Paw Updates, Health Insurance Reminders & Christmas Feels – SW France
Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?? Only 10 days and it’ll be upon us……wheeeee!! And on top of that it’s only 16 days until the end of the DECADE. Crazy, eh?
We’re already well underway in our end-of-year preparations here in the SW of France. We’ve gotten ourselves a nice Christmas tree from our local vendeur de sapins de Noël, we’ve decorated with traditional woven hearts (you can easily make these yourselves!!), ordered a bunch of Danish treats (which, for those of you who might be curious I always get from hjemve.dk) and are working on keeping our local nisser happy. It’s a fulltime job.
We aren’t planning anything crazy this Christmas. Just a chill evening en famille at our house on the 24th (the evening we always celebrate) followed by a traditional lunch a few days later with one of our neighbors. Totally relaxed stuff.
Our Pets Are Doing OK
On the pet side of course we’re spoiling all our paws, especially dear old Taggart.
My poor ginger gal has been through the wringer these past few months. She started off with too low potassium levels, then she had too high phosphorus levels, then her uremic toxins got out of whack (which caused seizures, ugh!) and finally she topped everything off with anemia. It’ s been a lot, but honestly these are all common issues at this stage of kidney disease, and although they can be super scary to experience, they ARE all treatable if you’re willing to put in the work.
Thankfully I’ve learnt a TON from Tanya’s CKD site, including her fabulous online support forum, plus I can’t say enough good about our local French vet (who thinks I’m somewhat nuts for all the ideas I bring to her, but bless her is always willing to work with me). Thanks to all this we’ve now managed to stabilize Taggart’s levels again. She’s eating like a champ (entirely on her own), going outside in the garden everyday, enjoying the winter sun, having long afternoon naps, and is pretty much acting like her old cranky self again.
She’s definitely no spring chicken anymore, and she needs daily support with SubQ fluids and various meds/supplements (the kidney disease is not going away), but she’s active and happy and doing all her usual cat stuff. So as long as that continues and we can continue to give her a good quality of life, that’s what we’ll do. Life with old pets, eh?
As for our other 8 paws, they’re all doing perfectly fine. Rand still looks like a young maiden, despite her almost 18 years of age (I swear that cat will live forever) and Polly is doing brilliantly. She fully recovered from her second TPLO surgery last year, and now runs and plays like she used to. Honestly you’d never know she’d had any issues. Paws crossed it all continues that way.
French Christmas Markets Are In Full Swing
Other than that we’re enjoying one of my FAVORITE times of year here in Southern France.
Autumn colors are only just fading, the weather is crisp and sunny (we do have our dark and crazy days, but not too many), sunsets are spectacular and the annual Christmas Markets are in FULL swing all around the countryside.
Southern French markets don’t have quite the same reputation as the northern ones (e.g. Strasbourg, which is by far the most famous Christmas market in France), but I find them really cozy and lovely. We have at least 10 different markets within an hours drive or less from our house, most of which I locate online (through noel.org). Some are just single day events, but some (like Toulouse) run for weeks at a time and display wares from local artisans all over the countryside. They’re always festive to attend and well worth the effort to see.
It’s Health Insurance Time (In USA)
Although this doesn’t apply to us anymore (yeah!!!!!!!!! I really, really don’t miss US healthcare), I hope all my blog readers & RV friends in the USA have locked in their health insurance choices for 2020. If you don’t happen to know, TODAY (Dec 15th) is the last day you can sign-up on the ACA for coverage next year, so if you haven’t already done so, get your butt in gear and go do it now!!
Those of you who’ve followed the blog over the years will recall that I’ve written an in-depth analysis on the best options for younger (pre-Medicare) RVers every year we’ve been on the road. I’ve decided not to do that this year, but I have looked through what’s available and I can say with confidence that if we were still RVing in the USA we’d be using one of the following two options:
- Florida Blue via the ACA (FL). Florida Blue still offers excellent nationwide plans (their BlueSelect or BlueOptions EPO/PPO plans) on the ACA. They’re expensive if you don’t qualify for subsidies, but they are a no-brainer if you qualify for subsidies and/or have pre-existing conditions and want solid nationwide coverage.
NOTE1 -> If you do not qualify for subsidies, consider buying direct from Florida Blue to get a better rate. This also extends your sign-up time until end Dec for 2020 coverage. HAT TIP TO Cherie for this excellent tip (see comments below).
- Short-Term Health Insurance. Since 2019 these can now be bought for 364 days at a time. They are not a good option if you have pre-existing conditions (they won’t cover them), but they can be a wonderfully inexpensive, nationwide option if you do not.
NOTE2 –> You can buy STM plans ANYTIME, so you are not limited to Dec 15th to sign-up for coverage next year.
Oh and we’d definitely want access to a Telehealth/Teledoc plan. Having the ability to video-call with an online doc is awesome (we used the service several times when we were RVing in the USA). It makes it easy to talk to a professional anytime, no matter where you are.
If you have no idea what any of these mean, or what your options are I recommend the following two links:
- My article from last year on “Health Insurance Options For The Self-Employed RVer” for Escapees/Xscapers (choices are very similar this year): Click HERE
- RVer Health Insurance guide for 2020: Click HERE
Either way, please sign-up for something. Don’t go without health insurance in 2020!
It’s Christmas Gift Time Too!!
I’ve been late (very late!) in getting around to writing up my annual Christmas gift list, but I actually have one in the works. This year I’ll be focusing more on general travel gear (including clothing that has lasted us the distance), so if you’re willing to be patient I’ll have that up on the blog in a few days time. Otherwise, if you’re dying to find the perfect RV-related gift for either yourself of your closest love (paws included), perhaps one of my previous years lists will inspire you:
- 25 Gift & Organization Ideas For Small Spaces (Motorhomes, Vans & Mini RVs)!
- 2017 RVer Christmas Gift Guide -> Awesome RV Gear For Every Occasion
- RVer Gift Giving Guide 2016
- 2015 RV Christmas List -> Useful Outdoor Gear That Lasts
- 5 Ways To Decorate Your RV For Christmas (Cheaply & Compactly)
- 2013 “Big 5” RV Christmas Wish-List
- 2012 -> 5 Cool RV Christmas Gift Ideas For Under $50
Other than my list, I’m sure how much more I will be blogging before Chistmas eve so if I don’t manage to get back on here I wish you all a most wonderful end of year. Love, peace and Christmas Cheer to you all!