Tag Archives: unfair

When It Rains, It Pours: April [clean-queen]

8 Jun

The packing and moving phase happened so quickly there was no time for simultaneous cleaning of the SpoKompton (referred to from here on out as the “old” apartment) which was a major bummer now.  Because Cool got to be in the NEW apartment and new city, working, while I had to clean all by myself.

Spokane Apt 010

It was a much bigger job then I anticipated–and it sucked.  The old apartment still had utilities–thank goodness I had the foresight not to shut them off.  But it was echoing, dusty, and cold inside.  And we had no TV, bed, or anything, really to keep me occupied or comfortable in any way.

Also, there had been a lot of messes made, wear & tear, and damage done over the prior 4 years and 7 months in there:  Cool spilled a bottle of bleach AND a bottle of laundry soap on the carpet the first week we had moved in.  Sloppy had sand-crabbed litter so much that tiny sand was embedded in the carpet, in the seam between the carpet and wall, and dusting the walls.  My daily tread-milling had left black marks on the carpet at each of the 4 points of impact.   There were about 800,000 holes in the walls.

And stuff that wasn’t our fault, such as mold growing from the walls, grease on the kitchen ceiling from no ventalation, and grout deterioration lended to an overall feeling of grossness, and panic.  We certainly were not going to get our deposit back as I initially hoped–but would they charge us for damages??!

241

And I had Sunday from 10-ish AM to Monday at 6AM before my house-sitting job started.  And the work sucked, I was alone with it, and to tell the truth, I no longer cared so much about the OLD apartment.

But I gave it a good effort.  Oh yeah, I forgot, there were remnants (more then I knew!) that hadn’t been packed on the first go-around.  Like, the fridge and freezer had been untouched.  So I’m cleaning, I’m trying to stuff things in Rusty, and I’m throwing a TON of things away.  So many things.  Perfectly good items, or items I would just have to re-buy in the new state but would keep or didn’t fit.

My friend from work came over (in a skirt?) to help for 5 hours, and I’m glad she did, because I might still be there otherwise.  She spackled for a fill 70 minutes, and there were still holes in the walls. . .

I slept on the dusty, cold floor that night, and was pretty well mentally finished the next day.  But I pressed on for my of my first day into house-sitting.  And I could have spent the whole 10 days cleaning and it still wouldn’t have looked nice.  So I made the choice to be finished Monday then focus on my house-sitting job.  Because the animals were lonely, I was getting paid GOOD money to do it, the apartment wasn’t going to look nice no matter what I did at this point, and it wasn’t fair that 100% of the job fell to me anyway.

But I fretted that we were going to get charged.

Still, the lure of warmth, the animals, a mattress, kitchen, and most of all–a TV–made me finish up.  I turned in our keys and left Riverton Terrace forever.

Next:  House-sitting, the NEXT long drive, and (more) unpacking.

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“Myspace Alicia”

13 Oct

I’m going through the 2014 albums while I study to write my end-of-the-year music blogs.  I know!  I haven’t posted 2013’s yet–but I’m still working on it.  Anyway, I got to Imogen Heap, and it reminds me very much of Douche.

the usual

It has been forever since I’ve written about Douche–mostly b/c I hate to think of that creep.  Also, because I finally accepted some people are sociopaths–no matter how well you thought you knew them.  Imogen Heap actually reminds me of Myspace Alicia, some 19 year old girl Douche attached to.  Imogen was this girl’s favorite and I know that because I used to scour her Myspace profile trying to understand.

At the time, I didn’t get that people played games.  I was naive that an older person (Douche) would hook a 19 year old just to show off how “cute” of a gal could be secured.  I didn’t get that Douche was maybe trying to make me–the world–envious.  At the time, I only looked and looked trying to see what the 2 could possibly have in common. . .

I hate Douche-still do, I’ll never stop.  I didn’t deserve that treatment, and didn’t understand where it was coming from at that time.  I had no idea you could be close to someone for 3 years but not know them at all.  I didn’t know there were sociopaths that adapted their personality to what they thought you wanted–did want–in order to manipulate.  And I didn’t know the extent people could play games after a break-up.  BUT knowing Douche did teach me lessons:  Don’t date someone b/c you feel shallow for not being attracted to them, if something seems too good to be true-it probably is, not everyone is going to be honest with you, not everyone has your best interests at heart, some people are just not meant to be understood, sometimes you have to let people (or the memory of who they were supposed to be) go.

