Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Share

Leave a comment

Filed under Depression, fml, health, Home Life, Uncategorized

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.

Share

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Penultimate Peril

Story of my life

I registered for NaNoWriMo for the first time. For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which occurs annually in November. The goal for participants is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

But I’m not planning to write a regular novel. I’m entering as a NaNoWriMo Rebel, so basically I’m just writing 50,000 words and adhering to no one’s rules but my own. While I do have ideas for fictional projects, they are rather nebulous and I’d rather dive into my memoirs idea that I’ve been kicking around for years now.

Novembers are historically bad months for me, hence my lack of participation in NaNoWriMo during previous years. This November will probably be no exception, but I’ve got nothing but time and I’m willing to push through it.

One of my dearest friends once told me that my life was like that of the ill-fated Baudelaire orphans, the main characters in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Not surprisingly, those books are among my favorite books ever, even though they are children’s books and I was about 21 when they were first published.

I imagine my memoirs to be a bit like A Series of Unfortunate Events only more outlandish. And more depressing. With less mystery.

Now is as good a time as any to begin writing this, even though I have no idea how the story will end. I believe I’m in the second-to-last chapter of this saga, or the penultimate peril, if you will. When I am done, I will have either blow-by-blow documentation of my demise or a charming feel-good story where I somehow come out of this with my dignity and sense of self intact. The latter is possible, right? Right?

 

P.S. Happy Halloween! I hope you all are doing something fun. I will watch horror movies online with my lights out. I don’t feel like being social and I don’t have any candy. Yeah, like I’d waste my food stamps on fun-size Kit-Kats.

Share

1 Comment

Filed under Home Life, Uncategorized, writing

Growing Ranks of Nouveau Poor Discriminated against by Old Poor

I laughed.

Borrowed from Unemploymentality and The Onion:

Report: Growing Ranks Of Nouveau Poor Facing Discrimination From Old Poor

The funniest thing about this is because I have actually feared similar discrimination! Though I’m quickly transitioning from nouveau poor to “old poor.”

Best quote: “What makes America so special is that no matter how many advantages you were born with, you too might wind up sleeping underneath a highway overpass eating nothing but mustard and relish packets!”

Posted using ShareThis

Share

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Life in a machine

Since childhood, I have been a big fan of life simulation games.

Despite my love of such games, I was never exposed to Jones in the Fast Lane until recently. It is essentially a computerized board game in the tradition of The Game of Life. The game focuses on survival and success. Like real life, the goal of Jones in the Fast Lane is to be as wealthy, happy, educated, and satisfied with your career as you can be. Also like real life, if you have a crappy job, you can’t pay your bills, you’ll live in a dump, and you will hate every second of your miserable existence.

There are a number of things I like about this game, but first and foremost I enjoy its simplicity. Unlike most simulator games, it can easily be played in one sitting. It’s challenging enough that it requires a modicum of strategy, yet simple enough that it doesn’t require much brainpower or frustration. Jones in the Fast Lane allows up to four players, but it’s 2009, not 1991, so who on earth would play this game with me? I just play against the computer (in the form of a character named Jones).

I am well aware of my strengths and weaknesses. In real life, I can’t find or hold a job, I’m temperamental, depressive, disorganized, and poor, yet in a life simulation game, I am Queen Supreme. Of course that’s nothing to brag about, but if I can’t be wealthy, happy, educated, and satisfied with my career, then at least I can escape for a while to a world where I am.In the ghetto

Movin' on up! To the east side! To a deluxe apartment in the sky!

Movin' on up! To the east side! To a deluxe apartment in the sky!

In order to succeed in Jones in the Fast Lane, you must attend Hi-Tech University while managing a busy job schedule. Despite its dubious credentials, Hi-Tech University offers a variety of degree options from trade school to post-graduate research. Career paths are highly dependent on academic paths, so to get better (and higher-paying) jobs, one must pursue more and more degrees and certifications.

Of course getting these degrees in Jones in the Fast Lane is far easier than it is in real life. After approximately 11 clicks of the mouse, you can have a bachelor’s degree for $50 in-game. That’s cheaper than a cola at Monolith Burger. But what does a bachelor’s degree get you? Not much, really. If you’re lucky, you can be manager at Socket City or Z-Mart. You may even get to be a bank teller, which is actually more than I ever did with my real-life bachelor’s degree.

Thank you for applying, but...

The recurring theme of my life.

The best gig in town is the highest managerial position at the factory. It requires a lot of education, and it requires a snazzy suit. I have no idea what kind of a factory it is, and with that salary (approximately $27-$34 per hour in 1991 money), I wouldn’t be asking too many questions.

Although I’ve mastered my own particular strategy for the game, there are times I have lost due to pure bad luck. When you’re in the beginning of the game and you are poor, you are more susceptible to apartment break-ins and even muggings. Often, the in-game economy is so bad that you can’t afford to go to school anymore, and you end up flipping burgers or doing janitorial work for $3 an hour. C’est la vie. Again, like real life, you can do everything you’re supposed to do, and do as best as you can manage, but it’s still not good enough. More often than not though, it’s easy to be a winner.

Hell yeah, I'm a winner!

Hell yeah, I'm a winner!

Leave a comment

Filed under Obstacles, Uncategorized, Work

Independently unwealthy

I am a single woman, quiet and sometimes unfriendly. I was raised to rely on no one but myself, but at times I am unreliable. I have been living on borrowed money and time for six years. I am now at a crossroads: I will either completely deteriorate or I will get this out of my system somehow. I generally perform well under pressure, but I have run out of steam.

You could call me a professional job-hunter– after all, I’ve spent more of my adult life looking for a job than actually working. If I could provide a reason for this, I would. Perhaps one will become obvious as this blog progresses.

On the rare occasion that I’ve been able to seek gainful employment, I have flubbed my way through it like I’m trying to walk underwater. I have felt uncomfortable in every position I have held since 2004. I get unbearably restless, and the restlessness turns to resentment and then to anger. It is as though my brain rebels against me in a job because it’s not my natural state. I’m meant to struggle, flounder, gasp for air and get rejection after rejection after rejection.
Although this has been going on for quite some time, I have more recently experienced some of the more shameful consequences of poverty. Several minor nuisances have escalated into life-altering crises simply because I do not have the resources to solve simple problems. If an average middle-class person loses keys or a cell phone, it’s annoying and may cause problems for a day or two. For those who live in poverty (or close to it), an incident like that can turn into a full-on catastrophe.
This isn’t something I realized when I actually had money. This isn’t even something I realized when I was living on credit cards. I never thought I would be in this position. Poverty has taught me a lot about the world and about myself, which is another reason for this blog. I hope that others can find some information and learn from my experiences. My primary goal for the time being is to make a safety net for myself. I am no longer comfortable with fumbling.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized