Saturday, October 19, 2013

Last few sailing weekends of the year

2 weeks ago, we had a spectacular Indian Summer day, with no wind at all in the morning. We headed over to Felixstowe, where we walked along the seafront while we waited for the wind to pick up.

We were even wearing our matching Kanga polo shirts.

And then we went back to Levington, to take our little squiblet for a spin.

We were out again this morning, in cold drizzle, helping with an RYA Instructor pre-assessment, and then we're both racing (in different boats and with different fleets) tomorrow. Next weekend is the final part of the instructor course (including my assessment), and then the boats come out in early November.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The cost of my breathing: UK vs USA

The New York Times is running a series of in-depth reports on the true costs of the healthcare system in the US. This week's article, The Soaring Cost of a Simple Breath, was truly astonishing.

I never blogged about it at the time, but last summer, I was diagnosed with asthma. One morning as I was walking to work, I had what turned out to be a severe asthma attack (where I actually thought I was having a heart attack). Over the next hour or so it combined with a panic attack and put me in the ER for a morning. Fun times.

After a bit of discussion and quite a few tests (they/I originally thought it was a cardiac arrhythmia), my GP sent me to to the asthma & allergy specialist, who figured out that I have asthma and an exciting array of allergies.

All of this, including the trip to the ER, the attendant tests, the take-home-and-wear-for-24-hours cardiac monitor, more blood tests, the allergy tests, and the asthma test, were free. As in no money at all. No copay, no insurance card, no bill in the mail, nothing.

Looking back, I've had asthma since at least high school, possibly earlier. I went on an ill-fated snowshoeing trip with my college roomie sophomore year, and nearly expired. I have always hated running, cross-country skiing, and any kind of endurance sport. Hmmm...maybe because I CAN'T BREATHE.

So. If I'd been diagnosed in high school, I would have been paying between $100 and $175 for EACH inhaler. That's madness. I go through about 3 of each per year (I have one for attacks and a different one that I take right before bed), but I'm a relatively light user. If I'd had to buy them when I lived in New York, I would have gone without. My insurance plan was basic, and my other meds were already costing me over $60/month (p.s. that medicine is free in the UK, as it's classed as one of the drugs that nobody ever pays for).

I refilled my prescription tonight for one of the inhalers, and paid £7.85. It would have been free if I were on benefits of any kind, or any number of other things.

Feel free to join the first world whenever you're ready, America. Once you get the government running again, that is.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

We ate too much (but it was good)

I'm surprised there were any clams left in Rhode Island after we left.

We had stuffies, fried clams, and raw clams. No clamcakes, since I find them too cakey and not clam-y enough.

We'd been meaning to try out Persimmon, in Bristol, for a while - the chef has won all sorts of awards and it was really highly recommended by some friends of my parents.

We splurged (and decided to make it my "birthday dinner") and had the tasting menu. It was really fun - the first of the five courses was a series of hors d'oeuvres, and we spent the whole evening guessing what was going to come next. The whole meal took about 3 hours, but everything was completely delicious.

It was somewhat romantically lit, so my camera had a hard time with the pictures. This was one of our favourite courses: a devilled quail's egg with caviar. SO delicious. We also ate (and thoroughly enjoyed) several things that we never would have ordered off the main menu, like cauliflower soup, and veal sweetbreads. 

And now for something completely different. Alexandria Bay's idea of haute cuisine? Cheeseburger soup, bitches.

Oh, and pancakes, blueberries, sausage and bacon.

Back in Rhode Island, my parents had recommended Federal Hill Pizza in Warren. We were coming back from a day out in Boston, and took the bus from Providence to Warren. It dropped us right in front of the restaurant (and then we had an exceedingly dark but otherwise pleasant walk back to my parents' house). 

They made our pizza half-and-half: sausage, onions and peppers with no cheese for John, and buffalo chicken for me. Yumsters.

We stopped in for a quick lunch after sailing in Newport, at Rosemary & Thyme. The sandwiches were delicious, but the person who took my order (I think she may have been one of the owners) gave me an extremely vitriolic lecture on the evils of credit cards and small businesses. Zoinks. Feel free to put up a "cash only" sign but don't accept cards and then get mad at me when I want to charge $20 worth of sandwiches. Anyway, bring your cash and enjoy the sammies!

While the boys were playing with trains, my mom and I had a girls (plus Harry) trip down I-95. We stopped in Westbrook and had lunch at Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale. Because, obviously, it had been at least 12 hours since our last clam. And onion rings and coleslaw both count as veggies, right?

So does beer.

Needless to say, I gained a few pounds. My fitbit and I are in the process of working them off again.