Kiss5Tigers

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


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Down to the Wire

I went to the passport office today. It was a bit difficult. At least they have planned for walk-ins.

The website said, parking would cost about $6. Not so. Parking was $10 for the first hour up to $22 for the day. I didn’t know how long it would take, and I didn’t have $22 if I needed it. I ended up parking for free at Mockingbird DART station and paying $6 to take the train. I guess I got my steps in but frankly it was deucedly hot for walking 4 blocks.

It’s a federal building so you get scanned going in. At least I didn’t have to take my shoes off. And there was a water fountain, a bubbluh as we say in Yankeeland, which I was so happy to see.

After I got into the passport office itself, I had to sit in a special section of chairs and get instructions. Turns out they want to documents stacked in a certain order. Then I had to fill out the application form again. Already I was glad I brought my birth certificate since I had been told, “All you have to do is bring the passport card.” Then you attach proof of travel itinerary, passport photos, and drivers license.

There were 2 lines, one for appointments and one for walk-ins. Of course appointments get preference, but that’s reasonable. When I got through the line, the lady told me I had filled out the wrong paperwork so I had to do that and go to the end of the line again.

I was number 141. When I sat down, they were on number 118. It ended up being a 3 hour wait. I dozed off several times since I was on short sleep. But I didn’t miss being called, and it went pretty fast. I was surprised at how speedy it was, until the lady told me I would have to come back on Wednesday to pick up the passport.

I have to come back between 1:30 and 3:00 to pick up my passport, and I am leaving on Thursday. Talk about cutting it close!

Done with the passport office, I went to support group then helped my daughter move. Then I came home to vacuum, take out trash, eat dinner and clean up. I wasn’t on my own time schedule for any of that. I wanted to vacuum while my one roommate was out of the house.

“Are you watching this on TV?” I asked the other roommate, “so I can vacuum.”

“It’s just TV,” he said, “We can pause a show if you need to vacuum.”

I didn’t say anything but I thought, “Oh you’re so cute, need to vacuum. There is no known universe where I have a driving need to vacuum. I do it because you ask me to.” And honestly I have never looked at the living room and thought it needed vacuumed. Not that I’m the best judge, but still.

I dumped out the bagless vacuum into the living room trash and it was full and the lint was fluffy so I closed the bag. I was going to wait a few minutes for my back to stop aching but the one roommate brought me the bathroom trash and the cat waste. Clearly I wasn’t going to sit down, I was going to take out the trash.

I did sit down to eat, but afterwards I had to wash my breakfast dishes as well as my dinner dishes. Finally I sat down and I had to call my travelling companion. I am just now settling in for the night. I’ve been on the go for 16 hours. Longer if you consider that I didn’t sleep last night.

Tonight I should sleep well indeed.


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Travel Excitement

It’s less than a week until I leave for Alaska, and I’m starting to get excited. I have so much to do before I leave.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I am having poke bowls with my daughter in honor of her birthday. It’s Hawaiian comfort food, sort of like deconstructed sushi. I know she’ll like it. I also have to request my next unemployment payment.

Monday is passport day. I need to go through my room and find the remaining passport photo, or I need to find an extra $20 and get them done again. In the afternoon is group if I can make it. I’ll already be in Dallas. I have to get up early early early Monday morning. So early I might not sleep Sunday night. I’m supposed to go as a walk-in so I want to be there when they open. Oh, and I need to print my airline schedule so I can prove I need the passport. Probably better print the cruise schedule too.

Tuesday needs to be laundry and shopping day. Shopping of course assumes I will be paid by then by unemployment. I want a book and I need some things like underwear and bug spray. And a new back pack.

Wednesday. Wednesday! I need to pack, I might need to go shopping if I didn’t do it Tuesday, and of all things, the unemployment office wants me to come in and do orientation! At 9:00 in the morning! So far that is 3 days in a row of getting up early, and I am not made for that.

But Thursday is the big day. Thursday I get on the plane and head to Vancouver to get on that cruise ship. I can’t wait. I mean, obviously I can wait because I have to, but boy is it hard! I’m so excited!

Better get started on the things I can do because there are a lot of things to do between then and now. Wish me luck!


