Heading Back Down

Posted By on May 5, 2015

We will be heading back down to Mexico on June 30th.  Since they need about 4 days to put in my permanent plate I figured I might as well take advantage of the extra US holiday that they don’t celebrate.

According to the email they sent me it takes 1 day to make the new plate then I have to go back for any adjustments the next 2 days.  It’s possible I will be done on the 3rd and if so we could come back then instead of waiting for the 4th.

We are also going to stay in a hotel on the US side this time.  It’s the Quechan Hotel and Casino right at the off ramp from I8.

Maybe I can win enough to pay for my implants!  Ha!  I’m a funny guy.  I’ll be lucky if I don’t lose much.  I do like the nickel slots though but I suspect they will be updated like the slots in Vegas where you don’t use money anymore.

Net Neutrality

Posted By on February 27, 2015

Is anyone else worried about the fact that the government that couldn’t make a website work now has complete control of the internet?

Just curious if it’s only me.

Implants in Mexico

Posted By on January 6, 2015

I’ve been wanting to get implants on my upper for about 6 years but with the cost of them in the US I couldn’t justify it.  I had actually had my middle four teeth on the upper pulled and a bone graft done about 6 years ago but when I was finally told the actual cost I decided to wait.

The cost in the US was going to be around $30,000 and that was for just 4 teeth (2 implants).

Earlier this year I realized since I was over 59 1/2 I could take some money from my 401K without a penalty so I started looking at dentists in Los Algodones, Mexico.  I heard about Los Algodones from Richard and I know Dale and Donna also got some work done there.

The dental group that seemed to be the largest with many good reviews was Sani Dental Group.  I got a quote from them and scheduled my first visit for December 27th-31st.

We arrived on the 26th and drove over the border without talking to anyone.  We went straight to the Hacienda Los Algodones which is a hotel owned by Sani.  It’s a very nice little hotel with decent sized rooms and very friendly employees.

The next day we went to Sani and they did a CT scan and a panoramic X-ray.  Then I met with a diagnostic specialist.  He said I needed an All on 4 (which is what I wanted anyways) and he suggested I get an implant on my lower back right molar (which had been extracted quite a few years ago).  I agree with them and we also planned to do a post and crown on one of my teeth I had done a root canal on a few months ago.

They said to come back on Monday so we spent Sunday checking out a few stores in town.  Every few feet someone comes up and tries to sell you something.  We weren’t buying.

Monday morning I went in and they numbed my right lower side so he could put in the singe implant.  That was completely painless so I was ready for the extractions.

He then numbed my upper right side and started pulling teeth.  I had 4 on that side with one a molar.  That wasn’t very pleasant and he had to keep adding Novocaine.  He finally had them all out and started doing the implants.  Again, the implants were not painful at all and he had the 2 in within 15 minutes or so.

Then he numbed my upper left and extracted the 2 teeth and then put in the other 2 implants.  As before there was no pain involved (of course my mouth was very numb).

Next came the part I did not like at all.  He said my bone was medium to soft and that he didn’t want to install the temporary plate that screwed on.  He wanted me to use a full denture for the next 6 months.  I told him I really didn’t want to do that as one of the reasons I went with the All on 4 was you get teeth screwed into the implants basically the same day.

He convinced me to try the denture but as soon as it was in I started gagging.  I told him there was no way I could put up with that for 6 months let alone 6 hours.

He said he would go ahead and install the temp plate like I wanted as long as I signed a paper absolving them of any damage caused by not waiting.  I went ahead and did that since I was not going to use the denture.

So later in the day we started doing the temp impression/plate.  To do that they put a plate in your mouth and start painting what I believe was acrylic material so that once they had it done they used it to make the temp.  That was probably the most uncomfortable procedure of the whole day.  It was in my mouth for close to a half hour and wasn’t doing my gag reflex any good.

On Tuesday I went back to have the new temporary screwed in.  It looks great and feels *okay*.  I suspect I’ll get used to it in time.  I do have to take it easy for the next 3 – 4 weeks and not eat anything hard.  I figure I can handle that.

To sum it up my experience was mostly good with the exception of the full denture.  I know I will be very happy once I get my permanent plate in about 4-6 months.

I should also mention that Betty got a post and crown while we were there.  The cost for both including a panoramic x-ray was only $300.

