Fall in a jar
Maybe I should say “autumn in a jar” instead, because the alternative sounds dangerous.
I had a gallon-sized glass jar already, put some pine cones and maple leaves in it. Added some dried vanilla beans for scent and I called it done. It lives on my mantel but I put it elsewhere for the photo.
We finally got around to making some updates to our laundry room. We’ve painted the walls and installed a cabinet. We still need to find a rug and some wall art (I’d like to try to capture an autumn landscape if I can snap something decent enough), and possibly add a shelf. The biggest part is done, anyway. Pictures to come!
I had visited a few area fitness clubs and had a 7-day trial of one club to see how I liked it, and how often I went. I liked it quite a bit — no pressure, just a low-key place to exercise. It was affordable, and they offered short-term commitments if I wanted to go that route.
I went three times during the trial, and thought I’d join. In the end, I delayed it a little and I’m glad I did. The area YMCA has a lot more amenities for roughly the same price as I’d pay for the short-term option at that other gym.
The YMCA is farther from me by about 5 minutes, but I think the extra perks should outweigh it. Recently, the YMCA ran a promo with $0 sign-up fees. I joined during that window and it saved me something like $75. Now, I just need to make sure I go often enough to make it worth the money :).
Our health insurance situation has been driving me bananas for the past few months. When Shane left his job a few months ago, he switched to a company small enough that they didn’t already have a group policy in place. Before Shane even met with the owner of the company, the owner assured him health insurance would be in place sometime in the 4th quarter of the year.
We had the option to elect COBRA for $1,107/month for our entire family, or for $456/month for one person. This COBRA thing is a law that enables qualifying former employees/eligible family to continue their group health insurance plan at full cost to them. Usually, the employer pays a big chunk of the premium. During COBRA, you’re paying it all yourself. The benefit to COBRA is it is your old insurance policy…and if you don’t have a new group plan or you can’t get individual coverage, then you can at least have something.
My eyes bugged out at the thought of paying $1100/month for insurance, but it turns out that is on the low end. Some people’s COBRA premiums are $1500-$3000/month! What.
I opted to stay on COBRA individually, for a few reasons. One, I was denied from the private individual policy we applied for through ehealthinsurance. Two, individual health insurance policies in my state aren’t required to offer maternity coverage. There is ONE policy, but it’s expensive and requires a long waiting period and doesn’t even cover that much, so I’m not interested in that.
I don’t know for sure about a third baby, but I know that with my previous pregnancy complications, I’d want to be insured rather than risk the unlimited possibilities. The $456/month is spendy, but it gives us options and I’m thankful for that, and that we can swing it.
Shane and the kids are on a private policy for $189/month. They will switch to a different private policy offered through an insurance broker through Shane’s employer (they are not going the group route to save costs, ugh). For now, they’ll stay on this current private policy so that there are no gaps. You don’t want a gap of more than 63 days between your health insurance policies, because if so, the new insurance will likely require a waiting period, or will exclude preexisting conditions. It could be a nightmare, so I’m glad we can avoid that headache.
I believe Shane’s boss is going to cover at least part of the cost of their new policy, so in theory the $189/month we’re paying now for them will go away. I don’t know those details yet, but I do know it could be worse — we could pay $1100/month (or higher!) or have no insurance at all.
As of now, our health insurance is $645/month and that should go down. It’s our second-highest monthly expense (first being our mortgage).
We had a hailstorm at the end of September. A doozy of a storm, one that at its worst looked like a blizzard. The hailstones were (only) around 1.25 – 1.5″ in size and they violently beat our house. It was scary and loud, but it could have been worse. Our insurance adjuster came out and we’ll be getting a new roof, gutters and downspouts. We knew when we bought the house that the 13-year-old roof was going to need replaced sometime soon (it’s a low-grade quality) so we’re thankful for the hailstorm’s timing.
There’s more I’d like to share about this whole roofing bit later on.
Green BEAN Delivery coupon code
If you live in the Indianapolis, Muncie, Fort Wayne, Louisville, Dayton, Cincinnati, or Columbus metros and would like to check out Green BEAN Delivery, I have a coupon code for you:
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[Note: I’m not getting compensation or personal discounts for sharing this promo. I’m passing it along because I like this service and use it myself, and some of you on Facebook mentioned you’d be interested in the coupon :)]