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Too Much is Not Enough

I blew off Routine Test this week.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to have it done; it was a combination of things, the primary being that I had scheduled the wrong day off work.  However, when I originally scheduled I also hadn’t anticipated the job change and the required training overlapping with the testing, didn’t know about the knee fix next month, and so on, and so on.

The new job is freaking AWESOME.  If I had created a job that catered specifically to my strengths, this one would have been it.  It’s still work, obviously, and we still have a share of close encounters of the dipshit kind, but overall?  Loving it.  It should also – barring catastrophe – represent a pay increase and a more consistent paycheck.  Which is point two of AWESOME.  I won’t be retiring from a single month’s income, obviously, but should get back to the level of paying my bills every month.  That alone is reason for celebration.  Here’s hoping it’s what I legitimately expect, which is actually more than enough to cover survival levels.  We’re not talking Bill Gates territory, but we’re definitely on par for clearing the books of all backlogged bills over the course of the next few months.

Finally pinned down a date for the knee surgery – November 22, two days before Thanksgiving.  That’s exactly where I wanted it to be, and makes my life significantly easier because I’ve already been approved for the majority of two weeks for vacation.  Dr. Fix-the-Knee* has decreed I should be able to return to work after a two-week recovery, and I am counting on that.  More and I will fall into the chasm of financially screwed.  It’ll be tough enough to pay the hospital bill.  Thank God for the FSA (Flexible Spending Account.)  It might not cover everything but should hopefully knock things down to more manageable size.

Again, hearkening back to the “manage bills with my salary” stuff.

I’ve got to do something financially and my body will not tolerate a second job, not until I get some basic maintenance and repairs done.  It’s really like an old car: if you haven’t taken care of it – and in the case of my body, I haven’t been able to do so – it’s gonna break down.  It will never be like new, no matter what I do.  You can’t bring a ’57 T-bird up to the working standards of a new Mercedes no matter how much money you throw at it.  But you can bring it darn close to factory specs and if you don’t abuse it, it will last a lot longer.  I may not have been a T-bird but the year is the same and with the right rebuilds I should be able to get back on the road.  So to speak.

I read an article today that disturbed me more than a little.  The gist of the story is that the top college-level students in India can’t get into colleges there, so they’re coming to our Ivy League schools in the US, which welcome the international populations with open arms.  US higher education, it seems, is scrambling.  This excerpt outlines the wherefores and how-comes:

Faced with shrinking returns from endowment funds, a decline in the number of high school graduates in the United States and growing economic hardship among American families, they [American universities and colleges] have stepped up their efforts to woo Indian students thousands of miles away.

Read the rest of the article here.

I’m not sure which part of this scares me more: that our graduation numbers are crashing and burning as our economy disintegrates, or that academia’s concerns are focused on the money foreign students bring, and screw helping to find a solution for the US dilemma.

As tight as times are for me financially, I’m among the lucky few for whom the second Great Depression didn’t spell the end of my job.  I whine and moan that I don’t have enough money, but really I’m extremely fortunate.  I have paid my rent and utilities, and we eat very well.  That’s more than a huge portion of the world and more than a large element of the US can claim.  I have medical coverage from a real insurance company rather than AHCCCS – Arizona’s answer to medicaid coverage for the poor, which is an insult to anyone unlucky enough to be caught in its runaround tactics.  I still get the runaround from my insurance company and it’s frustrating as Hell to have to pick up the balls they conveniently drop from time to time.  It’s still leaps and bounds beyond the shit that passes for medical care for the poor these days.

I have enough vacation time to cover my time off for surgery and my job should still be there when I get back, and with the Internet I have the opportunity to do even more with my life without technically taking on a second job.  My kids and grandchildren are all alive and reasonably healthy.  The little guy with CF, despite the diagnosis, is a happy, contented child with no obvious symptoms of the disease and with a life prognosis that keeps going up every year.

So yeah – physical pain aside, I’ve got it pretty damned good and I know it.

Would I love to retire and make as much or more than I make now?  Of course.  I’m a normal human being that way.

Taking a short break, then heading over to compose something on  It’s still open invitation – anything about human history, recent or older, is welcome.  I’ve talked about reincarnation, archaeology and anthropology and more – and would love to hear from you.

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