Thursday, April 23, 2015

Simply Wednesday's Weekly Update

What a whirled wind week - well kinda sorta! At the least the last few hours!  So what's been happening is that I'm blowing through my EMergency Fund like crazy (sigh). My eyes have been bothering me incredibly for a while.  I'd just been putting off dealing with it because I bought a pair of glasses in Mexico over a year ago and just couldn't see (ha) spending more money.  Though its just not been working. The first few minutes with those new glasses had me dizzy and nauseous and going back to the shop to have them adjusted.  I was told that I would get used to them.  I never really did.  I hated going for any walks because I was afraid of tripping over something silly because I just couldn't see much of anything except at a distance.  Nice clear mountain tops or birds but don't look down! 

After having Vantucket's Check Engine light checked - it had been coming on once in a while ever since I've had her.  After learning that both Mechanic Mike's Chevy with a Check Engine light going on and off needed the engine rebuilt (hope that is the right term) AND Ed Hevley's McVansion's Check Engine light going on and off resulted in him needing a NEW Engine (yikes), I thought it only wise to do some checking and possibly preventative maintenance.  I just don't want to test the Van gods with wearing out some silly thing that could have me rebuilding or needing a new engine.  We found a vacumn hose that needed replacing to the minor repair bill of $45! Whoohoo! According to the mechanics my engine is in great shape. The Check Engine light no longer comes on when driving in town. 

So my next priority was finding out once and for all (if that is possible) what is going on with my eyes. I was hoping to get a little help from Medicare or Medicaid (AZ-AHSCCS) because being on low-income SSDI (Social Security Disability) anything medical I try to get help with if that is possible.  Well, Nope it's not possible to get any help and only the Lion's Club from the community will help with getting simple glasses using donated frames.  I stopped into the Payson, AZ Walmart's eye glass shop to ask questions.  Mostly like how much will an eye exam cost, can I afford a new pair of glasses if that is what I need - stuff like that.  While talking with the employees, one of them asked to take my glasses and just touch them up for me, she cleaned and adjusted the frames. I got my answers and clean glasses and left, wondering when I should try to deal with this - now using my EM Fund or later with monthly money.  I got to the van and drove off - but feeling my eyes were achey and wierd.  I wasn't even out of the parking lot when I decided to clean the glasses again thinking that I had gotten them dirty.  And to my amazement - there was a lense missing.  I went back and looked all over to find it. Nope - so I left. I wondered if I could just go on with life without the glasses - well that only lasted a couple days! So I scheduled an appointment.  I was thinking that the exam would cost $68.  Nope - with my challenges and all I had to have both a glasses and contact exam to the tune of $168! Yup - EM Fund! I walked out with blurry vision from the exam and a set of trial contacts along with a starter contact set up and an appointment for a week from then.  I was instructed to try wearing a distance mono lense in my left eye, but to wait until the next day to start. Wow the next day after putting the contact in - I could see what I needed to to function! Omgosh Ozzie and I went for a nice long walk!  The year that I became disabled my eye doctor in Augusta, Maine had prescribed a similar set up.  My eyes were not much different and for my age they are not very bad although I am, at 56 yrs old, begining to need a little assistance reading close up or threading a needle.  Who am I to complain though when I only need a +1 reading glasses?

Fast forward though a week of camping at the 260/260 campsite and a new one not much further out of town.  The drive back to town and - darn - the light came back on but I turned the van off when I stopped and the light went off. Being the age of Van that I have, the light needs to be ON for the computer codes to be read.  So I had to stop in when the light came on again.  It's been two weeks, and I was coming in town for Ozzie's pre-dog training class and the light was on so we stopped in at Payson Tire &  Automotive and Southwest Transmission - my new favorite shop!  Danny put the OBD1 reader right on and read the codes and Brian and I worked up a plan of action.

That was yesterday - I had a 9 am appointment with Dr.Savery, my eye doctor at Walmart. To Dr. Savery's surprise, my eyes are doing great, I feel like I can have a life again because I can see both distance and relatively close up.  I use a light reading glass for fine print, cellphone 'work' and reading a book.  He gave me a weeks worth of daily contacts to try out and we decided that having a pair of distance only glasses and a pair of the correct strength reading glasses was a good plan of action.  So I ordered a three month supply of contacts, a pair of relatively inexpensive single vision glasses and a pair of +1 strength reading glasses - only $200. Bringing my eye - 'emergency' to a grand total of $368! Thank god for my EM Fund!

Then I had to get right over to the Auto Shop. We had scheduled the replacement of my EGR valve for this morning. It should be about a $200 job.  During the past two weeks I had made a run up past Pine to deliver a 12V Refridgerator to its new owner. While driving back down the twisty mountain roads, I noticed that everytime I used the brakes the van pulled left pretty badly.  So I had asked Brian to check and see what was happening with that as well.  He did a visual check and couldn't see any problems.  So he did a test drive --- yup, I wasn't nuts - it pulls and he was hoping it was just a brake pad or something, though he said it was possible that it was a caliper.  This morning the guys put it up and sure enough it was (sigh) and some feelings of relief that it will be okay --- $265ish more .... my EM Fund is gonna be kinda slim after today.

And we will be okay!
Because I am spending it wisely. I am assuring our safety.  And with the tight budget plan that I am on, I have been doing very well at only spending $50 a month on groceries and using food pantries to suppliment that. I have been stretching one tank of gas sometimes into two months. I am making great progress on paying off the Credit Union loan and the two credit cards that I had been using over the last three years. I also recently chose to spend my entertainment money for the past couple months on another passion of mine - traveling light and often (yes that is a blog teaser!)

   And Ozzie