Latest Rambling Developments

Did you know that the second largest bank in Switzerland is wiping egg off its face following some not so shocking revelations that upwards of 20,000 US citizens were stashing about $12 billion of their money with them to avoid paying taxes?

Did you know the Tesla motor company is valued at over $30 billion?

Did you know Delta is changing its mileage rewards program and it could have a major impact on you?

Something you may or may not have known about me is the significance I place on the global financial markets.

Ooops.  Did I just lose you at the word “financial”?

Don’t worry about it.  I just started a new blog.  You can find it at www.pujonomics.wordpress.com.

Politics. Shmolitics.  In my most humble opinion Wall Street and its international counterparts are the real forces at play in the world – whether you like it or not.

Here’s what I do.  I take some of the top business/finance news from the day and tell it to you in a way that you will (hopefully) not find …dry.

I had been trying to do this for quite some time now but I was hitting walls for the silliest reason:  I couldn’t get a domain name.

It’s true.

Every time I came up with a name that I thought would be utterly perfect, I went to purchase the domain name only to discover – much to my horror  – that not only was it taken, but it wasn’t even being used in most instances!

So, sadly, the biggest impediment to the launch of my most recent blog was finding the right name.

So once again find me at www.pujonomics.wordpress.com.

Here’s Your Ambien…But Wait There’s More!!!

Not to be trite but life has a funny way of being not so fun. Or funny.

For instance, I finally remembered to make my bi-annual doctor’s appointment.  For that I was rewarded with my much anticipated Ambien prescription refill.

‘”Have you been diagnosed with insomnia?” my doctor asked.

“Yeah. By me.”  What was there to diagnose?  I am dreadfully tired but I can’t sleep at night.  Doesn’t get more textbook than that.

(Oh and the Valerian didn’t help)

But I was sensing a troublesome vibe from my doc.

“Perhaps you should get diagnosed by a therapist?” OMG.  Was she about to Ambien dump me?

“I’m not going to a therapist. They don’t usually take insurance anyway and I am definitely not paying out of pocket for one.”

I had her there and she knew it.  She nodded her head resignedly.

“In fact,” I was on fire, “I wouldn’t even bother coming to see you if I knew my life didn’t depend on it so much.” Boom!

“But your happiness and well-being are important.” Oh I was hurting for her. She was getting desperate and wanted to have that final say as only doctors do.  Such a lovely smart SMART doctor but I was gonna win this one.

“My mortgage is important. My happiness and well-being depends on my ability to pay for it.” Another boom!

“But no…it’s important to be happy…”

“It’s not gonna happen.”

I won.  Or so I thought.

“I feel something…some lumpiness…Have you ever had a mammogram…Ultrasound…”

Crap.

She won.

That was Monday.

By Tuesday afternoon I was agonizingly waiting for an FNA.

In case that’s a new term for you  allow me to expound.

FNA stands for fine NEEDLE aspiration.  A physician locates the suspicious lump and then inserts a needle into it, extracts some of it and then examines the specimen right before your very eyes.

Despite the needle issue, the upshot is that the results are instantaneous.

Problem was that the physician was unable to locate any lump.

Good news, you say.

Not just yet.

“Do you have time to do a mammogram now?”

Like she had to ask.

The truth was I didn’t have time.  But I waited anyway.  And waited. And waited.

The problem with having an unscheduled mammogram is that you don’t receive results immediately.  You are relegated go waiting.  And waiting. And waiting.

Yesterday  – exactly one loooooooong week later  – I was told the mammogram was clear.

Now I just have to follow it up with a breast ultrasound to cover all bases, in case the mammogram didn’t pick up something. Unfortunately that’s not for another month.

Crap.

But at least  – thanks to my newly refilled Ambien stash – I’m not awake all night stressing about.

I’m only stressing about it in every single waking moment.

I wonder if my doctor can prescribe me something for that?  Hmmm…

The President Did What?!

“Ewwww. What’s this?” One of my kids ask with a look of disgust on his face.

“That’s your new vitamin,” I explain.

“What happened to our old vitamin?”

“Ask the President.”

“Why can’t we have our old vitamin?”

“Well, your old vitamin used to cost about $10. Now it costs about $50.”

“Why?”

“Well, the President wanted to help one part of the country.  But in order for him to do that he decided that he would hurt a another big part of the country.”

“Why didn’t he just try and help everybody?”

“Excellent question.”

“Well why?”

“Nobody seems to know.  Including the President.”

“And he lied about it.”

“The President lied?!”

“The President lied.”

“But can’t he get arrested?”

For what?  For being a politician?

No I didn’t tell my kids that!  My son is very into Presidential history.  His favorite president is Abraham Lincoln.  You think I am going to tell him that in these times we live in a lying politician is just another politician?

So what will my kids take away from this Presidential administration?  That the President is responsible for their yucky new vitamins.

In other healthcare related issues in my life:

I haven’t had an Ambien in like two weeks.

So three kids, two snow days and tons and tons of snow…well you do the math.

