Kiss5Tigers

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


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Asking

The generosity of people just blows me away.

I have a favoite author, SARK, who says, “Ask. Ask again. Ask differently.” I like that. Not to bug a person, but sometimes your request gets lost in the general noise of life. And sometimes people don’t understand what you’re asking for.

On a business level, Shepherd Inn is opening a new home and needed furniture. My boss asked for in-kind donations rather than cash. In-kind means people donate the item itself, so if we need a sofa, they donate a sofa. In two days, the house was furnished! Well, two exceptions: coffee table and end tables for the living room, and new mattresses for the new beds. I’m going to ask my friend K about the tables, she’s really good at finding things for cheap online.

On a personal level, I posted that I got turned down for unemployment and that I was worried about taking care of my cat. One friend brought me food and litter, another friend Amazon’ed me a huge bag of food and some litter, a third friend donated cash. I am just blown away by this. I mean, I knew people can be kind, but so many people concerned about my cat, wow.

What I take away from this is that it doesn’t hurt to ask. I didn’t ask for someone to get me pet food, but people saw the need and jumped in. My friend L taught me about asking too. She asks for prayer for things and usually someone is led to help her out in a material way. In fact, she is one of the people I send money when I have a little extra. I haven’t had any extra lately, but L and N get money from me. And daughter of course.

Even if I hadn’t gotten donations, I would have vented about my fears and that would have helped as well. Keeping my fears and needs to myself just seems to magnify them. They become so huge and overwhelming, probably because they end up taking up so much of my brain space.

So, another thing I got, that I need but didn’t ask about, was this evening I am off. I will be so happy to get some time to myself. I have chores to do around my room, but mostly I will go to Half Price Books for a look around, maybe to Barnes & Noble. I want a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ “Between the World and Me“. I already know it’s sold out at Half Price but B&N might have it. After that, I’m thinking of a poke bowl. I’d like to invite daughter and boyfriend to join me.


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Blood Pressure Meds

Today was an “adventure” in getting my meds.

I dropped one of the girls off at work, then went to Parkland to go to the urgent care office. I am about 2 1/2 weeks away from seeing the doctor and I ran out of blood pressure meds. I just needed to see someone to give me enough refill to last until the appointment.

I went to the urgent care clinic building and got sent to emergency, which is in another building. I had to pee the whole time, so that was doubly frustrating. I asked if I could use the ladies’ room and they told me no. There’s a Starbucks in the building that was doing roaring business; I wonder if they would have let me in to get a coffee.

Either way, I went to emergency. They checked me into the building by taking my temperature and playing 20 questions about my possible exposure to coronavirus. Then they walked me to emergency who took my vitals and checked me in again. Blood pressure 136 over 88, so a little high. Usually I am closer to 120 over 80. I don’t know if it was irritation or if I need my meds tweaked.

I waited about 10 minutes in emergency and got taken back across the street by an elevated walkway to the urgent care clinic. The lady at the door had told me it was closed! Clearly it wasn’t closed.

The whole office visit took maybe 15 minutes. They re-upped my prescriptions and sent me on my way. I walked to a third building where the pharmacy was. I got checked in over there, including taking my temperature for the third time in maybe 90 minutes. Then I settled in to wait.

It actually only took 15 minutes for my number to be called, but they only had one prescription ready. Three had been called over. I could wait, they said, about 45 minutes; but no, I needed to be back to work. I had to leave.

I went back later this afternoon. I brought my daughter with me to save the $5 parking fee, but then I spent $7 on drinks and a snack for us, so really it was a wash. Happy hour at Sonic means we got huge drinks for a little money, plus corny dogs. I have no air conditioning in my car so those drinks were very welcome!

The wait was completely different. First of all there was a disabled man in line in front of me. I appreciate that he had mobility issues. He walked very slowly. He kept stopping but every time he did, he raised his cane to waist height and blocked the entire passageway so I couldn’t pass him. I’m pretty sure he was doing it on purpose, though not specifically because of me. I found it frustrating but I don’t think I sighed or anything.

