Beyond Our Means

Let’s face it – we Americans have spent too much money and lived beyond our means.

Now it’s crunch time – Wall Street doesn’t look good. Homes are in foreclosure all over the country (but wait – the government might just bail you out!). Banks – even historic institutions – are holding fire sales. Everybody’s holding onto their hats and hoping for the best.

Even if the government bails out the banks, the average consumer is going to feel the pinch. A large part of the pinch comes because the banks over-extended credit to people. Now they’re paying compounded interest on debt they shouldn’t have taken on to begin with. My prediction? A bunch of bankruptcies are about to be filed. But it shouldn’t be so.

There’s no “easy” way out… but there are some things you can do to protect your credit AND meet your obligations. There are experts who can help you – like Consumer Credit Counseling – and a variety of ways that you can consolidate debt in a loan that reduces your interest rate and payments, enter into a structured payment plan (some of which suspend interest accrual), and even settle the debts for less than you actually owe (which should be a last resort).

There’s a very helpful website from that offers bountiful information on debt, repayment options, maintaining good credit, and much more. There’s GREAT info about budgeting. There’s even a debt boot camp! It’s good information for every consumer to know… especially now.

Possible vindication on our well water

I am slowly climbing back up out of the pit of feeling LOUSY all the time and into health. I still think I have an active infection, and I’m still dizzy and my ears still hurt. But I suddenly have energy that I didn’t have two weeks ago.

It might be because I’m taking vitamin D supplements (4000 IU daily) and am only drinking filtered water. Although the Vitamin D is an obvious cause of our ill health, I still suspect that the water is the culprit. Call it a gut feeling or discernment or insanity, if you like – but I’m stickin to it!

This came across my feed reader this morning – residents in three nearby counties have discovered that their well water is contaminated from agricultural run-off. I’m guessing that it hasn’t been discovered in Randolph because the water department requires an act of God, Congress, and threats of lawsuits to do even simple tests. I’ll be contacting them tomorrow morning to get out here and test.

Ten Random Thoughts

I’m laying here in bed because the vertigo is so bad that I wound up on the floor (I had this compulsion to wash the dishes. It passed. Quickly.)

So. Ten Random Thoughts.

#1 – How did I live before I got a laptop computer? Why do they even still make desktops?

#2 – I have perhaps the laziest dogs in the world.

#3 – Daytime television is really awful.

#4 – Read the Rhino Times this morning. Wish they had home delivery. I’d subscribe!

#5 – Saw an ad in the Rhino for a new restaurant – Monesi. It’s described as an “all you can eat Brazillian buffet.” The prices are very reasonable – $8.95 lunch, $12.95 dinner. It’s a bit more than we usually pay when we eat out, but it’ll be a fabulous date one day soon!

#6 – I think tonight’s dinner will be take-out chinese or pizza delivery, unless I can get myself back up again. 🙁

#7 – I decided the other day that I’d like to learn how to crochet. No idea how to begin, other than I need to buy some yarn.

#8 – just got off the phone with the DA from Maryland who’ll be handling the car wreck case. Super nice guy. He asked me to send him some details, so I’m composing a long email. Kayti will have to go and testify but he thinks the case can be postponed to Thanksgiving break so she won’t miss school.

#9 – Sitting in bed makes you achy and cramped after a while!

#10 – In spite of feeling like mud, I also realize how utterly blessed we are. Kayti walked away from a terrible car wreck. That fact is still sinking in, over a month later (I still get weepy when I see the car pictures) We have a home, Ken has a good job, I have a gorgeous new niece, Ken and Jesus love me… life is good.

My new doctor is one SMART cookie.

I went back to the doc yesterday because the first antibiotic wasn’t helping, and she’s tentatively diagnosed me with a resistant form of strep. Kick up the antibiotics and add steroids (uck). Making matters worse, the infection seems to have moved to my inner ear because I’ve got terrible vertigo. I spent most of yesterday in bed. But the doc on call last night assured me that “this too shall pass.”

My new doc is technically NOT a doc – she’s a PA (Physician’s Assistant). She works under supervision from a doctor, but sees patients in her own right, writes prescriptions, etc. In my experience, I’ve gotten better care from PA’s and NP’s than I have actual MD’s, so I was eager to see her. Plus, the practice she works with has excellent reviews on assorted websites.

The first time I saw Melissa, she listened to me for a LONG time about my symptoms. She ordered a whole slew of tests. The lab work comes back VERY quickly – a day or two, rather than a week or 10 days at my former doc’s. She appreciates that I’ve been researching my condition (whereas my former doc made fun of it). Like I said, she thinks I might be on to something with the copper toxicity issue. However, she landed on another potential answer for my troubles – Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D was one of the first things she tested for, given that no one else has done so, and other vitamin tests have come up “normal”. The list of symptoms is staggering – extreme fatigue, aches and pains, weight gain, dry eyes and mouth, forgetfulness – the whole gamut of what I’ve been experiencing. Long-term effects in adults include bone problems – easy breakage, osteoporosis.

Melissa’s nurse called me up and guess what? “Normal” for vitamin D is 60 and above. My level: 16. So I’m now taking 4000 IU’s of the stuff daily.

We get vitamin D these days from several sources. It’s added to milk these days because we no longer get it from lard (the best source until relatively recently, when docs declared animal fats “unhealthy” and manufacturers created a leaner pig). However, I do not drink milk. I don’t eat cereal. I rarely eat ice cream and yogurt. I do eat a lot of cheese but I’m not thinking that would add up to more than a glass or two of milk per week. Another good source is salmon – another thing I rarely eat because filets are expensive and I’m generally too lazy to make salmon patties even though we love them. And lastly we get it from the sun. I don’t get a lot of sun 🙁 And apparently my laptop monitor does not release UV-B rays. Now THAT would be a boon, if manufacturers could set that up…)

If you have aches, pains, fatigue, weight gain… talk to your doc about testing for Vitamin D deficiency. It’s a very simple blood test. Melissa says that they’re seeing a staggering number of people with this problem these days. She also told me that a lot of her patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have shown incredible improvement on a D supplement.

Air Purifier

I’m thinking about buying an air purifier.

My criteria:

#1 – that it not smell of burning wires or “ozone”. My in-laws had an air purifier. It worked REALLY well on odors (something of concern in their house, as Ken’s brothers quite literally live in beds in their living room. they’ve got Muscular Dystrophy and can’t move and have ventilators). But the odor it produced was so obnoxious I had a hard time sitting near it. It always made my lungs feel funny and aggravated my asthma.

Question: If high ozone is bad for us, why are there “ozone generator” type air purifiers?

#2 – that it be effective on the assorted smells in our house – most notably the “doggie” and “fishie” odors. We do everything we can to keep the odor down – but if it’s raining outside and Lucy comes in wet, she smells like a doggie. I suppose she can’t help it.

#3 – that it be small, unobtrusive, and virtually silent.I’ve seen the things be so large that they dominate the room. Urgh. No. I want an invisible air purifier.

This one: fresh air by ecoquest international – has a remote control – which I suppose would have its advantages too! Plus it’s small.