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Passport Drama

You may know that I am going to Alaska on July 4th. It will be a cruise, and it leaves out of Vancouver. I will be flying from Dallas to Vancouver.

If you didn’t know, Vancouver is in Canada and Dallas in in the US, and therein lies the difficulty. Canada is another country.

In the 70’s when I lived in Canada, you could pretty much cross the border with a driver’s license as proof of residence. I had a passport, but that’s because I was technically an American living abroad. Also I was under driving age.

But 9-11 has happened and border security is tighter so I need an actual government document that proves my citizenship, so I need a passport. I do want to be clear: The problem is not leaving the country, the problem is coming back in. It cracks me up. They don’t care that much if I leave, but gosh darn it, we got to be careful who we let back in.

I contacted the passport office. I mean, I was about 6 weeks out, I needed to be sure of the process. They told me go to the post office. I made an appointment at the post office, got my paperwork together, and 5 weeks out I ordered the passport.

Now in the US, you have a choice: You can get the regular booklet passport or you can get a government ID passport that looks like a driver’s license. Well I”m not attached to getting the stamps, so I opted for the card. I opted wrong.

Today my passport card arrived. I opened the package and took the card off the paper and I happened to notice something in bold print across the bottom of the paper. I looked more closely. “Not valid for air travel“.

Well.

That couldn’t be right. I mean, I am only going to Canada, surely this is a mistake?

So I called in to the helpline. Yup, to fly into Canada, I need the booklet. I sure didn’t see anything about this on the website. And of all the questions I was asked, nobody asked where I was going or how I was getting there, so no person told me there were restrictions.

“What is the card good for, then?” I rather exasperatedly asked the customer service rep.

It’s good for cruises around the Bahamas and ground crossings into Canada and Mexico. That means I could drive to Vancouver, but I can’t fly in. And if you’re just going to the Caribbean on a cruise, you’re fine. But Dallas to Vancouver on a plane? I”m SOL.

The first option is to get off the plane when it stops in Seattle and spend $30 to take a bus. I could do that. I’d only be out a couple of bucks. But since the ticket is booked to Vancouver, there is the possibility they wouldn’t even let me on the plane without the correct documentation. So that’s probably not a good solution.

The other choice is to get the regular passport. In order to do that, I need to file a missing passport form and pay $110 for the booklet plus a $65 fee for expedited service. At least unemployment finally started paying me, I have the money, but it seems exorbitant. Still, I’m in a bind, I’ll just suck it up.

Now I’m less than 2 weeks from leaving, so I qualify to go to the passport office directly. I went to the website and put in Dallas. No appointments available in the next 2 weeks. Okay, let’s try Houston, that’s only a day of hard driving, and I could bring my daughter to see her half-brother. But no, no appointments in Houston either.

I called the help line again. They told me I could go to the passport office as a walk-in. Well cool, I can do that. Only I didn’t think they took walk-ins.

Turns out they do, but you must be within 3 business days of leaving. And I’m glad I said something because they are a little stingy with the information. She didn’t volunteer that there was a time restriction, I had to ask.

So on Monday, I will go down to the passport office. It will be July 1. I am leaving on July 4, which is a holiday, so I am within my 3 days. But man, this feels like cutting it real close.

And yet, this is all first world problems. A day ago I was counting pennies for gas money and couldn’t pay car insurance. This? This is cake. I am worried about a vacation when I have nothing to do between now and then except get ready. I am already on vacation, really, just not on the trip. And it will all work out, it always does.


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Background Check and Meds Issues



It’s been an interesting week so far.

I loaned my book Coping Skills by Faith G. Harper to one of the ladies at group. I just hope I get it back at some point. I need some of the information in it for the “book” I’m writing.

I put book in quotes like that because it doesn’t feel like it’ll be 100 pages, and most books are 200 pages or more. Some of those Harry Potter books were almost 2 inches thick, that a lot of words! I don’t have that many words in me any more. I used to, before meds, but now it’s just impossible. I have become a good listener and not much of a talker.

Anyway, I seldom loan out anything, so it was a rare moment of generosity for me. Especially since there is the possibility it won’t come home to me. Slight, but still.

