So I posted over at Hopeful Parents today, and you can check it out here if you're so inclined.
* The Reuben my chickens were eating was not food-waste from within Casa MFA (horrors!) (nor do we use bought bread at all, nor could I be arsed to make marbled rye; Hotter is lucky if I make him plain Swedish rye once in three months), but rather a "hot-box leftover" from the concession stand at Weekend Warrior job several weeks ago. Technically it was probably okay for human consumption, but just dried-up and fatty as HELL and Weekend Warrior Job has been kind enough to let me take leftovers on several occasions for my chickens with the caveat that they are NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION so I remain true to my word on that in the name of the local Health Department :) That is how my chickens have come to be connoiseurs of pricey hot sammiches and things like pigs in the blanket and marinated mushrooms. Lately I'm a fan of protein and fat for the poultry that I don't have to pay for, organic or no (and a surprising amount of the food served at Weekend Warrior Job actually is). So lest anyone think I'm buying and failing to eat fancy sammiches or letting them go to waste, that's the story behind the Reuben.
* I tweeted a photo a while ago because the view from my seat at the dinner table made me giggle, and then almost immediately felt self-conscious because I've written openly about how grave our financial situation is on several recent occasions. In case anyone saw the tweet and was wondering/worrying/rubbing their hands together with glee and calling CPS on me, there was also a roasted chicken involved in tonight's meal, we just don't put the carcass on the table because SOMEone is sure to burn themself on the pan if we do (or start asking anatomical questions that will make at least one other person present queasy). The recent discussion of the tip jar made me worry that someone would either surmise that we had nothing else and feel uneasy/pressured to do something about that, or start a new Twitter account just to talk about how I'm a big misrepresenting liar who tells tall tales on the innernet to line their pockets via PayPal, or...hell I dunno maybe I overthink these things due to some of the stuff in Stalky's manifestos? Ennyhoo, there was a chicken. Swearsies! The end.
* I also tweeted some garden porn today:
Figure One: We thought the cauliflower the chickens ate was history, but it has made an incredible comeback!
Figure One: Our first zucchini of the year forming on the bush with the flower still attached. I heart squash flowers! May have also inspired Backpacking Dad's new band-name!
Figure Two: Substantially less impressive until I tell you that I only ever got ONE artichoke seed to sprout and transplanted it triumphantly into the ground at the same time as the cauliflower. It met a similar fate and lost all but one leaf down so far down the stalk that I despaired of side-branches ever forming, but because I love a lost cause I kept watering it. WHOO TITS!
* Time to get up and go to work. Gah. How are all of YOU?
Okay, sure, I had to use the nebulizer for the third time in forty-eight hours (I seriously liked it better when the mere presence of the large boxes full of albuterol amps intimidated my lungs into exhibiting their very best behavior) and Hotter got pissy with me for going back to bed (I stayed up much of last night AT HIS URGING to help my body get used to that idea ahead of tonight's work; I was productive, too, baking breakfast for the family and crunching a lot of very depressing numbers I'd been avoiding), which would either of them in and of themselves Ruin My Day a couple of months ago, but in the new-normal they're small potatoes; today is still going better so far than yesterday did.
I went to the grocery store and stayed under my budget amount (which was under fifty dollars, and we're out of EVERYTHING, which is why this was such a nervewracking task), but still managed to get nutritious things to feed to everybody (including the cockatiel and the dogs) until my next paycheck is in.
And I made a payment toward my phone bill that SHOULD be enough to keep them from disconnecting me, which would make it very hard to keep working. So that's good. I bought gas yesterday on the way home from Weekend Warrior Job, at the small-town gas station near the Soulless Corporate Monolith job that I've discovered has it for twenty cents less than anywhere else in town, big-box membership stores included, so now we're stocked up and in a holding pattern (with enough for one half-gallon emergency milk in the bank) until payday.
