Showing posts with label health care. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health care. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2012

This and That

The Governor of Maine says the court decision [on the new health care law] has "made America less free." "We the people have been told there is no choice," he said. "You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo -- the IRS." I really think he should stop holding back and tell us what is really on his mind.

The Patient Option Act, a practical alternative to the current mess we are getting into.

Will your internet connection go black tomorrow?

Instead of bothering to link to all of them just go to Claire Wolfe's tab clearing page.

The Sovereign Man: Offshore Business, Global Opportunities, Freedom and Expat News.

If you are looking for a used vehicle I strongly suggest consulting The best used vehicles for under $20,000 by consumer reports. We are probably going to be in the market for either Hyundai Accent with 50-60k miles or a Toyota Corolla with 70-90k on it once we get to the states. Hyunai's were a great deal 8-10 years ago but their prices have gone up a lot which ironically raised the price of the older used ones also. The Toyota is a lot more money but they last forever. Then again for 50% more money you can usually get a lot more car. We have some thinking to do on this one.

If you haven't seen it yet I recommend Western Rifle Shooters Backgrounder on First Aid Kits and Blow-Out Kits. It is complete with links and you could use it as a shopping list if so desired.

I got an email from the folks at Full Spectrum Dominance saying they are linking to us. They are a News Aggregator who pull in some really obscure stuff. Pretty cool if you've got the time. I will probably add it to my weekly news rotation.

I stumbled onto a topic floating around that concerns me called The Orkin Man. I wish people could finally realize that this plan doesn't work. It has repeated and failed way more times than Communism. Here is what happens: A bloodbath ensues, killing a bunch of elite's as well as a whole lot more of the wrong folks and just plain folks caught in the crossfire. This bloodbath is almost immediately followed by the people who did the killing becoming the new elite's. [Hint: the folks you want as leaders aren't the ones running around executing people wholesale or leading the mass murdering bloodbath executions.] With boring repetitiveness those new elite's are even worse than the old elite's. Those first folks may or may not not hold power but the ones who come next aren't much better. Reference the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, Mao's disaster in China, The Khimer Rouge and pretty much every revolution I can recall except the American one.

To end on a lighter note I stumbled into a site for Infantrymen called Got some half funny half motivational quotes off their FB page:

"Not saying your a whore, but baby if you were a range target you would be the 25m one."

"It's too hot to train said no taliban fighter ever in the history of the world."

"How many vets does it take to screw in a light bulb? You don't know man, you weren't there."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Azimuth Check

I have stolen this title from Lizard Farmer who runs an excellent newish blog that focuses on retreat/ farm/ ranch defense. His post was more a check on how folks thought his blog was doing. I will head in a different direction. My azimuth check is more about the direction from where my/ your overall situation was to where we want it to be. I will break it into a few categories.

How is your debt situation? Do you have any debt with an adjustable or otherwise particularly high interest rate?

Do you have some savings for if something happens?

Do you have some money accessible to buy things if there is an event that interupts normal banking (this means cash on hand)?

If you can afford it have you considered putting some money into precious metals? There isn't a right or wrong answer to this one. Folks differ widely on this topic.

Are you and your family of a reasonably healthy body weight? If not are you making tangible progress towards getting there?

Do you have any health/ medical/ dental issues that could be improved but have not been? Maybe you need an elective surgery or have been putting off dental work or need to get into physical therapy to get something worked out. Bringing us back to the last question it is utterly amazing how many medical issues decrease or go away if you get to a reasonably healthy body weight.

If applicable do you keep a stash of essential perscription meds on hand? Keeping 30 days on hand is ok, 90 days is pretty decent and will cover a lot of issues but of course more is better. It may mean paying out of pocket but consider the alternative which is, to varying degrees, very ugly.

If applicable do you have at least a pair of spare glasses in your current perscription (two or three would be better)?

How are your chompers doing?

How are you doing at physical fitness? Can you walk long distances with a load? Run fast for short periods and slower for longer ones? Control your body weight through a variety of tasks and obstacles? Lift heavy things or carry another person?

Skills and Training:

Can you make a fire? At night? Can you do it when it has been raining for a week strait?

Can you find your way around with a compass and a map?

Can you make or improvise some sort of shelter to be as comfortable as possible in a variety of situations?

Can you turn basic staples like flour, rice or wheat into a decent or even tasty meal?

Can you grow or raise your own food?

Can you find or gather food from fishing, hunting, plant gathering or something else really cool I have never heard of?

Can you fix stuff? Mechanical things? Small arms? Brick and mortar? Wood? Plumbing? Electrical?

Can you engage targets with personal weapons in realistic circumstances?

Can you organize a defense be it at home or in some sort of hasty situation?

If the Chinese invade or whateveer can you plan and execute small unit Red Dawn/ partisan/ G style offensive operations?

Stockpile and Equipment:

How is your food storage doing?

Do you have personal weapons as well as the stuff needed to use them? Do you have some spare parts, cleaning stuff and ammunition to keep your guns running without a trip to Wally World or the local gun shop?

