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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Last Day in Hutchins

Tomorrow is moving day, tonight is my last night here.

I am definitely ambivalent about it. This has been my home for 5 years now and it’s sad to leave. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to new adventures.

I am almost all packed. I have one load of laundry left to pack. It’s clean and in the basket, just needs me to fold it and pack it. I need to pack the bathroom but I can’t really do that until I’m done with my morning ablutions. I will need access to my toothbrush and contacts after all.

I need to remember to get my laundry supplies out of the laundry room. I also need to remember some of my stuff from the kitchen. That smoothie powder that I don’t like. Maybe V will like it.

There is a chocolate cake for me and milk to wash it down. That will be nice tonight. And I have a chocolate bunny waiting for me.

Yes, I bought bunnies for everyone this year. White chocolate for L, milk chocolate for F, and dark chocolate for me. I think we each believe we got the best of the bunch.

I have turned in my house key and the mailbox keys. L gave me back my food stamps card. I owe F for 2 months of phone bill. I’m trying to think what else.

So about noontime everyone will show up, friend and boyfriend, and daughter and boyfriend. So there will be 5 of us loading up from here and with V there will be 6 of us unloading there.

I wish I had something profound to say. I feel like I should acknowledge the occasion in some way. I’m melancholy and sentimental; I think they call that maudlin.

I have completed the Trust Based Parenting course. I feel rather empowered by it. They advocate a lot of the way I raised E, so apparently I had some good ideas. Of course we will be working with older kids so a lot of the tools they gave us won’t apply, but a lot of the thinking behind it will.

For example, respecting the young person as a person is important. She has certain rights, such as the right to privacy. She’ll come to us with a past, with a story that is her own. It’s not my business to tell her story, even though I am likely to be excited about the new relationship. Is that the right terminology? Because this is a relationship, hopefully a therapeutic one.

This should be an interesting job, challenging and fulfilling.


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Kitten Milk Replacer

Did you know they make formula for kittens? They do. They keep it way in the back of the store, down low, so it’s a little hard to find.

Daughter’s boyfriend has a cat named Pumpkin. Pumpkin has had kittens. They are already pretty developed. They are less than 2 weeks old and they are opening their eyes and at least one boy has visible testicles. I think Pumpkin held off pushing them out until she just couldn’t keep them inside any longer. If that’s possible.

Now it’s a first litter for Pumpkin, and she is a young cat, so daughter wasn’t sure how it would go. It’s mostly gone okay, though Pumpkin has decided that the kittens belong in the center of the bed. Whenever they are moved, she moves them back. Clearly a sign that daughter and boyfriend are part of Pumpkin’s family.

Pumpkin is a little bored of kittens. She gets up and leaves them nested in the blankets pretty often. Daughter has noticed that sometimes the kittens are actively nursing when Pumpkin leaves, and this gave her some concern about them getting enough nutrition. So that entailed a trip to PetSmart today to get kitten milk.

Daughter had no money, so I volunteered what I had. I gave her all my cash, which was about $11, and my PayPal card which I believed had another $5. Turned out the PayPal card was empty so that left her short. However the person at the store wanted kittens to be fed and gave her a discount to make the milk powder affordable. I am now broke. I owe the bank for an overdraft, and I am out of cash and PayPal money. (If you’re feeling generous, I’m taking donations, or check out my Patreon or my Etsy.)

I don’t mind being broke for kitties, though I’m a little stressed about it.

In other news, I am at the point in packing where I’m doing laundry. I have a week to go before M-day. M for Moving of course. I’m getting pretty excited. I have assistance lined up so that’s good. Charli kitty will come with me but Mr Momo will stay here. Charli is attached to me and will adjust to the move. Momo took months to settle down after moving here, and we’ve been here 5 years, so he is also attached to my roommates. He would not be happy to move and they enjoy him, so he stays.

Support groups continue online. It’s not optimum but it’s better than not meeting at all. I feel glad to see my friends, and we are in touch by text as well as Zoom. I’m learning to appreciate modern media. I can’t really call it social media, that sounds like InstaGram and Facebook. But it’s definitely new technology.

Roommate L has made dinner tonight. Wonderful pork chops with an Asian flair, and mashed potatoes. I really love potatoes. I will miss her cooking at the new place. But I am told there are volunteers on a 2 week rotation for making dinners, so we’ll see what happens. I expect a lot of pasta, chicken or ground beef, and rice and beans.

I am thinking what to do with my stimulus money, which I’m pretty sure I’m going to get. I have a large bill that I think I’ll pay a chunk of, like half. I could pay the whole thing, but that leaves me with no money for myself. I need to inspect and register the car, pay car insurance, pick up meds. Plus I need new cat supplies for the new place. So, really, there isn’t a bonus for me with this, it is necessary money.

I am still working out the ShiftSmart app. I have emailed support and I’m waiting for a message back. That’ll be around $50 which would also be nice.

So money money money makes the world go ’round, but everything else is going fine. I’m mostly pretty content and moving into the future, just got to finish packing.


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Moving Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I feel pretty optimistic today.


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How Fast Things Change

Yesterday felt like life was all uncertainty, and today feels completely different.

First of all, I talked to Shepherd Inn. We figured out that the current shelter-in-place orders are going to be extended. That’s not a surprise to me, really, we are still getting increasing numbers of cases in Texas so there’s no reason to think they’ll let the orders lapse any time soon. Also, unofficially, the state government is already discussing extending them past April 3.

In any case, we decided to postpone me moving in until the middle of the month. I don’t think orders will change then either, but since the place is due to open on May 1, I don’t know that I can wait any longer to settle in. I think it’s important that I am not arriving at the same time the girls are, for the sake of stability. So this is good. I feel more grounded about that.

V also asked me if I want to work, which I do. So she is going to set something up for me that’s part time at a food bank. Part time is perfect for me, since this will be physical work and I am not used to that. I need to figure out how to use an app called ShiftSmart because that is how I’ll get paid. It’s only $10 an hour but I have bills I need to take care of, I need the income. They pay by the day, with about a 3 day lag for the first check.

Monday morning I’m going to pick up my daughter and we’ll go pick up my meds at Parkland. Then J and I will arrange a way for me to pick up boxes from her. Probably she will put them in the yard and I will drive by to get them.

While I’ve been packing, I’ve been finding all kinds of cool stuff. I mean, I knew I had it, I just didn’t know exactly where it was. No, really, I’d forgotten that I had some of it. But that’s okay! One day I will have a studio room and I’ll be able to organize stuff so I can know what I have and where it is. Just getting things boxed up is my goal for now.

So I’m feeling a little better about things. I have a plan for the next few days. Shower in the morning and get dressed since that helps me feel human. Something about putting on pants and a bra makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, gives me focus.

Sometimes all I need is a little sleep and a new day to have a new attitude.

And you know, things are going to be okay. It’s all going to work out somehow and it’s gonna be good.


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Trying Things

Trying bulletproof coffee for the first time. I like my coffee black so this is without sweetener. Mostly tastes greasy. I might prefer regular coffee. But I am trying to be low carb at least, trying for keto at home but it’s hard. I can think of all kinds of things to eat, but they involve crackers, so . . .

Yesterday I had my first poke bowl at a place called Below 40. It had salmon and crab and was so good. I was full most of the day. I was of course hungry again by 6 but that’s pretty normal. Going to try another one of their signature bowls next time. My friend K who I went with had a custom bowl made. Hers had greens instead of rice. I might try that the next time.

Slept on K’s new sofa this weekend. So comfy. What a process it was getting that sofa! First problem was getting the old sofa out. We got it to the truck no problem. Getting it into the truck was a different story. While we were trying to wrangle the thing over the tailgate, a fire truck pulled up to check a nearby hydrant. The firemen came over and put the sofa in the truck for us! Very helpful. Unloading it was pretty straightforward. The staff at the store loaded the new one for us and we got it off the truck just fine. Then came getting it through the door.

We turned it one way, didn’t fit. Turned it the other way, didn’t fit. The feet were in the way, the curve of the back was in the way, the whole thing didn’t fit by only an inch or two. A neighbor named Gary came by. He helped us turn the thing a few different ways but his girlfriend showed up and they had to get to a concert. Then Alan and Ty, some neighbors from upstairs showed up. Alan actually took the sliding glass doors off the tracks to get the sofa in. It took him over an hour, things were so stuck by paint and dirt. Who knew the track to a sliding door could get so dirty? Who even thinks of cleaning such a thing? Then the guys lifted the sofa over the porch railing and into the living room, and they put the doors back. Ty said he’d take a bottle of Crown for his efforts, but Alan doesn’t drink so K will get some money for him.

We went to an estate sale yesterday afternoon. I bought a copy of a book called “The Birds’ Xmas Carol” by Kate Douglas Wiggin. I bought it for nostalgia reasons, but it’s got an inscription dated 1913. The copyright says 1886 but I think that’s just the copyright date, not the publication date of this issue. I mentioned it to K, and a man near us kept going on about how much the book was probably worth. I don’t care about the value. It reminds me of my grandmother.

