Kiss5Tigers

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


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The More Things Change

It seems I am too poor for unemployment. I didn’t earn enough money in the last year to qualify. Well, that’s why I left that job: As much as I loved it, I needed more hours. I miss it, but maybe I can go back to it one day. Assuming, that is, that I can pay them what I owe them. They covered me for health insurance for a year where I did not pay my part so I owe them that premium. And it’s the government, so if I don’t pay it back, they’ll keep my tax refund, if I get one.

Additionally, I have been approved for the temporary unemployment money but it’s not being paid to me. I qualified under the previous claim so it would be over $500 a week. Would be. If they would pay it to me. I have requested payment every two weeks on the regular unemployment claim, even though they won’t pay me. That’s the only time I can make a payment request. However, the temporary payment says there is no record of me making a payment request. I have no idea what they are looking for.

I have been trying for 8 weeks to reach someone at Texas Workforce Commission who can help me with this, but I can’t get through. I am so frustrated that I contacted my representative, Ms Eddie Johnson. Of course I did not speak to her directly, but her assistant gave me a phone number for a real person. I have called him 3 times now. The first time, I got an admin who listened to my issue and said someone would call me back, probably the same day. I called back at the end of the day, and I called today, but I got voicemail those times. I left a message today. I will call again tomorrow.

In the meantime, we are re-arranging the living situation. V my boss is moving out of the house into a new townhouse we’re renting. I will move into her bedroom as soon as she is out of it. That’s the plan anyway. Then our resident will move into the room I’m currently in, and we will have room for 2 more girls. Of course it isn’t going that smoothly.

I have been moving stuff out of my room for several hours now, into the garage. There’s no room for it in my new room because that room is fully furnished. I don’t mind lots of stuff going into the garage, but some stuff should stay climate controlled, like photographs. And some stuff I want access to, like art supplies. So I am down to the point where I’m not sure what to do with stuff.

Also, V has not moved her personal belongings out of the bedroom yet so I can’t move my clothes and things in. She wants to move the furniture into my bedroom but we can’t do that while my stuff is there and right now I have no place to put my stuff. It goes around in circles.

Tonight I took a CPR class. Again. I took it two years ago for FEMA and now I am taking it for Shepherd Inn. The rules have changed slightly. The big deal about CPR is remember compressions and call 911. There are other instructions like using the AED and giving breaths every 30 compressions, but the big two are call 911 and do compressions. Also the choking has changed. They no longer call it the Heimlich maneuver. They suggest doing it over the back of a chair. And you no longer thump the person between the shoulder blades. Otherwise, it’s the same material.

I am tired and expect to make my bed soon and climb into it. I would sleep in my own room but there is a much bigger bed waiting for me in V’s room. I can’t wait to have the dogs gone so my kitty can sleep with me and wander the house. She likes being able to be near me.

The sink is full of dishes. The drainer is full of dishes. I have to empty the drainer before I can wash the other dishes. Of course, while I do make dishes, I don’t make all the dishes; yet I wash all the dishes. I don’t mind washing dishes I make dirty even if it’s by cooking for the household. I just wish people would wash their own dishes instead of leaving them in the sink for me to manage.

I have the doctor tomorrow morning, finally. It only took 3 months to get in to see someone. This will be for my blood pressure meds though I will ask about my psych meds. I’d just as soon do it all through Parkland as have half of it here and half of it there. Yeah, I think I’ll be getting ready for bed soon, take a shower, so I can be ready in the morning when it’s time to go.

I am thinking again lately of finding a life mate. V is madly in love with someone, so is K. Even my daughter has a serious boyfriend. And here I am, with a last date literally 10 years ago. It’s time. I don’t know how to meet someone, but I’m feeling like maybe it would be nice to have someone to do things with. Maybe. I am wary.

I think I’ve said all this before just in different places. My life doesn’t change much, even though it seems to be in constant motion.


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New Digs

I am now living in Dallas proper, not just in the Dallas area.

I have a room at Shepherd Inn where I am the house manager. Right now that mostly means I cook. I don’t love cooking, but everyone likes my food here so I don’t hate it either.

My ex husband hated my cooking. He is the only person I know who could make the statement “This is like gourmet food” sound like an insult. He liked very processed food and I tend to start with ingredients and try to add veg whenever possible. He didn’t like veg. He wanted meat, cheese and bread. I’m surprised he didn’t have more digestion issues than he did. Anyway.

