Administrivia: 15 October 2022

Rory stuff:

Den of Geek covers Megatron’s… odd turn as a character. Archive link is here. You can hear more of Rory acting the character, too, which is a huge bonus. It’s funny how you so seldom see him playing an unambiguous bad guy; I think Jurgen the Brutal might have come closest. Even Lurch in Hot Fuzz was mostly that way ’cause he wasn’t too bright and possibly because his family tree did not fork. Most of the other “bad guys” Rory did, from what I can tell so far, were just trying to do their jobs or had other reasons for being the way they were. Doesn’t excuse ’em, but makes ’em harder to hate.

Actually, you know who Megatron reminds me of? Magneto.

I’ll just leave it at that. I can’t follow the show to see if he “goes back to the dark side,” but I’d be surprised if he did, all the way.

Me stuff:

So.

It occurred to me last night to go through the spam folder in my Gmail.

I am writing about it here because it looks to me like someone emailed me at my Gmail because of something they read here. It is hard to explain, and I just stupidly deleted the email because I emptied my spam folder. Also, my brain does this weird thing of looking at a new situation, going “buh?”, not wholly understanding what it has just perceived, and then I have to go along and percolate the information for a little while before I finally understand what is going on, looking back repeatedly at it all the while and discovering that I didn’t have a few details right, and then my brain latches on to it like a damn pit bull and I shake it apart and figure it out. I dunno. This is my stupid brain and I have to live with it. But that’s what it looked like on first impression. Like someone contacted me because they were here. But through my personal Gmail. No idea how.

I dunno, I’m just reporting. Don’t shoot the messenger. I don’t even know how long ago this was that she emailed me, because I failed to make note of the date. Too late now.

Anyway. I’ll call her J. J seems concerned about my situation, and she may still be following the blog here, so I will address what she said here in case any of the rest of you were wondering similar things. Don’t worry. Her email was nice.

First off, because I am a sad, sad individual, this is the second time in my life I’ve wound up in a pickle like this. Last time around, while in the previous pickle, I was still stupid enough to get into a relationship While Poor, so the pickle didn’t last as long last time. When a man wants to get into your pants, he will tend to help you through things. I didn’t think of it in those terms, I was still young and I really did just want a relationship (and by the time that first guy and I got serious, I had two jobs and an apartment anyway), but I have now hit that stage every middle-aged woman seems to hit where I can look back at my life and where it intersected with men and see the patterns. I don’t know why so many men have so little confidence that they willingly hook up with impoverished women who BY ABSOLUTE COINCIDENCE are more likely to stay with them no matter how those men behave 🙄, but there it is, and unfortunately I walked right into the situation, ended up with a succession of someones who had no business having girlfriends, and wasted two decades of my life. Or fortunately, because I really don’t think living on the margins like this is good for me, or for anyone for that matter, and I’m glad I was spared it for a time. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing, obviously, because something can be bad and good at the same time. Life is like that.

(See also most of Rory McCann’s characters. Like that, too.)

I said all that to say this: my situation’s never been cut and dried. Last time I was in it up to my neck, my son was a few months shy of three and had I been actually divorced, I could have just gone and gotten on welfare. But it so happened this was three years after “reform” and state governments were getting block grants rather than welfare recipients getting direct federal funding, and states were a lot pickier about who they supported, especially what we now call the “red” states, and I lived in one of those. So as the separation dragged on — and I couldn’t even have legal separation where I ended up living, I had to settle for just not being in the same place as my ex — there were a lot of programs I didn’t sign up for because I didn’t think they would accept me. I was afraid to even ask, because everyone was already playing bullshit games with my life and I didn’t think I could take one more “no.” And I lost my son over it, because I felt he’d be better off with his grandmother than with me, and unfortunately she agreed with me, forever. Long story, you don’t come here to read my entire autobiography. Just, there you go.

This time around, my daughter ceases to be a minor next month and I mainly left her with her dad (different guy) because (1) she and I have been at loggerheads for a while, as teen girls and their mothers will do anyway but current socio-political events and sociological trends have complicated that beyond belief, and (2) unless her father’s being abusive, I think a teen girl is safer with him if her parents separate than she would be with her mom. Plus he makes six digits a year and has a mortgage, and I’m, well… me. It is just the way it is, I don’t make the rules, but I did make the decision I felt was best. But end result is I’m no longer a single mother with an accompanying child, which changes what I’m eligible for in terms of family benefits. Basically, I don’t think I can get anything. Maybe SNAP (food stamps). And I doubt even that.

