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They Call Him The Whineoceros

via They Call Him The Whineoceros

You guys have got to read this post.  The mom (Sarah) is delightfully witty and honest about the crazy “mom” things that threaten to steal our sanity every day – and a fellow wine lover!

Take a peek at this post – it’s a good read and will offer a light-hearted laugh and a reminder that we aren’t alone in this “mom thing”. ♥

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Allowed Amount – Medical Billing Terminology

Hello and welcome to another issue of my blog!  Just as a reminder I have 4 kinds of blogs and you can find out all about them at the bottom of this post. 🙂

This post is for my medical billing series.  Whether you are in the medical industry or not, this post IS FOR YOU!!  Everyone visits doctors – either because they are sick are trying to prevent sickness.  Either way, this series is to help you understand the crazy world of medical billing.  I will be posting on everything from billing terminology to crazy diagnosis codes.

img_5317Today, I am discussing something that many people do not understand – Allowed Amount.  What does this mean?

If you read my post, How to Read Your Medical Bills – Is it Even a Bill? then you may already understand what this means.  (And if you haven’t read it, you should grab a cup of tea – or coffee if you aren’t allergic to the bean like me,☹ find a comfy spot and read it.)

However, whether you have read it or not, I Continue reading

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How to Read Your Medical Bills – Is it Even a Bill?

Ok… so first things first.

What I mean by “medical bills” in the title is literally just that.  It is a “BILL” sent to you for a balance that the sender is claiming that you “OWE” them.

The reason I feel led to be so specific is that often times an insurance company will send correspondence to one of their members and it appears to be a bill when it isn’t a bill at all.  In fact, most of the time it will be what is called an EOB (Explanation of Benefits).

First, let’s talk a little about EOB’s.

An EOB is simply what it stands for – an explanation of the benefits the insurance company provided to the Patient and Guarantor.  Depending on the insurance company, EOB’s can contain various information. It can contain some or all of the following things:

  • Patient Information – This is the person that received the medical services.  It can include the patient’s name, address, date of birth and insurance ID/Group number.
  • Guarantor Information – This is the name of the person that is the owner of the insurance policy.  It can include the same type of information as the patient.
    Example #1: Jane Doe is seen at the doctor.  Her husband John Doe works for ABC company and has an insurance policy for himself and his wife Jane.  The EOB would list Jane as the Patient and John as the Guarantor because he owns the policy through his employer.
    Example #2: Jane Doe is seen at the doctor.  She works for XYZ company and has an insurance policy for herself and her husband John.  The EOB would list Jane as the Patient AND the Guarantor because she owns the policy through her employer.
  • Facility/Physician Information – This could include information such as the name of the doctor who treated the patient or the facility where the patient was seen, their address, phone number, NPI (National Provider Identifier) and Tax ID.
  • Service Information – This section will include the date the patient was seen, the procedures that were done, what was charged and then several other monetary values that can be very confusing.  (That is exactly what this publication is going to go over. ☺)
  • Remark Code Details – These are codes that explain WHY the charges were processed the way they were.

If you receive this from your insurance company – it is NOT A BILL!!  Even if it states that you are responsible for a part of the balance.  A bill will come directly from the physician or facility – because that is who you owe if indeed there is a patient responsibility balance.  I’ll go over that more toward the end of this article.

When you receive an EOB, you will want to inspect it.  Like I mentioned in my “I am Angry” article, doctors are amazing and dedicate themselves to years of education to learn how to keep us healthy and to save lives, but not necessarily how to bill for it.  Some of them do get certified and learn the specifics, but many do not.  They hire coders and billers to take care of medical claims and billing and often times, the staff is just not trained properly.  Not to mention – we are all humans and are certainly make mistakes.

 

So first, you’ll want to look over the document and make sure things like dates, names, procedures, etc. are all accurate.  Now let’s get down to the numbers…

The numbers can really be confusing.  What the heck does “allowed amount” even mean and what are these crazy “adjustments” for?!