It’s nice to cook for people who appreciate it. I made crock pot chicken twice now. Banana bread. Egg salad. Omelets. Salmon. I have a crock pot of apple sauce cooking. It’ll be like apple pie filling without the crust. Chicken salad. This week I’ll try for spaghetti sauce. We have a couple pounds of venison in the freezer that I want to use up. Maybe chili later in the week.

We have our first guest at Shepherd Inn. She was an emergency intake, her boyfriend basically beat the shit out of her and she had nowhere to go. We are supposed to get a young single mom later this week. It’s pretty exciting. I really hope we can make a difference in these people’s lives.

V is painting the living room with her mother. I hope it’s done in time to go grocery shopping later today. We don’t need a lot of stuff but we are out of a few things. I’m working on this and on my Patreon today so I’m not painting. I don’t really have clothes to paint in anyway.

I had a job interview yesterday with Texas Workforce Commission, or Work In Texas or whatever euphemism they’re using for the unemployment office these days. I guess it’s not actually the unemployment office because all that is handled through a single office in Austin. The local centers are all about employment. So the position would be helping people get further education to move into a different field and helping with job matching. I was deucedly unprepared for the interview. They wanted to know what I knew about the job, which was pretty much nothing. I did tell them at the end that I knew I didn’t a lot about the job, but a benefit of that is that they can train me their way because I don’t bring a lot of preconceived notions with me. They gave me several scenarios to comment on. V overheard — it was online so I was in the kitchen — and said I interviewed really well. I’m not sure the interviewers share her opinion. But I did my best, what else can a person do?

I spoke to unemployment this week. They called me which was good because I had been trying for ages to reach them and couldn’t get through. I was offered that job at the census bureau but not given a start date. Now census says operations are suspended so I can’t even guess when they’ll need me. I figured I probably qualified for the extra $600 they are giving out, even though I have otherwise used up my benefits for the year. So they are going to update the information and reapply for me. See what happens.

I had several face masks, and now I can’t find any of them. I have misplaced the llama one and the sugar skull one. Sugar skulls might be in the car so I should check there but the llamas, I don’t know. I really need to look for them in case we go out later. We’re supposed to go grocery shopping and we are still social distancing.

Texas is supposed to be opening up starting yesterday. Restaurants are open at 25% capacity to keep distance between diners. Bars the same. But I am hoping for Barnes & Noble or Half Price Books to open. I miss coffee and browse the stacks. So many cool books waiting for me to read them.

I am currently reading Unf#ck Your Brain by Faith G. Harper. It’s a small book but it is taking me forever to read. I really hate that I can’t read any more. Well I can still read, I mean, I know how; but I seem to lack the focus to actually read a book. Even fiction.

I have put in my background check for CK Family Services. Talk about extensive! Ten years of residences, 6 personal references, and oh yeah supply my own copy of my driving record. Even the government didn’t ask for that much stuff. Though I suppose they have a record of my addresses due to filing income tax.

Parkland has been a headache. I am out of my blood pressure meds and I can’t get them. The out-of-pocket price was $108 which I just don’t have. I tried to apply for the Parkland Plan but I didn’t have all the documents I needed. I was told to bring a copy of my latest bank statement. I went back yesterday with the statement and they told me it was supposed to be my last 3 statements. I can go back Monday to finish the process but oh boy, do I not feel like going. But I will. I will feel pretty achy by Monday and be ready to get my meds. I might bring daughter down with me since she needs the insurance too. She would also benefit from the VIP program for abuse survivors. I just don’t know if she’ll live in town long enough to attend it. Her lease is up in August.

So much going on, and I’m feeling a real need to look for those masks. I think I’ll jump off here.


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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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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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In Which I Name Names

I thought I was smarter than this, but I guess not. Here is the story:

I do seasonal work in disaster relief but there weren’t any major disasters last year so I only worked 5 weeks. I’ve been looking for another job, either one that pays me as well, or one I won’t feel guilty about leaving if I get called back. I recently updated my resume on Work In Texas, the website associated with the state’s unemployment system. I was contacted by a representative saying she might have a job for me.

The woman gave me the name Florence Carter. She texted me a few times then asked if we could move the conversation to Google Hangouts. She told me the name of the company was Amanta Healthcare Limited. I looked them up. They are a company in India that provides medical products. It was a very professional website. It had several pages. Google also showed me an article on the company by Bloomberg, and there was information about them being bought out. Looked legit. I thought, okay, they’re in India, that’s why they want to handle everything online.

We conducted an online interview. This is not the first time someone has asked me for that. They offered me a data entry job, work from home. I have friends who work from home for companies like Hilton and AAA, so this was not a red flag for me.