I also saw a pretty pink glass rabbit dish that reminded me of her. It made me think of the chicken bowl she had that always had hard candy in it. It was a milky blue color. The bottom was a wicker basket and the lid was a nesting chicken. You lifted the chicken off to get to the treats. Speaking of candy, I remember her buying ribbon candy at Christmas and Peeps and Easter. Grandma would eat a whole Peep, just popping the whole thing in her mouth. I never liked them myself, not a fan of marshmallow.

Well, I am off to my Artists Way group. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


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Life Changes Fast and Slow

Do you remember a game called Boggle? It was a box with a grid in the bottom that held dice with letters on them. You shake the box to scramble the letters, then compete to see who can form the most and the longest words.

Sometimes I feel like I live in a Boggle box.

I feel like, for no reason I can discern, life is shaking me up and reconfiguring the pattern and I’d better adapt and do my best to get a high score.

Other times, I feel like life takes so very long to happen. Sometimes you’re doing everything you can do, but the process takes longer than expected or you have to wait on something else to happen that you can’t control.

So I’ve been having both situations simultaneously, and they impact each other.

I’ve had my job just over a year now, and I have been trying all this time to get full time hours. I can bid up again when the shift bids come in July, but there’s no guarantee I’ll get anything. On the other hand, I’ve been allowed to participate in some cool projects and offered a little additional responsibility, which is all good. My boss also showed me a job in another department that he thinks I should try for. It’s fewer dollars per hour but it’s full time, so I’d get about the same pay. The company likes to see wide experience in employees, so even though it’s sideways (ie. not a promotion) for now, it would be good to say I’ve done it. And full time employees get tuition reimbursement, so I could finish my degree. Education is very important to get ahead in certain types of job and it would sure help here.

So this is all very good, but it has taken a long time to get here.

Or at least, it feels like a long time to me right now. Because I am not making enough money for anyone in Texas to rent me an apartment on my own, and even if I have a roommate, most people want to qualify us separately not as a unit. I’m an adult, if I could qualify on my own, I wouldn’t be thinking of a roommate.

The people I live with are VERY unhappy that I’m here. I moved in about a year ago, and I believed I’d be able to get full time hours at work and I wouldn’t be here very long. We wrote a contract for 6 months, and I truly believed I wouldn’t even need all of that. Only it’s been 12 months, and I’m still here.

In January, the husband offered me a ride to work and said “I’m not telling you to get out, but the contract said January, and it’s almost the end of January, and you’re still here.” Um, how is that not telling me to get out? And there have been consistent reminders that I should leave on a regular basis since then, including a few actions that were clearly designed to make it uncomfortable to be here. Because apparently knowing you aren’t wanted but having no place else to go isn’t uncomfortable enough.

Now about 10 days ago, my daughter finally decided she’s ready to strike out on her own (see previous blog post “On Being a Mother Hen . . .”) and that changed A LOT about the kind of apartments I can rent. I’ve been looking at 2 bedroom apartments so my daughter could have her own room, but I can live in a studio if it’s just me. That changes rent from $800 and up, to $500 average. And THAT changes the income requirement from $2400 a month to $1500 a month, which puts things down into my price range. I was hoping to be out by the end of this month or during next month, mostly due to the time it takes to find a place.

Monday I went to a stress management session. My stress is so high that I am unusually grumpy and my stomach is creating enough acid to start damaging my esophagus. I have meds that should help until the root cause can be handled. While I was in the session, my phone kept going off with messages. I ignored it, because my powers of ignore are very strong but when I checked it later, my daughter had texted that I need to call her.

Your kid telling you to call her is very scary for a parent, but it isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s just too complicated for text. I called, but I didn’t know what to expect. She walked into the other room, saying “I don’t think it matters, but there are ears here.”

Hmmm, not ominous at all! It made me suspicious more than anything.

“The husband has been yelling at the wife for the past 2 days about evicting you. She went down to the police station today to get the eviction order.”

Well crap.

And, eviction orders don’t come from the police, so maybe she already had it and was getting a cop to serve me?

But there wasn’t anything I could do about it at the moment. It was my day off, I had a few errands to run still then I got a very long phone call from a friend. I made some more calls to rental offices to see what could be done fast.

I also talked to a very good friend — you know, one of those friends who is more like family, even though there’s no genetic connection — and he said, basically, I needed to get out of there regardless of whether was an eviction, and I could stay with him and his wife.

Sunday is my next day off, so I am moving on Sunday.

There’s much more going on here than this, which I may or may not post about.

But the point is that for a year I have been needing to get out of here. I have tried everything I knew and could not change my situation. I could see change coming, but I couldn’t hurry it up. Life was moving very slow. Then suddenly in the last 2 weeks, the situation changed. And on Monday, I was in the Boggle box.

Still trying to spell the new words, not sure if everything is fully settled yet or how long it will take to get into the new place.

Just the knowledge that everything is different and it’s a new game now.