In response to Shane’s “It Could Happen to You . . . “

8 05 2012

Death is hard enough.  Imagine your  significant other  dies, but you don’t have any rights, because you never got married or you never could get married.  Shane knows exactly what that means, he lived it. He  shows us what his life used to be. His happy life with his partner Tom. And what happens when it’s taken all away—even the chance to grieve  like everyone else.

Watch his 10 minute video and share it. Make this video go viral.

Press the LIKE button for  EqualLoveEqualRights on Facebook.

I’ve said this before. We all have a 100% chance of dying. None of us knows when or where. So it’s best to be prepared for it. Just a little bit. I’m not talking about buying a cemetery plot and having your name carved into stone years before you actually make it into the ground. That creeps me out.  I’m talking about taking precautions for your family.

What if you’re still alive, but in a coma ( unable to speak or move, unaware of your surroundings), who would make medical decisions for you? Are you sure? Do you have it writing? Not something you scribbled on a McDonald’s napkin. That doesn’t count. Unless you have it in writing, your next of kin will be your voice.  They get to talk with the doctors to determine your treatment plan. How long you stay on the ventilator. Whether or not your organs get donated.  Whether or not you’ll get to live out the rest of your life as a vegetable with a feeding tube.

Those same next of  kin will be making your financial decisions while you’re in a coma or dead. They’ll get to divvy up your belongings and have an estate auction.  Whose name is on the house? The car? What about your pet?

Don’t leave your loved one alone and unprepared to fight your homophobic, insensitive and/or greedy family.  Make your wishes known today. Get it in writing with witnesses. Go to the Notary Republic. See a lawyer.  Your partner could lose their house, business or life savings because of your inability to see your own mortality.

Shane is right. It could happen to you.  It happened to me. I was only 25. Just because you’re young, does not make you immune to mortality. I was lucky. I might have been only a roommate, but at least I got to go to the funeral.

Don’t wait until marriage is legal. GLBTQ community  get your shit together.  Fight for equality, but see a lawyer!


Like The Waltons

6 02 2012

Do you remember The Walton’s?    It was on from 1971-1981 and the reruns played forever. It was about this large family that lived in the Virginia Mountains during  The Depression.  Grandma, Grandpa, Ma & Pa and their 6 children all lived under 1 roof, struggling to survive. It was narrated by the oldest son John Boy who became a writer. At the close of every show they would all say goodnight to each other. “Good night John Boy.” “Good night LIzbeth.”

Imagine a family like the Waltons only instead of living in the Virginia Mountains, they live in the North Woods during the current Recession. They are The Walnuts.  Grandma, Grandpa and Pa died years ago. John Boy (we’ll call him Macademia Walnut) smoked too many cigarettes and never published any  best sellers. He died too. Imagine Mary Beth never left home because she developed a gambling habit and lost her house to creditors. We’ll call her Almond.  And Elizabeth  became an alcoholic and doesn’t come around very much anymore. Her name is Pistachio.  Jim Bob never left home either—we’ll name him Chestnut. He has a polysubstance abuse problem and can’t keep his dick in his pants.  His 2 illegitimate  daughters live there too,  PineNut & BrazilNut.  They are practically adults themselves, but they are more interested in growing  weed  in Grandma’s backwoods. Olivia would be  Grandma Haze..  As for the other children Erin, Jason, and Ben…well Pa Walton had been busy with his other wife and family in a different state. That’s when he was out “getting work.”   And imagine the Walnut family instead of being human; they are a large family of squirrels.

Grandma Hazel  was an aging matriarch. She did the best that she could with what she had. Even when Pa Walnut had been alive, he was very rarely home.   He would send postcards from Idaho and Oregon. Sometimes he would send a little money, but it wasn’t enough.  Not only did Hazel have to raise the children on her own, she had to work to provide for her family.  Just when Hazel was used to the idea that Mr. Walnut might not being coming home, he’d show up with his army duffle slung over one shoulder and a crooked smile on his face. And she’d always give in.  She was 40-something when she became pregnant the last time. When she found out, Hazel sat at the kitchen table and cried.  The last child was Chestnut Walnut.

