Saturday, March 13, 2021

Letters to Myself

A few years ago I bought a self-reflection activity book titled Letters to My Future Self.  It's one of those reflective, self-progress things that required I write letters to myself in the future about specific topics I was dealing with at the time I wrote the letter to myself. Examples include "These are my roots...", "Where I want to go from where I am right now", and "This is what I live for: work accomplishments".

I haven't completed all the letters. Blank ones include "All the things I'd like to try someday", "It was an extraordinary day", "This is a letter about my love", "I never want to forget this", "Ten item gratitude list and letter of thanks".

My current dilema: I have several entries with past due open and read dates and I'm not sure if I want to open and read them. Those letters include "I promise to myself" sealed on 01/30/2020, to be opened on 01/30/2021. "There's no place like home" sealed on 10/04/19, to be opened on 10/04/2020. "A pep talk for the future me" sealed on 04/30/2018 to be opened on 05/14/2020. "Me from long ago to the more experienced me" sealed on 06/29/19 to be opened on 06/29/2020.

My memory of why I wrote letters on particular days is gone. I have no idea why I wrote "A pep talk for the future me" on 4/30/2018 and why I chose the date to open it on 5/14/2020, other than 5/14/2020 was my 49th birthday.

Part of me feels like opening and reading the letters should be a communal event, surrounded by friends and select family. You know, my tribe. I can't imagine anything lonelier than opening one of these letters and reading it to myself while sitting alone on my bed. That just seems pathetic. 

So here is a new letter to myself dated 03/13/21 to be read today, 03/13/21:

My dear, you think you see the light at the end of this very black tunnel you've lived in since August 1st 2020, but the truth is you're working on a project that doesn't guarantee you a regular, full time job at the projected end date in 6-9 months. You are saving much of the salary you current receive which is a good thing because you've never made more money than you are now and you must remember this is a temporary gig.

Congrats on knowing about, accessing and using all of the safety net programs that you qualified for: Food Share, a tax credit off-set for health insurance through the Marketplace, energy assistance, COVID relief payments, and several tax credits we qualified for when filing our 2020 taxes. It feels weird to use the same social services benefits I've directed numerous clients to, but at least I knew about them and accessed them when my family needed to. There's NO shame in that.

Thank God I have parents who saved enough money to provide their heirs (me, my sister & my brother) access to inheritance money "while they're still alive" a quote from my dad. He keeps a ledger documenting which one of us has received a dollar amount to make sure the other two receive the same dollar amount whether that's for a new car or lakeside property, or a pontoon boat.

Last week Rog (my dad) told me Mark & I are due some money based on this pre-inheritance system and I told him to keep it in "our account" to be used for a future vacation once COVID vaccinations increase and travel is less of a hassle. 

I hope to see the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.I hope to see and listen to the Height Ashbury neighborhood that created so much of the music I love.  I hope to walk among the Redwoods and Sequoias and be awestruck by their size. 

I hope....

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020: The Shit-Show That Was

It's fair to say that 2020 was a rough year for most of the people I know. "Rough" is vague enough to describe the continuum of minor impacts of the COVID-19 virus to I know people that died, lost jobs, struggled really hard this year. I am in the latter.

I've gone through my soon to be outdated calendar and can list more crappy events in every month than I can "Oh yay!" happenings. I realize I need to check my gratitude because I'm not taking into account I've had a roof over my head and food in my kitchen all year. I can't manage how to make those things important enough to overcome the monthly feeding of crap this year. My mind is not in that place of gratitude right now, and hasn't been for several months. My apologies to those of you reading this and thinking, "Just shut up about the crap and focus on the gratitude." It's a cognitive thing. I'm a therapist, getting clients to recognize and accept gratitude has been my the bread and butter of my career. Right now I'm in an obstinate, stubborn, very dark place. I'm in the sloppy, muddy pit of depression and I'm comfortable here, thank you, and it seems I may stay awhile.

If I don't find a job soon, Mark & I won't be able to afford rent to keep this particular roof over our heads by February 1st. If it hadn't been for Food Share, I don't know how we would've managed food for ourselves. We've had enough money to feed and care for the dog, and I started Christmas shopping in September, when finances weren't so dour. We're getting energy assistance. I'm not getting unemployment. I've never been in this financial situation. I've never been dependent on social services or public aid.