There is a lot of information in the Services section, but I am basically just going to explain the monetary values.  I will write an article on each one of these topics that is more in-depth and will try to remember to come back here each time an add a link to each section, but here is the basic breakdown:

Billed amount –  This is the amount that the doctor/facility billed the insurance company.  Now I know that some of you may be thinking these prices are ridiculous, but trust me – there is a reasonable explanation.  You honestly have no control over the amount that is charged here.  I will say that most doctors and facilities offer a significant discount for patients that have no insurance – but to be clear – that isn’t always the case.

Allowed amount – This is the amount that the insurance company is willing to pay for the service provided to this doctor/facility.  Every insurance company has a different amount they are willing to pay for each service – it is not the same amount across the board.  You have no control over this amount either.  This is an agreed upon amount between the doctor or facility and the insurance company.  The list of pricing is called a Fee Schedule.

Deductible amount – This is the amount you are being charged for the agreed upon amount of deductible you chose when selecting your insurance plan.  If you feel like this amount is incorrect, you need to call your insurance company – not the doctor/facility.  If the insurance company determines that they processed the claim incorrectly, they will correct it and send the updated information to the doctor/facility.

Coinsurance amount – Just like your deductible, the coinsurance is an agreed upon amount between you and your insurance company.  The doctor/facility has no control over this.  So if you feel this amount is listed in error – again, call your insurance company, not the doctor/facility.

CoPay amount – This is also an agreed upon amount between you and your insurance company.  However, the doctor/facility should have verified your insurance and any copay amount that should be charged prior to your appointment.  This amount should have been collected at the time of service.  If the doctor’s office told you “not to worry about it”, this does not mean you don’t have to pay it.  It just means, for whatever reason, they decided to not make you pay it up front and they were going to bill you for it.

Note: To be clear, Deductible, Coinsurance and CoPay amounts are the responsibility of the Patient/Guarantor.  The doctor/facility does not have anything to do with deciding these amounts.  If you feel like the amounts on the EOB are incorrect you need to contact the insurance company.  If you were charged something OTHER than what is listed on the EOB, you should contact the doctor/facility at that point.  If they do correct the error and issue any necessary refunds, then you need to contact your insurance company and let them know.  They will contact the doctor/facility directly.  You can even ask them if they can do a three-way conference type call so that you can hear the response.  Not all insurance companies will do this, but some will.

Adjustment or Other Adjustments – This one can get confusing, but it is really very simple.  Ok, so here is an example:
– A patient goes to the see the doctor for a sore throat, fever, and cough.
– The doctor examines the patient and determines the patient has an upper respiratory infection.
– The doctor codes the office visit with CPT 99214 – Don’t concern yourself with the codes at this point.  This example is really just about the adjustment amount.
– The doctor has determined the billed amount in his/her office for this service is $200 (this may or may not be accurate to what your doctor charges for this service – I’m just using it as an example for easy math purposes.)
– The doctor’s billing department submits the claim to the patient’s insurance company.
– The contract between the insurance company and the doctor states that the insurance will allow $80 for CPT 99214.  This means every time this doctor submits a claim with CPT 99214 listed on it, to this specific insurance company, he/she will get paid $80.  (Not necessarily by the insurance company – keep reading!)
– If the doctor billed $200 and only got paid $80 – there is still $120 remaining.  This is the “adjustment”.  It is actually called a contractual adjustment.  This means that any difference in between what the doctor billed and what the insurance company allowed must be adjusted off.  The doctor cannot bill this amount to the patient.

Provider Paid – This is the amount the insurance company actually paid the doctor/facility.  The above seems pretty simple – right?  $200 (billed) – $80 (allowed) = $120 (adjusted off).  Here’s the thing: just because the insurance company “allowed” $80 for CPT 99214 – does NOT mean that is what they are going to pay the doctor!!

If your EOB says:
Billed $200
Allowed $80
Adjusted $120
Paid $80
Then that means the insurance company paid the doctor EVERYTHING that is owed to him/her for that visit.  To be clear – if the allowed amount and the paid amount match – you owe nothing.  Period.

However, if the allowed amount and paid amounts are different – that means that the patient is responsible for the difference – which will either be deductible, coinsurance or copay.

As an easy example, say you go to the doctor and the person at the check-out counter tells you that you owe $20 for a copay, then the EOB would read more like this:

Billed $200
Allowed $80
Adjusted $120
Paid $60
See the allowed is $80 and the paid is $60.  There is a $20 difference – that is the copay that you are responsible for.  If you paid it upfront on the day you were at the doctor, then you owe nothing.  If you didn’t then you will still be responsible for that difference.

