Kiss5Tigers

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


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The Argument About Selling Seeds

Piggybacking off yesterday’s post . . .

It seems odd to me that seeds are considered non-essential, but here’s the thing:

There are small businesses and mom-and-pop places that sell seeds, toys, pet supplies, etc. which have been told to close because they are not essential businesses.

Here comes the big box store selling groceries and with a bank and a pharmacy, but also selling furniture and craft paint and clothes and car parts and camping supplies and toys and gardening supplies. Customers can go in the store because groceries and pharmacy are essential, but they can buy this other stuff as well.

Small businesses say, if it’s not essential for me to sell, then it’s not essential for them to sell. Or, to put it the other way, if WalMart can sell seeds as an essential business, then so can Ruibal’s. (By the way, Ruibal’s at Farmers Market in Dallas has one of my favorite shop cats. Just saying.) It’s not fair to close Ruibal’s and allow WalMart to do that kind of business. It basically puts the little guy out of business while allowing the behemoth to benefit from picking up the slack.

So in some places — because this seems to be by location, not a federal mandate — you will find big box stores with different departments closed.

I hadn’t really thought how bad this lockdown is for small businesses, but now that it’s come to my attention, I can see it.

And I am a fan of small businesses, I want to see them survive this event.


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Hunger Busters

I had the opportunity to work for an organization called Hunger Busters this week. They provide lunches for kids who usually get the free lunch at school. Since schools are closed, many times these kids simply don’t eat. This program provides 2 meals per day per child, Monday through Friday. All you need is the kid’s name and the name of the school, although they like to have a student ID number too.

Now it’s not haute cuisine. I spent my time making ham and cheese sandwiches, and stuffing apples and chips into paper sacks. But for a kid who might not get lunch, this is a necessary meal. Can’t have hungry kids roaming around, so I felt good about feeding the little ones.

I still haven’t got the ShiftSmart app working on my phone. It simply doesn’t show me any shifts. I have emailed them asking for help so hopefully they’ll get back to me shortly. I got one email from them saying they’d reply within half an hour, and then a second one saying due to high volume etc. etc. it would be more like 3 to 5 days. So I wait.

I visited my daughter after working. It was good to see her. What was even nicer, was seeing boyfriend come home. They play together. They joke and wrestle and enjoy each other’s company. It made me happy. I hope it lasts. Just writing this puts tears in my eyes for her. Big mom emotion.

I am mostly packed. Probably about 80% done. I have run out of places to put boxes in my room. I am at the point where I mostly have to do laundry so today I washed my comforter and some blankets. Tomorrow I’ll wash black clothes and underwear. Nothing amazing but it needs to get done.

Packing is both easy and hard. I am excited to find stuff I’ve been missing. I’m a snail mail geek, so I was happy to find some packages of envelopes. On the other hand, I don’t know how to put this things in boxes so I can find it again. That’s the rub. It’s not boxing things up, there’s no difficulty just picking up the next item and dropping it in a box. The problem is doing it in a way that’s at least semi organized so you can find stuff later. But most of it is art supplies so finding any of it at all will be amazing.

I don’t fully understand why I keep getting certain things in the mail. I am out of money and overdrawn at the bank. How can I keep getting things that I haven’t paid for? But here we are, I got a package from my house items today, and I know I didn’t order it. I can’t afford it. So we shall see what happens.

Money continues to be an issue in my life. Shepherd Inn is talking about paying me maybe $500 a month, since room and board is covered. That still only brings me to about $17,000 a year so I’ll need another job as well. Plus I still owe the government for health insurance and for that company card. I thought I had made a huge payment on that card but it apparently bounced out so the amount is a lot larger than I thought. I am very stressed about money.

I found my 2″ circle punch so that made me happy. It was in the car, of all places. I’m thinking, with this punch, I could make pins. I mean those button type pins for novelty items. I don’t know how much the machine costs though so it might not be cost effective. Now if I have a wealthy reader who is feeling generous . . . (I’m sure you’re all in the boat I am.)

So I keep on trucking. Life continues its forward momentum. And really, in this time of stress and blockage, that’s a miracle.


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Moving Forward

In so many ways it feels like life has come to a complete halt but in other ways it’s still moving forward.

It’s spring in Texas. Bluebonnets are out along the highway and I saw a lovely patch of Indian paint brush the other day. I haven’t seen anybody stopping to take the obligatory annual bluebonnet photos that are a Texas tradition, but that is likely to be due to rain as much as social distancing.