What has kept us treading water is my parents. They've paid for medical and dental bills, sent home days' worth of leftover meals from when we visit. God knows we appreciate everything they've done for us, but it's humiliating. That's my own ego talking, but there's truth in it. Who hopes to be turning 50 in six months and calling your dad to ask for insurance premium money? (No job means I have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act and pay insane amounts of money each month for sub-par coverage.) Who plans on your only regular income to be checks from your parents? I'm starting to look for cheaper apartments because my parents can't afford my rent. How fucked up is that?? This is not the life I pictured...ever

The humiliation I feel, the disappointment I see in my father's eyes, the incompetence I feel as a therapist unemployed for five months with no options in sight...I don't know how much longer I can survive in the depression pit. But I don't know what will help me find the energy or motivation to get out.


Thursday, December 24, 2020

On This Christmas Eve...

I had to remind myself before I started typing tonight that Christmas Eve is not New Year's Eve and I need to save my end-of-this-absolutely-disastrous-fucking-year rant for another 168 hours. I've been writing down the low-lights, of which there are a plethora, since January when this shit-show of a year began. Ok, ok, focus. Back to Christmas Eve.

Throughout the day I've been remembering past Christmas Eves. My earliest Christmas Eve (I'll shorten that to CE going forward) memories are related to participating in my church's Christmas Pageant which, for my Sunday School years, was held on CE, not the Saturday before or after Christmas like it is now. I remember as a kindergartener and at least through 2nd grade, we dressed as angels. Donned in white sheets with halos fashioned from horribly misshapen wire hangers with silver or gold tinsel lopsidedly taped to them, we sang Away in the Manger for three consecutive years.

I'm not sure what our 4th grade class sang or wore, but I remember getting out of the car in the church parking lot that CE and inhaling the brisk winter air which stunned me slightly. I looked up to a cloudless sky, searching for the Christmas star, the star that led the Wise Men to the baby Jesus. In my nine year old mind, the brightest star I saw, likely the North star, was the Christmas star. 

My church had Sunday School through 8th grade, the end of which culminated in Confirmation. Every CE for four years the brightest star I could see in the night sky from the church parking lot on Marquette Street became the Christmas star. It was shortly after that when pageants were performed on a Saturday afternoon, which included my younger sister and brother. I was in college by the time my brother participated in his last pageant.

I was thinking of the first CE I no longer believed in Santa while reminiscing earlier today. That would be Christmas of 5th grade. 

My mother has always had a mild obsession with Little House on the Prairie. The TV show, the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, touring the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum somewhere in Minnesota, she's done the whole Little House gambit. For some unknown reason she made me and my sister wear cotton bonnets with the brim and long ribbons fashioned into a bow on the side of our chins, certainly not directly under them. I should define "made us wear cotton bonnets". She bought one for each of us and I remember wearing it a few times prior to attending junior high, but why we had them and when exactly we wore them is fuzzy. Anyway, the point is that my sister and I shared a full size bed like Laura and Mary Ingalls until Christmas of 7th grade when we got bunk beds. I've gone Freudian on that until my head spins, so don't go there.

Our bedroom was at the end of the hallway of your typical three bedroom, single level ranch house: the hallway starts in the dining area, first door on the left: bathroom, second door on the left: master bedroom, first (and only) door on the right: small bedroom, and the hallway empties like a river into a delta which was our bedroom. From our doorway we had a straight shot to see someone walking from the basement, through the kitchen and dining area into the living room, walking right to left.

By CE of 5th grade I was questioning this whole Santa thing. Our house didn't have a fireplace and chimney until 1978-ish. How did he get into our house before that? Was Santa committing B&E at every house in the world that didn't have a fireplace??

My 2nd grade sister and I agreed to stay up and monitor the view from our bedroom door opened just a crack, that CE. She was asleep by 8:30pm. I managed to stay up until 10:30pm when the show began. From bed I could hear repeated footsteps cross the kitchen and dining area. I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter! (LOL!) I peaked through the 2" opening between the door and the frame and watched my dad make the trip past me at least a dozen times, his arms loaded with wrapped packages. I shook my sister to show her who Santa really was. She groaned for a moment then continued her slumber. Dad starting shutting off lights and I jumped back in bed. My parents' room was to the right of ours, we shared a common wall with an air vent which is the cause of many nightmares I'll save for another story. So I had proven there was no Santa. 