Back when I was in college, I had a particularly challenging roommate – well two if you count her boyfriend.  Their desire to be with one another did not exactly do well for my insomnia.

So like any good mother, mine sent me bottles of Melatonin.  It was the new thing, to regulate one’s circadian rhythms – and ultimately lead to restful nights.  People swore  by it.  Though I am unclear to what they swore.  That it didn’t work?  Because for me, I could have just as easily downed a Flinstone vitamin with Barney Rubble’s likeness etched into it and enjoyed similar effects.  And it would have tasted way better.

Tylenol PMs were also in my sleeping arsenal and sometimes they even worked.  Except they worked all day too.

Not to my credit, but I don’t exactly roam the aisles of Whole Foods searching for dietary supplements to cure all that ails me.

But now I was desperate so I paid a visit to my local vitamin/health food store in search of the latest homeopathic sleep trend: Tryptophan pills.  Think long turkey dinners that induce dreamy poultry-laden stupors. I’ll bite, I thought (no pun intended – okay maybe a little pun intended).

“Do you have those tryptophan pills I’ve been hearing about?” I ask the salesperson who seemed to young to really understand the  no sleep/kids/snow days combo.

“I have something called Knockout.”

“Oooh.  That sounds great.  I ran out of my Ambien.”

“So you’re trying to get off Ambien because this stuff really helps.”

“No. No. Who said anything about wanting to get off Ambien.  I just need something to tide me over until my doctor calls  in my prescription after I go see her.”

Was this kid bananas or something?  Get off Ambien?  Hello?

“Well this has Valerian and melatonin and…”  he blathers on an on.

“Melatonin doesn’t work for me.”

Seeing he’s about to lose me he downplays the melatonin’s role in the pill.

20140210_092004

“But it’s  the Theanine and Valerian that releases the hormone…”

Whatever, I thought. I had nothing to lose.

The verdict?  Well It’s entirely possible that it does work.  I have been sleeping at night, though to be fair, I don’t know if it’s out of sheer exhaustion.

The State of Me

While President Obama was giving himself a big undeserved pat on the back during his version of the State of the Union, I was wondering how I was going to make it through the night, the week, the….because…I ran out of Ambien!

Okay.  I realize that is no great tragedy but oh man…that meant I had to stay awake all night with thoughts and aggravation constantly turning to the self-congratulatory SOTU (as the big kids like to call it) that the country had to endure earlier in the evening. Ugh!

I think the White House should have just skipped it this year.  Nobody, in my most humble opinion, would have noticed.

The only great strides the President and his team have made was to infuriate a majority of the country with his poor decisions and hubris.

Of course there are some people who actually benefitted from the President’s giant healthcare debacle.  And they should.  I am truly happy for Amanda Shelley who now has coverage and who received prominent recognition during the way too long speech.  But couldn’t the President have figured out a way not to mess up the rest of the country?

And I have yet to address the international issues…

**********************************************************

Anyways, just got back from visiting my parents in Los Angeles.  One day we went to the beach.  The next day we went skiing.  We ice skated in eighty degree weather and spent a day at Disneyland.

The magical kingdom is a truly magical place, but not for the reasons that you have been led to believe.

For instance, when I buy a twelve pack of Coca Cola at my grocery store it costs approximately $4.00 – give or take.  But at Disneyland one bottle goes for the same price.  That is magical.

What’s even more magical at Disneyland are the balloons.  One balloon within a balloon (that’s a mouse-ear balloon inflated inside a bigger plain balloon) will set you back  $8.00.

But magically the party supply store located outside the gates of the magical kingdom will sell you a dozen for the same price.  And even more magically, so many many people buy these $8.00 balloons.

Well, if that’s not magic then I don’t know what is.

Disneyland is no bargain joint.  I took the family there as part of a group discount – a discount that still left a considerable dent in the wallet.  Some more magic for you?  Even if you pay full price admission, drinks and balloons are not included.

And the place was packed with people.  Packed with people on a random Wednesday in January drinking $4.00 bottles of Coca Cola. And carrying $8.00 balloons.

Magical indeed.

On Turntables and Presidential Stay-cations

Driving the 101 on a beautiful sunny day in Los Angeles, me, my mom and kids were headed to the Natural History Museum In Los Angeles.

Palm trees, the Hollywood sign and the Capitol Records building were all en route to our destination.

Growing up here, the Capitol Records building never ceased to amaze me.  The simple genius in erecting a building that produced some of the greatest music ever in the shape of a stack of records on a turntable…well the sight just never got old to me.

“Kids!” I shouted to them as the iconic building was slowly (we were on the 101, after all) emerging. ” Look!  It’s the Capitol Records building.  It’s in the shape of a stack of records…[cue the crickets].”

“They are never going to know what that is,”  I resignedly told my mother sitting beside me.

My kids didn’t even bother answering me.  They just wanted to know how much longer we had to drive.  There was nothing special about a building in the shape of objects that were virtually obsolete and that they would likely never even see.