Sunday was the storm in the picture I posted the other day. It was apparently a thing called a rain bomb, where a very small area has a terrible downpour and high winds. Of course it moves as the storm front moves. It took down trees and took out power for 3 days in some parts of town. What I have learned from this is, Dallas is not prepared for a disaster, if it took 3 days to restore power after a storm. What if something significant happened?

Monday I went to deal with my passport at the post office. It went pretty fast, but boy it was hard to part with $125. The passport itself isn’t that expensive, but I’m less than a month from travel so I had to expedite it which is another $60. Photos were $20 and there was a cost for cashier’s check, which the government needs since they don’t take bank cards. So this is a good thing, but I’m missing the money.

There was no group on Monday because power was still out at the facility.

Tuesday I had a work meeting so I didn’t go to Recovery International. I was told the meeting was at 10:00, so I signed on at 9:55. Well, sure it was at 10:00 — EASTERN time! I’m in central so it started at 9:00 for me and I only went to like half of it. At least I’ll get paid like $10.00 for it. I feel a little dumb about this, I mean, I know the meeting is webcast from DC, I just spaced on the whole time zone thing.

Then I had to drive up to the office for a background check. I’ve been working for the government for 2 years now, and they’re just getting around to the background check. What if I don’t pass for some reason? I mean, I’ve proven I can do the job, would they really let me go? But I was honest with them about what they asked. They asked about my work history and I told them about getting fired from the bank job. I mean, why hide it? The job became a call center, I am not cut out to work in a call center, and I was glad to be fired. They also quizzed me on my credit report. There were of course medical bills, which I may never pay. And my student loans. But they had something with TD Bank, and I’ve never done business with them to my knowledge, so I’ll have to call on that one. I don’t mind paying for what I owe, but I don’t want to pay for the other Allison.

You might remember the other Allison. I mentioned her in a previous post. She has my same first and last name, but she has a middle name which I do not, and she was born in the same town I was but 3 years before me. That means when I request my birth certificate, I usually get hers. Pain in the tushie. Plus I have had her stuff show up on my credit report. I know it’s hers by the location. And I have had her information show up in those verify your identity quizzes. They pull the information from public records online, and we are too similar to avoid computer confusion. I wonder if I should have mentioned her in the background check? Probably not, it would be too confusing.

I stopped at Buc-ee’s on the way home and got a peach ice tea. It was so good. I also got chicken salad but it was a bit too mayonnaise for me.

Today I went to group, the first one this week, and it was so good to be there. It’s truly my safe place. I will miss it when I’m deployed again, but so it goes. Someone in group payed me a great compliment today. She said I am her accountability partner, because she texts me and I always text back, and I don’t take sides or have an opinion about things. I know she is used to people just piping up with their take on situations in her life, and I don’t do that. I just mirror. She feels heard and understood. I bet I turned red when she said that.

Then I took my daughter to get her meds and dropped her off in town. She has a friend visiting who is catching a bus home at 3 a.m. tonight. I’ve taken buses, it’s a hard way to go. But the friend bought my daughter’s meds and some cat food, so that was nice. I got home and remembered that I hadn’t picked up my meds so I had to go back out.

I take 3 things for my bipolar disorder: Prozac (anti-depressant), Abilify (atypical anti psychotic) and Lamictal (mood stabilizer). I see the doctor about every 3 months, unless I’m deployed. He usually writes the prescriptions in 90 day lots. Well, I got 90 days of Prozac and 90 days of Abilify, but only 30 days of Lamictal. I called for the refill, because the bottle said I have 2 refills, and the pharmacy said I didn’t have any. I asked them to contact the doctor, and I called the doctor myself. Of course that was Friday, the doctor sent the refill on Monday, and it has taken until Wednesday for them to be ready to pick up. I’ve been out of my mood stabilizer for several days now. However, I have felt pretty good even without it. I might ask the doctor about that, since I’d prefer to take less medicine if I can get away with it.

