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health care, now - sunday, june 04, 2017 - 08:56

I am so upset with the United States right now. I've been dealing with the healthcare system in upstate New York, for my Mom, who lost her mobility. These people are a bunch of uncaring idiots, letting rules tell them what to do and treating patients like nuisance, who brought their illnesses upon themselves.

The whole thing is just so much rules. I don't understand why it is not for the good of the people but for the good of whom? The rich? Is it even that good for them too?

For example, if you want to go to a nursing home, that costs $5000-$10000 a month in the United States. It cost $1800/month in Quebec and about $2200 in Ontario. Here's the thing, in Canada, if you can't afford it, you pay what you can with your monthly income, and then you can apply for help. Okay, that makes sense...kind of...let's listen to what the US has set up first, before we delve into this.

In the US, if you have less than $14,400 in assets and again, not enough monthly money for the nursing home costs of let's just say it's a bargain one at $4000/month, you can apply for medicaid. Okay, great. All the poor people and all the rich people are taken care of. However, if you own a house, or have say in between $14,000 and $5 million in assets, you are screwed. Basically, you are told to use all your savings, including how much money your house is worth, to pay for your medical care and nursing home, until you only have $14,000 left.

Want to quickly give it to you kids? Or your spouse? Good luck, cause most states have a look back period of 3-5 years, and then you will have to pay that amount out of pocket before medicaid will pay. Is you spouse living in the house you own? No problem, they will wait until your spouse dies, and then take the money from the estate.

Who benefits from this? How is this good for the country? Medicaid is run by whom? And they are taking houses and money from the middle class AFTER their death a lot of times. Why are people so against the middle class leaving money to their kids? Why do the rich get to do it and not the middle class?

This whole thing is going to get even more messed up as more people are retiring without pensions and just giant lumps of 401K savings. The whole thing is just going to get turned over to the broken healthcare system. :(

I don't know what they do in Canada, if you have saved up some assets, but my guess is that it is similar to the US, but the price is just much lower. The cost of medication, dental, and medical care is like that too. They still expect you to pay something here for that, but it's just so much lower.



leaving california - thursday, may 14, 2015 - 19:16

Damn, I still dream about California. Mostly Oakland. I dream about moving back, moving from there, buying a house there or here in Montreal, and sometimes New York and Boston get mixed in.

The dreams all have similar plots. Gabe, Helix and I are going to move. Usually I am on my own, house shopping, sometimes moving in with roomates, and they will come later.

At first, everything is wonderful and full of magic. Then, about a day or two before Gabe and Helix are supposed to arrive, and/or we are to give $/sign a lease/close on the house I start to notice that we are in a really bad neighborhood.

I see needles on the ground, violence outside, suddenly everything is dirty and starts to get scary and feel unsafe. This happens differently in different dreams. Some of the time, we figure out how to make it work, and sort of compromise, and other times, it's just damn awful, when suddenly you realize you can't even allow your child to play outside because there are too many shards of glass from broken bottles.

I've had this dream at least once a month since 2009. I sometimes wake up in a panic, sometimes just relieved. I still miss parts of Oakland, and I miss the all people I used to hang with. I think of how wonderful the people that I know from Oakland are, and it's like I have two separate memories of Oakland the place versus Oakland the people.

Stay Safe Oakland

x-mas presents - monday, december 30, 2013 - 07:22

Grandma Lillian- book on dinasaurs, lego space moon buggy, book Loren Long

Denise- Lego Space Shuttle, Lego Play Book

cousin david- lego

Marlene - ??? i've already forgotten

new car !!!! - friday, may 17, 2013 - 05:53

We donated our old car to a charity called Autism Speaks. I feel really good about that. They told us it already sold in auction, though we don't know for how much yet.

AND..we got a pretty awesome new car. I asked for car payments at $300/month and no more, and they did it!!! It is a 2010 Mazda Tribute. It's a beautiful blue color, and the newest car I've ever had. After Gabe was all done with the paperwork, it turns out that we pay $150 every 2 weeks and the loan is six years long, so that's how we were able to afford it and still keep within our $300/month budget. Car salesmen know all the tricks.



started right away - sunday, january 06, 2013 - 11:29

and then yesterday, it started right away, with no issues. I didn't even have anywhere to go. Totally bizarre, but definitely proving itself to be an unreliable car.

