Good Riddance, 2009

It’s New Year’s Eve, and the last thing I want to do is go out and celebrate. I don’t want to stay home either, as the roommate will probably be here as well and I won’t be able to hide away by myself. I’ve spent a lot of today watching the Twilight Zone marathon on Syfy. I feel content while doing this, even though they keep playing this depressing tear-jerker of a commercial.

At this point I suppose this blog will transform into a chronicle of the depths of my depression as opposed to a blog about my lack of money. My roommate continues to make my life more difficult than it needs to be. Again, I appreciate her kindness, but it’s not a license to treat me like crap. I’m just trying to mind my own business.

For many years I have had issues with chronic fatigue and exhaustion, which can lead me to sleep for abnormally long periods of time. Lately, however, I’ve been battling insomnia. I sleep in the basement to keep my cat quiet, and even with the space heater I am awake most of the night, shivering. When I do fall asleep, I am plagued by nightmares, generally about money. I don’t really remember the dreams very well, but they are usually about being threatened and harassed by people who want money from me. I do recall a dream that the police officer who called me annoying had broken into my old apartment and began taking everything I owned in order to pay off some mystery debt. I generally wake up in a heart-racing panic that someone is after me or will cause me bodily harm.

My British passport is still “in processing” even though I’ve paid all the fees for it. From what I’ve gathered, it’s stuck somewhere in London and there will be more details available next week. I became a bit concerned when the passport did not arrive at Mom 2′s house, so I rode the bus to my old apartment to see if UPS had been by. I worried that they had shipped to my billing address instead of my shipping address. On my old door was a huge legal document. It wasn’t a summons, but it was about 40 pages of jargon and it discussed what I owe my previous landlords and how they wanted to sue me. They had attempted to summon me several times, but I wasn’t around. Of course I wasn’t around — I moved! I am judgment-proof, which means they can’t collect anything from me. They only want $1400 plus court fees, but I have nothing to collect. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a judgment against me, and it also means that I have to prove that I have nothing to collect. I haven’t really begun to process that yet. To add insult to injury, two other creditors of mine are threatening me with lawsuits, and one in particular is sure to carry it out. I’ve tried to talk to them, but all they do is yell. That doesn’t sit well with me considering a) the recent bailouts b) the relatively small amount I actually owe and c) the large sums of fees and interest I’ve handed over the past several years. I have already paid much, much more than I’ve borrowed. If I make small payments, the account will stay on my credit indefinitely. Call me a thief, but I feel it best to just let it drop off my record and let them write off a loss. I just don’t care. I’m also likely to get sued over the balance of my car, though no one has threatened me with that yet. I suppose they have to auction the car first.

Judgments in Washington state will stay on your credit report for 10 years. Truth of the matter is, the minute I get another job, I’ll be in worse shape than I was at my last job — bleeding money, unable to afford rent and utilities, and even less able afford bankruptcy. Ten years doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore, especially since it’s already shot for the next seven. And I’m moving to a country with a different credit system. I don’t suppose I’ll really need credit, anyway. All I will want is a phone and eventually I might like to rent a room in some slummy house, which may not even require a credit check.

I’m a bit frustrated with my medical care once again. Several weeks ago, I suddenly developed a pea-sized hard lump on my big toe. In spite of its size, this lump was incredibly painful and I couldn’t even wear regular shoes. Even lying down on my side hurt if the inside of my foot touched the surface I was lying upon. I walked with a limp. I saw and felt the lump. My doctor saw it. Two of my friends saw it. Yet somehow it didn’t show up on an X-ray. Even more mysteriously, it stopped hurting and disappeared.

Signs point to gout, which would be odd as I don’t fit the profile. I don’t drink very much. I don’t meat. However, gout has been linked to chronic anemia (check) and hypothyroidism (check).

Not only did the mystery lump not show up in an X-ray, but my blood tests came back normal. I often feel like there are gremlins that follow me wherever I go just to mess around with my medical tests.