In that case, the EOB would actually read like this:
Billed $200
Allowed $80
Deductible $0
Coinsurance $0
CoPay $20
Adjusted $120
Paid $60.

In addition, if you haven’t fulfilled your deductible yet and you are responsible for a copay, it could look like this:

Billed $200
Allowed $80
Deductible $60
Coinsurance $0
CoPay $20
Adjusted $120
Paid $0

Notice in that example, the insurance company allowed $80 – based on the contract with the doctor, but did not actually pay the doctor anything.

The allowed amount is what the insurance company and doctor agree the doctor will get paid for the procedure – but the payment could come from the insurance company, the patient, or a combination of the two.

This brings us all the way back around to the bill.  Remember an EOB is not a bill – it just explains how the insurance processed your claim so you will know if you need to expect a bill from the doctor/facility.  That is why it is SO important to review your EOB’s.  If your insurance company doesn’t mail them to you – they may only offer them online.  Make sure you look for an EOB for EVERY visit you make to a doctor/facility.

When you get an actual bill, it will be from the doctor or facility.  For every bill you get, you should have a matching EOB.  If you go see the doctor for a sore throat at his/her office, you should be able to obtain an EOB after the doctor files the claim and the insurance processes it.  If you receive a bill from a doctor and have not received your EOB, you need to contact your insurance company or log in to their member portal to view your EOB or request that one is sent to you.  Your doctor bill and EOB should match exactly in regards to amounts allowed, paid, due, etc.

The title of this post is:

How to Read Your Medical Bills – Is it Even a Bill?

You should be able to determine from an EOB what you should owe a doctor/facility and why.  If there is any difference – something is wrong – call your insurance company asap!

In the case of a self-pay patient – meaning you have no insurance and only pay cash – it is a little different.  You should ask every doctor/facility for all of the following things:

  • A list of each CPT or Procedure code and description that you are being billed for.  The specific CPT codes won’t matter to you, but the descriptions will.  This holds the doctor accountable for what they are charging and lets you know exactly what the doctor is stating he/she did for you.
  • What is the billed amount of EACH code?
  • What is their self-pay policy?  (Do they offer a self-pay discount and if so what are the terms.  This is very important because some offices only offer a self-pay discount if you pay in full at the time of service.  Some offices only offer a self-pay discount if it is asked for!  These are things you really should ask when making the appointment.)

This post may be a little lengthy, but hopefully it was helpful.  Please take a moment to scroll up top and add your email to the subscribe box so that you will be notified every time I post.

Full disclosure: Medical Billing is something that I am very passionate about.  I am a patient somewhere and so are all of my family members and it is very important to me that our claims are handled as thoroughly as I handle other people’s.  I am a work at home mom and not all of my posts are medical billing related.  Not only am I opening my own Coding & Billing Educational Consultant business in 2018, I have been an Independent Consultant for a children’s book company since 2011 and I own a photography company with my daughter.  Also – I am a wife-ish, mother, self-employed nerd and I post about all kinds of things.  I would love to share them with you.

Please take a moment to comment or ask questions below.  You can also find me all over social media:

Twitter: WAHMCat & Medical Billing
Instagram: WAHMCat
Youtube: WAHMCat (I don’t have a video to go with this post, but I’m working on one – Still go subscribe! ☺)
Usborne: Usborne website, Facebook Page
Photography: Shutterbug & Co., Facebook Page

Thanks for reading, commenting, sharing, following and subscribing.  You guys are the best.

Catsiggy

Cat Clayton, CPC, CPB, CPMA
PO Box 121861
Fort Worth, TX 76121

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Geocache – *MY LIL PONY* & *Lemur WLP*

**Spoiler Alert**

– If you geocache in North Texas you may not want to read the following post.  These 2 geocaches were found in Irving, Texas.  There are pictures and details on what we found – just so ya know…

So, this weekend Little Man and my Mini Me stayed with their grandparents.  It is tough for me because I hate to be away from them – but sometimes a little break is nice too.  So I drove out to Irving to drop them off and thought maybe I would see if there was a quick P&G anywhere to be found.  I didn’t really find anything that I wanted to do by myself.  There were a few fun ones around, but I like to have my Mini Me or the Big Kid with me.  They enjoy GC’ing too and I don’t like to do the fun ones all by myself – seems kind of like I’m cheating them – and then I wouldn’t be such a cool mom. 😉  Anyhoo… so I didn’t stop for any GC’ing on Saturday but I did do a screen shot on my iP5 for some cache’s I want to get back to another day.

