Spring “O“ Spring where are you. The calendar says just a few more days but it’s cold even with the sun shining. I know spring is close because the Mallards are chasing the hens and the ganders are getting close to their life time mate or finding a replacement for one that was lost. Maybe new romance for the younger set. The pond is full of activity, even saw a turtle head breathing for the 1st time after months buried in the mud.

The geese and the ducks on most sunny days have been taking baths and sunning themselves on the far bank of the pond. So before too long the ducks will be paired up and make a nest and the geese will settle down and pick a hidden nesting site and the egg laying will begin. The goose lays 4or5 eggs and incubates them for 25-30 days. The goose sets on the eggs while the gander stands guard.  Ducks meanwhile lay up to 13 eggs and the female sets on the nest and the Drake leaves until fall when he will find a new mate.

Now for the sad part. All the duck eggs hatch within 24 hours and as soon as they are all dry momma takes them to water. Daddy has left and just mamma is taking care of the ducklings. Ducklings, as soon as they hatch and dry off can walk, swim, and forage for food. They have all hatched and mother duck takes them to the nearest water and in they go.  Because she is a single mother the ducklings follow her single file where ever she goes. And now for the hungry snapping turtles the long awaited feast begins.  It has been several months since the turtles have eaten and they go after the ducklings with a silent attack from below. One by one the ducklings disappear and unless the mother ducks takes them to the creek they will all become turtle food.  . It is sad to watch the ducklings disappear but that is Mother Nature. I have watched a mother take 7 or 8 ducklings onto the pond and the next morning she only had 3 left. But, you know turtle have to eat too.

For the geese it is a different scenario in that there are 3 to 6 goslings and they also can walk and swim and forage for themselves as soon as they leave the nest. Very few goslings become turtle food because they are being raised by 2 parents and when the goose goes into the water the goslings follow and the gander follows behind. You will see this parade in the water and on land all summer long. The geese really take care of their babies.

It won’t be long until the tulips and other spring flowers bloom and we will forget about the ducklings and begin to enjoy all the sights and smells of spring. Enjoy!

Thanks for listening

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man

Edited and approved by Linda


March 14, 2018 — Leave a comment

Medicaid: that catchall government program that will pay our bills when we no longer have enough money to cover our expenses. It should be as easy as falling off a log, right? You get old and you retire and you go on Medicare and social security added to your savings or pension and you’re set for life. WOW sounds good except you are going to outlive your savings, or your health declines and you have to go to a nursing facility at 6 to 7 thousand dollars a month. Almost 3 times your social security and so you need to apply for Medicaid. Good luck with that!

My mother is 95 years old and was admitted to the long term nursing care in December of 2017. She is now in a special care unit of the home here at Otterbein Franklin Senior Life Community. She is now with medication sleeping away. It became obvious that she could not afford this care without help from Medicaid so about the 18th of December, 2017 I began the application process for mom to be placed on the Medicaid rolls. I was given a list of documents I would need for this process by the Medicaid guru at the home and I began to locate all the papers required and wait for the appointment time to arrive by mail. You are not asked but are told day and time to appear. They never call to ask if day and time is OK they just tell you. I finally received notice of the appointed time and went to the Medicaid office here in Franklin. A really nice lady took my papers faxed them to Marion Indiana, and came back and said you need 3 more papers among which are a face page and your father’s death certificate plus another that I don’t remember.

Face page; I had no Idea of what that was and after a phone call to the guru I found out, sorry I forgot to give you one and you can come up and I’ll print one off for you.  Alright, I’ll be there as soon as I find rest of this list.  About an hour later papers in hand I’m off to the big house to get the face page and then on to the Medicaid office. Face page! If you live here at the home or on the reservation you have a face page. It’s that form you filled out when you entered here that has all your life’s history and then they put your picture in the upper left hand corner, thus the face page.

I went back to the Medicaid office really feeling good that I was able to respond so quickly. Papers submitted. Papers faxed to Marion, In. Go home and wait for letter in the mail. A week later I receive the letter and guess what? They need 2 more documents.  This has continued and now after the 11th visit to the Medicaid Office on March 12, 2018 I am again waiting for the letter in the mail.

To put things in perspective I received my last letter on 3/9/18 and complied with their request on 3/12/18. ON 3/13/18 received a letter from Medicaid dated 3/9/18 that my mother’s request for assistance has been declined. So tomorrow I go back to the Medicaid office here in Franklin to plead my case. If I thought I could talk to a person in Marion Indiana I would leave right now.

