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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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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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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New Year, Same Life



I’m not complaining, my life is okay.

When I was young, I somehow had the feeling of one year ending and another beginning. It felt like crossing a border of some kind.

Nowadays, well, time is more of a spiral, no discernible step between one year and the next, it all just slides together. Today is not appreciably different from yesterday. New Year may be now, but new beginnings are when you make them.

I am looking for computer books to help hone my skills in Excel and PowerPoint. I decided to start with Excel. Do you have any idea how many books there are about Excel? Not to mention, several of them ask what version I have. I googled how to find out, and it looks like I have the 2019 version. Only thing is, I don’t remember buying the 2019 version. Does it update automatically? I found a book on Excel 2016 at Half Price Books. It was inexpensive, seemed like a good place to start.

I am also trying out some products from an online buying club. I went to their annual launch presentation today, and I am actually pretty impressed with the company. I’ll talk more about that as time goes on. I don’t want to turn into a Scamway bot.

I wrote another piece for the next issue of This Zine Has Issues. I’ll provide a link as soon as there is one. I know it will be published by Microcosm Publishing. I happen to love Microcosm. I just ordered a pack of zines from them.

Speaking of ordering, I ordered a hoodie that I think is hella cute, graphic with a big cat on it. I also ordered some art supplies.

Ah, art supplies. I keep ordering more like craft supplies but I really need art supplies. That might not make much sense. I ordered, for example, Prima flowers. I love the flowers. They are a scrapbooking product. But I long to make printed papers. I don’t have the supplies (or the space) to do that. I may have to take a class just to have studio space. I really need to start using the stuff I have. I’m thinking of ordering some mirrors from IKEA that would work as substrate.

Work continues. I have a qualifying test on Tuesday for being a 911 operator. I’m not sure I’m really the person for that job but it seems like a place to start. I also have an online interview for an eating disorder counselor. Which would probably be ironic for me, as a fat person. I am going down to the unemployment office to see what they can do for me. They might be able to help with the computer learning. I have applied to MetroCare to be a peer specialist. I need to come up with about $2000 to handle that school debt, then I can finish the degree. I figure if I get the degree and I already work at MetroCare, there’s a good chance of advancing. I am also waiting to hear from the PA cadre at FEMA. They said 2 months, that should be sometime in January.

So, no big changes. It feels like crossing the threshold of the new year should bring a new life, kind of like birthdays always seem auspicious. But truly it’s just life moving on. It is what you make of it. I think I’m doing pretty okay, and hopefully things keep looking up.




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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’m Ba-ack

Hello again!

I’ve been gone for quite a while with work.  I got back home about a week ago.  I’ve already seen many friends and my daughter; been to a brunch, a birthday party and a vineyard; and I’m all set up with unemployment.  Tomorrow of course is the new year so everything is closed, but Wednesday I will start contacting temporary agencies.  I like working for FEMA and I want to be able to continue with them but I do need to work during the down times as well.  Temp jobs are perfect because I can call out if I want to, like for trips and such.

What I have not done, is laundry.  And of course I am generating more of it as I continue wearing clothes.  I need to get on top of that.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve.  I am spending it at home with my roommates, and we have plans to eat ice cream at midnight.  It will be the last ice cream for a while, though, since we have decided to go keto.  No sugar so no ice cream.  Actually I think I am more paleo but they want keto so here we go.  We’ll see what happens.  Dinner tonight was a hunk of ground beef.  L called it a hamburger but it was just a chunk of meat, nothing like egg or bread crumbs mixed into it.  I don’t know if I can eat like that all the time.  I have some cooked shrimp in the fridge though that I’m looking forward to.

My daily living activities have definitely slowed down since I’ve been home.  I took a shower tonight because my hair was dirty and my skin was itchy, whereas on deployment I took a shower every other day.  I’m not a daily shower person, it dries out my skin.  But I recognize the signs of depression settling in and I need to make a plan to fight it.

I’m glad to see my cats again.  I’m going to try to add a picture of my Charli.  She was laying next to me, sleeping so hard she was snoring.  I would have said cats don’t snore but I would have been wrong.

2018-08-23 21.20.27


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Waiting for the Storm

I have been on furlough for several months now and I’m dying to go back to work.  That means I am watching the weather.  I have become an old person, I watch the weather channel now.

There are three major storm fronts right now.  Hurricane Florence is heading toward the east coast.  It’s expected to be Cat 3 or Cat 4 and should make landfall somewhere between Charleston and Hatteras so everything from north Florida to North Carolina.  Hurricane Olivia is headed toward Hawaii, as if Hurricane Lane and the volcanic eruption weren’t enough of a problem.  And there is supposed some kind of super storm headed toward Guam.  Tropical storm Mangkhut is expected to make landfall on Tuesday, I keep hearing it’s 3 storms on their way to Guam but I can’t find a map of that.

I have received an email about resting up this weekend and being prepared for next week, and one about being sure my family has a disaster plan while I’m gone.  Looks like the government is expecting something to happen in the next week or two and wants us to be ready to be deployed.

I can’t wait.  I want to work and I want an adventure.  I don’t hope for bad things to happen, but bad things do happen and I want to help out.

So this week while you’re thinking good thoughts for people, think one for me.