It went away, so the doctor says I shouldn’t be concerned, but I am in case it happens again. I think that my uric acid levels had returned to normal by the time I got the test as I had already had the lump at least three weeks before I got blood drawn. That’s really the only explanation I can come up with. A bunion wouldn’t have appeared that quickly, nor would it have vanished like that. Pea-sized masses of bone don’t vanish into nothing. Same with bone spurs, which wouldn’t have been on that part of the foot anyway. I have worn heels maybe 5 days in the past 10 years.

The worst was that the doctor implied that it was nothing at all.  I seem to be prone to this sort of thing. Odd “spells” of undiagnosable and painful conditions, and I’m so slow to go to doctor (either because of lack of money or insurance or my own tendency to dismiss my own needs) that nothing ever comes of anything. Story of my life, I suppose.

I will probably be doing some dog-sitting for a friend if I can get myself out of bed. I don’t really feel like getting out of bed even though I can’t sleep.

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A Heart Two Sizes Too Small

I think it’s safe to say that I don’t “do” Christmas. My lack of participation has nothing to do with religion or any anti-corporate political sentiment. Christmas just never seems to work out for me, but I have no hard feelings. I don’t have any children to disappoint, and traditional Christmas activities don’t hold my interest, so I prefer to just take the day and relax and do what I want. I don’t even know why I should care or feel guilty about it. Most Americans (myself included) have too much stuff anyway, so I’m less inclined to feel guilty about not shopping. Our attics, garages, landfills, and thrift stores are full of crap no one needs. Why contribute? My mother and I used to hit the Indian casino on Christmas –before she was injured, I mean. She was blind in one eye and almost blind in the other, but she could still kind of manage certain electronic slot machines. Me? I’m a blackjack girl.

I actually love shopping. I love buying gifts. I get quite a rush when I find something interesting that reminds me of someone I love. I wouldn’t say that I have expensive taste, but my taste is at least a solid middle-class. At the moment, I am not middle class. I was thankful that I was able to give (and sell) my BFF some things that she enjoys, so I could at least give her something even if I can’t really afford to buy anything. I have mentioned this before, but I was almost certainly a compulsive shopper for many years before I experienced the events that led to my poverty. That’s really the only reason why I’ve been living like this so long and I still had so many things to sell and give away. I am still making sales online. I found a designer purse at a local Goodwill, and if it’s still there this weekend, I may buy it with sale proceeds and try to make a profit. At least I’m considering it.

Christmas was set aside this year because with my current jobless state combined with preparations for an overseas move. Last year I was unemployed and stressed. The year before that my whole team was laid off 11 days before Christmas when our jobs were outsourced. The year before that I spent a large part of Christmas in the hospital after major surgery. The year before that, I had a low-wage receptionist job and I had spent every penny and maxed every line of credit in moving expenses to get my last apartment and away from the apartment with gross people and no hot water.

Being estranged from my family makes any major holiday complicated. I’m completely okay with being estranged from them. In fact, I wish there were more distance. Estrangement –at least in my case– is a very good thing, but being “the orphan” has its downsides. It’s awkward when acquaintances ask me if I’ll be visiting my “parents” for the holiday. It’s even more awkward when acquaintances invite me to visit their parents. I went to my drunk cokehead roommate’s family Christmas celebration in 2004. Her family was very nice to me, but I was out of place. I’d never met them, but they bought me presents. I appreciated it (and still have and use many of the gifts I received) but I felt so guilty. I was stunned by how unappreciative my ex-roommate was of her parents. I had gone to her parents’ house expecting no more than a family dinner and I nearly wept when I saw that they prepared a stocking for me. They filled the stocking  with cute novelty socks, scented lotions, lip balms, and a bottle of wine. My ex-roommate received the same stocking stuffer gifts that I received and all she did was complain about them not being to her taste.

I’m uncomfortable when anyone puts out any effort for my sake, especially if they don’t even know me. Especially if I can’t reciprocate.

