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.

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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.





Is Gary Dop God?

15 11 2009

The Michigan lottery was just hanging out on the corner of Butternut and 144th with their trailer of lotto cash. The bills were part of a large sheet of perforated cardboard. Each rectangle was worth $1000. It was on a first come first serve basis. Magically, I was the first to arrive and emptied the trailer except for a few bills. I took the sheets rather than trying to separate the bills. It seemed the only logical thing to do.  Before I could count my $1000 pieces of cardboard, I woke up.  

But if you look up dreams about money, it’s never about money. Freudian thought views money as a symbol for excrement. Isn’t it obvious that a pile of cash is really just a pile of shit? I most certainly wouldn’t want to spend it or pay my bills. It’s really that I have a problem with anal fixation, and I’m mentally damaged from strict toilet training as a child. What the fuck? Everything is about sex or shit with Freud.

I played the lotto on Friday the 13th. I didn’t win. This isn’t some happy fairy story. But Jacks won $20 on a scratch off. Maybe her luck was my luck by proximity. Really, I have been more fortunate lately. In September, I was offered and accepted a new job in ICU/TU when the odds of finding a new job in this economy are 5%. I’m not sure who came up with that number, but it makes a good story. The 1st day that I worked  in ICU on my own, I had a seriously critically ill patient on a ventilator with an ART line, CVP line and about 7 IV solutions all working to keep this patient alive. I would not have been surprised if this patient had died, but the patient lived that night and the next night. My new boss sent an e-mail congratulating me on my good work! Me, who was scared shitless to work in ICU.

Last week I received an acceptance letter from Vagabondage Press. They accepted “The Key Collector” for The Battered Suitcase for the Spring 2010 issue. http://www.vagabondagepress.com/  <INSERT COMMERCIAL HERE.>

It’s not just me either. Some of my MFA buddies have reported prize nominations and acceptances for their writings. My MFA buddies say that this new fortune should be attributed to Gary Dop. http://www.garydop.com/index.html Gary Dop is God, they say. He is also a University of Nebraska MFA graduate. It’s rumored that his poetry gets published every month. In fact, he might even get paid to write.  So they follow the Commandments of Dop, hoping that they too can receive publishing blessings. #1 Send out multiple submissions. #2 Snail mail has a better chance of being accepted than e-mail. #3 Keep sending out multiple submissions. Okay, so I don’t really know the commandments, because I don’t believe in Gary Dop. I believe that he exists. I just don’t believe in his supernatural powers. And then I took his name in vain. Gary Dop Damn it! My MFA buddies chastised me. Maybe if I believed in Gary Dop, I’d win the lotto. Maybe I could make a Gary Dop shrine and pray to his mother. Maybe I could hang a painting of him over my bed, so he could look down upon me while I sleep peacefully in my bed and dream about winning the lotto and getting published.

 

 





Fuck You Chase!

6 11 2009

I received a phone call from Chase Mortgage Company. They hold my mortgage. Some new person was handling my loan modification.  I was confused. As far as I knew the account had been closed.  I had not qualified. Two months after submitting my application, I had called to check on the status. I talked to some woman with an accent.  I was being down-staffed a shift a week. Student loans were looming in the future. But she said that she didn’t see the problem.

The woman suggested that I try to refinance instead. I had tried to refinance in 2008. After I was told that I would most certainly be refinanced and paid $400, I was denied. They kept the $400. Yet, Chase granted me another $5000 credit card. Gee, thanks.

I was all set to call this Chase representative back and tell him to fuck off, I don’t need your help anymore. But I’m a pussy. And he’s not Chase, just a worker for the man who has his own bills to pay.  He congratulated me on my new job.  He wasn’t like the woman.

If I can help it, I will never finance anything through Chase again. I will not recommend them. BOYCOTT CHASE! I realize that Chase is a corporate-conglomeration and my opinion, happiness and well-being means very little to them. The feeling is mutual.

I will continue to pay my payments on-time and look eagerly to the future when I can sell this house and not owe Chase a damn thing.