Now Chestnut is 40-something. And Hazel is a frail old squirrel with an enlarged heart, missing fur patches and arthritic joints. She can’t make it up and down the tree on her own anymore. Back in the day, she kept an immaculate nest, but with so many squirrels in the nest these days, it might make it on an episode of Hoarders. They all live off her Squirrel Security Check.  She visits the Food Pantries and clips coupons.  Hazel is not able to collect nuts anymore. And the  rest of the family is too lazy and won’t.

It was two weeks before Christmas. Grandma Hazel hadn’t finished her Christmas shopping. She always bought each of them a little something.  The National Oak Tree Bank called.  Her account had been emptied.  She didn’t have a nut left.

Chestnut had done it before. Taken the checkbook out of his mother’s purse, wrote himself a check and cashed it. Then off to his dealer.


Chestnut sat at the kitchen table. His eyes were half closed and glassy.  He wore a half smile.

Almond waved Grandma’s checkbook in his face. “Chestnut! Did you do this?”

He shrugged a little. “You know I did. It’s not like you don’t help yourself when you lose at the Casino.”

Almond hit him hard. “You rat bastard! Your own mother!”

He lit a cigarette and blew  it in her face. He exited the kitchen up the stairs to his room.  Almond couldn’t do anything. She was 20 years older than he was and in poor health herself.

“I’ll turn him in after Christmas,” Hazel said.

Christmas came meager as it was–and went.  Hazel did not report her son. But she was old and tired. She  hoped that she just wouldn’t wake up one day.

A few weeks into the New Year, Hazel received another phone call from the bank.  Her entire stash of nuts had been depleted and over drafted by 500 nuts. The bank informed her that she would be charged 75 nuts a day until her account was brought back to zero.

Hazel cried at the kitchen table. No one had 500 nuts.

“Chestnut!” Almond screamed.

“What?” He was sitting in front of the TV smoking a joint.

“You need to turn yourself in,” Almond whined.

“I will after the weekend. I want to spend some time with the kids.”

But that was a lie. The kids were another lame excuse. He could give two pits about his kids. He would sell them for drugs if he could. The light bill  and nest insurance were  due, but all 500 plus nuts had been  shot  into Chestnut’s veins.

“Call Little Acorn,” Hazel said. “Ask to borrow the money.”

Little Acorn was Hazel’s grandson who lived in the city He was  Macademia’s son.

“Again?” Little Acorn raised his voice.

He loved his Grandma, but he knew if he gave her the money, the same thing would happen again. And there was no way that she could possibly pay back that amount of money. She was on a fixed income.

“Well, do you have it?” Almond asked.

“No, I don’t.” That was a lot of money. He had to pay his bills too.

“What about that rich girlfriend of yours? Ask her will you?”

“Yeah, I’ll ask.”  Little Acorn covered the phone with his hand and looked at his girlfriend, Sunflower. “Uncle Chestnut did it again. They need 500 nuts.”

“What? No. Absolutely not. Had they turned him in before Christmas, they wouldn’t be in this mess. Why should I pay for someone else’s drug habit.” She stormed away.

“She doesn’t have it either.” Little Acorn said.

“Doesn’t have it? Or doesn’t want to?” Almond asked.

“She doesn’t have it. Nor is she obligated to. She’s not family. I’ve got to go.” He ended the call. Little Acorn chewed his paw in thought. “It’s Grandma, ya know.”

“Yeah I know,” Sunflower said.  “But by giving them money, you’re enabling the situation to continue.”

“True, but—“

“But nothing. Remember watching that show Squirrel Intervention.  We would always say how stupid they were when the one family member would cave and let the drug using son back into the house or give him money.”


“Same thing.” she said. “But I might make a donation  if they report Chestnut and they change bank accounts. I’d need proof, though.”

Little Acorn called his brother Pecan who lived near their Grandma.  Pecan was willing to open a new account with grandma. Little Acorn called Grandma Hazel back. It was difficult having a phone conversation with grandma. Had to practically yell and she still couldn’t hear. But Almond wouldn’t hand the phone over anyway.