I had to work late Saturday night so getting up early Sunday was not so much an option.  I finally walked out of the house around 2:30 to head to Irving to pick up the kids – my original plan was Noon-ish – yeah…not so much.

Ok, so pick up the Mini Me and leave Little Man to spend some quality time with the GP’s and we head out.

We pick the GC we want to do based on how much time we have:

  • If we are on a schedule and don’t really have time to venture out we look for a quick P&G – or two. 🙂  These are typically the closest and the smallest ones around.  These usually only have a Difficulty and Terrain rating of 1 or 2 stars.
  • If we have an hour or so we will usually look for caches that are bigger and/or have trackables (also known as a TB or Travel Bug).  We LOVE trackables!! These can have a Difficulty and Terrain rating of up to 4 stars but usually are only 2 or 3.
  • If we have all day and really are on no time restraints we will do the ones that have a higher Difficulty and Terrain rating (up to 5 stars).  Now these can be behind really thick brush, be in areas that are not kid friendly, be underwater (yes, really!), be on property that you have to pay to get into (like the zoo, etc.) and even on islands in the middle of lakes!!  We do not have a lot of these under our belt, because we don’t usually have that much time on our hands AND because I’m not about to put myself or my children in danger for some silly game (although when I’m with another adult friend I am a little more adventurous – just not with the kiddos.)

So, today we have an hour at least to kill. 🙂  The first thing we look for are nearby GC’s.  Next we look to see if any have TB’s or are Multi-Cache‘s. Yes!!

First stop – **MY LIL PONY** GCGY16 multi_72<—–That means Multi-Cache!

This one says it is a Multi-Cache and has a TB!  Off we go!!  I hit “Navigate to Geocache” and begin to head toward the little tear drop destination point.  I find myself driving down a residential street and the GC appears to be in someones back yard, but the app says its in a park.  When my superior direction (ahem.) leads us to a dead end at a cul de sac – we pause, read the info on the GC and re-route.

Here is the description:

First I got MUGGLED how bout that, now I’m all wet. Put out a new container, pill bottle with camo duct tape. Log book and a few small trade items. Please note the second stage cords have been corrected. The neighbors on the other side of the fence know about the game, so don’t mind them unless you need a hint.

This is a two leg micro cache. The first leg of your journey will take you to coordinates to complete the second leg of your journey. The cache is a small camo container so “mini” trade items will work best.. Bring a pen, as the cache is too small to contain one. The terrain is flat, as for difficulty you tell me. This is a medium size park and can be busy at times so be careful not to be seen with the cache. Don’t want my first cache to be plundered. Please return as concealed so the next geocacher can enjoy the hunt. Be respectful of the fences along the edge of the park for these are private residents who put up with a lot of park activity. Last but not least be sure to see the LIL PONIES, they are very cute and the kids will love them. Look for squirrels in the big pecan tree at the East End of the park. Have a great hunt and hope to see ya out on the trail.

That means on the “other side of the fence” there must be the park we are looking for!  So we set off around the corner to try and find the entrance to the park. BINGO!  We pull up in the near empty lot and look around for muggles.  There are some nearby children on the playground, 2 teens kicking a soccer ball around and 1 jogger.  We set off to find the first half of the GC where the coordinates are supposed to lead us.

On the way I love to take pictures of the neat things we see out in nature and soon enough we spot this tiny little moth (or butterfly – we weren’t sure) on a flower.  I stoop down to get a close up pic and my camera goes all fuzzy. 😦 Now I know I have taken a macro pic before with my phone – I just don’t remember how – so I decide I’ll just search for a macro app real quick to capture this tiny little guy.  Um…yeah – no.  I couldn’t find an app I really wanted – I finally find one I think might work but it is .99 cents – yep, I bought it. ugh.  Anyway, just as it downloads (my Mini Me has sighed for the eleventy billionth time) I stoop down yet again to capture the little guy….just as he flys away.  AAUUGHHHA! I stare at that little jerk flying off into the breezy afternoon as the Mini Me begins to laugh…hysterically.  Little tart.  Ok…off we go…again.