My current roommate invited me to spend Christmas with her family but I declined. The last time I spent a holiday with her and family members, there was hitting, slapping, and ultimately police intervention. Oh, and the phone used to call police was smashed to bits. And there was dog poop thrown at my roommate’s car — and this was all after an argument about how often to feed a cat! My family is crazy, but they aren’t that kind of crazy. I thought that things like that only happened in sitcoms. Having the house to myself for a couple of days is far better than any gathering with someone else’s family. Tomorrow or the next day, I will spend time with another friend who hates her family. That’s really the best way to spend Christmas, in my opinion.

Now that I live in a house with cable, I will watch A Christmas Story, which I don’t believe I’ve seen in full since I was maybe nine years old. Such a shame that Flick ended up a porn star.

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Oh, the Guilt

I knew that I was entering a toxic living situation, but did not know what to do about it. I was in a similar situation last time I had a roommate. I had two part-time temp jobs and had to get out of my mold-ridden apartment. A woman I used to hang out with was losing the house that she rented because the owner was putting it up for sale, so we both needed a place to live at the same time. I knew better, but I had very little income, a lot of bills, and nowhere to go. I used to hang out with this woman a few times a week, but I’m reluctant to call her a friend. She was very bossy about where we would go and what we would do and she had a very obvious drinking problem. We would make plans to go to a concert or a movie, and she would invariably say “Let’s have a couple of drinks first.” Then once she had “a couple of drinks” she wouldn’t feel like doing what we had originally planned, and she would sit and have at least eight more drinks (no exaggeration) and argue with people or act like an idiot. I have no idea why I put up with that nearly every weekend for almost two years. We had been friends back in college, but then lost touch for several years then started hanging out again. She had a steady (but low-income) job, and with our incomes combined we could afford a 2-bedroom apartment in the small town we lived in at the time. We rented the top floor of a small house that had been divided into three apartments. I knew it was a bad idea, but I really did not know what to do. The roommate I had before that had moved to Seattle and I was stuck in a small town with no steady income.

We made a deal before we looked at the new apartment — we didn’t have to make a decision right away. If we liked it, then we’d take it, and if we didn’t like it, we had other places to look at. Unfortunately, she liked it and I hated it. I can look back on many times in my life where I needed to be more assertive, and this was one of those times. I thought the apartment was too small for the price and just weird. It was painted strangely and the staircase that led up to our unit was obviously thrown together as an afterthought once the house had been turned into apartments. The staircase was tall, steep, visibly lopsided, and it looked dangerous. Once I saw the place, I was fully prepared to just make some noncommittal comments like “Oh, we’ll get back to you, we have some more places to look at” but the ex-roomie liked it and wanted to take it right away. And because that’s what she wanted, that’s what we did. She was always more willing to fight, and I was always more willing to step back to avoid a fight.

I lived there for six months, and in that time we had exactly one day that the hot water worked. It wasn’t even the whole day, but I was able to enjoy a warmish shower for maybe 10 minutes. I complained about the lack of hot water to the landlord a lot, but nothing was done. The basement of the house served as a laundry room, and often it was flooded at least ankle-high. The landlord wouldn’t do anything about that either. The basement was always trashed, but it wasn’t clear who was supposed to maintain it. We had messy neighbors who would just throw trash in there and no one cleaned it up. Garbage would float in the floodwater. I avoided bathing as much as possible because the shower water was ice-cold. We had to use a landromat because of the flooding. Sometimes, when it wasn’t flooded that badly, I would just do my laundry in the basement, anyway.

My drunk roommate lost her job very shortly after we moved in together. That’s when it got really bad. Around the same time, I got a full-time job just outside Seattle. It didn’t pay much, and I had to drive over 50 miles one way to get there. It was the worst job I have ever had (which is saying a lot) and I was under extreme stress every day. Every day I would just get into my car and scream. If I was lucky, my roommate wouldn’t stagger home drunk and coked-up until I was just leaving for work (or after I had gone for the day). When I was less lucky, she would stagger home drunk and coked-up with several other drunk, coked-up people while I was trying to sleep or just relax by myself in the living room after being yelled at and publicly humiliated all day. There were often creepy strangers milling around our place when I got up in the morning. After dealing with an extremely hostile work environment, living like that wore on my sanity. I still hung out with the roommate on occasion, but she got me into a couple of dangerous situations and I moved out and never spoke to her again. I’ve seen her a couple of times randomly. She looks sick and awful and I don’t feel sorry for her. She’s 32 but could pass for almost 50.