The registration desk gave me number 988. The display showed they had just called number 964. I knew it would be a while so I texted my daughter. Then I waited. And I dozed a little. And I waited some more. Finally they called me. It took like 3 minutes to get my stuff, and it was free. Really I spent most of the day waiting.

By then it was 5:00, rush hour. Which is really the opposite of rushing, more like parking on the highway. Literally. Came to a complete stop more than once. Still, it was nice to spend the few extra minutes with my daughter.

Daughter tells me a friend of hers hung himself several weeks ago, and there hasn’t been a funeral. His friends feel the lack of closure. It looks like she is part of the group who is planning a memorial service. If daughter doesn’t go to the service, she is going to a rally for George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died after being knelt on by a police officer. I don’t know what to say. My daughter makes me proud, taking emotional care of her friends or standing up for what she feels is right. She’s a good kid.

Now I am home. I need to take one of the girls to the store, but that’s okay. Should be a quiet Friday night.


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North Texas Giving Tuesday

Hello hello hello

Today is a mixed bag of stuff.

In the middle of the night, I got a notice from unemployment that they turned me down because I gave incorrect information. Now I actually spoke to a person — they called me, I can’t get through to them — and I thought we got it all squared away. I thought the Census Bureau was my last employer because they hired me back in March, but since they never paid me, I am not considered an employee. Now I have to try to call the unemployment people again and see if I can find out what went astray.

On the other hand, Parkland finally approved me so I got my blood pressure meds today. I was starting to get headaches from blood pressure being too high so this is a great thing. It also means I have health insurance for the coming year.

I ordered stamps from the post office and they are having issues with delivering them. I don’t know why. On May 2 at 10:27 it says “out for delivery” and by 3:30 the same day, the package is marked “available for pickup”. I mean, if I was going to pick them up, couldn’t I have just gone to the post office and bought stamps? I have letters waiting to go out.

I did speak to the mail carrier, but he doesn’t sort his own mail so he said I needed to call. Well I’m trying but it’s nearly impossible. The system is set up to do everything automated and will only let you speak to a representative under certain circumstances. Stamp orders is not one of those circumstances. So I tried general customer service and right now I have been on hold for 36 minutes waiting for a representative. I know it’s Covid season but they are providing poor service with no way to correct it.

Today is North Texas Giving Tuesday and I work at a non profit so if you’re looking for a place to give . . . We got 501c3 status, I think it was Thursday, and already all the beds are filled. Teenagers need a place to go, a safe house for them is a real blessing. So we have 2 girls, one with a baby, who we are helping get back on track.

I am hoping to make some artist trading cards this afternoon since I have some time to myself. I might just watch TV and crochet though. I don’t know. I started a series called “Tales From The Loop“. It’s kind of “Eureka” meets “The Twilight Zone“. I’m really enjoying it. I’m thinking of getting a drink in a second and looking up a local phone number for the post office.

Here’s hoping I find stamps soon!


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Gardening As a Subversive Act

Only certain stores are allowed to be open, they have to provide essential services. So nail salons are not open but grocery stores are. However certain items can only be purchased in stores of a certain size. This means that, for example, Wal-Mart often exceeds the square footage requirement so they can’t sell certain items that are not essential.

Among the non-essential items are seeds. Apparently the seasonal department is closed down and at this time of year, that’s the gardening department.

So growing your own vegetables is considered non-essential.

To me, there is no reason to discourage people from gardening, and in fact it feels like the government doesn’t want us to grow our own food.

Which to me, is the perfect reason to do it.

I used to garden when I was a kid. I grew flowers, mom grew vegetables. I had a flower bed near the house, mom dug up the ground over the septic tank. As a child I never thought about it, it was just the grassy place then the vegetable garden, but as an adult I’m a little grossed out. I’m not invested in gardening very much at this point, but fresh veg is always a good idea.

V is talking about putting in a raised garden at Shepherd Inn. I’m not sure how she thinks that’s gonna work, but we’ll see. She works more than full time as it is at her non-profit. I need to work to cover my other expenses so I feel like I can’t really devote much time to gardening. The kids, maybe?