How are you doing at storing all of the other stuff like medical supplies, batteries, fuel, cleaning and hygiene stuff, spare parts, etc all to keep on keeping on as well as you can without outside assistance?

Is the stuff you have put together into kits or packages or systems that will meet your needs on short notice?

I am sure there are some good questions that I missed. This covers a ton of ground so do not be ashamed if there are some areas where you fall short. My goal is to give you some areas to think about and see where you are at. Every one of these questions is not equally applicable to all situations. Like many things you would be well advised look at these questions with brutal honesty, action what is applicable and disregard what is not.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reader Question: SHTF Hygiene and Clothes Washing

I have an idea for a blog article-or several- that I think you may be uniquely qualified to expound on. There are a vast majority of us that have never, or are unable to, serve in the military.
You're active duty military; what I and many others would like to know, is how you do your day to day maintenance while out in the field, away from all the comforts of home.
I think it would make a good read if you could tell us the necessities of our life if TSHTF and we are suddenly without water, electricity or heat. We know much about sponge bathing, washing in tubs with a wash board and making our own soap, but how do you do it while trying to stay out of the field of fire/ being discovered?
How do you wash your personal clothing(skivvies, socks, BDU's, etc.) when out in the field?
If you do these things, what do you use to wash them in and what do you use for detergent? How do you clean yourself, and with what?
So please give this some thought and see if it is an idea you would be willing to tackle.
Iron Tom Flint
TOR here, I wrote a couple posts that give us a place to start. This post on field hygiene covers part of the topic pretty decently. Also this post on Dysentery, while a bit light hearted is worth checking out. Also here is one on primative laundry.  Now onto the specific questions.
Q: We know much about sponge bathing, washing in tubs with a wash board and making our own soap, but how do you do it while trying to stay out of the field of fire/ being discovered?
A: Staying out of the field of fire is easy, if people are shooting at you or immenently going to shoot at you it is not the time to do laundry. Sorry if that was a bit short, from here forth I will try to answer the questions as I believe they are intended, not word for word.
For short term stuff I would use my field hygiene advice from above. Typically military operations are short enough in duration that laundry isn't a huge issue; though that is a relative term as I have worn a single uniform for a month without washing it. Another option is that things are so crazy that you have bigger stuff to worry about. Delaying washing is easier when weather is relatively cold. You would be pretty nasty after wearing the same clothes in the South or Middle East in the summer.
As to avoiding being discovered. If I was really worried about someone discovering me I wouldn't be doing laundry. I definitely wouldn't do laundry in some sort of escape and evasion situation, a hide or a patrol base.  That being said a really small fire made of dry wood (especially in the woods or down in some micro terrain) is pretty hard to see from beyond 50-100 meters. All you would really need is enough to heat up some water which doesn't take a bonfire.
However to make it easier lets say you are in a fairly quiet but non permissive enviornment. Maybe you and the spouse are trying to get somewhere on foot or using forest service roads and obviously don't want any attention. Maybe you are some sort of G and folks are sort of passively patroling your area, doing recon patrols to check out movement, signs of people like fires, etc. Whatever, it really doesn't matter. The point is that you aren't imminently worried about people trying to kill you but do want to keep a low profile.
One simple and old school option is to take a bar of soap and your clothes into a body of water and wash them. This has the benefit of washing your body. Obviously your situation would have to be reasonably secure and this is a lot more fun in 80 degree sunshine than 30 degree snow. I have seen socks washed in canteen cups, I suppose the same could be done with underoos. Also the good old bucket or a dedicated water jug (the military ones have pretty big mouths) works.
Q:How do you wash your personal clothing(skivvies, socks, BDU's, etc.) when out in the field?
A: Often the answer is to stash the dirty stuff and wash in after the operation is over. Other times we scrounge up some big tubs or whatnot. I have seen organizations where leaders bought some old school type laundry stuff to fill urgent needs.
Q: If you do these things, what do you use to wash them in and what do you use for detergent?
A: I have seen and used normal commercial detergent and plain old bar soap.
Q:How do you clean yourself, and with what?
A: Baby wipes are a great way to go. If heating up water is practical a washcloth and a bar of soap is nice and makes you feel a bit more human. As to how it is pretty much laid out here.
Anyway I hope that is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions. If you remember one thing take care of your feet.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Got Readiness?

Are you current on your shots? What about those third world ones most Americans don't get? What about smallpox? Just tell your doctor you are going to somplace warm in the third world ad they will give you all of them.

Do you have 180 days of all medications on hand? Modern medicine lets many people live or have decent quality of life through a variety of medications. If you need them and don't have them, well you get the picture. I know this one sucks because you will likely have to go out of pocket but depending on what you are taking it is very important.

If you wear glasses or contacts do you have two spare pair of glasses in (or pretty close to) your current perscription? You can get real cheap glasses online, maybe not the pair you want to wear every day but at least good for affordable backups. Here and here are some potential sources.

When was the last time your teeth were checked? Have you been putting off any work because it is unpleasant or expensive?

When was the last time you had a medical checkup?