Ms Carter told me I would need to purchase some software and the company would send me a check. The next day, Fedex dropped off an envelope. Inside was a check for $4950.00. That seemed like a lot of money. It was drawn on Chase bank. I called Chase and gave them the name on the check, NY Iola Attorney Trust Account Moliterno PC, and the tracking and account number off the bottom of the check. Chase verified that it was an active account.

The package also contained a letter, stating not to bring the check to the bank to cash. Honestly, I would never do that. The last time I tried to cash a check, the bank involved kept something like 6%. When I was a young person, you could take a check to the bank it was drawn on and cash it with an ID. Nowadays the bank won’t cash it unless you also have an account at that bank. So still no red flags since I was like, “Why would I do that?”

The letter also told me to drop an email to Caroline Hampton, the Financial Accounting Officer, at payrollrep@accountant.com to let her know I had received the check. She emailed me back telling me to deposit the check and follow up with my supervisor, who I assumed was Florence Carter.

I bank with Citibank. Citibank does not have an office in Texas, where I live. I deposited the check using the phone app. Florence asked for a copy of the deposit ticket, but I didn’t use one. I took a screen shot showing the pending deposit, but it did not have any of my banking information in it.

Florence asked me how much money was deposited to my account. I told her that I deposited the whole check, but my bank would hold it for several days since it was from a new source. I didn’t have any additional money showing in my account. She asked if I could cover the cost of some software until the check cleared so I could start training. I figured I could live without $200. She asked me to use it to purchase a Google Play card to use for the software. Odd, but I had the check so okay, let’s see where this goes. Worst comes to worst, I own some new software I don’t need.

I went to Walmart. I picked up some coolant for my car, some washcloths and the gift card. My card was declined. I really needed the coolant, so I had everything else put back. $8.73. Declined. So I called the bank.

Calling the bank is always a hassle because it takes so much effort to get a person. The system really wants you to use the automated information but I have never yet called the bank for something that is prerecorded. I finally got a person. He hmmm’d and aha’d and told me he needed to refer me to another department. Something was up. The new person was less circumspect. She told me right up that my account was frozen for a fraudulent check.

Now I am embarrassed about taking a bad check, but I was really frustrated that I couldn’t access my own money that was in the account. The bank explained that we have to wait for the check to bounce out of the account to unfreeze it. It’s a 3 day weekend so that means my funds are frozen until at least Tuesday. The idea is, I shouldn’t be able to access money from the bad check. No benefit for me from fraud. I don’t mind that. The check is bad, I’m clearly not going to get the money. But I don’t carry cash, so I am effectively broke for the weekend. That bothers me. I had plans.

I haven’t contacted Florence Carter since then, although she has tried several times to reach me. I don’t know what I would say. I’d rather have her think I stole the money than know what happened. Because the longer they don’t know they’ve been found out, the more time the authorities have to catch up with them.

I did report the fraud. I have contacted the FBI, who handles internet crime, and filed a report with them. I have filed with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). And I have filed with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. I had to file a complaint against my bank, which I hated to do but I needed to get something on record showing that I took the check in good faith. I’m an intended victim, not a perpetrator.

I also took the check to the police. They looked it over. It even had a watermark. The officer said, he would have checked the same things I did, and he would have taken the check. It might be a scam, but it was a good one. So I feel less stupid but still too naive.

I took the check to Chase. It took the manager about 10 seconds to state that it was a fraudulent check. I asked how she knew and she said the font was wrong. Well. How would I ever know a thing like that? An average person isn’t going to scrutinize a check to that degree, if they even have a good check for comparison. I had to remind the manager to look at the account, since it was an active account, because if they’re writing checks on that account, I’m not the only person getting targeted. She did pull the account up and said it was flagged for fraud on the 16th. Well that was yesterday, and it was probably my check that caused that.

So as things stand, I am broke for the weekend, and maybe for the next week. I am embarrassed and I feel a little stupid. But I am not out any money, just some time. I’m telling you this because I thought I knew better and I still got taken. It could happen to you.


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Selfish or Lazy

I had a run-in with one of my roommates today. She is frustrated by something I don’t do, which is mostly because it just doesn’t occur to me.

“I know you like to blame it on your bipolar, but I can’t tell if you’re being selfish or lazy,” she said.

Now I try very hard not to blame character flaws on being bipolar. Taking on too many projects, shopping too much, yeah those are bipolar. Not watering the pets, well, that’s just not thinking of it. Since my roommate handles it most of the time, it just hasn’t been on my radar.

