Monthly Archives: April 2019

decorating ii

I’m not feeling well, so why not do a little digital home decorating, eh?  This is our living room as it currently stands:

(I find it kind of amusing and kind of not that I captured both kids absorbed by their digital devices – cameras in this case.)  Anyway, the living room has actually come a long way from a few years ago when we had a too-small couch, no ottoman, no chair, etc.

Still on the list:

  • Get rid of some of the clutter (note the folding table, stuff piled on top of the bookcase, etc.)
  • Replace bookcase with a white one.  The current one will go into the girls’ room to replace their extremely dilapidated Ikea bookcase.
  • Replace end table.  I got that one in Target 15 years ago and am well sick of it.
  • Cushion / throw update for the couch?
  • Pictures or other wall decoration above the couch

I like our ottoman, but it’s rather vulnerable to staining, so I keep the quilt on it to protect it except when we have guests.

Room #2 is the guest bedroom.  This, too, has seen some improvement:

I detest the pink sparkly wall paper, so priority number one is to get rid of that.  Then, new side tables (current side table is about thirty years old from my childhood, and I’m over it) and new bedspread, a couple wall hangings, and we’re done, I think.  There is a lamp on the floor next to the bed just waiting for a table to sit on.

healthcare thoughts

It’s interesting to me how supporting government-run healthcare has become more or less standard for Democratic candidates.  I can’t argue that people – all people – should have access to healthcare, but I feel a lot of people don’t understand that what people get with government-run healthcare is not the same as what we get here.  I can mainly speak to Ireland and the UK, so that’s what I’ll talk to.

  • If you are in the hospital in Ireland, you’ll likely find yourself on a ward.  If not, you’ll be sharing a room.  As far as I can tell, wards don’t even exist on US hospitals anymore, except maybe in the ICU or whatever.  Private rooms are not a standard thing like they are here.
  • If you need some kind of treatment for something that’s not life-threatening, you’ll likely have to wait.  A long time.  Here’s a random example of an article on patients waiting 9 months or more to get shots for macular degeneration.  I didn’t KNOW that people had to wait a long time for that treatment, but I guessed they did.  My dad has macular degeneration, and it’s terribly time-critical to get treated.
  • When my American grandma got cataracts, she made an appointment and got them removed.  When my Irish great-aunt got cataracts, she got put on a waiting list, and a year later, she got them removed.
  • In Ireland, people unsatisfied with public health care pay for private health insurance.  15% of health care expenditures came from private insurance, and 40% of Irish people have some type of private insurance.  My aunt found a lump in her breast.  She was unsatisfied with the care she was getting from the public healthcare system, so she sought private treatment and surgery to have it removed.
  • Healthcare is like an HMO.  I’ve enjoyed being on a PPO for over a decade.  As a kid, my parents had an HMO which was super annoying because you couldn’t just go see a doctor if you had a problem.  You needed a referral.  Not a huge deal, but public healthcare tends to follow the HMO model – your GP is a gatekeeper.
  • Education requirements are WAY less to qualify as a doctor in other countries outside the US.  It takes five years to qualify as a doctor in Ireland.  In five to six years, you can qualify as a surgeon or specialist.  That’s out of high school, folks.  I actually think this is a good thing, but unless the model is changed, doctors here are going to expect to be paid more.
  • GPs in Ireland make $77,000 a year.  GPs in the US average between $140,000 and $190,000 a year, depending on the source.  And we have trouble finding enough GPs even at that salary level.
  • As far as I can tell, Medicare is great in the US.  But the rest of us are subsidizing it heavily.  Not only that, I’d assert that the US subsidizes healthcare around the world through paying through the nose for pharmaceuticals and advanced operations and equipment not available elsewhere.  New treatments are debuted in the US, and after they’ve been shown to work well, they move to the rest of the world.  A random example of British kids trying to get to the US for cutting edge cancer treatment.  Cancer treatment is very effective in Europe, but many of those effective treatments were developed and paid for here.
  • Despite the fact that a full 12% of Americans are uninsured, cancer survival rates are comparable between the US and Europe.  12% of Americans don’t even have healthcare, but survival rates are the same.  Why?  Shouldn’t they be much higher in Europe?  (It varies with type of cancer; for some types, survival rates are higher in the US, others higher in Europe, but comes out roughly even overall.)

I honestly believe healthcare will not be any cheaper whatsoever if we go to governement-run healthcare in the US.  I suspect that globally, the rate of advancements in healthcare will declines.  I would LOVE to see the US stop subsidizing drugs for the rest of the world, and perhaps government run healthcare would enable that.  I do believe it’s a moral obligation of this country to provide healthcare to all its citizens.  I’m not sure Medicare for all is the way to do that.  Maybe it is.  If Medicare for all IS the right answer, I definitely would be in favor of a gradual expansion – gradually reduce the eligibility age and add in children at the same time.  So, year one, move eligibility to age 55 and also make all children under 1 eligible.  People could still retain private insurance if they wished, but I imagine many or most wouldn’t.  Private insurance would experience a slow decline over the next 30 years while it adapted to a role more similar to that which it plays in Europe.


on beds

H and I have decided to upgrade our bed to a king-size.  Currently, we have a queen bed, on a frame I bought fifteen years ago from West Elm.  The frame itself is fake wood and horrible.  Naturally, I couldn’t return it because it was so heavy.  I haven’t bought anything from West Elm since!  Anyway, it has kept our bed off the ground all these years, which is something.  But it’s time for an upgrade.  I remember sharing twin beds with boyfriends in college and thinking a double bed would be heaven, but I’ve grown spoiled in my old age, and our room is big enough.

First, anyone feel like sharing what kind of bed you have?  Or what your bedroom looks like?  Kind of a personal question, I know.

Second, I decided to allocate $5000 a year towards furniture and interior home upgrades.  Basically, I set aside $100 a week and save it up.  This encompasses big things like the bed and little things like clips to keep food closed, picture frames, a snow shovel, and so on.  I like it because I always used to agonize on what to spend on things, and now with a budget, I don’t spend beyond the budget and don’t feel guilty about what I do spend.

Third, it seems odd and middle-aged to be saving up and spending thousands on a bed.  (I figure 1K or so, all in, for the mattress and $1000-2000 for the bed, depending on what type I go for.)  I mean, I could get a bed and mattress from Ikea for a few hundred.  It just feels odd to spend thousands of dollars on furniture.  It’s like an anchor that makes it hard to move, closes off that life of adventure I thought I’d have when I was young, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious I’m not going to have, by choice.