Do you have any prolonged injuries you have been putting off dealing with for whatever reason?

Get this stuff taken care of BEFORE it is an issue because that issue could come at a real inconvenient time. Having your one pair of worn out glasses break during a hurricane would be bad. That dental issue you have been putting off flaring up when services are unavailable for a prolonged period would be very, very bad.

I don't know what is going to happen. Some folks I really respect see very dark and violent scenarios as possible. Other folks, probably more realistically see the economy continuing to get worse. That means that services, to include medical, optical and dental are going to become more expensive, potentially drop in quality and maybe even become temporarily unavailable. Even if these services are available you need cash and or insurance to pay for them.

Get ready!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nobody Cares, Good Politics but Bad Economics, Etc

It has become clear that Congress (as a general term for all our reps to include the Senate) just doesn't care what we think. They voted overwhelmingly for the Insurance Company Kickback (Obamacare) despite the people they claim to represent making it abundantly clear that we did not want it. Recently the Executive Branch made it clear that they do not care what Congress thinks, laws and traditions be damned. They did this by reinserting Death Panels (seriously not that big of a thing and grossly misunderstood, but that's not the point) back into the program by decree despite Congress taking it out.

This could be continued down through the state and sometimes county/ city level. They care most consistently about pursueing whatever agenda they happen to have, securing easy paychecks and enjoyable perks as well as solidifying their positions. After that it is paying back the people who helped them get into office and just enjoying things.

Other than bribing and scaring enough people to secure reelection none of these representatives care at all about us and what we want. Really keeping their positions secure (especially in homogenuis districts) is pretty easy and is just about maintenance and continued favors. I am not going to say it is right or wrong, it's just how things are.

My point is that nobody cares. Even if you fall into a group that (outside of big business/ key sectors able to levy significant and regular bribes campaign contributions) is supposidly championed by a certain political group like minorities, gun owners or small businessmen when the chips are down they really just don't care. They care in terms of talking points and sound bites but not in terms of taking a stand or putting out actuall effort to help these people. Since nobody cares you had better start caring.
Strive to get ready for all sorts of different scenarios because as I noted nobody is going to help you. In particular I think it would be prudent to get ready to take care of yourself. Consider basic stuff like power outages, local disasters, home invasions and income disruptions and go from there. Don't forget about inflation as it may be rearing its ugly head.

I have listened to a lot of conservative talk radio over the last couple days as I drove across a big chunk of the PNW. An interesting concept was talked about. The idea of something that is simumtaneousle good politics and really bad economics. For example minimum wage laws. Oregon which is already hurting pretty badly just recently raised their minimum wage. There is a broad consensus among economists that artificially high minimum wages push low skilled people out of the legal labor market. These people are not allowed to work for the kind of wages they are qualified to earn. This really hurts young adults and seems to hit minorities the hardest.

Another great example is what happened with American unions, in particular the UAW. The head guys kept getting beat up by unions and so they gave them concessions. The easiest concessions to give were very generous pensions because they cost money in the future as opposed to wages or other benefits (though they weren't tight fisted here either) which cost money right away. These were also a real easy decision in hindsight because none of the real decision makers were around when things came to a head.

I could probably keep giving examples (SS, Medicare, etc) all day long. However since I don't have all day you will have to try and follow me. Politicians are willing to do something that is obviously bad economics if it is good politics. They will build airports nobody flys through, bridges people don't want to drive on, give kickbacks to farmers in Iowa and such. I think politicians would burn giant piles of cash on television if they should it would help them politically.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dear TOR:

You are obviously a very thoughtful, fiscally conservative, and intelligent young man. Those traits will do you well in the future.

I agree entirely with your observations and conclusions, but have an addition or two that might help your readers. DH and I have been around the block a few times over the years and have experienced various episodes of TEOTWAWeKI.

Many people don't realize that serious illness, auto accidents, deaths in the family, divorces, even something as joyous as the birth of a child, can indeed be TEOTWAYouKI. Life often makes 90-degree turns, some good, some bad, some really bad. Being able to make the mental adjustment to the new direction is often much more important than having a Glock or a stash of beans. The people who can adjust to new circumstances or a new, unforeseen, situation have always been called "survivors."

Not "survivalists." Survivors. IMO, it is more important to be a survivor than a survivalist.

To be a survivor requires being able to adapt. You don't have to be as creative as a MacGiver, for example, but you do have to be able to look at a problem, think through it rationally and cooly, and apply your experience and training to dealing with it. That implies that you have some experience and training to fall back on.

I'm not talking about a degree in Chemistry, or a certificate from Backwoods U. I'm talking about applying your past experience in just plain day-to-day living, or having external resources that you can go to. This is where "having friends in low places" is so important.

Those of you who live in rural or small town America already know what I'm talking about. Folks in the military do too. You have close personal contacts with people who have friends-of-a-friend or a cousin twice removed or know Bubba, the "go-to-guy" who can do anything or knows someone who does -- and owes him something. Having people-who-have-people is the best prep you can get. (If you watch some of my favorite TV programs, Human Target or Burn Notice, you see this in the plot all the time.)