I would like to say something about the town but we really didn’t spend much time walking around.  On Monday we did go to a restaurant for lunch and then another one for dinner.  The one we went to dinner at was called Kashas and it had excellent food for decent prices.  When we first got there we noticed only one other couple.  While there a bunch more people came in and they were all locals.

If you walk around town be prepared to be semi-accosted by all kinds of people trying to sell you trinkets, artwork, and various other items.  Most of them would take NO but a few were very persistent.  One guy actually scared Betty with his aggressiveness.

I highly recommend going to Mexico if you need any dental work that would be expensive in the US.  You can save a lot over the cost in the US where it costs 300-400% higher.

Update to the Upgrades

Posted By on October 19, 2014

In my last post I went over some of the upgrades we are doing to the house. I figured I should update everyone on how that is going.

We added a few things to the list. In addition to the AC, windows, insulation and solar panels we decided it was time to paint the outside since it hadn’t been painted since we moved in at the end of 1999.

The house was kind of yellow when we moved in but it wasn’t newly painted then. Every year I kept thinking we should look into painting and finally along with all the other stuff we decided to bite the bullet even though it wasn’t an energy upgrade.

We decided on a light gray with dark gray trim. I think it looks very nice now.

20141002_162021

 

We also decided it was time to remove the carpet that was used as a liter box by our old blind cat Jasmine during her last year or so of life. We knew there was a hardwood floor underneath but had no idea what shape it was in. As it turned out it was in great shape.

20141008_182121

We also replaced the dishwasher that we bought shortly after we got married in 1994. I would walk into the kitchen and see Betty or Michelle or Jen hand washing dishes and then putting them in the dishwasher. I couldn’t understand why you would even put them in the dishwasher if you had to wash them by hand anyway but apparently I don’t know much about such things. We replaced it with a Bosch unit that cleans the dirtiest dishes very well. It even has a water softener even though our water isn’t that hard.

We also figured if we were going to do the floors then we should pull off the old wallpaper and do some painting. When we pulled it off over by the shower in our master bath the wall was darkish. When we pulled up the carpet it was clear there had been some water damage. We called a plumber out and he opened the wall and found that our pipes had been leaking along with the shower pan. Because it was going to cost a lot to re-tile the shower I decided to rip it out and replace it with a fiberglass one that is more modern. The whole shower/leak thing wasn’t in our budget but it needed to be done so we did.

We also replaced the old couch we bought shortly after we got married with a sectional with recliners. That won’t show up until after the floor is done.

And finally I ordered a 70″ Sharp Q+ TV that is going to go over the fireplace. It will turn that room into a theater. I originally thought about getting a 4K TV but after talking to Ken H. about it he convinced me it would be better to get a little larger 1080p as the 4K technology is still in it’s infancy. There is also a limit as to how good something looks based on your distance from it and a 70″ 1080p will look about as good as a 60″ 4K from the distance we will be viewing.

The final thing we are probably going to do is a hot tub but that’s going to wait until we get the solar panels.

Lots of upgrades and now you are up to date.

Time for Some Upgrades

Posted By on September 21, 2014

After spending the last 20 years in the San Fernando Valley with only portable air conditioners and paying outrageous prices for energy Betty and I decided it’s time to spend a little of that money we’ve been saving for so long.

We figured the main problem with the energy cost can be improved with a quadruple prong approach.

  1. Install central air conditioning.
  2. Install modern windows.
  3. Add insulation to attic
  4. Install solar panels.

We have #1 done and have #2 in the works.  We hired a window company and the measuring guy is here while I’m writing this.

#3 is going to be done tomorrow.  We are having cellulose blown in to bring it up to R-38.  I’m guessing right now it’s R-0.5 as the insulation in the attic is probably an inch thick.

#4 is going to be the long pole but should also be the biggest return.

I have asked Donna and Daryl both for as much information and feedback as they can give and it’s been very helpful.  Of course they both have solar systems on their houses.  Richard does too but his is a very different animal.

I’ve gotten multiple quotes and I’ve looked at both lease and purchase and I’m leaning more towards the purchase option.  Daryl purchased and Donna prepaid a lease.  Both have pluses and minuses but one of the things I’m trying to do is increase the value of my home.  Having a prepaid lease solar system does improve your value but not near as much of it is going to end up in your pocket if you sell.