While my current situation isn’t nearly that bad, there are some big problems. I was very nervous about staying with this particular friend because she is such a negative person. She has an ability to take everyday situations and turn them info full-on disasters. Even completely neutral situations that have nothing to do with her somehow become huge crises in her world. I’m beyond thankful that she’s offered to let me stay here, but I just knew I’d spend the whole time walking on broken eggshells.

Weeks ago she asked me where I wanted to sleep when I stay with her. I told her that I just wanted to sleep wherever it was convenient for her and I wouldn’t interfere with her daily routine.

“Oh, it’s your house. I’ll sleep anywhere! Feel free to just boss me around tell me where to put my stuff. I’m not picky.” I laughed, and said it in the tone I use when I’m telling a funny story or making a joke.

Two hours later she called me sobbing because she thought that when I said “boss me around” that I had been calling her bossy.

“Is that what you really think of me?!”

I had said it so casually that I didn’t even remember that I had used those words, and I would have used the same words with anyone else I considered a friend. This is the level of sensitivity I’m dealing with.

I thought that perhaps things might change a bit because a week or two ago, one of her best friends “broke up” with her because of her negative attitude. She asked me to give her honest feedback about her personality and actions. I did, though reluctantly. I named a few occasions where she has shot herself in the foot by being so negative. I also reminded her of another incident –when I lost my keys last June and was stranded and freaked out at 4am, she was angry that I did not call her. She yelled at me over the phone and said “Obviously you don’t think of me as a good enough friend.” I was the one who had had the bad experience, but she was the one who got personally offended. It is textbook emotional manipulation. If I had called her, she would have moaned and groaned all week about how I threw off her sleep schedule. Also, I didn’t call anyone, so it’s not like I called everyone except her. It was a very strange argument, and she actually cried and turned it into her own problem when it didn’t affect her at all. The goal of all of this is to inspire guilt or possibly pity.

I don’t respond well to such theatrics, if I respond at all. The new roomie keeps starting drama, in particular with my cat. She already has a cat, so I don’t understand it. I don’t even want to write about it because it is so incredibly stupid that it hurts to think about. She has said things to me that no sane person would ever say ever. She locks my cat in the freezing basement, then gets mad at me when my cat meows at the door. The obvious solution would be to not lock my cat in the freezing basement, which only became a factor long after she offered me a place here. I don’t even want to get into what she says will happen if she doesn’t lock the cat in the basement, or worse –what she says will happen if the cat doesn’t quit meowing. It’s too stupid to document. I said in my last post that she was worried about the neighbors complaining if the cats fought. That is a true but much less dramatic account of what she actually said. She thinks the letting my cat in will trigger an apocalypse and her life and livelihood will be in danger. I wish I were kidding.

My mother used to do similar things, but only after she had brain damage. That’s probably part of why this makes me so angry at her irrational behavior. My mother’s brain-damaged guilt trips wore me down physically and mentally. I was young and trying to establish my own life, but I got sucked into my mother’s illnesses and divorce on top of her excessive dramatics and manipulative behavior. My new roomie is paranoid about things that will never happen and every day some new drama comes into being. I can’t stand illogical behavior. I found another place to stay, but they don’t take cats. Dogs, yes; cats, no. Every dog I’ve ever known has caused way more damage to their home than my cat, so I don’t get it. Heck, I cause more damage to my home than my cat is likely to. Also, she’s declawed (not my choice, my parents declawed her as soon as I went away to college and wasn’t around to protest). I’ve started the Pet Travel Scheme for my cat and don’t want to leave her anywhere else for a while because I need access to her so I can get her to her vet appointments at the appropriate times.

