodontist. It was determined that I had a cracked tooth and needed a root canal treatment to remove the nerve and stop the pain and sensitivity. I scheduled the appointment.

At this point I must add that I have pretty good dental insurance and a flexible spending account. I was not concerned about the cost of the procedure. I asked the endodontist what was involved in the root canal treatment and he described it as a really involved drilling and filling. I looked at a diagram on the wall. I looked the procedure up online and got what I thought was a pretty good understanding of the procedure. So at this point I was sure that after the appointment I was leaving the office with a reconstructed tooth.
Oh, how wrong I was.

The endodontist spent about two hours grinding an filing the inner surfaces of my tooth and then he packed it with something and put a temporary filling in place. The endodontist said that he would have my chart and some x ray slides mailed over to my dentist. The endodontist was then going to leave and be on a plane to Costa Rica by noon. My bill was half of the $650 dollar procedure. I left with a hollow tooth and an appointment with my dentist to finish the procedure a few days later. I was not expecting to leave the endodontist office with an unfinished procedure. I figured that the follow up treatment would be a large filling and the cost would be whatever was the cost of a really big filling. 

An office person from my dentist office called about two hours later and told me that my dentist wanted to do a core reconstruction and install posts for the low low price of $1520. I promptly told the young lady that there was no way that I could pay that. My insurance was maxed out after the morning root canal and my flexible spending account was nearly wiped out. My wife began to worry and became upset about how we were going to pay for my tooth. This was a completely unexpected and significant expense. The office representative offered that only half would be required on the day of service. I still said that there was no way that I could pay even half of that amount. I asked what the cost of extraction would be and she told me that service was $320 and that the entire amount would be due at the time of service. I told her that I would have to cancel the appointment and wait until I could pay for extraction or find a dentist that could fill the tooth without all of the reconstructive stuff. My wife and I were still quite rattled at the unexpectedly high cost to complete the treatment of my tooth and I was worried about what was to become of it if it was not pulled or completed. Later in the day I got another call from my dentist office asking if I could come in at 4 pm so my dentist could see if reconstruction was really needed, free of charge. I agreed. It was then that it dawned on me that there was no way that my dentist had received any information from the endodontist by the time of the first phone call. My dentist just started with the most expensive treatment, just to see if I would bite (pun intended). 

I went in for the evaluation and I explained that I could cover about $200 dollars on a flexible spending account. My dentist determined that he could fill and smooth the tooth and reconstruction wasn't needed (during this insurance year, anyway). I dropped $210 between the FSA and out of pocket and my tooth was filled and fixed by 4:30 on the same day that I had the root canal. I thought it was interesting that the treatment options seemed to be a little more reasonable after I started asking about having the thing pulled. 

So, the moral of the story is: Ask about your treatment options. Ask about the fine details of any procedure that will be performed. Know what you are going to have to pay before you make the appointment. You can avoid a self created financial and dental health crisis if you are properly informed.

I hope this helps.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I am angry at my pants

I was sitting in a folding chair on the driveway next to our driveway fire pit enjoying an evening of mild temperatures and a crackling fire. The shorts I was wearing were examples of the ill designed cargo shorts that are so popular these days with the kids. Mine have shallow front pockets that gape when sitting, and are otherwise appointed with poorly thought out exterior cargo pockets designed for the carrying of things that are either highly improbable or just don't exist. One of the pockets on these shorts seems to be designed to carry a salt shaker. Anyway my telephone slipped out of my pocket and clattered about on the concrete. I was nauseated by the appearance of several nasty scratches on what would be the bezel around the screen. I am usually the type of person that believes that if you must put some kind of protective case on your telephone, you probably need to wear a helmet around just for general safety. I exclaimed foul oaths and probably insulted my wife when I said "Great! Now I'm one of those people who walks around with a fucked up telephone." to which she replied "Like me?" referring to her slightly less than mint iPhone.

I shall never wear those shorts again.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The rules

Since no one else will do it, I have made up the rules of use for email, telephones, and voice mail, plus a list of banned phrases:
Here are the rules:


Your work email is your means of professional communication with your coworkers and colleagues. Don’t use text message and instant message abbreviations when composing a professional email. Write your messages using complete thoughts, complete sentences, and proper grammar. Chances are that you speak English and grew up speaking it, so use it (no disrespect directed to those of you who didn't grow up speaking English. Also, if you learned English as a second language, you probably speak it and use it better than native speakers anyway).