One thing we learned yesterday and today is different companies will give you wildly different price quotes.  For instance the first company that quoted our windows said they could do them all plus 3 doors for a bit over $16,000.  That really seemed high to me.  I figured probably $10,000 but wasn’t sure.  While we were about to go with the high price I got a call from another guy who said he thought he could beat the price by $6,000.  We sent the first guy away and had the other guy come quote.  He did quote at a tad over $10,000.  While that guy was quoting Josh remembered there was a guy on his pool league who owned a window and door company so today he came out.  He is going to do everything for $9,000.  Moral of this story is never take the first quote unless you really know what it’s going to cost.  We might have paid a bit more than we needed on the A/C but I did research that beforehand and feel we got a pretty fair price.

On Friday the A/C was installed and they left around 8pm.  By 9pm Betty and I looked at each other and said we had never felt the house be more comfortable in the 14 1/2 years we’ve lived here.  Another plus is we don’t have that annoying window or portable air conditioner noise.  It’s just quiet and comfortable.  I wonder why we waited so long.

All of these projects also qualify for government and power company rebates.  The biggest one will be the federal rebate on the solar panels.  That’s currently at 30% so will be close to $10,000.  The power company rebate will be around $4,000 so it makes a big difference to the actual cost.  The other upgrades also qualify for rebates at different values.  Well, except for the A/C.  If we had gone with a 16 SEER unit we could have gotten $400 back but it would have cost $1100 for the upgrade.  The A/C guy said we wouldn’t really benefit from the extra SEER based on where we live so he suggested we not do it.

Along with all the upgrades we also plan to throw a bunch of junk away and generally clean.  Painting the exterior is probably in the future but we don’t have anything scheduled yet.

Lots of stuff going on in our house.

Never Forget 9/11/2001

Posted By on September 11, 2014

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Global Warming?

Posted By on July 9, 2014

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2014/06/25/government-data-show-u-s-in-decade-long-cooling/

 

Government Data Show U.S. in Decade-Long Cooling

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade. The NOAA temperature data are driving a stake through the heart of alarmists claiming accelerating global warming.

Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor siting issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely sited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.

According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.

Of course, 10 years is hardly enough to establish a long-term trend. Nevertheless, the 10-year cooling period does present some interesting facts.

Source: National Climatic Data Center, NOAA

First, global warming is not so dramatic and uniform as alarmists claim. For example, prominent alarmist James Hansen claimed in 2010, “Global warming on decadal time scales is continuing without letup … effectively illustrat[ing] the monotonic and substantial warming that is occurring on decadal time scales.” The word “monotonic” means, according to Merriam-Webster Online, “having the property either of never increasing or of never decreasing as the values of the independent variable or the subscripts of the terms increase.” Well, either temperatures are decreasing by 0.4 degrees Celsius every decade or they are not monotonic.

Second, for those who may point out U.S. temperatures do not equate to global temperatures, the USCRN data are entirely consistent with – and indeed lend additional evidentiary support for – the global warming stagnation of the past 17-plus years. While objective temperature data show there has been no global warming since sometime last century, the USCRN data confirm this ongoing stagnation in the United States, also.

Third, the USCRN data debunk claims that rising U.S. temperatures caused wildfires, droughts, or other extreme weather events during the past year. The objective data show droughts, wildfires, and other extreme weather events have become less frequent and severe in recent decades as our planet modestly warms. But even ignoring such objective data, it is difficult to claim global warming is causing recent U.S. droughts and wildfires when U.S. temperatures are a full 0.4 degrees Celsius colder than they were in 2005.

Even more importantly than the facts above, the USCRN provides the promise of reliable nationwide temperature data for years to come. No longer will global warming alarmists be able to hide behind thinly veiled excuses to doctor the U.S. temperature record. Now, thanks to the USCRN, the data are what the data are.

Expect global warming alarmists, now and for the foreseeable future, to howl in desperation claiming the USCRN temperature data are irrelevant.

Of course, to global warming alarmists, all real-world data are irrelevant.

Hobby Lobby is EVIL!

Posted By on July 1, 2014

In light of yesterday’s SCOTUS decision to allow some companies to not provide certain kinds of birth control I got to wondering which ones were still allowed.  Based on the screaming on the left I figured maybe it was condoms or nothing.