Pumpkin the cat has had a litter of 4 kittens. Daughter now has 14 cats in her house: 2 of her own, 1 of her boyfriend’s, and 4 that belong to her roommates plus 2 litters of kittens. One litter is actually old enough to go to new homes but the person who wants them lives in another state and travel is restricted right now.

We had a meeting at Dunbar House with a potential client. She seems like she could really benefit from 3 – 6 months of assistance while she gets her feet under her. And she seems pretty motivated to move her life ahead. The drawbacks are that she has a dog which she simply could not bring with her, and she has a significant other who she would like to stay with. We can’t take in a couple. In fact, I said to V today, we should let it be known that there is no dating within the household. I just see that being a bit of a problem.

I am still planning to move on the 18th. I picked up boxes from a friend today. It was so weird, both of us with masks and afraid to actually chat about anything because of risk of exposure. I just totally appreciate the boxes. I should be able to finish packing now.

I am finding all kinds of cool stuff in my bedroom as I pack. I mean, I knew I had it. I just didn’t know where it was exactly.

I need to do much laundry in the next week. Charli the kitty has been peeing in my laundry again so I need to get that handled and packed. If I can just wash and pack that will be easiest.

I have no idea where I’ll be putting stuff once I move. So much of it is art supplies. I need to actually use art supplies instead of just buying them. I hope to have an opportunity to make some art once I move.

So yeah, things are difficult and strange, but on the other hand the situation is changing even as I write this. Slowly but still shifting. Slow is not staying still, so that’s good. Hopefully things will be different before too long, in a good way.

I feel pretty optimistic today.


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Post Apocalyptic Pharmacy

I went to the pharmacy today. Usually that would be just one more thing in a list of places but today it was a trip in and of itself.

I don’t have a general practitioner or as the insurance people say, a primary care physician. I don’t have insurance right now so I use the public health system. I go to Parkland. My pharmacy is on the hospital campus.

I ran out of my blood pressure meds with this last refill of my meds box so I called it in. They told me everything would be ready Monday. I made my daughter get up and go with me in the morning to get them.

When I got to the pharmacy building, only one door was open. A path was cordoned off so you could only go one way. Two nurses in masks stood at the corner. First they asked why you were there. Some people had appointments but most of us were for the pharmacy. Then they took my temperature. 97.5. I feel like a radio station.

Next I was directed down the line to get a wristband. It was like a concert wristband with a tribal design on it. Then another nurse directed me to the hand sanitizer. After that I was finally able to enter the pharmacy.

The check-in line had X’es taped on the floor showing where to stand. The receptionist didn’t take my ID as usual. Instead I held it up to the glass partition for her to read. The glass partition has always been there, with just a slit to talk through and have her hand me a ticket. I always figured it was a physical safety issue, to keep violent people away like at a bank only for drugs not money, but now I think it has always been about disease.

Turned out my meds were not ready and they needed me to come back after 1230. I left the building and went with my daughter back to her place for a few hours. Coffee and kittens made the wait pass quickly. Just after 12 I got an automated call from Parkland that my meds were ready.

My daughter and I drove back to the pharmacy. I brought my daughter to wait in the car so I wouldn’t have to pay for parking. My budget is that tight right now, that $5 for parking seemed exorbitant. I went through the process again and was let into the building. This time the receptionist gave me a number.

I went into the waiting room. Usually it’s packed. The seats are arranged in rows of 6 and I’m used to 4 or 5 people sitting in each row. Today there was only one person in each row. Several people were wearing masks.

I was number 807. When I arrived, they were on number 788. I figured it would be a solid half hour wait. It was about half that. Things progressed smoothly and rapidly. I got my meds and by the time I left, it was pouring rain. Fortunately my daughter had been waiting nearby so I didn’t have long to wait to be picked up.

Now I am home. It seems so strange now, just going to the pharmacy. I also wonder what I will do the next time. I am now out of refills and insurance. I don’t know how I’ll get my meds next month. Even if they do an automatic refill extension like most places are, I don’t have any income and I don’t know how I’ll pay for them. But I have faith that something will have changed by then.

The world is all different right now and it changed practically overnight. I believe it can change again just as fast, in ways I can’t predict. I can only wait and see.


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What To Do?

When I started this post, I was thinking more, what activity should I pursue now?

Now that I’ve called my daughter, I am thinking about what to do about Covid-19 treatment protocols.

