Tags Posts tagged with "Smurfling"

Smurfling

    4 2233

    Mmmm... mushy food.

    Today we decided, as experienced parents of over four months now, that today was the day that Duncan was going to eat dinner at the table.

    A lot of preparation and money went into this. No — seriously.

    Aside from the food, we had to buy him a chair to sit in and even a spoon to use.

    Total cost — around $160.

    I’ve never even had a $60 meal. I came close once.

    Actually, no, I’ve never come close

    I’m just recalling that one time that I somehow ended up picking up the bill for an ex-girlfriend’s night out with friends to the tune of around $200. The place didn’t even have free refills… Ugh…

    Makes me angry just thinking about it…

    Anyway, going all “Mommy-blog” now; Duncan did just fine.

    He swallowed a few spoonfuls…

    Spit a few back out…

    ..and then he wiped his own face.

    Post-meal clean-up.

    All in all, I’d call it a successful day.

    1 1946

    It's easy being green...I’ve officially been a parent for 90 days now…

    Being 90 days, it’s almost like I’m at the end of a trial period, or something, so here are my thoughts…

    Not only is this not very difficult, I’m not certain that I could even classify it as hard.

    Sure, this past weekend was a little rough as he managed to suffer his first fever — a bout that resulted in very little sleep for anyone under this roof — and his first snuffy nose — that resulted in some of the most foul booger action I’ve ever seen.

    How so much snot can come from such a tiny nose is simply miraculous…

    But outside of that (and a few blow-outs up the back — one even up the front!), it’s mostly been smiles.

    Like the picture.

    I’d bet the next 90 days are even easier and… hopefully they’re just as kind to my wallet too.

    Since birth — I’m “up” over $20k

    Woo-hoo!

    4 6956

    Well, we’re back from our weekend away and I’m going to exercise the ability to plead the Fifth when it comes to how much I ended up spending and on what.

    It’s embarrassing.

    Don’t worry, though, I’ll spill the beans when it comes time to list out my expenses for the month — I’m just hoping the recent surge in the market keeps up and bails me out of the “negative” month I’m currently lining myself up for…

    Anyway, Duncan refused to do a traditional blog post today (at 8 weeks, he feels that he’s too old for that sort of thing) so, instead, here’s a video post:

    Does anyone know what he’s talking about?

    I have a hunch that it has something to do with his dad spending so much money on silly things…

    6 2528

    DuncanNo, we’re not disputing the amount.

    Prior to that incredibly inconsiderate and premature collections call from the hospital, our insurance company hinted at what the damage to our wallets would be.

    The insurance company’s explanation of benefits from a couple of weeks ago indicated that we’d be on the hook for around $1890.68.

    That’s fine and exactly the amount that today’s bill indicated.

    The thing is, I was really interested in seeing a detailed statement with all of the services we received, like, broken down and itemized.

    You know, seeing that the fee for having that old lady escort us out was an astounding $75. Or that that horrible bowl of pudding cost us $16.99. That sort of thing.

    Something to get me fired up about the ludicrous cost of health care…

    Well, this is what we recieved:

    Not much to look at, huh?

    No joke. It was this and a return envelope. That’s it.

    I dunno. Was it wrong to expect more?

    I want to know what all that money went towards!

    Can you imagine if something like your long distance phone bill came like this? Without an explanation of how they reached the amount due?

    I know that it says that we can call to ask questions but I doubt a third party call center in Colorado (that isn’t the hospital’s number) will be able to break down a bill for a service provided at a hospital in Connecticut.

    And I wonder what the reaction would be at the information desk just inside the hospital’s main entrance would be if I asked them to explain the bill to me…

    In the end, we’ll just write a check and mail it off but I’ll always wonder how much that epidural cost, how much the anesthesiologist’s services cost, how much that little hat that they put on him cost, and, yes, even how much that terrible bowl of pudding set us back…

    4 2875

    Duncan has some outstanding balances.So get this, my wife got a call today from the hospital.