In other news and developments, apparently we’re all supposed to get excited that President Obama basically equated marijuana and alcohol – but stopped at endorsing its legalization.

That’s truly lovely, however, I’m still not past the fact that my insurance is not the sweet coverage that it used to be, courtesy of Mr. President.

Nor am I past the fact that he just got back from a seventeen day luxury Hawaiian vacation that cost a reported $4 million.  That comes out to approximately $235,000 a day.

Can you remember the last time you had a vacation that long and that expensive? Neither can I.

Is it just me or should the Presidents advisors have recommended a stay-cation?

Polar Vortex VS. New Health Care “Reforms”: I’ll Take The Vortex Please

I hope you all had a lovely holiday season.  I spent the previous week dreading and then enduring the ominous Polar vortex that left me literally hiding under the covers.

That and the awful change in my health insurance didn’t exactly leave me with feelings of enthusiasm for the new year.

But like I said, my health care coverage changed…and well, I now the only thing I have to look forward to is November 2016 when we will have a new President who will hopefully be smart enough to repeal these idiotic laws.  And quick.

Prior to the Presidential election of 2004, the Wall Street Journal published an eye-popping editorial about the millions of Americans who were facing life sans health insurance.  Healthcare costs were and still are prohibitively expensive.  There were too many people walking around our great country without adequate – if that – health insurance.  And of course that needed fixing. That, however, was not the eye-popping part.  It was the part about the millions who could comfortably afford health insurance but still elected not to purchase coverage.  Healthcare reform played a big role in that election but the truth was that the numbers were skewed and inaccurate and were not an accurate reflection of the issue.

Our present-day government and its leader decided to fix (though their definition of fixing is dubious, at best) our healthcare system through wholly misguided means and measures.  So now, today, in 2014, instead of it being a broken healthcare system for a few million people, it is now broken for everybody.

Trying to pick up some prescriptions from CVS only fueled my irritation.  My insurance company sent me a special credit card to use to pay for the obnoxiously high deductible I now have to reach.  It was suggested I use the new plastic to pay for any co-pays from doctor’s visits and prescriptions.

By the way, if anybody actually likes this new system, I’d like to know.  Really.  Because I myself have yet to meet anyone across the socioeconomic stratosphere who is actually benefitting from these changes.

Don’t Start Your Engines…

I’d like to thank psycho dad for giving me the material for today’s post.

Yes you read that correctly.

This week I had a very unsettling encounter with a deranged parent when I drove carpool with three little girls sitting patiently waiting to arrive at their destination.

The same can’t be said for the lunatic I am about to discuss.

The  school has two lanes designated for carpool.

As I pulled into the driveway I noticed the right lane was backed up so I attempted to take the left lane.

Only some loser in his BMW (not that I have anything against BMW some of my best friends drive them)-  decided to sit idle while taking up both lanes and so that one could not even attempt to go to the left lane.

Fine, I thought.  Be like that.  This happens this time of year.  The parent who usually does not do the driving does it this week and not again for the rest of the year oblivious to safety procedures and protocols established by the school.

Finally the lane began to move – no thanks to said Jerk – and BMW moves over a bit – though not enough.  Apparently he felt everyone needed to make room for him and his German engineering.  I suspect however that his car is probably the only mature, sophisticated and elegant thing about him.

Having maneuvered myself cozily in the left lane I started to try and drive, but Moron decided to open up his car door and block traffic some more.

I lift up my arms in a “Dude, what up?” motion when much to my horror, loser of the week starts walking up to my car yelling and flailing his arms at me, all while little the girls are sitting in the back of my car.

This crazy beast was really going ballistic all because I had I put my hands up in an exasperated way.

He motioned for me to roll down my window so he could verbally assault me some more.  I rolled it down just enough for me to tell him to calm himself down and then promptly rolled it back down while he proceeded to verbally attack me.

The carpool director urged me to drive forward but I was frozen.  In shock.  I told the director I was unable to because the  Butthead was being problematic.

Carpool director shrugged his shoulders and gave me a hand signal that it was safe/fine to move on and to ignore psycho parent.

The event rattled me terribly.  I was shaking the whole time driving home.

This pathetic excuse for a human being saw fit to snap and verbally attack -FOR NO REASON – a woman with children in her car.

Can we say “rage issues”?

Oddly enough, the night before my friend Audra sent me a link to a story of a woman who was physically attacked in a mall parking lot.  http://m.clickorlando.com/woman-beaten-over-way-she-parked-car-in-lake-mary/-/16721168/23638432/-/j54ini/-/index.html.

So don’t be surprised if you read about a BMW rage-monger who got into a similar situation.

Do you think these people share some sort of genetic marker?

Also, to the stupid kids in the Target parking lot:  Just because your parents were stupid enough to foot the bill for your new SUV, doesn’t mean you don’t have to use your rear view mirror – or whatever else technology is installed in your vehicle to keep you from acting like the moron that you are.

You can honk all you want but that won’t change the fact that you are a remarkably horrible  driver.

Either drive carefully or drive into the Hudson.  And take the BMW D——bag with you.