Having food and gas both be several days to the good is such a comfort, y'all. I didn't exactly take it for granted before, but I had become accustomed to having it be minimally worrisome for a good long run prior to the past few months and now I pretty much feel like a bigshot if neither is on my immediate radar on any given day. And the phone is good because that's my lifeline on breaks at Soulless Corporate Megalith; yes I need to be able to keep tabs on Hotter and the boys and know if there is an emergency with them or call MFA Mechanic if the MFA Minivan strands me somewhere, but the good it does my mental health to have my Twitter peeps at three in the morning when I'm on lunch and Hotter's sleeping is not to be underestimated.
I do hope the universe doesn't feel like I need a little slap to keep me awake tonight at work or anything. A facespace friend recently compared my life to Wile E. Coyote, jumping in with "at least there was no giant box of TNT going boom?" I did laugh at that. Friends who compare me to a looneytune and sympathize with me on my "pullet wound" (yeah, a pullet attacked me and pinch-bruised the shit out of my arm) remind me that we can choose laughter. So tonight at work I'm just going to try and stay out from any giant safes or pianos on creaky, fraying ropes and hope for the best. It's all any of us can do I guess.
After some initial panic due to a slight misrepresentation on the part of Temp Agency #1, I rallied with the aid of caffeine and finished my shift at Soulless Corporate Megalith last night (this morning? Yesterday? Whatever the fuck...). And I'm going back today (tonight). Actually...right about now. Seeya on the Twitter...
* Thanks to generous Twitter-friends, I'm back before the first of the month! WHOO TITS! I wasn't too happy about being "Blog Raptured," but the fact that I had a broken link in my last post that then stood for a week? GAH! It's like the OCD gods were trying to teach me a lesson...
* You may or may not have noticed that my BlogHer badge has vanished. I had to think long and hard about it, but during the radio silence a letter came from the IRS letting us know that the student loan people had seized our entire income tax refund (which was roughly twice our average monthly income, for a sense of context) and that tipped the balance from "it'll be tight but sometimes one must do things for oneself" all the way into "fiscally irresponsible and selfish as hell." Between that and the fact that BlogHer '11 is being held right in Stalky's backyard, (and she'll be there--she's said as much on the Twitter to her friends, not just in her usual "I'll see you there and be passing out copies of my big creepy dossier All About You when I'm not busy crying bitter tears over our ruined friendship and carving our initials into my thigh with an Xacto knife!" e-mail)...meh. I'm not going to make my family eat ramen for the next two and a half months so that I can fly across the damn country and run into my stalker in a ladies' room.
* Anyone wanna buy my tickets? I have one full conference pass and one parties/expo only ticket that I'm willing to sell together as a "lot" for $350. Shoot me an e-mail at mfamamablog @ gmail DOT com if you're interested.
* My lungs, in case you were wondering, still suck. I can't even begin to afford a doctor's visit ($30) plus Levaquin, steroids, and more inhalers (~$100 if I'm lucky) until my next paycheck comes, and am not even entirely certain it would even help for more than the duration of treatment. I took last week and this week off from the various temp agencies, and have just been working Weekend Warrior Job in hopes that the rest would help me recover, but it hasn't, really.
* The MFA Eggs (or, Hatch 4.0) seem to be doing fine. Or rather, nobody has unplugged the incubator, they've been dutifully turned, and all of them are in one piece. Who knows. I'm kind of jaded on the topic. We'll see. As for the other poultry...the ducks are starting to look like two male/female pairs although we won't know for sure for a few more months I think. The older chickens (what remain of them--we've eaten so many that egg production is just a trickle anymore) are in disgrace because they ate my cauliflower to the ground again and haven't been out to forage for a few days. The pullets aren't laying yet but are almost there. The Consolation Chicks and turkey poults have gone outside the past two days in a small pen and loved it. I have a hilarious poultry-related vlog (yes, VLOG!) for y'all, but can't figure out how to get it from my semi-broken Blackberry to my craptop (the cable to connect them got et by a dog long ago, and there doesn't seem to be a way to upload the video without e-mail capability, which doesn't work on my phone anymore for some odd reason). I'll keep trying!