“We will give you half the money if you report Chestnut. And—“ Little Acorn started.

“He’ll go to prison!” Almond whined.

“Um. . .that’s where he belongs. He wrote bad checks. He stole from his own mother!.”

“But he’ll be there for a long time.”

Little Acorn continued. “And Grandma would have to close her account and get rid of her checkbook. Pecan would open a joint account and pay her bills.”

“No, that’s not going to work,” Almond said.

“That won’t work or you don’t want it to work?”

“It won’t work.”

“Let me talk to Grandma.’’

“She’s sleeping.”

“That’s my final offer.” Little Acorn hung up the phone shaking his head. “If Dad were still alive, he’d beat the pit out of Chestnut.”

Sunflower squeezed his paw. “Just remember they choose this over and over again. Free will. What’s that thing you say? The definition of crazy?”

“ You keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”

They sat there in silence.

“I hope Dad was adopted,” Little Acorn said.

Sunflower nodded in agreement. “Stupid Northwoods Squirrelfuckers.”

Poor Hazel Walnut stuck in her hoarder nest with her adult children. There is no happy ending here. Squirrel Protective Services could get involved take her out of her home and put her into Adult Foster Care, because that would be so much better.  The possibility of Chestnut overdosing was a possibility. Or  Hazel might go to sleep one  night and get her wish. Until then, life goes on as usual in the Northwoods. Unlike the Walton’s . . .no one is wishing their family members a good night.



Too Err is Human….like Gramar Missteaks & Mispellings

21 01 2012

The other day I received a text from my brother. I was still in bed and had barely opened my eyes.

“I’m mad at so & so. She’s being a douche bag.”

Instead of typing out “Why?” I quickly texted a lower case “y?” My head still rested on the  pillow.

My brother texted back in complete sentences ,including punctuation and capitalization.  “Can’t you spell?”

Now I was awake. Of course, I could spell.

I responded with “Yeah, I can spell asshole.”

I found it somewhat amusing, because my brother  had hated school.  Now he was lecturing me on my spelling .

I have a  BS degree in Nursing (which does not guarantee good spelling.” And an MFA  in Writing–which doesn’t necessarily  mean I can spell either. It means that I should know enough to have someone else proof my work and not rely solely on spell or grammar checks.

I was the kid who read books during recess and the dictionary for leisure activity at home. That’s how I know words like mantilla (a silk or lace head scarf) and vandyke (a short, pointed beard).  I used to be proud of my spelling abilities. During the entire 7th grade, I never missed a spelling word–even the bonus word, pneumoconiosis or black lung. Mr. Von Ins would hand out Jolly Ranchers for 100% spelling quizzes. And every quarter, he rewarded 100% averages with a candy bar.  He ended up buying me 4 Caramellos  that year.

So  my brother and I text argued. Apparently, abbreviations in texting are his pet peeve. I told him it was 2012. Get  with the times. I abbreviate to save time. It’s short hand communication.  The medical community uses text-type abbreviations all the time.  Instead of writing out right or left, it’s abbreviated as  L or R.  Nothing to eat or drink=NPO . CHF=Congestive Heart Failure MAP=Mean Arterial Pressure OOB=Up out of bed.  I could go on forever. There’s a time and place for texting or abbreviating. And a time and place for spelling everything out.

When someone is trying to convey important information—that’s  probably not the time to correct grammar, spelling or diction.

My brother actually apologized. He didn’t realize it was a sore spot. What he didn’t realize was that it wasn’t the first time that week that my use of the English language had been corrected.


So I work for Mr. Acorn. I write for his PR campaign–touting the wholesome goodness of the catnip business. Obviously, he works mostly with the cat population, but he’s trying to expand his market to humans, dogs and even squirrels.

We had a meeting with a potential client, an elderly St. Bernard named Whiskey.  He was hoping that a catnip and lamb treat could help cure his arthritis. Mr. Acorn was just finishing up with his 1pm massage, so I asked Whiskey  if he would like to lay down on one our nice  doggy cushions.

Before I could offer him a doggy biscuit, he said “Hens lay eggs. Brick layers lay bricks. And dogs lie down.”