So that brings us down to selfish or lazy. I don’t think it’s selfish. I’m not thinking of myself ahead of others, I’m just not thinking. It’s not a case of “that task is beneath me” so much as “oh, is that something people do?” Although I will own that there are a few times I feel like, that really isn’t my problem. But if I am asked to handle it, I generally do.

Like vacuuming. I don’t think the carpet looks bad but my roommate sometimes does. He won’t ask the other roommate to do it, but he’ll ask me. He asked me the other day with her in the room, and they were both so gleeful. “You have to learn to vacuum,” he said. “You have opposable thumbs, you should be able to work a lighter and run the vacuum.” (My inability to work a lighter is an on-going source of amusement. To me as well.) I know how to vacuum. The sound of the vacuum cleaner is very difficult for me. I grit my teeth the whole time it’s running. But it has been decided for me that this is my chore, and I don’t want to be responsible for it. Someone must vacuum while I am deployed for work. Let that person continue doing it.

Anyway. I’m not mad, just saying.

So my roommate is irritated that I don’t change out the pet water, more so because my cat dips her paws in it and that tracks in cat litter. I don’t blame it on my bipolar or on being selfish. I can’t even say I’m lazy about it, because it isn’t a decision to not do it. I simply don’t think of it. It doesn’t occur to me to water the pets. Now it has been brought to my attention. So my solution is, I will change out the water while I am making breakfast. The toaster takes 5 minutes and I am standing there with nothing to do, I can change the water.

I said as much to my roommate. It defused her anger. She seemed surprised. I suspect she is ascribing motives to me that just don’t exist. I am oblivious in this matter more than intentionally avoidant. It’s not that big a deal to me and it’s huge to her, so I can just add it to my list of morning tasks. Like scooping out the cat box every time I go to the bathroom. If I lived alone, it would be scooped maybe daily, maybe 3 or 4 times a week. But one of the roommates kept complaining about the smell so I scoop it more often. I don’t understand why cat poop in a cat box smells and cat poop in a trash can doesn’t, but whatever.

So we’re down to lazy and I don’t think I can even own that. Lazy to me is an intentional decision to do nothing. I am very seldom doing nothing. I am often doing things that don’t look important to the people around me — like writing this blog instead of emptying my suitcases — but that’s a matter of personal priorities, not laziness. Yes, I am comfortable in my bed with the suitcase on part of it, I don’t know why that’s a problem for my roommate, but it is.

The biggest thing that looks lazy I think is the state of my bedroom. It’s bad, I know it’s bad, but I don’t even know where to start. I get in there and look at it, and get overwhelmed and walk away. Lazy isn’t the word for that. I know it needs to happen, I just can’t seem to find a plan of attack. Though emptying the suitcases will make a difference, I’m sure. This is an example of me being avoidant. But I am doing other tasks, so it’s not lazy.

In other news, I joined a gym today. I will start tomorrow. I had to buy new sneakers because the inner soles are pulling up in my old pair. I guess I need to throw away the old pair, come to think of it. But yeah, I needed sneakers and a lock for the locker. I’ll pack up a bag in the morning and go before group.

I need to get out some of my received mail and take a picture of it for This Zine Has Issues. I wrote a piece for the second issue and the editor asked for the picture. I’m published in the first issue, woot woot! Now I need to reply to the letters.

I should hear by the end of the week about the 911 operator job. I kind of hope I don’t get it, because I want to do other things. But if they offer it, I will take it. I might just make it through the training and decide it’s not for me.

I am still owed a check from the job at Michael’s. I got the first check and the last check, but I am missing the one in the middle. I need to call them about getting a copy of my pay stub anyway, so I’ll just ask about getting another check.

Ah, the 10,000 things that shape daily life. Tomorrow is Monday, a new week with new things. And I will do them. I have a list and I will stay on track. Happy Monday.


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Testing and Unemployment

It’s been a busy day.

I woke up early to go take a test. I applied to be a 9-1-1 operator and there is a test that comes with the application. It was an interesting little test. Online. Sound bites. And of course since the idea is that you might have several things going on at a time, there were interruptions all the way through.

I was the second person to complete the test. I felt like I was lagging the whole time so I was surprised to be done soon. I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, I suppose being speedy in responding to emergencies is a good thing. But it will be a week or more before I know my score, and it’s easy to be sloppy when you’re going for rapid.

I ran into H from FEMA there. She turned down the deployment to South Dakota because she doesn’t like cold weather. But she also got called out earlier in the year. We were both demobilized at the same time — I have the pictures of us travelling together to prove it — and she got called out 3 times, though she turned one down. Of course she’s bilingual so that could make a difference. But she, like me, can’t keep waiting on a disaster to earn money.

