May 16, 2013

Those Who Do the Right Thing

... almost always get kicked in the teeth.

In February I wanted to know exactly how much longer I could work without losing my Social Security Disability.  (Yes, it's legal.)  So I called them.

I wanted to know not because I was going to quit my job so I didn't lose my benefits, but because I needed to find a better job before the disability payments stopped.  I knew it was coming up soon - this month or next.

Of course, the government being what it is, they apparently think my reason for wanting to know was, in fact, so I could quit my job in time to avoid losing my benefits.

I received a huge packet of forms in the mail today.  They're going to review my case to see if I can continue to get benefits.  They're not supposed to do that; because I was working, I was exempt from medical reviews.

Now they want my medical records.  They want my work history.  Which they should have because, as required by law, I've kept them apprised.  Apparently those phone calls never got entered into the system because they're claiming they didn't know I was working.

They want the name of somebody who's not my doctor, but who's "familiar with my disability."  Presumably so they can catch me in any lies.

Folks, I know there are people who milk the system for every dime they can get.  I know that a "mood disorder" as a disability is hard for some people to swallow.  But I've done the right thing all along.

Now I have to spend hours proving it.  And I still might lose my disability. And Medicare.

I'm thinking of emigrating.

May 13, 2013

Who Are These People? Where's Hoss?

Two of our neighbors, whom we hadn't met yet, came by on Wednesday on their 4-wheeler.  They were out looking for their lost horse, Hoss.  He's a beautiful brown quarter horse and somehow he went through a closed gate hung on a 6" post to get out.  The post is now at a slant. The gate's a mess. (We speculated he was being chased by coyotes.  Who knows with horses.)

We hadn't seen him, but we had a great conversation with the neighbors, T. and F.  The next day, when Hoss still hadn't come home, I put up a Craigslist lost & found ad and by golly one of the neighbors down the road (quite a ways, actually) had him.  Hoss came home safely.  Whew!  T. was very upset and I was, too, on her behalf.  Just imagining if my little guy got out and disappeared gave me heart palpitations!

"These people", T. and F., turned out to be kindred spirits.  We were invited over for dinner Saturday night to celebrate Hoss's return.  We had an absolutely awesome time.  We have new friends.

Jeff and I are loners, always have been.  To have friends you have to be friends, and that's hard for us with all our focus on the farm and our produce business (check out my farming blog here).  We made time to go visit, though, and thanks to T. and F.'s beautiful back yard, we're now motivated to make our own little piece of paradise even better.

I'm talking about the R&R area we've started down by the lake. We took these pix last year when we had a get-together.  Obviously the screen room and the tent aren't left up all the time.  (Actually, the tent bit the dust.  Turns out it was dry-rotted. Dammit.)  Wouldn't it be nice to have a little post-and-beam screened room for the food?

The area is private, so we can raise a ruckus if we want.  But we're still missing some very important (to me) things:  a firepit, a permanently located grill, landscaping.  Gravel under the picnic table and the swing so the boys don't have to move them every time they mow.  Tiki torch holders.  A fish cleaning station.  We need to put in a swim dock and a sand beach. The dock needs replanked.  The swing needs painting.  Aargh!

We need a rack to hold the two john boats, the canoe and the pirogue.  (The other john boat is hiding.)

We've put in horseshoe pits with hope that the horseshoes don't end up in the trees:

As you can see, it's a huge area.  We could put in tent pads, or even a couple of RV spots.  Don't think we will, though.  Dad doesn't like too many strangers on the place.

Because we had such a great time outdoors on Saturday at F. and T.'s place, we decided to cook out at the lake on Sunday to celebrate Mother's Day.  It wasn't as fun without T. and F. there, and especially since we had to lug food and charcoal and a grill down there from the house, but the guys set up an outdoor fireplace (the regular kind) for me and we had a great time, just the three of us. Me, Jeff and our friend Doug.

But back to T. and F.  Like I said, they have a beautiful back yard.  They have the coolest fireplace ever.  F. built it out of a dryer drum and a piece of chimney pipe.  F. even had an extra of each lying around and just gave them to us so we can build our own!

They're our age.  T. is blonde, compassionate and funny.  F. is wiry, generous and clever.  They're smart, big-hearted, warm, good old-fashioned country people just like us.  They seem eager to be friends, as are we.  Sometimes it seems like bad things happen so good things can come along behind them.  If Hoss hadn't got out, we'd never have met T. and F.  Cool, huh?