Kiss5Tigers

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


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TCB

*Taking Care of Business

I haven’t done much to report lately, just getting things done.

I’ve been to 2 doctors, my gastro guy and my psydoc. We have cut back on meds with both of them, so that’s pretty cool.

I joined a gym so I am trying to get back into the swing of working out. I didn’t go at all last week because I was looking after my roommate. He is disabled so I didn’t like to leave him alone for long periods of time. He’s pretty self sufficient but you know, things happen. I was supposed to go workout today with my daughter, though I haven’t reached her yet so that could fall apart.

I have been trying to reach Shonda at Workforce Solutions, which is the job placement arm of the unemployment office. I keep missing her. I asked what her hours are so I could call at a better time, and the person who answered the phone got snippy. Apparently they can’t tell me her hours. I haven’t had a callback from her yet, so I don’t even know if she’s getting my messages.

I think I have finally gotten my paycheck issue with Michael’s handled. You might recall, they sent me the replacement check form as a .pdf but I was unable to activate the edit option. I printed out hard copies, and have been looking for a fax number or physical address to send the forms. The people at Michael’s keep saying to scan the image into my computer and email it, but I don’t have a scanner. I emailed them again last week. They got back to me saying to take a picture of the form and email it to them. Well, duh. I’ve been dealing with this for several weeks now, and it never occurred to me to take a picture. I am just not one of those people who is very tech minded. Apparently neither are most of the staff in HR, since nobody else suggested it either.

We are moving forward with putting a DBSA meeting in Oak Cliff. I went to a meeting and met a very helpful man named Patrick LeBlanc who works with Bridging the Gap Foundation. He gave us a referral to a local church who will hopefully be willing to give us space. I sent an email this morning. I called last week but didn’t manage to connect.

I need to empty suitcases still, and start packing for my work trip in 2 weeks. Really I only need 4 days of clothes so it will be the carry on. No checked luggage for me.

We are replacing the floor in the bathroom so I need to get in there and clean it a bit. I would keep using it, but I spilled some toothpaste on the sink and it left a clean spot. I didn’t think the sink was dirty until that happened. Yes I am oblivious. My roommate F says it looks like a boy’s bathroom. I think, it probably looks like a teenager’s bathroom.

I also have an opportunity to enter the Art214 exhibition. It’s juried which is a little challenging, but there is no entry fee so it’s within my budget. I can’t tell if I’m excited or nervous, which probably means I should enter. What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t like my art and I don’t get to show it, which is no different than my situation now.

We watched AJ and the Queen yesterday. The whole season. I was up until almost 4 am and slept until 1 in the afternoon. Totally worth it. Now let me be honest, this isn’t going to win any awards. But it has RuPaul, and I love her, and many cameos from drag queens both in and out of drag. Chad Michaels, Jujubee, Bianca del Rio, and Latrice Royale to name a few. The plot was a little predictable — I figured out the big reveal before the end of the second episode — and periodically a little preachy, but also funny and heartwarming. I give it a solid B+, thoroughly enjoyable.

So that’s been my week. Also a solid B+. Time to call my daughter again and see about working out.


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So Much Has Happened

I am writing this from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I had been working that job at Michael’s. I like Michael’s. I liked my coworkers. But I’ve got to be honest: retail is a physical job. I had been told 15 to 20 hours a week and I was working more like 30 and my back was killing me. There is a spot on my right shoulder that just burns. I expected sore feet, but sore back was surprising.

I spent Thanksgiving with the family. I put my foot in it, of co urse. My cousin K came on his own. He said the kids would be joining him shortly, which they did. When he was leaving, I told him to say hi to D, his wife, for me. “Oh, I guess you haven’t heard,” he said, “We’re not together any more.” Boy did I feel like an idiot. My cousin J also did not show up with his partner, so now I wonder if they’re still together any more.

Still it was a good day. I got to see my daughter, and we had a real good heart to heart about why we have so much stress over the holidays. I feel like we both understand each other better, even if we don’t agree.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, at 10:45 at night, my work phone went off. Usually it’s just a notification that some news service has a new story so I don’t look, but this time I did. It was an email, telling me I had an online message from the government. I pulled it up. It was a deployment request. Well halleloo! I had just said that I was good with the Michael’s job but I would prefer something else, and there it was! From my mouth to God’s ear, as they say.

So of course I accepted the deployment, even though South Dakota in the window is no cakewalk. I don’t even own a real winter coat since I’ve been in Dallas for 25 years now. Right now I’m good in layers but soon I’ll have to invest in something more solid.

