Todd: Being left out in the cold

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• The experts were saying that pigskin carpetbagger Payton Manning, who used to toss in the warm confines of Indianapolis' dome in December, wouldn't fare well in the Denver chill. All he did Sunday, when the temperature was nearing single digits, was set a Denver Broncos franchise record with 39 completions, toss four touchdowns and lead his team to 51 points. Evidently, Payton can play well in any type of dome, including snow domes.
• My brother in Gunnison called the other day. He was excited that he had just bought an artificial tree. He and his wife, for years, had purchased a forest service permit to cut their own Christmas tree. But with the biting cold this year, he couldn't have been happier that he wasn't somewhere near Kebler Pass or Taylor Park in sub-zero weather sawing on a tree trunk.
And, he told me he bought an artificial tree that didn't have lights pre-strung. I asked why, because I have one with the lights pre-strung and I like it. He told me those are no good, because if a bulb goes out, all the lights go out and the tree is worthless. I think, if he and I were pine cones, we would have fallen off different sides of the tree.
• Ever watch your children when they're around you? I mean, really pay attention to their habits? Sure you do. You look for some confirmation, aside from conducting a DNA test, that they actually do belong to you. If yours are like mine, they are seemingly attached to their gizmos. In my sons' cases, it's their iPhones. Buzz! Answer. Vibrate! Look and text. Ring! Laugh, text, stare.
Which makes you wonder, if they are that attentive to the gadgets when they're around, why is it you can call them, text them and buzz them and not hear back for hours? Come to think of it, when they're around they pay so much attention to their gadgets they don't respond for hours anyway.
• Still waiting on our new health insurance. If you haven't had the pleasure of going through the process of signing up for ObamaCare, then you and I are in the same boat. My better half, however, has been dealing with this since I lost my insurance due to the new law. The first step is to get you and/or your family through the Medicaid system. In other words, if you don't qualify for Medicaid, then you get denied and can go on to get your insurance through the state exchange. We can't get past the Medicaid denial step.
Beecher has been calling the Medicaid help line for days. All she gets is a recording saying the system is down, call back later. She has gone to Tri-County Health Network and county social services and met with friendly, helpful folks. But she's no closer to health insurance.
For some reason, our oldest son's birth is now in question and we must produce his birth certificate so that Medicaid can deny us coverage. I can only imagine this is payback for all the times Obama was asked to produce his birth certificate.
Thank goodness the deadline was extended through Dec. 23. It may not mean we'll get health insurance any faster, but when we do get it we'll put it to good use with all the stress the whole process is creating.
The fun part of all this is news that Patty Fontneau, CEO of Colorado's health care exchange, that has signed up approximately 15,000 to private insurance, asked for a three percent raise and 10 percent bonus. Now, she already makes $190,000 a year, so given the success of the whole program we can safely say her best decision was to withdraw her request.
• A new record cold was set recently. Try 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The recording was made via satellite in east Antarctica. That does sound pretty cold, and kind of makes you yearn for a little global warming. But, really, once you get south of, say, the 10 degrees below zero we've experienced in past few days, how cold can cold be?

Alan Todd is co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer. He can be reached at 970-325-2838 or