Lay. Lie. Laid. I’ve struggled with this word for years. My face flushed.

“Mr. Acorn will be with you shortly,” I said.

I forgot about the biscuit.

One thing is for sure, Whiskey put it in a way that I will probably never forget. The easy to memorize saying accompanied by embarrassment will insure that it sticks.


I’m not the most eloquent speaker. I stutter, sputter and sometimes say shit that doesn’t make sense.  But I can write. And I’m most certainly not an idiot.

A few days after my grammatical blunder, Hector, a pharmaceutical rep danced into the office.  He wore  a gaudy orange tie and recently had his hair cut into a mullet. Clearly, he had entered into his mid-life crisis. Hector wanted to present his  new research to Mr. Acorn. The research  proved  that catnip was an effective weight loss product for obese squirrels. Unfortunately, Mr. Acorn had accidently eaten some tree nuts, and gone home early that day.

“I’m sorry, Hector. Mr. Acorn went home for the day. He was feeling nauseous.”

It’s like I had turned on a switch.  He wiggled his finger at me.

“Now that’s a pet peeve of mine,” he said.

I wondered if I had a spinach leaf between my front teeth. Or maybe he had caught a glimpse of my tongue piercing.

Hector continued. “Mr. Acorn was nauseated. Not nauseous. If he was nauseous, he would  make other people feel ill.”

I didn’t know what to say.  I took the words nauseous and nauseated and put them in sentences in my head. They had always seemed interchangeable.

“Well, give Mr. Acorn my regards and give him these.” Hector set a box of pecans on the desk.

“But he’s allergic tree nuts. They make him nauseated,” I said.

“That’s not an allergy,” he said.

“That may be true, but it’s an unpleasant side effect.”

“Well, then give him these.”

In place of the box of pecans, was a box  of walnuts. Hector was already out the door. I rolled my eyes. I entered nauseous and nauseated into  They are interchangeable.  I’m not an idiot.


[naw-zee-eyt, -zhee-, -see-, -shee-] Show IPA verb, -at·ed, -at·ing.

verb (used with object)

1. to affect with nausea;  sicken.

2.  to cause to feel extreme disgust:  His vicious behavior towardthe dogs nauseates me.

verb (used without object)

3. to become affected with nausea.



[naw-shuhs, -zee-uhs]  Show IPA


1. affected with nauseanauseatedto feel nauseous.

2. causing nausea;  sickening; nauseating.

3. disgusting; loathsome: a nauseous display of greed.


Back to Crunchy Granola Tofu Lesbianism

20 01 2012

Women get into relationships and then they get fat. How many of us have blamed our partner for our flab? I have. Is it the love or them cooking for us? A change in routine? Or maybe we stop taking care of ourselves, because we’re no longer on the market.  It makes me think of that completely misogynistic, irreverent song “Women Lose Weight” by Morcheeba.  The husband kills the wife because she’s fat. It’s her fault that he had to kill her.

I have never really been thin except for those few years as a teenager when I was biking everywhere. When you bike 70 miles in one day, you can eat whatever the hell you want. But I got my driver’s license.  A couple years later, I started college and packed on the freshman 50. That’s what happens when every meal is a buffet, and Pizza Hut is a few hundred feet from the dorm.

After my girlfriend died, I lost about 40 of those pounds over a 4 year span.  During those years, I met quite a few vegetarians and vegans. I snubbed  milk, cheese and mayonnaise. And I began to experiment with  tofu,  Silk milk and Ener G  Egg Replacer.  It’s not that I counted calories or watched fat, because I didn’t . And I wasn’t exercising either.  Maybe it was stress, unhappiness or preoccupation.

When Jacks met me, I was a chunky but average size 12. She called me a hippy. Mateo called me his Tofu Lesbian.    One night when I met  her Lake George friends, I made dinner:  a vegetable lasagna with eggplant and zucchini slices, whole wheat pasta, ricotta with herbs and other various cheeses. And don’t forget the chickpea salad with parsley and an oil/spice dressing.  Unbeknownst  to  me, everyone else was stepping outside to fart the whole night. No one was really into the chickpea salad.

