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Have you met your health-insurance deductible this year? Did your policy cover the emergency-room visit for the sprained ankle your 10-year-old suffered on the soccer field? When did your spouse last visit the dentist? Did you notice that your cholesterol medicine cost twice as much in July as it did in May? Even if you and your family are healthy, keeping track of routine medical bills and records can be a headache.
Quicken Medical Expense Manager from Intuit (INTU
) can help organize the paperwork, track your family's medical histories, and make sure you get all of the reimbursements you deserve.
Features include the ability to track services for each provider and family member and see if bills have been paid and by whom. The software sells for $49.99 at quickenmedical.com -- $20 below the suggested retail price. It's a sign of the times that Toll Brothers (TOL
), the Horsham (Pa.) luxury homebuilder, is offering "calming rooms" in its new housing developments in Palm Springs, Calif., and Phoenix. The spa-like sanctuaries -- typically built off the master bedroom in the space an office or walk-in closet might have gone -- are designed for meditation, yoga, or massage. Toll Brothers is one of the first builders to offer such rooms, but housing experts say homeowners are increasingly making such spaces themselves.
The need to create an inner sanctum is both a reaction to a wired culture that keeps people plugged in around the clock, as well as a post-September 11 trend toward more spirituality. "You don't get a break in the office, because you are working harder. You don't get a break in the car, because everyone is on cell phones," says Dawn Ritchie, co-author of recently published The Emotional House (New Harbinger). The rooms are often Zen-like, decorated in neutral colors, and furnished with massage tables or yoga mats. Models that offer this option in the Phoenix market start at $560,000. After enduring the trials of new construction, you need a place to rest and relax. Los Angeles is the place to contemplate the rise and fall of civilizations this summer. Jared Diamond's best-seller, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, inspires a show through Jan. 15, 2006, at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (nhm.org). It underscores Diamond's point that civilizations live or die largely based on how they treat their natural resources. For a contemporary look at power accoutrements, the Petersen Automotive Museum is featuring "Presidents, Popes, and Potentates: Cars of Heads of State" through Jan. 22, 2006 (petersen.org). There you'll find three of John Paul II's "Pope-mobiles" and a 1939 Bugatti France presented to the future Shah of Iran. And don't forget the much-ballyhooed U.S. return of King Tut's treasures, at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (lacma.org) through Nov. 15.