I wonder if Myspace Alicia felt the same way in the end that I did–that it was a fake and a trick.  I hope Douche got (and is still getting) all the bad karma that is deserved.  Though I have no idea where that crazy is or what that evil is up to currently–thank goodness…

I like the new album even if it takes me back to that chapter of my life a little.

My Newfound Hatred for Traffic Cameras

4 Aug

The City of SpoKompton royally pi$$ed me off today.  Like red-hot searing anger.  They mailed me a traffic ticket.  It seems that when I was coming home from work the other day, I was caught on camera making a right turn on red.  Without coming to a complete 3 sec stop.  There were time-stamped pictures, my license plate, and a video clearly showing I had broken the law.

And believe me, readers, do NOT comment on this post that I was in the wrong so I should indeed have to pay the $124 ticket.  I will come unleashed.  I’m that belligerent about it.

Why I’m so mad:

-It was at 5:12 in the morning.

-There was NO other traffic.  Even the video showed I approached a clear intersection, slowed down, turned, and what followed was a clear intersection.

-You could also see in the video clear crosswalks and sidewalks = no pedestrians.

-Not know the letter of the law is not an excuse, but puh-leeze.

-I think the law needs to change to make sense.  When nobody is there are you’re making a right–why force a 3 sec stop?

-I could see paying a ticket in the very maximum amount of $50.  I can understand that–and I would pay without fussing to the authorities (though you better believe I would fuss on here).  But charging me as if I blew through a whole intersection during a red light?  Nonsense.

-This particular intersection is notorious.  So much so that when I am driving during any sort of daylight hours, I take the (longer) back way–just because the scene is so terrible.  You see, I have to turn left from my residence–and there is no left turn arrow.  And the preceding stoplight of traffic going the opposite direction (coming toward this intersection) is timed so that just as this infamous intersection gets a green–the cars race up the road going straight.  Negating a left turn.  You could sit through 3 or 4 cycles (I have) before finally getting enough time and room to dart quickly to complete a left.  And I have–many times.  Most people that end up in the left turn lane inch into the middle of the intersection, then finally just go.  It’s either block the cross-traffic or run the yellow/red.  So they are forced to wait all day or go either on yellow, or after the light has already changed to red.  There are LEGIT failure to stops making it dangerous.  So DURING HOURS WHEN THERE’S TRAFFIC it’s a dangerous intersection.  BUT have they put in an arrow?  Do they place police there to watch?  Do they change the timing of the lights?  No!  They don’t really care.  Nothing changes to fix the problem and make notorious intersection any safer or user-friendly.  I’m mad about my ticket because the above factors tell me my ticket is not about safety, but money.

-I see way worse offenses go unticketed at this intersection then my right on red.

-They only give you 2.5 weeks to pay the full amount of money.

-What’s NOT to be mad about?

Here’s an article talking about how other people are also angry:

Rolling Right Turns

Rolling right turn violations have been proven to have very little effect on driver safety. In fact, a review of US Department of Transportation statistics shows that an average motorist could drive a billion miles — the distance from Earth to Jupiter and back — before being involved in an accident that resulted from a motorist making a right-turn-on-red. Even these few crashes involved failure to yield the right-of-way; previously stopping, or not stopping, were not the primary cause of these accidents.

Cities with ticket cameras sell the cameras to the public by explaining that they’ll help prevent right-angle crashes. However, the majority of tickets given out inevitably end up being for minor rolling-right-turn violations.

According to the LA Times, Los Angeles officials estimated that 80% of their red-light camera tickets are for rolling right turns. And according to the Chicago Daily Herald, rolling-right-turn violations have accounted for 90% of the tickets generated in several Illinois communities. These tickets are often given to drivers who actually stopped safely but were inches over the line.