Spend a little time and effort making friends, through your church, a local soup kitchen, the first responders groups, at school, in AA, your gun club, brotherhood organizations like the Lions, Masons or other lodges. Whatever. Be a stand-up guy and meet more like you - people who need people and who are willing to help others. The friendships you make in these organizations will often be lifelong and form a fallback team that you can rely on.

These friendships are what I call "emotional currency," -- as important as any bullion in your pocket.

TOR, I know you have addressed getting in shape in your blogs many times. You have written about physical training and keeping fit. As we all know, there are folks who talk a good game, but never really get off the couch and go do things that improve their health.

Riding shotgun with this concept is the idea that enjoying life is critical to being able to respond to not-so-enjoyable situations. It gives you a certain resiliency that enables your brain to function in creative and responsive ways. Everyone should find something that they like to do and do it regularly. It can even cost a little money. The cash you spend on this mental renewal is every bit an investment as for any other prep.

Use common sense, though - every thing in moderation. Don't pour zillions of bucks into becoming the world's expert in underwater basketweaving if you don't have zillions left to spend after the mortgage, utilities, etc. You could instead take a course at your local community college (usually pretty inexpensive), join a club, or virtually mingle with fellow enthusiasts in blogs and fora online.

Soothe your soul, but you don't have to make a career out of it. (Or do - if the thing you love has potential for making money, go for it!)

There's also a dark side to this topic. Some folks, quite a number actually, suffer from depression. Although this has been shown to be the result of chemical (in)activity in the brain, too many people still feel that this is some sort of personal failing and they don't even tell their doctors about it. Worse, many sufferers try to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. It's a no-win situation.

As someone who personally suffers from Seasonally Affective Disorder (SAD), especially in the winter months, I can assure those of you out there that the proper treatment will make a huge difference in your life. In many cases, just a little additional Vitamin D helps tremendously. If you are one of the people who tend to see the world thru darker lenses and don't ever seem to be enjoying life, please do something about it. (I was also experiencing severe physical manifestations - I thought I was having a long-term, continual heart attack... Fortunately, a very insightful and experienced CARDIOLOGIST diagnosed my depression and turned my life around).

This will be one of the most important prep activities you can do.

Being a survivor requires taking risks and being willing to "put yourself out there." I strongly encourage your readers to reach out both for themselves and to benefit others.

Best wishes to all in the Yuletide Season.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

As is appropriate I have spent some time today thinking about what I am thankful for. I have a lot to be thankful about for sure. I am very thankful that Walker is well and we are all able to spend this holiday together as a happy little family. While it has medically been a crazy couple months for us we all appear to be in good health. I am thankful that we aren't struggling to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. I am thankful that between preps and saving we can feel pretty secure about our overall situation. I am thankful that my sister is here and we are going to do some traveling this weekend.

It occurs to me that most of the things I am thankful for are directly or indirectly the result of my own choices. I/ we could make choices that created animousity and unhappiness in our home. We could choose to be idle or underemployed and struggle for basics like shelter and food. We could spend beyond our means and have constant worries about money. Of course luck is a factor. Right now lots of decent hard working folks are either unemployed or seriously underemployed and really struggling. If they live well within their means and have some savings they are better off but in a long enough under/ unemployment most everybody will start to have serious problems. Folks can make the right choices and have continual health issues.

It has been a pretty good Thanksgiving so far. Went to bed pretty early yesterday and slept till almost 10. Had a pretty relaxing morning just chilling out then Little Sis, Walker and I went to do some local sight seeing. It is pretty good holiday weather. Right around freezing with a bit of snow on the ground. Just enough to cover rooftops, trees and lawns giving the nice scenic winter look but not enough to muck up the roads and make it hard to get around. The food is cooking and we are all sitting around and talking. Shortly it will be coctail and appetizer time which is always fun.

We are having a sort of 'Orphans Thanksgiving' as always. Wifey cooks a bunch of food and we invite everybody who can use a place to go and feed whoever comes. Relatives, neighbors, co workers or whatever. It makes for interesting groups of people but is good times.

Well I am going to go and enjoy a lot of food, some great scotch and family.

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reader Questions: Alternate Title Ethics and Pragmatic Thinking On Medical Debt

First off thanks for your blog. I read it regularly. I do have one question about living within ones means, as I have been doing by default(bad credit).

After many attempts to dig out of debt and be debt free minus the needed bills- car ins., utilities, etc. I have fallen into a somewhat unique scenario. I had an employer file bankruptcy and eliminate any chance of COBRA health ins. shortly after being unemployed, I had an emergency surgery to the tune of $70,000. Since that time I have been accumulating massive medical debt, despite currently having health ins. My question is how can I justify continuing to pay a mortgage payment of debt? After all the different payments to different doctors even at modest monthly payment are added up, I cannot manage a $700 monthly payment on my modest salary. Bankruptcy is not a word in my vocabulary, but is it something I should look into? I have been paying some of them regularly, but am only paying the interest at this point. 

