Friday, November 22, 2013

By the Warmth of Candlelight

Post Number: 48
Review of Yesterday's Progress
     Daily Points Left: 34 of 71 (Goal: 21)
     Weekly Points Left: 49 of 49 (Goal: 49)
     Pedometer Reading: 2994
     Meetings Attended: Overeaters Anonymous
     Exercise Completed: None Scheduled

As I sit here typing this entry, blackness outside, warmth of family and light by candle, I am coming back to the here and now from some time spent beyond the horizon pondering the OA meeting I attended last evening. To my right is a brand new candle, lit, giving off no apparent aroma, peach colored with white filigree. It was given out at a candle exchange yesterday evening. The candle exchange was so people could light the candle during the holidays and remember that they are not alone. Next to it, there are two shorter, narrower candles. They are unlit, white, strong vanilla aroma when lit that lingers in the air still, with a six petal flower cross-section. They were lit a couple nights ago when I exchanged them at the Tuesday afternoon meeting. Candles are wonderful to me. I enjoy watching the flame. I enjoy scented ones giving off pleasant aromas. Candles have a simple existence, to provide light. The chemistry behind them is a wonder to me. When one of my kids is a little younger, I light a candle with a match, usually wooden. I let the match burn down until a can barely hold it before blowing it out. And then I tell them that I can relight the match. The child usually disagrees. And then the child watches in amazement as I relight it. I try to push the match through the flame from their point of view so the tip is on the opposite side of the candle. From there, I dip the tip of the burnt match into some liquid wax. When I pull it back through, the real fuel source, the wax, ignites.

My own mental candle has been ignited. It started with Asian Red Fox asking me about something on my blog yesterday. I don't remember what it was concerning, but I ended up seeing a previous page the spoke of making plans in different categories towards making my life healthier. At this point in time, I was drawn to the idea of putting together a spiritual plan, much like I have an diet plan and an exercise plan. As I pondered this ahead of tonight's meeting (because OA is a spiritual program, not a weight loss program),  I wondered at my reluctance at accepting the 12 Steps as a means of progression for me. Moses brought the higher law to the Israelites first. But in their sinful state, he destroyed the higher law and brought them the lesser law, the preparatory law. Twelve Step programs are the lesser law, the worldly version of repentance. Is my reluctance to embrace what I know to be true within the 12 Steps because I am seeking the higher law? Or is it something more sinister. Am turning away from the repenting in this worldly fashion as a way to fight against what I need to do and where I need to be? There was an interesting statement that caught my attention in tonight's meeting that led me to think that maybe I have less than honorable intentions towards OA.
There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation. - Herbert Spencer
I believe that my contempt is a little more subtle than usually is projected by addicts of whatever stripe. I know that I have compulsive and addictive behaviors. It runs in the family and I have displayed. I know that I am at Step 1 at best. But I am looking toward the higher law that cannot be rebuilt from the broken tablet pieces. Maybe the higher law is there for me after going through the 12 Steps, instead of over them. I am still seeking inspiration. I do believe some prayer and meditation is in order. I will start with my current understanding of meditation for relaxation. Then I will look for examples of meditation for understanding tomorrow.

By way of example of the addicts way of life, I nibbled on a few chips and crackers late yesterday afternoon. They were no where near enough to push me beyond  my assigned daily points or my personal goal for daily points. But they were in response to the stress of being hungry but tied down to tasks, the stress of unemployment, the stress of dealing with an achy body as a result of exercising, the stress of putting my house in order, the stress dealing with many more bills than I have cash available for this month, the stress of this, the stress of that, and the stress of the other thing, known as life. But eating the wrong thing pushed my stress level a little too far. After that, I was easily angered for much of the rest of the day. And then I ate a few more chips and crackers, which angered me even more. And while I'd like to justify the anger as a natural response to a kid running off and skipping a chore for the 17th time today, the child deserved the thoughtful consequences of my frustration, not the verbal explosion of anger.

Another part of the explosive trigger is that the source of the anger revolves around the turmoil caused by the internet wrestling to determine the best spiritual path. I need to have long-term success. This means far-reaching effort motivated by deep personal changes. I do not necessarily have the ability to do this. And was expressed directly to me last night and heard many times in the past, a person needs power to be able to make these changes. And I don't have the power. That power comes from the appropriately named Higher Power. I understand turning my will over to God, necessary for spiritual growth. But I do not see the way forward. And yesterday, I yielded my will to anger instead. I figured it would be best if I remove my anger from my home so I left for my meeting and took my anger with me.

