YouTube How To Everything

At one time when you wanted to know about something… you looked it up in a collection of books we once called encyclopedias. Parents of the 50’s and 60’s got a set of them when their children were little from a guy who went door to door convincing parents that their toddlers would never make it to college if they didn’t invest in a set. Never mind that by the time said toddler got to kindergarten they would be outdated. By middle school they used them to source their written reports anyway and the teachers were none the wiser (except when you copied directly out of one –dumb idea– they could tell). Then by the time the middle schoolers were in high school, they used the set that was a little newer in the school library and the home versions found their way into garage sales or became handy door stops or a mechanism for pressing flowers. All features that never got anybody into college.

Millennials have never known a world without computers. So if they tell their parents they have gone to “study at the library,” I would be suspicious. Though libraries usually have computers nowadays too. But kids likely have them at home as well. Early in the decade when you wanted to look something up. you could go to Wikipedia (the digital encyclopedia). Now you just Google  a topic and you’ll get lots of data. Tons of it! Probably way way more than you need and you have to shuffle through the ads of those who want to sell it to you, posted a picture of it on Pinterest, or links to numerous blogs that are totally unrelated.

Then God invented YouTube. (Actually it was invented by its founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in 2005, but I like to think God made the world ready for it.) Nowadays if you want to be a music star, you record YouTube videos to get discovered. You want to see the newest viral pet videos (dogs saying “I love you” or cats doing un cat-like things) you’ll find them on YouTube. Even the very word “viral” has gone from indicating a nasty bodily infection to be used more comonly as an indication of a social media comment or video’s popularity. My husband and I have discovered YouTube as handy (desperate) DIYers. You want to know how to do, make or fix anything, you can find a YouTube video for it. Usually there are LOTS of them.

My husband is a welder. It’s a job that he thoroughly enjoys. So much so that when he comes home from working all day, he’ll spend hours watching YouTube videos of welding techniques. So when we decided to remodel the master bathroom it had to be a mostly DIY endeavor. Since we had just finished the kitchen remodel that we paid others to do (except the floor that my husband did), we had run out of funds and couldn’t afford to have the bathroom done which we needed to do because everything leaked and smelled bad. Everything that we’ve done that we didn’t already know how to do (which was pretty much everything except the painting and installing the vinyl plank flooring) we learned watching YouTube –including hanging blinds, installing the toilet, hanging beadboard panels, plumbing the sinks, installing the GFCI outlet and light fixtures, and tiling the shower. We paid a contractor to crawl under the house to plumb the shower because we wouldn’t. There are spiders down there.

A few years ago when we bought and remodeled our last house, we bought several high-end appliances. When we moved to our present “project,” we took the refrigerator and laundry set with us. Recently had issues with both and, of course, the one-year warranty that came with them has expired. The refrigerator’s ice maker was still making ice but refused to dispense it through the door. I googled the brand (Samsung) and found lots and lots of complaints about some defect inherent in the model. Complaints seemed to fall on deaf ears from the manufacturer. One post I read lead me to research the problem on YouTube. Voile! Though I am unable to fix the problem as there are no broken parts, I learned how to “reset” the icemaker and “unstick” the mechanism to be able to get it to function. usappliance_2268_238924793

About the same time as the refrigerator problem, my washing machine decided to quit working too! It’s a Whirlpool Duet that (at the time I bought it) was the top of the line only three years ago. After filling and doing a wash cycle, it would read an error message: E01 and F01, and refuse to drain. So I got out the manual that it came with that basically said to call Whirlpool customer service. Upon doing so, the service agent suggested I see a YouTube video that showed how to determine if the drain hose was clogged which would cause the waste water pump not to function. She sent me the link which I shared with my husband. He took it a step further and did some additional YouTube investigating. He learned how to access a clean out near the pump. You wouldn’t believe what we found in there! Enough change to buy a Big Mac and assorted other stuff. Even a disposable lighter and we don’t even smoke! After chipping away at the sediment that was packed in as hard as cement, my handy hubby reinstalled the filter and put everything back together.  The solution to fixing my “digital” machine was purely mechanical! Now it works better than ever!

Whirlpool Duet

You can complain all you want to about our over-dependence on computers and the difficulty of sorting the true from the untrue. (Our parents used to say: “Don’t believe everything you read!” ) But I can report very good success from learning stuff via YouTube. Really, just common sense.

BS Health Insurance Boondoggle

This is a continuation regarding yesterday’s post if this one seems odd or unclear.

I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and not rely on the crazies to resolve my lost payment issue. I do not want my bank to reimburse me (yes they were actually willing to do that!) and have me double-pay the BS (Blue Shield) insurance company. So I’m having the bank fax proof of the payment to them. Hopefully this will resolve it. I don’t care if my measly payment amount is insignificant enough to the insurance company or my bank that they would allow that. I want it done right. Is that too much to ask?