As far as planning for any emergency, if I get $10 a week set aside, I am having a banner week, but some medical issue comes up my puny savings is wiped out again. I don't know if I am looking for insight or just venting so I do not shoot off all my bullets saved for a different day. 

Thanks, DS in NJ

DS, First of all I just want to convey my sympathy for the rough situation you are in. Life can sometimes bring bad things at the time we are least capable of dealing with them. Anyway here are the issues I see. First is ethics as they apply to debt. Maybe it is ridiculously antiquated but I believe when you borrow or are advanced goods or services you are giving your word to honor it and pay under the terms of the agreement. I believe that you should think about these choices and if you can't repay then don't borrow. However as we mentioned things can happen. People can make reasonable (maybe not text book perfect but certainly not bad) decisions and still end up in a rough spot. Particularly when we talk about medical problems or the current climate of seriously long term job loss bad things can happen to good people who made solidly normal choices. I believe that we have bankruptcy laws for a reason. Folks can through bad luck, bad choices or some combination thereon get into a situation where they are not going to be able to repay their debts. Instead of people just not paying debts they can't pay anyway we might as well make it legal and let them, in time, move on with their lives.

Ethically I believe if you can afford to pay back your debts you should do so. [I find the concept of "strategic bankruptcy" and its passive friend jingle mail, provided you can afford the mortgage) completely unethical.] This debt should come after the basics like shelter, food, utilities, fuel, etc. Being homeless and sleeping in national forests with an empty stomach so you can try to pay off debt, while a dramatic choice, is probably a bit extreme. This debt should however come before luxuries like expensive entertainment, electronic gadgets, cool new guns, new cars, travel, etc.

I do not think bankruptcy is something to be proud of. Personally if I had to declare bankruptcy because I made a whole bunch of stupid choices I would be really ashamed of myself. However if I found myself with huge medical bills which got racked up over an inopportune time; or faced for whatever reason a drastic and permanent drop in income I wouldn't feel super happy about my situation but wouldn't look at myself negatively. Sometimes stuff happens to you and you just move on.

Speaking to your situation pragmatically. Without knowing all of your information (savings, debts, income, interest rates, etc) it is hard to say anything specific. I do not have all the information. To be honest I am not a professional financial anything and beyond generic thoughts I can just suggest you consult a professional. I would certainly at least look into bankruptcy. Go see a professional and run the numbers. Take some time and think about the second and third order effects of both scenarios; paying these debts and potentially filing bankruptcy then make a decision. 

I wish you the best,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty crazy week at work for me. However I did get some stuff done all the same. Bought a gold coin and a bit of silver which is always good. Also got to fiddling with the Eneloop batteries which I am glad about.  Got to mess with the charger next week and sooner or later figure out a rechargeable D battery solution. I will have to do some research on the matter.

Also I got a CAT Tourniquet which is just a good thing to have lying around.  At some point I will build full on IFAK style trauma first aid kits for us but at this point I am just picking stuff up one piece at a time.

Wifey and I took some time to talk about our long term financial goals. As things get further out in the future they become a lot more broad and conceptual. Instead of "buy a $300 gently used couch" it is more like "pay off mortgage at accelerated rate" or save lots of money. Anyway we came up with long term goals we are both comfortable with so that was good.

Listened to the Worldband Radio some this week which is always fun.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Little Bit of Life: The Dreams We Were Sold and Reality

This relates to a series of posts I did awhile back (1, 2, 3). My Generation of mid 20 somethings to 30ish were largely sold a pack of exaggerations and outright lies by our parents, teachers and society at large. We were told that the roads are paved in gold and if we get a college degree or a skilled trade (mostly a degree) it is going to be easy and we will quickly settle into very comfortable lives a la the American Dream.

My values and beliefs do not allow me to absolve people of responsibility for their actions.  Somebody who chooses to go to a private school and take 50k in loans to get a degree that correlates with a job whose starting salary is 27k is in a tough spot of their own choosing. A person who makes 30k somehow got a loan for a 350k home then go figure can't pay it is a fool who deserves their misfortune.

It is hard to look beyond what most parents, almost all teachers and society tells us. Especially for teenagers who are sold a dream of how awesome a private college, or college at all it is hard to see the truth.

The thing is that baring programs at a few elite schools which get you internships that lead to crazy high starting salaries things aren't cake, even for those who manage to leave college with that piece of paper. When people graduate or otherwise enter what I call the big boy job market there is a choice. You can get stuff/ whatever rather quickly by borrowing money or you can wait and slowly accumulate things by paying cash.

A person with a normal albeit modest starting salary who goes out and buys a new average but respectable car (Honda Civic, Toyota, etc) and furnishes their apartment/ townhouse on a store card then gets a nice entertainment system on a payment plan will have some nice things 2 months into their job. However they will be paying for those things forever with lots of interest. Also they will be so busy paying all those loans, not to mention their student loans as well as rent, food, utilities, insurance, etc. That means instead of getting ahead they are just trying to catch up to the stuff they don't need they already have bought.

