Monday, November 19, 2012


One year ago this month I started taking a wood carving class.  We carve in the "Northwest Native Style".  I enjoy it although I am pretty slow at it because the perfectionist in me is so afraid of making a mistake.  So I do not carve at all outside of class.

I finished my first project. A relief carving of an eagle (stained and painted as well).

Then I had to think about my second project.  I loved the signs up at our city hall and I asked my instructor if he knew who had carved this great sign:

 And it turns out that it was my instructor!  He lives in the city too and he teaches the classes in his workshop at his home.  So, I decided to carve it but instead of being a relief carving, I made it three dimensional.

It might be hard to tell in this photo but the orca's tale flips up a little bit. This piece took me 4 months to shape, carve and paint.  But it was worth it because I entered it in the Northwest Wood Carvers Association show that was held last weekend and look!
I won!  First Place for beginner, Best of Beginner and Best of Division!  And I also won $100!  What a delightful surprise!
It was nice that I won because it made me double down on the piece I am working on now. I  am not in love with it so I haven't been working that diligently on it.  Now I want to hurry and get it finished so I can work on my next piece. 

It is great to be creating again.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thank God that we have excellent health insurance.  Of course it is changing in January (not quite so excellent but still very good).  I had to go to the ER two weeks ago and my 2.5 hour visit was billed to our insurance company in the amount of $10477.00.  Of that, after the insurance company's "adjustments", they amount paid to the hospital was $2361.35.  Quite a difference.  Fifty-five percent of the bill was for a CT scan!

The ER visit was during a lull in the illness that swept through the family.  Dex and Cars had the fever/sore throat/cough and the day Dex was better and I sent him the school was when I got violently ill with a raging bacterial infection resulting in an inflamed colon (and and blood loss).  The ER doc got excited that I might be patient 1 of a new E. coli outbreak but no pathogens were found and a huge dose of antibiotics and three days of bedrest had me good to go.  Of course on the 3rd day of bedrest, DH came down with the same sickness that Dex and Cars had and he was out of commission for three days (two of them work days!!).

The month of October was a write-off and while I was happy to have lost 10 pounds in 3 days, I have gained back 5 of them already.  I am fortunate that neither Jax nor I did not get the high fever illness.  So far November has been a healthy month for us!

One funny thing about the whole situation was that when I got to the ER they said I was in their system but no information on why.  The ER doctor was puzzled and said "I see that you are in here and it says I treated you in the ER in 2010 but there is no information".  I reminded him that I was the "bat family" that had come in two years before and were sent to the regional trauma hospital for "treatment" since the rabies vaccine was only available there.  We had a bit of a chuckle then he told me that they county had changed things and this hospital now had the vaccine (not that we will ever have a need for it).  Anyway, you can read the post here (I wrote it but never published it until tonight:

If you find a dying bat...

***this was originally written in October 2010 but never published until November 2012 *** your bathtub, you might want to get it out. You'll probably get a ziploc container to slide it into and stick it out on the porch. You'll probably look up how to dispose of the bat and will find information on your country's animal control site. The animal control site will tell you to call the county's public health department. You'll call the public health department who will be closed but will give an after hours number. If you call the after hours number, they will tell you that they only deal with bats from emergency rooms after hours. You will ask for clarification and be told that you should go to the emergency room in case the bat had rabies. If you are told that you will quickly google information about bats in houses and see that it is recommended to go to the emergency room. You will think this is over kill so you will call the nurseline provided by your insurance company.

If you call the nurseline, they will call you back after contacting a doctor. When you get a call back you will be told to go to the emergency room because they have a zero tolerance when it comes to dealing with bats and they assume they all have rabies. You will probably have to get the nurse to repeat this information to your husband who is skeptical and things you are blowing things out of proportion.

Once your husband is told by the nurse in no uncertain terms to go to emergency, you will probably have to call your friend's house to arrange to pick up your son who is planning to have a sleepover there (long overdue and emotionally charged which is another long story). You will get the rest of your family in the car and pick up said son.

You will probably drive to the closest emergency room. Once there you will have your whole family registered and be thankful that it is early on a Friday night and that this emergency room is small and in a suburban area, not the big city. Once you are checked in and triaged, a doctor will come in and explain that before we go any further, the county has taken all rabies vaccines OUT of emergency rooms with the exception of the trauma centre in downtown Seattle. He will tell you that you need to proceed to this trauma centre for treatment and promise that you will not incur any emergency bills from this ER department since they had no way of treating you.

At this point, your husband will be PISSED but you will all get back into the car and travel downtown Seattle on a Friday night. Your children will also be confused and have asked several times what they are going to do to us. You calmly tell them you don't know as this has never happened to you before (but know that vaccines are a very real possibility but do not say this so they do not freak out).

After sometime in the ER, the doctor will come up to you and explain that after consulting with several people at the health department, they think it is worth the risk that you do not get innoculated for rabies and your husband will have the health department repeat this to YOU over the telephone (since he is still pissed that you had the nurse repeat it to him to go to the ER a few hours before). 

You will probably go home with the bat in the container and instructions to freeze it the FedEx it the next day (overnight!) to Oregon for rabies testing  which you will have to pay for and the total for that will be about $120.  A week later you will probably find out that the bat does not have rabies which is a good thing becaues if it did and you had been exposed and waited a week there is a good chance that you would have acute encephalitis by this point if you had been infected.

Then, when Halloween came around you would make yourself a bat costume and have a good laugh at it while your husband is still pissed off and won't find humour in the situation for a long time (if ever).**this last line added in November 2012