Kiss5Tigers

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


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Nasal Swabbing

At work we have a handyman. He works for a number of people, but he was over here last week hanging a room divider for the girls’ room. On Friday, he called us and told us he was being tested for Coronavirus because someone in his apartment complex had it. Today he called us with the results: His test came back positive.

Now of course we are sorry that he is sick, although he has no symptoms. However, that means that our household needed to be tested. Fortunately, Watermark Church is doing free testing for people without insurance. Since I am on the Parkland Plan, I don’t have traditional insurance and I got the test for free.

Let me tell you: The nurse who administers it is a little humorous about it. “That physical feeling of being violated will pass, the emotional part I can’t help you with.” Which was actually cute the way she said it.

But yeah! Did it feel like a violation!

The swab is about 8″ long and it goes up your nose. Up your nose and down your throat and into your brain. It is a long-ass swab. It wasn’t exactly painful but it was not at all pleasant.

Of course I got all tense and that makes it worse. They do it with you sitting in the car and I arched all up out of the seat. I felt like, if I could have tipped my head at a different angle, it would have been better. But yeah, not fun, not fun at all.

The whole car got tested and now we wait for our results. For the next 2 weeks we are quarantined which means the 5 of us (me, Victoria, our 2 guests and the baby) are stuck in the house. Together. Victoria and I get along pretty well, I don’t know the girls will be after being cooped up for 14 days.

I am going to let my daughter take the car for the quarantine. She has things she needs to get done and I can’t go anywhere so she might as well use it. I hate for things to be wasted through non use. (Remind me of that with regard to art supplies.)

I did however get two very cool masks in the mail today from Lilydale. Who is a person in Canada. I don’t know her real name, she’s an online friend so I only know her alias. So that was a nice surprise.

And I got Jack-in-the-Box for lunch. Tacos and egg rolls. Greasy greasy food but I’ve been eating home cooking for a couple weeks now so it was really good for a change.

Here’s hoping the tests come back negative and life returns to “normal”.


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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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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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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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A Better Day

Today was better than the past couple have been.

First of all, I got my meds under control. I am taking the right things in the right dose at the right time. That is huge. I still have to pay attention to the blood pressure meds though. Parkland only gave me a week’s worth and the earliest appointment I could get was in May which is, well, more than a week away. So getting that managed will be important.

I woke up in pajamas with no idea how I got into them. I was wearing a white t-shirt that I have been looking for, and I don’t know where I found it. I have no memory of putting myself to bed. But I was exhausted from being up all night Wednesday night with my daughter.

I made it to ATTA, my art group, today. I really like them. I am working on a mail art project where I need to make 40 little pieces of art the size of a postcard. Yup, 40. Which isn’t a lot but it’s a whole lot to do. I’m not sure how I feel about the individual pieces, or rather I’m sure I don’t care for several of them already, but a body of work is interesting. I think I’ll try it again with a series rather than individual works. The thing is to mail it off to a third party who will bind them into books with other people’s work, and then send me one. I can’t wait to see what other people do.

I haven’t made mail art in a long time, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.

I stopped at Burger King on the way home. I had missed breakfast so I was really hungry. I swear it was the best burger, which I know is because of my appetite.

When I got home, I napped on the sofa. Sitting up, not stretched out. I’m glad I slept though I had planned to work out this afternoon. I needed the extra sleep. I dreamed that I had inherited a horse, then woke up to find something on the TV about cowboys, so that made sense.

I have a recurring location in my dreams. It seems to be a house that I live in and a city. I travel places. I have neighbors. It’s like an alternate life. Charles de Lint, one of my favorite authors, has a story about a woman named Sophie who is the daughter of the moon, who has an alternate life at night when she dreams. If he didn’t, I would write that story based on my own experiences. Now if I tried, I’d be afraid I was plagiarizing his work. More closely than simply inspiration, I mean.