Imagine my surprise when I learned there are only 4 forms that Hobby Lobby didn’t want to provide which left 16 that they will.

Here’s an article on which they will and won’t provide.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/381637/hobby-lobby-actually-lavishes-contraception-coverage-its-employees-deroy-murdock

The Left is foaming at the mouth over the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision this morning.

“This is going to turn the dial back,” Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultzwarned on MSNBC. The Democratic party’s national chairwoman added: “Republicans want to do everything they can to have the long hand of government, and now the long hand of business, reach into a woman’s body and make health care decisions for her.”

“Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic healthcare coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women,”said Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

Consequently, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said that his party now must “fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage.”

This is not just garbage. It’s an entire landfill on stilts.

Imagine that a woman starts work at Hobby Lobby tomorrow morning — July 1. She joins Hobby Lobby’s health care plan. It includes access, copay-free, to the following categories of FDA-approved birth-control:

  1. Male condoms
  2. Female condoms
  3. Diaphragms with spermicide
  4. Sponges with spermicide
  5. Cervical caps with spermicide
  6. Spermicide alone
  7. Birth-control pills with estrogen and progestin (“Combined Pill)
  8. Birth-control pills with progestin alone (“The Mini Pill)
  9. Birth control pills (extended/continuous use)
  10. Contraceptive patches
  11. Contraceptive rings
  12. Progestin injections
  13. Implantable rods
  14. Vasectomies
  15. Female sterilization surgeries
  16. Female sterilization implants

(This new woman at Hobby Lobby cannot use male condoms or a vasectomy, at least not directly. However, if she chose either contraceptive method, in conjunction with her husband, she would have access to it.)

Further, not only would she have access to these medicines and devices, but Hobby Lobby would fund them. That’s right: while White House press secretary Josh Earnest claims that it “jeopardizes the health of women,” Hobby Lobby’s health plan pays for 16 different kinds of contraceptives for its female employees!

In the Left’s fantasy world, the militant Christians at Hobby Lobby police single female employees to assure that they have not engaged in sinful, pre-marital sex. As for married women, Hobby Lobby deprives them of birth control so that each can deliver a new baby every nine months, for God’s glory, just like in the Old Testament.

Liberals are living in a cartoon of their own making.

Again, Hobby Lobby’s health plan pays for birth-control pills, vaginal rings, contraceptive patches, and other items to help female employees plan their pregnancies. The Left’s arguments to the contrary are — surprise, surprise — lies.

What Hobby Lobby will not cover are four contraceptive methods that its owners fear are abortifacients:

  1. Plan B (“The Morning After Pill”)
  2. Ella (a similar type of “emergency contraception”)
  3. Copper Intra-Uterine Device
  4. IUD with progestin

Rather than simply prevent sperm and ova from uniting, Hobby Lobby’s owners believe that these medications either kill human beings when they are fertilized eggs or prevent them from implanting themselves in utero, whereupon they die.

Hobby Lobby does not prevent its female employees from using any of these four types of contraceptives. However, since they believe these innovations kill babies, they simply require that any employees who want to use them buy them with their own money.

The Left behaves as if Hobby Lobby were forcing their female employees to wear burqas. But Hobby Lobby’s policy is no different than, say, walking into the cafeteria at Yeshiva University and demanding a bacon cheeseburger.

“I am sorry,” the cafeteria manager replies. “We keep kosher. If you want a chicken sandwich or some brisket, we can help. Indeed, our prices are subsidized. So, we will help you buy those items. But if you want to mix milk and meat and bite into a pork product, please purchase a bacon cheeseburger at the restaurant across the street. When you are done, please come back to work.”

Likewise, if one were on staff at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and tried to order veal scaloppini at its internal lunch counter, the chef likely would say, “We consider it unethical to kill calves, cook them, and eat them. If you disagree, please enjoy your veal off site and then come back here to help us defend other animals.”

Those who are screaming themselves hoarse after the Hobby Lobby decision would agree that Yeshiva need not serve unkosher food, and PETA need not include calf meat on its menu. Yes, somehow, Hobby Lobby is evil because it pays for 16 kinds of contraceptives, and expects its employees themselves to purchase four others that might kill human babies.

At its core, the Left’s moaning over Hobby Lobby is less about access to medicine and more about access to free stuff.