Kiss5Tigers

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


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North Texas Giving Tuesday

Hello hello hello

Today is a mixed bag of stuff.

In the middle of the night, I got a notice from unemployment that they turned me down because I gave incorrect information. Now I actually spoke to a person — they called me, I can’t get through to them — and I thought we got it all squared away. I thought the Census Bureau was my last employer because they hired me back in March, but since they never paid me, I am not considered an employee. Now I have to try to call the unemployment people again and see if I can find out what went astray.

On the other hand, Parkland finally approved me so I got my blood pressure meds today. I was starting to get headaches from blood pressure being too high so this is a great thing. It also means I have health insurance for the coming year.

I ordered stamps from the post office and they are having issues with delivering them. I don’t know why. On May 2 at 10:27 it says “out for delivery” and by 3:30 the same day, the package is marked “available for pickup”. I mean, if I was going to pick them up, couldn’t I have just gone to the post office and bought stamps? I have letters waiting to go out.

I did speak to the mail carrier, but he doesn’t sort his own mail so he said I needed to call. Well I’m trying but it’s nearly impossible. The system is set up to do everything automated and will only let you speak to a representative under certain circumstances. Stamp orders is not one of those circumstances. So I tried general customer service and right now I have been on hold for 36 minutes waiting for a representative. I know it’s Covid season but they are providing poor service with no way to correct it.

Today is North Texas Giving Tuesday and I work at a non profit so if you’re looking for a place to give . . . We got 501c3 status, I think it was Thursday, and already all the beds are filled. Teenagers need a place to go, a safe house for them is a real blessing. So we have 2 girls, one with a baby, who we are helping get back on track.

I am hoping to make some artist trading cards this afternoon since I have some time to myself. I might just watch TV and crochet though. I don’t know. I started a series called “Tales From The Loop“. It’s kind of “Eureka” meets “The Twilight Zone“. I’m really enjoying it. I’m thinking of getting a drink in a second and looking up a local phone number for the post office.

Here’s hoping I find stamps soon!


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New Digs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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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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Today Was a Good Day

It’s so easy to talk about the bad days, but today was actually a good day.

I woke up and managed to stay awake for the first time in, well, more than 2 weeks. I have been waking up about 9 am and doing a few things, then going out into the living room to plug in my phone. Now everyone sleeps late in this house, so even as late as noontime, the living room is dark and quiet. So it’s really easy to just stretch out on the sofa and nap for another hour or two.

But this morning I had calls to make, so I stayed up. And the calls were successful, woot woot!

First call was to Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). That’s the unemployment office to the rest of the world. Texas really has exactly one unemployment office which is in Austin (the capitol) so you really can’t go to unemployment. What they do have is the TWC, which is basically an employment office. Because they are not concerned about you getting money, they are concerned about you working. I am concerned about me getting money, job is a fine way to do that, but I have paid into the unemployment system and so has my most recent employer, so I don’t mind saying I feel rather entitled to the money. This is not charity; it is, in fact, insurance.

Anyway, in Texas you can only apply for unemployment once every 12 months. I had a deployment end last spring, and I applied for unemployment on June 3. I did work again in Sept – Dec, but when that deployment ended, I couldn’t apply for unemployment again. Now since it was within 12 months, I could continue collecting on the previous claim. But funding ran out and I was still within the 12 months, so I couldn’t apply again.

However, today is June 3, so guess what? Application time, baby. I tried to apply online but got a message that said “we can serve you better by phone”. My first call this morning was to TWC. They took my application by phone. They really couldn’t believe I earned as much as I did during that Sept – Dec run, but I was working 60 and 70 hour weeks, so with all that overtime, I was doing great. Hopefully that means I’ll get a decent check, but really anything is better than the nothing I’m getting now. So this is a good thing, it’s just a waiting game now.

The second call was to Citibank, my new bank. Now I do most of my banking online so I didn’t realize until later that they actually do not have a physical branch in Texas. I need to make an initial deposit to fully open the account, but what I have is a paper check. I had to be sure I could just deposit it into an ATM. They said to use any ATM that accepts deposits, so I’ll have to use one at an actual bank not at a corner store. So I’m trusting them for this. I also got the passcode for my new debit card today. That means I should get the card in the next day or two, which is also good. In the meantime, I need to change my banking information with unemployment, so the money goes to the new account. Also a good call, because it answered a question.

The third call was to my employer. Remember that I do seasonal work for the government. I get deployed, I get furloughed. I work when there’s work, but I don’t get paid when there’s no work. That’s why I get unemployment. I do look for other work in my down time because I need to do something, but this time no luck.

Anyway, I am required to keep up with trainings and other meetings while I’m not deployed. I got a notice that I had missed a training that was due for the end of May. I have a company phone, but I don’t have a company computer, so I didn’t know how to take the training. I spoke to a very helpful person who let me know that even though I got the notice, I was not in trouble. I wouldn’t be able to access the class without a company computer so I’m not expected to do it until I’m deployed again.

While I was talking to her, I asked about the coach / evaluator certification. What that is, is a person who signs off on certain requirements for being fully qualified for a position. I am a qualified ASPS, and I have opened a task book for the next higher position, which is housing lead. A task book is the list of necessary skills and requirements that someone needs to observe you doing. The observer is the coach / evaluator. Well, you can only evaluate a position for which you are qualified. So I would be able to sign off on people who are working on their ASPS qualification.

I asked about how to become a coach / evaluator and the helpful person sent me the link to the requirements. Pretty much, you need to be qualified for the role you want to evaluate, and you need to have the task book opened for the next level. Check and check. Now all I need is to let my cadre coordinator know I’m interested. I can do that tomorrow, after I verify who that is. Coordinators also get deployed and furloughed, which means the info can change while I’m out of the office with no notice.

That makes 3 calls, all productive, which is a good day in itself. I also went to group and hung out afterwards with some of the other clients. When I got home, my roommate had made roasted potatoes and barbecue ribs. Momo Kitty fell asleep on my feet, which is very affectionate for him. Charli is always on me for attention but Momo is pretty self contained. It’s now 11:00 and I’m thinking of bed.

Tomorrow is another busy day. I have group in the morning, then I’m going to visit a friend who is in the hospital. I hope to add in a visit to another friend who is in the area after that, just because it would be convenient. I mean, she’s my friend and I’d love to see her, but the timing would be convenient. I am short of gas money these days.

It looks like a good start to the week.