I am reading The Muse Is In by Jill Badonsky. I’ve known her online for several years now. Not that we’re close or anything. I guess I’ve followed her more than actually knowing her. I found the book at Half Price Books and grabbed it. It’s a little bit difficult to read, in the physical sense. Of course I am sure they are shrinking the fonts in published materials, which is no doubt my age, but this is also a creative font and the pages are colored. It’s a very fun book, but it may be a case where style has overtaken substance. Which is a shame, because what I’ve read so far is very good.

I finally heard from my friend K. She knows she’s been busy and hasn’t had much time for me, so that’s good. She is seeing the new boyfriend 3 times a week, which seems like a lot pretty quickly, but you know, good for her. She’s been wanting a partner for a long time now. I need to get back to her and say that I’d be happy to do things as a group if she wants to share the boyfriend’s company. Weekends are generally better for me to see her, and I imagine they spend at least one weekend night together.

It’s also my friend B’s 10 year cancer free anniversary. We’re going to go to a movie to celebrate, then get together with other friends later in the week. M and T have also had cancer now, I am the only one who hasn’t. M is still in treatment, and that’s interfering with all of us meeting up Sunday.

Saturday evening, I’m planning on going to a meeting called a College of Complexes. The topic is creativity and I can afford the “tuition” and maybe a pizza or a plate of food. I’ve never been and I don’t know anybody, so it depends on how confident I feel tomorrow evening.

I need a shower. I haven’t had one in like 5 days. It just seems so unnecessary, which I know isn’t true. I could wash my hair, shave my legs, clean off the sweat. All good things. I know it’s the depression end of my bipolar that makes this hard. I’m gonna try to do it before going to bed.

I also need to do laundry. I think I’ll start it tomorrow morning while everyone is asleep. I don’t know why I can’t seem to do laundry when people are around. I often do it while the roommates are out of the house. Something about being observed, I guess.

So that’s life the last few days. Art is good. Daughter is doing okay, still swollen in the knee but hurting less. Daily tasks need help. Mail art!

Enjoy


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A Moment of Frustration

It’s financial.

Of course it’s financial.

It’s always financial.

Oh, the Michael’s paycheck saga. I worked for them in November, until I was called by FEMA. Now that was frustrating because FEMA asked me to commit for 60 days, then let me go after 19. I would have turned down the deployment and stayed with Michael’s if I’d known it was gonna go like that.

Anyway.

I left right before one payday, and was deployed for the next payday. Then I got back right before Christmas, so I didn’t get to the store until after the new year to pick up my checks. Unfortunately, they had been returned to corporate rather than mailing them to me. Bummer, but okay, I’ll deal with corporate.

Well that’s not so easy. The number I could find online was for customer service not the head office. So I called customer service, who connected me to HR. I left a message. Several days later I left another message. I finally reached someone who emailed me a form to fill out. The form.

The form was a .pdf but I was unable to unlock it for editing. Didn’t even show up as an option. I had to print it out. Then I had to access the payroll portal to get the check dates. I filled out the form, and realized I didn’t know how to return them. I didn’t have a fax number or a physical address, so I called Michael’s again.

I am surprised by how difficult a concept this is to explain over the phone. “Just fill out the form online and email it back to us.” Well I tried that, it doesn’t work. I hung up on one person who clearly wasn’t getting it. I finally got a person who suggested taking a picture of the form with my phone and emailing that back. Well. Should’ve thought of that myself. Good idea. So that’s what I did.

Then I got an email saying I needed to fill out a different form that included the check number and the amount. I had to email them to request a copy of the form. Then I had to go back to the payroll portal to get the additional check information. I printed out the forms and completed them. This time, there was a list of 5 fax numbers on the form with instructions to send the form to them. I don’t own a fax.

Fortunately, the unemployment office has a free fax machine, so I went down there and faxed. I faxed to all the numbers because I was gonna cover my bases. Nobody at unemployment even asked what I was doing.