What would I plant? Let’s see . . . Tomatoes. Zucchini. Carrots. Mixed lettuce. Should I try onions or potatoes? Maybe some kind of squash like butternut or pumpkin. Peas? Cucumbers? Ooh, bell peppers. Radishes. Salad fixin’s. Beets. What, I like beets! Broccoli? Jalapenos?

Possibilities.

I’d have to order seeds by mail. I’d go with Burpee, since that’s the company my Grandpa used. Until I wanted heirloom seeds, then I’d have to look somewhere else.

So, gardening might become a thing in my world.


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How Fast Things Change

Yesterday felt like life was all uncertainty, and today feels completely different.

First of all, I talked to Shepherd Inn. We figured out that the current shelter-in-place orders are going to be extended. That’s not a surprise to me, really, we are still getting increasing numbers of cases in Texas so there’s no reason to think they’ll let the orders lapse any time soon. Also, unofficially, the state government is already discussing extending them past April 3.

In any case, we decided to postpone me moving in until the middle of the month. I don’t think orders will change then either, but since the place is due to open on May 1, I don’t know that I can wait any longer to settle in. I think it’s important that I am not arriving at the same time the girls are, for the sake of stability. So this is good. I feel more grounded about that.

V also asked me if I want to work, which I do. So she is going to set something up for me that’s part time at a food bank. Part time is perfect for me, since this will be physical work and I am not used to that. I need to figure out how to use an app called ShiftSmart because that is how I’ll get paid. It’s only $10 an hour but I have bills I need to take care of, I need the income. They pay by the day, with about a 3 day lag for the first check.

Monday morning I’m going to pick up my daughter and we’ll go pick up my meds at Parkland. Then J and I will arrange a way for me to pick up boxes from her. Probably she will put them in the yard and I will drive by to get them.

While I’ve been packing, I’ve been finding all kinds of cool stuff. I mean, I knew I had it, I just didn’t know exactly where it was. No, really, I’d forgotten that I had some of it. But that’s okay! One day I will have a studio room and I’ll be able to organize stuff so I can know what I have and where it is. Just getting things boxed up is my goal for now.

So I’m feeling a little better about things. I have a plan for the next few days. Shower in the morning and get dressed since that helps me feel human. Something about putting on pants and a bra makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, gives me focus.

Sometimes all I need is a little sleep and a new day to have a new attitude.

And you know, things are going to be okay. It’s all going to work out somehow and it’s gonna be good.


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Eggs and Gasoline

I got up this morning and went to my daughter’s place. She of course was asleep and had forgotten that we were going to run an errand today.

One of the local restaurant suppliers decided to sell their unused produce to wait staff and other restaurant employees. Daughter doesn’t work in a restaurant but her roommate does. We drove down to the distributor’s location and picked up a huge box of fruit and vegetables.

It happened that we were mere blocks from my clinic so I was able to pick up my last round of meds too. The roommate paid for them for me. She gave me $20 so I had change.

The girls also needed juice for their vapes, so we went to 7-Eleven. While I was buying daughter’s juice, roommate went out to the car and filled my gas tank. I didn’t ask her to do it, I was touched.

When we got back to the apartment, roommate insisted on splitting the loot. I got rice, eggs, fruit, and salad makings. The generosity of these girls just blows me away. I didn’t mind driving them for their errand, I didn’t expect anything in return. But there you go, sometimes people are generous.

I made it home in time to attend my online support group. Online is a little awkward but it’s better than I expected. It was a nice moment of normalcy in a world that seems strange.

Also, we had corned beef and cabbage for dinner. I happen to love corned beef. So good. And I had rice for afternoon snack. Now all I need is to figure out desert, lol.


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Getting Meds

I am currently waiting for my pajamas to get out of the dryer. I like clean warm pajamas. Laundry had to happen.

I went to Metrocare for my prescriber appointment today. It was rather surreal.

First of all I was late. I did call and let them know I was behind, but I had to leave a message. Not efficient, I’m thinking, but what do I know?

I stood in line and the lady at the desk seemed surprised to see me. “Didn’t you get a phone call?” she asked me. It turned out that someone should have called me to say that they were not keeping appointments for the next 30 days. My appointment had been cancelled.

There’s only one problem: I was out of one of my meds.

