Round Two Weather, Rebound for the Markets? and Insurance Woes

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Good morning!

When you hear people at the office making fun of the weather people for missing the forecast, you can:
A: Hold your tongue and make fun of them when the ice and snow hits,.
or
B:Tell them that you listened to Jeriann this morning who told us all to avoid falling into some false sense of security as this first part of the storm passes. She says it’s going to get worse. Rain today and tomorrow changing over to snow tomorrow.

It’s not Armageddon, but ask someone who’s been without power for a few days and I think they’d tell you this is a serious situation. JR says not as much Ice and Snow form this system in the metro, but all you Dallas County bloggers and anyone to the north or west of Des Moines…you’re going to bear the brunt of the storm. Jeriann looked a little nervous this morning and for good reason. She says we are very much on the borderline of the rain/freeze line. Any fluctuation over the next 24-48 hours can mean a difference in the forecast. She’s not hedging…she’s just telling it like it is.

Trish set up a great phone interview this morning with the Emergency Management Coordinator in Marshall County who told us they’re still worried about rural residents there. We had a good conversation behind the scenes this morning about just how bad the situation is here. It sure doesn’t feel all that bad to those of us who have power…I lost mine for just a few hours and was mildly inconvenienced. I can’t imagine what it’s like for people who’ve been managing without it for days. They’re learning how to cope and have some good lessons for the rest of us just in case.

I thought she had some really good advice on being prepared “just in case!” They’re telling people to charge up their cell phones, have batteries on hand for flashlights and radios, and enough food, water and medications for at least 4 days. I think I’m going to bring in some firewood from outside too so we have some dry wood – just in case we need to rely on the fireplace for heat! TS

Hotel Prices
Jon Cahill did a good story last night about prices going up for Hotels in the counties declared disaster areas. So what do you think? Is a price difference of about 15-30 bucks a night enough to call it price gouging? The AG’s office is watching stuff like this closely and according to his office they’re getting calls about everything from battery prices to hotel room rates going up because of the storm. I can almost wrap my brain around the idea that some of the rooms rates go up because of demand…the thing is…you have to make those your rates all the time. I’d hate to think that someone is actually taking advantage of a situation like this but it happens every time. What makes a person like that tick? How do you look at yourself in a mirror every morning? I can’t imagine thinking…these people don’t have heat…let’s make some money off of that.

Market Woes
I have a friend who just got into doing a little trading on his own in the US stock market…whoops! I haven’t called him yet today but I’m guessing there will be a string of rather unpleasant words coming from the phone when I do.
The US market had it’s worst day since 9/11 on Tuesday. Sparked by an even worse day in China (investors worried the steamroller economy in Asia will slow down), and a simple observation by former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan(This guy says he’s having a pain in his right thigh and the markets would move); The Down Jones Industrial Average took a dive. The question is how will markets rebound this morning. We’re about a half hour away from knowing.

Insurance Woes
I am one of the lucky people who have Health Insurance to take care of my medical needs. I go to the doctor, give em my co-pay and I’m out the door. It’s not that easy for millions of people and this week I am getting a taste of that.
I have had a run-in with my insurance company over a coverage issue. Nothing big, and I’m not sick thank goodness, but I wanted to relate a conversation I had with someone at the insurance company. I claimed a benefit was included in my coverage…they disagreed. The woman on the phone explained it this way: If I went to the doctor and everything turns out OK (nothing wrong with me)…they’ll pay for it. If, however, I go to the doctor and he finds something…I have to pay for it…including the initial visit they told me they’d pay for. So basically the insurance is only good if I don’t need it.
If any of you doubt the claims that the health care system and the way we all pay for it is broken, my experience this week tells me it is. The arguments and nuance that goes into this debate are too broad to get into here. I understand this problem is so much larger than my situation, but it was a little taste of what I am sure people with minimal or no insurance deal with. The rules don’t make a lot of sense and sometimes it feels like they want to make them just hard enough that you’ll give up.

I agree – some of the worst bureaucratic nonsense and runaround I’ve ever had to deal with had to do with health insurance. Just trying to get answers was almost impossible, and I felt like they couldn’t care less whether I was satisfied with the customer service. What could I do – switch plans? No! If you get your insurance thru your employer, you have very few economically feasible options for recourse if you’re getting hosed. The Iowa Insurance Division is your best bet for complaints if you’re getting nowhere with your insurance company.

Along these lines, I read a story on msnbc this morning that made me almost sick – a little boy who died of a tooth infection, more or less because he didnt’ have dental insurance. It baffles me that here in America we can’t come up with a better way to make sure people don’t fall through the cracks. TS

Please stay safe out there…and take some time to be prepared.
PWD

It’s Trisha now.

Does anyone out there have good weather stories to share? Cute photos of sledding, snowmen, etc? Email them to one of us or send them to photo link!

Here’s a shot of my parka-clad baby at the sledding hill yesterday. She was excited because she loves to wear her “boops” (boots). Calvin even took her down the hill on his lap in the sled a few times. No camera shots of that. I was too nervous watching the two of them fly down the hill without me!
GIVE US A SHOUT
I noticed we haven’t had many of you writing in comments lately – I’m guessing because we no longer allow anonymous posts. It’d still be nice to know you’re out there reading – give us a shout, will you, and let us know we’re not writing into a black hole!

HE CAN FLY!

Peter Pan has been flying through my house a lot lately. It’s Calvin’s latest obsession. He puts on his green pj’s, a brown belt, and this ridiculous “hat” I tried to rig up with an old green t-shirt, a piece of foam, and a cardboard “feather.” (It’s really sad-looking, I know, kind of like a bike helmet and a green Smurf hat combined – but he’s not complaining) He loves to get all dressed up and make Daddy fly him around the house.


Of course my doting parents heard about Cal’s fascination. They’re coming to visit this weekend. So I get this email from my Dad this morning:
Trisha: We could not resist. Went to Disney and got Cal a Peter Pan outfit. It has the hat the shoes the feather and the belt. I think he will be a cute peter pan. Also got Clara a little outfit too. Can’t wait until Friday to see you guys. Love DAD

I shared the email with Pat, who asked me, “Isn’t there a 12-step program for grandparents?”
It’s true – they can not stop themselves from indulging the little ones. It’s pathological. But pretty sweet too!
TS

4 comments

  • Jen

    Trish,I can’t wait to see pics of your little Peter Pan and Clara (I wonder what outfit they got her?) Have a great day. Let hope this is the last of the nasty witnter weather…

  • IAgal

    I bet it’s Tinkerbell…wouldnt that be adorable?I know what you mean about grandparents. I never thought my parents would be that way b/c they were pretty strict with me. It’s amazing to see the things they let my daughter get away with. My mother is the worst about buying anything she sees for my daughter or my niece. And my father just lets them have ANYTHING they want from junk food to staying up from their naps. They are definately spoiled.

  • Trisha Shepherd

    I would have guessed Tinkerbell too except they already got her that costume last Halloween. (more evidence of their indulgence addiction!) I’ll have to dress them up together this weekend and take pictures!Thanks for taking time to write, gals!

  • Heather R.

    I think it might be a updated tinkerbell outfit :) Can’t wait to see pictures. There coming from Chicago right? Aren’t they going to hit bad weather? Good luck!! I still read EVERY SINGLE day!

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