Also, I’m not in a residence per se. I think the state of Ohio considers this weekly-rate suite my residence now simply because I’ve lived here longer than thirty days; I got my hotel tax refunded after the fourth week and that was fucking fantastic. Not only did my weeks get cheaper, the week of the refund I owed around $60. Beautiful. But I don’t know what that means for things like voter registration, vehicle registration, and the ACA. I don’t give a fuck about voting (don’t get me started, and I used to care), I can register my car at my daughter’s dad’s house if he ever finishes signing it over to me (he already OKed that and we’re in talks about the other), and so the ACA, or Obamacare, is the only real sticking point now.

I still have my Louisiana Medicaid card, but I don’t know if it’s still good. I’ve thought about just registering for the ACA at my daughter’s dad’s address but for some reason I can never bring myself to do it. Oh wait, right, I remember. HE DOES FUCK-ALL TO GET ME MY MAIL. I’ve tried. What he’ll do is wait until half an hour before we’re supposed to meet and then tell me oops, he has to be in a video meeting. Or something else has come up. I haven’t gone back to the house to get in his face about it, or even to be nice about it, because I’m afraid of my emotional reaction if I do go, and I don’t want to upset my daughter, who is giving every sign she doesn’t want to see me, though she will not come out and say so. I haven’t set up mail forwarding because although I can get mail here, I don’t know if the post office counts it as a business address and therefore would not allow me to forward to it. And anyway, I could lose my room at any time — I’m not on a lease here — and then what would happen to that mail? And would Obamacare count this as my home address if I try to get around the mail-forwarding problem, or are we back at the “you are living at a business address” problem again? I never got around to getting a post office box, either, though I really should have, not that I could have used that for a primary address either for legal purposes. I’ve basically been living day to day trying not to fuck up too badly. It’s been stressful and weird.

Oh, and get this? The federal government doesn’t consider me homeless. If I were under the age of 18, it would, but I’m a legal adult. True facts, I checked. We’ve already seen that the state of Ohio counts this room as my residence, so it goes without saying they don’t consider me homeless either. So could I get homeless assistance? Fucking doubt it.

No one offers any sort of aid for car maintenance. This is a longstanding problem and is really fucking weird considering how car-dependent Americans are. We have a bus system in this town, but all it takes is the bus running late a few times for me to lose a job over it, so that’s nothing to depend on. I can still call on my daughter’s father to help somewhat, but I don’t know how much longer that’ll be true. I hate to say I’m banking on the fact he wouldn’t even have one kid if not for me, but there it is. When your back is against the wall you do what you have to do.

And before anyone says “sell everything you own,” you should see what I’ve sold already. Let me tell you what it means when you are so poor you have to sell your stuff. You will immediately spend that money and then you will not have money again. And no, your stuff does not retain its original value. For instance, I sold my DSLR camera. I’m not entirely sorry I did, because it had weird emotional baggage attached to it and this explanation is long-winded enough already, thank you. But when it was bought, the whole kit was… about $1200 I want to say? I sold it to a camera shop that buys used equipment for $275. Not even enough for a full week’s room fee. Stuff does not retain value. Not even jewelry does. I haven’t had that to fall back on this time, but I did last time, and it was just fucking sad. $20 from a real jewelry shop for a pair of 14k gold earrings with gemstones in that had cost me just under $700 in my single and childless and carefree days. If anything brought me decent money it was my books. Even those went for a fraction of their cover prices, except a very few that had gone up in value because they’re out of print or scarce or extremely popular, and I STILL didn’t get what they’ll go for in the store, because the store will mark them up.

Another problem with selling your stuff is if you need to use it for something related to, well, staying alive, which is why I still have my laptop and my iPad and my sewing machine. And I’m actually looking hard at my sewing machine because I’ve never sewn for money. I’d still be lucky to get $50 for it and I greatly doubt that will happen. Know what you can do with $50? Buy about three days’ worth of food, because I have blood sugar problems and beans and rice are Right Out. Back to the drawing board.

At this point it’s about $1200 a month for housing with utilities included, I’m not sure what I’ve spent on gas (I mean to find out, but it’s my second-largest expense), and I force myself to eat very cheaply, which isn’t exactly good for my health. If you’ve heard of the just-in-time distribution system, I have a just-in-time budget. And I earn by burning that gasoline, and the price of gas is going up again. I’ll say it again: there are no government support programs for owning a car. Wish I could say different. If any of you are in politics, fucking look at that, would you?

