Hockey weather in Canada

It’s spring in Montreal. The trees are blossoming, the bushes are lushly green, and I had to shovel four inches of snow of my car this morning.

It snowed all day yesterday and a good portion of the night. The thumps of snow and slush falling from the tree above our skylight sounded like tennis balls as they hit the glass.

Every road seems to have one good-sized tree branch sprawled across the sidewalk.

But nobody cares, because tonight the hometown Habs stand a good chance if achieving the highly improbable.

More life with early senility

I need to reclaim my Google PageRank for “early senility” and today’s activities will help.

In January, I needed to urgently renew my citalopram prescription but my GP was on vacation. I went to an open clinic and spent most of an afternoon waiting to convince a doctor who’d never seen me before to prescribe more for me. I did; luckily it’s not a drug that can be abused.

I noticed last week that the last month of my three monthly allotments (count with me: mid January to mid February to mid March to mid April is three months) was going to need to be replaced so I called my GP to make an appointment. The earliest available time slot was May 18, a good month too late.

The office recommended I come in Monday to see the walk-in physician, so I went there this morning.

After a brief consultation, he gave me a prescription for another month’s worth of pills. The office is right on top of a drug store, so I went to the pharmacist there. The woman serving me created an account for me and upon handing me the bottle of pills asked for $70. I balked. Normally, a month costs me $30. She explained that because I didn’t have my drug insurance info, she’d have to charge me full price but that I could reclaim the non-deductible part later. I declined her offer, hoping to stop off at a pharmacy that had my info on hand already.

I stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home. The woman behind that counter tapped a keyboard and said I still had a refill left on my old prescription. That’s weird, because by our count (you counted with me, right?) I had used up all three months. Whatever. All it meant was that I’d wasted a couple of hours of driving and waiting.

More ominously, she said the provincial drug plan refused my claim. She said she’d call about that while I walked around the store lusting after cheap shirts I don’t need.

I returned and she said my provincial drug insurance (called RAMQ) had been cancelled on April 8. I would have to call to clear it up myself. I refused her kind offer to exchange the drugs for full price and went home.

At home, I found an envelope in the mail. It said that the RAMQ wanted to be reimbursed for a year of claims because we hadn’t replied to a letter I don’t remember seeing.

At that point, it dawned on me that since September, our family’s drug plan was with insurance provided by Concordia and not the RAMQ. I’d never changed the info. I need a plastic card to remind me of that sort of thing. No wonder the RAMQ folks were pissed. I called the insurance, learned that all the claims since September could be sent to them for payment, and then I could reimburse the public RAMQ.

I could even get the new prescription on the private insurance, and I will tomorrow.

That still leaves a half-year of claims the RAMQ should still be paying, but I’m sure that will get straightened out.

My tummy hurts.

The 2010 Angels with Crystal Balls

The Irrational League held its annual April fantasy-baseball draft. I think I did OK, although my starting pitching makes me queasy. I was expecting Hiroki Kuroda to be on the table a few rounds in, but he was snapped up sooner than I had anticipated, probably because we held our draft after his first start, a masterpiece. I took some risks – rather, I took what most people would consider risks. I, however, am confident that Adam Laroche will thrive in Arizona’s home-run environment. Jay Bruce will bounce back. He has too much talent for last year and the first week of this year to be the norm. Mat Latos has a live arm in a forgiving ballpark. I have two good starting catchers. Every hitter brings something to the table, much like my team last year. In fact, I think I have more than last year.

My hitters and projections:

C: Yadier Molina: .280, 5 HR, 55 RBI, 5 SB
C: Miguel Olivo: .260, 15 HR, 50 RBI, 5 SB
1B: Adam LaRoche: .260, 25 HR, 90 RBI
2B: Kelly Johnson: .275, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 10 SB
SS: Ryan Theriot: .280, 5 HR, 55 RBI, 20 SB
3B: David Wright: .305, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 25 SB
CI: Adam Kennedy: .280, 10 HR, 55 RBI, 15 SB
MI: Freddy Sanchez: .290, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 5 SB
OF: Matt Holliday: .300, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 10 SB
OF: Matt Kemp: .290, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 30 SB
OF: Jay Bruce: .290, 35 HR, 95 RBI, 10 SB
OF: Nate McClouth: .265, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 20 SB
OF: Ryan Ludwick: .270, 25 HR, 80 RBI, 5 SB
UT: Melvin Mora: .280, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 5 SB
UT: Lastings Milledge: .275, 10 HR, 60 RBI, 20 SB

On my bench, I have Jeff Baker to sub until Freddy Sanchez comes back from an injury. Greg Zaun also has a seat there.

I figure my final hitting stats will come out to something like .280, 250 HR, 1015 RBI, and 180 SB. It’s more or less what I expected last year, with an extra 40 SB tacked on for the loss of 20 RBI. I guessed second or third in batting average and homers, first in RBI, and third or fourth in stolen bases. I think my first three categories hold, but if my team gets 180 stolen bases, I will win that outright – let’s conservatively predict a second-place finish there. That’s 36 points in hitting.

Those 36 points better be enough to buoy my pitching.

SP: Chris Carpenter: 14 W, 3.40 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
SP: Ted Lilly: 11 W, 3.75 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
SP: Mat Latos: 10 W, 3.60 ERA; 1.20 WHIP
SP: Kevin Correia: 11 W, 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
P: Jason Marquis: 11 W, 4.05 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
P: Kyle Lohse: 12 W, 4.25 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
RP: Trevor Hoffman: 30 Sv, 2 W, 3.15 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
RP: Billy Wagner: 25 Sv, 2 W, 3.10 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
RP: Latroy Hawkins: 3 Sv, 3 W, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
RP: Danys Baez: 4 Sv, 3 W, 3.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

I do not like three of my six starters, who are consistently league average. They have no upside. Fortunately, starting pitching is unpredictable and the most available commodity. Also, I have Pedro Martinez and Ben Sheets on my reserve list….

I figure I’ll get roughly 60 saves (good for fifth), 80 wins (good for fifth), but come in strong with an ERA of 3.80 (third) and a WHIP of 1.25 (first). That’s 30 points to total, with the hitting, 66 points – more than enough for the 60 points usually needed to win.

Let’s see how this all shakes out. I know I’ll be shaking when Lohse, Correia, and Marquis toe the rubber.