And the anger stayed behind in the meeting. Part of that was the meeting, where we discussed how self-knowledge was not enough for a compulsive overeater. Even with knowledge, insane, destructive behaviors take over a life. There needs to be a reliance on a higher power. Another part of the release of anger was I was given an Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, the inspiration of all 12 Step program. In the case of OA, the word alcohol is replaced with the word food and the phrase alcoholic is replaced with the phrase compulsive overeater. The gift of the book is a kindness that I appreciate. I will honor the gift by taking the time to read it and rewrite the book manually the way OA suggests. This will add yet another responsibility. And though I am behind in too many responsibilities, I will work at them all.

The primary responsibility that I feel now is that I need to find a job. After my little display of anger this afternoon, I decided not to apply for a job opening at the Pizza Hut in Kuna as a General Manager. I know I would enjoy it, but I don't think I need to be around food right now. Especially since the idea of exercising this morning only makes me cringe.

Another cringe-worthy item was working towards applying the Affordable Care Act to my health. As a follow up to yesterday's online fiasco at HealthCare.gov, I will be providing a running journal on today's efforts to learn if I will receive subsidies for the ACA. Look for it in the P.P.S. section below. I am not suggesting that you read each and every entry. Actually, I am suggesting you don't read each and every entry. I'm just providing it as a warning that you should expect to spend some time on this process if you haven't looked into it already and to be aware of the multitudinous steps involved.

And I must take the steps, literal and figurative, to move on to fulfilling another of my responsibilities so I can be a better husband and father. Towards that end, I will be apologizing to my kids soon. And I will be helping one of them complete a certain chore by working at that kid's side. And to get the work started, I will be blowing out the candle and moving forward.

Yours in the bright hope of light renewed,

Eliot

P.S.: Being a parent without a sense of humor is like being an accountant that stinks at math.

This is what I experienced numerous times today -

Thanks for Clay Bennett for the picture.

P.P.S.:
Below is a journal of activities as I interacted with the HealthCare.gov website. I do not include it expecting anyone to ever read the whole thing. But if you do read the journal in its entirety, I kept accurate notes. The notes were taken in Notepad to take advantage of the time stamp button, F5. The key points in time are -

7:44 AM - Started process
8:37 AM - Completed corrections to and re-entry of information provided during previous sessions
8:38 AM - Began entering new information
9:51 AM - Eligibility determined
10:00 AM - Process ended

Time Spent: 2 hours 5 minutes (11 minutes of breaks recorded)
Health Care Plan not chosen yet. Review of available options to commence soon.

Little bit of a chuckle at, "Are any of these people pregnant?" where it lists all the girls in the family. MBWM, Jaguar, and Lemur are incapable of becoming pregnant. Asian Red Fox is living a Gospel centered life, so she's not pregnant. Granted, there is no way for the web site to know that. Well, unless the website ties into the computers at the NSuch Agency.

7:44 AM 11/21/2013 - START

7:45 AM 11/21/2013
Signed right in. Reached "My Profile"

7:46 AM 11/21/2013
"View My Current Applications" shows:
2014 Idaho application for Individual & Family Coverage
Status: In progress

Clicked "2014 Idaho Application..."

7:47 AM 11/21/2013
Information provided by website:
Your application is incomplete
You haven't finished your application for health coverage. You must complete and submit your application to find out if you're eligible for coverage and to enroll in a plan.
Clicked "Continue Application"

7:47 AM 11/21/2013
Application process pushed back to step 2 under Section 1 "Get Started"
Website shows that I do not live at the address provided. Corrected this.
Website shows that I do not use the phone number provided. Corrected this.
Correct "Phone Type" entry
Remaining information correct. Clicked "Save & Continue"
Asked to verify home address. Clicked radio button associated with my address and then clicked "Continue".
Asked to verify county for zip code. Selected "Ada". Clicked "Continue" (Kuna resides within Ada and Canyon counties)

7:52 AM 11/21/2013
Reached an interesting part of the application process. Providing a security question so I can get assistance from other people. The entry reads, "We need to make sure that only people who have your permission are viewing the application. Enter a security response. Choose only information that you'll know."
Selected same question as before and provided previous answer.
Clicked "Save & Continue"

7:53 AM 11/21/2013
Clicked "Save & Continue" to complete several questions that were still entered as I had previously entered them.

7:57 AM 11/21/2013
Reached the family portion. This portion was the most egregiously empty portion previously. Let's see how today goes.

7:57 AM 11/21/2013
My information showed entered and complete. Clicked "Save & Continue" Received the error message, "This Social Security number (SSN) isn't valid." When I had considered it correct moments before, it showed * for the first 5 positions and the correct numbers for the last 4 positions. This does not bode well for the remaining 6 SSN's.
Entered my SSN

7:59 AM 11/21/2013
Received the following message:
Verify information
We can't confirm the information you gave about Eliot Smith's Social Security number. Review and make any necessary changes. When you're done, select "Continue."
Checked Name, DoB, and SSN. All are correct. Re-typed SSN. Clicked "Continued".

