Saturday, November 30, 2013

Jason Moved Back To Hardin

My son has moved back to Hardin.  He has been living in Oxnard California for the past six years with his bride Jeni of six years.  This move was Jason with all his in laws, well most of them.

In September, Jeni, her aunt Susan and grandfather Tom made the two day trip up to Hardin so that they could look at houses to buy.  This was a very impromptu drive, all of them were tired of living in California with all the hustle and bustle and just trying to make ends meet.  They found a house in Hardin that would fit their needs, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and the price was decent.  I think it was too much for Hardin.  They were here for three days looking at a couple houses, Gary and I went with them.  They said we would know what to look for living up here.  In fact it was Grandpa who bought the house.  The one they settled on is at 420 W. 5th St.  It's a real nice older home, has a full basement, the main floor and a second floor.  A good sized fenced yard for their dogs and a single car garage. The basement has two rooms that can be made into bedrooms.  There are two bedrooms on the main floor and two bedrooms upstairs.  It is a very charming house.

It took a while to get their loan approved, but they got it.  Five of them made the two day trip to Hardin with 10 pets, 5 cats and 5 dogs.  The ones who moved up here are Jason, Jeni, Susan, Grandpa and Jeni's uncle Tommy.  They sure had a hard time getting here with troubles with the moving van.

They had the big moving van pulling Grandpa's car, Susan's suburban pulling a small U-Haul trailer.  They left on a Wednesday. They got to Vegas when the troubles started.  The front alignment on the moving van was out of whack, so they ended up spending their first night in Vegas.  Didn't get as far as they wanted but at least they were able to get it fixed there.

I warned them about weather, because we were having the first snow storm of the season and it was a bugger.  Blowing snow, freezing roads and driving was a bit hazardous.  I was a bit worried about them heading up here in this stuff because they have no experience at all.

Thursday they got off to a good start but in Southern Utah they ran into high winds which rocked the moving van so had to go slow, then around Salt Lake they ran into the snow storm that we had the day before.  According to Jeni it was a hellacious storm.  They ended up spending the night in Salt Lake, they wanted to make it as far as Idaho.

Friday they got off to another good start, it was sunny and roads were melting.  Roads up here were dry by this time.  We picked up the keys to their house but with their delays they didn't get here when I was home.  I had to go to my tae kwon do class in Billings, but Jennifer was home to give them the keys.

I got a phone call from Jeni around 7:30 pm on Friday, the moving van had a tire blow out on the car trailer by Columbus, Jason and Uncle Tommy were in the moving van, the others were in Susan's car.  Help was on the way.  Nothing I could do anyway.  Was glad to hear that they had heat, nothing wrong with the moving van. 

We got to town around 9:30 pm.  Jeni had sent me a text wondering if they could borrow our air mattress, the other one they needed was in the moving van.  No problem took it over to them.  Jeni was surprised that the guys weren't in Hardin yet.  I told her that where they were help was about an hour away, then time to change a tire and then about a 1 1/2 hour drive to Hardin, it would be late.

Jason and Uncle Tommy got to Hardin around 12:30 am.  Jason said it took 3 hours before help arrived.  But they all made it safe and sound.

They have been here for a week now and getting settled in.  They are still unpacking boxes and figuring out where they want things.  They are a bit cold, but wait until next week when temperatures dip below zero.

They are in the process of getting their license plates, driver's license and their pet licensed here.  They had to buy a washer & dryer and a new stove which will be delivered on Monday.

We had lunch with Jason and Grandpa Tom on Tuesday with Mom, Susan and Jeni were on their way to Cheyenne to return the moving van.  They rented from Penske as it was $2000 cheaper than U-Haul.  Cheyenne was the closest town to return the Penske.  It would have been cheaper to rent the U-Haul, at least more convenient.

So far everyone in enjoying living in Hardin, but I'm sure that will wear off when winter really sets in.  I think Grandpa will adjust just fine, but I think the others will have a harder time. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Health Insurance

Jennifer is loosing her employer health insurance at McDonald's.  I was shocked when she got all the notifications in the mail.  It was a bit confusing as it said that McDonald's was no longer offering franchisee insurance, but it depended on the restaurant if you got to keep insurance or not.

This McDonald's is not going to offer health insurance to their employees, now she has to find health insurance by year's end.  She is at least covered until December 31.

Looks like her best bet is to buy in the exchange.  We got on the Montana state web site and got information.  At least on the state site she was able to compare the different plans.  She was even able to put in her income information without signing up and she was given three different plans to choose from and compare.

She qualifies for the subsidy, so in order for her to get these plans she has to go on the federal site. She won't do that until that gets fixed and is more secure.  Her premiums have gone up compared to her employer insurance.

Her insurance through McDonald's was very comparable to what I have here at the county, she only had to pay $35 per month for premiums, now she will be paying $103 per month.  It's an increase but really not that bad.

She can get on my plan at work but that is expensive, will cost $644 per month but then she would only be on it for two months, so that is not an option.

I couldn't figure out how a corporation like McDonald's could not offer health insurance to employees so I did some research.

The health insurance company for McDonald's corporation said that they are just not going to comply with the new laws and dropped.  McDonald's apparently is not going to try to find insurance for employees so they are on their own.

