Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Kitten Milk Replacer

Did you know they make formula for kittens? They do. They keep it way in the back of the store, down low, so it’s a little hard to find.

Daughter’s boyfriend has a cat named Pumpkin. Pumpkin has had kittens. They are already pretty developed. They are less than 2 weeks old and they are opening their eyes and at least one boy has visible testicles. I think Pumpkin held off pushing them out until she just couldn’t keep them inside any longer. If that’s possible.

Now it’s a first litter for Pumpkin, and she is a young cat, so daughter wasn’t sure how it would go. It’s mostly gone okay, though Pumpkin has decided that the kittens belong in the center of the bed. Whenever they are moved, she moves them back. Clearly a sign that daughter and boyfriend are part of Pumpkin’s family.

Pumpkin is a little bored of kittens. She gets up and leaves them nested in the blankets pretty often. Daughter has noticed that sometimes the kittens are actively nursing when Pumpkin leaves, and this gave her some concern about them getting enough nutrition. So that entailed a trip to PetSmart today to get kitten milk.

Daughter had no money, so I volunteered what I had. I gave her all my cash, which was about $11, and my PayPal card which I believed had another $5. Turned out the PayPal card was empty so that left her short. However the person at the store wanted kittens to be fed and gave her a discount to make the milk powder affordable. I am now broke. I owe the bank for an overdraft, and I am out of cash and PayPal money. (If you’re feeling generous, I’m taking donations, or check out my Patreon or my Etsy.)

I don’t mind being broke for kitties, though I’m a little stressed about it.

In other news, I am at the point in packing where I’m doing laundry. I have a week to go before M-day. M for Moving of course. I’m getting pretty excited. I have assistance lined up so that’s good. Charli kitty will come with me but Mr Momo will stay here. Charli is attached to me and will adjust to the move. Momo took months to settle down after moving here, and we’ve been here 5 years, so he is also attached to my roommates. He would not be happy to move and they enjoy him, so he stays.

Support groups continue online. It’s not optimum but it’s better than not meeting at all. I feel glad to see my friends, and we are in touch by text as well as Zoom. I’m learning to appreciate modern media. I can’t really call it social media, that sounds like InstaGram and Facebook. But it’s definitely new technology.

Roommate L has made dinner tonight. Wonderful pork chops with an Asian flair, and mashed potatoes. I really love potatoes. I will miss her cooking at the new place. But I am told there are volunteers on a 2 week rotation for making dinners, so we’ll see what happens. I expect a lot of pasta, chicken or ground beef, and rice and beans.

I am thinking what to do with my stimulus money, which I’m pretty sure I’m going to get. I have a large bill that I think I’ll pay a chunk of, like half. I could pay the whole thing, but that leaves me with no money for myself. I need to inspect and register the car, pay car insurance, pick up meds. Plus I need new cat supplies for the new place. So, really, there isn’t a bonus for me with this, it is necessary money.

I am still working out the ShiftSmart app. I have emailed support and I’m waiting for a message back. That’ll be around $50 which would also be nice.

So money money money makes the world go ’round, but everything else is going fine. I’m mostly pretty content and moving into the future, just got to finish packing.


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Metrocare

I went to Metrocare today. It was an interesting experience.

On February 8th, I got an email that as of January 18, I had 15 days of health insurance left. That was February 2nd. My insurance ended 6 days before I was notified.

In the meantime, I ran out of Metformin and Abilify. I can’t afford to pick up either one of them because full price is too much for me right now.

I’m not too upset about the Metformin. I was put on it because my A1c was elevated to 6.1. Now if you watch TV, you’ve seen the commercial where the man is happy his A1c is below 7. Last time I checked, 6.1 is below 7. So maybe 6.1 isn’t so bad. On top of that, I’ve been taking it for 9 months and my A1c hasn’t budged. Apparently it’s not working for me, and I was going to talk to the doctor about stopping it. I think I can live without it.

The Abilify, now, is a mood stabilizer and the past few days I’ve been out of it, I’ve been emotional. An online friend posted about a homeless person in her neighborhood who apparently passed away, and it made me cry. Then I responded a little heartlessly to her, because that is how I am with myself. I”m just all over the place. I continued to be weepy about the man for several hours. Now I am fine. I think the fancy word is labile. I feel like I need the Abilify for stability.

