Thursday, June 27, 2013

Medicare Update

More progress:
Social Security sent us the forms that we need to verify that we have current insurance through my husband's employer. We will have this done and mailed back to SS next week. Then we will be all set for Medicare Part B to start when DH retires next February. Whew!

We have decided against a Medicare Advantage plan at this time.

I have narrowed down to 2 likely companies for the Medigap insurance--AARP (United Healthcare) and USAA. The coverage is the same and the premiums are $108/ month and $118/month. Both are sending me written information.

Next I will look into the Part D Prescription drug plans. Both AARP and USAA have prescription drug plans. DH needs 2 inhalers for asthma and I don't have any regular prescriptions.

While this process has been made much easier by the Internet, it has still been rather time-consuming. I am certainly learning a lot about Medicare. My advice to anyone approaching Social Security and Medicare is to give yourself plenty of time for reading and research because there are important deadlines and it can be rather overwhelming (or at least it was for me).

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Well, it looks like the U.S. is going to be sending arms to the Sunni rebels in Syria who are fighting the Shia fighters from Hezbollah.  Just what is needed in the area--more arms....How long before we have people over there training, providing communications and intelligence? We probably already are. Anyone for a no-fly zone ala John McCain??
It really is hopeless. Humans are determined to kill each other and every living thing that can be killed and why not just poison  and make uninhabitable our one and only planet while we are at it. 

Figuring out Medicare

Figuring out Medicare

Oh my, this is not for the faint of heart!  

JMM and I signed up for Medicare Part A when we turned 65. No problem, just registered online and received our Medicare cards in the mail. We did not sign up for Part B because we get our medical insurance through his employer. However, he will be retiring next February.  So I have been reading the Medicare and You publication and the site. 

The first step I needed to do was call Social Security and make arrangements for adding Part B.  Once I got past the automated system and to an agent, it was quite straightforward.  They are mailing the forms to us and we will have to get JMM's HR Department to verify that we have been covered under his employer's policy. Mail that back in and our Part B will begin February 1. 

I have a couple more decisions to make:
     Medigap insurance?
     Medicare Advantage plan?
     Medicare prescription drug plan?

I am going to try to get information together in a spreadsheet form so we can compare costs and benefits.  Most of it seems to be online and will be just a matter of pulling it all together. 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,

Dear Mom and Dad,
     I have jury duty today. In fact, I am writing on my iPad in the Jury Assembly room at the Fort Bend County Justice Center. It is a new modern building, not the old county courthouse. Although I had never been here before, I had no trouble finding it. I got the Driving Directions on Google. We have a Garmin which will give you voice guided directions as you drive but I didn't want to bother with it. Anyway, once you get into the building you have to go through a metal detector and scanner. Since I was on my scooter, I just scooted through and the attendant used a hand wand to make sure I wasn't bringing any contraband in. It is air-conditioned (actually a little too cool) and they even have WiFi so I have an Internet Connection. I have a book on my iPad too so i have plenty to keep me occupied while waiting. The only uncomfortable thing is the hard wood benches; next time I'll bring a cushion!
Well that was over quickly. They only needed one jury panel and then sent the rest of us home. Under the current system, I won't be called again for 3 years. 
I've been on both civil and criminal juries and found both of them very interesting. I don't recall either of you being called for jury duty. Were you??

That's all for now. Nap time. I miss you both more than words can say. 

Love, FM

P.S. My black cat LuckyDuck is throwing up again.  Don't know what I should do. Wait and see I guess. If he goes downhill, I could take him to the vet for fluids, anti-nauseant, and more antibiotics but that will be a lot of money. OK, wait and see; no need to borrow trouble from tomorrow. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eaarth by Bill McKibben

As much as I applaud Bill McKibben, as much as I am certain that climate change is real and that our lives will be altered dramatically by it, the only thing I got out of this book is depressed.  The first half is unrelentingly grim and the second half is not focused on anything concrete that I either didn't already know or on things that, while touchy, feely good, aren't likely to be applicable to me. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hurricane Carla, Galveston, 1961

Hurricane Carla

I was born and raised on Galveston Island just off the Texas Gulf Coast. My parents owned a typical small post World War II house on the west part of the island which was not protected by the sea wall. I loved that little house and it was a good place to grow up. There were kids in almost every house and we all played inside or outside each others houses. There was a brand new elementary school just across the street where everyone went to elementary school.  There were occasional storms or hurricanes but the first one that I remember was Hurricane Audrey in August, 1957 when I was 10 years old. My father was a merchant mariner with Lykes Bros. and was at sea at the time. My mother decided that Audrey was probably not going to be much of a problem to Galveston so we would stay in our little house.  During the storm, water from the bay backed up just to the top of the doorstep. The National Guard came by in an big truck and evacuated us. I remember so clearly being carried by the Guardsman through the swirling water to the truck and then to an evacuation center.  
I mention all this to explain why in 1961 when we were watching Carla build up in the Gulf, there was absolutely no question in our minds that we would leave the island. We went to my Aunt Lillian and Uncle Marvin's house in East Texas; my brother Roger who was 15 years older than me, brought his family also.  We sat glued to the television and marveled as Dan Rather reported on the storm and showed the actual radar picture of the storm. If I am not mistaken, this was the first time radar was shown on television. 
After the storm, it was several days before we were allowed back on the island. We were all crammed into one car and that car was very low on gasoline. We were all worried that we would not have enough gasoline to make it over the causeway and to our home.   Driving into Galveston on Broadway, there were piles of wreckage several stories high that had been bulldozed off the street--big boats and piles of lumber. There was one gasoline station where they had a working hand pump and we were able to get gasoline to make it home.
Our house still stood! The brick facade on the front was lying in the yard and there was debris all over the place but my house was still there!  We couldn't open the front door so we had to go around to the back door to get in. Oh what a sight the inside of the house was! There had been about 3 feet of seawater inside and as it receded, it had left a coating of mud over everything. It looked like there was a coating of chocolate over the floors and furniture. But it sure didn't smell like chocolate. 
My brother's house was on higher ground and had not been damaged at all. So we camped out there for 2 weeks while we cleaned out our house. All the furniture and carpets were piled in the yard and hosed down and left to dry in the sun. My mother was constantly worried about snakes as there were many around. We salvaged what furniture that we could. The hardwood floors buckled in places and the sheetrock in the walls had to be replaced.  My parents decided to raise the house about 5 feet to protect it from future storms. There was no help from the government and nor from insurance since the damage was from rising water. 
Eventually the house was raised and repaired and became a home again but it was much hard work and sacrifice. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013


We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will. Show a loving consideration for all creatures, and seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world. Work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life. Rejoice in the splendour of God's continuing creation.

From Quaker Advices and Queries