Right now I am sitting in the living room, enjoying the air conditioning. Momo kitty has been affectionate and Charli cat is napping nearby. I have some reading material to get through and then, if I feel like it, some letters to write. I made 2 more sales on my Etsy shop, so that feels good. Those need to get mailed tomorrow. I also found I had $20.00 more than I thought I did. I celebrated by getting a frozen cranberry limeade at Sonic. I also stopped at QT and got a huge cup of ice water and an ice cream cone. Didn’t even come to $1.00 so that was a nice treat. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. Ice cream and a cold drink, and I feel like my day is complete.

Time to get working on my reading material.


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Starting a New Week

It’s late Sunday night and I will be going to bed soon, but I want to think about what’s going on next week.

First of all, bank. I finally got my debit card and it is now activated, but I don’t have the pin. Apparently Citibank mails it to you under separate cover. So I have a card that is active but no money in the account and no way to put money in the account without a pin. So this is a little frustrating.

I already heard from unemployment. The turnaround time was really fast. I got paperwork and a handbook and a decline letter. They said I didn’t earn enough to qualify for unemployment. Now really, people who earn less money probably need unemployment more than people who earn the big bucks, so that already is annoying. But also the unemployment people didn’t have all my income for the year. I had to print out and send them a copy of my W2 for 2018. I mailed it Friday, the post office says they’ll have it Monday. Hopefully so, because I need them to pay me. That reminds me, I need to update my banking information with them.

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment at the USPS to get my passport. Or rather to order it. I have to get up and stay up long enough to do that. Standing in line will be the hardest part. Actually, turning over my birth certificate will be the hardest part. I can stand in line any time, but it’s a right bitch to get the correct birth certificate. Someone with my name was born in the same city but 3 years before me. Every time I request my birth certificate, they send me hers. Standing in line is cake compared to municipal bureaucracy.

I also need to stop by the pharmacy and pick up my prescription. That’s the blood pressure med. I am out of mood stabilizers, so the next couple weeks should be interesting. I called the pharmacy who says there are no refills on the script. However, it’s not like my doctor to put in one month for one med and 3 months for the other 2. I asked the pharmacy to contact him, but I left a message for the doctor myself.

Tuesday I need to drive up to Denton to go to the office. Now I need to do it anyway because I am having issues with my enterprise password so I need to see tech support. Besides that, work is doing a background check on me. You may well ask, haven’t I already been there for 2 years and shouldn’t this already be done? Well, yes and yes. In fact I asked the officer about it when I called them back. I figured, since I’ve applied for a few jobs while I’m off work, that it was one of them doing the check. But no, it’s my regular job. And the reason? “We’re catching up,” is what he said. But I will go up to the office, so that is my safety catch. Hopefully that night I can meet up with friends for dinner or drinks, though I really can’t afford it.

Elcie is working again, starting Tuesday. Full time for her. So that’s a good thing. Maybe she can pay me back some of the money she owes me. I could sure use it.

Also, I set up the hotel room for Vancouver. I had points from being deployed last fall so I was able to reserve a room for July 4. Something good from all the time spent at the Hilton Garden Inn.


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Buying a New Towel

I may not be a froody dude, but I sure know where my towel is. Right now it’s in a pile of laundry. No wait, it’s here next to me. No, silly, I now own 2 towels!

I actually own many towels and they are in storage. But these are what the towel people call bath sheets, about 36″ x 64″. It’s almost as long as I am tall. But the older one was getting worn out and starting to fray so I had to acquire another one.

We went to this place called Ollie’s which was a fun trip. If I’d had some money to spare, I would easily have spent about $50. But instead I spent only $6.50 on a huge towel. It’s dusty purple. It’s 100% cotton. I’m very pleased with it. I’m a little too pleased with it.

In other news, my roommates are being pretty cool about the fact that I have no income at the moment. I am paying half my usual amount of rent which I will pay the difference once I’m working again. The only thing is, F keeps saying that now that I’m paying less rent, I need to do more chores, which really means vacuum. It’s like, even though I’m going to pay the difference, I’m his bitch. And we’re going to start with a task that possibly I like least. I think his dom self enjoys making me do things I don’t want to do. But I’ll get over it, it just bothers me at the moment.

And hopefully I won’t be broke much longer.