Drivers have long interpreted the “Right Turn On Red” law to mean that they must yield to other traffic and to pedestrians before executing a right turn when they confront a red signal at an intersection [my emphasis]. As noted above, this interpretation has worked out extremely well from a safety and traffic movement perspective. Strict enforcement of provisions that require the driver to come to a complete stop, at a specific spot, did not occur until the advent of red-light ticket cameras.

Consequently, while almost all motorists observe the “yield the right-of-way” requirement, they do not always come to a complete stop before executing a right turn on red. National accident data clearly indicate that coming to a complete stop is not necessary, and possibly undesirable, if it causes rear-end collisions.

The NMA believes that the best course of action is to change the law so it is in sync with the way motorists successfully comply with the concept of “Right Turn On Red.” That means removing the requirement mandating coming to a complete stop and replacing it with language that further emphasizes a right turn on red can only be executed after yielding the right of way to all other vehicles and pedestrians. All states, not just those that permit the use of ticket cameras, should make this change in their Right Turn On Red law.

That’s what I’m sayin’!  And from another site:

At The Ticket Clinic, we have seen many red light camera tickets for making a right turn on red.  The red light camera laws state that a red light camera ticket cannot be issued if the driver makes the turn in a “careful and prudent” manner.  While Florida law requires the driver to come to a full stop and a police officer can issue a ticket in person if the driver does not come to a full stop, the red light camera tickets have a lower standard.  Yet, because of the vague language cities are taking a liberal reading of “careful and prudent” and issuing red light camera tickets if the driver does not come to a full stop.  Many individuals are unaware of this distinction between and chose to simply pay the red light camera ticket because they think they must be guilty.  But as long as a pedestrian, bike or oncoming car, a rolling stop when making a right on red that is made carefully should not be a citable offense.

But what to do?  Unfair, ridiculous or not–I have the ticket and I’m now responsible for it.

I was am also really stressed out because I absolutely cannot spare over a hundred dollars.  So I looked online trying to find a way out.  It was obviously my car based on the clear pictures and close-up license plate number.  I obviously did not stop for 3 sec before completing my right turn.  The video shows a red light.  So I did irrefutably break the (stupid, pointless–gerrrr) law.  There was a letter on the internet that Cool gave me that did get the charges dropped for someone two years ago:

To Whom it May Concern,
I received a letter claiming I committed a violation of a speeding law in the District of Columbia on 04/21/2012. As per the instructions, I am writing to plead ‘not guilty’ to this charge. Although this option is said to result in this matter going to court; it is my suggestion that the charges simply be dropped. This suggestion comes out of respect for tax payers, and my request that their hard earned money not be wasted in such proceedings. As there is no evidence of my involvement with this alleged ‘crime’, as well as the fact that I am not granted my 6th amendment right to face my ‘accuser’ (a camera); I see no way the government could prove my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I also see find no legal requirement for me to implicate someone else in this process, as it is the government’s responsibility to prove a person’s guilt. It is also my 5th amendment right to remain silent on the matter.
If it is the government’s decision to move forward in this matter, I would request copies of any evidence the prosecution may have of my involvement in the “offense”; as well as, all maintenance records for the camera(s) involved.
Sincerely,

But I thought the cities are now savvy to that.  They have proof in the form of 3 pictures, a video, time stamps. . .  I am desperate though, so I perused the internet further:

Argue the Reliability of the Camera

When in traffic court to fight the ticket, ask whether the camera was indeed working properly at the time it generated your ticket. Cameras are machines and they can malfunction. If the prosecution cannot decidedly prove that the camera was working properly, they do not have a solid case proving that you ran the red light. Also, those reviewing the pictures can make a mistake in deciding on the accuracy of the picture. Question if they are absolutely certain the picture proves that you ran the red light.

Witnesses at Trial

The red light camera manufacturer is supposed to appear at trials regarding red light traffic tickets. A representative from the camera company is there to testify whether the camera was working properly and when it was last maintained. If no one shows up to represent the camera company, you can argue that no one is there to verify whether the picture is accurate.

Hearsay

One can try arguing that the photograph is hearsay and is therefore inadmissible under the Sixth Amendment. It is hearsay because you cannot cross examine the photograph or the camera. The Sixth Amendment gives defendants the right to confront their accuser.

