Friday, April 24, 2009

See Ya!

Don't let the title of this post fool you. No, I'm not going any place -well, at least probably not any place any further than the local Walmart anyway. But this is my "Only The Good Friday" piece for this week.

Finally, my Jeep is fixed. Well, almost fixed that is. It's back home tonight anyway and that's some good news, some progress. My son-in-law had it in his garage for the past two weeks and two days to work on doing a head gasket job on the old buggy. He ran into problems with a couple of things which is why it took two weeks to get it back together. First off, his friend who had been helping him from time to time at the garage apparently decided he needed a bit of a break from working and disappeared for about a week which left it to the SIL to do all his regular mechanic work plus find time to piddle with my jeep too, all by his lonesome. Then, twice he ran into problems with parts. First, the parts he ordered two weeks ago, when they arrived, they were not the correct parts so they had to go back and the correct parts ordered. It turns out for this particular unit, the parts needed were special order, so that took a bit more time as well.

But finally, this evening he brought it home and says it is running great now. Still has a couple of other things that need to be fixed -like the light on the dash that registers that the jeep is in part-time 4-wheel drive when it really isn't. Initially, SIL thought this was merely a sensor problem but he has decided after checking it out a bit more that it is a little more complicated than that and he wants to get that corrected asap -probably early next week.

I'm just hoping that repair won't be one that is expensive because it is getting near to the end of the month and I'd like to -hopefully -finish out the month with at least a couple of bucks left in my checking account to start out next month on a semi-positive note.

Next month is going to be a bad month, money-wise and I have the lovely social security department as well as the State of Pennsylvania to thank for that.

Remember, back in January, the SSA announced that retirees and those -like myself -who receive social security due to disability -would be getting a large increase in their monthly checks. My check in January -as well as the past three months since then -increased by a whopping $62 a month! A nice little increase, to be sure. However, in February I received notification from the State that because of the increase to my social security payment, my income level now exceeded the amount the state allowed for them to make my medicare payment -which is $92 a month to Social Security and therefore, my Social Security would have that $92 a month deducted from it henceforth.

Well, they never took it out in February, March nor April but about two weeks ago or so, I received a notice from Social Security stating that my allotment that would arrive in May would have $300 deducted from it to make those payments that had not previously been deducted from my check!

Now, it will be a tight squeeze for me to manage what bills I pay here with having that much money taken off the top, but yet, I have to say I am fortunate in that with Mandy and Bill (and the kids) living here, they cover the bulk of the months expenses so I won't go into hock because of this one-month, one-time, reduction in my check.

But I think about others across the country who are not near as fortunate as I am in this respect -those who have bills -rent, utilities, medicine, food, you name it -and it was already a tight squeeze for them to survive even after we got the raise in our checks but to have a three-month payment to medicare deducted all at once? Boy, that is going to be really hard on a whole lot of people.

What gets me about this raise that took me over the income limitation level for the state to pay my medicare payment is that now, after the medicare payment for one month is deducted from my check, what will be deposited in my account will be an amount that will be less that what I received three years ago from Social Security!

So much for getting a nice raise of $62 a month that leaves you with $36 a month to come and go on, huh?

Ah, government! Gotta love it, don't 'cha?

Tuesday evening, I started reading the book my older daughter gave me for Christmas and boy, I have to tell you all about this book. It's wonderful!
This is it! Written by Harry Bernstein, this book, 'The Invisible Wall" is one of the very best books I have ever read! It covers the first twelve years in the life of Jewish book in the mill town of Manchester, England from his earliest memories at about age four until he was about 12 years old, and it covers the era of World War I. Yes, you read that correctly. This is not an old book, recently brought back to life either. It was written by Mr. Bernstein, after the death of his wife of 67 years when he was 93 years old!

Mr. Bernstein will be 99 on May 30th of this year and according to information I found online about him, he is still writing! He has another book already published too -"The Dream" which is about his life and his family after they immigrated to the United States in 1922.

The main premise of the book I read though is the prejudices that existed during his early life in England between the Christians and the Jews.

It is truly a fascinating story, and even has a love story woven in to his autobiography. The fact that he was in his 90s before he wrote this book, makes it all that much more incredible as well.

And, as I read it, so many of the events of his life surprisingly mirrored events of my own childhood, growing up here in this little coal mining village in central Pennsylvania because even in the 50s and early 60s, the prejudices that began with the early immigrants to this place from Sweden and Slovakia were still "alive and functioning" still then. Those prejudices didn't really start to dissipate here until the mid-70s. Old habits truly do die hard, don't they?

So, if you haven't already read Mr. Bernstein's first book, take my advice and get yourself a copy of it and settle back for a very interesting story. You will never regret it!

Now, to explain the title of this post.

The speech therapist who had worked with Maya from the time she was about 21 months old until she was almost four and started going to the preschool program two years ago, and who two months after the speech therapy she provided Maya ended, she returned to provide speech therapy to Kurtis for the past 18 months is no longer with us as Kurt's therapist.

It was, indeed, a sad day last Tuesday when we said "Goodbye" to her because she had become very much a part of our family. Due to the regulations of the Agency that provides the therapists for the kids, she only works with the early-childhood intervention team children so once a child reaches age three, her services are terminated. But the speech therapy isn't finished -just that we now get a new therapist to work with Kurtis until he begins attending the pre-school program like Maya did -which will begin for him sometime in June of this year.