I take a pretty standard bipolar cocktail of an anti-depressant, a mood stabilizer, and an atypical anti-psychotic. To my knowledge, I’ve never been fully psychotic but it’s preventative. I had run out of the anti-psychotic.

I told the lady, and she said she’d email the prescriber but it would take about an hour for him to respond. I said I’d wait, and sat down in the waiting room.

Domino’s delivered a pizza while I was waiting. It was such a normal thing that it seems not to belong in the world any more.

Then a lady came out and said she had to clear the waiting room. She gave sticky notes to everybody who was a hospital discharge or corrections release. The rest of us were ousted. I was told it was okay to wait in my car, I just couldn’t be in the lobby. So I went to my car. Considering that I had been there the other day and had been told I was a walk-in, only to reach the end of the day without seeing anyone, I had even less faith in the system working if I was out of sight.

After a while, my phone rang. It was Metrocare, following up on my phone call from earlier. He wanted to make sure I’d made it. Apparently he didn’t know my appointment was cancelled. It gave me the idea to call the pharmacy and see if my prescriptions were ready. They weren’t, but at least they’d been received. I tried to play on my phone but actually ended up napping, at least until the rap truck drove up. I don’t care what kind of music people listen to, but I do care that I could hear it clearly through the walls of the car. Since I was awake, I checked my phone and my meds were ready.

I went inside to pick them up. I don’t know why I’m not in the system for free care since I have no insurance and no income. I needed $20 for all three, but I particularly needed the anti-psychotic. I tried to pay, but I only had $15 in my account. I took what I could afford and left the anti-depressant. Embarrassing, and frustrating.

I went to my daughter’s place. Her boyfriend was there and one of her roommates was home, but mostly there was a herd of cats. A clowder of cats, I believe is the collective noun. There is Ryder with her 5 kittens, Angel who belongs to one of the roommates, Persephone and Perseus who belong to the other roommate, and pregnant Pumpkin who belongs to the boyfriend.

Now the boyfriend doesn’t live there officially but. But there is a closet full of his clothes. But he’s been there for a week. But his cat will be happier having her kittens there than at his house. Hmm. I see a change in the future.

I had coffee, daughter had wine, boyfriend played a video game. Skyrim, I believe. Roommate came in while I was talking about what happened at Metrocare.

“Do you need $5 for your mental health?” she demanded. Then she went in the other room and came back with a $20 that she gave me.

“You are a goddess!” my daughter said.

Then the roommate told us about an opportunity for waitstaff in Deep Ellum to pick up produce that was going to waste now that restaurants are pretty much shut down. She was working, but it seemed like a good deal. I offered to drive someone to pick up the produce, if someone else could do that. Turns out they can, so tomorrow I will pick up my daughter, go to Metrocare to pick up my remaining meds, and we will go get the food. Then they will share the food with me, they have already decided.

So things are weird, but we are all pulling together. The kids are helping me and I am helping them. My new job will put me within 2 miles of them, so I’m hoping to be even more help. They’re good kids.

Seems like the dryer is done. Time for a shower and clean jammies, then bed.


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Watching the World Shut Down

Italy is closed. Yes, the whole country.

I am watching the US, in particular Dallas where I live, slowly grind to a halt.

As of today . . . Gatherings of over 500 are banned. Now that’s big for a wedding, but it’s small for a rally. I hope we are able to go back to large gatherings after the crisis passes.

Schools are closing. Around here most schools have more than 500 students so that’s in line. But there are concerns that some kids rely on that school lunch and even the school breakfast. And many parents are only able to work because the kids are looked after.

Mega churches are also shutting down. Of course many of them already have online services so that might not affect attendance. Or it might. They might find out how many people go for the fellowship rather than the message.

The Dallas Museum of Art has closed until further notice. I can see museums becoming echoing halls of antiquities that nobody visits even after the crisis is over. I have a Logan’s Run1984 feeling about it.

The city has declared a state of emergency for health purposes. Government is cutting back to bare bones staffing. City managers will not all be in the same room any more.

People are encouraged to “self quarantine”, which basically means isolating yourself in your home. When in public, try to keep 6 feet between yourself and other people. Don’t hug or shake hands. Call the doctor and the hospital before showing up at the office, because they might not be able to accommodate you.