In summary, it is best to have a traffic attorney represent you. If you are not familiar with traffic law, you will not be able to mount your own defense in court. Without knowing the law or how to prepare a defense, you will likely lose your case.

This seemed like some good ideas, but I in no way want to go to court, but what other choice do I have, right?  So I looked at the evidence again and noticed you don’t see the driver in the pictures or video.  It can’t be proved that I was behind the wheel at this particular time.  So I’m going to try to fight it based on that, and hopefully I can avoid paying the city’s bills for them.

And because this is so stupid, expensive, and a huge pain in my a$$, I’m making some changes:

-I will avoid that intersection–even in the early morning hours when no people are around.

-I will vote down any legislation regarding use of traffic cameras.

-I will talk (more) trash about SpoKompton.

-I may or may not remember to fully stop for 3 seconds at any right turn regardless of the traffic/pedestrians even though it seems like complete over-kill and money-making schemes to me.

Why Class Group-Work Does Not Teach Teamwork

25 May

Here’s another old draft I stumbled upon.  I do dislike teamwork when my grade is on the line.  I want to earn my OWN grades.  It shouldn’t be influenced by the work ethic of other people.  And it should be left to chance–what group members you get.  Also, I shouldn’t have to do every aspect of a big project in order to get a good grade out of it.

I HATE group work!

jumbo turtleNo one ever asks me to join their group, so it’s always awkward to get into a group in the first place.  I only want to do my own work (which is of outstanding caliber *truth, not bragging*) not be humiliated when no one wants to include me in their team.  Then, IF I do find a group everyone in the group knows each other and wanted to work together except me, so that’s more awkwardness.

And, in class–who do you sit by?  Friends.  People sit by friends, or they end up getting to be friends because of location.  People that sit in front are older students or sight-impaired, or very studious, generally.  While those in the back are too cool for school and want to text and chatter during class.  So you get partnered up with like people anyway.

An example of a group project gone awry–not my fault:

MY group sat in a row.  The fifth girl in the row, was the writer, I was the first on the opposite side of the row.  And the Green Bluff 2 025three gals in between talked about their “juicing” diets.  The writer organized our paper by name (douchi) instead of just writing a half page and putting everyone’s name at the top.  Though I had written an answer for EVERY theory (when we were only supposed to address one) this writer wrote a literal sentience for my name.  She wrote a paragraph under each of her friends though they had contributed ZERO because of the juice diet discussion.  And under her own name, the writer wrote a half page.  Bitch.  So it was made to look like I was a slacker.

My worst group project ever–also not my fault:

My Farm Plan

pretty in pinkMy senior year at Mizzou everyone had to take a capstone course in their major.  Hog Production is what fit into my schedule–though I didn’t intend on working with hogs and had no strong interest in them.  Anyway, our semester project was to write this big, involved farm plan and present it.  All in a group of 4.  The big thing was that the plan had to utilize everything we learned in class AND be consistent   Meaning all 4 group members had to have the same set-up.  Before Thanksgiving break I e-mailed my group and told them I would be happy to edit their portions, as well as type them all in one document–as a pre-vet student I needed an A in every class, and this project was the biggest component of our grade.

None of my three group members had STARTED the semester-long farm plan at that point in late November!!!!  By turkeyNovember–with only a month left of class.  Hadn’t.  Even.  Started.  Now, what am I supposed to do about that?  So I wrote the prof. explaining the situation and asking what I should do.  He just assured me in all his years of doing this project the groups have always come together by the end.

So no help.

And sure enough, come grading time my (assigned) group members with senioritis and plans to work for their family farms in a week or so (ie not pre-vet and not concerned about one course grade) had not completed the farm plans, and the ones that had slapped it together.  So even though MY portion was worthy of an A (the prof even said that), as a group we got a C-!  When I complained to the prof I should not be graded based on other people’s caliber of work–he just said he had always graded them as groups for the 20-some years he had been doing this, and he had never before seen a group that didn’t come together as mine hadn’t. . .  I got a C in that class 😦  NOT fair.