I kept this nugget of information to myself through adulthood. As I write this I'm not entirely sure if I ever shared this discovery with anyone in my family. The lapse of memory could be due to age. That happens more often at a scary rate. It surprises me that I didn't tell my family because I was kind of a loud-mouthed kid and when I knew something my sister or brother didn't know, I liked to climb up the pedestal I created and look down on the world from Judgement Land. 

Today it's Christmas Eve 2020. I've spent time in quiet contemplation of Luke's telling of Jesus' birth from the New Testament. I've spent time outside and found my Christmas star. 

Merry Christmas everyone. May you find your own Christmas star.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's Off to Work I Go

I start a new job tomorrow, Wednesday, September 16, 2020, ending 45 days of unemployment.

I didn’t shout from the roof tops that I was fired on July 31, 2020. Although it came as a shock, after a few hours I realized that this was one of those situations when the Universe, God, Karma, a Higher Power, whatever you choose to call “it”, intervened and made a decision for me my deep, inner-self knew I should make, but I didn’t have the courage to do so. I even said that in the message I left for my shrink. Although I loved the clients I worked with, the brass tacks of the “job” was becoming a shit-show I didn’t want any part of or responsibility for. My parting words there are: Good luck at the upcoming annual Federal review. You’re fucked.

I’m not naming my new employer so don’t even ask me. I’ve removed my profile from Linked In. I removed the previous agency where I worked from my employment history on Facebook and I no longer “follow” them. You won’t find the name of my new employer associated with me in any way on social media. I’ve been fucked too many times by employers trampling all over my First Amendment rights while I’ve never disclosed any PHI (Protected Health Information) or violated anyone’s HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rights. Yet somehow, I managed to get myself in trouble with previous employers, particularly by what I write about in this blog.   

I am a storyteller. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, you’ve encountered me “setting the background” of whatever it is I’m finally going to tell you or engage in conversation with you about. My case notes can be horrendously long if I’m not mindful of keeping it to the “Description, Affect, Plan”. I am well aware of the ethical boundaries of my profession regarding confidentiality. No one has ever accused me of violating anything related to inappropriate disclosure of PHI because I never have. Simple enough from my point of view.

I’ve documented something every day of the last 45. It could be whom I spoke with regarding Food Share or comparing insurance plans on the marketplace. It could be how useless and disappointed in myself I felt because I could no longer provide my husband’s Part B for Medicare by having employer sponsored health insurance. It’s there and sometime in the future I’ll re-read all of it; just not when doing so feels like walking across a sea of grit.

Tomorrow I’ll get up, shower, do my make-up (minus lipstick because thank heaven we’re all still wearing masks at work), and try to do something with my hair that doesn’t look like it’s 1986 and hanging over my eyes. I choose my work clothes the night before which prevents me from standing in front of my closet and drooling in the morning while I attempt to make a shirt and a pair of pants not look like I’m walking off a golf course in 1974.

As you get up and go to wherever it is you work, remember that I’m with you. Starting something new.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Gravehopping and Finding My Way Home

My favorite song about home is “Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith. The summer of 1989 my life-long group of high school friends and I saw Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young at Alpine Valley. 

We started the aimless trudge through the parking lot on the hunt for Eric’s Ford Escort, when Rolf called “Shotgun!” When we found the car, 45 minutes later, by parking lot etiquette, Rolf sat in the passenger seat and I sat in the back seat of what was really, quite a teeny, tiny little car. 

That Blind Faith song was on a “mix tape” stuck in Eric’s cassette player. I swear to god we heard that song two dozen times. I fell asleep at one point so that may be a low-ball estimate.

We were driving to Madison without a map, just some sketchy directions and a lot of pot. Did I mention we were all totally high the entire night? That probably explains why we shrieked like Howler Monkeys when we finally got to someone’s brother’s cousin’s house we’d been searching for in Madison.

“Home” has had multiple locations and connotations throughout my life. Geographically “home” has included Appleton, Boston, Neenah, Menasha, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Oconomowoc, and Shawano. The consistent location of home has always been Shawano. My maternal grandparents spent their entire lives there, or within the “suburbs” of Wescott and Richmond. My grandma grew up on what was or would become the Menominee Rez. My parents met and married there. I was baptized three weeks after being born there because my father was shipping out to Basic Training before deploying to Vietnam. While he was in country my mother and I lived with her parents, my Grandpa and Grandma Krause. 