Not fun, but it is what it is and she will adjust.  We can't find any dental or vision with these plans, which she has now.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a national holiday meaning that I have a day off.  Gary had to work, so I spent a wonderful day at home to myself.  Got caught up on some reading that I have neglected.  I also worked on my photo project for the class that I'm taking in the afternoon. 

The weather didn't cooperate to drive to Billings for the day, besides Jennifer had to work.

We didn't know about the ceremonies that the schools put on for veteran's.  I think I read it in the brief's a while back but nothing was printed in the paper.  After lunch I dropped Gary back to work and on my way home, I saw all the students from the Primary School walking around the park and waving their little flags.  I didn't want to get caught with the crossing guard so went around the block.  Again I didn't think anything of the ceremonies that the school did.  I didn't see any veterans walking with the kids.

Gary called me later and asked if I wanted to go to the Veterans Dinner sponsored by the American Legion and VFW.  It was going to be held at Bob Hardt's place (across from Library) at 6:00.  We didn't have anything planned anyway so we went, especially when Gary was invited.  We were told to be early because the place would fill up fast.

We got there at 5:30 and didn't see a soul around.  We drove the loop thinking that there should be someone soon.  Got back and still didn't see anyone, we waited and finally people started to come.  Introductions were made, then we found a seat.  Pretty soon we had to put our name on a piece of paper for the door prize drawings.  Only veterans names were allowed to be drawn. 

They didn't get the crowd that they were expecting, must have been about 30 people in all.  The dinner was pot luck, I felt bad because I didn't bring anything.  Of course nothing was said about it being pot luck.

It still was a nice gathering, ate some good food and got some visiting in.  Then it came time for the door prize drawings.  Ended up that each veteran got 2 prizes and half of us got a 3rd prize.  Gary and I ended up winning 3 prizes each. 

There was a lady who came to the dinner, she is a different character.  She used to come into my office and talk to me about education and then she would get some clippings of my plants. 

I was the only woman veteran, and she couldn't figure out why her name wasn't being called.  Someone told her that only veteran's could win the prizes, she was a bit confused.  At the end as I was leaving she cornered me and asked if I was a veteran and what branch.  She seemed a bit surprised.

I won a free oil change to Hardin Chevrolet, a large pizza at Little Big Man and a free taco to Taco Johns.  Gary won a $15 gift certificate to True Value, a large pizza at Little Big Man and also a free taco to Taco Johns.

Gary and I both think that the names of the spouses should have been drawn as there were more than enough prizes. We are going to renew our membership to the American Legion, we figured since we ate their food we better be members.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


November 5th I had to work in the wonderful world of elections.  This was the local city elections for mayor and alderman.  We not only ran the city election for Hardin, but also for Lodge Grass and the Fort Smith Water & Sewer Board.  This year all three elections were by mail ballot.

There are only two of us working in the elections office.  In October we stuffed and labeled about 3000 ballots and got them in the mail on October 10.  In each envelope sent to the voters was the ballot, secrecy envelope, affirmation envelope and instructions.  I had the idea to color code the secrecy envelopes for sorting.  Hardin has three wards and an alderman in each was up, then we had Lodge Grass and the Water & Sewer, this would make it easier for sorting when ballots came in.  One less thing to do on election night.

This year it was only the two of us for the day.  We did have some judges come in to help count ballots, we got enough to run two tables for counting.  There is a lot to do on elections, a lot of prep work to do the day before, not to mention getting people registered and people picking up their ballots.  Dulcie (the elections administrator) got sick on Monday (a touch of food poisoning).  I sent her home on Monday afternoon, she wasn't any help to me at all.  She ended up in the emergency room Monday night so that she could work on Tuesday.  I was so glad.

Tuesday was a long day.  We had to have the elections office open as if it were a poll election, which meant 7:00 am.  Tuesday we had quite a bit of people coming in to register and vote, mostly because they moved and didn't change their address.  I am not a fan of same day registration, but for a local city it wasn't bad at all.  We did have 6 people come to register in the last hour from 7:00-8:00 pm to vote.  I wanted so bad to slap them on the side of their heads and say really. 

Once 8:00 pm rolled then we were allowed by law to open up the ballot boxes and start counting.  The judges were so glad that I thought up of color coding.  It made the counting of ballot so easy.

We had all the ballots counted and results done by 10:30 pm, Dulcie and I didn't get done until 11:00 pm as we had to do our last minute stuff, sealing up envelopes with the tally books, voted ballots, unvoted ballots.  We put in a 16 hour day, has been along time since I have worked those kind of hours, but will be doing more since I now work part time elections.

With the results there were a few surprises but not many.  In the Lodge Grass alderman race there was one person who was an undeclared write in who almost won, lost by 2 votes.  I wonder if this person knew if they were running for the office.  I asked about that and was told that if this person did win, would have the option to accept or decline.  If accepted would then need to fill out all the proper paperwork and pay filing fees.

Now we get to get ready for the federal election in 2014.  I am excited because we have a new ballot counting machine which will be getting training on in January, then in February will be going to a conference in Billings on election laws and such.  Not looking forward to it because it is all the local county offices that are up but one.