So that’s a huge reason why I’m anti-group work.  And here’s a bad dream I had related to group work:

To dream that you are in a bus accident suggests that it is time for you to move away from a group setting and venture out on your own. You need to be more independent.

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Dental is Not Medical?

9 May

I’m sure 4 out of 5 dentists would disagree, Group Health.

 

Health insurance and I have always had a thing.  I don’t really know how that got started, but here’s a quick run-down:

-Before I was 24 (I don’t remember exactly how MUCH before now) my parents yanked me off their insurance early and without any warning.  I think they did this because they had just found out I was gay and were acting homophobic, and to a lessor extent felt I was acting entitled and wanted to save their money.

-Not knowing what to do, and not having the means or motivation, I remained uninsured.  My veterinary hospital job (a small, privately-owned business) of course did not offer insurance.

-During this time, I went to the school medical center where they told me I was too late to get sutures (did nothing for me) under my mandatory student health fee.  It was the only time I utilized my student health “privileges.”  I can’t remember how much it added to my tuition every semester.  When I needed rabies vaccinations they were not covered by my health fee and I had to pay over $300 out of pocket because I wasn’t in their vet program–I think their classes get vaccinated as part of their tuition.

-Also during this time I had to go to the Emergency Room on a Sunday.  I received an IV, anti-nausea injection, and had a brief conversation with someone who charged me $1200 for less then 3 minutes.  I was also charged $840 for emergency room type nickle and diming fees from everyone and their brother who was within a blocks radius.  Which of course I could not afford on my practically minimum wage vet assistant salary.  Though they said they didn’t accept payments, I created my own payment plan and paid $100-200/month until the bill was paid off.  They do not send you to collections if you pay on it consistently.

-Other then that I never went to a medical doctor.  I got glasses & contacts on CareCredit and went to the dentist with my own money.  I paid for my own Invisalign on CareCredit as well.

-For the first time ever, a veterinary job (in Seattle) offered me health insurance as part of my benefits package.  I was dismayed to find out how much my “benefit” would cost me monthly and tried to revoke it.  I can’t remember if they took away my health insurance, paid it themselves, or gave me a raise to pay it.  And I only lived in Seattle for a year, so if I had insurance it wasn’t for very long.  And when I went to the dentist there, I had to pay anyway, because if I had a plan, that wasn’t on it.

-I never went to the doctor or had any health problems during this time either.

-By the time I moved HERE I had already been without health insurance for a long time.  And didn’t have any conditions, prescriptions, or problems, so I didn’t really want to pay for it.  When my job “offered” it I was wise to the me paying for my own benefit scenario and refused.  They were very worried about liability so they gave me a “raise” in order to force me to be insured.   I thought since I had it, I would try to utilize it to get my money’s worth.  But the only thing I really use it for is teeth and eyes.  Group Health covers neither.  But they do cover acupuncture and chiropractor visits (in full).  So that makes sense *sarcasm* And when I called the gal on the phone had major attitude and treated me stupid for thinking dental WAS medical.

-I got glasses using my insurance.  And it was cheaper then when I had paid for it all on my own using the CareCredit card.  The exam and service was hardly outstanding though.

-As soon as I talked about going part-time, my employer yanked away my health insurance.  They did this before I actually went to part-time hours.  The manual said that to be considered full time you had to work that amount of hours for 60 days, so I figured it would be the same going from full to part time as well.  It was not–at least for me.  AND  even though I had anticipated 30 hours b/c our employee manual said 30 hr was considered FULL time, and I mostly wanted to keep my vacation time, but the insurance didn’t hurt.  When I brought that up, they said the employee manual wasn’t a CONTRACT and they were now considering full time MORE hours, (so I couldn’t have that status).  BUT  the receptionist who works exactly 30 hours (only because she works through every lunch and gets paid for it) still got to keep her vacation time.

-My boss then had the audacity to try to pressure me into finding private insurance b/c she couldn’t imagine being uninsured and it was a liability. . .

-During this time I never so much as got a cold and had no need for medical attention of any kind.