We finally make it to ground zero (GZ) and we can’t find anything!!  There was supposed to be something here to give us coordinates to the final cache!  What a bummer.  I notice a little area at the bottom of the tree that looks just perfect to hide something small (like a 35mm film canister or pill bottle – which are used in GC’ing all the time).  It looks to be filled with tree bark pieces that sort of look out of place.  Aha! So I reach my hand in and start pulling back the tree bark pieces looking for the prize – all I find are some worms and a centipede. SMH – What was I thinking?!  The Mini Me decides that centipede is worth a closer look so I whip out the iP5 with my fancy new macro app and open it up – only to find out that this ridiculous app has a mind of its own! 😦  The camera moves – on its own – you can’t figure out which way is up!!  As soon as we figure out how to get the little guy to show up on the screen – you guessed it – he boroughs down into his newly dug home. Really?!  Maybe today isn’t our day for pics! 😦

So there we are standing in the middle of this field – the jogging muggle that has circled us several times now is eyeing us suspiciously.  I read the hint: “Look for the old cedar tree.”  We look around and I don’t see a cedar tree.  We decided to see if there are any clues in the photos attached by others.  We look through them and see a pic of a boy next to a tree that is obviously different than your typical oak – and it V’s just by his waist – so we start looking for that tree and think we see it off in the distance!!  Yay!  (Weird that it is no where near where our app directed us – but it has been known to be off a time or two.)

On the way there we come to an abrubt halt because we see the most interesting “fruit” growing on this tree.  Kind of looks like little nectarines or something.  I reach up to see what it feels like and the Mini Me tells me it could be poisonous and I shouldn’t eat it…lol.  That kid cracks me up. :)  Of course I am not going to eat it!!  We walk around trying to use the stupid new app to get a decent pic of the “fruit” so we can research it later.  This is the best one we got – not sure exactly what it is just yet – but it is interesting!

IMG_2453We found a dandelion and decided to wish our way to the prize.  One – Two – Three “We wish we’ll find the Geocache!” – BLOW!!  Fingers crossed that that works!! 🙂  As we begin to walk away we notice this little patch of flowers that have a few busy bees collecting pollen.  I decided to try out the stupid app (that is what we are calling it at this point) again.  The Mini Me again warns me against the danger – “Mom, be careful – don’t get stung!”  I tell her I’ll definitely try to not get stung and try to get the stupid app to angle close enough to get a pic of the cute little buzzing bees.  That’s when I notice this:

IMG_2455

Right smack in the middle of the picture – STICKERS!!!!!  What the heck!!  Then I notice we are standing in the biggest patch of stickers I have ever seen!!! Doggonit!!!!!  How did I not see that before!  We look down and they are on our shoes and jeans.  Not too many – but enough that I don’t like it!  (Thank goodness it wasn’t beggars lice!!  It is way more obvious to see – but sometimes unavoidable and really stinkin annoying!!)  I can’t believe I walked us into a sticker patch.  I totally blame that stupid app!  On another note – if you look real close, all the way to the left of the pic – about half way down – I did capture one of those tiny little bees. 🙂

IMG_2458

We decide to make a run through the sticker patch back to the path and de-sticker ourselves.  Then we start heading to the tree that the Mini Me thinks is the one in the pic.  We get up to it and it is about the same shape and V’s at the right spot – and has a hollowed out spot that something could have once fit in – but it isn’t cedar.  It looks just like all the other trees in the park. Except that one!!  “LOOK”, I say!  Across the park (very close to where we tried to take a pic of a tiny little butterfly for entirely too long) there is a cedar tree – just as big as anything!  We make a b-line for it!  Before I can get my bones around the tree, the Mini Me cries out, “I found it!” with a sincere look of total success on her face! 🙂  Of course, then she steps back and informs me that she is NOT sticking her hand in that hole…lol.  No biggie – that’s what moms are for. 🙂

IMG_2456The cache is a large pill bottle wrapped in camo tape.  We open the lid and pull out the contents: a log, a pencil, and a tiny globe keychain (the chain is rusted – so I won’t let her have it.)  Nope.  No TB. 😦  There was supposed to be a TB here and we often find that someone has taken them and then not logged them in. 😦  I have a few TB’s in our GC Kit that I have picked up from other caches but they are all too big for this container.  We sign the log (which was really cool because it had a date on it all the way from 2003.  13 years!  That is cool!  We log our find on the GC app and she asked me to leave this pic with a hint to look for the cache near these tiny blue flowers.  This is October – so I imagine they won’t be there long.