If you follow this blog halfway you already guessed we went the cash route. I am not going to lie it kinda sucks. There are times I get pretty down on the whole thing. Some days the knowledge that you are making the right move doesn't matter much when you have a hard time getting your piece of S car to sputter its way to work, come home after a long day to sit on a beat up hand me down couch your parents bought 25 years ago and try to watch a piece of junk TV without a remote control. I work hard and save and don't have much to show for it. You worked hard to get through school and get a solidly respectable job, made the right choices and things just come so darn slowly.

 Life is so often two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes it is one step forward and two steps back. We scrimped and saved for a long time to have a half of a decent emergency fund. Wifeys car died and that cash became a low end used car. That used car four hundred dollar'ed us a couple times and then proved entirely unreliable and died. So we had no emergency fund AND no second car. We started saving again and finally built up a comfortable 3 month emergency fund. We then saved up and bought a decent used car which should run well for a long time. We put money aside every month for furniture and slowly but surely our house is filling up with halfway decent stuff. In a year or so it won't look like a college kid apartment anymore. At least in our life things are slowly but surely coming together.

We are now focused on getting my student loan wiped out in about one year instead of the projected three. In the last two years we will save what was going to the loan and that will be a solid down on a modest home. We will then work to pay that home off at an accelerated rate as well as saving and other such stuff.

Even though it sucks some days I like that we only have one outstanding debt. Student loans suck but since it got me into a job with a solidly decent income and benefits it was a worthwhile investment. No car payments and couch payments and TV payments or whatever. Of course I would love if things could go faster but I am happy with the direction we are moving in.

As a final thought if we look at history with some perspective we are all just a bunch of whiners; blah blah blah it takes a long time to pay off a student loan or yadda yadda yadda I can't afford a 4,000 square foot mansion on a janitors salary, I can't afford to buy a fancy boat and lastly, I never saved anything and now at 60 when I want to retire it is somebody else's fault. Seriously do a little bit of reading or just google terms like siege, crop failure, famine and black death. Heck take a walk in an old cemetery (pre 1900ish) and read some headstones. I do not know a family who lost 5 kids to cholera or was wiped out by smallpox or influenza or starved to death in a famine. Seriously we have it pretty darn good.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty busy weekend here. We did all sorts of shopping for great deals. Got cases of paper towels and toilet paper and cereal and brownie mix and some other stuff at awesome prices. Also got a used $4 Coleman battery lamp. When I got it home it didn't work but I will see what can be done at some point. We needed to pick up some more batteries and since AA's were on a great sale we got 3 big packs instead of 1.

Today was a cleaning day and that included the medicine closet. We got everything organized and put it back into there in an organized manner. Stuff was all over the place now we have shelves for preparedness stuff/ first aid, Wifey's 'essentials', over the counter medicine and extra hygiene stuff . This let me get a good look at what we have and also what we do not. It was helpful that I had a piece of paper and a pen there to write down gaps I noticed in our inventory. I will take that list to the store this week and pick that stuff up.

Ordered a pair of new boots. My old Altama Exospeeds are still in fine condition but are getting to the point where they are not cosmetically fit for work. They will become dedicated ruck marching/ backup boots. They are still plenty good for functional use and good to keep around.

We realized a couple of holes in our preps that need to be addressed. Every sort of life change leads to new preparedness needs. I will write more about that later as those holes get plugged.

Also I started a spreadsheet for stuff to get. Seeing how useful they can be at work I want to use that same technology at home. It will probably take a long time to get that figured out so it is halfway useful but small steps are still useful.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

quote of the day

"Here's a simple task. Try to find someone who can explain to you how we will be able to afford to pay Social Security and Medicare benefits ... together with ObamaCare ... in, say, ten years."
-Neil Booritz

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guest Post: Preventing Diabetes

See How Easily You Can Prevent Diabetes Through Blood Glucose Testing
The pancreas is a body part which Type 2 diabetes affects. When we take in food, the sugar in it turns into glucose then goes into the blood stream. When it gets in blood cells, the pancreas lets loose insulin that allows our body to use up the glucose like fuel. People who have a Type 2 diabetes condition will find it difficult to make as well as use insulin. Your body contains plenty of glucose; however your cells are unable to find them.
The American Diabetes Association has the duty of looking for information regarding this important medical condition. 23.6 million Individuals living in America currently have diabetes, and because of this the country is seen as very unhealthy. Ninety percent of this figure has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes and the tendency to be overweight usually run in the family. If there is too much glucose in your body, it could result in serious internal organ damage and affect one’s nervous system. 
Living with Diabetes
The easiest and the most efficient way to treat your Type 2 diabetes is through healthy living practices on a daily basis. Among these practices include eating healthy and engaging in exercise. The healthy practices that you regularly do will have an enormous lasting and positive effect on you.

To avoid health complications, many doctors have recommended that you ensure that the glucose levels in your body are within the appropriate range. The blood glucose level in your body can easily be monitored simply by using the finger prick test. Such a test is as good as an HbA1c test when it comes to checking and tracking your glucose fluctuations. This HbA1c test is able to determine the levels of glycated hemoglobin in your body, as well as know if the glucose levels are on the high side. The average level which diabetics maintain, as per the A1c test results, are at seven percent. One can experience a 40% reduction in the possibility of developing risks if people simply ensure that their a1c levels are kept at seven percent.