-Later when the 2nd vet got divorced and needed health insurance, it was granted to her even though she worked a maximum of 29 hours a week, and that’s being generous because she constantly strolled in 8-8:30 AM (late).  So I guess it’s not the number of hours but WHO YOU ARE at my last job to qualify for benefits.

-When Obama was proposing mandatory health insurance and comparing his plan to Canada’s system, I was fully behind it because Canada knows the story.  Even when work began to fret about the changes, I thought–good now they will HAVE to pay for my health insurance, serves them right for playing so dirty.  But it didn’t happen that way at all.  My job is another small business so they were exempt–I was again on my own.

-I was a part-time student and they made student insurance ONE credit over part-time status.  I was in a loop-hole, and I felt Obama mislead me.  This was not like Canada’s system at all!  This seemed to me like coercion to get healthy people to pay into the system in order to expand benefits for people with preexisting conditions.  And why should I (already near the poverty line) have to pay for other sick people when I am healthy?

-But I am a rule follower so even though I disagreed I tried to see my options.  I applied to Medicare.  Even though I am a part-time student and part-time employee, I was not poor enough to qualify.  Again–who would be if not people like me?  So I checked into my state’s funding for Medicare rejects.  They have a discount program for people of low financial means that are not quite low enough to be considered poverty.  And the news?  My cheap insurance would be catastrophic coverage ONLY (no check-ups, prescriptions, co-pays, nothing at all unless I suffered some tragedy) for a mere $210/month.  And the offers went up from there.  I checked into my other options and I would be looking at $250/mo–at least.  And that’s if I didn’t want anything.  If I actually wanted anything back for that money it was sky-high–I’ve repressed the numbers b/c they were so horrible.

-I have still not had any sort of medical attention, or had so much as a cold (thanks sleep schedule and Zicam!) since I’ve been off health insurance.

-It’s all I can do not to scratch eyes when Planned Parenthood is touting the benefits of the new healthcare plans on Facebook.  And everyone who likes it writes it’s because they have such-&-such condition and now they can get healthcare!  Paid for healthy people like me forced to pay into the system, but that don’t actually use it.  Sounds a lot like redistribution of funds (from healthy to sick, no matter the income) to me.  So I can see the comparisons to socialism–and I am not for it.  I can’t afford to pay for the medicare of some old, sickly smoker. . .

And so that was a little longer story then I anticipated explaining how:

a)  Obama misrepresented his plan and I stupidly voted for it

b)  I got stuck in a whack loophole

c)  insurance companies and greedy bastards

d) employees of small businesses (vet hospitals) are screwed

e)  Cat’s Meow is shady with their benefits, and I’m glad I don’t work there

f)  dentistry is for reasons unknown is not a medical profession

g)  I am willfully uninsured

h) now that I wrote this jinxy post I’m going to get hit by lightning and require a bunch of emergency medical attention.  Hopefully not–but if I did I would try for Care Credit or make small payments. . .

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Goose Song

8 May

Cool and I are always talking to, and especially singing to our cats.  I’ve told you about our language of dropped liquids (/l/ & /r//) and how sometimes our MeowEEZE sneaks out of our apartment into our conversations with real people.  And how we don’t really care about being crazy cat ladys.  There are worse things.

Sloppy's electric throw 1

Sloppy-Joe Cool’s song (she had many, but her name-sake song) was to the tune of Beethoven’s 5th:

Sloppy Joe Cool

Sloppy Joe Cool

Sloppy Joe Cool Sloppy Joe Cool Sloppy Joe Cool

Kitty!

 

Choco-Luv’s song also features her name prominently:

Choco-Luv Choco-Luv Choco-Luv Choco-Luv

Choco-Luv Choco-Luv Choco-Luvups

Hay Hay Hay!