We moved to Appleton within weeks of my second birthday, but still, Shawano was Home. When we were leaving after a weekend there, Grandma would kiss us gently on both cheeks and say, “Now you come home again soon.” Her cheeks were soft like powered pillows. I cannot remember a single time when leaving that house without hearing her speak those words.

Sometime in early 2003 my sister and I discovered that on Saturdays of Memorial Day Weekends, our grandparents and our grandma’s two sisters and their husbands, our great-aunts and great-uncles, spent the day driving to the graves of our ancestors. They cleaned off the headstones, pulled out the fake, faded flowers from last Memorial Day Weekend and stuck in a bouquet of new, brighter fake flowers, and shared stories on the drive to the three cemeteries they visited. With their tasks complete, they stopped at a tavern in Red River, another Shawano suburb. In this part of Wisconsin there are no “bars” – far too “big city.” These were taverns. They had supper at one of dozens of supper clubs they could choose from. Places we went to when I was kid and thought eating frog legs made me “exotic” and “sophisticated.” I was eight years old.

Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend 2003 my sister and I tailed along with our grandparents, great-aunt Margaret and great-uncle Dave, great-aunt Shirley and great-Uncle Butch. Butch and Shirley had an enormous Suburban with a back row tiny enough to rival the back seat of my friend Eric’s Ford Escort, which is where my sister and I sat. I swear to god every time we stopped at a cemetery, tavern or the supper club, Margaret would forget my sister and I in that cocoon and shut the door without letting us out of the car. That was the only way we could get out and every stinkin’ time she forgot, we knocked on the window looking forlorn and pissed off at the same time.

Every year at her grandmother’s grave, a woman I never met yet lives inside of me, my grandma said, “There was never a better grandma than her.” Every year I said, “She has a run for her money because you’re the best grandma there ever is.” She held me a little closer and said, “I can only hope so, Dolly.” She called all five of her granddaughters “Dolly”.

It didn’t take long before my maternal aunts and cousins filtered in to Gravehopping with us on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekends. The more we gained, the more we lost. We all lose those we love to the inevitable unknown of Death. It may come fast or slow, tragically or peacefully, but still, it comes. There can be no other way. Margaret was the first of “the Golden Girls”, as we referred to them, to pass in 2010. Then it was Grandma in 2016 and finally Shirley in 2018.

My husband and I moved to Green Bay in August 2019 for my new job. With the help of Siri, Irish accent version, I can now find more places than the casino, the airport and the stadium which was the extent of my geographical knowledge of this town until moving here.

As Memorial Day Weekend closed in around me this spring, plans for Gravehopping were made. As I was writing down ingredients for Cucumber Salad, my signature dish and meal contribution since Grandma died, I stood in my kitchen and suddenly dropped my pencil, my notepad, and I couldn’t shut the cupboard door because I was literally paralyzed. I didn’t blink, I don’t remember breathing although obviously I was, I stood there with one thought banging inside of my skull: From where I stood, I didn’t know how to find my way Home.

Shawano has been my true north since conception. Not knowing exactly how to get there is akin to fate shaking me like a snow globe only when I land, the earth is sand, the air is stiffening fog and I have no voice.

Just like so many decades before when trying to reach Madison without a map made driving monotonous and pointless, I felt that way about driving up to Shawano. For the first time in my life I couldn’t find my way Home. 

Of course, Irish Siri got me to my aunt’s house easily. Gravehopping was accomplished and is in the books for another year. However, if I had to get in my car right now and drive to Shawano, I couldn’t do it...without GPS. In the genuine sense of the lyric, “I can’t find my way home.”

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Where Do I Begin?

First of all, there's got to be more font options than the seven shown to me, in addition to "Default." What the hell is "default"? Rhetorical. No comments or instructions please. 

06/14/2020 was the one year anniversary of me leaving my employer of roughly eight or nine years. Here's a secret I'll share if you promise not to tell anyone: Theirs is a name I do not speak (or type) for fear of getting myself in more trouble with the higher-ups than my big mouth/opinionated, free-thinking brain/First Amendment rights have already gotten me into.

