Man, I really earned my pay today.
The day's to-do list included finishing with the damn' ACA application and enrollment, with a side order of calling Anthem Maine to ask how one cancels one's insurance (for the first time in many, many years, we have another choice of health insurers in Maine, and yeah, we're going with the new guys).
First thing after breakfast, I called Anthem, which was. . .amusing if you like black humor. Bottom line was that I had to pay a $324 buy-out to Anthem if the new insurance coverage didn't start 'til January 15. If I just didn't pay the January bill, which is on its way to me, even now, then our health insurance would be cancelled on January 1.
That chore done, I ventured out into the very, very, VERY cold morning to hit the post office, and the gym, and to accomplish a few minor errands in town. The plan was then to return home, call the ACA about their requirements for proving my 2013 income, enroll for an insurance plan, and, well, write.
In fact, I was on my way home when my car started to backfire, shudder, and in general act like it was going to blow up. Got home, found Steve still there, unloaded the stuff from my car, called the garage, slipped and fell on the ice in the driveway, had a minor freak-out, and went back into town to drop off my car.
We returned home, ate lunch; I went back to my office to start with the ACA, when -- the phone rang! My car was repaired -- a sensor and a filter had needed replacing.
Back down to town we went, gave the garage two bills, and drove home, the car behaving beautifully. . .
. . .until I crossed the river and had to stop for a red light, whereupon the car commenced again with the shuddering and shaking, turning itself off and back-firing.
Despite which, I got it home, called in the unhappy news and have a date back at the garage on Monday.
MEANWHILE, there's a blizzard bearing down on Maine, due to land Saturday-night-into-Sunday, delivering anywhere from 3 to 5 to 8 to 14 inches of snow, depending on geography. For fun, our house on the intersection of three boundaries: 3, 8, and 14.
Also? I have an eye doctor's appointment very early on Monday morning, in Skowhegan -- about 27 miles up the road from the Confusion Factory, well into the 14-inch zone.
Given the car, the weather, and all, I decided to be proactive, and cancel my appointment.
Sadly, I took my decision too late, calling at one minute after four, when the office closes (promptly) at 4 p.m. on Friday. And. . .the answering machine doesn't record messages.
All that taken care of -- or not taken care of, as may be -- I was finally free to call up the Healthcare Marketplace site, where our application for health insurance has been languishing this while, because of a requirement that I "prove" my 2013 income no later than March 5, 2014, or risk losing my new health insurance. Appended to this note was a list of documents that would be accepted as "proof."
. . .none of which even come close to being something that a freelance writer has on their person. Or in their files.
So, I called, and had a lovely chat with a young lady, who was, indeed, very helpful. She brainstormed ideas, like -- would my publisher write me a note stating that I did indeed work for them ("But I don't work for them." "Oh. Right.") Well, then, W2s. . . ("Freelance. No W2s." "Oh. Right.")
We finally arrived at an Approach, because The Problem is that I expect to make much less money in 2014 than I did in 2013, for the very simple reason that I will not be receiving the upfront money on seven novels and the d&a money for three of them.
So, I need to provide copies of royalty checks, and this letter, with relevant Arithmetic, notarized, explaining why my income for 2014 is (best guess) going to be Significantly Less than it was in 2013.
And I have to do this, of course, As Soon as Possible, so that the poor child who is stuck with reviewing all this stuff has time to Lose It Completely, call me on the phone and ask if I'm crazy. At that point, if I am True and Wise, I will be able to repeat what I wrote in the letter in a sincere enough voice that they will believe me and not cancel my health insurance.
This, she suggests, will be fun.
While I had the helpful young lady on the phone, I asked if she could make recommendations to those who are responsible for the website, and the verification process. She said she could, and we noted that I cannot be the only freelance novelist in America. That, in fact, lots and lots of people are artists, musicians, writers, or otherwise self-employed in ways that mean their pay is extremely irregular, and that predicting any possible income a whole year ahead is an exercise in Wishful Precognition.
But, for the moment, we have health insurance; rational insurance at a rate that's more than $250 less per month than what we've been paying for insurance that covered nothing (which was due to go UP by $125/month, starting January 1), and a deductible that would have made us bankrupt before any co-payments kicked in.
And? I guess we'll see What Happens Next.
And now, having earned my pay, I'm going to pour myself a glass of wine and recline with my book, and perhaps a cat or two, on the couch, because I'm exhausted, and now my knee hurts, and my ankle that I sprained two years ago hurts, and the wrist and hand that I caught myself with hurt. Sigh. Getting old sucks. And ice is not your friend.
Hope everybody has a good weekend!