Over-Controlled Levels
A lot of studies nowadays indicate that keeping one’s a1c levels lower than seven percent could actually be a bad thing. There was one study which was done in Seattle’s Lancet and Swedish Medical Center that found out that there is a higher death risk for people whose levels are median at best and people who take insulin. On the other hand, other tests show that a seven percent a1c level is still quite healthy. While physicians take into account their patient’s medical history before the planned treatment, a 7% level of a1c is still good according to endocrinologist Matt Davies.

About the Author - Kristina V. Ridley writes on glucose meter  , her personal hobby blog focused on helping people get free information to prevent diabetes and test blood glucose at home.

TOR here: First and foremost I would like to thank Kristina for writing this article.  We have talked a bit about diabetes here in the past. It has massive implications for potential survival during a prolonged crisis and if you have it then some common sense preparations would be prudent.

I do not know a lot about diabetes. However for those who don't get it during childhood I believe it comes largely from excessive body fat and prolonged unhealthy diets. Yet another reason to eat somewhat reasonably and maintain a healthy body weight.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Focusing on my own Comings and Goings

Last night I started some pineapple dehydrating. For the last batch I bought a whole fresh pineapple but this time I got a couple cans of pineapple rings. The rings have the benefit of being a lot cheaper because unless you live in the tropics pineapples are expensive. These turned out to be really good. Decreasing the dehydrating time slightly helped but also it was easier to get uniform slices to dry the same. Did I mention these are really good.

I didn't work today. Sleeping in was nice and had a leisurely morning. Took Wifey to work and then headed back home. I have been watching the news but only halfway paying attention. Mainly I have been cooking. I made a big old crock pot full of chili. In about an hour when the beans are all the way done it should be pretty darn tasty.
Chili is best with corn bread. We have used the recipe on the bag of corn meal a couple times and found it grainy and not particularly great. I mentioned looking for a good recipe on Facebook and MIL sent me a link to this post by The Pioneer Woman. I got to cooking this stuff up and it looks pretty darn good.
This whole health care debacle has been in the back of my head all day long. However life is just too short to get all whipped up about something I can't do anything about it anyway. I am going to have some chili and cornbread now. After dinner I will have a drink and do some reading. All things considered it hasn't been a bad day here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Emergency Preparedness for Those With Type-1 Diabetes By Rourke

Emergency Preparedness for Those With Type-1 Diabetes

People with Type-1 Diabetes are very vulnerable to any type of disaster event. These diabetics are entirely dependant on insulin to live. They are also dependant on battery powered glucose meters/test strips to monitor blood sugar, and battery powered insulin pumps or a supply of syringes to self-medicate. Additionally - insulin supplies must be kept refrigerated or their life expectancy will decrease.

Those with type-1 diabetes are especially challenged when planning their preparations:
Supplies - you need to have stocked up enough testing equipment, insulin, and methods of administrating the insulin for however long you anticipate the "event" to take place.
Storage of supplies must be correct - all supplies must be kept dry, sanitary and insulin must be refrigerated/cooled.
Stress from a disaster situation can cause blood sugars to be erratic - meaning that blood sugars must be monitored closer and more often than during normal times.
First - preparing a "diabetes survival kit" involves having a cooler available to fill with ice/ice packs once the power goes out to store all insulin. Additionally - a 12V refrigerator must be available as a back up to the cooler just in case the power is out past the life of the ice. Modern insulin shelf life is drastically shortened if left at room temperature. 12V refrigerators can be purchased for around $80 and plug into a 12V plug in an automobile. This is critical.
Second - a small backpack or fanny pack filled with the rest of your supplies must be organized. This fanny pack contains syringes, insulin pump sites, insulin cartridges, batteries, alcohol pads, lancets, spare pump, at least 2 glucose meters, test strips, and at least 2 "stickers" for obtaining blood droplet. The total amount of supplies really depends on what you are preparing for.
Third - it is very important that a Glucagon Emergency Kit is available as well as candy or glucose tablets in case blood sugar drops dangerously low.  All members of your group need to know what to do incase blood sugar drops to extreme low numbers.
Anyone that has read the fantastic book “One Second After” clearly understands the importance of stockpiling and maintaining supplies for those type-1 diabetics in your group or family. It is rather simple – without insulin – they will die. Supplies must be stockpiling and backup systems for caring for those supplies must be put in place.
One problem that is confronted by most all "survivalist" diabetics involves getting extra supplies. Due to needing a prescription for insulin - you cannot simply buy extra. Talk to your doctor and ask them to write the prescriptions for a little higher than anticipated use so as to build a back up supply. Extra glucose meters can often be obtained for free from doctors - or purchased for very little money at Wal-Mart, pharmacies, and the internet. Test strips are very expensive. Again - ask your doctor to overwrite your prescription by 50 test strips per month to build your supply. Tell your doctor that you have to supply school as well at home possibly. Often test strips can be found on eBay at a great discount. Also “store brand" testers and test strips can be purchased on sale and on clearance.
Below is an example checklist for a typical person with Type-1 Diabetes considering a 3 month supply level:

2        Glucose Meters w/3 extra batteries
3    months Test Strips (blood tests per day x 90 days = test strip qty)
30   Insulin Insertion Sights
2        Sight Serters
1         Alcohol Pads/box
2        months of insulin used daily
3        month Syringes  (shots per day x 90 days = syringe strip qty)
2        Insulin Pumps – if used
3        months Insulin Cartridges – if used

Some diabetics take more than 1 type of insulin. No matter your regimen, it is important that you have extra supplies as well as a method to safely store them until things return to normal.

