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May be losing my good insurance coverage

It’s sad.  I’ve always chosen jobs based on their insurance – primarily because of my father’s health issues.

Now, because of my retirement and just the way things are, I may be losing that good insurance.  I’ve spent a lot of nights worrying about it and I’m trying not to think about it much.  I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do, especially since money is tight as it is.

I haven’t had luck getting a job at technology and I know I can’t work in the classroom any more.  It’s pretty scary. 

Woke up to find a neat email

It was from Kristina Curtis, and she told me she included me in a post at

Quite an honor. 

I just got back from my fourth cruise.  I had everything I needed but restless leg medication so I am getting it more together. 

While I was gone I got an email about my new pump. I got the last one in December, which put me in the front of the line on the new pump. It's the latest Meditronic with the upgraded sensors. 

So I will be posting about that. 

I also got news today about my diabetes clinic. They shut down the Friday before I left on the cruise. I had an appointment the Tuesday I got back.  Apparently the open back up on the first of June. 

Mystery Shopping Update

I have been shopping since mid-February and am doing quite well.  I have flaked a few jobs. One of those jobs were because of the directions, and that company when immediately off my list.  Another job was gotten and done through an app and they wanted a better picture of the receipt.  A month after the job.  They are off my list too.

I have a love/hate relationship with one company, and am very selective on what jobs I do with them.  Love the fact that they pay twice a month, hate their directions and most of their jobs are complicated until you get the hang of of them.

I don’t do audits.  I’ve done one, and it was fairly easy, but I like staying in the shadows.

I am very selective on restaurants.  I’ve done one compensation only and never again.  I prefer restaurants that pay a flat fee and let you decide how much to spend.

The first retirement home bothered me a lot, but the second one was good.  I’m going to do more.

I’ve done two car negotiation jobs.  Those take specialized training, and even more complicated.  I bombed my first one, partly because I don’t think on my feet well yet.  I still got paid for it so it wasn’t a flake. The second one I managed to get $500 off, so I felt good about it.  I’m spacing those out because they take two trips.  Plus they are hard.

The other two flakes were a difference of opinion between the MSP and I.  I think I did them correctly, but I was so new to mystery shopping then, I didn’t think it was appropriate to argue.  I’ve done another 16 jobs for them that I did according to their guidelines so we’re all good.

I will admit I prefer phone and internet jobs to going out face to face.  I also think I end up making more money on those.  I’ve done a bunch of internet chat jobs at $5.00 a piece.  As I shop, I’m getting better at finding jobs that take less energy.

Pillpack replacement -- Pill Suite

I loved the convenience of Pill Pack but at $3000 more and screw ups, I had to leave.

See It works.  I've been using it for a month.  You have to do the work yourself.  It comes with a sorter, a sealer, and 4 rolls of pill packages.

There is some tricks to the pill packages.  You have to be careful with you pull the package of the roll, I frequently pull off an edge that seals things.  No worries, just use the sealer on that side, though open the package can be harder.

Also, the packages themselves stick together.  I've found that if you rub the solid edge together, it comes apart easier.

Runs right around $40.00

Well worth the savings.

What this Quality Assurance thing you are doing?

My Johns Hopkins job pays well, but I frequently don't get a lot of hours, I am sitting at 4 hours for this week, and I don't see many more coming in.  I need a bit more cash if I want to show dogs, so I started Mystery Shopping.

Yes, I go into retail places and critique the service, food and the facility itself.  I also do phone and web shops, which I like the best.

The higher the pay, the longer the job, and more questions you have to answer.  Last week, I did a phone shop that will pay $2.00  I had to record a call to the store, and pose as a typical shopper asking questions. No narrative.

I have to go into banks, and pose as a typical customer.  Those pay higher if you have to open an account. I get from $15 to $60 according to the complexity. 

I do a lot of new car shops, going in and asking for a particular model, I have even done a negotiation shop. 

I started in February, have gotten paid for all but two shops which I screwed up, well I think I did them right, but it didn't seem worth it to complain.  I have taken in several hundred dollars, and am owed more. So far, all have paid as scheduled. 

The fun part, is that I am an independent contractor and I have to keep up with everything, including the taxes.  There are dozens of companies to work for, they pay by check, PayPal or direct deposit. Some pay twice a month, but most pay once a month and they pick the date. One company sent me over $50 via direct deposit for the jobs I did with in March, and I didn't get an email and can see know where on their website that I got paid. Love them and love their shops. They have a restaurant shop that is easy to do and don't seem to have a limit on visits. 

So far, since mid February I have been having a small but steady income stream.  


Problem with the Primary Care Office

I’ve put in a request to have my generic Celebrex switch from a 30 day to 90 day prescription multiple times.  It keeps being ignored.

I don’t blame the doctor, I blame the medical assistant who grouses every time she has to do something.  As a result, I’m thinking of changing offices even though I really like the doctor.  I can’t get through her to get to him.