I found out that it is super unlikely they will loan us a car loan until we are permanent residents, and that is probably at least not going to be until NEXT summer, read Summer 2014. Based on how much French Gabe has to study.

So we do have some savings but still some credit card debt. It looks like the credit card debt will be gone by September, so we'll see about maybe buying a car then. I dunno. Maybe we will just tap the savings and buy something more reliable than the one we have.

car won't start again - friday, january 04, 2013 - 14:11

Well we made it all through Christmas, the drive down to NY and back up again. It ran fine yesterday and then today it is all messed up and I think I have drained the battery trying to start it.

Luckily we are now member of the CAA (AAA for Canada) so I can call someone to jump the car. But not today, since it is already dark. I just went to our corner grocery store and got us enough to tide of over.

thieves - saturday, december 22, 2012 - 04:37

Our car was broken into the night before last. They left the passenger door and the trunk open. I was worried the battery had drained, but I did start it up. They had the registration and insurance out, but did not take that. They had the directions to the Thule roof-racks out, but it looks like they couldn't figure that out either.

They DID take 1 quart of oil, 2 overdue library books, and our radio. They also smoked a cigarette and stunk up the car. In our trunk, were some toys from when I had threatened to throw away Helix's toys if he didn't go to bed, but instead of actually putting them in the garbage, I just stuck the garbage bag full of toys in trunk of the car. Yeah, they stole those.

When I told my sister, she started laughing, and then paused and said, "Why? Did you have anything in there on the seat?" and I'm like, just a quart of oil. Laughter again. I mean, I don't know why they picked our car over all the other, much nicer ones, with probably much nicer library books and oil, but I might have maybe not locked the car either. Oops. I will be locking up from now on.


it worked! - wednesday, december 19, 2012 - 14:29

I can't believe that worked. It took me 10 minutes to start it today. Gabe added the oil two days ago, and the fuel injector declogging additive yesterday, and I started it today. I kind of can't believe it worked.

car won't start - tuesday, december 18, 2012 - 05:43

So yesterday, Helix, Gabe and I got all ready for an evening out full of Christmas Shopping and Five Guys. We never got anywhere cause the car wouldn't start. Gabe was the last one to drive the car on Sunday and says he didn't really notice anything out of the usual.

I drove the car on Sunday and I had checked the oil and there was none...so I added the rest of a bottle we had in the trunk, but that was not really a lot, so I had told Gabe there was no oil.

Last night while we were trying to start it, both the oil light and the battery light came out. The car actually did start for like a few seconds and then died. Gabe thinks it is not getting fuel.

I think it could be this or the battery. We were planning on leaving for NY on Thursday or Friday, it is completely snowing today. It's practically a blizzard out there right now.

I feel like this problem would be easy to solve in nice weather if we had a garage or driveway. But we park on the street, and it is really awkward to repair your car on the street, especially in a blizzard.

that car is still running - monday, november 12, 2012 - 10:33

Looking back on my log, last October, in 2011, I was complaining about spending $1135 on fixing out super old honda accord. Gabe and I agreed that would be the last repair.

Then this summer, the starter went, and we were on vacation and my brother in law offered to fix it at cost- so it was only $175. So we did spend that.

Other than that we have a mild leak- oil I think- and it just keeps running. Kind of amazing. I may have spent more on parking tickets this year than on car repairs.

more new friend making - saturday, september 01, 2012 - 18:49

omg. So many new people. I was at a bbq today for 5 hours. I think I did okay. There is still something missing. Like coming home and facebook friending some of the is not enough. I really miss having a website where we ALL go- and like can continue conversations from real life.

I am going to make a website, even if it is lame compared to oaklog, just to have a Montreal based website. I know I talked about this before, and I was into the idea of learning how to program and use the programming knowledge to make the website.

Well, those things are all still true, but I am ready to just take a pre-made website/forum now. Something free and open source would be nice. I'll check out what they have out there.

making new friends - monday, august 20, 2012 - 17:50

Oh it is so so taxing. Repeating the same shit over and over again to people who may or may not like you, and you are judging them and they are judging you and that is like the purpose of your meeting.

I am glad I am doing this. A few weeks ago I just decided to just put my all in it for a few months. Make the end of 2012 filled with some uncomfortable moments, step out of the comfort zone, and hopefully get some friends out of it.

