Archive for January, 2010

A good thing

I have decided that it’s a good thing we have home group in our house every two weeks, because it means that I am FORCED to clean things up at least that often.  Group starts in 15 minutes, and at this exact moment, I can claim that most portions of our home are clean enough for guests.  Now we just need to keep it this way.   The probabilities of that are not exceedingly high.


Losing my marbles

Andrew’s math curriculum involves a textbook, a workbook, and a book of Challenging Word Problems.  He works in all three simultaneously, and the challenging word problems (CWPs) are, well, challenging – not just for Andrew, but for ME!

Singapore’s elementary math series doesn’t teach algebra per se,  but it does teach nifty ways to do problems that I would consider algebraic without actually using algebra.  Instead, you draw bars and blocks to set up equivalencies.  It’s quite visual, which I love, and it does let a kid SEE what’s going on without getting into x’s and y’s.  Frankly, I find the process amazing.  Josiah did Singapore Elementary Math before moving into Algebra 1, and I think Singapore gave him a good practical foundation.  I’m hoping Andrew will likewise benefit.

Although Andrew usually does okay (80%ish, on average) with the problems in the textbook and workbook, he is consistently completely overwhelmed by the challenging word problems.  Because Scott and I also consider them pretty intense for the average American 10 year-old (although I guess in Singapore they breed ’em to do these types of calculations at insanely young ages), we decided to count the CWPs as bonuses.  For each CWP, he can get up to three bonus points:  one for doing it alone, one for setting up the right logic, and one for doing the calculations correctly.

Right now, Andrew’s working with per cents, and while he’s doing pretty well wih the textbook and workbook per cent problems, as usual, he’s bombing the CWPs.  Today I was looking over two CWPs he missed so that I will be able to show him how to do them when we go over corrections.

Get a load of this little gem for 5th graders:  “Box A had 400 marbles.  Box B had 500 marbles.  30% of Box A’s marbles and 60% of Box B’s marbles were white, and the rest were blue.  30% of Box A’s blue marbles and 25% of Box B’s blue marbles were transferred to the other box at the same time.  How many more marbles were there in Box B than Box A at the end?”

I did correctly calculate the answer, but now I will need to explain the process to Andrew.  I feel like I’m losing my marbles.

Eight inches

Yes, we now have eight inches of the lovely, fluffy, white stuff in our front yard!  I went out to walk this morning, and it was just all so wonderfully glorious.  Nearly a lane’s worth had been cleared on some of the road, and since it’s Saturday (a low traffic day anyway), I was able to walk mainly on pavement in that lane.  When a vehicle approached, I just stepped off into the 15 or so inches of snow that the snow plow had thrown up, and slogged along till the car passed.   It was slow going, but so deliciously beautiful.  Snow plows passed me twice, so I have fond hope that today they’ll get 160 and 65 clear enough for us to go to church tomorrow.

Yesterday it was snowing steadily every waking moment! God must really love me a LOT to give us TWO such wonderful snowfalls in one month.  = )

Maybe it’s a BLIZZARD!!!

It is now 3:30 PM, and sometime between 1:45 AM and 7:20 AM today, the snow started.  Since that time it has been snowing NON-STOP!  Yes, this is one of the steadiest snowfalls we have ever experienced in our thirteen years in Walnut Shade.

Our official resident meteorologist (Josiah the Barefoot Wonder) reports that the current average depth of white stuff on our property is approximately four-and-one-half inches.  Furthermore Brandon Beck of KY3 fame advises that the snow is not expected to taper off till after midnight.

She squeals with glee.

We are all SO very happy!

How we spend our money

Or, maybe more accurately, how our money is spent.  I was reading some updates from our local state senator and representative and learned that 29% of Missouri’s annual expenditures is spent on education (~$3.7 billion) and 32% goes to SOCIAL SERVICES (~$4.1 billion)!!!

I must figure out a way to do something about this.

Hope Brandon’s right!

While I was walking and praying this morning, I was thanking God for the possibility of snow later this week.  The Tri-Lakes trash man picks up at the church on Wednesday mornings, and we usually wave to each other as I walk past.  This morning, while parked in the church driveway, he called to me that I wouldn’t be able to walk tomorrow, because there’d be 5-7 inches of SNOW!  He wasn’t too happy about, as he is looking forward to spring, but I was nearly ecstatic.