My cat has actually broken out of the basement a few times, and the results were as uneventful as any sane person would expect. The two cats saw each other, but didn’t fight. Because I’m (generally) respectful, I put my cat back in the freezing basement. She sleeps on top of me every night, and I think it was upsetting to her that I was upstairs sleeping on the sofa. I got a little air mattress from someone on Craigslist so I’ll sleep on that. It’s still very cold down there, even with the space heater.

I’ve given up my car, so I’m going to be stuck here a lot. Also, it’s very likely that I have gout, which would explain my freaky joint pain. The doctor ordered blood tests and X-rays because something was visibly (and painfully) affecting the joint on one of my toes. More news about that on Monday.

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Lamster

I am officially out of my old apartment, which is a great relief. I moved out four years to the date that I moved in. I managed to do it without getting an official eviction notice, which I’ll never understand. A bit over a week ago, I received a second pay or vacate notice demanding only half of the rent that I owe. It was either a big mistake in my favor or a passive, half-assed way of trying to make a deal with me. I bailed.

I got everything I need (and many things I don’t) out of the apartment, and I cleaned a bit. I was able to sell, donate, throw away, or give away a lot. I didn’t clean as well as I normally would have liked, but I did a better job than most people would have in such a hurry. I did abandon my bed (the frame broke three  moves ago and the mattress was in bad shape) and a desk. These things were too big for me to carry, dismantle, or transport by myself, and not in good enough condition to sell. I feel a little guilty. I also left a lot of stuff on my porch for Salvation Army home pickup. At least I vacuumed and cleaned the bathroom and kitchen. I did not leave a forwarding address. I haven’t returned my car yet, and so I was trying to move discreetly to avoid repo man detection. The neighbors can be pretty nosy, but mostly left me alone. One actually yelled to me through her window when I couldn’t even see who was talking to me. “Are you moving? Where are you going?” I just named a random neighborhood and left her with no further details.

My cat and I are still in Seattle and staying with a friend. I’m in a much nicer neighborhood and a much smaller living space. I still have some things I’m selling online. I’ve actually done quite well with selling things. Perhaps I should rethink my career.

I am giving my friend some money for me the use of her basement and sofa, and I’ll buy her some food with my food stamps. This place costs more than twice what I was paying in rent and it’s so much smaller. Living in the ghetto has its advantages, I guess. I don’t see how she can afford to live here.

She actually offered to let me stay here a long time ago, long before my problems got too serious. I could barely afford my first rent hike, and I think that’s around the time she first offered. I’m very thankful, but I really need to get back on my feet. My bank account was charged for my UK passport, so I’m assuming it went through. At least I hope they wouldn’t charge me for it if I’m not getting it! I still have too many things to take overseas. I wish it weren’t so psychologically difficult for me to part with things.

My cat is not happy. My friend has a cat of her own, and for reasons I don’t entirely understand, she’s worried about the cats interacting. She’s worried that neighbors will complain if they fight, which I think is rather silly. We don’t even share walls. The cats will certainly fight, but that seems like a bad reason to keep my little girl locked in the freezing basement. I put a little space heater down there, and I will get some kind of sleeping mat and sleep in the basement with the cat. I’ll have more privacy that way, anyway. Poor kitty. Her meows sound so despondent. She only stops crying when I go down to the basement with her.

I think this will work out for the time being. I really hope that my friend and I don’t have any major personality clashes. We’re both neurotic in our own ways. If it works out better than planned, I can maybe wait a little longer to move to the UK so I can take better care of the cat situation. This month marks 14 years I’ve had her.

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Sucks to your ass-mar!

