Thursday, April 01, 2010


the fourth shoe.

there was the hit and run accident, and then the mysterious water leak in the new york apartment. fifteen hundred bucks in insurance deductibles, woosh. and i know we're lucky, we're lucky to have a new york apartment (though it's hardly a pied-a-terre; there's a renter in there covering the mortgage while we scrape together our rent for student housing) and that's what insurance is for. less lucky to have been hit and . . . ran, but still: no one hurt, only money.

i was wondering when the third thing would happen, and the other day when a light switch broke in the new york apartment, i thought maybe that was it. the super looked at it and declared it past his level of expertise, which means calling an electrician. i have no idea if this is a hundred dollar thing or . . . actually, i have to stop imagining what else it could be. because today the monkey got a note from aetna, noting that they're not covering the physical he had a month ago, or any of the tests.

the monkey hasn't had a physical in years, since before we left new york and the lovely dr. spears at the actor's equity clinic on the upper west side. the expensive dependent insurance we bought for him as a part of *my* plan only covered sickness, not preventative care, so he could never go in for a physical. the relative stupidity of that amazes me, but whatever. the premiums went up sixty percent this year, so we had to drop it. he was turned down by two affordable independent plans for reasons we still can't understand. the company he sometimes caters for has a bare bones policy that allows five doctor's visits a year and has some major medical coverage. it's not great, but you can at least go to the doctor, and we can afford it. once it was in play, he dutifully went out to get his chest listened to and some labs drawn--a basic physical.

i looked at the paperwork. nowhere on the literature does it say that preventative care is excluded. in retrospect, we should have guessed--and called first to check--given that the extraordinary, mind-blowing folly of not covering preventative care seems to be pretty common, even in nicer plans. and it's a bargain basement policy, no question--but i figured five visits a year was the bargain-ness of it, and when there was no explicit exclusion of preventative care, so . . . i mean, really. i read the thing. and i'm not a dummy. you'd have no reason to believe a basic physical was out of the question.

but it never also says explicitly that preventative care is covered, and apparently, in this bizarro universe, that means it's not. so, another five hundred and fifty bucks. i have never in my life needed two thousand dollars so badly, and it's never flown away so fast for such a random list of reasons. i know that it'll be okay, i know won't eat cat food, i know we're not going to lose our apartment. in a lot of ways, i should just file this under first world problems and count my blessings. it's just demoralizing to be trying so hard to prepare for something so major and to be doing such a spectacularly piss-poor job of it. everyone's saying, jovially, "oh, there's no preparation--you can never prepare yourself for a baby!" except they don't mean money. money is the no brainer. everyone seems to agree that it really helps. you definitely need some of that.

and some is exactly what we've got. some. a little. we probably have enough for me to stay home all summer if the monkey takes almost no time off when the chickpea is born and we live like hermits until october and no other terrors descend from the sky to empty our checking account AND we charge all the hospital bills to the loan we've taken against the apartment. and, really, that's not so bad. (although i'd like him to be able to stay home for at least a week. come on. a week. cue rant about how i tried to get him to train for another career years ago. no paid paternity leave for waiters.)

it's not super scary because we're in real, present danger. it's super scary because we're failing to do what we've always been able to do. i'm unmoored because the money is running away even though we're trying to do everything right. and it's sort of the least we can do, the money. there's so much we can't prepare for, and this one magical quantity that makes everything more handle-able, and we can't seem to hold on to any of that, even when we're being very responsible. everybody's all, oh, have a doula, and oh, go on some dates, and oh, get help once the baby's here. listen, everybody: i'm trying. at this rate, i'm convinced he'll never get to go to college and will have to start washing dishes at some diner when he's eleven.

i hope i still recognize my privilege enough to smirk at my idea of destitution being: not able to afford a fucking doula. this rant will pass, and i'll remember how good i have it.

and i thought today, as i was comforting the monkey (who feels broken today, like he spent the dregs of our checking account on some fake magic beans by mistake): this is not a tragedy. the tragedy would have been coming home from that doctor with some kind of diagnosis. i thought about that, and my world started to tilt in an awful way. this? this lack of money we can do. just: shut up about the doula, everybody. zip it.

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