8:02 AM 11/21/2013
Asked about filling Federal tax return for 2014. Entered answers.

8:05 AM 11/21/2013
Reached Section 2: Family & Household
Listed my tax return dependents
Asked about my tax return dependents and my relationship to them.

8:07 AM 11/21/2013
Accepted Ethnicity questions (already selected properly)

8:08 AM 11/21/2013
Asked about MBWM's information
Fearing ***-** portion at the beginning of the entry, re-entered her SSN. Clicked "Continue"

8:10 AM 11/21/2013
Received the following message:
Verify information
We can't confirm the information you gave about Eliot Smith's Social Security number. Review and make any necessary changes. When you're done, select "Continue."
Again, checked Name, DoB, and SSN. All are correct again. Re-typed SSN. Clicked "Continued".

8:11 AM 11/21/2013
Selected MBWM address. Clicked "Save & Continue" (Thank goodness for copy and paste for this journal)
Next several entries (which I had to enter for me) were correctly pre-populated for MBWM. Clicked "Save & Continue" several times

8:14 AM 11/21/2013
Reached Asian Red Fox's entry
Replaced *'s in SSN again
Clicked "Save & Continue"

8:17 AM 11/21/2013
Reached Iguana's entry
Replaced *'s in SSN again
Clicked "Save & Continue"

8:20 AM 11/21/2013
Reached Iguana's entry
Replaced *'s in SSN again
Clicked "Save & Continue"

8:22 AM 11/21/2013
Reached Lemur's entry
Replaced *'s and corrected numbers (Jaguar's last 4 were showing in Lemur's SSN entry)
Clicked "Save & Continue"

8:26 AM 11/21/2013
Reached Quail's entry
Before I could actually enter anything, the "Please Wait" dialog box came up and passed me to the next portion of Section 2, "More about this household."
Scrolled back to look at family information. Entries for all other kids were grayed out. Quail's was still available.
Replaced *'s in SSN again
Clicked "Save & Continue"

The following issues arose with every entry for each kid
When confirming the address, I needed to click "Save & Continue" twice before it was accepted
When asked to select the address for members of the family, my home address was listed 3 to 7 times, increasing as I went through the list of kids.

8:33 AM 11/21/2013
Reached the next portion "More about this household" of Section 2 "Family Information"
All of the entries were correctly entered.

8:37 AM 11/21/2013
Reached summary. Reviewed information.
Clicked "Save & Continue"
Up to this point, all of this information was entered previously, much of it twice.

8:38 AM 11/21/2013
Reached new section for first time, "Income"
For the SSN's and the verification process, I figured the HealthCare website was tied into the Social Security computers.
At the income portion, they pre-populated the information concerning my income. The HealthCare website must also be tied into the IRS computers.

Not sure what to do with the information, so I clicked "Edit", since "Remove" and "Save & Continue" didn't seem appropriate.
Changed prior number to current approximation of income. I do have a little.
Clicked "Save" and then "Save & Continue". Received the message, "Important: Check above to indicate the information above is correct or select "Edit" to make changes" Clicked "This information is correct." Clicked "Save & Continue"

8:45 AM 11/21/2013
Needed to remove the income because the next page attributed my current income to ITT. That would have been nice had I still been working there. Updated employment to self-employment and current income amount.
Clicked "Save & Continue" for this and remaining income questions for me.

8:49 AM 11/21/2013
Started income entries (zero) for remaining members of family.
Each entry involved four steps -
Does **** have any of the following income? "No", "Save & Continue", wait
Does **** pay for any of these deductions? "No", "Save & Continue", wait
Based on what you told us, if ****'s income is steady month-to-month, then it's about $0.00 per year. Is this how much you think **** will get in 2014? "Yes", "Save & Continue", wait
****'s income summary / ****’s income in 2014 $0.00 / Monthly total income $0.00 / Clicked "Save & Continue"

9:08 AM 11/21/2013
Completed income entries for wife and kids
Reached "Income Summary"
Reviewed information.
Clicked "Save & Continue"

9:09 AM 11/21/2013
Reached new section, "Additional Information"
Information for this section: We need to know a few more things about you and your family to make sure we match you with the best available programs.