I had to call Michael’s and tell them I quit. I felt bad. They were good to me. The store manager said she was just glad I called and told her. I hate that. It means they have a high turnover of people who just don’t show up, which is bad business manners. But it also felt like I let them down. I didn’t like that feeling. I wouldn’t have taken the job if I knew I was going to be deployed. I figured I wouldn’t be deployed until at least spring, and that a seasonal job would be done by then.

And yet, true to form, the government called me late at night on a Sunday and told me to report to work in another state on Tuesday. That meant I had Monday to pack and Tuesday to travel. I thought about working Monday, but I just couldn’t figure out how to make that work. I had to quit with no notice to have time to pack. At least I had already done laundry, at a friend’s house, where I was house sitting. And at least she was coming home the next day so her house wouldn’t be empty more than 30 hours.

Monday night I got a call from daughter. She asked how I was getting to the airport. I said, my roommates were taking me. Daughter said she was already on the way to the airport, so why didn’t she take me and then she could borrow my car? No exaggeration, my car Phyllis is more than 20 years old. I drive a 1998 Chevy Lumina. She has just about 150K miles on her, so she’s low mileage for the years. But she is starting to be a little grumpy. She has a coolant leak and she needs a tune up, and there are probably some other things too. I don’t feel good loaning her to anybody. Plus, if she broke down, daughter doesn’t have the money to get her towed. I would repay daughter, but she’d need the money up front to get the initial tow done. Car would end up left on the side of the road and impounded, which I can’t afford.

Or what if she got into an accident? The car’s only worth $400 or so. All it would take is a good rear end collision, and even though it would be the other guy’s fault, Phyllis would be totaled. I can’t afford to replace her.

So with all that, I had to tell my daughter no and the call ended badly. She’s over it now, but I felt horrid for a couple of days, thinking the last thing she said before getting off the phone was “that’s fucked up”. I try to end the call by saying I love her so if anything happens, that’s the last thing I said to her; but she was having none of it that day. I am not hypocrite. I can say no and still love you. But it didn’t feel like that to her.

I have so much more to tell, but I am getting sleepy and I have some errands to run tomorrow so I think I’ll go to bed. Good night.


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Deployment, Demobilization

Several days ahead of Hurrican Dorian, I got a deployment request to a processing center. I took it, of course, I haven’t been deployed in a year. But I was not excited about it.

I used to work at the processing center, and I became a reservist so I could keep helping people without having to be on the phone. Choosing to do a job I left seems counter-intuitive, but unemployment will do that to you.

I really don’t care for phone work. There are too many rules and guidelines about how to do it, and too much micromanaging. I know how to get the form filled out and get people assistance (assuming they qualify). I don’t want someone grading me on how many times I say the caller’s name during the conversation. And that has been a common metric in at least 3 places I’ve worked.

But I did a brave thing, and stood up for myself. There is a 50-mile radius that is considered local, ie. close enough to commute. The system showed me at 45 miles distant so I was considered local. Now my odometer said 51.6 miles and GoogleMaps said 52. I decided to see what would happen if I was reclassified.

While I was waiting, I had a day that I left the house about 15 minutes later than usual and I ended up 45 minutes late to work because of the increased traffic.

If you’re in DFW, let me describe my commute: I start on 45, I cross 20, loop 12 twice, and of course everything backs up when I get on 75 heading towards downtown. I cut over to Walton Walker to get to 35 north. I cross the tollway, 114/183 to Irving, 635, George Bush, and the lake. And oh yeah, there’s construction. A friend said, “I am worn out just hearing about that.”

If you’re not in DFW, know that I travel through downtown at peak rush hour and cross all the major highway intersections that slow down.

I did hear back that I was approved for travel, so I took a hotel room in the town where the processing center is. It made all the difference. I was able to get enough sleep and even have some time to unwind in the evenings. With the length of the commute, I was getting up at 4 in the morning and getting home about 7 at night. No time for anything but driving and work, no recovery from the day’s stress. Being in the same town made a huge difference.

It lasted a whole 5 days. Hurricane Dorian did not hit the US as hard as it could have so my particular skill set wasn’t needed. I did get a lot of training though, so that was good. Met up with some friends from other deployments. Made a few new acquaintances. Shout out to Stephanie and Susan, Annie, Haydee, Linda, Jeffrey, Mitchell, Maria, Carmon, Shontoria and Iromara.

I hope they deploy me again soon. I want to get out into the field again. I need to gain some skills to get my crew lead qualification and I need the field to do that.


