Saturday, June 6, 2009


In my never ending quest to find a real job, I answered an online posting for 911 dispatcher trainees at the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA). This morning I went to the initial meeting where a 21-year veteran of 911 service explained the complexities of the job. The purpose of this was to go through the real downside of the job--the hours, the stress, the constant re-certification process and, of course, the calls themselves.

MRVDA covers all of Dona Ana county wich encompasses about 3500 square miles and about 200,000 people from Hatch to Sunland Park. There are 7 different "consoles" that cover different areas and different emergency service providers. You have to become certified in all seven to be a full-time dispatcher so you have to know geography of the area and you have to have EMS training because you're actually what they call an EMD or Emergency Medical Dispatcher. He said giving CPR instructions over the phone was fairly common.

He covered the fact that we would be working rotating shifts over 24 hours and we would have to go through 12 weeks of training before they let you on the phones by yourself and to show us just how gruesome it can be, he played a tape of a call where the woman was on the line with the 911 operator while her husband shot himself in the head. The operator managed to remain totally calm while the woman was screaming and I know several of us in the meeting were rather disturbed by it.

So I don't know how far I'll pursue this. I signed up for the testing (which will come after I pass a background check). It's 2 hours worth of various test including spending about a half hour listening in to real 911 calls. I'm not sure I have the stomach for it but I'm going to check it out because it pays fairly well and you get benefits if you make it past the 12 weeks of training.

I just don't know if it would afford me the time I need to pursue the bath products line. I need to be able to juggle everything.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I now know about a half dozen people who have lost their jobs within the last six months. Their number one concern is affordable healthcare. President Obama is insistent that we address healthcare now but Congress and critics who are happily secure in their jobs with lush healthcare packages don't feel the urgency of the matter.

I keep hearing the "horror stories" of government run healthcare and the usual right wing scare tactics saying that you will lose control over your choice of doctor and that the government will step in and tell you that you can't have certain treatments. The people spreading these rumors aren't listening to what Obama says because the crux of his argument is that if you have employer subsidized health care nothing is going to change.

The urgency of healthcare reform is for people like me and my friends/family who are out of work. We need access to affordable care and the assurance that we can get this coverage despite pre-existing conditions.

The pre-existing condition factor is a difficult one that probably won't happen as long as for-profit insurance companies are running the show. To run a profitable business it makes sense to deny insurance to people who will actually use the service. But that's what's happening every day in the richest nation in the world.

Here in New Mexico we have something called the high risk pool that allows people with pre-existing conditions to buy Blue Cross insurance but these are high-deductible plans that are only good if you have a catastrophe. This is why I have this gives me some comfort that I know I will not be wiped out if I break my leg or develop cancer.

But as for everyday stuff...I had a physical recently because my policy says I'm allowed to have one physical per year. So I recieved a statement saying that the doctor's visit was completely covered but not the accompanying blood tests. The results of said blood tests showed that I am still suffering from anemia. It was suggested that I see a hemotologist but I will not because I can't afford it. I went through anemia treatments when I was covered by workplace insurance and watched as Blue Cross paid almost $10,000 for a treatment that did little for me. Now that the cost has shifted to me, I made the choice to live without the treatments because I cannot afford to pay for them.

Since it hasn't been settled yet, I don't know if Obama's healthcare plan would help me pay for my anemia treatments but I'm pretty sure it would pay for my routine blood tests. Oh and I did place a challenge on the Blue Cross denial of paying for blood tests that are routine screenings. The emphasis is supposed to be on preventitve care and a simple CBC would detect problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and yes, anemia.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Look at this tomato. It's the same one that was pictured a couple of posts ago as the teeny tiny tomato. And...I have 11 more at various stages of growth.

My new business is moving along. Today I got my tax ID number so I'm ready for my orientation. I also picked up some gift packaging ideas at the Dollar Store so I can offer gift sets of my products. Also making more bath bombs. There's an exact measurement to follow...not too dry (or they won't stick together in the molds) and not too wet (or they start fizzing before they hit the bath). I'm getting the hang of it. Luckily the ingredients aren't expensive so I can afford to mess up a few batches.

On the money-saving front, I have started grinding my own hamburger meat. This isn't a huge savings but the quality is so much better than the stuff in the grocery store. I took some and made a killer sauce for some angel-hair pasta (small pasta for my small stomach) and will grill some burgers tonight.

Tomorrow is Senior Day at Albertsons so Alyce and I are going bargain hunting. We're also going to Hobby Lobby (which I think is a really stupid name for a store) since there is no actual lobby there. But I want to find small cello bags for my bath bombs.