IMG_2460Our signature pic. 🙂  Yes – the Cowboys played today! Played and lost. 😦 What a bummer – but I am a true fan nonetheless. 🙂  And this is the Mini Me’s new Halloween shirt.  You can’t see it in the pic – but the jack o’lantern’s face is glittery.  We are going to get one for Little Man too. 🙂  Hers was a gift, but it came from Wally World – so we are going to try and swing by there tomorrow to pick him one up. 🙂

IMG_2462We put everything back as we found it and headed back across the lot to see if we could visit with the ponies that other GC’ers have written about and that this cache was named for.  Unfortunately, the ponies are all put away and their watch dog is barking at us to get away.  So we head back to the car.  Another 50 feet or so and we come across this really weird site.  Really?  Who leaves a bunch of random VHS tapes under a tree?!  They must be a smoker too!  Really odd.  This is right out in the open – so it can’t be like a homeless person’s abode.  It’s not like they could pop these babies in to the imaginary VCR and hit play!  The Green Mile!!  What a good movie – I should go home and pop in that DVD…  haven’t seen that one in a while.

Back in the car – we pull up our list and pick our next adventure!

 **GP Lone Star Trail 17** GC1T0TG

This one did not go so well.  This is a series of cache’s – which I find intriguing!  Not this particular series – but series in general.  It’s like an extended version of the game because you want to find each one of the whole group!  This one is the closest and here is what the description said:

17th of the Grand Prairie Lone Star Trail series. Container is a regular ammo can.

The Lone Star Trail is a hike & bike linear park following the Trinity River near I-30 and Belt Line in Grand Prairie. It runs South and then East of Nokia Theater and the Lone Star Park horse racing track. There is a place to park for a few cars just South of the Trinity River on Belt Line with a nice walkway over the bridge. Or you can park in the new lot off Hunter Farrell Road. Coordinants to both locations are below. Good luck!
Thanks to Zeke’s Uncle for his help and cooperation in placing these caches.

So we clicked on the button and headed off to where they said to go.  Something new on this one I had never seen before!  A waypoint!  That is usually a spot that is helpful to finding GZ – like parking, etc.  So I head that way but find myself in a turn only lane so I have to go the opposite way from the way point. 😦  However, I notice that the way I went is actually leading us closer to GZ so I’m hoping that I can find parking close somewhere.  I pull off on a side street and then there are some confusing signs.  It does say that no motorized vehicles are allowed beyond this point.  I think this means straight ahead because it looks like a bike path.  I see what appears to be a “drive way” to the left so I pull in there and it turns into a road.  About 200 feet later, we come parallel to GZ.  Unfortunately, it is still about 250 ft in to the brush.  You can tell someone has walked in the and smashed down branches.  It rained yesterday though – this means snakes are probably out and ant piles will be nasty.  I remember reading one of the comments saying the container had been found upside down in an ant bed and they cleaned it up and moved it.  Ugh. Yuck.  Snakes, spiders and ants are NOT my friends.  Now when you geocache in Texas – that is just par for the course – so you just have to go at it from a safety standpoint.  I tell the Mini Me that I am not comfortable going into the brush a day after a rain and that we will do this one later.  She lets me know that she saw an opening that I missed and as I realize there is no where to turn my car around on this narrow road – and see someone up ahead with a bicycle – I realize I am driving on a bicycle path!  AND THERE IS NO OUTLET!!! Crap.