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Making Coffee in a Strange Kitchen

I’m house sitting for a friend. She went to Europe. Often I would be envious but not in this case: I know what she puts herself through to save for her adventures. I don’t have that kind of self-discipline. I hope she has fun.

What she does have, is a cat named Archie. He apparently doesn’t take well to staying alone so I am here to take care of him. He is meowing for food but his dish has food in it. From this morning and from yesterday. In the morning, before I leave, I will clean his dishes and put out all new food.

Now what she doesn’t have, is cable tv. I am a person who runs the tv all the time for background noise. I’m darn glad she gets Netflix is all I can say. And she has set up a profile for me. I’ve watched way too many NCIS, a few Person of Interest and some Sherlock. I saw a documentary about eating called The Magic Pill. One of the things I thought was interesting was the connection between how we eat and the environment. I also watched a movie called Dumplin’ which was about a girl who loves Dolly Parton entering a pageant. Spoiler: she doesn’t win. But it was heartwarming nonetheless.

My coffee is cold and there is no microwave to hot it up. My friend lives close to the bone to save for travel, but the no microwave thing is more of a life choice. She objects to them. She claims they are not good for food and she is into clean eating. I’m struggling with keto and she is adding in the secondary layer of ethical sourcing. Hats off to her, it’s more than I would do.

I need to rearrange my stuff tonight. I brought an extra bag of activities so that I would have something to do while I was here, but I don’t want to check a bag on the plane tomorrow so I have to consolidate. I figure I’ll leave the extra bag here and pick it up later. But I do need to go through the bags and figure out what goes and what stays.

The travel. Not sure if I mentioned that already. I am going to Alabama for some training next week; Sunday – tomorrow – is my travel day. Oh that reminds me, I must get my boarding pass into my Apple wallet. I can stand a week of pay, since I’m not going to Alaska this time around. My training counts as a deployment so I probably go to the bottom of the list. I’ll have a wait.

I have written about 20 letters for International Correspondence Writers Month, called InCoWriMo. I have maybe 10 more addresses that I pulled off the website. Then I have a stack of mail that needs replies. I figure the nights this week will be good for getting some writing done. I need to get going on my morning pages too, even though I don’t actually do them in the morning.

I will miss my support groups this week but work is good. I should make myself some eggs and toast, and settle in to sleep early.


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Deployed Again

I got the message the other day that I will be deployed again. I am just going for training. A friend of mine just got sent to Alaska. I might mention that in my other group text. I would love to go to Alaska for work! But I don’t have a passport yet so that’s an issue. I need to take care of that. Not that Alaska needs a passport! It’s more that most routes to Alaska involve a stop in Canada, and Canada needs a passport. Kind of like, I could go to the Marianas but again most routes there stop in foreign lands to refuel. Or make connecting flights.

So Sunday I go for training for a promotion. I get to learn all about how to be a leader, then I have to put it into practice in the field. I have about 4 years to complete the process so I’m not worried.

In other news, my household has been keto for about a month now, and I’m not sure it’s the method for me. I seem to be hungry all the time. My friend K says it means I’m not consuming enough protein at each meal. I don’t know if I can afford to eat more protein, to be honest. I miss vegetables. I got a salad today with cold cuts in it from Subway. I could have eaten two of them.

Now my roommate F had a cheat day last week where he ate pizza and chicken wings, and it made him SO sick. He says it will be a long time before he has a cheat day again. Me, on the other hand, I had a cheat day and ate a whole box of Girl Scout cookies, no problem. Didn’t even feel full, though all that starch mixed with a quart of milk should have weighed a ton in my stomach. I am not acclimating to this new way of eating.

Charli the kitty is very needy today. She has been prodding me to pet her and wants to lay so she can touch me. She’s pretty attached to me anyway, but this is above and beyond. I hope she’s feeling okay. It’s hard with cats, they are very good at hiding when they are unwell. On the other hand, she could just be cold. Or, yanno, needy. We all have days when we’re needy.


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Hurry Up and Wait

Thursday was my travelling day.  My roommates took me to the airport, so that was a good thing.  Plane was on time.  There was even an empty seat next to me, which is a relief for a fat girl like me.  I wasn’t crowding anybody.  The landing was amazing, I almost didn’t feel it at all.  Then I got to Atlanta airport.  The airport, according to the announcements, is the busiest passenger airport in the US.  It was actually pretty easy to navigate and I even got some bad Asian fusion food there.  The problem is, I arrived at 3:30 and the bus to the facility didn’t arrive until after 7:30.  We got to the facility about 9:00, had an orientation briefing, grabbed a box dinner and made it to my room about 9:30.  Just about passed out.

