Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Do U P O B?

As we have worked to secure permanent housing I have been amazed at what information is available with just an address.

Maybe it was just a pretty house you saw driving one day and were curious what homes in that neighborhood cost. Maybe it was a particular house that you were interested in buying and wanted to know what the property taxes would be. Maybe you weren't even looking for a house to buy.

You can find out all sorts of information about a property with just an address:

  • When it last sold
  • How much it sold for
  • What the property taxes are
  • What it looks like outside and sometimes inside too
  • What schools children in that household likely attend, and if it is any good
  • How well kept the neighborhood is
  • Aerial views, street views
These are all valuable tools when you are looking to purchase or rent a property. I especially relied on Google maps for our last two rentals. In one I was able to tell from the Google images that the house was right behind a large overhead transformer and the front of the house faced a brick wall on the other side of the street. It saved me from having to drive over and find out. 

But all of this got me thinking about MY address. Anyone that we give our address to will have access to all of this information and more if they also know our name. Not everyone will be nosey enough to look for details about our purchase or attempt to see pictures, but some will. 

I've done it! We received a Christmas card this last year from some friends in another state who recently moved into a new house. I was curious where it was because we have other friends in the same city. I could have called and asked if they knew so and so if we were close friends, but we are just Christmas card friends who catch up one a year. Instead I turned to the Internet and plugged their address in. Turns out the city was bigger than I thought and they aren't close enough to know each other. But then curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on the pictures. I have never been invited into their home, and yet I knew what it looked like..... or may have looked like when they bought it.

What an invasion of privacy I had committed. But the information was right there and I was curious. That is how it always starts. I enjoy having access to public records just as much as the next person except when they are my public records. The thought of someone knowing what we paid for a house, where it is located, and what it looks like is a little creepy. Not to mention making me a little paranoid should someone want to do our family harm. 

I just searched the house we sold two years ago and there for the world to see is all of that information and pictures of our stuff in it. Not to mention the glaring reminder that we sold for less than we bought it. 

A Post Office Box would provide some barrier, but going to the post office every day to check the mail could be a real pain.

Do you use a PO Box? Why? Am I being paranoid? Don't answer that last one.

Medical Mondays is right around the corner, quite literally. Monday May 5th - just a few short days away. Join Emma and me with your tales of Medicine from any angle you observe it.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You Know You Are A ....

It may be next to impossible for a doctor to be well versed on things that are going on in the world as they are happening. Something always has to give. And, honestly, that is the same for all of us. For the busy doctor it is amplified as there seems to be less that can "give".

As a case study may I present my husband:

  • 41 year old 
  • English speaking 
  • male
  • husband
  • father of 4
  • surgeon
  • runner

What didn't make the list is his passion for the winter Olympics. Most people know that the 2014 Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia for two weeks during the middle of February. And my husband knew that too. But here it is nearing the end of April and he is still watching the Olympics. He isn't watching it for the 2nd or 3rd time... this is the first time.

It doesn't matter that he knows who wins the medal, he watches it. In every spare moment he turns it on. He figures he still has four more days of Olympics to watch. At this rate he will be done some time in July.

Because of the Olympics we now have a satellite bill. In the weeks leading up to the event we had a back and forth discussion on the necessity of bringing that into our home. I don't want our kids watching a lot of TV and not having many options makes that easier. But because he wanted the complete Olympics coverage we couldn't have just the basic package we had to have the whatever special package that would include the Olympics in its entire glory. That also means we have a bunch of channels we don't need and I don't want to watch. Not to mention a bunch of channels with inappropriate names! Even though the kids can't view the channels, they can read!

You know you are married to a doctor when it's July and you are still watching the Winter Olympics. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Embarrassing Extension

Right now I am beginning to doubt myself. It's April 15th and I do not know the status of my tax bill with the federal government. I have relinquished control and I don't think I like it.

Last year we used a professional tax service recommended by our financial advisor. They were great. Slower than I would like, but all things considered I was glad to have them tackle our return.