I can't wait till I already know people here.

one person unhappy at work - wednesday, august 01, 2012 - 14:16

Well, it only takes one person to be unhappy at their job to affect everyone in the house. Our work permits are all dependent on Gabe's job , and since we don't have permanent residency yet, we couldn't even keep living here unless he keeps that job, gets a different one, or I suddenly got a job that would sponsor me- unlikely- due to no French and no idea what I would do, honestly.

I recently was looking for organic farms to go apple-picking at, and there is only one I can find, that has apples, apple wine, and pears. I was pretty impressed, it looks like just one guy works the whole place. I think I will try growing more stuff this year...I am going to attempt to grow an apple tree in a pot, and maybe a peach tree too.

I also learned that if you plant an apple seed and grow it into a tree, the apples will be totally different. So every time I buy Gala or Fuji apples, they have been grafted from some Gala or Fuji tree. That is nuts to me. Are we messing with nature by not just letting the apple trees mate?

Ah, so needless to say, I am happy here, Helix is happy here, and we want to stay, but it truly depends on how work goes.

so a lot of it has to do with speaking French - wednesday, june 27, 2012 - 13:18

There is an alternative application for permanent residency for "fast-track" if you have at least a beginning-intermediate level of french. Gabe tried that once and they told him he was awful at speaking French.

"They" = Montreal International. A company hired by Ubisoft to help us immigrate to Quebec. Montreal International has been nothing but lazy and unresponsive.

The rules changed in March, and we had one piece of paper to hand in, we handed it in in April. We did not know the rules changed. They could have emailed us. They had all our other papers. I don't understand why they couldn't just let us know everything we had done was now rendered worthless.

Every time I start looking into French classes, the problem of money/daycare/babysitters comes up. I am not restricted from working here, but I most likely cannot get much of a job without speaking French.

Also right now, I really would like to learn computer programming. And the classes are so cheap once you are a resident. I am thinking of taking one of those super intensive French classes while Gabe's parents visit next month. That would be so good for me.

they are not making it easy - monday, june 25, 2012 - 06:47

I have lived in Montreal for three years and a few months now, and I still can't take a class as a local or get the equivalent of a social security number for Helix because we are not permanent residents.

This is the 1st step to citizenship, and along with it come a lot of benefits, the first of which is, we would not be dependent on Gabe's current job to be able to stay here.

Taking classes like learning French and computer programming (which I am now interested in learning) are super cheap if you have this. Of course they want me to take a French test to become a permanent resident, which means I have to pay the higher price now.

The whole application is based around Gabe, and he has to take a French and an English test, and he also has no time to do any of this stuff. I have the time but the paid consultants of Ubisoft will not answer my emails. I don't know if it is because I am not with a Ubisoft email, or is it because I am not the principal name on the application. Either way, it is extremely frustrating.

We had almost everything ready in December, and then one more form. That form was supposed to take a month for Ubisoft to prepare for us and $175. It took 4 months, and then we handed in all our forms and the rules had changed. Now we had to take French tests ($200 each), an English test (another $200) and the price to apply went up by $500.

With all those price increases, we would have done ourselves a favor to hire a lawyer last Fall to help us. Hindsight being 20/20. I hope we can get this together soon.

fixed tire!!! - thursday, november 17, 2011 - 13:12

Only $28 to fix the tire. I'm not sure why. My receipt is in French and I think it says they cleaned the tire. So...hey, $28. Yep.

flat tire. - wednesday, november 16, 2011 - 09:28

I just got new tires for like $300 last week and now one of them is flat.

ahem....$1135 of ripoff later - tuesday, october 25, 2011 - 06:38

Gabe decided to sink another $1135 into the car *this* time. I'm not happy about it, but I think I have swayed him to not spend another dime on this lemon of a car.

And it won't even be ready till Wednesday night. At least I won't get any parking tickets.

car is too expensive - monday, october 24, 2011 - 08:38

Our car is costing us more than it is worth, more than having a car is worth, or should be. I think we bought it for like $1400 or $2200 or something like that. It is a 1995 Honda Accord and I just spent $700 on fixing something when I was in NY in September and now here in Montreal, they are telling me that the rack and pinion is gone and that will be $300-$500.

When Gabe gets there and the guy comes up with the full quote it is now $800. This morning they call Gabe and say they found $300 more worth of work to do.

Well Bully for them, but I have told Gabe now to just tell them not to do anything. I hope he gets them in time cause even the $800 of work was causing a problem. This is a problem car just turning into an albatross and I'm ready to cut my losses.

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