I tried to go to the pharmacy. Prices are a little high. To be honest, even with the insurance copay, I wouldn’t have been able to afford both of them. I needed to figure out an alternative. The only option I know is public health so I went to Metrocare.

I am not so bad off, all things considered. I am not so impaired. I am not suicidal or psychotic. I am, at the moment, pretty well controlled with my meds. Many of the people at Metrocare are not doing as well as I am. It’s said, but hopeful.

I waited to apply for assistance. The process was pretty quick. I don’t know how I’m going to prove income, but they saw me the first time without that information. I guess I’ll bring my W-2’s to prove my annual income. Except that I’m not making that money at the moment. Anyway, the application process was rapid.

Then I waited for hours to be seen. I’m sure that’s because I was a walk-in. I saw a nurse practitioner named Charles who I think was from Africa. I didn’t ask. He had an accent that wasn’t Australian or Caribbean so I think it was African. I could be wrong. He criticized my drugs a little. He seemed to think my does of Prozac was too high, and that if it was lower, I probably wouldn’t need the Abilify. I told him, the meds were working, I didn’t see a reason to change them. He wrote me the same prescrptions and said to come back in 6 weeks.

I went back out front, and talked to the pharmacy. They were able to verify that I was accepted into the program, and they filled the prescriptions for me for $16, which is about 1/3 of what I was paying with insurance. I had a moment of uncertainty when I went to pay it though. I wasn’t sure I had $16 in my bank account. I still don’t know how much I have, and I’m afraid to look.

Whole process only took 3 1/2 hours. All afternoon. I suppose it could have been worse.

Oh, my friend’s issue with the homeless man. His name is Franklin. She is quite distraught, even though she didn’t speak to him ever. I asked, what is she inspired to do? Other people are also in dire straits. My friend got quite upset with me. But for me, that is how I handle grief. I do something about it. My way isn’t better, and I do allow myself time to feel it, but I feel better if there’s a plan. So I wept for Franklin, and for my friend, and I will make some art about it later. I think, the fence where his community set up a memorial altar for him, with some flowers and candles. I have the image in my mind, I just need to put it together.

I filed my taxes this year. I still get a refund, but it’s only about 1/3 the amount I got last year. This administration is not good for me. Not just the tax money, but supposedly there was a tax cut. All I can say is, my refund was sure cut.


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Kick Me Again, I’m Starting to Like It

It’s like being pecked to death by ducks. One little thing going wrong after another.

I heard from Michael’s. They said one of the checks has already been cashed so they can’t replace it. At least it is the smaller check. So instead of around $800 I will get closer to $500. Not ideal but could be worse.

And I got a notice that my health insurance has been cancelled. I got the notice on the 7th. It said, that on January 18, I had 15 days of coverage left. That was February 2. So I didn’t know there was a problem until 5 days after it ended.

Pretty much, you can have insurance and pay for it through the company for up to a year of not working. If you work 4 consecutive months, it restarts the clock. I worked 5 weeks last year, so not even close to 4 months, let alone consecutive.

At least, if I don’t have an insurance payment, I should get paid the difference. I can use the money.

I did check out the health insurance marketplace through the ACA / Obamacare program. The lowest price they gave me was $435 per month. Right now, I don’t even earn that much, let alone have it to pay for insurance. That’s just the insurance, there would be copays on top of that. Meds and doctor visits out of pocket don’t cost that much.

I guess I will get to check out the local mental health services now. I hear Metrocare is kind of crap and I should go with Transicare. Either way I will have to go through North Texas Behavioral Health, which replaced MHMR.

I need to call my doctor and see if there’s a program through Southwestern for low income health care. I need the refills for my blood pressure meds as well as the psych meds. I might be able to get all my services through Southwestern. If not, I’ll go to Parkland.

At least I have a plan. I’ll be travelling for work until Wednesday, so Thursday I’ll start making calls. I’m gonna check out the websites tonight. Hopefully I can keep my meds on track.


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The Bed Bug Saga

About 2 years ago, a friend and I took a road trip. A couple of months later, we both ended up with bedbugs. We assume we both picked them up at a hotel while we were on the road.

My friend noticed the bugs right away and took steps and hasn’t had a problem since. Good for her!