* I'm getting rather depressed about our current level of poverty (I really ought to see a doctor about the lungs, for example, and I also still don't have a front tooth), but then CASE IN POINT over the next few days I'll probably be rather depressed in general as I can't afford to refill my Pristiq ($60) and am on half doses for the next few days, then quarter doses for two after that until the first. That ought to at least keep me from having a seizure (which is what happens if you just STOP taking the stuff...), but as I recall from the last time I had to taper off the stuff I still have a crushing headache and blackest depression with bonus anxiety dreams to look forward to.
* Gee, aren't y'all glad I got unsilenced just in time for THAT?
* How are you? I've gotten comments, I just couldn't approve them during the outage...but really, what are YOU up to? How's things? Did you lose weight you look extra-slende--OH! I won a slenderizing Lands End swimsuit in a Twitter party. I KNOW! I hate those Twitter parties TOO; I don't even know what made me participate but WHOO! FREE SWIMSUIT! So yeah, Twitter parties: perhaps not as godawful as I originally considered them to be. But back to you. GO!
I keep trying not to write about this, because nobody likes a whiner, but it's not going away. It being the question of what the hell we're going to do about the month of April.
I sort of mentioned this a little while ago; the orginal three Bad Things. One I already told y'all about. The second I wrote about on Hopeful Parents. The third has to do with Hotter's side of the ledger and isn't mine to talk about, but it reduced our income by somewhere between things the first and second and, well, crap. I mean, any ONE of these things would have been bad, but we could have tightened our belts and been okay. Any two of them would have been pretty effing alarming but ultimately surmountable. All three though, not so much, and then...well, then came thing the fourth. Which I don't mind telling you has to do with my bastardous exhusband (who owes me a LOT of money, like we're talking the upper four figures, from marital assets he seized and liquidated in the early days of our separation and then got an extension on paying off in the finalization of our divorce) declaring bankruptcy. Domestic obligations (which this debt evidently falls under) are "protected debt," and when I spoke to the XY's bankruptcy attorney she told me I'd still get the money, just not on the schedule in the court order. The XY has since informed me that he just refuses to pay it on the schedule his attorney promised, and yes, this is enforceable BUT ONLY IF I take him to court, which I can't afford (the way our case is set up, I have to have an attorney file things for me; I can't just go as a citizen and file a damned thing on my own). So uh...yeah. Kiss THAT goodbye.
I am at a loss here. Hotter's disability and the child support will cover rent, electricity, and either my health insurance, my prescription drugs, OR groceries, but not more than one of those three things. If I don't have the prescriptions, my health will go downhill rapidly. If I don't have the insurance, I can't afford the prescriptions. And food...well, obviously that's non-negotiable as well. I've been working odd jobs, and am scheduled to work for twelve hours tomorrow, which is awesome. The second place I'll be getting odd jobs from doesn't have anything until April fifteenth, which isn't going to help us survive the first part of the month. The freelance-y thing petered out, although I've put out more feelers. And finally, while I've applied to every single job I am even REMOTELY qualified for in the local "help wanteds" and online via various jobsearch sites, I keep either getting form rejections right off the bat or interviews that end in my being told I'm overqualified based on my education.
That is really demoralizing.
Morale aside, though, we've passed the point where if I got a job RIGHTNOW the first paycheck would come in time to save our arses in the first part of April. We've downsized everywhere we can, saved money every way we can think of (ordering from Angel Food Ministries, etc.)...hell, the last time Hotter and I ate out it was because I won a Burger King gift card from this blog-giveaway thingy. We don't see movies in the theater, we don't have cable, my kids don't participate in any extra-curricular activities...this is all fine with me, it just peeves me that it's not enough to be REALLY REALLY frugal and apply for every job in the classifieds.