9:10 AM 11/21/2013
Started entering information about my current or available health care coverage (none)

9:12 AM 11/21/2013
Asked about contact information for ITT. Since I don't work there anymore, that made me wonder if I would be hampered by the IRS providing this information. The good news, I didn't have to provide the Employer Identification Number (EIN) for ITT. It was pre-populated

9:14 AM 11/21/2013
Started entering information about MBWM's current or available health care coverage (none)

9:16 AM 11/21/2013
Reached new section, "Review and Sign"
Information for this section: Take a few minutes to review the information you gave us. This is your chance to go back and make changes before you submit your final application.
I suspect that because I was not applying for coverage for the kids (as selected early on in the process), I was not asked about their health care plans. Yay!

9:19 AM 11/21/2013
Temporary derailment. Spilled some of my yogurt. Needs cleaned up. Yogurt very thoughtfully brought to me by Iguana.

9:21 AM 11/21/2013
Back to the application.

9:22 AM 11/21/2013
Reading over the information, I have come across a conundrum. For the block of information that contains my information, it shows the correct "Email address". At the bottom of the block, it shows -
Preferred contact method for notices: Email address
Cell phone number/email address: Not provided
Has the system been programmed well enough to grab the email address I have provided? I would like to received my notices.
If I click "Edit", how much information will I have to enter for a third time?
I am going to review the rest of the information on the page before deciding.

9:28 AM 11/21/2013
The remaining information is correct. The top portion is identical in content and lay out to the review at the end of the "Get Started" and "Family & Household" sections.
Debated the Insurance Coverage for each kid. Afterall, I could enter that they are on CHiP. But I don't want to mess with anything.
Ultimately, chickened out and clicked, "Save & Continue"

9:29 AM 11/21/2013
Here we go, into the "Sign & Submit" section

Read these statements, and select whether you agree or disagree. Here is a preview, in case you've not seen them yet -
No one applying for health coverage on this application is incarcerated (detained or jailed).
To make it easier to determine my eligibility for help paying for health coverage in future years, I agree to allow the Marketplace to use income data, including information from tax returns, for the next 5 years (the maximum number of years allowed). The Marketplace will send me a notice, let me make any changes, and I can opt out at any time.
I know that I must tell the program I'll be enrolled in if information I listed on this application changes. I know I can make changes in my Marketplace account or by calling 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. I understand that a change in my information could affect my eligibility for member(s) of my household.
Clicked "Save & Continue"

9:31 AM 11/21/2013
Read this statement, and check whether you agree or disagree.
I'm signing this application under penalty of perjury, which means I've provided true answers to all of the questions to the best of my knowledge. I know that I may be subject to penalties under federal law if I intentionally provide false or untrue information.

****'s electronic signature
Please type your name in the box above

I wonder if I could have copied and pasted my name from immediately above the box.

Typed name. Clicked "Save & Continue"

9:33 AM 11/21/2013
Eligibility results
Learn more about your eligibility results
Results based on your application (ID ####) submitted on 2013-11-21
Your application was received and has been processed.
Your detailed eligibility results are ready
Important:  Read your eligibility results before you enroll. We'll let you know if there are problems with your application that you'll need to resolve.

9:34 AM 11/21/2013
Temporary derailment. MBWM is leaving. Wishing her well as she heads off to Social Security Office for dealing with parental responsibilities.

9:43 AM 11/21/2013
Returned to HealthCare.gov

At the bottom of the screen, it showed -
Full Medicaid determination
Do any of these people want to request a determination for Medicaid as conducted Medicaid on the basis of disability, blindness, or reoccurring medical needs and bills?
Nope. I'm not covered or cover-able.

Clicked "View Eligibility Results"
A new PDF file was downloaded. I shall read to determine what it says.

9:51 AM 11/21/2013
I read to page 6 of 12 before stopping to make this entry.
My goodness. It worked. For MBWM and I, we have the same information for eligibility.
Results:
• Eligible for a tax credit ($446.0 each month, which is $5352.0 for the year).
• Eligible to purchase health coverage through the Marketplace
• Can choose a health plan with lower copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles (06)
Next Step:
• Choose a health plan and make first month's payment

I meant to download the submitted information I reviewed but forgot to once I was done reviewing. I will have to go back and see if there is a way to download it after the fact.

9:53 AM 11/21/2013
Clicked "Continue to Enrollment" where I received the warning:
Review your Application Details in your Marketplace account to resolve any outstanding issues with your application. Issues with your application must be resolved to keep your coverage.
Clicked "Application Details"

9:55 AM 11/21/2013
There doesn't appear to be anything in need of attention that I can tell. Clicked "Apply for new coverage"
Sent on a strange loop that took me out to the home page for HealthCare.gov.

9:59 AM 11/21/2013
I will end here with the specifics of my application process. A general discussion may follow concerning selecting my coverage. IF I can figure out how to get there. At this stage, I don't seem to be able to get to the comparison of available plans.

10:00 AM 11/21/2013 - END

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