Can’t decide if I want another appointment with him, or with the orthopedist.  I’m thinking about SyncVisc if I do.  Spelling help, its a knee cartiledge injection.  I’ve had good results in the past.

New Pharmacy Made A Mistake

First, they are quite confusing since i get a text message every time the finish filling a script.  For some dumb reason, they did my pen insulin (emergency supply) before they did my vial insulin.

I tried to tell them they were wrong, but they basically gave me a two year supply of emergency pens, when they should have given 3 months.  For $30.00

I told them when I picked it up, but they didn’t listen, but it might have been too late at that point.  They called and I explained that it was my emergency insulin and that I used vials.

So I did end up with the correct vials.

They can’t release the pill medication until March 2, when I am completely out.

Stressed to the max

I will admit that the last few weeks have been stressful.

When they call something dental surgery, they aren’t kidding.  I was a bit surprised that I could drive myself there and back and that they weren’t using more sedation than local anesthesia and calling it surgery.  I’m also not doing anything like that willingly again soon.

Then there is the whole cornea abrasion thing from the dry eye.  I’ve had another small attack upon waking.  Yes, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to see out of that eye again.

Then finances.  I was making somewhere higher than $60,000 a year teaching.  Between retirement and the part time gig, I’m pulling in $40,000.  All good, but we’re still in a bad place tax wise, and I didn’t realize it.  I made a $6000 mistake on our taxes, which means our take home is $6000 a year less than I thought.  I’ve found the money but still.  I also paid off my truck leaving us with no cushion but then no $400 a month truck payment.

I’ve started some other part time work and of course, that adds to the stress.  I like it, as I can schedule it when I want and do when I want.  I might even be able to do it while traveling but we’ll have to see.  I am doing well at it, the first two times I had to add to my reports, but the last 2 times they were accepted as is.

It fits in well with the Johns Hopkins work, since it is also a “do when you want and where”, to some extend.  I get up every morning and go through email, sending out reports and grading work that came into the night.  I tend to drop everything and respond during the day if I get a question, but put off grading most of the time until I have a chunk or its the end of the day.  Of course, since I’m a private contractor, it’s going to be a fun tax thing. 

So I didn’t need the prescription stress.  Though I will admit the savings is going to go a long ways towards the tax discrepancy.

Landed in a good place

This whole prescription thing has been a bit of a nightmare.  I said yesterday, I had originally planned to just move everything that wasn’t a pill to the Express Scripts Prescription Plus Pharmacy.  Then leave the pills to PillPack, but that hasn’t worked out.  I have succumbed to the  Express Scripts pressure to move everything to Home Delivery.  Well almost the Prescription Plus thing is a compromise.  Though it does still save I’ll save $3158.92 if I switch to home delivery.  At the moment, the Express Scripts is a bit behind.

I have been hesitant to use the Express Scripts Prescription Plus.  I am also REALLY against Home Delivery, especially insulin.

I’ll admit, that of our local pharmacies it is the farthest away – though I do shop at that store and it was on the way home from school.  It’s also the hardest to physically get to from the store parking lot.  The biggest problem was customers, not the staff.  The pharmacy always seem to be busy, probably because of the Prescription Plus thing.  I’m very sure where the line begins, there is no place to sit and wait, and I just feel confused there.  Since it should just be a once a month trip, I should be okay.

Seriously, only once in the past two weeks have I gone in without a line and that was the day they couldn’t help me.

The original plan, which I started, was to get my Contour Next Strips as a 90 day prescription – they had been a 90 day prescription coming from Medtronic's, and Express Scripts nixed that this month.  I walked in and asked if they could do the transfer as a 90 day, and they said no, I had to have a new prescription from my doctor.  I left upset, because I had just been to that doctor and thought the prescriptions were fine, and was not ready for that battle.  I then decided my next 90 days prescription would be my restless leg medication since I see that doctor on March 10. 

As I said yesterday, my current doctors and previous doctors want you to come in for an office visit for any prescription changes.  I just wasn’t ready to deal with Diabetes of America.  Here I was a new patient and needing prescription refills when I said I didn’t.

Late last night I got a call from Tom Thumb and they said it would be a few days before my prescriptions would be ready as they didn’t have enough of the drug to fill it.  Oh, and we just noticed that you still have a couple of 30 day prescription that need to be converted to 90 day.  Well, they didn’t get that there were multiple doctors involved.  So we got that straightened out on the phone.  They are contacting the doctors about the 90 day prescriptions.  One of them was one that Diabetes of America missed, which I swear we talked about on the phone yesterday but there was a bunch.  One was for my primary care physician, which seems to be of the “come in for the prescription school”, so we’ll see.  I had contacted him myself yesterday via the medical portal.

This morning I registered on their website for their online refill system.  It needs a lot of work, but it does work.  I’m getting email reminders to pick things up now. 

By the way, I get the whole, come in and talk to us about prescription changes.  That is the only way the doctor actually gets paid for that kind of work.