By experience of leaving this employer once before, maybe I should have expected the shit-show my life has been for the past year. I left for approximately six months approximately eight years ago and got into trouble for expressing myself via this same blog at that new employer. I guess unless I choose a nom de plume, I'm always at risk of being reported to the higher ups, which is something I continue to struggle to wrap my brain around. I'm too afraid to say anything more than that in this medium.

I've previously posted about the nightmare moving to Green Bay was logistically, fuck ups with the cable company, the moving company, the utility company. I'm sure sometime after 06/14/2019 I posted about the stress commuting from Menasha to Waupaca, then suddenly commuting from Menasha to Green Bay two days a week (of course not consecutive days because that would've made too much fucking common sense) and continuing to commute to Waupaca on three non-consecutive days a week.

I absolutely loved working at King. Don't confuse that with I loved the work I did at King. I started working there full time on 06/17/19 and was told on 06/21/19 that the King program was closing by 09/03/19 and the focus of all staff was on successfully moving 26 veterans into stable housing. As a therapist that task wasn't in my wheelhouse. 

What I loved about working at the Wisconsin Veteran's Home at King includes the following:

1) A family connection: My Grandpa Porath (paternal grandpa) spent the last years of his life at King & when we visited he'd take us to the three lane bowling alley, show us where the local water skiing group performed on the lake weekly for the veterans during the summer, and the quaint whitewashed cottages where  married couples lived (currently these cottages stand vacant, however the last I heard was that they couldn't be demolished because of their lead paint or asbestos level so they were going to be refurbished for safe habitation). This is the place where my Grandpa Porath died.

2) Watching the veterans fish: Veterans from our Program and other veterans spent hours each day at the designated fishing  docks located behind the building that housed the Post Office, the volunteer office, and the KX. I can't remember the name of the building and don't want to Google it just for the sake of naming it in a rather unremarkable blog.

3) Although trying to find a parking spot close to the building any employee actually worked in was a challenge of strategy and patience, driving around the campus was beautiful. The Veterans Home at King somewhat resembles a small, mid-western or east coast college campus. You need to look beyond the institutional buildings to see the mini golf course, the gazebos, the pure and clear lake-shoreline, the grand Commandants House, the flower window boxes on the cottages, the bell chiming from the Pilgrim-like white steepeled church. Sounds remarkably like Amherst or Holyoke, Mass to me.

4) The other veterans I didn't work with. One thing I quickly learned working on the King campus is that the vast majority of veterans I would encounter showed me gentlemanly respect by letting me cross a threshold before they did, enter and exit an elevator before they did, and greet me with "Good morning" or "Have a nice weekend" before I did. There was a veteran who often spent time on a bench swing right around the time I left work. Minimally I sat down with him once a week and we chatted. He talked about his wife and son who were both "gone with God" and he'd tell me about his wife's funeral right at the chapel across the green space from where we were lightly swinging. Every time I sat down to talk with him he told me the exact same stories. As the time of my transfer to Green Bay drew closer and closer, I told him I was going to miss talking with him after work. His response: "Well, you just think of me here on this swing young lady and I'll tell you about my wife and son someday. My wife's funeral was right here at that chapel" (he was pointing across the green space to the small steepeled church where the bells toll every hour) and I thanked him for his generosity for sharing his stories with me. 
Since I no longer needed to carry a small suitcase on wheels to and from work, I began carrying a large-ish, gray twill shoulder bag with my initials embroidered in burgundy on one side. About twice a week one particular veteran would be sitting outside when I left the building where I worked while I headed to my car. With my initials facing the outside of my bag, he'd call to me, "Have a good evening KS!" I'd wave and call back to him, "You too sir!"  I never learned his name, but I hope that if Grandpa Porath ever offered good night wishes to someone, that person would've sent the same wish back to him. (I have to admit that Rog takes after Grandpa Porath in his stoicism and I really can't imagine my paternal grandfather or my father just calling out well wishes to a complete stranger, but who knows? This scenario is my fantasy.)

That's the best way I can express the blanket of depression I've been wrapped in for the past year. Sometimes it feels as light as a high thread count sheet and at other times it feels as heavy as a lead radiology cover.

