Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nickeled and Dimed and Hundreded


Eric and I try to keep to a budget.  We really do.  We keep a very detailed Excel spreadsheet that tracks every penny in and out each month, and we have certain limits on categories like groceries and eating out and babysitting.  We've been doing this for about a year, and though we still have a lot of debt, it's slowly inching its way down.

Very slowly.  Because for the past few months, we've been paying a small ransom in copays.  Trips to the doctor here, ambulance rides there; stays in the hospital here, emergency room visits there.  It adds up, you know?  And we are some of the lucky ones who have insurance.  I can't imagine what it would be like not to.  I suppose we'd be a whole lot more careful about when we went to the doctor and when we didn't.  But maybe we'd be sick a lot more, or for a lot longer.

I don't mean to complain about money, especially when you consider this, which suggests we are the 29,907,929th richest people in the world.  That maybe doesn't sound that great, but it actually means we are in the top 1% wealthiest people on the planet.  So, perspective.

Still, it would be nice for the family not to be sick for a while.  To have everyone stay out of the doctor's office, so we could spend our money on eating skillets at our favorite breakfast joint, Hotcakes, or so we could pay off some more credit card debt.  I've been wishing that Eric and the kids and I could just be well.

I didn't even think about the animals.

Last night I wrapped up a steamy session of Windsor Pilates (oh, my aching Powerhouse!) and got ready for bed.  Eric was out playing a gig, so I was on dog duty.  I was cursing Burley under my breath for needing to go outside every five minutes when I noticed, Hey, Burley is needing to outside every five minutes.  Turns out he was going out to puke.  

He's done this before.  He eats something he shouldn't, something a well-intentioned neighbor has perhaps thrown over the fence for him, like a chicken bone, say.  Then, he's sick to his stomach.  So he goes outside, eats some grass or leaves to make himself throw up, then throws up and feels better.  When this happens, it usually doesn't last too long.  But last night was different.  The poor dog was going out and horking all night long, and he was, well, hang dog this morning, in a big way.  Addie and I got home from a friend's birthday party, and Burley was barely able to stand.  

I won't lie.  Burley is often a pain in my whatsit.  He barks a lot and has to be in the middle of everything and sheds like a mo-fo.  Jeez, does he shed.  But when I saw that poor, sick dog today, my heart just about broke in two, and I made Eric take him to the vet, even though it was a Sunday, and emergency animal care makes you pay through the nose.  The animal hospital:  otherwise known as Usury-Is-Us.  Otherwise known as  Otherwise known as "It's cheaper to euthanize your pet than to get an x-ray here."  But I made Eric take him anyway, because that's what you do when you have a member of your family who is sick, and you have it in your power to make them better.

So, $250 later, Burley is back home.  All he had was a tummy ache.  I'm glad we took him in--glad we can afford to make sure he wasn't poisoned or really sick or diseased.  But, man.  $250 could have bought a lot of skillets at Hotcakes. 

1 comment:

  1. Between me and my husband we've owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I've settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.