Jacks likes to bring up the incident of the flaxseed pancakes. Our friend Amber who lived across the street  came over for breakfast. Flaxseed is one of those healthy ingredients that I liked to slip into foods.  Omega 3s and a nutty flavor. What’s not to love?  I added them to my eggless, whole wheat, soy milk  pancakes.  It was not long after Jacks and Amber ingested the pancakes, they were fighting over the toilet.  That was at least 6 years ago. To this day Jacks always asks about the pancakes to make sure I haven’t slipped in anything extra.  But  I do keep some in the freezer just in case ;O)

In my size 12 days, I would eat half a sweet potato and two vegetarian sausages for breakfast. Sometimes instead of the vegetarian sausage I would have lima beans or peas with soy butter.  I’m not the type of person who can eat the same thing every morning. It ruined sweet potatoes for me. Now, I’m only interested if it’s fried and accompanied by a dill aioli.

Somewhere along the line, I gained it all back. When I plug in my weight and height into the BMI calculator, it tells me I’m obese.  Now I’m a chunky size 18.  I could blame Jacks going to Culinary school. She would bring home  loaves of fresh Baguette bread every night.  I rediscovered  butter, cream and red rare MEAT!  The soy butter was pushed to the back of the fridge.

These days my friends & I are counting calories and trying to burn a few extra off. Measuring and weighing food. Walking the dog. Shoveling the sidewalk. Dusting off the recumbent bike.  I’m down 6 pounds. It’s a start.  We were all surprised at how small portions of cheese, rice and pasta have so many calories. And some fast food is completely out of the question–like Culver’s Atlantic Cod Dinner .  We’re doing this thing. It calculates the calories you need to create a deficit so that you can lose weight. It’s like Facebook for fatties.

Before I started to count calories, I tried the Weight Watchers points system. That lasted about a day.  They have this  formula  based on  weight, activity, age,  and sex that calculates how many food points a person can have.   I bought their Food Companion book, so I could look up all the food.  I burned more calories flipping through that book. Instead of having all the foods in alphabetical order, they had them in categories.   Basically, Weight Watchers charges a shit ton of money by assigning point values to foods rather than have a person count calories which is readily available on food  packages and the internet.

Besides the cracked out point system,   I have no desire to attend meetings with strangers and share my shame.  Talk about the days when you used to frequent the Bistro and order 2 appetizers, entrée, and dessert. “Yeah, my name is Julie Ann, I’m a lardass.”  Or maybe go undercover. “My name is Chloe, and I’m a compulsive eater.” I wonder if Weight Watcher’s in anonymous like AA. I wonder if they give out chips for pounds lost.  “Hi, my name is Beatrice, I’m a binge eater. I’m 2 months sober.”  “I’m Fran, I’m a foodie. I fell off the wagon today.”   I’m just trying to figure out what the $60 is for. Do you get a sponsor that you can call in the middle of the night when you’re depressed and standing over a gallon of  mint chip chocolate ice cream with a spoon? Do they have their very own serenity prayer, 12 steps, and bad coffee in Styrofoam cups?   Isn’t AA free? And then they have all these special Weight Watcher’s foods—prepackaged and frozen deals.  Because it’s easier to stick with the points system if you’re eating food from the Weight Watchers company. I live with a Chef and you want me to eat a cardboard energy bar and a TV dinner?

I mean seriously, why should I pay a company while I do all the work? Is anyone at Weight Watchers going to get on the treadmill for me?  Let me dial their 1-800 #, “Um yeah, this is Sherri.  How much for a mile of jogging at moderate pace? I want to eat out tonight.”

So my friends and I have begun our weight loss journey.  The tofu noodles snuck back into the crisper drawer. Luna soy bars are nuzzled next the Trader Joes Freeze Dried blueberries in the cupboard.  I’ll work on portion control, counting calories and exercise.  But I refuse to eat low fat cheese, sugar substitutes and fake butter (aka margarine). That’s not food. Those are synthetic substitutions for food just like most of the processed foods in the snack aisle.  And don’t touch my half & half, because it’s going into my coffee.