So I've begun sharing about work, to the best of my ability while fearing I may lose my job or get officially written up and placed on a corrective action plan which would totally fucking suck.

Anyone know the phone number to the local ACLU office? 😳😳😳

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Moving: A nightmare in Seven Acts

My last post specifically addressed the run-around about setting up new cable and internet services at the house we moved into in Green Bay.

There is a general check-list of tasks that are required to complete when moving. I swear to God most of those tasks were fucked up by human error almost from the very moment I decided to take a new job with a non-profit, grant funded foundation, Veterans Assistance Foundation (VAF) who is my actual employer. We (VAF) implements several USDVA (US Dept of Veterans Affairs) and WDVA (WI Dept of Veterans Affairs) grants known as the Veterans Housing and Recovery Program. 

I started working full time for the VHRP located at the WI Veterans Home in King. It's the 2nd largest veterans home in the country and the oldest veterans home in the US. My paternal grandfather spent the last years of his life at King. It's a beautiful campus full of trees along the banks of the Chain O' Lakes, has historical buildings such as the Commandants House, many cottages where couples who didn't need  24/7 nursing care once lived, and a church that tolls the bells at the start of each hour. There's a three lane bowling alley, fishing docks, and the local water skiing group provides free performances for all of the veterans throughout the summer.

My first day of full time employment as the Clinical Case Manager was Monday June 17, 2019. I didn't apply for this job. The VAF Executive Director found my resume on the Wisconsin Job Site and although King was 15 miles outside of my preferred work location, something in my resume struck her to contact me and schedule an interview. I was offered a full time position in King on my birthday, May 14, 2019. 

On Friday, June 21, 2019. the last day of my first week of full time work all of the staff were told that the grant funding all of our services and salaries was ending on Monday, September 30, 2019. The day before, Thursday June 20th, I toured an awesome townhouse in Waupaca that Mark, Apollo, and I would love to live in. I told the realtor that we'd be back on Saturday to complete the applications. Before I left for home in Menasha on Friday, I called her and said why we are no longer interested.

From 06-21-19 until 09-04-19 I commuted from Menasha to King, or from Menasha to Green Bay. VHRP has a location in Bellevue and their Clinical Case Manager had submitted his resignation in mid-June. People from WDVA told the Executive Director of VAF and Site Director in Green Bay to "stand down" and not accept more resumes or interview candidates for their open position. Neither of them knew why until the week before I started at King.

So that wraps up the fucked up-ness of my work for while. There's more to come.

On Saturday 08-10-19 I spoke with "the movers" to confirm a move date of Friday 08-16-19. I called to confirm the date and time on Monday 08-12-19 and was told that "The order was written up but not confirmed for a move on August 16th." The next time they were available to move us was Thursday, 08-22-19. Well that fucked up my work plans and I spent that night in Menasha, sleeping on a twin bed we kept in our second bedroom that I moved into what had been our living room. During the time between 08-22 and 09-04 I was driving from Menasha to King, or from Green Bay to King so it made sense to stay at my parents' house in Appleton on most of those overnighters. God forbid I work consecutive days at one location. If I spent two or three days in King, I'd stay at my parents' house in Appleton. If I spent two or three days in Green Bay, I'd stay at my actual house.

When we moved on 08-22-19, around 2pm there was a screeching sound of car brakes that could shatter glass. It turns out that a female driver in her early to mid-20s and a male passenger about the same age came screaming up Douseman Avenue, drove up between the sidewalk and our yard, sheered off the bark of a tree and plowed into the front of an RV parked in our neighbors yard. The passenger got out of the vehicle without any physical injuries. The female driver was turning a bluish-gray color so I performed sternum rubs while yelling at her to wake up and come around back to us. Thank God there was a nurse there to end the "should we pull her out/should we keep her in the car" debate that raged in the background. The police, fire department and paramedics arrived all within minutes of each other and I stepped away to let them do their thing. The police wanted to talk with everyone who witnessed the erratic driving and the end result of the driver plowing into the RV. I spoke with the Team Leader of the movers and agreed that 2 hours would be deducted from the total hours of our move because really, how often do 3 of the movers have  to provide police statements??

