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Archive for March, 2020

Just an update

March 26th, 2020 at 12:11 am

I realized I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. Heck, I haven't even been reading anybody else's blog. Obviously, it's been a crazy time, and being a healthcare worker, I'm not on lockdown like so many others including my wife and daughter. I've still got to go to work every day and that's been a whole new level of crazy with the rules and guidelines and policies and procedures changing pretty much daily.

On the plus side, patient volume at urgent care has plummeted. My theory is that with schools closed and so many people working from home, there just isn't that much routine illness going around. Also, with all sports and activities suspended, gyms closed, etc., we're not seeing all of the sports injuries we typically get. So we've been quite slow.

On the other hand, we're on the front lines of the COVID-19 stuff. We are seeing plenty of patients with respiratory symptoms so every person who walks through the door is a potential case and we need to act accordingly. That is quite stressful for all of us.

In addition, because of the decreased volumes overall, we're starting to worry about our jobs. They have already stopped urgent care services at 2 or our 8 sites and reassigned providers to the remaining 6. But we wonder how long that is sustainable when we're seeing about 1/3 of our normal volume. Colleagues across the country are reporting their urgent care clinics are cutting back operating hours or closing sites entirely. Some providers have even been laid off. So obviously that's a huge concern for me.

The "good" thing is that I work for a large hospital system, not an independent urgent care company. If the situation reaches a point where they really feel they don't need some of us in urgent care, they may reassign us to other clinical duties, especially if the hospitals start getting overwhelmed with COVID patients and/or a lot of providers are out because they are infected or at least quarantined due to exposure. So at least right at this moment, I think my job is safe, but I know that could change at any moment.

My daughter's job shut down a week ago Saturday and they were officially laid off a few days later, making her eligible to file for unemployment. She was upset about that and is hoping that her job opens again whenever appropriate. Her manager told her they definitely want her back but there is always that chance that they might trim staff or simply fold if they can't financially stay afloat.

My wife is managing pretty well with the whole situation. She doesn't work outside the home so her routine isn't quite as disrupted as ours, though it's still affected. Other than us taking a couple of family walks, I don't think she's left the house for well over a week. She normally does a weekly volunteer gig packing home meals for the elderly, plays Mah Jong every week, and does another monthly volunteer thing for a blind support group. All of that is gone for now. I know she's also really worried about me, afraid that I'll catch the virus at work.

And of course, we can't ignore the financial impact this whole mess is having. Last time I checked, our portfolio was down about $230,000. I'm sure it recovered a bit yesterday and today but that's still a huge loss on paper. I did do some buying over the last couple of weeks so I'm hoping that will help when the recovery ultimately happens. I got some stuff at pretty rock bottom prices (I hope) so that will goose the returns some when things start going back up.

I guess that's long enough of a post for now. I hope everyone else is holding up okay through all of this. Stay safe. Stay healthy. And STAY HOME!

Electric meter update

March 11th, 2020 at 01:51 am

We finally got an answer from the utility company today. They said that the meter was 99.7% accurate (I think that was the number). So apparently there's no refund coming our way and we've somehow managed to increase electricity usage 40-60% in the past year without changing anything we do or use in our home.

At least there was no cost to getting our meter replaced. I'm really curious to see how the bills are going forward. If the continue to show higher usage, I guess that will confirm the answer. If, however, it shows a significant drop in usage, I may reach out again to complain and question that analysis.

How do you spend your evenings?

March 5th, 2020 at 01:20 am

This isn't quite a financial topic, though everything is to some extent, but I'm looking for everyone's thoughts.

How do you spend your evenings? After work and dinner, what do you do for the rest of the day?

I've really been struggling with this for a while. I feel like we don't do much of anything except watch some TV and spend time on the computer or our phones.

We do go to the gym regularly, but not at night. My wife does a lot of sewing and quilting, but not typically at night. I really have no hobbies or interests that I engage in anymore.

I don't like shopping unless there is something specific that I need, which is rare. I don't actively collect anything like I used to. I occasionally list some items on ebay but that hasn't been a regular thing for years.

It's a bit easier in the warmer/longer sunshine months because I'll do a little yard work or spend some time cleaning the garage or go for a walk/run, but especially in the winter with the colder weather and shorter daylight hours, I just feel like a slug.

I don't expect anyone to have a magical solution for me but I thought that maybe hearing what everyone else is up to might inspire me.