The instructions said the test started at 9 and went for 3 hours. Then they sent another email saying to be there half an hour early, so 8:30. Allow time for traffic and parking, since there’s no on-site parking. I expected to be there until 12. Finishing early, I got done about 10:45. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

My next appointment was at 2:30 and I needed to eat, so I headed over to the area and checked out breakfast places. There weren’t any. I ended up at Taco Bell. For some reason, my order at the kiosk didn’t go through and the staff ended up coming to where I was sitting to take my order a second time, then they brought me my food. I essentially got table service in a Taco Bell. Not that I’m complaining, mostly surprised.

By 11:30, I had finished eating and making phone calls, and I still had 3 hours to fill. So I went thrift shopping. The first place was all clothes. Nothing wrong with that just not what I was looking for. The second place was a little better. I bought a white plate with a sort of basket weave edging. It felt like a background for something. Last stop was Goodwill. I found a little collectible that I’ll post on ebay and a fabric manikin and 2 picture frames. Whole thing came to $5. Of course they gave me a senior discount without asking, but I’m down for saving a couple of bucks. It’s all stuff to alter.

I still ended up at Workforce at 1:00. I checked in and got on the computers to print out my resume. I also just generally checked email. And I ran out of things to do. I chatted for a minute with one of the counselors and decided to stay for the class. I might be glad I did. The instructor was a little blunt but I could live with that.

I’m supposed to be signed up with ResCare for some e-learning but I can’t log in using the rubric they gave us. I’m supposed to go back tomorrow so I’ll ask again then. I’m bummed to miss my support group, but I need help with my resume, so I’m determined to go. I want to have a decent job that I, well, that I like.

I found out today that F knows details about my bedroom. That means L has been checking out my room and discussing it with him. That doesn’t feel good. I don’t like feeling spied on. I know I’m not tidy, but I’m hoping to get to organizing stuff this weekend when they are out of town. I’ll be able to move stuff into the living room so I can re-pack my room.

Thinking of bed, since I was up early. It’s almost 11, a good time to sleep. I’ve taken my meds and drunk my water. Cats are checking on me, pacing back and forth between me and my bedroom. Yup, I think it’s time to put my stuff up and go to bed.


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Sometimes It Just Takes a Minute

Having decided that I can’t keep waiting on the FEMA job, I am now starting to look for other things. I just had to come to acceptance that I can’t really live on this job, even though it gives me many perks like travel and adventure. It simply isn’t enough hours.

So here are some things I have done today to move myself forward:

Reviewed my resume. The one I wrote in January 2019 is still good to use.

Applied to a handful of jobs. The unemployment office says I should be looking at jobs in the $15 / hour range, which is significantly less than the government pays me. I figure, if I have to take the pay cut, I’m going to look into the mental health field which is where I want to be if I’m not a reservist. So I have applied to the local mental health facilities.

I applied for some scholarships. I am really only 3 classes from my degree and I have run out of funding. I owe the school about $2000 and until that gets paid, I can’t register for classes. Additionally, because my most recent grades were so bad, I don’t qualify for any further student loans. So I need to pay back that money and pay out of pocket to take the online classes one at a time. Scholarships would help with that.

I went to the Texas Workforce Commission page and contacted my local office. I know they have a program for us over 55 people. I know they have classes on office skills, and I could use some help with Excel and PowerPoint. I know they have information about training and education.

I am waiting for a FEMA training in February that might help. I also applied to change my department. They said a decision would take 2 months, and that was back in October / November, so I expect to hear from them sometime in January.

So I’m trying lots of things, to see what I can come up with. In the meantime, I am busy with DBSA and catching up with friends. I have brunch with my local hire ladies tomorrow. I might go to another friend’s for New Year’s Eve, if I can find the keys that I’ve lost. Saturday is a gathering for Melaluca people, so I’m planning to check that out. I think Thursday is a DBSA meeting but I can’t get confirmation on that. Part of the weekend I’ll spend helping a friend unpack after a move. Monday starts the usual round of self help groups. My artist friends want to get together.

I’m busy, I just need to find a job that gives me the resources to participate in life. One that doesn’t suck the life out of me to do that. And I think, that might be possible.


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I Think It’s Settled

I think — I am not sure, but I believe — the unemployment situation is going to work out.

The person I talked to on Friday said to remember to apply for my next payment on Sunday, so I did. And today I went to the payment page, it said that I had deductions equal to a week twice, which means I won’t get paid this week. However, it also looks like I won’t owe further money. I won’t know for sure until I ask for payment again in 2 weeks. But for now, things look positive.