zetasyanthis: (Default)
This was originally going to be a Twitter rant, but I thought better of it. I have too much data and too many thoughts for that format. And I know this is considered a... sensitive topic, so I'm not sure exactly how to approach it, but I'm giving it my best shot.

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Today, I want to talk about cash. Cold, hard cash. I want to talk rent, and medical expenses, and everything else. Fundamentally, I need to point out just how broken the Bay Area really is. And it's pretty broken, even if it has a lot of other things going for it (LGBT safety, among other things).

You see, I'm an engineer. I make a decent chunk of change, more than most folks in the US and elsewhere. Hell, I was doing really well making nearly 25% less than what I make now in Arizona... but here, nothing seems to be enough. Let's take some numbers from an apartment complex down the street, as an exemplar. These numbers are from Archstone, and are far cheaper than most areas in the Bay, especially down near Mountain View or north near San Francisco. They're modern units with washer/dryer, etc... but not really that special otherwise.

Here's some bullets with a price breakdown of what Archstone has on offer as of today. Listed are the min and max prices for each type of apartment with a basic 12 month lease (no pet rent):
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment
    • $2338/mo: 768 sqft
    • $2726/mo: 1050 sqft (including loft)
  • 2 Bedroom Apartment
    • $2831/mo: 1039 sqft
    • $2967/mo: 1184 sqft
  • 3 Bedroom Apartment
    • $3746/mo: 1421 sqft
    • $4227/mo: 1771 sqft (Exact price unavailable at time of writing, but generated from trend line...)
This is completely fucking insane.

We took a look at Archstone when we were looking to move out here, as well as several other places (10 total, I think) during a whirlwind housing trip, and these are indeed comparable pricing to most other options in the area. We actually lucked out in some ways compared to this, as we were able to snag a ~900 sqft place nearby with no A/C and some seriously electrical problems for only $2200/mo! What a steal!?! I mean, the single pane windows and lack of any serious insulation kick the electricity bill up to a nigh on $300 spike during the winter and you absolutely melt during the summer, but what's not to love? You never wanted a place of your own, did you? Never mind that most folks wished they made $2200/mo, let alone could spend it on rent! The whole mindset is nuts!

So here's the thing. CA is great. The Bay Area is great. I've made progress I could not have made anywhere else, and it probably saved my life in the process. But there is one thing here that is ruining so many other things, a cause of anxiety that I cannot make go away. I'm utterly financially stagnant. My net income for the last 12 months is a grand total of $400. I don't have enough in the bank to pay a single month of rent, let alone living expenses, and I'm not sure how I get there. I have to chose constantly between medical care and living expenses, and basically wouldn't be able to afford the former were it not for the salary bump I got switching from my last job.

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How about those medical expenses? How can that possibly cost? What does insurance cover?

Well, here's a quick breakdown since the start of last year (2015).
  • Current costs:
    • Sperm storage prior to transition: $2,078.30
    • Visits to psychiatrist: $350.00 (7x $50 copay)
    • Visits to (out of network) therapist: $7,111.00 (Insurance covered maybe $400 of that.)
    • Visits to Palo Alto Medical Center (general and allergy care, some blood-work): $447.50
    • Dental visit for three fillings (copay): $109.80
    • Prescription drug copays: ~$120.00 so far.
  • Expected costs:
    • ~$1100 for start-of-HRT blood-work, since insurance is saying they won't cover anything under the Gender Identity Disorder diagnosis codes. (I'm appealing, but they're BCBS of Florida, so I may be screwed.)
    • Transvision copays: $100 + future visits
    • Future blood-work. (Hopefully cheaper.)
    • Future therapy, psychiatric visits, and medication. (Bonus points: My new insurance will pay a max of $50 for a max of one hour of therapy. It costs me $180 for 90 minutes.)
    • More dental work.
Just in already known direct medical costs, that's $11416.60. Holy fuck.

(In theory, I could even toss my "prescription" to Wicked Grounds in (Yes, my therapist actually assigned me to go journal there, and it's actually been pretty fucking vital.) for another $1188.62 while I'm at it... That'd push the total to $12605.22.)

And yeah, before anyone asks, I've been using my flexible spending accounts. I started the year with $2000 in my flexible spending account, and it was gone pretty much instantly...

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So yeah. I'm angry. I'm frustrated. This gives me horrible fucking anxiety, and I really wish it would stop. I don't know how to help it, though. >.< I fucking have to get out of this hole, though. >.<

More than anything, I wish I saw a way to do it while still living here. >.<

Bonus: And oh yeah, my car needs a paint job, which was quoted at $2400 for the two parts that are actively peeling and $6000-8000 for the whole car by the dealership. I'm seeking additional quotes. At this point the car's only worth about $4,000, so I may be in new car territory too... I need to make a call before it starts to rust, which is only a matter of time. >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
It's been a week. Boy, has it been a week. Anxiety about my appointment on Thursday wrecked the hell out of me pretty much all of it (and I probably underestimated its impact the previous week in Memphis...), but I'm here now.

I'm really here.

I started hormones on Thursday.

I still can't believe it.

I can't believe it's real.

But it is. And I have never been so happy.

I don't know how long it takes to have a significant impact on mental state, but I have had two amazing days since then. I know it's probably a combination of placebo effect and relief from finally getting what I desperately need, but I don't care. I just cry for happiness.

There's a long road to go, but I've finally started walking it. And I could not have done it without the support of so many. >.< Dakota, Solei, M, Kori, Metonymy, Kawaburd, Resolute, Zanz, Moonstar, Occam, Monophylos, OftheWilds, Alice, more... So many I can't even remember. And artists too, from the furries who first got me to wonder about my gender, to the stories and webcomics that broke my heart... You have all mattered. And you have saved a life, whether you know it, or whether you don't.

There are not enough thanks in the universe for the support you have given me, no treasure in brilliant sun large enough to repay the debt I owe. All I can do is honor you... by moving forward and becoming who I was meant to be. I hope I make you proud.

Yesterday, M told me, "Welcome to the sisterhood." *I* have never been so proud. <3

IMG_20160515_133615
My flag. <3

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Zeta Syanthis

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