I don't mind living very simply, but I do mind what this situation is turning me into. I hate that I cringe when my kids come home excited about a new field trip their class is going on and am jealous of people who are eligible for unemployment. I'm becoming a bitter freaking downer; a friend posted something about this family who were living on unemployment and fighting to keep their home on Facebook and mentioned that she'd gotten their mailing information if anyone else wanted to help out a couple of weeks ago, and I said something bitter about not being particularly moved because these people were better off than my family, then erased it because nobody wants to see that, but at the same time, in the past month I have had my car insurance canceled, my innernet shut off (which made me late in getting a sponsored post up and threw me into an utter panic because for most of the jobs I've applied for I put e-mail as my preferred method of contact), I'm driving around in a car with one headlight, and I'm typing this on a laptop that'll die if the cord comes unplugged because the battery is dead. Currently we're making do without a working vacuum cleaner because SOMEthing happened to the power cord and I can't afford a roll of electric tape and a utility knife. It's hard not to talk about something that colors your life to this extent. Today my kids had a "Jammies for Japan" event at their school where they got to wear pajamas if they brought in at least a dollar for the Red Cross. I sent them each in with a dollar, and I am proud to say that they all emptied their piggy banks as well; I'm not proud to say that I begrudged the victims of the Japan disaster that three dollars out of my wallet (which represented thirty percent of what we have to get to the end of the month) and inwardly cursed because I'd been planning to raid those piggy-banks for milk money next week.
I'm not telling y'all this for any reason other than I am tired of dancing around it. Please don't feel like I'm asking you to get involved in any way, because I'm not. It's just what's on my mind right now. I'm going to go on down to the local Social Services office on Monday and see if there's anything they can do, and hopefully they can help because my kids are starting to worry and I'm out of other ideas. If y'all have any ideas for ways to get work that I might not have thought of already, I'm all ears. I know that this too shall pass (slow and painful, like a kidney stone); I should have a lot more work starting next month as wedding and graduation celebrations ramp up and our garden will start to yield some produce. I'm just not sure how we'll get from here to there.
P.S. I'm sticking comments back on moderation for a bit (yeah, I took them off again earlier today before I decided to write this post) because if Stalky wants to carry on about how this is all my fault and richly deserved, she has Twitter for that. I'm sorry, I know that's annoying. I DID turn off word verification, though. You're welcome!
If you follow me on the Twitter, you may already be aware that a motherfucking spider bit me last night. I was planning on hitting the sheets early, and had been aware of a slight itch on my left calf for a while and thought maybe a flea from a dog at the hippie food coop had bitten me or something. As soon as I got in bed it became MUCH worse, and began to ache and burn and swell, and I had to get up and take a lot of pills and apply topical steroids and use my inhaler, then stayed up for about an hour after that to get relief and then ensure I'd avoided an anaphylactic reaction (been there, done that a few times).
Today I found a (very part-time) job. I won't say anything about it except that it's exactly what I needed and about as close to a polar opposite of what I was doing before as it gets; if we're careful I think we may be able to get by with this until the season for it is over and then we'll see. I can at least look at more permanent solutions in the meantime and hopefully find one that won't be utterly soul-destroying.
Also we do not (as far as I know) have magnesium sulphate PASTE here, but I did have Epsom Salts and mixed some of those with coconut oil and applied that gritty mixture to my heel, then stretched a nitrile exam glove over that. We'll see what happens...
P.S. In celebration, I went to the feed store and picked up two Jersey Giant chicks. We've named them Snooki and JWoww (and the sole surviving Orpington is now Blanche, who was always my favorite of the Golden Girls).
So we now have a tank filled with:
Two nine-day-old Welsummer pullets (Kristina and Rosa, after my Dutch friends)
One nine-day-old Americauna pullet ("Mer")
Two two-day-old Australorp pullets (Tiff and Nicole, as in Three-Ring Tiff and Ms. Kidman)
Two two-day-old Russian Orloffs (from a straight run, so one or both could be male) (Boris and Natasha)
Two two-day-old Buff Orpington pullets (unnamed as of yet)
One two-day-old Red Sex Link (George II)
All are happy and energetic except for one of the Orpingtons, which just isn't doing so well; it hasn't grown any (the others pretty much double in size daily--between the ten chicks, who collectively weigh PERHAPS half a pound, they consume roughly a pound of "starter feed" per day) and spends all of its time sprawled on its face (which sounds more alarming than it is--chicks all look remarkably dead when they sleep). When I cleaned the tank out it didn't get up, and, well, the situation looks rather dire.
