Saturday, May 27, 2017

Motorhome repair Blog #426

Well, I feel pretty good taking my electric passenger seat out of the motorhome to be recovered. Damn thing must weigh 70 or 80 lbs.

The dogs had no part in this damage, the upholstery guy says it's from bare skin and body oil. I told Carla, " no more riding naked in the coach. 😂

This is where I excel, taking things apart. (not so much the other way around)

Base plate and electronics.

Base plate attachment, swivel plate and motors add up to more pounds. At this point I was able to reattach a cable for swiveling the chair backwards, which came apart two years ago.

The new leather seat is looking good.

Not a bad match to the back of the seat. It's not like you can match 14 year old leather perfectly.
Thanks to CnT Upholstery in Kettle Falls.

In the next two weeks comes a new paint job. A common problem is that the black paint heats up and causes the clear coat to crack and peal.

Casey's in town will mask and remove all the damaged black paint and redo it. Can't wait to see how this turns out because if I had to have the whole coach painted, I'd be looking at $25 to $30 thousand. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Winery's near Colville, Wa. blog 425

A few days ago I blogged about a winery near the Canadian border called China Bend Winery which was cute, orderly and organic.
Today we visited another local organic winery near us on the Columbia River.

The Barreca Vineyard is about 20 miles south west of the house on the Columbia River. Whereas China Bend Vineyards was finely manicured, Barreca was more of a natural vineyard, something I might of developed.

Cheryl and Joe first started this vineyard because they like to drink wine 30 years ago, but when they started producing more wine than they could consume, selling it seemed to be the right answer.

Cheryl was very happy to have us sample six of their organic red wines and one Riesling, and explained how each wine came about. No tasting fee here, but if I like the grape, I always try and support local businesses.

Joe explained that oak barrels impart too much of a oak flavor into his wines and he wants the wine to taste and smell more like the grape than the oak. Each glass bottle has a hyper atmospheric device that tells Joe when the wine has stopped maturing and ready for bottling. They use no sugar in the product at all.

Joe and Cheryl are classic 70's hippies. Their "hobbit" house was Joe's design and built in the early 90's. 1400 square feet, two bedrooms and energy efficient. Cheryl said the house has 3 1/2 miles of rebar in the concrete. I believe this because she also showed us a scrapbook and one photo had a D-7 Cat bulldozer pushing dirt up on the top of the roof.

Joe explained his wonderful Marechal Foch and Lici Kulhman vines and also explained how his 40 years, he'd had made mistake after mistake, but learning something new from each failure.

While we were out on their 8-10 acre vineyard, orchard and garden area, Carla thought they could be fairly self sufficient with all the food, wine and hobbit house, I tend to agree. Cheryl was such a trip to talk to and loved showing us every plant on the grounds, I had to use the dogs at home as an excuse to hit the road.

Lightning and thunder shortened our stay anyway, but all an all, every stop showing Cherie around has also been a learning experience for me.

Besides the few bottles of wine we bought, we were sent home with some fresh Morel mushrooms that Cheryl said they got while mushrooming on Saturday. Cherie had not seen one before and Joe told his wife to give us a few for cooking. I think I saw Cheryl give Joe the stink eye, because most folks that hunt these mushrooms are very secretive and possessive about their prized shrooms.

About 5 minutes after getting home we received a pretty good hail storm. Good planning on our part and a quick 1/2 inch of rain.

Carla and Cherie recounting the days trip. I'll be sad to see Cherie go home, because Carla enjoys having her sister here so much...and so do I.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Health Care 424

Health Care 201

With all the talk about healthcare recently, for and against Obamacare, I'd like to add our story to the mix. 
During our 34 years in the casino business our healthcare was behind the curtain. I say this because we never really had to think about was always there, just waiting for us. 
Costs were minimal, co-pays small and it was capped at a $1,000,000 lifetime limit...yea, like who'd ever come close to that. In the 34 years I had my insurance, I'd had multiple broken bones, approximately 12 or 13, two severe foot operations and I had a nasty bout with cancer, but last I remember before retiring, I'd had only used $185,000 of my $1,000,000 limit. 
The insurance companies pooled all the monthly insurance payments together and provided excellent coverage, this kind of reminds me of the "single-payer" system. 

Unfortunately in our occupation, when you retire, all benefits cease, zilch, nada! I was fortunate, or depends on ones perspective, because of a service connected injury, as the VA was responible for all my medical and prescriptions, 100%. Donna on the other hand had no medical insurance and when her cobra ran out we got one of those $1,000,000 "catastrophic" policies where she pays quite a bit monthly but if something bad happened, they would pickup the costs after a $10,000 deductible. 
We felt safe with this because really "who in the hell will run up ONE MILLION DALLORS in medical costs? Did I mention we were slightly naïve?

Fast forward three years later and we find the house of our dreams in the state of Washington. Four months after becoming Washingtonians, OBAMACARE or what should be called ACA, became available in our welcoming state. 
Donna's premium went from $477 a month for catastrophic only to $145 for complete coverage, wow...we couldn't believe how lucky we were to be in such a beautiful and progressive state. 

Now the bad news. 

Two months after Donna was accepted into the ACA program she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. 
During the next 13 months, with 8 of them being in a hospital, Donna and her doctors fought to win over this frightening blood disease. Chemo for 2 months in the hospital (which failed) followed by another chemo trip for another months stay before the only option was to get a bone marrow transplant at the University of Washington near Seattle. 
The only hitch was that SCCA wanted $100,000 up front for acquiring the bone marrow from the hosts. It costs about $125,000 and the insurance would only allocate $25,000 towards this, so against Donna's wishes, I proceeded to take a first out on our house. Luckily, the doctors fought and made the insurance company pay the total cost for harvesting the marrow. 
The transplant would require Donna to stay up to 21 days max for the transplant and after more chemo and ended up being 5 months!
Donna beat the leukemia, so they say, and was sent home in a very weakened condition and only lasted 5 days, before she was flown on a medevac jet back to Seattle, only to be told there was nothing they could do. 

Why am I reliving this horror?
So you aren't fooled by any phony "HEALTH CARE PLAN" that won't protect you, your family...or your life's savings. 
Donna's total bill for the 13 months was $2,300,000...TWO MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!
Who paid this? The pool in Washington did, our share of the cost was a little less than 10%, but remember when I thought ONE MILLION was a ridiculous amount of money? Think again.

Do I want to say thank you to Mr. Obama...damn right I do, "thank you Mr Obama".

Do I want to say thank you to the thousands, if not millions who pooled there money into an insurance fund to help Donna, yes I do, "thank you". 

Donna didn't survive, even with the worlds best doctors and equipment, but thanks some thoughtful and intelligent folks in D.C., she had a chance, isn't that all we can ask for?

We are the richest country in the world, yet we are ranked 37th in the world for health care. 

The 1% hold half of the wealth in this country and because of our tax codes I can end up paying more, percentage wise, than most of the richest people do. How is this fair? A flat tax, no deductions or exemptions would solve a lot of budget problems. 

Be humble and kind