The irony is that if I could get into a studio apartment for about $700 a month (yes, this is possible; yes, I’m amazed too) with my daughter’s dad as co-signer, I’d have it made because one reason I don’t currently have a job is I can’t get remote work as a customer support representative, because I need hardwired internet and I can only get wifi where I am. Also, say the rent is $700, there’s no way utilities would be another $500 for a studio even if I got the full cable and cable internet package, and I wouldn’t. Even if I didn’t strictly meet income standards for an apartment, I’d have a lot more breathing room. I looked at a place already where I lived from 2008 to 2009, good rental record, got my deposit back and they won’t even talk to me unless I meet their income requirements all by myself because they only accept a co-signer to reduce the deposit. I never heard the like, and that wasn’t their policy last time; he’d co-signed with me like a normal co-signer and it had turned out fine. I haven’t asked anywhere else. I probably should stop being afraid to ask about stuff. But I don’t like the idea of him co-signing on an apartment anyway. I’ll go with it if I must, but I’d rather not.

I went from 2004 onward with no regular job. This bit is entirely my fucking fault, I had all those years to pick up skills and I just… never did. Or not skills that anyone fucking cares about, anyway. I got faster at typing, I learned software I had not previously understood, I got good at knitting, I revived my drawing skills, I became a cat whisperer, I became a better cook, I grew a veggie garden one year… I dunno. I was pretty useless as anything but a mom, and I would argue I was a pretty useless mom too. What do you do with that? You rearrange your résumé/ CV in a clever way and hope it looks impressive. So far, that could be working better. I also have health issues that get in the way of doing certain jobs the way the boss man wants me to do them. For instance, I came this close to getting a job in an Amazon warehouse. You would not believe how fucking easy it is to get employed at Amazon. Problem is that Amazon does not let you have bathroom breaks when you need them. I am very likely in perimenopause; if I’m not, something weird is going on. There are about three days out of the month I absolutely no-shit need to be able to stop for restroom breaks frequently if I don’t want to have an unpleasant accident, and the need for breaks comes more frequently than it used to anyway on normal days for reasons I won’t get into because this is too long already. Then there are the temp agencies playing fuck-me games with job offers and scheduling and admin details… in one case, I got my shift canceled while I was working it because I was told two different clock-in codes and went with the one the on-site rep gave me, which was the wrong one. That got sorted out but the point is, I cannot play around like that. I need to know I have a job, I need to know I have the hours, and I need the people in charge to have their shit straight because finding out my hours were suddenly cut (meaning an end to my assignment, which happens for all sorts of reasons, not even usually due to the employee’s actions) after my daughter’s dad stops helping would be a fucking disaster. I cannot pull housing money out of my ass. Believe me, I’ve come very close to trying.

I have not resorted to so-called “sex work” 🙄, though, and I won’t. That’s all I fucking need: a pregnancy or a raging case of herpes at the tender age of almost 49, and that’s if no one murders me. I’ll camp in my car if I have to. I know a few places.

Sorry for the textwall. I don’t say all this to be negative. I really wish people would stop looking at discussions in that light, actually. You are going to have to face up to the fact sooner or later that not everything in life is pleasant. For fuck’s sake, this whole-ass website is about a man who had to sleep in a tent in Iceland for many months, not for fun but because he’d made some decisions that left him homeless and stranded in a foreign country. If it weren’t for other people’s kindness he might very well have frozen to death out there. I have encountered some kindness in my own situation, so it’s not all bad. But it’s still partly bad. If that makes you uncomfortable in your nice house with your job and all your friends and family and your paychecks and your vacations and your hobbies and whatever, I’m sorry. You have your thing, I have mine. I am only reporting. As I said earlier, don’t shoot the messenger.

Also, given things I have recently learned about my situation, I’m formulating more concrete plans for what to do from here. I am in talks to possibly land a job on the west side of town, though I’m not counting on that actually happening, and if it doesn’t then I have an alternative. I do not intend to be caught in fucking Whitehall with a serious car problem again after this, I can tell you that much. (For you Brits, Whitehall doesn’t mean the same thing in central Ohio that it does where you are. Hahaha.) I’m not giving up, I’m not sinking into desperation, I have just been in a process of coming to terms with where I am and what is happening. Considering where I was emotionally this time last year, I’d say I’ve made some progress. I’m not where I want to be, but maybe I’ll get myself there soon.

You will note that I have not once tried to use this site to make money. It wouldn’t be practical to try anyway because I don’t get many visitors a day, usually fewer than fifty uniques actually, but I said I wouldn’t when I started this site, and I’m sticking to that. And while I will no doubt mention things going on in my life from time to time in future posts, I won’t be talking about it at this great length here again. I’ll be surprised if even half of you 30-50ish visitors who will come here today will read this far as it is. But hopefully J will see this and have a better understanding of what’s going on. That was the whole point.

Okay! Onward. Stuff to do.

P.S. Unless they fuck up, tip your delivery driver!!! One of you’s in Upper Arlington. Never know… One of these days it might be me!