So anyway, he -Kurtis, that is -had met his new therapist two times before she came to the house today to begin working with him. He was friendly with her, worked quite well with her today as a matter of fact. And when she went to leave, she made a big fuss over him, telling him "Bye bye" and "See ya" and waving to him. Finally, he did wave to her and said "See ya." And she left.

She had no more closed the door and started walking to her car when he piped up and said, "See ya, Roxanne!"

Now the fact that he said "See ya" after she was gone is not unusual. It is a bit unusual for him to say it directly to the person leaving. But the fact that when she left he said that and included her first name -well, that really blew Mandy, me and Sam -his TSS -away today!

I can't wait till she comes back next week and we can tell her what he said immediately after she left. I'm sure she will be pretty flabbergasted by that achievement, as much as we were!

So many things -and so varied too -that affected me this week -as well as all the time too -and for which I can see "Only the Good" with each of them.

First, that my son-in-law is a mechanic and got the work done on my jeep for much less cash outlay than I would have needed if someone else had done the job. Saving a bunch of money to maintain one's transportation and thus, a bit of independence too, is a darned good thing. Being able to receive Social Security Disability -well, it's kind of a double edged sword in that I would much rather be able to have a job and go to work five days a week but my body has deteriorated a bit too much for me to manage that so having that bit of income -you betcha that's a good thing, isn't it?

Having a daughter who thought about what book she figured her Mother would enjoy reading and gave that book to me as part of my Christmas gift -knowing how much I do enjoy reading -is an wonderful gift to receive. Carrie, I am truly grateful that you gave me this book and I hope you have already read it too but if not, you can borrow the book you gave me to sit back and enjoy this lovely story. That is as soon as Mandy reads it and also, your brother -as I told both of them that they HAVE to read this book, absolutely have to do it! Just being able to read is such a blessing and one that far to many people don't realize the joy, the value that comes with reading, with discovering a fascinating story through books -or magazines -or newspapers and such! I am very blessed that reading is such a favorite past time of mine.

And finally, that little surprise the grandson provided us today as he waved and said "See ya, Roxanne" is such an excellent thing to receive and something that ranks really high on my "Only the Good" list for this week!

Now, take a look at this -This Eclectic Life which is written by the lovely Shelley Tucker and it was Shelley's idea to start this weekly event for bloggers who want to participate in the "Only The Good Friday" and maybe you'll decided you'd like to do a post about your "Only the Good" things too!

Don't forget that April is Autism Awareness month too.


Maggie May said...

Will have to look out for that book, Jenni. looks like the kind that I read! I have a box full to catch up on though, when I get the time. Now the garden is beckoning!
Don't get me started on the Government and taxation! You might regret it! Needless to say, that over here......pensioners are struggling badly as British pensions are not enough to live on and the Government have *spent* our private pensions! I am lucky to have my 2 part time jobs........

Still waiting for my autistic grandson to be statemented. He's still being punished for refusing to do his homework! Daughter still gets pressure from school to *make* him do it! Wish we had some answers!

Hammer said...

That is messed up that they took it all off the top. I was payed too much once by my kid's medicaid payment and when they notified me they said they could take it back a little at a time off of each check, I could pay it all at once or they could stop sending checks for a while.

What they did to you is just wrong.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

We also have a system over here which bleeds us dry - gives us nice benefits which make us think, oooh how nice, what can I spend that on, then before you can get to the shops, they are demanding it back in tax or some such robbery.

Glad you get your jeep back. Cars are expensive machines to keep and we don't realise how much we miss them when they're not there! Bit like computers really!!

CJ xx

Casdok said...

See ya!!! How wonderful!
But your monsy situation = not so wonderful. So very frustrating.

Sandee said...

Glad your Jeep is almost all fixed. Having reliable transportation is so very important.

Have a terrific day and weekend. :)

Suldog said...

First off, the government sucks. That statement should not surprise you, coming from a Libertarian.

The book sounds like a wonderful read. I'll have to check it out.

All in all, Jeni, you have about the best attitude anyone could have. The ability to have such an attitude, and the ability to recognize and be thankful for it, is, indeed, a mighty blessing.

RuneE said...

Giving with one hand and taking (more) with another is not an unknown problem anywhere. A bank may reduce the interest but double the fee for whatever service they think you ought to pay for. I hope it all works out!

Chameleon said...

We had the same experience - APPEAL it! My roommate is on Disability as well after 18 years in the Navy and 20 years working in a homeless shelter. Last month, he got notice that his SSDI is too high for the state to pay the Medicare payment. He appealed the decision, and it was reversed. Don't just accept the first decision - there's a reason that they have an appeals process. I hope it works out for you!

Vic Grace said...

Typical government, it is the same here. Hubby earned approximately $1,900 the year before last doing odd jobs and dutifully declared it on our tax return, but it put us over the top on our pension so we lost our Pharmicare (drugs paid) had to pay medical where we did not have to before, were charged $1500 in taxes and our pension reduced the following year. We ended up losing approximately $6000 for that small earnings he made.

Travis said...

Hurrah for a fixed Jeep! I missed mine when it was in the shop for 10 days recently. My insurance company reserved a Range Rover for me. I did not care for that vehicle much.

Nothing beats my Jeep Liberty!

terri said...

So sorry to hear about the mess with your Social Security/Medicare payments. It hardly seems fair, the way it's being handled.

I am in the middle of reading The Invisible Wall right now, and have to agree. It's a GREAT book!