Here’s the promised update. FINALLY got my back check from Long Term Disability, so we have money in the bank again, thank the gods. Will pay bills, buy some new clothes for Beloved and some winter-y clothes for me, too–sweatpants are going to be the de facto choice around here during the cold weather.
We will not be living in the car. We are signing the new lease on Wednesday, staying in our nice little one bedroom apartment. Rent went up $25, but it’s better than no place to live at all. Quite a relief, I must say. On the other hand, the thought of living in the very limited space of a car/RV has changed our priorities for the apartment. We are getting rid of a lot of things–even Beloved wants to dispose of stuff I thought for sure he’d never let go of. So it’s a case of sorting and selling where possible, thrift store delivery where it doesn’t sell (and no one we know wants it) and trash for everything else. We’re working on a very open floor plan, with a rather astounding arrangement: our bedroom will be one end/corner of the living room, with my desk next to my side of the bed and his desk at the foot of the bed. Bed and desks are all about the same height, so it will all be smooth and open from about hip high and up. We will be able to see each other across the (uncrowded) room every enchanted day. The bedroom will hold all the shite until we get it sorted and out, then it will become our “living room”–perhaps parlor is the better word. There will be seating and a low table, a place for people to gather and conversate. So to speak.
We have a piece of high quality plywood that is large enough for a twin (long) bed which we will buy a mattress for and using 2 by 12’s, create a day bed/meditation platform/guest bed in that room as well. Our clothes will come out of the closet in there, which we can promptly fill with whatever needs storing but not necessarily immediate access, and put furniture in front of the doors. Most of our clothes can be folded and put into plastic totes that will fit on the shelves in the “linen closet” that’s out in the main room–the shelves are fairly deep, so we can use decent size totes. The few things I have that I want to keep on hangers can either be at one end of the bedroom closet, or one end of the *other* closet that’s also out in the living room. In a way, we are trying to live in this apartment like it’s an RV.
The kitchen is also getting some serious overhauling. The wonderful cabinet that Beloved had put together from bits and pieces that we owned will be going, because it takes up about 40% of the kitchen floor space. We are trading our large microwave to his mother for her smaller one. We only reheat in it and the large one is a waste of space. We’re talking about some sort of wire basket/shelf arrangement on that wall (the only open one, opposite all of the cabinets/sink, etc) with a rolling work cart (he found one at IKEA that has a built in trash can shelf and a butcher block top, which makes it additional work space/counter space). I have an empty cabinet because my daughter has taken our dish set as well as the utensils that go with it. I love them–black and square, wanted them for years and was highly amused to discover those are the ones that Beloved had also yearned for. We got them, but…reality of my disability is that they are too heavy for me to handle. The dinner plates are too big to do proper portion control anyways. The utensils were also a jointed lust, but again, large and heavy. I’m very glad for the Lizard to have them–she can get rid of the “crap dishes” they had been using and I can visit them whenever I want. So Beloved and I are using our titanium sporks, chopsticks–or I am using these teeny tiny spoons that are actually appetizer serving pieces–the bowl holds about 1/4 tsp–as a way to slow down my eating and help me lose weight by not over-eating. I also have a varied selection of forks and spoons from thrift store, but figure I will find a small (16 piece) set of utensils to use for when we have guests over. Probably something light and fun, like plastic purple handles…
I will have to really sort my kitchen stuff with an iron will and a complete lack of sentimentality, keep the stuff we are going to USE, really use. And get rid of everything else, no matter how cute it is. Of course, that’s true for a great deal of what we’ll be going through. We must be brave! But when you’ve really thought you were only going to be able to keep what would fit in a PT Cruiser (and two of you, which cuts down on personal packing space)… it is easier to be brave. We may have to go through a weeding process several times to really get it down to manageable levels–which is to say, things in the closets but you don’t have to move 14 boxes to get something out and nothing out that does not serve an immediate, almost daily purpose. I will have a few knick-knacks, but nothing like I did 20 years ago, when I had a whole 2000 square foot house to keep them in. Less to keep track of, less to dust, less to have to care for–more freedom for other things.
Other things includes National Novel Writing Month, or as it’s known, “NaNoWriMo”–50k words in 30 days. I am a bit behind, but figure I can catch up without too much trouble as long as I don’t let too many days pass without putting something down on paper (metaphorically speaking). I have almost 6000 words already. Beloved is also participating and I suspect has more words down than I do. But this isn’t about who wins, it’s just being able to do it. We wanted to do it two years ago and never got anywhere with it, and of course were too sick last year to even think about it. Now we have nothing but time, so it should be a do-able task. Just depends on how our focus is doing that day.
It’s good to have a solid source of income again, even if it fails to meet all of the bills–it will first and foremost pay the rent. Everything else will get paid more or less as we can–some this month, some next and then switch off again. And thank the gods for food stamps, which will cover most of our eating costs. I still have to pay for things like paper towels and tp, but it’s a huge relief to know that we will have something to eat. We are also trying to see if we can get Long Term Disability for Beloved since he paid for it, not his employer and it shouldn’t have the same riders (where “work stress” is not covered) and if they will approve him for that…well, life would look pretty good for us, as we wait for word from Social Security about our permanent disability status. It would be nice to have enough money coming in to pay all our own bills again.
We’re now dealing with an interesting phenomenon–the relief of stress, the reduction of anxiety, causes some of the exact problems that stress and anxiety themselves cause. Your body gets so used to running on the adrenaline high that when the adrenaline is not there, your body isn’t quite sure what to do. We’re taking echinacea and lots of extra Vitamin C to avoid getting ill as our bodies flush out the toxins from stress/anxiety. I’m hoping it will work, because it seems stupid that once everything is going well, you get sick as a dog and have to take to the bed for a couple of days, only getting up to (excuse me) shit your brains out. Oh well, it’s not like we’d miss work. We can’t call out!
So things are settling down and settling in for us–or at least it seems so. We’re still in a bit of a holding pattern for the decision on SSDI, which keeps us from being completely comfortable–especially as Beloved has figured out that if we’re not approved by April (or at least, if he’s not), we are seriously screwed because there’s no money (this without his LTD, which I’m not sure he’s factored in or not). What are people supposed to do while they wait for the bureaucrats to shuffle the papers around and make decisions about their lives? You can’t work if you’re applying for permanent disability–because if you could work, you wouldn’t need it. So even though both of us have been terminated, we cannot get money from unemployment–because we’d have to be actively seeking employment and we can’t do that and even hope for SSDI. We can go homeless, starve and lose everything…hard to think about, but really, a true and distinct possibility if these decisions aren’t made in a timely manner–like within the next 3-6 months–not in the next 3-5 years.
We’re doing okay for the place we’re at and hoping that everything else will fall into the place it’s supposed to be as these things have. So that’s where we are, and I’m going to stop here because my hands are beginning to hurt from the typing. And it’s 2 am, about time to go to bed. Got to get up in the morning and go vote!