With a little fancy footwork, I was able to get Medicaid through the state. I had to see a doctor through the Department of Social and Health Services, and they determined that I am disabled enough to get Medicaid. I had to swallow whatever residue my pride left behind in order to do this, but it has been a great relief to me so far. I was able to see a doctor at the low-income clinic about my chronic respiratory problems. On top of everything else, I have now been officially diagnosed with asthma. Grrrreat. The good news is that I was able to get a refill of my old inhaler plus a new steroid-based inhaler to use twice a day. It really is a miracle — I did not think that one little thing could make me feel so much better. It’s a relief to breathe again and to be able to fall asleep without listening to my chest snap-crackle-pop. I still have moderate wheezing from time to time, but my regular, “emergency” inhaler takes care of that. I had gone without that inhaler for several months because I couldn’t get in to see a doctor for a refill. I only got it last year after months of suffering.

I did not have to pay for either the visit or the medication, which I had not expected. My previous attempts to find free or cheap medical assistance had always been fruitless. The health center at my university gave me a list of low-income clinics to try, but I got absolutely nowhere with any of the places on the list. One woman who answered the phone told me that they couldn’t treat me until I proved my income. Unfortunately, this was during my ill-fated cash-advance abuse phase.

“I don’t have any income,” I told her.

“Then you’ll have to provide a letter from whoever’s paying your bills.”

“But no one’s paying my bills.”

“Well, you have to bring in a paystub, something.”

“I don’t have any paystubs.”

This exchange went on and on and on and ultimately resulted in me not having appropriate documentation for treatment. My unemployment claim had lapsed, I didn’t have a job, and I was getting very little in student loans. I didn’t have a “paystub” for my student loans, so that wasn’t good enough. Nothing was good enough. I was treated like that everywhere I went and everywhere I called. I had heard of the clinic I just went to, but I did not know that they provided services for people with no money in addition to those with just a little money. Or even a moderate amount of money.

Unfortunately, I really do need specialists, so I’m not sure how far cheap clinics will take me. My joint pain has gotten significantly worse, to the point that I believe X-rays are in order. I have resumed my thyroid medications, but my hands are still swollen and odd-looking.

I’m moving in with a friend so I will still be in Seattle for a while. My British passport application has been sent off, so I should hear back in 3-5 weeks. I’ve unloaded most of my belongings, but I still have lots of random little things that I don’t know how to deal with. Salvation Army pickup on Wednesday!

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Breathe

What am I thinking?

Plans have changed, and not necessarily to my liking. Apparently, I won’t be staying with Mom 2, but I will be moving to the United Kingdom to stay with relatives. My mother’s first cousin passed away suddenly a couple of months ago, and she left behind a large, lovely house. Two of my younger cousins are currently living in it, and they have a spare room which they (and my second cousin, the official owner of the house) have kindly offered to me. The house has been in the family over 50 years and is far beyond paid for. The only expenses are the taxes, utilities, and upkeep but split three ways (or more) it’s very little. I believe that the room they have offered me is the same room I stayed in back in 2001 when I went to visit. My mother was quite close to her cousin when they were young, and although I did not know her well, I do know that she was a sweet woman and I’m sad she’s gone.

I’ve been in e-mail contact with the cousins who live in the house, but I haven’t seen them in 8 years and they were only 12 and 13 back then. It will also be weird living with a couple of young’ns, not that I’m complaining. They are a lot of fun (if their Facebook profiles are any indication), and if there’s one thing I could use, it’s fun. My mother had me registered as a British citizen when I was very young, and fortunately, I still have the original paperwork from the Home Office. Once my passport application is complete I will be eligible to work anywhere in the UK or EU while maintaining my US citizenship.

Part of why I’m not staying with Mom 2 is transportation. She lives in an area with no public transportation, and nothing but houses for miles. It would be difficult to have a job there without my car, and I can’t afford my car. She did offer to pay for my plane ticket over to the UK. I’m (still) selling off all my furniture, my CDs (boo hoo), most of my books, as well as other odds and ends I’ve collected over the years. I’ve made enough money to ship over a few boxes. For whatever reason, Mom 2 is 100% convinced that going overseas right now is the best thing for me, but I’m not so sure. While that was ultimately the plan, I’m feeling very rushed. How on earth does someone plan an overseas move in a few weeks? Mom 2 has lived overseas twice before, but I assume she had a lot of help because her moving expenses were all covered by her husband’s employer. I am grateful for her generosity, but can’t I stop and breathe a minute?

I feel like I’m preparing to be a hobo. I am not taking anything electrical (except my laptop) because they have different outlets there and it just seems useless. I’m trying to limit myself to only some clothes, some books, some mementos, papers, and photographs. Unfortunately I have a lot of all of the above! I’m so slow with this process and I don’t know why. I guess I’m just panicked.

My main concern is that my family over there doesn’t know or won’t understand that I’m kind of a wreck at the moment. Mom 2 keeps saying that when you’re in distress, it’s best to be with family. Kind of an odd comment coming from her because she actually knows my immediate family and is as appalled by their behavior as I am. I would never stay with them or be around them during any time of distress, so I’m a bit nervous about trusting anyone I’m related to (even though this is the “nice” side of my family). What if they hate me? Of course it’s possible that Mom 2 just doesn’t want me to stay with her. I wouldn’t blame her and I really don’t know.

I’ve been using Craigslist to sell my furniture and other items with varying degrees of success. Many potential buyers have stood me up, but I have re-homed several items. Whatever I can’t get rid of I will just have the Salvation Army pick up. I’m still getting evicted, but it’s taking forever, much to my advantage. If I hadn’t been so paralyzed I might have sold all my furniture earlier.

One odd thing I’m looking forward to is getting rid of my car. I still owe money on it, but I’m going to go for a voluntary repossession. That car has been nothing but stress and trouble. My car battery died while I was getting my passport photos. I was so frustrated I almost abandoned the vehicle right there, but I still need the car for trips to Goodwill and to transport things I’m selling, so after much internal debate I decided it was best to spring for a new battery. I was able to get a jump but then my car died again while I was stopped at a traffic light and on my way to buy a new battery with the money I should have been saving for shipping. Once it died again, I was rescued by several men from a nearby tire shop. They pushed my car across several lanes in heavy Black Friday traffic. This is what happens when you can’t afford AAA or a tow truck.

Once again I am having lung problems and revisiting my pneumonia symptoms. I think is part of why I’m so sluggish. I’m going to have to go to the emergency room or some kind of walk-in clinic. My father never smoked a single cigarette, but was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) about 20 years ago. In nonsmokers, COPD is usually caused by either heavy exposure to second-hand smoke or fumes or (more likely in my father’s case) a genetic deficiency of a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin. You can understand my concern.

My friend is coming over in a bit and will move some of my things to her place. I’m not sure whether to have my stuff shipped to the UK from her place or mine. I’m guessing hers because it would be nice to get out of here as quickly as I can. I’ve moved on my own so many times and this is the slowest I’ve ever been. Every time I pack or move anything, I find 10 more things I need to handle. Also, this is quite scary, so I’m sure I’m sabotaging myself on many levels.

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Destination Unknown

At the urging of a dear friend (you know who you are), I broke down and called my “second mother.” I can’t think of what else to call her, but she was my mother’s closest friend and I have known her since I was about three years old. She is the woman who gave me the $500 graduation present which I used on my overdue electric bill. I was afraid to tell her about what was going on in my life, mostly because I knew she wouldn’t hesitate to help me out. Part of it is that I don’t want help– or (more accurately) I don’t want to need help. I don’t want to need anything I can’t get myself. She has lent me money before, and I remember every penny. When I was living in a disgusting mold-ridden apartment, my roommate moved out and I couldn’t afford the rent by myself. I didn’t want to bring a new roommate into an apartment where even the light bulbs got moldy, so I needed to get out, too. Even though I was working two part-time temp jobs on top of my job at the phone sex line (where my pay was unpredictable), I was barely getting by and did not have enough money for deposits and a truck rental. My second mother covered my rent for the month until I moved out and got my next place (which wasn’t much better than the Mold Hole and my new roommate was an angry cokehead). She has told me not to worry about paying her back. She has told me over and over again to come to her if I have a problem and that my mother would have done the same for any of her kids. But I didn’t want to because I was worried that I would never be able to make it up to her.

I called her and just blurted it all out. I told her just about everything. And then she offered to let me live with her.

She made me a similar offer once before when one of my temp jobs ended, but I didn’t take her up on it. I would have felt guilty and I was worried I would get stuck there. She lives in a small town 2,500 miles away, and very near a place that has some awful, awful memories and some very toxic people. While not set in stone, it’s more likely than not that I am going. Unlike my local friends, she has a large home where I won’t be constantly underfoot. I feel this is a giant step backwards, but it isn’t. She has also offered to help me leave the country to be closer to my non-psycho living relatives. While I stay with her, I can get my immigration paperwork in order while I temp (or something) and help her around the house. My acceptance of her offer doesn’t mean that I’m any more comfortable with it than I was before. I hope this doesn’t sound overly mopey, but I’ve never been treated with unconditional kindness and it feels weird. It’s a pretty amazing thing to screw up, get angry with yourself, but to know that someone cares about you anyway. I certainly wasn’t raised like that.

Shortly after my last post, my actual landlord (not the owners of the condo) showed up unannounced. I’m surprised that he had never called me at any time during this mess, not even to return my call. I didn’t answer the door. I generally don’t when someone shows up unannounced. Why should I? Besides, I was in my pajamas and on the phone with a friend of mine who is currently in the hospital. Mr. Scary Landlord should have called first. I have become a terrible tenant, but I still have rights and he hasn’t taken charge of anything.

Mr. Landlord called me and left me a message saying that he had wanted to work things out without the court system, but that it was most likely not going to happen.

And I got scared. It took me over a day to get up the nerve to return his call. But I did it. I called the number he left me, and he didn’t answer and his voice mailbox was full. I called his office, and once again no answer. I left a message asking him what his plans were, and I told him I would be out soon. I just want to know. Once again, he has not returned my call. I called a third time. Nothing.

Between worrying about repo men and worrying about my landlord, I spend a lot of time hiding indoors. Until I called the local tenant’s union.

The tenant’s union has the worst hours ever. Their hotline is not so hot. You can only call from 3pm to 6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and you have to call over and over to get through. After two days of calling, I finally got through on Wednesday and got some of my questions answered. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get booted out any minute or what was going to happen if they chose to go through the court system. So now I understand a bit more. I have at least a week. Nothing has been filed yet.

I have been living on my own since I was 17, and over time I’ve accumulated quite a lot of stuff. Back in the day, I had money, which is a bad thing to have when you have hoarding tendencies. For the most part, I stopped accumulating stuff years ago, but I have not yet done away with every remnant of the old me. Now I have to fit it all into my car. I can’t just toss everything in boxes and go, and since I’m broke, I would like to get money for whatever I can. I’m using Craigslist and Amazon, and I am carting things around to local stores. When it gets closer to the time I absolutely have to get out, then I’ll be less careful, but I’ll need some money for the road at least. And I can catch up on car payments. U-Hauls aren’t really an option because they are prohibitively expensive for long-distance travel. Also, if I’m heading overseas in the semi-near future, I can’t really take a whole lot with me.

I hope to be rid of all my furniture by Tuesday, and by then I will also have sold most of what I’ll be able to and will begin giving things away. A friend has offered to haul my stuff away for me, which is a great help. This process is mentally and physically exhausting.

My goals at this point are to stay with Mom 2, find any old job, and get myself to a place where I’m not killing myself with immense pressure. I will also get bankruptcy underway while I  prepare to move again. I am fortunate to have dual nationality, so it’s really a matter of waiting for my new ID, saving money, and sorting out temporary living situations. I’ll probably be taking my cat with me as well, and that’s another complication, but gives me more time to save money. I will look for a job while I’m here, but given that I can’t even find a job in the next state, I’m not too optimistic about finding a job across the pond.

 

P.S. I know I haven’t finished the awful repo story. One day, one day.

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Filed under "In this economy", Home Life, Materialism, Obstacles, Work