This year, things are a little more straight-forward. We didn't buy or sell a house. We didn't pay any of our own moving expenses. We didn't have any 1099's. It was pretty simple, just a few W2's and donations.

Because I have a thing for continuity we decided to use the same professionals this year. Turns out I missed their document submission date by 3 days. They wanted all tax documents submitted online before March 15th for guaranteed filing by April 15th. I didn't get my stuff together until March 18th.

For the first time in forever we are having to request an extension on our tax filings. I understand extensions aren't a big deal if you are expecting a refund, and thankfully we are. How can you pay that much in taxes and not get a little back? The great surprise will be how much. A sofa amount or a lunch date? I don't care as long as it doesn't come back with a payment due notice.

In my impatience, weeks ago I used Turbo Tax to enter our numbers and think we could have filed on our own just fine, and probably had our refund in the bank by now. I didn't press the file button, and will wait and see what happens when they finally get around to processing ours. I have visions of them holding our finished return until after April 15th just to teach us a lesson.

I am trying not to be bitter about the situation. I missed the deadline, but didn't know about the deadline in the first place. You better bet next year my stuff will be in their office before they even think to ask for them. I don't like waiting, and I dislike being late even more.

This extension is starting to feel like a scarlet letter.

Enjoy tonight's Blood Moon!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bring Back Emily Owens, MD

I don't know who to blame but someone should be blamed! I demand to know how this happened.

Is it my fault for not supporting the show when it hit the airwaves two years ago? I would have, but the CW wasn't a channel I received at that time.

Is it the networks fault for not recognizing what a great show they had and giving up on it too soon? Too soon as in just weeks after it premiered and might I add, just when it was getting really good. Apparently, because I looked, it was the lowest rated show on the CW of the fall of 2012. I don't think they gave it a chance. I suppose I should thank them for at least broadcasting all 13 episodes even though they had already told the world they were giving it the axe. Who would want to invest their time into a show that wasn't going to have a life? They doomed the show from the very beginning.

Was it picked up by the wrong network in the first place? I am talking about you CW. I didn't even have CW on my television in 2012. It could have fit on any number of networks.

Should Netflix be blamed for teasing me with a series that was canceled after the first season? Who does that to a person? Why even put the episodes on if you know the series was canceled?

Have you ever had something on your DVR recorded but it stopped recording right before the scene concludes leaving you wondering "what happened?"! That was me when I realized that the show I had just been introduced too, and loved, was over. How does this happen to good TV?

Emily Owens, MD was a great show. It was clever. It was funny. It was clean (maybe that was the problem). It was light-hearted. It was addictive, like watch the entire season over the course of a few days. The casting was great. It was the kind of show I like..... and now it doesn't exist anymore.

How can they do that?

Would they consider bringing it back if the show suddenly became a sensation on Netflix?  I am grieving for the loss of Emily Owens, MD. May she rest in peace.

But it does make me wonder what is going to become of television when hardly anyone I know watches live TV anymore. Now I will go cry.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Never a Better Time for Medical Mondays!

So March.... I can't remember a thing!

The last week I have been sick with either a head cold or allergies. I tried to explain to my husband that from the nose down it felt like allergies and from the head up it felt like a cold. After a grueling 5 days I seem to be recovering and now have a nice stash of medications for both symptoms.

I tried using generic allergy medicine that was near its expiration date that didn't do anything. Then my husband picked out something he thought I would like, and it worked, but made me incredibly drowsy. Drowsy mom = lots of movie time.

I should have expected something like this. When you move you get to experience new flora and fauna and sometimes discover that you have allergies. Or remember that you had allergies. It's one of the surprises of moving that hits you when it hits you.

To soothe my discomfort my husband brought home a box set of PBS Masterpiece Classics with Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Wuthering heights, and Northanger Abbey. I love being sick :-)

Welcome to the April edition of Medical Mondays. Glad you are here! Leave a comment, link up, say hi to other bloggers on the list. We will be here all week.

March Medical Monday Link-Up and BlogHop

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Intern? Resident? Fellow?

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