IMG_2464I have to back up all the way down the curvy bike trail – what a moron!!!  This is just an omen that I should be more active and then I’d know what a stinkin bike trail looked like!!  So just about all the way out and I see a little driveway – a real one – for cars.  So we pull in and decide to walk down the bike trail so she can show me the opening she was talking about.  We head off down the trail and find the cutest little paw prints in the mud!  Since they look like the print of a small toddler – I’m sure the animal they belong to isn’t as cute and probably wants to eat our faces – so we snap the picture and move on down the bike trail.

IMG_2466Finally we come to the opening she was talking about.  UM – NO!!  As picturesque as it was – it was CA-REEPY!!  This GC is just going to have to be one of those on a bright, sun-shiny day – when we have another adult with us, and mace…and possibly a baseball bat.  With spikes on the end.

IMG_2467But that does it.  She is not happy – but we head back to the car to look at another option.  We head back toward the waypoint and find that it is a little parking area for runners and bicyclists.  We park and she gets out to play a minute and stretch her legs while I look at our options.

I find another one and wave her back to the car.  She is energized and refreshed once again and so we set out on our next adventure.  I would like to find one more if possible – then we’ll head back to pick up Little Man and get something to eat.  This GC’ing business really pulls the energy out of ya!

 **Lemur WLP** GC3F6R1 

This one was a little further away, but we decided to get out of the area and try out something new.  It was only about a mile away.  We come up to the big intersection and it appears to be just on the other side of the light.  As the light turns green we go through the intersection and pull into a little drive for an empty parking lot.  We grab the GC Kit, lock the doors and head across the street – being very careful to watch for traffic and not step in the ridiculous puddle of water.  We get across the street and it appears that we have 2 options.  We can go into the grass and around the brush to the left (which is not appealing because who knows how muddy it is back there!) or we can balance on the curb all the way to the corner of the street where it appears GZ is (this is also not appealing because if a car comes before we make it to the end – we are going to get soaked if they are feeling froggy enough to splash us!  I look down the road and see no one coming for at least half a mile.  Surely we have time…RUN!  No wait!  Walk fast!  The Mini Me has a couple of close calls while trying to balance, but we make it just fine. 🙂

At the corner and around a bush we see a little opening.  The Mini Me says, “You go on in and let me know if it’s safe, then I’ll come in.” Ha!  This kid.  If it doesn’t seem safe, I am not going in!!  It does appear to be harmless enough so I step into the brush into a small clearing and begin to look around.  I don’t see anything obvious so I open the app to read the description.

A series of 27 caches in a busy industrial area. During the week there are lots of trucks and business traffic. On weekends there are fishermen taking advantage of the lake that is inside the loop. Be careful of traffic and pull all the way off the road. There is a wide shoulder or parking area for each cache. Please do not make any traffic slow down for you. Each cache is different and fragile so please be gentle and report any breakage so it can be repaired. Have fun!

Wild Life Parkway is a series of caches commemorating Lion Country Safari ammusement park which existed here from 1971 to 1992. There were several acres in this drive through park with many different animals such as giraffes, rhinoceros, lions and even an exhibit for chimpanzees. There was also an ammusement park with a ferris wheel, several other kiddy rides and also a petting zoo. It would often close during spring due to flooding of the Trinity River and in 1992 finally closed because it flooded so severely that some of the animals escaped. The property remains undeveloped.
Traffic moves fast on this road so please pull out carefully and don’t make them slow down for you.! Most caches are tethered so please don’t break the line and report any broken ones so we can repair it. We don’t want them floating away in a flood.

IMG_2468Aha!  A series!!  I wonder if it is the same series as the Lone Star Series we were working on earlier!  I’ll have to look into that! And we are looking for something tethered!  I explain to the Mini Me what that means and we begin to look around…and up!  At this point, she has also stepped in and so I scoot over to give her more room.  When I turn around – boom!  There it is – wedged between the trunk and a branch! 🙂

IMG_2469 IMG_2470She wants to get this out – so I let her.  It isn’t in a dark hole, so we are both in agreement. It is tethered with a small wire so we have to be careful pulling it out.  She hands it to me to take a pic and to open because it is closed tight!!  We take out the contents to analyze our find. 🙂  There are some cool things in this one! 🙂  She chooses a lanyard and we add some fun goodies for kiddos in this one for the next lucky ones to find it.