 

But I think Goose’s song is a real master-piece.  We are constantly calling this kitty different names, depending on what he’s doing at the time–he’s often doing funny or ornery things so in accordance his song goes:

Goose 2012He’s a goose

He’s a man

He’s a coon

He’s a Cat

He’s a turkey, he’s a lion, he’s a mongoose

He’s a big cat

He’s a fat cat

but he’s a real good buddy

+/- (‘cept when he’s not)

 

I just wanted to share how fun our lives are because of our beloved pets.  In other news, I got my Audiometry final exam grade back today.  I got 98%!!!!!!!!  So my final course grade is a 97.4% A+.  I am so proud of that because I really buckled down and worked so hard for it.  Throughout the semester, but BIG-time at the end.  I’m especially happy about it because I was afraid after losing so many points on exam 3, intimidated by the test format/grading/demeanor of the instructor, and worried about losing my overall grade and all-important GPA.  And despite the pressure, I stepped up and pulled it out.

I want to make clear that the course content was not as conceptually challenging as many classes, though there was a lot of things to cover.  Classes that have been more difficult:  Math of any type, physics, biochem, chem lab, chemistry, nutrition, animal physiology, anatomy, genetics, and speech & hearing sciences to name the most notorious in my memory.  All the same, because of the instructor, it’s been one of my most hard-fought A’s I’ve ever ever gotten (behind Physics 2 b/c math used to be my nemesis and Biochem b/c it was conceptually challenging, had TONS of material, and involved a lot of rote memorization of vocab/cycles/structures).

Even though I don’t have (much of) a job, I think I’m going to treat myself with a new pair of boots.  Boots because they go on clearance in the spring when stores are trying to clear the large inventory and they are something I can use this winter and especially in Colorado.  Now, it’s time to celebrate!

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Food No, MOOD Stamps

22 Apr

“Working the system” is not really a thing anymore.  When you apply for government aid (food stamps/EBT) you are jumping through a lot of hoops.

America's Next Top Model

I think politicians must get bogged down in the details:  you have to work a minimum of 20 hours/wk to qualify, but you can’t make over such-and-such dollar amount.  Who does that leave in between?

If you’re a student they count your current loans for tuition against you as if it’s income, but they don’t count the school loans you’re paying back as an expenditure.  I say if you count one you have to count the other–it’s the same story.

At the federal level, you can’t legally marry or domestically partner with someone same-sex in order to get all the dreams of desirefinancial benefits “traditional” married couples garner.  BUT you have to count that person in your rent instead of claiming the whole thing.  Which is convenient–for the government.

The process = ridiculous!

You fill out an online quiz, but they never say you don’t qualify there–that would be too easy.  They send you the first (of about a thousand) mailers telling you to come in 4 days later for an “appointment.”  Be careful when you apply because this “appointment” is always a very quick turn-around and if you miss it, it’s a no-go on the stamps.  When you get there, you quickly see the location (the DSHS) is crawling with people.  Unshowered, unhygienic, desperate-looking people all smelling of cigarette smoke and greasy hair.  Suddenly, you feel too clean, too put-together.  You’re sorry you chose freshly washed clothes and even sorrier if something is a known brand.  Known brands, even the crummiest of brands, are a big no no at the DSHS.

You also quickly realize you’d better get in the long line.  Behind the coughing people, the women toting four small, dirty-faced children, and the adults with meth-mouth.  You thought your letter said “appointment” which implies a set time to meet with one person, but everyone else is lined up outside the door.

When you get inside, it’s like a bus stop.  Uncomfortable, worn plastic seats and tired looking employees.  The workers at the DSHS look jaded and worn down.  They have seen it all and they are not going to put up with shenanigans.  You have to touch the computer screen to sign up, and with all this sniffing and coughing, you begin to worry about catching a cold or flu.

Then, the waiting.  It seems there’s no rhyme or reason for who gets called first or where they are called to.  Someone from back behind you in line gets called to window 13, the lady with the 4 kids that was first in line, fills the seats and hollars sporadically for so and so to stop kicking that chair (nevermind the man in it).  Another person gets called to the doors to be led back to the cubicle area.

You notice 2 armed security officers, windows and counters between the public and the employees and wonder about your safety.  When you are finally called, you are grateful to stop waiting, and to get away from ill-people, bad smells, and unruly children.  But soon see this was a false sense of relief–the worker looks accusatory.