Could not log onto either the bank’s website or the BS insurance company’s. Thought maybe it was my computer. So I restarted it and cleaned out my cache. Still no luck. So when I called BS insurance company, the customer service guy said (and I quote), “Don’t bother. It’s unreliable.” banghead

Yippee– I Have Health Insurance!

That’s the only good thing I can think of that has resulted from the Affordable Care Act. I can actually get insurance. A couple of years ago due to my age and physical condition I was denied any type of health insurance. So one would think I would be jumping for joy because the law states now that I cannot be denied.

However, taking on Covered California’s system to get insurance through the ‘Exchange’ is like working with a robot with short circuit issues. I’m inclined to feel the whole operation is run by severely brain damaged individuals from the asylum we call our state capitol. They have a Facebook page where they answer questions from frustrated citizens trying to get help –or even basic information from Covered California:  https://www.facebook.com/CoveredCA .  Reading the questions and complaints from others who have tried to use the system gives me a headache! One such repeated comment is the long hold times when you try to call –just to discover you may get cut off after an hour or two. CoveredCA’s response… “We get thousands of calls every hour.”  Well why do you suppose that is? Could it be the system is so screwed up and confusing that people are calling for help who shouldn’t have to? If the system was as great as they claim, this would not be happening and actually, CoveredCA shouldn’t even need a Facebook page.

First of all I’d like to talk about the Exchange where one is given to believe there would be choices of insurance companies. Where I live we have the following choices:  Blue Cross or Blue Cross (Blue Shield or Anthem respectively). Some choice. There are four plan options available says CoveredCA: “You can choose to pay a higher monthly premium for a Platinum or Gold plan so that when you need medical coverage you pay less. Or you can choose to pay a lower monthly premium for a Silver or Bronze plan, but when you need medical coverage, you pay more. It’s up to you.” Well is it really up to me?  My income is limited, so like most of the athletes from the US that metaled in the recent Olympics in Sochi, Russia, I should probably settle for Bronze if I could.  However, after comparing plans and knowing that I have to see a physician and have tests rather frequently, it didn’t make sense to have a plan with a ridiculously a high deductible and co-pay amounts, that covered very little, just to say I’d met the letter of the new law that says I have to purchase insurance. So, I chose the ‘recommended’ choice: Silver. Because of my age the monthly premium is a whopping $600+ per month. Because of our household income, we qualify for a subsidy that reduces our monthly payment to a $256 per month or roughly about the same as a car payment would be for moderately priced car. Makes me wonder if anybody in my age and income brackets actually chooses Gold or Platinum… Really why do they even offer such an incredibly expensive option. Oh that’s right —so they can say there are actually options available in the Exchange.  I’d love to see a break down after a year or so to see what people actually chose… Don’t think that’ll happen.

I would like to note that CoveredCA sent me a letter after I enrolled stating I did not qualify for the “enhanced” Silver plan due to our income. First of all, I have no idea what the difference is between the enhanced version of the plan I got other than it is apparently better than what I got and I can’t have it. Gee thanks for the heads up. Does me a world of good to know that!

OK… So my husband (who gets insurance through his employer that is super crappy but free) and I bit the bullet and took on the monthly expense of my insurance because I am the one with the health issues, I’m older… and well it’s the law. We diligently paid the premium monthly since January. Moving smoothly along… until I get a notice in the mail from Blue Cross Blue Shield stating my policy is being cancelled for nonpayment of premium. WTF!  It turns out that I paid the premium through my online bill payment system  through my bank (like I do all my other bills) and BCBS (emphasis on BS) does not like this. What company in the world does not like to get payments directly from a bank?! Anyway, they said they received it on time when it was due but returned it to my bank on the 4th. (That was 20 days ago mind you and the next payment is due in only a few days.) They prefer that I pay my bill using their online system on their website, send a personal check via snail mail or agree to automatic deductions from my bank account (that is going to happen not EVER).

I looked on my bank account statement online and could find no evidence that the funds were returned to me. I verified this with both my bank representative and one from the bill pay system. I called BCBS back –their hold times are at least as long as CoveredCA’s. The representative who I finally talked to after another 45 minutes on hold told me he couldn’t find any evidence that I’d paid. I told him it showed on my statement that I did and the last BCBS rep I talked to verified it and told me it was returned to my bank. He hung up.

So, my bank is going to send me a form to sign that will get me reimbursed for my loss. The catch(es): 1/ it will take two weeks to process, and 2/I will never be able to pay BCBS through the bank again. I asked the bank rep if this meant just the bill pay system or did it also apply to writing a check or using my debit card on their site. He didn’t know. Jeesh…

I feel like every place I’ve turned regarding this new health insurance policy I have has lead me to nothing but incompetent crazies! Very tempting to just let the damned thing get cancelled and pay the tax fine.