The subject line of your email is there for a reason, so use it. When you send an email without a subject line, you are denying yourself and others the ability to use the subject line to search for the message later on. Also, if you do not include a subject line, and you or the receiving person sorts by conversation, those emails get grouped together as "no subject" conversations even though they are not related.

Online email and local email applications file messages in conversations (or at least offer the option to do so). If you use email in a professional corporate setting, you probably send a lot of messages to make requests for this and that. If you add a new request as a reply to an ongoing conversation, the receiving person will not be able to search for the new request because your new request was not made in a new and distinct message. Send a separate message for new requests.

Telephones and Voice Mail

Telephones have been in existence for over a hundred years now. Voice mail and answering services have been in existence since the 1970s. Everyone should reasonably know what voice mail is and how to use it. You do not have to give an intricate explanation of how to record a voice mail message in your voice mail greeting.

Voice mail was and is intended to be a means of effective communication in the instance that the receiving party is unable to answer his or her telephone. When leaving a voice mail you should record a message that contains actual information. If you leave a message that simply says “I have a question, please call me back”, you are not leaving any helpful information in the message and negating the effort expended in making the call. Go ahead and state your question, or make your request, so the receiving person can prepare an answer or at least have a general idea of what the conversation will be about when he or she returns your call. To do anything else wastes time and effort.

List of Banned Phrases and the reason that they are just stupid

Reach out: For what? Frequently used in place of call, contact, email and such.  

Circle Back: To what? Used in place of call contact, email, etc.

Heartbeat: Chances are you are not a doctor. How about “signal” or “data”?

Touch Base: Are we playing baseball? How about “check back” or “check in”?

GUI (pronounced “gooey”): If you are not describing a melted chocolate bar, it’s G-U-I. Graphic User Interface, if you are keeping score at home.

Database: Just because you learned a computer word doesn’t automatically make you smart.

Tickler: If your name isn't Elmo and you don’t live on Sesame Street, use the word “reminder”.

Xfer: For the ninety nine millionth time, it’s “transfer”. I bet you open X-mas presents on December 25th, right? Spell it out!

Pop: Things that pop are usually balloons or zits or knuckles. If you are using “pop” to describe something electronic, and the electronic components are not exploding and sparking like the bridge of the Star Ship Enterprise during a space battle, then use the phrase “pop up”. If you are Vern Yip, go ahead and say "Pop" all you want.

Plus / Delta: What? We can’t say "positive" and "negative" anymore? Thanks for taking a stand for the rights of the downtrodden and oppressed minus sign, jackass!

Cat (short for category): If you are not describing a feline quadruped or a 
piece of heavy equipment, use the word "category". You have hours and hours of TV time to fill during the coverage of the latest hurricane. There is no reason to budget your words. Just say category.It will stretch things out for an extra fraction of a second and reduce the number of times that you have to repeat the same crap that we have already seen and heard.

All text message abbreviations are stupid:

They are.

LOL: No you are not! I'm sitting across from you at the same meeting table. I can tell that you are not, in fact, laughing out loud.

BC or B/C: The word is Because. Use it. It's not difficult to spell. 

BRB: It is unnecessary to tell someone that you will be right back. The wonderful thing about text messaging is that it lacks the component of actual human contact. There is no reason to observe social protocols. No one really cares if you will be busy on the toilet or away making a sandwich. Just reply when you are done. You took your phone with you anyway. Text while on the toilet. No one will know. No one cares.

K: Unless you have been asked by text message to supply the chemical symbol for potassium, K is not acceptable. The word is "Okay". OK or O.K. is also (slightly less) acceptable.

I am also irritated with the letters B, C, R, U, & Y and the numbers 1, 2, 4, & 8: I'm sure you meant to write Be, See, Are, You, Why, One To or Two, four or for, and that you meant to completely spell out that word that ends with the "ate" sound instead of using an improperly placed number. See, That was easy.


Speaking of Twitter:

"#" #used #in #front #every #stinking #word. #irritating!

I use twitter, but the tweets are really difficult to read when all you get is a bunch of garbled #@ crap with a shortened hyperlink.