For those of you who feel that spiritual people should always be sweetness and light, you have another think coming your way. Proceed at your own risk. You may get run over by a howling, rabid HuntMode.
Okay, I’m starting to feel better. Not quite there yet – still need to cry out to the moon, the sky and howl my head off. Ever felt like this?
When I was first separated from my husband, my sister made the serious mistake of saying (as only sisters can – exactly the wrong thing, but it stuck with me…) – “Huntie, your (spiritual) students are going to be watching how you handle this, so you need to really watch yourself…” Words to that effect. My response was prompt, salutary and unhesitating, “F__k my students! I don’t give a flying rat’s ass whether I meet their standards for spiritual behavior. This is my journey and they can learn or not!”
Forbidden Use of Carnal Knowledge just takes too damn long to say when you need to cry out to the stones, know what I am saying? It might also have had to do with, right before my sister’s call, my mother had said, wringing her hands, “Hunt, you’re upsetting the cat.” … sigh… my response was pretty much the same, only the names cursed changed.
What’s got me in a hot sweat and all bothered? Government forms. God damn government forms… Yes, I know. I am swearing up a blue streak. How spiritual can I be if I swear? Roaring with laughter – oh honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet, she cooed threateningly.
With the money running out, I applied to the Department of Social and Human Services (State) and for Social Security Disability and both agencies promptly send me forms to fill out. This has been going on for a bit. As a Republican, this makes me writhe (to ask for assistance). As a human being, I am grateful some backstop exists for those unemployed and/or health-challenged (note the positive spiritual language in use here).
I received the famous EBT card – food stamp program or SNAP!, which said I qualified for a certain monthly sum to be deposited on the 7th of every month (make it last, HuntMode). So, I was very careful. I read all the rules – they send you a brochure detailing said rules. Here’s the thing: the brochure says you can use your card for food and at the ATM. There are restrictions – no alcohol, no cigarettes, no gambling….
I’d heard about the fraud happening with the use of the EBT cards, and so I wanted to be sure under no circumstances did I use the card inappropriately. It was special, in my head, to be used in dire circumstances. Dire circumstances arrived – due to circumstances unnecessary to detail, Ella had $100 in Rx fees and I had $152, which meant that all my well planned financing went out the window.
Ella ran out of dog food and I went to get her another 20 lb bag of Lamb & Rice from Trader Joe’s – $20.00. A 3 lbs bag of Beneful Original can cost $9 to $11.00 at the local markets. Well, me, myself and I went thru checkout and the bill was $29 with tax, but the little window screen read $7.17. Remember Honesty outgoing is my theme this year… I point out that the screen says $7.17, while the bill was $29. My checker guy is startled and uneasy – machines may be crashing…. but then thinks for a second, “Oh, it’s the dog food.” I look at him, “Yes.” My eyebrows start to raise in inquiry. Gentle inquiry (I am spiritual, remember – 12th law: Try to be as courteous as possible under all circumstances.” ——-
Insert: While writing this, at just the last sentence, Word Press pops up a window, which says:
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.
I would swear, but I’m grinding my teeth too hard for the words to get out….. While I am at it, Yahoo does this exact same thing – just maddening! grrrrrr~ Argh! Argh!
This doesn’t even begin to address what happened yesterday or the fact that my internet service still glitches in full screen not allowing for syncing up between sound and visual – so I get the sound first, then the action – cops taking down bad guys – knock on the door – the sound of the knock first and then the cop pounds on the door…. YES, I CALLED THE INTERNET TECH PEOPLE!!! Twice – 1.5 to 2 hours per call for hours of wasted time because everything looks good on their end…. “Call your computer people.” Uh-huh. Didn’t happen with the old service – it is not my computer…. (breathe in, breathe out. “You are a spiritual being having a human experience. Ouch!“)
….End of Insert.
(I’m beginning to laugh now because Jaklumin nominated me today for the Sunshine Award because “If there’s anyone deserving of it, it’s you.” What can I do except laugh?)
Back to EBT cards, Trader Joe’s, and the dog food purchase. “But the dog has to eat.” I said bewildered, out loud to my mortification. No go. He waits patiently for me to figure out how to cover the $20.00. I can’t. I walk out with my $7.19 of fruit, lettuce, veggies and salad dressing on the EBT card, no dog food.
As I walk out to my car, get into my car, start the car, I am saying, “All is well. Do not panic, HuntMode. All is well. Forbidden Use of Carnal Knowledge, God! What am I going to do?” I started driving home, thinking I’d feed Ella a can of premium chicken, and it slowly percolates through my head that WinCo, a local market, allows you to buy per pound vs. 3 or 20 lbs… I glance at the gas gauge, determine we can do it even with the appointment at DSHS the next day that will entail more gas, and go to Winco. It’s an amazing store. They’ve all the usual products, but generally less expensive (spiritual positive phrase vs. cheaper).
We’re now at 994 word count – I don’t care. Read or not. I have to get this out. (My TV dinner of Fettuccine Alfredo and garlic toast was ready about 30 minutes ago and is coagulating as I type this. No point in trying to eat it while I’m so mad and frustrated.) (Clearly, Insert 2. Commentary.)
Breathe in, breathe out. Let it go….
It’s .37 cents per lb., content approved by the American Kennel Association, though the listed ingredients begin with corn meal as opposed to Lamb… but it is .37 cents per lb. Done. I get three lbs. and two rawhide bones – Ella has started chewing my slippers.
Winco is extraordinary. Some of these “discount” places can make you feel impoverished and dirty before you walk out, but not this store and it is popular! Loads of people, all courteous – this is Washington State, after all. They have a section full of bins filled with items – every kind of nut you can think of, every kind of candy, every kind of flour, cereal, spice, etc., and three for dog food – all the same though – and cat food, but Elby, That Cat! was good on food for the moment. So, I tour the whole place and pick up some food items. Sure enough, the dog food and rawhide bones get bounced by the EBT card system – and, while the Republican in me cheers for a system against fraud, the little human mother in me winces and thanks God, I still have that amount in my checking account and pay it. We bag our own groceries at this store, owned by the employees, and saving $$$. Need a little bit more speed on my bagging skills.
That was Sunday night. Monday a.m., I get up and pull out the DSHS folder to fill out the government form for my appointment – no appointment – just be there between 8:00 and 2:00 p.m. I look through the folder – no form. I look through other folders in case I misfiled it. No. I refer back to the letter that insisted I make an appointment no later than January 2, dated December 24, mailed December 27, arrived – January 2, 2014. The letter specifically states: “We need the following information to determine your eligibility for… 1. Please fill out the attached Statement of Education, Employment & Health and return it by 01/02/2014.” No form.
I call the person assigned to my case and leave a voice mail saying I cannot locate the form and I am suppose to appear that day, please call me back. Nothing.
I go online and find it in its electronic form – .pdf or Word document? Word document downloads, I proceed to fill it in. It’s a two page form, but by the time I fill it in, it is five pages long. (Oh, come on, are you surprised? Look at the length of this post!). I’m feeling good, I am making progress, no callback, but I’m ready to go the next day – as it is after 2:00 p.m. I print the form. It spits out two pages – all the work I did is hidden – it will only display the first two lines. ….
I spend hours, really, hours trying to get this Forbidden Use of Carnal Knowledge-ing form to print correctly. I call my case worker and leave more messages – no response. I ask my neighbors if they’re any good at form fields – willing to help, but they hit a wall, too. I call my friend, Lynn, who deals with government forms on a daily basis. She too is willing to help, but concludes, “Misplaced code in the forms, Hunt. Sorry, babe. You are screwed. I’ll let you go so you can figure it out.” At this point, the phone rings and it is my 78 year old neighbor, who has been sensitive lately about my not instantly returning her phone calls. “Paper or Plastic?” – Do I answer the phone and be rude or let it go to voicemail and hear about it later? She can see my car and knows I am home….