Hotter took a look at me crushing starter feed in a teaspoon with milk and sugar and drawing it up into a syringe and did a double-take. "Are you serious," he asked, which was a fair question. Usually I am the least soft-hearted person in the house.
"Yes," I informed him balefully, forcing a drop into the chick's tiny beak, "I am serious. The TINY BABY CREATURE is FAILING TO THRIVE and MALNOURISHED, AND HISTORICALLY I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT KIND OF THING."
"Ah. Poor little thing," he said wisely, and left it at that.
I know that in nature, sometimes things go wrong and tiny baby creatures die. It's just a three-dollar chicken, and it's on medicated feed, and if this is not a nutrition/hydration issue there isn't a damn thing to do (short of taking it to an avian vet, which please, I'm crazy but not certifiably so). I've gotten nourishment into it and left it in a warm spot in the tank on a bed of nice clean shavings. That's more than most would do, and either it'll be enough or it won't, but...damn.
* Got a call from Winter at the feed store--BABY CHICKS! PEEEEEPS!
* Picked up my six babies (plus an extra one that I felt sorry for, because I am daft like that).
* Talked to my only living relative I speak to, because THEIR only living relative had died. Yes, technically that made the deceased a relation of mine but as they were an utter bastard who considered my very existence a miscegenistic sin against all that is good and holy despite my literally rescuing them one time WHILE I WAS INJURED from a HURRICANE I did not count them as family and you do not need to feel badly for me on account of their death (and there will be no funeral roadtrip). This effed up my entire morning, actually, because I had to wait until it was at least VAGUELY civilized to call my relative on the other side of the globe (and I still woke them and their caregiver). Also my relative is rather senile and so I got to break the news all over again (twice) after I denied being THAT young female relation, no, not that one either, NO NOT YOUR EX-WIFE GAHHHH, NO, I AM NOT, AMNOTAMNOTAMNOT (said ex-wife is a twat).
* Got rejected for several jobs via e-mail at stop-lights while driving to the hippie food coop TWO HOURS LATE to volunteer in exchange for cosmetically-challenged veggies and pleasant company (oh how I love me some hippies). Apparently my terminal degree makes me overqualified for off-hours shelf-stocking at a certain apparently dyslexic retail toy chain. Among other things. That inhuman wail you heard from the direction of the Eastern Seaboard this morning? Uh, sorry 'bout that.
* Talked Hotter through logging into my e-mail and Eventbrite while driving and had him RSVP as me for a rooftop cocktails thingy with a *cough* blog-sponsor-ma-doodle-thingy in San Diego next August (so hopefully my arse gets a job soon and can make it out there).
* Volunteered at the hippie food coop, where the boss-lady got to see me in full-on CLEAN ALL THE THINGS mode and seemed to get a kick out of it. Which is good since Hotter won't let me give him ANOTHER haircut and I had run out of things I could plant at this time of year.
* At least I had until some seeds arrived in the mail during my absence. So I planted an eighteen-foot prepared bed (four sprouting turnips for greens, two at each end, nine feet of snap peas, nine feet of shell peas, and spinach along the edges all under row-cover).
* Came inside and gloated over my SEVEN www.dinnergarden.org cauliflower sprouts in my ghetto six-packs (reclaimed plastic water bottles sawed in half--I recycled the tops, stabbed holes in the bottle, and filled a rusty casserole pan with them to put in a sunny window)! YES! The seed packets from the hippie food coop have their own WEBSITE! I <3 those folks.
* Passed the MFA Children off to the XY for his weekend.
* Inhaled a can of organic black beans with salsa, cheese, onion, garlic, and a perfect avocado on top. Stole one of Hotter's lagers and OMG BEST FOOD EVER. Yes, those lagers he bought for NYE because he was HAVING A DRINK (his first in five years, sanctioned by his various specialists). He had his ONE DRINK and the rest have dwindled as I've cooked with them. Mmm...except that last one!
* What are YOU up to?
Posted on March 4, 2011 at 06:39 PM in ADDetours, blogosphere, bullets from inside my head, department of revenue, Hotter, I live in the dirt, mama, MFA, no animals were harmed in blogging this, reviews, squee, well bless their hearts, writing in other places | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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