Today I got an email asking me to confirm my mailing address. I sure hope that means the checks will be cut soon and forwarded to me. I mean, it’s been since November and I need the money.

That brings me to my second source of frustration. I had to use the company card while I was deployed because I didn’t have any money in the bank. Most of my expenses were covered but a few were not. That’s okay, and it’s normal. So I have to pay a few things out of pocket. Not a problem if I’m working, but I haven’t received a check since Christmas and I simply am out of money. I hope the Michael’s check arrives soon.

On top of that, my car is due for a sticker this month. I need to get an inspection and pay for registration, another $150 or thereabouts total. Where is that check?

Now I will be working 4 days this week. I have a training. But I will lose about 1/3 of my check to taxes. Then another $200 for health insurance. Then another $200 for back health insurance, since I’ve been covered for the past year without making a payment, so I owe that money. Really I won’t have any cash in my pocket from this expedition. But I will have a coach and evaluator certification, which hopefully will make me more appealing to have in the field. Maybe.

I still haven’t heard from the other cadre about making the change to a different team. In November they told me it would be 2 months. With the holidays I expected it to take longer. I did email them, asking them if they needed more information, just to see if someone would get back to me. So far, nothing.

Speaking of nothing, I haven’t heard from the 911 dispatcher job I applied for either. I took the test. I was the second person done. I guess I wasn’t as good as I thought. Not even a “thank you for applying, we’ve decided to go another route”. In fact, I don’t even know what my test score is.

In other news, I finally found my keys which I put in a “safe place” before I was deployed. I’ve been without a house key since Christmas. They were in a bag along with my correspondence supplies and unanswered letters. I have been working on replying to those letters and I went to one of my out-of-the-house workspaces so I had room to empty the bag and spread out. Lo and behold, there in the bottom of the bag were my keys.

And I have entered the art exhibition. Two pieces. I’ve never entered a juried show before so I don’t know if my work is good enough. I hope it is. I won’t know for like a month if I’m accepted.

In the meantime, I continue looking for work. Sooner or later something will give and I’ll be back among the gainfully employed.


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Shopping

Shopping is bad for me.

And yet I love to do it.

I did some online shopping. I ordered stamps, which I need. I ordered art supplies, which maybe I don’t need, but they are with a purpose. I ordered some really cool yarn for specific projects. I love yarn so one of my rules for myself is that I must have a project in mind. And I went on Etsy and ordered some vintage ephemera for junk journaling.

I also spend money on tickets to the Perot Museum with friends on Saturday and some yogurt pretzels. Then Saturday night have dinner out with friends, Sunday I have a ceramics class, and Monday I have dinner out with my roommates.

I’m hemorrhaging cash.

I need to get this under control.

I also need to put gas in the car, help my daughter pay for a replacement ID and do a little grocery shopping.

Money vanishes so fast! I don’t feel like I”m doing much but I’m spending too much.

In other news, Hurricane Dorian is a thing. It’s due to strike Puerto Rico and Florida, two places that got slammed last hurricane season and aren’t dug out yet. Neither one is prepared for another disaster.

Roommate says I need to clean my room. How do I say, it’s hot so I don’t want to hang out in there? I have an air conditioner in the window, but it’s an older house and if I turn it on while the one in the living room is running, it blows the circuit. I can’t imagine my roommates want to turn off the main a/c in order for me to clean my room. So I will work on it somewhat at the beginning and the end of the day, when I am awake and the a/c is on but it doesn’t interfere with the roommates’ comfort.

And yes, it IS hot. This is Texas. For the past week, temperatures have been over 100 F with heat index around 110. We had a cold front come through which dropped temperatures by 15 degrees, but that’s still over 90. I am just hot and uncomfortable with no air. I should be used to it – there’s no air conditioning in my car either – but for doing a task I am loathe to do, heat is a deal breaker.

Waiting for the cooler weather, thinking of how to tidy my room, it’s all part of life.