Me, now, the bugs don’t bite me, or I don’t welt up when they do, so it took me a lot longer to notice there was a problem. (Mosquitoes don’t bite me either, I assume it’s blood type or psych meds or something I eat that renders me unappealing.)

Plus when I first noticed them, they were under the cats. I thought they were some kind of flea. I kept treating the cats to no avail.

Soon enough the bugs migrated throughout the house and became a problem for my roommates. We spent a long time working on getting it under control. I bought a LOT of bug death, since it was my fault that they got into the house.

For many months we have been bug free. But they are back.

Both of my roommates have complained of being bitten. I have no welts and haven’t felt itchy. However, the roommates’ response to this is, I must clean my room.

Because I am now the epicenter of bugs.

Today I spent several hours working on my room. I took the bed apart and sprayed (no bugs in the mattress corners, which my roommates were convinced I had). All the bedding is in the wash.

Spray the hallway, says my roommate, because they migrate.

You know what else they do? Lay eggs in the beds and soft furnishings of the house. Eggs that hatch in that location. Bugs that think of the sofa as home, not migrants from my room.

Oh, but they could be hiding between the dresser and the wall, say the roommates. Spray your whole room. Maybe you should spray up near where the walls and the ceiling meet.

So I have done these things. I figure, there are 2 possibilities: Either there are no bedbugs in which case I’ve done no harm. Or there are bugs I’m not seeing, in which case I’ve addressed the issue. And in either case, the roommates feel heard.

When they go out of town in a couple weeks, and I can sleep on the sofa, I will bug bomb the room. Which I do quarterly anyway. Just because.

So this is a cautionary tale of sorts. Don’t get bedbugs. They are nearly impossible to get rid of, and the reputation is even harder to shed.


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When Is a Courtesy NOT a Courtesy?

Money is still tight. I have 5 days away from being able to apply for unemployment again. That’s apply, not receive, they could turn me down.

There’s no reason to, but they could. I hate being at someone else’s mercy.

I have applied to Half Price Books. I don’t know why I didn’t think of them sooner. I guess I hate to burn a bridge with them. I would like best if someone could hire me, knowing I’m going to be deployed for months at a time, but having a job of some kind for me when I get back. Still, if they’d pay me close to $40K a year, I might reconsider.

I did sell a hat, and someone sent me money in my GoFundMe. So there is a little money coming in.

My bank “courtesy paid” two items for me, and overdrew me by more than $200. If I don’t pay it within 60 days — more like 35 days at this point — they will charge off my account. I didn’t think they’d pay anything without the money being there. And I won’t have $200 to spare before the 60 days is up.

So I opened an account with Citibank. They were willing to take me on. I need $25 for the savings account because they open checking and savings simultaneously. I have no idea how to get that to them. I guess I should call and find out.

I have no idea how to come up with the money I need for a passport. Or my meds, for that matter. Life is stressful. And money would, literally like $500, would solve everything right now.


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Shutting Down

So many things in life take money, and I have none, so I am shutting down parts of my life.

I can’t afford Ipsy any longer, which makes me sad. I was enjoying getting surprise cosmetics each month.

I also can’t afford Zine-O-Matic. Again, not that it’s so very expensive, just I don’t have the money for it.

But the one that really hurts is, I can’t afford Succulent Wild World any more. It’s a subscription Facebook group with SARK, one of my favorite authors. Right up there with M. Scott Peck, only very different. For self-help type stuff, that is. (For fiction I like Charles De Lint, Neil Gaiman and William Gibson.)

I have been part of the SARK world for several years now, and this was the first time I could actually afford to join. I get 2 group mentoring sessions per month and what they call dessert groups, which are small group sessions with other members. I haven’t been able to take part fully because I am usually in the living room and my roommates have the tv on, so there’s too much background noise to volunteer to speak. Maybe one day I’ll have both the money and the silence.

I know I have to keep cutting back. I can’t go as many places because I don’t have gas money. Not that I should be driving without insurance anyway. I can’t stop and grab a burger or an ice cream. I wore out the insole in my sneakers and I can’t afford a new pair. I am concerned about feeding the cats. And paying for my phone. The stuff in storage, well, I might just have to let that go.

Shutting down my life as I run out of money. Trying to keep as much of it open as I can. I need a life regardless of employment. Everyone needs a life. Life shouldn’t cost so much.