A pleasant surprise at the Medicaid office this morning, letter received yesterday was a mistake and that I will receive a letter mailed Monday March 12th that will tell me mother has been approved retroactively to Jan 1st. I was also told that Medicade requires annual renewals, so I have 8 months before I have to go back again. So I am again waiting for the mail in about an hour and hopefully it will end my journeys task. Mails here and its goodness my mother has been accepted and has a Medicaid card to boot!

What a journey this has been but it’s over and maybe I won’t have to take Atatvin anymore!

The following is a partial list of documents you will need to find in case someone has to get you signed up for Medicaid  or you are signing up someone else;

Your face page

Birth certificate

If widowed death certificate of spouse

At least 3 months bank statements. Remember you cannot have more than $2,000.00 in assets on the 1st day of every month.  You may need a Miller Trust and if so you will need the paper work from the bank establishing said trust and a bank statement for that account.

Any income other that Social Security must be verified.

If you have prepaid your funeral you will need to show proof of prepayment.

If you are receiving a pension from the Veterans Administration you will need the paper work that shows you are entitled and the amount you will receive. Also, if you are receiving VA benefits they will be reduced to $90.00/month after Medicaid begins and this is your personal spending money but remember the $2000.00 asset limit.

The above list is not inclusive but a good start. Your own case may require more or less paper work but in any case set back and relax while you wait for the mail.

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man


This text edited and approved by Linda


March 10, 2018 — Leave a comment

According to Webster’s dictionary redundant means: excess or superfluous. To me it means unnecessary work or a needless exercise just to make that task appear important. Last week when I received the monthly statement from the big house there was a second statement for my wife, Linda, for zero dollars. Never seen a statement like that in the four years we have lived here on the reservation.  What to do, we must do the right thing so I wrote a check for zero dollars and mailed it along with a note asking for an explanation of the zero billing. I received a reply the next day with my check stating that a software change was made in 2016 that billed each resident separately with the husband, if there is one, getting the major charges and the wife getting billed for the charges she has but on her bill. Linda rarely uses the services at the big house and therefore had never charged anything to “her” account. Didn’t know she had one. I dug a little deeper and found out that a statement is printed for every resident and those with a zero balance are supposed to be pulled and trashed. They missed Linda’s I guess. It seems that the task of printing, pulling, and trashing all the zero statements is in fact redundant. I just wonder what that cost every month.

Another redundant exercise I’m involved in is trying to get my 95 year old mother signed up/approved for Medicaid. I started this process last December with guidance from the Medicaid guru at the big house and with a provided list of papers needed I went to the Franklin Medicaid office on the east side of town. The ladies there are nice but I have found that they cannot make final decisions for approval. Approval must come from someone in Marion, Indiana and so after the initial meeting I was asked for a couple of documents and I provided them and they were faxed to Marion; WOW job done; Not.  A week later I get a letter from Marion requesting another document. A document I have not seen. Finally found it and it was faxed to Marion. A week later another letter needing another document.

This whole process started in December 2017 and is not completed yet because I got another letter last Friday requesting another document. So, this coming Monday I will make my 11th visit to the Medicaid office in Franklin and they will fax the document to Marion and then I will wait for the next letter from them.

I have stage 4 lung cancer which is dormant right now and my mother has dementia and with the help of medication sleeping her life away. If Medicaid doesn’t hurry one or both of us will be dead before final approval is granted. That is redundant!

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man

Another shooting death. Just one person this time and I don’t think it made the national news but this death has impacted central Indiana profusely.  Deputy Jacob Pickett of Lebanon, Indiana gave his life doing his job and as a result he has left a widow and two small boys to a soon to be empty life without him. I cannot say enough about Deputy Jacob Pickett’s family that allowed him to be on life support for so long in order to allow Doctors enough time to determine how his organs were to be used to help save other lives. This unselfishness is the Officer’s forever gift to the community he served. We may never know how many lives he saved or prolonged but we should never forget his family’s loss.

For me I am concerned about the two boys and also other the boys and girls who have lost their fathers in the line of duty.  I wonder if the communities carried life insurance on their officers to insure that at least the children of fallen officers be taken care of financially until they have completed College if they desire.

