"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Urgh! It's here.

Sometime back in October or so, I started getting emails from Accuweather warning me that this was going to be a winter to make history. The gist of it: brutal cold and snow measured in feet. Usually, the warnings say one or the other - brutal cold and not much snow, or tons of snow but not as cold.

Anyway, I never look forward to winter, but this ominous forecast I was definitely not wishing to see come true.

Then at the tail-end of October, we got a sudden burst of snow. We knew it wouldn't stick around, but it hinted at an early beginning.

Then ... nothing.

Well, nothing as far as "winter" was concerned. We had rain and wind some days; we had sun and warmth some days. In fact, it was quite as "autumnal" as weather could get for the midwest. And it kept going, and going, and going.

Christmas came and went with the background of a dead and brown landscape. The temperature hovered around 40 degrees most days, and the rain continued a couple of times a week.

Then this week, the warnings came back to my email. The temperature would drop 20 degrees in a day. The snow would fall.

The temperature did drop. It's been quite cold and bound to get colder. The snow did fall, but it didn't accumulate to any shocking degree. It's primary danger was while it was actually falling, making the roads slick and visibility poor.

But this, I know, is just the beginning. It's a late beginning, but it's the beginning.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Walgreens and Express Scripts: Now I get it

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

 

For several weeks, every time I'm in my car, I've been hearing radio commercials from various pharmacies saying, "We still take Express Scripts." I've wondered what this was all about. Now I know.
 
It seems that Walgreens' contract with Express Scripts expired at the end of last year, and Walgreens and Express Script attempted to negotiate a new contract, but the negotiations were unsuccessful. As of Dec. 31, the contract expired, and, therefore, Walgreens is now excluded from Express Scripts' provider network. All Walgreens pharmacies and Duane Reade pharmacies in the New York City area are affected.
 
Having read Walgreens side of the story, I've seen that they negotiated in good faith with a genuine effort and desire to help their customers be able to have the lowest  health care costs they could. Walgreens did not seek an increase in their reimbursement rates, but Express Scripts wanted to dictate all terms of the contract  - including discouraging customers from taking advantage of Walgreens 90-day refills, in order to boost their own 90-refill mail program. Isn't it all the same? Well, no. Walgreens offers many 24-hour drive-thru and personal service with a community pharmacy - not an impersonal mail-order service. These differences matter.
 
If you're a loyal Walgreens customer and you see an Express Scripts logo on the back of your health insurance prescription card, then you are likely affected by this change. Take your card to your Walgreens pharmacist and find out. 
 
You might be angered to find - as too many customers have - that your relationship you've valued with your pharmacist has been potentially damaged by the actions of a company that's seeking to maximize its own profits at the cost of your health care service. Express Scripts, which serves as a middle man between insurance companies and pharmacy providers, has seen its profits grow at more than twice the rate of its peers in the industry.
 
If you want to keep your relationship with your Walgreens pharmacist - or begin a new one - Walgreens is offering special rates to keep your prescription costs as low as possible with membership in their Walgreens Prescription Savings Club . For the month of January, the cost of an annual membership is only $5 for a single member and $10 to cover the whole family (you, your spouse, immediate family AND pets). The regular rate is $20 for a single or $35 for a family membership. The club provides savings on more than 8,000 brand-name and ALL generic prescriptions, as well as discounts on flu shots, pet medications, nebulizers and diabetic supplies.
 
Follow Walgreens on Twitter and "like" Walgreens on Facebook to keep up on all the news and see what Walgreens is doing to help save on your health care costs.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, January 9, 2012

I love getting free stuff!

I'm a big fan of loyalty and points programs. I don't go out of my way to earn big numbers most of the time, knowing that my points will just keep adding up until I can use them for something.

My latest favorite is the Delicious Rewards program from Lean Cuisine.

This is not a promoted or paid post. I don't even get referrals. I'm just loving it and want to share!

I just discovered Lean Cuisine last year. Of course, I'd heard of it, but I never really thought it could be any good, because... well, you know how those frozen meals in a box are. And this was "diet food." How good could it be? Boy, was I surprised! This food's actually good! I mean REALLY GOOD. What started out as a what-the-heck-I'll-give-it-a-shot-it's-on-sale purchase has turned into my every-single-day-at-work-lunch-time-staple.

So, since I was eating all these meals, I decided to start collecting those codes on the boxes. And then I got my boyfriend started eating them. (He's Mr. "I'm Picky") He now buys them 20 or 30 at a time and fills his whole freezer. He also saves his codes for me. Got my mom to try them, and though she doesn't eat the as often, she saves her codes for me too.

To date, I've cashed in my Delicious Rewards points for four lunch bags (nice nylon, embroidered thermal ones - they're pretty and have several styles available!); a very nice travel wine set with a corkscrew, drip ring and foil cutter in a faux leather case; a lovely set of hand-painted stoneware mixing/serving bowls that I've seen retail for easily $40 or more; a colander measuring cup; a set of three dish cloths; and a set of four silicone pinch bowls. And the shipping is free, so I get all of this for doing nothing more out-of-the-ordinary than taking the time to cut out the codes and punch them in at the website!

They've got a new promotion this year so for every 25 codes you enter, you get to choose a free lunch bag AND keep the points to use for something else! It started Jan. 1 and as of today, the 9th, I've already ordered my second one. :) The promotion goes through March, so I could have quite a collection by then!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vacation time ending

I've reached the end of my vacation week, although I still have a weekend ahead. I imagine I'll be able to return to work at least marginally recharged, having spent a considerable portion of my break sleeping. I also managed to get many, many loads of laundry done, in addition to some other things that needed doing.

I don't really look forward to returning to work, but at least the nightmare end-of-the-year scramble is over. I won't have to spend my work days doing my own work while trying to do the jobs of two or three other people at the same time. Honestly, after the previous eight weeks, I deserved this time off.

I was also able to watch a midweek Manchester United match, which was a loss, but still, it's rare that I get to see a match in the middle of the week because I'm always working. I was also able to go to one of my daughter's basketball games (she's a cheerleader), which I don't ever get to do during the week because they start too early. I've only been able to go to a couple of Saturday games before.

I managed to read a few books and watch a few television programs too.

All in all, I think I could handle doing this whole vacation thing a little more often.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Time off

After eight weeks of severe overwork and abuse in office, I'm doing something this week that I've never done before in the last 12 years - I'm taking the whole week off.

It's not costing me much vacation time, as I have almost two days of comp time built up from the past two months and yesterday was a paid holiday. It seemed the perfect opportunity.

Yesterday didn't really count much. I stopped in to the empty office for two hours to gather my material for my entries into the annual AP contest. This is the first year I've bothered to enter. I'm not much into seeking awards for my work, so I've never bothered before.

Today, I turned off the alarm after the girls left for school and turned off the ringer on my phone so I could sleep undisturbed until I woke up on my own. That was an especially nice treat. I slept until noon.

I'll be filling the day catching up on some household work until this afternoon, when Munch and I will go into Sidney to see Gin's basketball game (she's a cheerleader).

It all sounds very relaxing to me.