It's Been an Expensive Year

My hopes for a greenhouse have been dashed once again.

Much like this caterpillar nibbling at my fennel, expenses have been nibbling at my wallet. The only difference is my fennel will recover and the caterpillar will turn into the Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly.

My wallet may recover but I don't think I'll be turning into a butterfly any time soon.

Nana went to the skin specialist. After $1100 worth of tests and the antigens necessary to battle her most volatile allergies we took her home and started the long regime of drug cocktails. 

There's no guarantee this will work. In theory it should work, but no individual reacts like another.

I was a little ticked off at the vet too. He came in, gave us his ten minute sermon about allergy testing, then left his subordinates to do all the work. I did see him in the background looking at samples under a microscope. I guess that's where the $1100 went.

It took Nana two days to feel like herself again. 

Next is Odin. Because he doesn't do well with vets, I took pictures of his eyes. Unfortunately, his specialist is at a conference, so I won't get a call back for at least a week. I suspect Odin might have to undergo surgery at least on his left eye.

But wait, there's more! He's been favoring one of his legs for months now. It's not a pronounced limp, just a gentle lift of his leg when he walks. When he runs he doesn't seem to notice it at all. Still, I suspect something is wrong.

I want to hear back from the eye specialist before I take him to his regular vet. In the meantime I'm going to take video of his gait to see what she thinks.

Medical issues are a no brainer. You have to get those done. But sudden, unexpected household expenses always disrupt my well ordered life. This year it was $1000 bite for new springs for our garage door. It refused to budge.

And only a couple of weeks ago, we had a fierce storm move through. This one brought a lot of lightning. I think it fried my microwave. It started coming on by itself or stopping in mid operation. I didn't trust it anymore. What if it came on by itself when we weren't home? It had to go.

Most recently, our old golf cart started to give us trouble. We had to buy a new one. Despite new batteries, our old golf cart needed constant recharging. It also struggles on our irregular terrain. The new cart is "lifted". It fits our needs perfectly, except for one little thing. 

I can't easily get on or off. It's too high for my short, little legs. That's fixable. We can buy aftermarket steps. The cart's also not as utilitarian as the old one. That requires another modification and addition.

To be fair, we probably could live without a golf cart, but it makes running around our property so much easier, especially with our aging joints. We plan on staying here at least another ten years, so we need a cart to get around--and one I can get into without help. (That's embarrassing!)

Finally, I have two pending appointments with specialists for myself. Yes, me. Ugh!

I think the dermatologist will be first. I'm losing my hair, and according to the last dermatologist, it's an autoimmune disease that's irreversible. The top of my head itches and hurts, despite the drugs. Time for a second opinion.

Also, I think it's time for me to see Greg's knee surgeon. My knee problems aren't as severe as Greg's. It doesn't need to be replaced, but I'm hoping he can do something about the loss of cartilage in that area. It's painful to take even one step. 

I've had two surgeries on my meniscus. The repair helps only for a year or two and then I'm back to walking like Festus from Gunsmoke. I've had enough.

While I'm there, I might have him look at the joints connecting thumbs to hands too. Those are completely shot. It's painful even when I'm not using them. 

I'm not sure what he can do for those, but I'd like an opinion at least. He did such a good job on Greg, I'm hoping he can help me too.

Speaking of Greg, I am nursing him as he recovers from toenail removal for an ingrown toenail.

Since he's diabetic, the doctor only took a chunk of nail from each side and left the middle so to reduce the chances of infection. Diabetics take a long time to heal. We'll have to baby that toe for a while.

It wasn't pretty. When she pulled out that nail, I could see why it hurt him so badly. There was a sharp jagged edge that was literally stabbing him with ever step.


Although my dreams for a greenhouse have been dashed, I'm going to chance it and leave my citrus trees out all winter, covering them in plastic when the really cold weather comes around. If the Farmer's Almanac is to be believed, my piece of Texas should have a mild winter, so maybe I'll be okay.

Leaving my trees outside will give me enough room to grow out my seedlings. 

I've already potted some tomatoes and peppers for overwintering. Cool weather seedlings are ready to move into the garden. 

With all the doctor and vet visits we've had lately (and the brutal heat of July and August), I'm a little behind, but I'm catching up.

What's new in your world? Has this year been harder on your finances than usual?

Grocery shopping is the worst. I walk out with a lot less for a lot more.


Jackie said…
First ouch Maria and second glad you two are doing proactive care for the two humans as well your fur kids.

Groceries are a big budget item here too and since our healthcare is now more expensive thanks to insurance being provided via Cobra till July of 2024 our expenses have increased there too.

Retirement is cheaper than hubs working though because he no longer pays a weekly caregiver fee so our monthly expenses are actually much lower now.

Having said that am sure I jinxed us as every time say something like that I will.
Maria Zannini said…

Jackie: Health care is ridiculous. Why can there not be one price for everyone? One price for drugs?

It feels like a shell game. You never know where the best price is for any one service or medicine.
Jackie said…
Maria that would be such a relief for everyone.

For the first time in almost 10 years we have to pay copayments for medicine we were getting at no cost because company insurance paid 100% on them.

My medicine in particular is horribly expensive and if it weren’t for copay assistance through its manufacturer I’d have to stop taking it.

Dreading Medicare when hit 65 because they don’t pay worth squat for anything and their medicine plant don’t either.

Plus secondary supplements are high cost and you have to get it or go broke paying medical bills.
Maria Zannini said…
Jackie: Medicare always leaves me scratching my head.

Greg is on the upper end of the most expensive Medicare supplement because of his meds. In a way it helped because he paid almost nothing for his knee replacement and therapy. I was expecting a bombshell but they were good about covering everything.

Please study the options carefully and call that number they give you on that booklet they send you to talk to someone who can guide you to the right supplement for your condition.

You shouldn't have to stress about money on top of your disability.

Mike Keyton said…
Life's a bugger but it's better than nothing. You're a fierce and beautiful spirit, Maria. I'm rooting for both of you.
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Mike.

I get a little annoyed when things go south, but I know that life is a pendulum. It never stays in one place for long.
Luba said…
Reading your story Maria, made me think I'm with you. I walk out with a lot less for a lot more, too. I buy groceries and when I get home to put them away, I'm left wondering did I leave some sacks behind at the store? Nope, everything's here. Ughh 🥴

Sorry to read about your hair loss Maria, I've read that biotin, collagen and keratin are a woman's best friend. I think a woman's crowning glory is her hair, just my opinion. Not makeup, not fancy clothes, perfumes, but her hair. My hair's down to my waist. Anyhow, you mentioned expenditures I've had a couple. I had a leak in my car and that cost upwards of $2K, blown gasket. Still cheaper to fix in Biden's economy than buying a new car. The worst of it for me is the furnace. My maintenance man said, "Luba, save some money, within the next year,you're gonna need a new one..." Double Ughh 🥴🥴

Other than that I see my dermatologist in November for more Tretinoin Cream. And my g.p. next month for my yearly.

Other than that furnace needing replaced all's well that ends well in the Luba household. What do the "Sages" say: There's a roof over my head, food in my tummy and happiness in my heart. (I think that's what the "Sages" say...😉🤭😊). I'll keep plugging away. What I really want is to travel, for now though it's a waiting game. Hugs 😘
Maria Zannini said…
Luba: Furnaces are super $$$$

About 30 years ago my mother was told her furnace needed to be replaced. We were visiting at the time and she asked Greg for a second opinion.

Now Greg didn't know anything about furnaces but he's quite mechanical. He poked around then cleaned it.

It ran perfectly. That furnace guy was trying to get her to cough up $10k for a new furnace when all it needed was a thorough cleaning. It's shameful.

It ran perfectly.

Before you shell out any cash, see if all it needs is a cleaning or some new widgets. The really old furnaces are nearly indestructible. Don't know about the newer ones.
Luba said…
He told me it'd cost around $6K. I had the capacitor replaced it's working for now which is good. I shelled out $480 for the service call and capacitor. He complimented me Maria, for keeping my furnace so clean. I change filters religiously and have my furnace serviced twice a year (winter/summer). So I know its clean. Just old 22 years!!! I put in a new furnace/AC when I bought the house 22 years ago.

Maria, I had one of those old, old, clanky furnaces. It would've fit in well with a Stephen King novel. 😉🤭😊 Maybe I could put up a "Go fund me page??" ((No, no I'm only kidding, Maria.)) I have the reserves. Just being stubborn letting it kill itself. 😊
Maria Zannini said…
Luba: I'm sorry you'll have to replace it. That's a big chunk of money.

My mother's furnace was over 50 years old when Greg cleaned it out back in the 80s, so now it's nearing a hundred years old.