On the 3rd, which is Monday which is tomorrow, I can reapply for unemployment. Now it will take them some time to make a decision so I won’t have money right away, but I should have it soon. I assume they will pay me. I mean, I did work and I did earn enough to divide by 37. If I did the math correctly, I should get about $250 per week. Maybe a little more. I can only hope.

I just need money in time for my trip. I still need to get my passport so I need to find the money for it and my birth certificate. I thought I knew where it was but I was wrong. Now I have to tear my room apart and see where I put it. This isn’t a bad thing, since the room really needs to be put together more neatly, and I need to see if I have anything else to sell.

I also need to throw away the duffel bag that Charli the Kitty has been peeing on. Yep, she started that again. I’ve been home since December and no problem until about 10 days ago. I thought she was past the whole pee pee kitty thing but I guess not. The duffel bag will never be usable again, so I really need to be sure it’s empty and toss it. Hard to do, but necessary.

Time to find some water. I had a wonderful frozen cherry limeade while running errands today but it’s time to have water. Water is so good for me, even though it has no flavor. I would prefer a coke but carbonation is painful these days so water it is.

And I have my towel handy if I spill it.


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Tuesday Night Thoughts

I didn’t sleep last night. I get manicky sometimes and sleep eludes me. I surfed the web and watched some Netflix. All good and not conducive to sleep. Finally about 8 am I fell asleep. The problem being, I was supposed to be somewhere at 10 and I slept through it. I meant to just stay up then come home and crash but that didn’t happen.

I am sleepy tonight and it’s only 11 so I might be asleep before midnight.

I need $145 for my passport. I have about half of it, unless I need to put gas in the car, which I probably will. But my friend paid for my airfare so I think I need the passport more than I need gas. Except I need the support groups and I have to drive to them, so . . . I hate being on the horns of a dilemma.

I am thinking about B. I know we haven’t planned anything other than hanging out and there isn’t anything that makes me think he likes me especially. I went through this with Joe back in the 80’s. He was good looking, sincere, kind and had a way of looking at you with his full attention. He also had a girlfriend that he was very serious about and eventually married. The first few times I interacted with him, he rather took my breath away. I don’t think he ever knew I felt like that and it’s well over now so if he happens to read this, it’s funny more than embarrassing.

So B is better looking than I am, and kind and polite and pretty smart. He’s a balanced individual and respectful. Earnest. And he has a way of interacting that feels like you’re the only thing in the world. But he’s like that with P too and I know they’re just friends. Aside: there is something about friendships between men that makes me happy. Anyway, I will just be friendly, I can always use another friend, and hopefully he will never know I am getting all day dreamy.

But for myself, it’s nice to feel like this. I have had no sex drive or even interest in years. Here I am all butterflies and blushes and I thought it was over. Time of life, medication, being plain and pudgy, just seemed like there was no hope of this kind of juiciness. I’m happy for myself, regardless of whether this turns into anything. It’s fun

I long for a couple of dollars to spare so I could get a mocha at a coffee shop. I would like to take my letter writing stuff and take over a table and drink some professionally made coffee. From espresso, not from drip. With dark chocolate. Oh, decadent. LOL. It’s just coffee.

I am tired of being poor. And I will be poor for some weeks more. I need to just suck it up and get on with life.

Someone was very kind to be at the Marvelous Message Board, my SARK group. The organizers decided to drop my membership from $20 a month to $5, which was huge even though I still couldn’t afford it. Then someone anonymous paid for a year for me. So, wow! The kindness of humans is beyond amazing. I am a valued part of the community, and someone was willing to back that up with action. I am honored.

Well, 3 and a half more weeks until food stamps renew, 2 weeks until I can apply for unemployment. Even if I qualify, it’ll be 3 weeks until I get paid, and I’ll only get paid for one week because Texas holds back the first week.

I am going to be so poor for so long. I can’t stand it.


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Worn Out Sneakers

I finally wore out my sneakers over the weekend. I went walking with a friend both days. We logged over 5 miles. But I have now worn out the insole of my sneakers and I can’t afford a new pair at the moment. So I will keep wearing them for walking but I am shifting to boots for daily wear.