IMG_2477And we dropped a trackable!! 🙂  I found this trackable in Lake Worth, Texas and am moving him to Irving. His mission is to just travel and get pictures everywhere he goes. Here he is ——>

The Mini Me gets giggily at this point and I snap a few fun pics:

IMG_2472

IMG_2473IMG_2476IMG_2479We leave our goodies and then we step out of the brush so that we can take our signature pic.  We decide to cross the street at the intersection and head back to the car.  This way we avoid the puddle…lol.  Genius.  I know.

We head back to get the Little Man – but we decide to stop for one more.  It is on the way and it has been on our list since we were at the park a few weeks ago for family pics. 🙂  This is us.  The Mister, The Big Kid, The Mini Me, our Little Man, and me.  This is just a screen shot of my computer while I was looking at the proofs – which is why the copyright is still on there.  But no worries!  I bought this pose – just haven’t gotten my CD in yet.  I’ll be posting them like crazy when it gets here.  These are our first family pics! 🙂

IMG_2340

 **what bears do in the woods** GC2NXJ1

We pull into the park and get out and head in the direction that the iP5 tells us to.  All of a sudden I realize that it is actually taking us to the very first one that we tried to get to – which is not an option!  So I go back to the main screen and I realize I was on the wrong GC.  We start over and I remember that we have been walking all day and not once did I log my walking into my MapMyFitness app!!  I guess because I am on an actual walking trail – it triggers my thought process.  Might as well get a little walking logged!

We head toward GZ and we get to a large wooded area.  Interestingly enough – there is no description!  That is a first for me!  There is a hint though: “It is always recommended to knock before you enter someones home.”  Ummm, ok?

You can see where someone has smashed the brush down – but these “weeds”, etc. are taller than me – and it just rained.  Lets see if there is a way in around the corner.  So we continue to follow the trail.  I see another area of smashed brush and think I’ll just take one little step in and see if there is a clearing.  One step.  Two steps.  Spider right in my face.  Yep!  We are done for the day!!  The Mini Me gets another giggle and we get back on the running trail.  This inspires us – so we run. 🙂

Back at the car – we’ve burned off a few calories – we’ve had an awesome day.  The Mini Me has a new lanyard to put her brand new school ID on and I have had the bonding experience that I crave.  It won’t be long before she is too big and hanging with mom won’t be something she wants to do anymore. 😦

Luckily, geocaching is fun for all ages!  So I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this is something I can do with my kids until I’m too old to have my wheelchair pushed through the mud and muck. 🙂

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NEW Guest Blogger – “Just Cindy”

Ok…so first of all I need to let you all know I am working on the ending post to my weekend at the Dallas Home & Garden Show.  They aren’t ready just yet but I’ve happened into something that I want to share – so I’m breaking in with a little random announcement post.

A bit of history: I was married for nearly 9 years and during that time gained a Sister-in-Law and a Brother-in-Law.  Our marriage ended simply because we had grown into different people and weren’t in love anymore.  I could have lived in that marriage forever, but our differences began to wear on our children and that was something I couldn’t live with.  Since the divorce I haven’t really kept in contact with any of that side of the family except my Ex-SIL.  She and I kept in contact because she has a great relationship with my kids and enjoys spending time with them.

Her name is Cindy.  She is one of “those” types of people.  You know the kind – the kind that doesn’t see how truly great they are and what a blessing they are to other people.  I feel like she often sells herself short.  At any rate we are Facebook friends and she is always posting these fantastic “real-life” stories.  I have said to her many times that she should start a blog.  She however, doesn’t have the time or knowledge or desire really to blog.  Just last night she posted another great story and I decided to ask her if I could just blog for her.  I am going to feature her as a guest blogger from time to time.  I am going to copy and paste her FB posts and share them on my blog.  I will share the link with her so she can see any comments you all might leave.

We all have bad days and it seems to me that often times I read her posts and it just so happens it is one of my bad days.  Her post says something I need to hear at the exact right time.  I think her words are important to share.  So if you happen along my blog and see a post that starts out with “Just Cindy”, take a second to read it.  It will be worth your time.

Now I’m off to post her story from last night – which isn’t one of her funny ones.  It is actually a little sad – but sweet in the end. 🙂  So I hope you enjoy.

Love,

Catsiggy