I have concerns. Self quarantine is an awful lot like isolating, which is a problem for those of us with behavioral health concerns. I really appreciate my support groups and the friends I have made there.

Nobody keeps a 6 feet space between each other. I was in Walmart last night and the lines were packed. People were right up against one another. Lines were long. I see chaos resulting from trying to make space. Lines would reach up aisles which would interfere with shoppers. People wouldn’t realize who was in line and accidentally cut others off.

I am less scared of the virus than I am of the government.

Texas has 46 reported cases of Covid-19, with about 7 of them in DFW. That isn’t very many, but this is still the beginning of the situation. I expect to get sick. I expect it to be like a very bad cold. I don’t expect to get the shortness of breath part but you never know. I understand the concern is about having sufficient medical services. Once you get to the breathing issues, the best treatment is a ventilator. Problem is, there are only so many ventilators so only so many people can be treated. The goal is to keep the number of cases manageable. Nobody really talks about containment, though you would think the self quarantine thing would help. People are going to get sick, is all I’m saying. Better if the numbers are spread over a longer time so that fewer people are sick at the same time. I hear there are other countries where the number of people needing treatment has exceeded the capacity of hospitals to care for them, and they are making some hard triage decisions. Hopefully we can avoid that situation.

We are, for the first time as a nation, looking at employment decisions. About 60% of citizens live paycheck to paycheck. People have 2 or 3 low paying jobs to make ends meet. And low paying jobs are often part time and without benefits. Here are all these people in service jobs who work closely with the public who can’t afford to stay home and still meet their financial obligations. Things are going to change, though I can’t say what those changes will be.

These are my thoughts at this point in the process. I don’t know what’s going to happen so I have no real speculation yet about how things will affect me. I am not looking forward to being stuck in the house. I don’t know how this will affect my job search. Anything could happen.

I will make it through. I just wonder what the world will be like when everything’s over.


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North Texas Irish Festival 2020

I volunteered for North Texas Irish Festival this year.

For me, it’s a good deal. I get access to the show when I’m not working, I get a t-shirt, and I get beer tickets. Totally worthwhile.

I love the music, though I must say I was a little disappointed in one group that played Willie Nelson music, and Jolene, and other pop songs. I mean, I can hear pop music anywhere, I go to Irish Fest to hear Celtic music.

I worked the information booth, first at one of the entrances, then at the Shannon stage, which is the main stage. I got to find out where all the events were. It was fun to interact with happy people and give suggestions about where to eat and what to see.

Here is a list of people watching observations:

People who don’t dress up themselves, will dress up their dogs. Many of them of course had green bandannas. Several had green tutus. One was actually dyed green.

People dyed their hair, but surprisingly few dyed it green. I saw more people with pink-and-blue Harley Quinn hair. Purple was the most common single color. One lady had her hair colored in layers, bleached white on top of violet, very cool.

I really enjoy a good kilt. Only one man was wearing the whole nine yards, and there were a lot of Utili-kilts and Kommando Kilts. I particularly like the ones that are black on the top of the pleats but when they open, they are plaid on the inside. Not at all traditional but a great effect.

There were so many natural redheads!

Lots of people in renaissance garb, both male and female. Fewer than in past years though. I remember when Irish Fest was the first ren event of the season in Dallas, but now Sherwood Forest Faire is the premier event.

For men, the look was basically t-shirt with jeans or kilt, renaissance garb, or some really good steampunk. Only one couple, though, were both steampunk. Usually steampunk men had modern women.

Hats were a big deal. One girl had a great felted strawberry had that looked like something a faerie would wear. Several men had oversized caps. I saw a few women with witch hats, which were very cool with their decorations. Baseball caps of course because Texas. And brimmed hats with hat bands.

Women seemed to fall into two categories: crazy t-shirt ladies, maybe with fun earrings or hair accessories; and corset girls. Many women wore kilts, which I’m not sure about. I get wanting a cute plaid skirt, but I thought kilts were for men.

I like Guiness. I miss dressing up. I like free t-shirts. I enjoy volunteering. This was a good weekend.