I told my friend I couldn’t afford the Alaska trip, and she paid my airfare. Wow. Now I didn’t expect her to do that, and I will pay her back. But very interesting response. I have to find the money for a passport now. The trip includes a stop in Canada and you can no longer use a driver’s license as proof of residence.

I get food stamps now. I am trading them for rent at the moment. I know this isn’t quite legal but I have no cash for rent this month. Or for gas or for meds. I should have some cash next month.

Next month, I can apply for unemployment again. I applied last June and was awarded a settlement. I then went back to work so I stopped collecting. That’s the job that ended in December. I tried to file against the new job, and was told that I still had the previous settlement to use up before filing for the new one. I used up the old settlement and tried to file the next one, and I was told I can only file one time in a 12 month period. So I can’t file again until the beginning of June. Hopefully I’ll qualify. I mean, I did the work, the job ended, I haven’t been able to find anything new.

I signed up for Care.com but there is a small problem. I applied for some jobs, but I don’t have the $20 to pay for the subscription part so I can’t hear from people through the website. I guess I’m going to have to start including my phone number or my email address. I could be pet sitting by now.

Next weekend I am pet sitting for a friend. I’ll enjoy spending the weekend at her house. I like her cat. It should be good. And on Sunday I’ll see my daughter for Mothers Day. We don’t have any money, so we decided to hang out and make art. I told her to invite some of her friends to join us. I figure they’ll be ready for a break from their own families by the middle of the afternoon.

I need to pack up all my art supplies on Thursday for the weekend. I have a whole plastic grocery sack of mail to reply so I need to bring my letter writing accoutrements. I need to bring paints and such over to my daughter’s place on Sunday too. Plus I need to have my vision board supplies with me. I shall have a car full of art, which makes me happy.

Ah, life. Money stress is what it is, but it could be worse. The rest of the world is working out okay. I just need things to fall into place for me.


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Monday Monday

Back to the daily grind, such as it is.

I contacted the passport office today to see about setting up an appointment to get a passport. Turns out, since I am travelling in July, that I am not a priority so I don’t get to see someone in person. I have to apply the traditional way. So my plan for tomorrow is to go to Walgreens to get the photo and to the post office to get the application form. Then I will submit everything and see how long it takes. Book and card, please.

I ordered some assemblage pieces today. I have started a new book called Mixed Media Paint Box which has about 50 exercises in it. My original plan was to buy the supplies for this week’s exploration but I don’t need to acquire anything so instead I bought other supplies. The one I’m most excited about is a flaming heart shrine which should be about the size of my hand. Flaming heart / sacred heart imagery has become very important to me.

I went to my DBSA support group today. I met someone else who is a SARK fan so that was fun. I like the feeling of connecting with a new person. I used the phrase “airy fairy” to describe some of my religious leanings and it caught on in the group. It got used several times. I also found out I am not the only person who watches Ancient Aliens. I know, I know, but it’s still interesting to me.

I got 3 more magazines today. I really need to get on with my reading. But then I really need to get on with making art too. I keep waiting for inspiration to strike but I think I just need to start playing with the supplies.

Cats have been affectionate lately. Striped Charli has napped with me more than once. She’s getting to be an old lady and napping is a huge activity for her. Momo, who is all black, has been looking for love. He usually isn’t like that, but he’s begun meowing to me for treatsies and climbing up on the sofa for pets. I love his little voice! I love Charli’s voice too but she is so often yelling at me, lol.

Roommate L is falling asleep on the sofa next to me, she should probably really go to bed. But wrestling is on so she won’t until the end of the show. Both my roommates really like wrestling and I totally don’t get it. I guess I don’t have to.

Swiss cheese is good. I prefer cheddar. This comes up because we are going keto as a household so cheese is suddenly an issue. I like stinky cheeses but of course the rest of the house doesn’t, lol. I miss rice and potatoes. I’ll get used to this new way of eating. Except at breakfast. I want cereal but it’s on the no-no list.

Speaking of bed, I should go to bed myself. I have group at 10 tomorrow so I need to be up by 9 at the latest. Up and ready to go, not simply eyes open. Why are mornings so hard? Probably because nights are so easy.