Monday, March 29, 2010

Daughter ready to become a Texan
My wife and two daughters got back from Texas over the weekend. They were able to successfully find a nice apartment for my oldest, who will be moving to College Station in August. So for now, at least, all is well. She still is struggling to keep any interest in her final semester of high school. I hope she’ll be more motivated to take some online courses this fall.

It is frustrating dealing with colleges’ financial aid offices since so much of aid is need based. Unfortunately, we fall into that nasty category where my daughter doesn’t qualify for any need based grant money, yet we are not rich – and with two other kids who will be college-bound in a few years. I’ve already had several talks with my daughter about not digging yourself into too much of a financial hole while in college.

The sad thing is, my daughter did very well in high school grade-wise and had a great ACT composite score. Granted, she was not right at the top of her class, but she did well enough that I thought she would receive several academic scholarships with no problem. However, the state schools in Illinois are especially stingy in awarding academic scholarships, and the one she received from a private university barely began to pay for its high tuition. So yes, she learned a sad lesson: all the work she did in high school paid few tangible dividends. Welcome to an all-too-frequent reality in the adult world.

Reconnecting with the past
I recently connected with an old friend through facebook. Lois and I had an interesting relationship while we were in grad school. She was a few years older and was living with a guy who seemed to make a decent living. Money was not that big of an issue for her. I, however, was barely making it. In my second year of grad school, I was only making $161/month with my ½ grad assistantship. Most people in my program only had a ½ assistantship (if any) their second year because we were doing our practicum experiences both on campus and at a community facility. My rent was $95/month. I had to have a car to travel to my out-of-town placement. Do the math. Not a pretty picture.

After classes, Lois and I (the two outcasts of our grad group) would head to a local bar. She seemed to have a never-ending supply of quarters so that we could play our favorite game, Asteroids. As best I remember, she bought most of the beer. She certainly taught me a lesson about looking out for your friends who might need the occasional financial lift. It is a lesson I never forgot. Thanks to facebook, I was able to connect with this friend who drifted away over twenty years ago. I let her know how much her friendship and her actions meant to me. I was happy I was able to tell her this, especially with the ability to really appreciate it over the years.
Improved health care? Not for me.
It will be interesting to see how the new health care reform changes things in the USA. I have little confidence in the government’s ability to not totally screw this all up. I currently have a wonderful health plan offered through my place of work. Access to physicians and other health care has not been an issue for me. I am prepared to see my costs go up, my benefits decrease, and accessibility to health providers get worse. I think that I am like many others who fear they will be grabbing their ankles. I worked hard to get to the position I am in, so yeah – excuse me if I am not overjoyed that I will take it up the butt on this one.

From a practical perspective, I have two main questions: 1) How will this all get paid for without saddling the next generations with a nearly insurmountable debt? 2) If there is a physician and nurse shortage now, how will they serve the increasing numbers who will use health care? Aside from all the good arguments about needing health care accessible to all, I just have a hard time seeing this all working.
Viva Las Vegas!
I’ll be making my next trip to Las Vegas in just over two weeks. This will be a long one for me as I’ll be staying a complete week since the trip is job related. I hope to spend many hours in my Las Vegas poker home, Bally’s. Love that place! I also might play either in one of the Venetian deep stack tournaments or one of the WSOP circuit events being held at Caesar’s Palace. I’ll just play it by ear.

I know that many others are already making plans for going to the WSOP this summer. At this point, at least, I don’t know how motivated I will be to go since it will begin shortly after I get home from Las Vegas. It was fun playing in an event last year. This year, if I play, it will probably be in one or two of the $1000 or $1500 donkaments. Hee haw!!


Blogger BWoP said...

See you soon!

2:02 PM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

Apartment? They let freshmen get apts these days. Had to spend at least a year in the dorms when I went in.

Question for you. Why are you worried about your health care. It doesn't change. The insurance companies are still running everything, the public option was trashed so basically the government is only setting up pools for those who are considered high risk prospects and subsizing lower income people. Think auto insurance in some states. You have to have it, companies have to provide it and the risk of those the companies might not want to provide it for will be spread among them all. The companies now can't drop hi risk people or deny pre existing condition. In return they got the law passed that says everyone has to have insurance.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:43 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@ Wolfshead

What I predict will happen to my heath care:

1) Cost will go up
2) Benefits will go down
3) Accesssibility will go down

Selfish? Maybe -- but I don't see anyone else looking out for my best interests.

Re apartments: In a previous post I mentioned that my daughter will be living in Texas but taking online courses through an Illinois community college. Strangely enough, the college she was going to attend (Texas A & M)does not require freshmen to live in dorms. Most colleges and universities in Illinois do to make sure they have a flow of revenue into the university. Not that living in an apartment is the best thing for a college freshman, in general, anyway.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

I enjoyed the part of your post about reconnecting with the past. It reminded me about the parable of casting bread on the water and it returns multiplied.

GL and have fun in Vegas.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

Re being selfish.

I guess I'm just as selfish as you because without this bill I probably wouldn't be able to get health insurance at all. Between losing my job and current insurance no other company would probably insure me giving my "pre-existing conditions"

I'm not a fan of this bill but since the man campaigned with health care as his big issue it would have been nice if both sides had gotten together and come up with something meaningful instead of one side saying no and trying to scare everyone about it.

10:33 AM  

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