Monday, October 21, 2013

Life of a Patio Block

So we hustled over to the concrete place and purchased, hauled and stacked about 3,000 pounds of patio blocks... the ground all prep'ed...

... started setting blocks the next morning...

...and finished up on day two:

I know I said we would be all done with patio blocks after this, but we haven't been happy with the front patio since we moved here. The whole thing is one giant tripping hazard with all the sinking and tipping patio blocks. The original plan was to reset the blocks that were already there, but when we looked closer at the blocks, they are in bad shape; missing corners, cracks, funky miss-matched colors. Soooooo...

While we were at it, we took up some existing patio and did some regrading with all the dirt we have left over from the work in the back. It will take another pallet of patio blocks to finish, then we need to find some place to dump the old blocks, but the result will be much better drainage on the lot plus not needing to tip-toe around on our patio to keep from face-planting.

Today, I took a break from all things yard to catch up on bills, bookkeeping and blogging. One bill that I had been ignoring for a while was from one of my doctors. Since the beginning of this year, every time I go see this guy, I also get a bill from some lab I've never heard of. The visits were routine, nothing had changed that I was aware of, and there was also a lab line item on the bill from the doctor's office. I have no problem paying bills I owe, but I have a big problem with paying a bill that has already been paid. Today I finally got someone on the phone who knew what was up and told me that I shouldn't be getting the separate lab bills, that the office already paid the lab, and to not pay them. Well, I already had, so she needed copies of the bills that had been paid mailed to her so she could start the process of getting me my money back from the lab. (Yea, right. A refund from the medical-industrial complex? Don't make me laugh.) She was very apologetic and explained that it was the result of a tragic computer error.

I have another term for it: Fraud.

A computer error could have kicked one bill to me. It may have even allowed payment of said bill. But to kick a second bill and allow that one to be paid, after being aware of the problem for four months? That's something far more serious than a computer error. Unfortunately, from looking over the constant stream of bills coming into my parent's mailbox, I have a feeling double billing is very common. The worst part is that trying to dig to the bottom of these messes is nearly impossible. The entire medical establishment's attitude is "Shut up and pay it or we'll trash your credit." The bills themselves are impossible to read (deliberately so, in my not-so-humble opinion), so don't even think you can cross-reference bills from different organizations to see if you are paying for the same thing twice. Even the people who work in the office are baffled by the crap they themselves send out.

Good thing Obamacare is going to fix all that.


Obviously, I didn't bother to say any of that to the person I was talking to; the problem was at the lab, not the doctor's office. So I made copies of everything and sent if all off to her like she requested. I expect it was just a waste of paper, toner and a stamp, but I may get a surprise.

I think the Florida weather gods are trying to kill us. We have always shut the A/C off and opened up the windows on October 1st. Today is October 21st, the windows are all sealed shut, the A/C is cranking away, and there is no end in sight. Oh, the weather liars keep saying it will cool off by the end of the week. For three weeks now. We've had exactly one day that it didn't get into the 80's. But this weekend for sure!! I started the summer off using old washcloths as sweat rags; now I've graduated to old hand towels. If this keeps up much longer, it's gonna be old beach towels.

Well, I need to go make some food. It's hamburger and fries night!!

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