I answer the phone. Good thing I did, too, because when she asked how I was, I let rip about the doggone form and she murmured soothing things and said, “I’m calling to ask if you’d like to come over tonight and watch Major Crimes with me. There’s a new show on tonight. And, I know you’re missing your TV, Huntie.” I respond, “What time is it now?” “Five o’clock.” “Okay, I would love that – I’ll see you at 8:00 (rerun at 8:00, new show at 9:00 p.m.).” I knew if I didn’t step away from the computer and keyboard, I would kill the next person who spoke to me.
I cut my losses on trying to get the form to print correctly. I created a new document and painstakingly copied and pasted from the form the content that would not show, which is how I know it was five pages long. And, I got the other forms done due to the Social Security Disability people as well, so I was making progress and could go see my neighbor with equanimity, though I was very tempted to just break down and cry.
Deep breath. I went to my appointment today and my case worker, who is Russian, called my name – the place was filled with people waiting. We walked back to his cubicle. He said, “Huntie, I thought you were coming yesterday.” I said, “Didn’t you get my three voicemails?” He looked surprised, a bit flurried and embarrassed. “I haven’t listened to them. Did you see the room out there? We’ve been slammed.” I said, “Well, just as well, delete ’em. I never found the form and tracked it down online and completed it.” I pulled it out of my file and handed it to him.
He took it, glanced at it, and said, “Oh. You didn’t need to fill this out, Hunt —” Anatoly is my height. I grasped him lightly, “Please do not say that, Anatoly. I went through a lot for that form.” In my head, I was screaming, “I will hurt you.”
“But see,” Anatoly explained earnestly, “that is what this appointment is for – to fill out this form.” Not three minutes go by before his supervisor appears at the entrance to his cubicle and requests to see him in her office. Anatoly comes back and says, “I am so sorry, Huntie. I have an emergency. One of my colleagues is dying and I have to go.”
He walks me over to Denise’s cubicle and turns me over, again apologizing for having to leave, assuring me Denise is tip-top, “She will take very good care of you, Hunt.” And, she was marvelous. At the end, she cocked her head and asked if I’d volunteered with some board or committee in our little city. I shook my head. “Your name, it’s so familiar…” We trot through all my volunteer work, but in all likelihood, it was My letters to the Editor that might be the reason. She gives me forms to drop off at Group Health so that they will provide medical records. I promptly drive to Group Health, knowing there will likely be a glitch in this process as my wonderful Dr. Smith retired December 31, 2013, but that will happen somewhere else down the rabbit hole of requisitioning medical records.
I then drive to Kinko’s to photocopy the ones for Social Security Disability. It had been the same scenario as the the DSHS mailing – I get the forms the day they are due back. I call and get her voicemail, which says she is out of the office beginning December 24 and she’ll be back on December 30. It’s December 26. This is for the COPD claim and there are two sets – one for health, “Exactly how does this disease affect your life. Begin at the beginning. Can you cook your own food?…” and another eight pages on how this is affecting my working. “What can you not do now that you used to be able to do. Explain fully.”
Once again, I am a painfully honest person. One who strives to be as honest as possible. COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a tricky son of a bitch. You can be fine and then, suddenly, you are not. I used to be able to shower and dress in 20 minutes. There are days where that can take an hour to an hour and a half, depending on whether I can’t breathe and need to stop and rest.
The instructions urge that I fax the material or I can mail it, but if I mail it the envelope goes to Utah instead of 30 miles down the road in Olympia. I call to see how much it would cost to fax: $32.00. I don’t have $32.00. It would be cheaper to drive it down to Olympia. The woman returns and calls me. She assures me she understands, grants me an extension of 10 days, says “Oh, mail it. You don’t need to drive down here. Utah will let me know. I am sorry about the forms, they’re generic. We truly do understand that not all diseases are the same and just do the best you can.”
So I copied and mailed them this evening. Called and left her a voicemail to tell her the forms have gone out. Next?