On a final note – it is important that diabetics take care of themselves before a disaster strikes as well as after. During a disaster is not the time to begin to experience complications with diabetes that was preventable with the correct behavior before the disaster struck. You also would not want to experience a low blood sugar in the midst of a fire fight either. Checking your blood sugar regularly, eating right, and effective insulin dosing is critical to short term and well as long term health.

Take care all -
Rourke &

Friday, December 4, 2009

Our Current Healthcare System Explained

Maxim made a funny and disturbingly accurate flow chart. The flowchart and site are both pretty SFW though might offend some rather conservative readers. In any case this is probably good for a chuckle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

quote of the day

"Advocates of government control [of health care and insurance] want you to believe that the serious shortcomings of our medical and insurance system are failures of the free market. But that's John Stosselimpossible because our market is not free. Each state operates a cozy medical and insurance cartel that restricts competition through licensing and keeps prices higher than they would be in a genuine free market. But the planners won't talk about that. After all, if government is the problem in the first place, how can they justify a government takeover?"
-- libertarian journalist John Stossel,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Random Thoughts on Health Care

Our visitor was a close family friend of Wifey. He is definitely liberal but is (personally) very fiscally conservative and has a certain amount of pragmatisn that comes from a lifetime of working in business. In a circular fashion we got to talking about health care. While our central theories on the way for health care to work are different we had an interesting discussion on it. I am sticking to my original point that we are all screwed no matter what.

I do wish we could pick and choose the traits of capitalism (efficiency, darwinism, better service, legal accountability, etc) with the traits of a not for profit system (cheaper, better access for more people, no more 'pre existing conditions', etc) but then again it would also be nice to live in a world where nobody was hungry, everybody was nice, beer was free and a lot more women looked like Jessica Biel. Unfortunately we can't pick and choose traits of different health care systems we would like any more than we can get a rifle that carries and recoils like a 10/22 with the capacity of an AR, the accuracy and power of an M1A, the ruggedness of an AK and the cost of a Mosin Nagant.

I do not believe that a 'private option' can co exist without completely skewing the whole system. The government (or a private/ public whatever like fanny or freddy) does not need to worry about taking on too much risk or making a profit. They can also take advantage of all sorts of pet laws and help to put constraints on their private party competitors.

I do however believe there could be some potential solutions. Making it possible for people to get insurance policies which are designed for what insurance is meant for (big unexpected stuff) would be a big help. People or employers could save to cover costs under that cap in a medical savings account. The rub of this plan is that it would not work well for folks with high regular costs like multiple perscriptions and the need for regular specialized care.

Part of that problem could be taken care of as an unintended consequence of most people paying for regular (cold, flu, annual checkup, etc) care out of pocket. Enough people paying attention to the bill instead of insurance just taking care of it might be enough for the costs to start coming down.

Along with the cost of regular care needing to be drawn down to sane levels we need to do something about the cost of perscription drugs. I don't think Americans should pay for more for their medications than Mexicans or Canadians do. Drug companies making a profit is fine and they do need lots of money to fund future research (this is how we get new drugs) but me thinks the cozy relationship between drug companies and legislators has lead to Americans getting screwed.

Also I think (at least to a certain degree) we should look at how the whole perscription drug thing works.  For example lets say someone has a bit of exema. The crappy OTC cortisone cream never works and the person has to go to a doctor to take up their time to get a perscription for the stuff which actually works. While any sort of drug being made difficult to get could be debated from a liberterian perspective I think the argument that non narcotic drugs without excessively dangerous side effects (decent cortisone cream, etc) really need to be given out by a doctor are weak at best. You don't need to pay a carpenter to get some drywall or a mechanic to get some oil for your car.

As our friend observed lots of times when someone says "I need to go to the doctor" they really mean "I need medical attention".

Letting medical professionals other than doctors have more latitude to operate independently of a doctor and take care of basic stuff like colds, ear infections, sprains, simple stitches, etc. The same way that you don't pay to have a highly qualified master mechanic to change the oil in your car or Mario Andretti to drive you to the airport. I do not think it would be a good idea to let any idiot or pervert with a sign and a white coat practice medicine and certainly do not want the girl who empties the bed pans to perform open heart surgery on me. However giving more ability to operate independently to medical professionals could really help bring costs down for people.

I still think we are all screwed but this has been interesting to think about.
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