I came in to check the KY3 forecast, and here’s what our friendly meteorologist says:

UPDATED: Wednesday Morning at 6:00 a.m.


Good morning!  A major winter storm is headed for the Ozarks and should begin Thursday afternoon and go through at least early Friday.  I’ll get to that shortly, but let’s talk about today’s weather first.  Temperatures are starting in the low 20s up to the low 30s this morning.  Radar is picking up some activity moving in from Oklahoma and Kansas but there is a significant layer of dry air under this.  As such it will likely take some time to reach the ground, and by the time it does I think we’ll have warmed above freezing.  In fact despite plenty of cloud cover today high temperatures will reach near 40 over central Missouri, mid to upper 40s over southern Missouri, and near 50 in Arkansas.  Any precipitation we get will be very light.  A cold front will move through the area by about midnight tonight ushering in colder air and a north breeze.  This will also temporarily dry the atmosphere out.  Early morning temperatures Thursday will be in the 20s over Missouri and mid 30s over Arkansas.  There will be very little warming tomorrow before precipitation arrives from Oklahoma.  As this begins to fall it may start as rain but evaporation will cause cooling and this will likely change to freezing rain fairly quickly. As the evening wears on a mixture of freezing rain and sleet appears likely over extreme southern Missouri and northern Arkansas with snow becoming likely farther into southern Missouri.  The peak of this storm will be overnight Thursday and at this point the thermal structure of the atmosphere is forecast to support mostly snow.  As seems to be the case with nearly every major winter event in the Ozarks, there will be a layer of near-freezing air over Arkansas through at least the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning, leading to uncertainty about what type of precipitation will be falling.  Whatever is falling there, it should be intense for several hours with heavy snow well into southern and central Missouri.  Temperatures will continue to drop during the night with a gusty north wind.  All in all it does not look pretty around much of the region with travel becoming difficult into Friday.  Click the graphic on the left to see my preliminary forecast for amounts.  In areas where sleet and freezing rain occur accumulation amounts will be lower (but still significant).  However, it’s possible to see higher amounts than I have if the chance to snow occurs sooner.  Over much of southern Missouri, including Springfield, I expect 6-12” of snow.  There could easily be some higher totals over far southern Missouri.  Over central Missouri (the northern Ozarks) I expect amounts to range between 3-6 with the lightest amounts over Morgan and Benton Counties.  Given the expected snow cover temperatures will be very cold through the weekend with below zero lows likely Sunday morning.

Brandon Beck
KY3 Stormteam

Lest that projected totals map is not clickable inside this post, let me assure you that we reside in the SIX to TWELVE INCH area!!!  Yee-hah!

“Not deemed medically necessary”

Some people spend lots of time doing fun things like playing football, or listening to music, or even writing in blogs, but we have entered into that newest form of recreation called, “Ante Up.”  It involves trying to get your health insurance company to cover your accident expenses at the highest possible rate.

We think that we will eventually be on a first name basis with at least 60% of the friendly customer service representatives at our local Blue Cross Blue Shield call center.  Today, Scott had the opportunity to talk with one of those fine folks about Blue Cross’ determination on one of the claims pertinent to his recent ski accident.

When his flesh experienced a severe and unplanned impact with one of the slopes at Breckenridge, his left hip was dislocated.  The ball was thrust backward out of the socket, fracturing the socket.  Scott was knocked unconscious by the fall, but once he had been stabilized and had taken a rather pricey ride (of which he has no memory) in an ambulance to the Summit County Medical Center, he came to enough to moan about the terrible pain in his hip. There were some x-rays and a number of CT scans.  Then they wheeled him into surgery to sedate him before reducing the hip (shoving the ball back into the socket).

In yesterday’s mail, we received a very nice bill from Colorado Surgical and Critical Care Associates for those services, and, as a bonus, we also received Blue Cross’ Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for those same charges.

I found it very interesting that Blue Cross approved the $132 for “Moderate Sedation >5, ” but denied the $1056 for “treatment of displaced hip,” because the latter was “not deemed medically necessary by the payer.”  So what’s with that?!? It seems like everyone agrees that reducing a hip is an extraordinarily painful procedure, and that the patient must be sedated in order to do it, but evidently actually putting the ball back into the socket is not really essential.

Now tell me, how would one be expected to get around on a dislocated hip? We shall appeal, and I’m sure Blue Cross will see it rationally, but I thought it was funny enough to laugh about.  A merry heart does good like a medicine, right?