During our move over Labor Day Weekend, we asked our neighbors in Menasha to help us pack up whatever was left from the professional movers. They totally agreed. On Saturday 08-31-19 Mark & I drove to Menasha and our neighbors were already at work, including a woman who our female neighbor said "Was a friend of mine who stopped by earlier and we just walked over." By the end of the day, I discovered that one of my prescriptions for ADHD was gone from where I stored my meds. The unknown chick had stolen them. Plus, after checking all of my other meds, she had taken a small handful, maybe 8 capsules, of an old, expired bottle of Gabapentin. Our neighbor provided all of the information she supposedly knew about her, as did I to the Menasha Police Dept. In order to get my shrink to re-order the Adderall before the refill date I had to file a police report which I had NO problem doing. One viewpoint, for those of you that know my experience with recovery, could be to pray/send out positive vibes to the Universe that she finally gets the help she needs. Another viewpoint, and the one I currently subscribe to, is I hope that fucking peroxide bottle-blond fat bitch gets exactly what she deserves and will soon be wearing orange smocks and pants for a long fucking time.

The last week of October it dawned on me that although I had set up our electrical and heating services with FSS, (the acronym has been changed to protect the guilty) on 09-02-19, we hadn't yet received a bill. I called FSS and spoke to a young woman who told me "Yes, I see here that you called on September second to have the account transferred into your name, but for some reason that order was not put through and your bill has been going to [insert our landlord's name here.]" The very next day we received our FSS bill from our landlord which totaled $300.

To be on the safe side I contacted the Water & Sewer Department just to double check that everything was in our name. The young woman I spoke to confirmed that the account was indeed all set up accurately, then told me that, although we had originally selected the "budget plan" which allows customers to pay the same amount each quarter, $156 for us. During the previous quarter the amount of water used was greater than the budgeted dollar amount so going forward  our quarterly budgeted dollar amount was now $189.

I had been paying $1890 a month for COBRA coverage for me and Mark. An insane amount, I know but the American health care system truly has "one by the short hairs" if you don't have a plan with a third party payer. When I completed the insurance application for group coverage with VAF, I SO wished I had lied on the paperwork and stated that I was without coverage at the time I completed the application. Because I didn't, my new insurance carrier wouldn't provide us coverage until our current COBRA coverage ended. Well in theory I could carry COBRA for 18 months after my employment with LSS ended, which would be December 2020. In the end I chose to end our COBRA coverage on 10-31-19. I was assured by my Site Director that as of 11-01-19 Mark and I would have insurance coverage through VAF. Well, that didn't happen either. We received our insurance cards on Friday, 11-15-19. During the time from 11-01-19 to 11-15-19 I had an appointment with my shrink (which, God bless this man's heart he waived the fees for) and Mark and I both ran around greater Green Bay to get prescriptions refilled using GoodRx.

So, as a wrap up to the services we used while moving that were fucked up, include:
Cable & internet: Late, order for installation not put through by employee
Moving company: Late, order for move date pushed out because an employee didn't put the order through
Stable employment: Started at King on 06-17-19, was told on 06-21-19 that King program was closing and I'd need to work at both King & Green Bay while program closure happened; eventually began working in Green Bay full time on 09-06-19
Heat & Electricity: Late, contacted FSS on 09-02-19 but order to put bill in correct name was not completed  by staff until I called in early October & current bill due is $300
Water/Sewer: budget plan originally set up at $156 per quarter but because last quarter's use was greater than $156, new quarterly budget payment is $189.
Ended COBRA insurance and pharmacy coverage on 10-31-19 but new group insurance and pharmacy plan not available until 10-15-19
Police Report: Friend of neighbor helping us pack in Menasha, stole my stimulant medication and I needed to file police report to get medication refilled before due date, insurance wouldn't cover early refill so used Good Rx and paid $69 when medication cost was $20 with insurance
Car Accident Tues 11-12-19: the weather was horrible here the morning of 11-12-19. It was icy with blowing snow, the roads were covered with black ice. Most of the roadways here are highways or really long on and off ramps. On Tuesday morning around 9:15am I hit a spot of black ice and my poor Buick spun hard to the left, then whipped around to spin even harder to the right and as hard as I cranked on the steering wheel, I knew the back end of my car was going to "kiss" the concrete barrier on Hwy 172, where the speed limit is 70mph and I was going 40mph. And a "kiss" of this intensity costs $2000 to repair so that's going to have to wait for a while.