Well, we made it through the army of leaf-peepers that descended on our town for the first few weeks in October. The peak fall foliage weekend for our area landed right on Columbus Day this year. It was probably one of the more spectacular displays of colors I have seen so far during my tenure here in New England.
As we did in September, we spent most of October just getting back into the routine of school and work. Mrs. Max OOP closed out her second-month of teaching already and I have gotten things to a really good place at my job. I must be getting really good at counting healthcare beans because my stress level is approaching an all-time low.
I haven’t touched much on my job here on the blog. It is difficult to get into the specifics of it too much when blogging anonymously. I never know who might be reading this.
I work in healthcare finance in a pretty broad capacity. It is fairly easy to get siloed into a very specific niche in this line of work. Let’s just say that has really never been my thing. My focus for the last 2 years or so has been tilted more into the rural health side of things. Through that, I have found myself working closer and closer to clinical operations. I have also spent a good chunk of my time centralizing administrative functions to the corporate office while bringing in a new electronic medical record (EMR) and financial system. Think buzz words like efficiency, workflow, and leverage (like a boss).
I will say, I am on the tail end of a project that was stretching me pretty thin at one point. Long hours and an abundance of meetings made things pretty crazy. One thing I have learned about the rural health environment is people “wear many hats”. This is mostly due to a lack of resources and it goes for both clinical operations and administration. When you bring in several new systems (including a new EMR) into an already stretched system too quickly it can really put some stress on operations. I somehow managed to launch this blog in the depths of all that. I have re-read my start here page a few times and I sound a bit whinny. Don’t get me wrong, I like hard work. But I also like working on what I want to be working on.
Business As Usual?
Needless to say, I am in a good spot now and almost feel like I am entering into a decompression phase. The workload is stabilizing and we are moving back into a “business as usual” feel. This is a place I haven’t been in for several years. I suppose it is technically never “business as usual” in healthcare, but at least this project is almost done. I still have a few loose ends to tie up which I will probably complete by April 2020. At that point, I will need to decide what I want to do next.
At one point in early 2019, I wasn’t sure I would even make it through the year at work. But with things normalizing, I have lost some interest in an early retirement out of healthcare and at this point and I am starting to enjoy work again. I could still go for a sabbatical though. The nice thing is now I am in a solid position to choose what I work on next. I wouldn’t mind having this level of W2 cash flow for another year so I can complete building out my medical office building portfolio. It makes that project a lot less risky when I have W2 income backing it up.
If you have any interesting healthcare projects in mind (or really anything), feel free to contact me through my contact form. It took me like a day to set that thing up, so please help me get some use out of it. I am willing to travel for the right project or idea.
We did manage to squeeze in some fun into October. We went up to Maine to attend the Fryburg Fair. I wasn’t expecting much, but it ended up blowing my mind. They had what seemed to be an endless amount of livestock on display. We even watched a steer pulling competition. The cost of tickets to the fair was $12.00 each and we also ate some fair food on the recommendation of several locals. It didn’t disappoint. Mrs. Max OOP’s side hustle fits right into the livestock trade so we found a lot of this fascinating. So with $5.00 parking, we spent about $50.00 on the day and it was well worth it.
Mrs. Max OOP’s mom came down from New Brunswick for Columbas Day weekend. We all joined the leaf-peeping tourists by taking a trip down the Kancamagus Highway in the mountains of New Hampshire. Like I mentioned, the leaves were pretty spectacular this year. I didn’t take many photos, though, since I was worried about getting clipped on the road by a careless tourist. You can probably find better photos online somewhere anyway.
We landed in a town called Lincoln, New Hampshire and it seems like a pretty nice town. We were planning on going to a pancake restaurant called Flapjacks but the line was too long. It must be a tourist destination or something. I already don’t really like eating out, but I am definitely not going to wait in line for it. Luckily, the town fire department was having a fundraiser offering all you can eat pancakes for $8.00. This included orange juice, coffee, and sausage. Definitely not the same fire department that helped me get my firepit back to code earlier this year, but I was glad to support them anyway. Mrs. Max OOP went by the Flapjacks line on our way out to try and drum up some more business for the Fire Department.
I also made a solo trip out to Michigan last weekend to see my side of the family. It has been over a year since I had been home to Michigan. It was nice to see everyone. The trip was pretty low key. Michigan seemed a little behind us in the fall foliage progression. Delta got me there and back without any delay. Mrs. Max OOP held down the fort here in New England.
The Max Out of Pocket crew had $0.00 out-of-pocket healthcare costs in October. I had my free preventive visit on October 30th and I wasn’t charged anything when I checked out. Let’s just hope the claim makes it through the billing process correctly. The visit itself was a bit disappointing and anticlimactic. I will do a write-up on it at some point, but in short, I didn’t think the exam was that thorough. I was in and out the door in less than 28 minutes and only about 10 of those minutes were spent with the doctor. Not sure what I expected and it has been a few years, but it seems to me past exams were much more thorough. At least I got an order for my free cholesterol screening and a metabolic panel.
I am coming up on a year since I started my gym routine and I am pretty pumped about the progress I have made. I tried to bench 225lbs last week and came pretty close to getting it. Should be no time now.
The Healthcare Reit experiment continues. I finally got my act together and made a case for diversification for my medical office building portfolio. I bought into Global Medical REIT, Inc. (GMRE) for the first time on 10/11/2019. I made another purchase two weeks later on 10/25/2019. That’s right, I am still dollar-cost averaging into this portfolio every two weeks on my lunch break. I already own 195 shared of this Healthcare REIT valued at about $2,300. I have decided to try and stay away from Physicians Realty Trust (DOC) for the rest of 2019 in the name of diversification.
Physicians Realty Trust (DOC) has made a pretty solid recovery and was trading at $18.64 on 11/01/2019. With this price increase, my portfolio is showing a total gain of about $5,600. It is set to produce about $2,000 in passive dividend income over the next year. The portfolio is worth about $38,000. That is quite a bit more than Mrs. Max OOP makes in a year as a part-time teacher.
Our overall net worth was up about 4.15% in October. I said last month that I was going to stop tracking this metric monthly. I guess old habits die hard. Maybe I will work on cutting this back come 2020.
Yes, Guns N’ Roses reference. We have a pretty fun trip planned in November. We are heading down to Ecuador for two weeks! The second week will be spent on the Galápagos Islands. Mrs. Max OOP and I are very excited about this trip and I am pretty pumped to walk on both sides of the equator. We haven’t been out of the country (other than Canada) since we went to Europe back in 2016. Three years is too long!
We have this new thing where we travel on Thanksgiving instead of making an obnoxiously large meal and gorging ourselves. Thanksgiving just turned into work and waste for us over the years. Traveling this week seems like a better use of our time off work. Last year we made it out to Vegas, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. This year it will be Ecuador. We still enjoy the holidays, though, and will spend Christmas in Saratoga Springs visiting family. I will also still buy a small turkey at those rock bottom prices and stick it in the freezer for when we get back from our trip.
Mrs. Max OOP is in the midst of applying for US citizenship and they scheduled her interview at the same time we are traveling. She sent them a note and they appear to be working with her on re-scheduling. Hopefully, she will be sworn in sometime in early 2020. That will open a lot of doors for us.
How was your October?