But I don’t want to be another health statistic either—not just the fat American kind—you know, the dead kind.  So here’s to a sort of return to Tofu Lesbianism— a Reformed Tofu Lesbianism that includes both tofu and butter– in moderation, of course.

Government Killed the YouTube Star

19 01 2012

Well, I better  blog before it’s too late. Free Speech doesn’t truly exist now, but what we call Free Speech may be non-existent if it’s up to our Federal government.  Thanks Big Brother. I didn’t want to expand my knowledge base anyway.  Let’s go live in caves, beat each other with sticks and pull women around by their hair.  That way we can continue be the dumb Americans that all the other countries say that we are.

The internet is a our worldwide library–constantly changing and expanding with new information. It’s amazing! Our government wants to keep it from us.

Do you ever wake up with a song in your head, but you can’t remember the name of the song or the artist?  Or you can only remember part of the lyrics and they keep  going around in your head on a repetitive loop.  So you Google the lyrics that you do know and click video search. And there it is!  Or maybe you want to hear The Gummi  Bears theme song or some obscure show that you watched as child like The Charmings  . Even my conservative Republican father has searched for songs on the internet. There was an older song on an Axe commercial.  He recognized it from the past, but couldn’t remember the name or the artist. He found it on YouTube.  I bought it for him, so he could listen to it on his Mp3 player.  The song was “Can’t Seem to Make you Mine” by the Seeds.

I buy songs based on what I listen to on YouTube or Pandora. I legally download my songs from Amazon.  However, Amazon only allows customers to sample a snippet of a song.  I can’t judge whether I like a song or not based on a 30 second instrumental intro.  PIPA & SOPA will eliminate my window shopping.  It’s not like MTV plays music videos anymore.

Apparently, these new laws will eliminate Wikipedia too. How many of us have searched  Wiki for a general overview of some random subject?  Arguing with a friend over the age of an actress.   Different types of avocadoes  The Price of saffron.    Jewish beliefs verses Muslim beliefs. The population of Wales.

I search. I watch. I browse. But I also buy things.  Electronics. Kindle Books. Real books. Used Cds. Woot shirts.  Indian spices. Shoes.  Clothes.   I’m more likely to buy things if I’m a satisfied, informed consumer. I don’t need the government to mark things out with their gigantic black sharpie.  I have  even bought used items from strangers on Craigslist  like the Sleepy Hallow leather chair that sits in my living room.  Jacks & I sold her rusty Chevy S-10  with the help of craigslist, so we could put a down payment on a new car. Craigslist is like one of those classified boards in the store or in the paper only better. You can reach more people of interest. But the government wants to shut that down too.  It’s not my fault people are selling sex.

I don’t know what the government is so angry about. Occupy Wallstreet isn’t my fault.  It’s not my fault they gave hand outs to corporate conglomerations either.  People still don’t have jobs. Or health insurance.  The government continues to dig our country deeper into debt—borrowing from China and Social Security.  And they want to punish us?  No system is free of corruption whether it’s the internet or the government. Maybe they’re the ones who need to be shut down.

Not only is Big Brother trying to destroy our means to obtain information, they are trying to eliminate our  ability to communicate with  each other.  They aren’t shortening and eliminating our language like George Orwell’s 1984, but they are trying to close in our social circles. Angry blogs, boycotts and protests aren’t as effective without the global audience that the internet provides.  They know we are dependent on technology.  They are trying to control us—control what we say thus controlling what we might think.

There are many websites out  there with which I don’t agree, but that doesn’t mean I think we should shut them down. If it’s  Free Speech, then we have to accept the good, the bad and the neutral whether that might be websites from  Pflag  to  Westboro Church to Switzerland  It’s about choice. I should be able to choose what I do and don’t read.  Or what I do and don’t say, write or purchase.   But obviously, The Constitution is only a piece of paper in a museum. It has been for a while.  It’s just the next step to our Dystopian future.

Now might be a good time to exercise the right to buy a gun before they make that illegal too. You can’t fight back without weapons.  That’s what Big Brother is counting on.