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Planning Ahead

I went to ATTA this morning, and the writers’ group had “planning ahead” as the topic. I wrote my 3 pages. They must have been good because they made people laugh. But it did raise some questions for me.

I am not good at planning ahead. Part of it is because I don’t really believe life is going to work out according to my plans anyway. Why make plans you know are going to fail?

So I tried to be very zen about everything. You know, in the moment, mo expectations. It’s basic Buddhism, right? You suffer because you want things, so to end suffering, don’t want things. If I’m not attached to an outcome, I can’t be disappointed.

Only, here I am over 50 and nothing has been accomplished. Because I didn’t make any plans and just let life happen. I feel like, I should make a better plan, if it’s not too late. I could possibly be too old for making plans, I do’t know. Is there an age limit?

Obviously there’s an age limit for certain plans. I can’t join the military or become an air traffic controller. I can’t even have another baby, though one child seems to be enough for me. But in general, can I run out of time?

Why haven’t I planned better? Or at least more? What was I thinnking?

First of all, I didn’t expect to make it past 50. I really didn’t. I still think I’ll be dead by 56, though I don’t know exactly why I believe that. It’s from an old sleepless night back in Sept-Iles. I don’t think the world is going to last that much longer. But 56, yeah, something about that number.

And yet I could easily live into my 80’s like so may of my family have. Or at least my 70’s. Though I expect to work until I’m 70 or 75, unless I go senile, which I don’t expect.

So was I really being zen or was I just lazy or lacking in self discipline? I think now it’s the self discipline issue. Because I didn’t manage to save enough money to get to Alaska this summer. I have pieces of the trip bought but I never did find a job so I can’t afford the other pieces. I’m really disappointed. I’m also sorry that now my friend won’t believe me about making plans. I hate looking bad but sometimes shit happens. And sometimes I fail to plan appropriately.


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Taking More Risks

Money is now very tight, I own about $500 and I have no income at the moment. The government has no work for me so I’m not working. I have tried temp agencies but they are mostly looking for temp-to-hire people, an; frankly nobody is going to pay me what the government does, so whenever they call me back, I’m going. I was collecting unemployment, but I have run out of funds in my account and I can’t reapply until June.

So I am trying things to see what I can do for money. I have written an article that I’m selling on Nook. Someone offered to help me set it up on Amazon but I’m not sure about the price point. I posted $2.99 on Nook because that’s the breaking point. Less than that, they keep 65% of the sale price, at $2.99, they take 35%. So that’s how I set the price. Amazon looks like it will be 65% regardless of price.

I need to work on the article, make it more so that it feels like I put some effort into it, not just the writing. I need to decorate it up a bit and add some color and motion to it. I’ll be printing it out later to see what I can do. Just need to dress it up a little. It’s not live yet so I have time to work on it.

I have also opened a GoFundMe for the vision board workshop. So far, no response of any kind. Not just no money, not even any likes. So that is rather disheartening. I’m thinking of changing to dollar amount. I think I can do what I need with $100. I’m not looking to get paid for myself, I just need to cover the costs of basic art supplies like glue and poster board. Money is too tight for me to do that myself.

I need to make a list of phone calls for tomorrow. I need to call my daughter tonight and see if she has that lab test tomorrow. I have some labs from the doctor myself so it makes sense for me to take her if we are both going. But I have things that I plan to do that somehow don’t get done, mostly phone calls. I think of them when it’s too late to take care of them. I figure if I make a list, I can do them after group tomorrow or before group on Wednesday. I hate to-do lists but I seem to be brain dead about some things I need to handle.

I usually make a have-done list. I usually list things as I get them done so I can feel good about my day. With the depression, it’s easy to blow off a whole day. But it’s also easy to get things done and feel like I did nothing. Keeping a list of what I did helps offset that. I mean, it’s too easy to just drift through days and suddenly a week has gone by and I’ve done nothing. Except I probably haven’t done nothing, and I can check that with a have-done list.

Hopefully something will start moving for me, moneywise. I know there is money out there, I just have to find it. And it has to find me. I need to keep on working it and trust the Universe to meet me where I am.


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Well World

I had brunch with my friend R today. We went to a place called Henk’s which is behind the Half Price Books flagship store. HPB was having a tent sale that looked amazing but I hardly need more books. I have no place to put them! Henk’s is a German diner. I had the Polish breakfast, which is pretty much eggs and fried potatoes with Polish sausage. It was good, especially the potato, which I miss terribly while I am low carb. (I can’t in good conscience call myself keto.) R had blintzes, which he said were like eating dessert, and a reuben.

