All of These Things Are Not Like The Others

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.
Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time I finish my song?

I didn’t have a specific post planned for today, or if I did, I’ve forgotten what it was. But there I was, doing a quick search for dress clips on Etsy this morning, and it seems a lesson is in order:

Dress clips are not shoe clips are not clip-on earrings. They are not interchangeable. I have personally attempted to use clip-on earrings as shoe clips, and they hurt because they’re too dimensional. I wouldn’t dare use dress clips on my ears, because that’s akin to clipping an iron maiden onto your earlobes. Neither shoe clips nor earrings have the strength required to gather and restrain fabric like dress clips.

Below: some visuals of properly described items currently listed on Etsy, so that you can see what you’re looking for. (Clicking on any photo will take you directly to the matching Etsy listing, if you’d like to see prices and more info.)

Dress Clips
Grandma, what big teeth you have!

1940s Vintage “Cream Corn” Bakelite Carved Dress Clips from ForGrammaAlice

Shoe Clips
See how the clip lies flat and smooth, and isn’t hinged? A hinge would dig right into the top of your foot. All. Day. Long.

Vintage Art Deco Shoe Clips from BakeliteBakery

 

Clip-On Earrings
Note the tensioned hinge and the somewhat curved (cushioned, as much as metal will) piece that presses against the earlobe. No teeth here!

Vintage Earrings Clip On Teardrop Shaped Bone Colored Filigree from MagpieSue

This is not to say that there are never variations on the hardware for these items, but before you buy (or sell), think about the purpose these items are being advertised for, and whether or not the hardware is up to the task.

DISCLOSURE: As you know if you’re a regular reader, I am a vendor with two vintage-themed shops on Etsy. MagpieSue (earrings) and I are both members of the Vintage Lovers and Vintage Market teams on Etsy; I otherwise have no affiliation with these particular vendors.

Venting: Fun with Health Insurance

Illustration from iStockPhoto

I’m self-employed. Therefore, I’m self-insured.

I’m pretty healthy, thankfully. I visit a GP once a year for a “wellness” exam, and while I should see a dermatologist every 6 months, I go less frequently than that. I’m pretty adept at avoiding colds, but landed a nasty bronchial bug last winter that included a trip to the doctor’s office for some super-strength cough medicine. My blood pressure is fine, as are my cholesterol levels and whatnot. I carry insurance as, well, insurance. Against the possibility of an Unusual and Drastic Scenario.*

When I started buying my own insurance, back in 2008, my monthly premium was $144, with a rather ridiculous $2000 deductible. Each year, the premium and deductible crept higher. The price of doing business. I wasn’t happy about it, but it was understandable. In November of this year, I noticed that my premium had skyrocketed to $246, so I called to find out what was going on. Surely, I thought, this was some clerical error.

“Ah yes, I see here that we sent you the paperwork regarding new plans, but it was returned. We must have an incorrect address for you.” Well that’s funny, seeing as how my address hasn’t changed the entire time I’ve been doing business with you. I find out that the plan I’m on is no longer “current” and my high premium is a result of being “grandfathered” in to an outdated plan. The rep will transfer me to a Plan Expert who can help me choose a new plan. The helpful Expert and I discuss a few plans, a few prices quotes, and I decide on the $157/month plan for a $4000 deductible. He emails the appropriate Plan Change Request Form, with the instruction to check one particular box, sign, date, and return. And I do, that very afternoon.

A few days later, I receive a voicemail that some information is missing from the Plan Change Request Form. I am to refer to the mailed paperwork (that I never received, if you recall) and call back with the information. I call back, only to get their own voicemail system, telling me that all Experts are in a staff meeting. I leave a message with two phone numbers at which I can be reached, and wait for a return call.

More days go by, and now I receive a letter in the mail (oh look! my address is correct!) that they “have been unable to” reach me, and the missing information is still missing. I call again, speaking this time with a very nice woman who, it turns out, is in a different department. She attempts to connect me through but…all Experts are in a staff meeting. She promises to make a personal plea on my behalf, and I leave another voicemail.

In the meantime, another billing cycle has gone by, and another $246 premium is billed.

Woo, I get a call back! Actually, three in one day. Apparently, their log system doesn’t indicate that anyone has already spoken to me. Or the helpful woman I last spoke with left personal notes on a few desks. Anyway, I explain my story to a new Expert, she explains the missing information, quotes me a slightly higher premium than the previous Expert, and sends me to a web page for more information. The web page spits back at me the same $157 quote as the first Expert, so I fill out the confounded missing information, and return the form. Again. All is well, right?

Today, I received an email with the official “offer” for my new plan. This time, for an outrageous $315.50 per month. There’s something on the documentation about a claim processed for cervicalgia, which seems to be the culprit behind the price hike. Once again, I call.

I explain that I’ve been trying to change my plan since late November. I have lost all patience. I explain that I don’t have cervicalgia, I don’t know what cervicalgia is, and will they please re-review the documents and get. this. straightened. out. Well, they tell me, cervicalgia is quite serious, and it’s right there on my medical records that I was seen for it back in July. July? Why yes, I did see a doctor in July. I pulled a muscle and Advil wasn’t doing the trick. The folks in the office where I was working were very concerned, and had me in a panic with their horror stories of spinal injuries. I saw a doctor, who told me it was nothing serious; to apply heat, rest, and to take a prescribed muscle relaxer for a few days. I don’t think I took it for more than a night or two. “It sounds like it’s probably a coding error,” the insurance people say. I’ll need to request a copy of my medical records from my doctor, and send them in along with my own statement of what took place, and wait for re-evaluation.

Jiminy Christmas!

I call the Records department at my doctor’s office. I get a recording. It suggests I try another phone number, which I do. I get a recording. I look up “cervicalgia” and find out it’s medicalese for “neck pain.” Nothing drastic or serious about it. WebMD doesn’t even bother with a listing for it, and Wikipedia says that 2/3 of adults have it. My insurance company, however, is deeming it serious enough to warrant doubling my insurance premium, so I know that I’m going to need to speak with my doctor one-on-one.

I call the main desk at the doctor’s office, and get a recording. This time, I eventually am transferred to a human being. She tells me that the staff is at lunch, and doesn’t accept messages. I have to call back after 2pm.

::head desk:: ::head desk:: ::head desk::

_____________________________

*Back  in 2003, I was on the receiving end of a nasty car accident. My medical bills were in the thousands, and while the other person’s insurance eventually covered it, they legally have three years to pay out. If my own employer-subsidized health insurance hadn’t covered me in the interim, I’d have been financially destroyed in no time at all.

Girls with Glasses

Carrie over at This Mama Makes Stuff has a bit of a problem. Well, her daughter does. Okay, her daughter THINKS she does. And that’s almost as bad as ACTUALLY having a problem. You see, this little girl is about to get her first pair of glasses, and the excitement of being able to SEE doesn’t outweigh the dread of being the ONLY GIRL in her class who has to wear hideous, horrible, face-deforming GLASSES. Carrie has put out a request for photos of Girls in their Glasses so that her daughter can see that she is in the company of some pretty cool ladies. Me? I’m actually pretty much a dork. But sometimes I can look kinda cool. So here goes: Four phone-taken self portraits, though various years, various bang-lengths, and various states of makeup or lack thereof, always the same smirk: