Money Can’t Buy You Love

But it sure helps with everything else.  On the other hand, it keeps showing up in time for the most pressing of bills, so I cannot and do not complain.  I am grateful beyond words to those who have handed me money because I don’t own jewelry, Krugerrand, Old Master’s undiscovered paintings–in other words, things of enough worth to be worth selling.

We saw the doctor yesterday.  My blood pressure was 169 over 92.  Oops.  New pill added–high blood pressure pill with a diuretic which should help with the swelling and get the BP down.  Got all of our paperwork filled out and the doctor’s nurse was faxing the long term disability papers as we were walking out.  We took the papers for the insurance on our credit cards/loan to the bank and let them fax that–so that was a load off of our mind and I’m hoping that I can get a response from Matrix Absence Management (read “a disability benefit CHECK”) very soon.  A most productive day and one that removes a certain level of stress for both of us, especially Beloved, who cannot handle money stress at all.

No obligations until Friday, which is head-shrinking day.  We have some things we want to get done today and tomorrow, but nothing completely onerous except maybe the dishes.  If anyone knows either where to get them or how to attract them, I sure could use some dish fairies.

I have been asked to speak at the International Day of Prayer for Peace for the 3rd year in a row.  I have agreed, so I will have to find something to present, with a 3-5 minute window.  At least we are holding it in a Manassas church and I won’t have to drive to Woodbridge this year.  I’m thinking something about the divisiveness that is showing up in every area of our country, let alone religion.  I’ll post it up here after the event.

Need to call my parents as it’s been a while since I’ve talked to them, and “things”, as they say, have happened.  I also would like to hear from my daughter but with her work schedule it can be difficult to reach her.  Ditto the son.

We’ve reached the point where Beloved and I acknowledge that visitors, to change the look of our four walls, or outings (especially with friends) are an almost champagne-worthy event since we’re not getting that much of a break from staring at our four walls and each other.  (“I saw what you did all day.  What on earth do we have to talk about?”  LOL)  We have made the commitment to attend BRUU and the new interim minister is awesome, so that is at least one outing a week that does not involve a doctor.

So our paperwork has been accepted at the Social Security Administration and has been sent over to the first line of approval.  (Fingers crossed).  Dear gods I would so appreciate this going smoothly and quickly, as neither of us can really stand much more stress and worry about our living situation.

So that’s pretty much what’s been going on with us.  Will post again as things happen or in the next couple of weeks, depending on which occurs first.


Oh We Ain’t Got a Barrel of Money…

…but we do have abundance.

Let me explain.  The money has run out, at least for now.  Short term disability ended (no more checks) and I have to submit new paperwork, with MORE doctor’s notes to claim long term disability.  I’ve had the forms filled out for almost 3 weeks–but I can’t get to the doctor until the 21st of this month, so the earliest those forms will be submitted is the 22nd.  And then they have to do their rubber stamping thing, so it will probably be another 4-6 weeks before I see a check.

And all the bills still need to be paid.  I’ve gotten real good at shuffling them around, keeping them all more or less up to date–and not getting utilities turned off–but that does require some green stuff.  And we’re fresh out.  We had been very creative–and chunks of change had shown up at the right time–but you can’t shuffle nothing.  On the other hand, I really enjoyed my retirement.  It lasted about a month.  (I cashed in my 401k and we used the money to live on.)

Beloved’s parents have been very helpful–as long as we sit through the obligatory sales pitch for the time lease.  Or in this case, the drama of “but we’re going to retire in 2 years, I don’t know that we can afford to help…we don’t have that kind of money”.  It’s a pro forma thing from one parent who needs to be in control and uses this as a way to remind the son that he is still just the son, still a child and that the adults know best.  While I appreciate any help they can give, it’s almost not worth it and if our need was not so great, I’d tell them to go pound sand.

We’re not talking about 2 years from now.  We’re talking about now, and 2 WEEKS from now.  Once our monies get settled, we will be able to repay them out of big chunky back pay checks.  They are not going to earn THAT much money in a retirement fund from now until they retire and since the fund is dependent upon stock prices, our repayment is more assured than possible gains (or losses) as the market fluctuates.  Sigh.  But the (pro forma) protest is an emotional thing, not a logical one and does not respond at all to logic or reason.  Which makes the Beloved furious and gives him a headache, even though he knows he’s going to hear it.

On the other hand…we have set aside pride (because you can neither eat it nor pay bills with it) and have asked our friends and church family for help.  And the outpouring of abundance is humbling.  We will not starve, as the larders are full and we have assured offers of fresh produce each week.  And even more amazing, complete strangers are handing us money.  Our friends are also being generous–beyond words, beyond words.  But people we don’t even know, who hear us ask for whatever help can be offered–and not just money, but ideas about where to find money, what social services we might be eligible for and how to get them–are inspired to generosity and we benefit.  We are going to make rent this month.  We have money for the more pressing of the bills and I am certain that we will continue to receive what we need, all in its own good time.

As a side note: Beloved has discovered that there is a difference between pride and honor and you can set aside the one and still have the other.  And he is a most honorable man.

I have begun to see a therapist, with a first diagnosis of depression (wonder why) and will talk with him regularly for a while–either as long as we need, or until the insurance stops paying for it.  My therapist is married to Beloved’s therapist, so I can imagine the consultation meetings…in bed.  LOL.  And they are being very kind about scheduling our appointments at the same time, so it’s just one trip down into Culpeper instead of two.  Saves on the gas.

Our SSDI application has been submitted to the Social Security Administration and now we begin the process of waiting for their response.  Please, please hold good thoughts and positive energy that we somehow both manage to get approved as quickly as possible–there are four approve/disapprove points, with months between each step (of course) and we’ve been told that Beloved’s may go through first (before mine), as “early” as December.  Then mine may take another 2 years, depending on how many times they say no.  SIGH.

We have the paperwork for SNAP (the cute new name for food stamps) filled out and will walk it into the office, once I get an appointment with Social Services.  Hopefully I can get one for next week, or the week after at the latest.  We’ve also been told that it would be a good idea to ride up into DC and go to Veterans Affairs to see if I qualify for a housing voucher as a female veteran in danger of becoming homeless.  We’re going to check with the apartment complex’s manager to see if they are willing to accept that as payment–if not, there’s not point in going on the metro.  And once we are on SSDI, I will definitely check with the VA to see what, if any, benefits I may be eligible for–and give them to me, for gods’ sake!

I continue to do better and am able to do more.  Sunday we went to church, then hung out with our friends for a little while before going over to his parents for dinner.  So that was a long, active day.  Yesterday, I cleaned house.  Well, more or less.  Picked things up, got the trash gathered and out, cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen.  We had company come over–and they brought dinner, which was very nice–so that was another long, active day.  Today we’re off to town to see the back cracker and run errands, so this will be another LONG, ACTIVE day.  But I don’t feel dreadful or wore out, and the pain levels are about the same as they usually are–so the activity is not making me hurt more.  But I am looking forward to tomorrow being a “nothing to do but vege” day.  Thursday we are having lunch with friends, so that’s something to look forward to.

I still tire somewhat easily–working yesterday was a case of do a little, sit a little, do a little more.  And when I crash, it’s a slower–and more manageable thing, but I still crash.  I still nap frequently, but maybe (just maybe) that’s the body finally healing rather than an enduring need for a greater quantity of sleep.  The weather can still give me fits and I suspect it will always be that way–and since the weather changes around here about as fast as you have read this sentence, it will be a problem until I move somewhere with a more…settled pattern of weather behavior.  Not sure where that would be–probably some place that has two seasons: wet and dry.  In the meantime, it just means an extra Vicodin and a nap.

This continues to be a learning experience for both of us.  I have had financial issues before, but the health issues are–not exactly new, but so exacerbated that they cannot be ignored.  Looking back, I realize that I had actually been getting worse over the past 4-5 years–slowly but surely.  So I am more than grateful that I do have my Beloved to watch over me and be with me–I tell you frankly that if I had to go through this on my own, I’d have chosen the final solution.  We need each other so being together has also been a blessing of abundance more than we could have imagined.

And as long as we have each other, everything else is details.


Friday Night Musings

Well, we may have found the right cocktail of drugs and the right way to take them.  I am taking both Cymbalta and Lyrica, but had been taking one of each in the morning and at night.  So now I am taking both Cymbalta for sleeping (nighttime) and both Lyrica for liveliness (daytime).  OK, it’s a stupid mnemonic, but I can keep it straight that way.  Get over it.  I also take one Vicodin the in the morning, but have really backed off on needing them throughout the day.  Unless something happens, like that crazy derecho weather thing couple of weeks ago–or if I try to do too much.

I still tire easily, but generally, I am feeling better.  Been doing some cooking and made a kick ass chili this past week.  Three kinds of peppers and LOTS of meat (ground beef and finely chopped steak).  Now if only the dish fairies would come…I am NOT keeping up with the dirty dishes, even with technology (dishwasher) to help me.  Sigh.  It’s the one task I sincerely hate and would almost rather have a root canal than have to do.  But since no one else is going to do it, guess I’ll have to be the dish fairy all by myself! LOL

Seems like we’ve been living in the car…between Tuesdays into Manassas to see the chiropractor and get my disability check, then deposit it.  And let me take a moment to talk about my chiropractor.  His name is Dr. Lincoln German, his practice is called Spine Care of Manassas and he is AWESOME!  Not only does he crack, fold, spindle and mutilate me (and my beloved) but he is very aware of our money situation (or really, the lack thereof) and he is essentially taking care of us for free.  Oh I suppose someday, when we have money again (sigh) we will be paying him back–but he does not have to see us while we can’t even make our copay.  THAT, my friends, is a doctor to trust.  If you need to be cracked, he’s the one to do it!

So we see him on Tuesdays.  We also have to travel 2 hours to Fishersville to see Beloved’s doctor for about 10 minutes and then drive another 2 hours home.  Fortunately, it’s a lovely drive.  But it does mean a lot of time in the car.  We rode to Warrenton today to pick up his new meds and had a bite to eat on the cheap at the Frost Diner–the only place that’s open 24 hours a day for like miles around.  Fortunately, the food is pretty good–I mean, it’s diner food, but hey, where else are you gonna get a steak and cheese at 3 am in the morning?

I rearranged my desk this week, which involved dusting out all the shelves as I moved things around.  Slightly more organized and the meds are a tad more inconspicuous.  I’m have to fill out paperwork for long term disability (LTD) since the short term is running out on the 8th of this month.  And I’m also filling out the paperwork to apply to Social Security for permanent disability(SSDI).  Surprisingly, LTD may actually help me get SSDI.  And while we’ve already got a lawyer to help us with the SSDI process, the LTD insurance will provide (at no cost to me) an advocate to help me file for it.  So we’ll see how this goes.  The bitch of the matter is, the paperwork that my doctor is supposed to fill out cannot be done prior to August 21, since that’s when I have an appointment with him–and the there’s nothing available earlier because he’s on vacation next week and full up the next one.  Sigh sigh.

Beloved and I are also having paperwork to fill out for the insurance that pays our credit cards/loans when we are out of work or disabled.  Once again, this requires the doctor.  We will spend most of the appointment time doing paperwork.  At least he’s enthusiastic about getting us taken care of and will be most cooperative for the papers.  Another great doctor who takes really great care of his patients–and HATES the insurance companies with their arbitrary bullshit.

I did discover while having to WRITE in the answers on these forms that I cannot do that “fine manipulation” thing for very long.  Had to keep taking breaks.  Can I return to work?  Not really.  I also still need a 3-6 hour nap almost every day.  In addition to a pretty full 8 hours of sleep at night.  Hopefully the nap thing is just healing and will eventually go away.

We went to the pool today for the first time in about 3 weeks.  With temperatures that start with a “9” and a heat index that increases that to three digits, there’s no relief in swimming if you’re walking home through a wet blanket at roasting temperature.  And getting into the pool today was like walking into a slightly cool bathtub.  But it was necessary and we both felt better for having done it.  I also soaked up some Vitamin D.  I did not sunbathe.  I just laid out in the rays of the celestial orb, absorbing healthy vitamins and caressing warmth.  The fact that I’m a little browner does not mean that I am roasted and ready to serve.  LOL

I have worked this week to get my Pagan website transformed into a WordPress blog, with the pages of the website as pages in the blog, like I have here.  Mostly a lot of cut’n’paste, with some formatting to tend to, but I have finally got it finished.  Now I just have to find the book that goes with the study I am doing so that I can write and post the third chapter.  If you’re interested, here’s the link:

I was also most political this week, refusing to eat at Chik-Fil-A and posting a link to an amazing video that explained how to go in the restaurant and ask for water, then quote Scripture at them–posting that link on the actual “Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day” FB page that Mike Huckabee started.  And somebody on the page actually liked my post!  I was afraid they’d send the cowz after me and I’d disappear into the chick’n factory, never to be seen again.  It may not have made a huge difference, but you can never tell where one small act can precipitate a landslide.  So I have to ask: are you registered to vote?  If not, please do.  And in November, VOTE.  I don’t care who you vote for, but we must be active participants in our government or we will end up as sheep led to slaughter.

And don’t even start me on the War on Women.  It’s there, it’s true.  And it’s not about reproductive rights.  It’s about making women second class citizens, with no voice in government and no chance or choice for their own lives, no opportunities for jobs, relegated back into the kitchen and just shut the fuck up.  It’s about a patriarchy that’s using religion to “put women in their proper place”–which is kneeling at the feet of their lords and masters, the men.  It’s “The Handmaiden’s Tale” and if you haven’t read it, you should.  It’s by Margaret Atwood and frighteningly prophetic.  The War On Women will lead to women as property, women as a decoration in the perfect household, with just enough education to be polite when the other men come over for a poker night and she makes them cold beers and hot sandwiches, then leaves them to their manly pursuits.  She can’t read, she can’t write, she doesn’t own property, doesn’t even own her body–her husband can rape her, over and over and it’s lawful.  A complete disregard of the intelligence, the ability, the RIGHT of women to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I’ll ask again.  Are you registered to vote?  Why not?  Register.  And vote, vote for the people who will listen to you, who have your interests at heart, who will do as their constituents want instead of doing whatever the highest paying corporation offers them.

Sorry, I’ll get down off my soapbox.  I didn’t realize I was such a political creature until now…guess I have too much time on my hands and reading the news makes me too informed for my own good.  Sometimes, it just makes me want to smack my head against the wall.  It’s really amazing, some of the absolutely Gordian knot of twisted logic our elected representatives use to pass laws that treat women as objects to be controlled.    And I’m not even naming party affiliation because I believe it happens on both sides.  So when I rule the world….

Hoping to see my daughter and granddaughter before too long, just whenever the Lizard gets time off from work and can drive down.  No definite word about my son’s reenlistment and reassignment to teach in the school in NY (we hope).  We did have our friend here last weekend, and it was great to see her again–she’d been in Europe for a post graduation trip for a month, so it had been quite a while since we’d seen her.  She cooked for us, which is always appreciated–but just spending time with her, talking about everything and nothing in particular was lots of fun.

Nothing major planned on the horizon, just the usual doctor trips and such.  Hard to think that it’s August already and before you know it…2/3 of the year is gone.  I have done nothing much of note this year and I can’t even claim great enlightenment from sitting and meditating.  Just trying to take it a day at time, with both of us having our bad days and some good days and trying to find the point when the good outnumbers the bad.  I think we may be hitting the tipping point–mostly depends on where the money will come from for bills in the next two three months, or until LTD and or SSDI kicks in.  At least my car seats will tip back and we could sleep in the car.  Wonder where there’s free wifi I can get while parked on the street?  Living in the car would certainly be a minimalist lifestyle.

So other than the incredible stress about money, everything else is going reasonably well.  I still have foggy days, but mostly am alert and oriented, as the saying goes.  The pain is there, but manageable–and bearable as long as I don’t try to do things like be a lumberjack or Olympic gymnast.  And I need to close this off as I’ve been typing long enough that the right elbow and shoulder are beginning to indicate that it’s time to stop.  Before they scream at me, I shall.  Till the next time…and I go to finish my Gibson.  (Like a martini, but onions instead of olives.)