The Girls Who Starts to Lose Her CoolThey don’t ask to see any of the (many, many) documents your letter requested you bring.  The documents you had to search around for, get signed, jump through hoops to collect.  They never want any of those things.  Even though you brought your lease, they may not ask for it.  They’ll say–how much rent do you pay?  And take your word about the answer.  This last time they asked me, “How much do you think your car is worth?”  Rather then asking for my registration, looking at the blue book value, or tapping into the DMV’s government system.  They will say, where’s proof of this?  And you hadn’t thought of this, nor had your letter requested it.  They print you out more forms–you must have your school sign this (that’s a process that requires a week of time, three steps, and five people) and you must bring some check stubs, a letter from so and so, and this other paper.  You have 4 days.

The process is not standardized at all.  It depends on who you get and how tired/jaded that person is, also how their day is going, and their perceptions of you.  When I had just spent a lot of money moving from Seattle to the opposite side of the state, had to pay first/last/deposit on an apartment, and didn’t have a job yet (ie the time I MOST legitamately needed financial help) I was denied before my paperwork was processed, and I suspect it’s because the lady I got at the DSHS felt like my Roxi capris I wore said $$$$.  But that shouldn’t matter, or cause judgement.  I could have gotten the name-brand jeans at Goodwill, got them as a gift, borrowed them from a friend, or had them for ten years. . .  The clothes someone is wearing does not give an accurate picture of their monetary situation.  While Cool got another gay who saw she was “family” and didn’t ask for any paperwork then hooked her up with the maximum amount.  So it’s not about what your situation is, any max dollars or min hours–it’s all in the employee you get that day.

So this particular time I got caught in several loops.  I’m a student, so they want to see my loans, but not the undergrad loans I pay back.  Because I am a part-time student in a non-degree program they couldn’t count the loans though–much to their dismay.  BUT you have to work 20 hours a week or have work study to qualify.  Because unemployed people with zero income need food stamps least of all?  So I didn’t make ENOUGH money to get the stamps, weirdly enough.  But I took the work study paperwork, thinking that there was a slight chance my tutoring may count. . .

But the paper required me to sign up for the tutoring gal, complete the government forms at HR, go back to the tutoring gal and have her sign off the hours, make an appointment with my financial aid advisor who informed me work study money was depleted long ago, then she had to fax my form to someone and call DSHS (the work study application is good enough), then I had to take the signed form baaaack to the DSHS and wait a second time.  Lots of time and hooping jumping.

I was invested.

I got a youngish dude so I felt hopeful.  The men are always a little friendlier than the crabby old women employees for whatever reason.  He read my work study hours aloud “5-10 per week.”  Then he asked another lady what the work study code was.  When I saw her I knew my chances of qualifying for food stamps were gone.  She looked as if she had worked there for the last 30 years, and especially tired and jaded.  She told him they would need to see my financial aid letter (my incoming student loans) which would immediately disqualify me.  And when she left, he said he had done a work study before and knew they required a minimum of 16 hours/wk.  Which no one had told me.  And my tutoring employer hadn’t known what amount of hours to put so she randomly said 5-10.  So that’s a pain, I could have told her right in the beginning or not bothered around with it at all, if my first DSHA lady had informed me of the complete criteria (16 hours/week),  So Juan said he had to deny me, too bad it didn’t say 16. . .

And that sucked just because of all the time I had now wasted being for nothing.  And I knew Juan had wanted to hook angel 3me up with EBT, because he had already seen those hours, but I knew he wasn’t able to because he involved that lady who had seen my paper, and was probably some superior to him.  So she ruined everything!  I wish the internet had told me of the work hours criteria so I wouldn’t have wasted any time at all with their stupid process!

Later that day I had a voicemail:  Juan said he thought I had dependants, which would require 16 hours of work study, but I’m only applying for myself so that weekly hour amount doesn’t apply to me.  So I do indeed qualify for the max amount of food stamps.

But that makes no sense because they primarily try to give people with children the aid most of all.  So a mom would probably have less restrictions and get more food stamps, then me.  It makes sense to me that Juan was going to give me EBT, but then he couldn’t in front of that lady–so he waited until she was gone and hooked me up later.

Juan hooked me up!  When I go through the list of things I’m thankful for every night before sleep, he is often featured for his compassion and generosity–and for tweaking the rules.

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