Dangerous Hobbies

9 01 2012

I’m held up in my house right now. Waiting for 2012 to end because of some freak virus that turns us all into flesh eating zombies.  I’ve got gas masks and non-perishable food and a kerosene heater. Okay, not really. I’m just fucking with you. Actually, I’m lounging on the couch in my jammies. Waiting for the fridge fairies to make me dinner.  And if the fridge fairies don’t show up, maybe I can con the dog into making me some dinner. But she says she’s on strike. She says it’s not part of her job description as Guard Dog. Goddamn unions.  Who’s gonna make me dinner?

I posted a blog for the first time in months. One of my New Year’s resolutions. You know get a hobby and actually practice the one’s I already know how to do. The wife got me a screen printing kit for t-shirts and a glass bead making kit. I’m warming up to those. I might actually have to put something together. Gifts should already be preassembled. It would cut down on gift returns.

Anyway the whole blog thing didn’t go very well. I can’t write about work due to HIPAA. That’s like 50% of my life. So I wrote about my friends who have been struggling to pay their heat bill this winter. Naturally I bitched about the corporate conglomeration that turned off their heat. Bitched some more about how they were a monopoly. Fuck them. Fuck them hard. Two days later that corporate conglomeration was following me on Twitter. Hmmmm. Creepy.  I don’t have any money. Can’t afford  to get sued. And I would like to continue to heat my house this winter.  At first I changed the company’s name and all the tags.  You know, writer’s integrity. Have to support the truth. Then I started thinking about the snow and freezing pipes. I’m a pussy.  I deleted the  blog.

Bead making is looking really good right now.

Hypothermia acceptable for Michigan Residents

7 01 2012

Have you heard those heating assistance commercials on the radio? The one’s with the nice sounding lady that says there’s help available for those who have trouble paying their heating bill. Well, it’s bullshit. Just so you know. Those commercials are sponsored by a corporate conglomeration that monopolizes heat energy in Michigan. Let’s call them STD.

Imagine that you’re a 40 year old woman on disability for mental illness. Sometimes you hear voices. It’s November and you live in Michigan. It snows in Michigan and the furnace runs to keep the house warm all the way through April. You make $700/month and you live with your domestic partner. We’ll call him Al. He’s almost 60 and has filed for disability because he is no longer able to work as a mechanic. He has arthritis and can barely make a closed fist. He spent his youth fighting as a civilian soldier in the drug war in Nicaragua. Shot. Stabbed. Almost died. Al gets food stamps.

Last winter you rented a drafty house with an inefficient furnace. The heat bill got out of hand. Now it’s $2000. You tried to set up a payment plan, but STD won’t turn on the heat until it’s all paid. You only make $700/month. You dumpster dive for cans. Offer to rake yards. Dog sit for your neighbors. The government will give partial assistance for heating bills only after your portion is paid. But that doesn’t help right now. Electric heaters cost money and raise the electric bill. You sleep on the pullout couch in the living room covered by layers of blankets. It looks like a scene from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. You worry about dying in your sleep from hypothermia or carbon monoxide fumes from the Kerosene heaters.

The gas bill is in Al’s name. He reasons that if they put the bill in your name, they should be able to turn the heat back on. After all, it’s Michigan. There is no such thing as domestic partnership. Well, things must be different in STD-land. They slid that balance over from Al’s account to your account. No problem.

Finally Al complains to the Utility Commission. STD turns on the heat. December is a good month. You get some extra money for Christmas and put it toward your heat bill. Things are looking up, you say. Not even a week after you put that extra money toward the balance, STD shuts the heat off again. It’s January.

So what are you supposed to do? You’ve got voices in your head, $700/month and a gimpy boyfriend. And no fucking heat. Honestly, who could afford to switch out their furnace to electric or wood heat? You most certainly can’t. There is no other gas supplier and STD knows that.

Happy Fucking New Year. Thanks STD.

**Based on actual events of a couple in Michigan.
***Addendum: Shortly after posting this blog, STD started following me on Twitter. Creepy. I don’t have any money. Can’t afford to get sued. And I would like to continue to heat my house this winter. Therefore, the corporate conglomeration Should Not Be Named. Names have been changed to protect all parties.