We talked about 10,000 things, as friends do. R works in community education for mental health. He teaches Mental Health First Aid mostly to educators. Eventually the idea of a healthy society came up.

R is gay, no children. He is also an atheist. He tells this to people in his presentation because he believes it is useful in helping educators to sit with situations they might not agree with. Now my atheist friend went on to tell me an interpretation of the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan which I thought was pretty interesting. Yes that sentence is knowingly ambiguous.

If you’re not familiar with the story, it basically goes like this: A man gets mugged and beaten up on the road to Jericho. The thieves leave him for dead. Several people pass the man and ignore his plight, including people you’d expect to help him, like religious leaders. Finally the Samaritan walks by. This is someone who is looked down on for his ethnicity. He sees the man in distress, takes him to an inn, and pays the bill for the man to stay until he recovers.

Jesus asks, who is the true neighbor? And it becomes a story about how to treat other people. But like most parables, there are other interpretations. My friend R says, this is a good example of appropriate care, both care of other and care of self. The Samaritan did not take the man to his own home, and he did not allow the man’s needs to derail him from his task in Jericho. He did not try to help the man directly, instead he took him to a place where he would be cared for appropriately. He paid the bill, which apparently was not a hardship for him. So, says R, we should be willing to help out others while also taking care of ourselves.

Another friend of mine has an issue with paying school taxes since they don’t have any children. I say, pay it. One day those young people will be in charge and I want them to be basically educated and hopefully able to think for themselves. I will live in a world they shape, I am invested in what these people are like. I don’t own a home so I don’t pay property taxes which includes the school tax, but I don’t begrudge the schools money. Money makes a better school, better schools make better people. Can we do it on less money? Well we keep trying and we know what public education looks like, so I suspect we can’t.

What does a healthy society look like? I don’t claim to have the final say on that, but I do know a few things.

Yoga moms are not the face of wellness even though they are the face of wellness culture. They are what could be called “the worried well”. That is, for the most part they are doing just fine and don’t need to worry in general that they will become unwell.

Homeless people are a sign that society is unwell. How can it be that we have abandoned houses and homeless people? Seems like a no brainer, put people into homes. And yet there is all kinds of resistance to the idea. You can no doubt think of some of the reasons: who wants those people in their neighborhood, why should we give a house to someone who is too lazy to get a job, or even when do I get my free house as a contributing member of society? So now we have to look at the factors in why a person becomes homeless, because very few choose this as a life path.

Any of the isms are a sign society is not healthy. Ageism, racism, sexism and others are rooted in fear; fear that somehow there are only so many resources around and if someone gets a piece of the pie, they are taking it away from me. It’s easier to scapegoat someone if you can make them a “them”, that is, not one of us. A healthy society knows we are stronger if we share the resources rather than hoarding them.

It was a good lunch, and a good conversation. I like my friends, they are good and interesting people.


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The Tightness of Money

I need to pick up my meds.  I also need to pay my phone bill.  I can’t do both.

It’s been a long time since I had to say that.  I’ve had enough money for about a year, even a little extra.  But right now today, I am poor.

I wonder how I’ll make it without the drugs.  I wonder if it’s better to let the phone get shut off.  I wonder if the phone company has a payment plan I can use.  I think they do.  I’ll have to check that out.

Not that it solves the problem of finding the money to make the payment.

Having the car towed the other day didn’t help matters.

Let’s see, what can I look forward to?  A friend is sending me some money she owes me.  I have 2 trainings next week so that’s about $40.  Maybe less after taxes.

I’ve listed some stuff on ebay and etsy.  It’s not moving but maybe in the future.

I should get unemployment.  We are waiting for the state of Virginia to close out the claim so the money can come back to Texas.  Mind, right now, Texas says I don’t have an open claim.  I guess I’ll have to call them on Monday and see what’s going on.

Technically I have a job, I just have no work at the moment.  So here I am squeaking by.  I wonder what I can do to make ends meet?  And of course rent is about to be due.

So this is really testing my faith that there is always more money.  Let’s see if I can keep a good attitude.

My Etsy shop

my Ebay listing