Today my day started at 6:00 am.  I sometimes don’t go to bed until then, so this was very early for me.   There was coffee in the room and I managed to get breakfast before going to my first meeting.  Meetings started at 8:00.  I actually dozed off a time or two during the lecture, I’m not sure what I missed.  Then we began the other processing.  I went to security and had to re-key my badge.  I went to lunch.  Then I went to IT to get my laptop set up.  We used our badges to log in to the computer.  Guess what?  My badge didn’t work.  So after waiting almost 3 hours to get to IT, they couldn’t even help me.  Then the intranet went down.  At 6 I left IT without my laptop working.  I made it back to campus in time to grab some dinner.  Now I am in my room, watching the Weather Channel, cooling off, catching up.

The room is actually not bad.  The facility is a decommissioned air force base, so the rooms are like a dorm.  The walls are painted cinder block.  There is a tv and wifi.  I have a full-sized fridge, a microwave and a coffee maker here in the room.  I share a bathroom — well, toilet and shower, there is a sink in my room — with one neighbor.  I haven’t met her yet and possibly never will.  The bed is tall enough that I have trouble getting into it.

Tomorrow my first meeting is at 6:00 am, so that means getting up about 4:30.  People who arrived Wednesday are already shipped out, so I wonder if there is a plan for us to be gone by tomorrow night.  Maybe not until Monday, I could wish.  In any case, Florence is still active and they won’t know where to send us until the storm abates.

Right now they know of 5 deaths associated with the storm.  Almost a million people are without power.  Many more are without water.  How ironic, storm surge is causing widespread flooding but people are lacking potable water.  Storm should last until Sunday morning, raining the whole time.  The wind, while strong, is tolerable but the water is causing a LOT of damage.  Florence was a cat 4 a few days ago and dropped to a cat 1 before making landfall.  People didn’t evacuate, probably because they felt like it wasn’t going to be as severe, and now there are people on their roofs calling to be rescued.

For myself, I have posted in a few sites what’s going on, and of course blogged here.  I am going to do my morning pages, lol, my not-morning pages, laying in bed.  It’s 9:15 and I should be asleep soon to get up early.


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On My Way

I’m deployed.

I’m halfway between excited and nervous.  I’ve been waiting for this so I’m excited to finally be called.  Yet I don’t know what I’m going to find, and that makes me nervous.

Roommates are concerned that I will be overwhelmed by the victims’ emotionality.  F took me aside tonight and told me to protect myself.  I know he means to build up a psychic shield, surround myself with white light kind of thing.  Mostly he kept saying for me to remember it’s not my fault, there’s only so much I can do, and take care of myself.

I have packed, unpacked and repacked.  I want to get down to one suitcase.  I figure, they’re going to give me equipment to manage as well as my suitcase and purse.  I don’t want a ton of stuff.  I mean, I do want a ton of stuff, but I can’t manage it all.  I’ll bring my computer, headphones and all.  And my sketch book.  And a glue stick.  I think I’ll throw a pair of scissors in my luggage, since I’ll be checking a bag.

Meds are in my purse.  Contacts and glasses will go in my purse too.  As did makeup.  I did look for another purse and couldn’t find one I liked.  Now I’m glad to have the extra room.

I got to see my daughter E today.  We ran some errands and I gave her my car to use.  I’m not sure about this.  I think, it’s not in good shape, what if something happens while she’s using it?  It gets towed and I can’t get it back.  Then I’m without a car.  I don’t know how long I’ll be deployed, so $25 a day for storage times who knows how many days.  I’d lose the stuff that’s in the car, some printed material, some knitting, all my stuffies.  It would make me very upset.  So I told her, no using the car.  She can use it to get her stuff from V.  But no joy rides.  And tonight she had K pick her up to go visit a friend, so she is trying to respect my wishes.

Charli the kitty is all over my suitcase and she yells at me every time I come into the bedroom.  She is upset that I’m leaving but I can’t take her with me.  F and L will look after Charli and Momo so that’s something I don’t have to worry about.

I made sure F, E, and my cousin all have each other’s phone numbers.  If anything happens, I want them to be able to contact each other.  Not that anything will happen.  It’s a precaution.  I should text them all from my work phone too so they have that number.

I think I’ve got it all covered.   One last load of laundry in process.  Extra suitcase packed in case I’m there more than a month.  I think, I really do think, I’m almost ready.