    They were calling to let us know that “Ducan” (yep, they massacred what I’d consider, while rather uncommon these days, a very simple and traditional name) had an outstanding balance for his May 26 “procedure” and that we’d need to “set-up” a payment plan.

    Like a seasoned telemarketing pro, they proceeded right into the list of various payment options.

    Confused, my wife interupted with a “What?

    Obviously used to this type of treatment, the caller just pressed on until my wife finally got a word in edgewise.

    “We’re not going to set-up a payment plan without a bill.”

    Makes sense, right?

    The caller then said that the bill had been mailed…

    YESTERDAY.

    Now, mail service is pretty prompt around here but not *that* prompt.

    My wife futher explained that we hadn’t yet recieved a bill and until we had a bill in hand, we weren’t paying anything and definitely not over the phone.

    Now I know that the person on the other end of the phone encounters a lot of deadbeats that also claim that they never received a bill in the mail — I realize that — but when the they’re the one that offers up the information that the bill was mailed out YESTERDAY, I mean, c’mon…

    We’re not late — we haven’t even recieved the freakin’ bill. (That was just the insurance company’s explanation of benefits last Thursday.)

    So, after making my wife feel like a deadbeat, the caller apparently came to terms with the fact that it was plausible that we hadn’t yet receieved a bill…but she still insisted on knowing how we intended to pay the outstanding balance…

    “Sorry, we’ll pay you when we receive a bill.”

    Click.

    Plain and simple, this was a collections call thinly disguised as a courtesy call…

    I’m not terribly impressed.

    I actually find it completely ridiculous…

    Disgusting, even.

    And with that, we’ll probably sit on the bill until just days before it’s due.

    Had they left us alone, they probably would have had payment in full before the holiday weekend.

    (For the record, it wasn’t a scam — it really was the hospital calling.)

    The nerve…

    Can you believe that?

    2 3166

    Keeping a keen eye on the baby while still at the hospital...This post is about how much it costs to have a baby.

    Put simply, I like real world examples…

    For any programmers out there, the classic “Hello World!” example on page one of every compter geek book is the most useless example of anything ever created.

    Now, I know I’ve read a similar posts to this on other sites but I’ve never actually seen real numbers.

    Just meaningless guesses really…

    Like, this may be a huge tangent but remember that time that I had that plumbing problem where my whole house smelled like Starbucks coffee?

    Well, I researched the crap out of that on the internet trying to get a ballpark figure of how much it might cost to get fixed…

    I found a lot of advice, yeah, but every single place I found tip-toed around an actual number…

    “Anywhere between $300 and $1500” just doesn’t cut it — way too wide of a window.

    I couldn’t find anyone that actually flat out said what they were charged for the same, apparently very common, type of project. No one.

    Trying to fill the void, somewhat, I posted exactly what it cost me.

    Sure, for some, it could be higher or lower, but that’s exactly what it cost me. A starting point for anyone in that situation…

    So here’s a real world example of how much it costs to have a baby — not to take care of a baby, but just to “have” one:

    Costs of having a baby

    I’m sure some out there will find this very informing. I know I would have…

    Sadly this is just the “explanation of benefits” from the insurance company but once the more detailed hospital bill arrives, well, I’ll post that too.

    Seriously, had I known that “Nursery R&B” were costing us nearly $1k per night, I probably would have insisted that we be able to take him home the first day…

    What a rip off — the room wasn’t anywhere near nice enough to cost that much. ;0)

      13 5474

      The little man smiled for the first time today.
      Today I took the day off from work so we could check out a few daycare facilities.

      While I have little doubt that my wife would love to be a stay-at-home mom indefinitely, it probably wouldn’t be in the family’s best interest for a host of reasons…

      You know, health insurance, schedule flexibilty, and job security being the three biggies that come to mind first…

      We’ll play it by ear but, for now, the plan is to drop the little guy off at daycare each morning once the maternity leave ends in another 6 weeks.

      Not really knowing what to expect on a daycare tour — I was envisioning a “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” type of set-up aimed at little kids — we pretty much walked in blindly.

      Sure, we checked out a bunch of websites for the daycare providers in our area but, like so many other things, they never list a price.