I am concerned that, IF I get sick and IF it is bad enough that I need a ventilator, I will be denied one. I am 55, which isn’t terribly old but it’s not young, and I have a pre-existing mental health condition. I don’t exactly fit the profile of a good risk if there is a shortage of ventilators. I wanted to give my daughter an advanced directive to fight for me. I am not done with life yet.

I know, I know, I’m probably over-reacting. Yet there are decisions being made that point in that direction.

A Texas politician has suggested that grandparents would be willing to die for a strong economy for their descendants. Collin County has determined that all businesses are essential to a healthy economy so they are not closing things down. Now businesses still have to follow the governor’s guidelines like having fewer than 10 people in the building, but the business doesn’t have to close.

In the meantime, there are almost 1400 cases of coronavirus in Texas, and I believe right around 20 deaths. We are still on the up side of this curve, and I fully expect things to get worse before they get better. I expect to get sick and be sick for like 3 weeks, and get over it. But just in case that isn’t how it plays out, I want my position known from the start. That’s why I called my daughter.

Monday I am due to go to the pharmacy and pick up my meds. I asked my daughter to go with me because I’m not sure I have the money for parking. One of us can wait in the car for the other one.

I have a friend with some boxes for me. We are trying to figure out how to get them without having contact. I figure she can put them on the porch and I can get them.

I really want desert tonight but there is nothing sweet left in the house. There isn’t even bread for toast. But I want a snack so I’ll have to find something.

Stay safe out there. It’s getting real.

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Sheltering in Place

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 days since I last posted. I mean, I guess, so little is going on in my life right now that the last post, which I think was the last time I was out around people, seems like it just happened. The days are blurring together.

So, situation report. Dallas County has gone to sheltering in place. Nobody can leave the house without a reason. You need to have documents from your boss to go to work. You can go to the grocery store or the pharmacy. And that’s about it. Now I don’t know how they’re going to enforce the work documents. And if I’m driving to the grocer’s, well, how do I prove that? Current guideline is, if you don’t have the paperwork, you can get up to 180 days in jail. What do I get for going to the pharmacy? I mean, I need my meds.

I was supposed to have a third interview for Shepherd Inn this evening, but we cancelled it. It was mostly a meet and greet with the board, not a final decision. So we are still planning a move-in date of April 4. This should be okay, assuming the shelter-in-place orders are lifted on April 3, as anticipated at this time. I sure hope so, because I need help moving my stuff so I need people to have a certain amount of mobility.

I did have group today. We met on Zoom. There were about 10 of us altogether which is really pretty good for online.

I also heard that people need to be checked on. We are stressed and we are already less than optimum, so I must remember to check on people over the weekend when we don’t meet.

It’s so easy for us to fall into the doldrums. I nap a lot now. I am both energized and dragging, waiting for something to happen. I need to pack but I’m not sure how fast. I mean, I want to leave stuff out so I can amuse myself, but it’s not like I do anything right now. I kind of can’t focus but I need to do something to make the time pass. I don’t feel like I can make art right now. It seems frivolous somehow. Not to mention that I don’t really have the space for it. I don’t have any work space right now.

I went to check the mail today. I talked to my daughter while I took the walk. It was good to hear her voice. There wasn’t anything good in the mail, just a magazine that I can’t read because there isn’t enough light in this room and the print is so small, and some junk mail. I need to generate mail so that fun mail comes back to me.

I read an article about Covid19 today, and what the end stages look like. Pretty much you drown in your own body fluids. The care provider said he expected to see yellows and greens because that’s what infections look like, but with this he is seeing pinks. The capillaries in the lungs are leaking red blood cells into the lungs. Also, between delirium from the fever and the inability to draw a deep breath, patients are struggling and flailing in their beds. Some of them have even pulled out the breathing tube because it feels like they are being suffocated. So often they are being restrained. Clearly for their own good, but it looks and sounds horrible. Not to mention, even if you get through the crisis, there can be terrible damage to the lungs. However, Europe is doing drug trials for a, well, I’m not sure it would actually be a cure, so I guess that makes it a treatment. They are looking at a small handful of drugs: a malaria drug, an ebola drug, and two AIDS drugs, if I recall correctly.

So that’s about it. That’s my life right now. I miss getting out and getting around people. I need to remember to keep taking showers and getting dressed because it helps me feel better. Normalcy is a long way away and I don’t know how long this will continue. Trying to be more optimistic. Might even succeed.


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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.