Because the general Assembly is in session now would be a great time to develop a statewide” killed in the line of duty Police Officer survivor fund “that would take care of the kids and insure that they may go to any state college at no cost. Also make available moneys to supplement the widows whenever they might need it and pay for all he funeral expenses of the deceased officers.

It is probably too late for the current legislature to take up the matter but maybe discussions could be held between now and the next session to put together a bill that would bring about a workable plan. We, Indiana, owe these families something we can never repay but we can soften the burden.

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man


March 4, 2018 — Leave a comment

On Saturday March 3, 2018 the “Daily Journal” published a full page editorial on the killing of 17 people; students and teachers. This editorial is the best I’ve seen since the shooting and I commend the editor and staff for their opinions that I believe hit the nail right on the head! I would like to add a couple of points.

Enough is enough is enough! Seventeen dead in one place at one time in a school where we send our kids to learn and grow; not to have to worry about being killed; how can this happen in America? Hundreds of adults and businesses have begun to strike back at the alleged evil, the NRA. But if it had not been for the kids, the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas School, who began a really provocative protest about guns and gun laws which grew across the nation, did the adults and businesses take notice and maybe things will start to change.

You can regulate gun types, raise the age when you can buy a gun, and increase the scrutiny of background checks and maybe that will slow down the shooting sprees but, the last 3 or 4 perpetrators were all showing signs of mental instability before they did their hideous deeds. No one seemed to notice and they fell through the cracks. Yes, we need to better understand the mental illness issues and improve ways to identify those folks but this is probably an endless and never ending mission.

Everything you have seen and heard about how to fix the problems are in their own right doable and will have a positive effect on the problem. However, in my opinion, the only real fix is to find out why. Why are these kids depressed to the point of taking deadly action? Why are these kids so distraught that they must strike out? Until the causes of these problem areas are identified and fixes are developed, only then can our society truly fix the problem.

Thanks for listening

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man

Yesterday morning (02/21/2018) in the ‘INDY STAR” there was an article about Riley Hospital for Children removing hot dogs from the patient menu.  This decision came just a day after an ad campaign from “The physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s #Hazardous Hot Dog” bus stop campaign that started Monday and will run through March 18th    . Now hot dogs may not be the best food in the world but in moderation I don’t think there is a health hazard even though I lost a son to colon cancer 26 years ago, hot dogs have never been on my list of probable causes. Sick kids, even kid with serious cancers deserve the pleasure of being a kid and eating what might not be good for them if eaten every day, but from the article only 3 out of about 300 meals every day are hot dogs.  AT 1% I don’t think the kids are going to be in any great danger.

I remember hearing the Armour jingle on the radio when I was a kid an then when we got a TV in 1952 singing along with the Oscar Mayer commercials. We had hot dogs every now and then as I grew up and after my kids came around we served hot dogs for a quick lunch or supper when time was of the essence. Hot dogs even now are an important part of any cook out and if you’re like my wife you want them burnt black all the way around. Hot dogs are consumed in many ways. With mustard, with catsup, with relish , with all three and then if you go to Fort Wayne you can get hot dogs with Cole slaw and they are really good. I like mine hot but not burnt with mustard and relish thank you and I’ll have 2 and maybe 3.

However, our greatest enjoyment of hot dogs as a meal comes with what we call Hoosier Soul food, sauerkraut and wieners with mashed potatoes and green beans.  This was one of the few foods I could eat in any volume during my chemo treatment because it did not taste like what comes out of a chicken. I could manage to get maybe a ½ plate full down but now look out, 2 plates full if you please. Now we only have this treat about once a month so I don’t think I’m in danger of over indulging on hot dogs.

I remember my grandma Sandifur making 2, 5 gallon crocks of kraut (shredded cabbage) every fall and having the boys carry them to the basement and put a board on top with a rock to keep the cabbage below the brine (salt added to the water mashed from the cabbage)and allowed to ferment just silage (cow feed) in a silo.

Another interesting bit in the article mentioned at the start of this piece is the choking risk associated with hot dogs and young kids. I have no remembrance of any kid choking on a hot dog because generally the entire dog was gone in the blink of your eye because you know they are tasty and they wanted another hot dog.  The ad campaign is sponsored by the Physicians Committee whose director of nutrition, which supports plant-based diets, Susan Levin greeted the news about Riley with delight. Now I don’t know about you but in the life time I have left I don’t think there will be any question about whether I have a hot dog or graze in the back yard.

Thanks for listening,

Richard Isley

The Crotchety Old Man