      Now I’m not saying that the pricetag attached to the care is all that matters, I just don’t want to be caught off guard when the price drops — like I have been for a few of our home improvement projects.

      Not really knowing what to expect, the first place we went was right upfront — care for the little guys (6 weeks to 3 years old) for all five weekdays runs $231 per week.

      Not that we were taken aback by the number, they further justified it by saying that that’s only $4.86/hour.

      Sounds like a deal, though we don’t intend to have him there as many hours as it would take to get the hourly rate down that low — they just took the $231 and divided it by the number of hours that they’re open during the week.

      It was a nice modern looking place — everything was new and it showed. Nice and bright, well-staffed, and equipped with a security system that rivals the vault at any downtown bank. I’d say that we were impressed. Presentation-wise, from the glossy handouts that they gave us to the person that walked us around, this place was going to be tough to beat.

      The next place we visited is a little off the beaten path. It’s a place that I know a few people from work have used and, six months ago, if you’d asked me to name a daycare place in town, well, this would’ve been the only one I could name off the cuff.

      When we walked in, well, it just had that nursery school feel, you know, there was a hint of “controlled” chaos in the air even though we weren’t anywhere near any of the children yet.

      The director gave us the pitch and then we ventured behind the big wooden door for the tour portion of the presentation.

      Wow. It brought back memories of my own nursery school days…

      Little cubbies with name tags for all of the kids to put their stuff.

      Children just talking everywhere about, well, nothing at all. There was one kid, probably four years old, that just wanted to say “Hi” to us. Repeatedly.

      While it was a little messy and cluttered, it seemed pretty structured and under control at the same time.

      I couldn’t help but notice all of the Fisher-Price toys from the 1970’s all over the place — the kind that I’ve looked for but haven’t been able to find because they don’t appear to make them anymore.

      Seemed like my kinda place, though, I suppose I should expect daycare to have modernized some since the 1970’s. I’m not saying that I’m against pretend plastic cell phones for kids…

      (No wait… That’s exactly what I’m saying. Give me that plastic rotary phone any day of the week and don’t tell me that the coiled cord is a choking hazard…)

      In short, it was cool to see the kids playing with the *exact* same toys that I played with.

      One thing that was very different though were all of the hand sanitizer machines on the walls. I was a little turned off by the whole germ-o-phobe vibe. We even had to cover our shoes with little shower cap like things.

      I understand it but I don’t agree with it. It’s almost as if one OCD parent changed the way things are done for everyone.

      Somewhat related, While the director was telling us about the no-peanut policy in the building, I couldn’t help but think back to my own childhood.

      I was one of those kids that was allergic to peanuts. I’m still one of those kids. But you know what? Just because I couldn’t eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich didn’t mean that no one in my entire school could eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That would’ve been ridiculous…

      I dunno, it seemed a little overboard to be so heavy handed but maybe that’s just me?

      I was smart enough to know that I couldn’t eat a peanut M&M. I like to think that kids today with the same death allergy are smart enough to know it too…

      So, the comparable weekly rate for this second place is $225 per week. They didn’t bother to justify it, just threw it out there. They also told us that there wasn’t an opening for when we’d like to start but that they’d keep us posted.

      So, at then end of the day, we were kinda torn.

      I don’t want to bash one over the other so, for the record, both places had the no-peanut policy. Both were also crazy with the wall-mounted hand sanitizer machines. Both seemed to have a great staff working there. And both also seemed to be filled with kids that were respectful, happy, and having a good time.

      I’d be comfortable leaving him at either place.

      The costs, which will fit into our budget, are all but identical too — around $1000 per month — so it comes down to which place gave us the better vibe.

      I won’t lie, I thought it was really cool to relive my own nursery school days at the second place. I’d like him to go there.

      At the same time, it was old. It was a little run down. And it, I dunno, just didn’t seem with the times. (Obviously?!) Really, they don’t accept credit cards — they’re that old fashioned.

      My wife prefers the nice, new, and modern place. For $6 more per week, it probably is the better choice.

      Best of all, they have an opening for us too.

      Can You Dig It?

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