30 October 2014

picky

I have developed an addiction to the sweet potato. 

They have these deep orange ones at Whole Paycheck, and I microwave them until they are soft and then split them open and melt cheese onto them with freshly ground black pepper and smoked sea salt. 

It's like magic. Quick, easy, cheap, delicious. 

I've learned some things.

The main thing I learned is that sweet potatoes are very susceptible to bruising. If they get a bruise, the bruise affects the flavor of the entire thing.

I didn't know this pre-googling, but I did notice that some sweet potatoes had better flavor than others, and now I am the World's Pickiest Sweet Potato Picker. I spent quality time examining every sweet potato for bruising.

"Do you want a little bag?" the checker asked me. 

"Yes, please," I said. "I need to protect my sweet potatoes from bruising. Did you know that if sweet potatoes get bruised, it affects the flavor of the entire thing? You can't just cut off the bruise."

It's like that. I am now converting people to sweet potatoes. It's a new hobby.

29 October 2014

the expense of poverty

My Major Work Event finished last week, so I am no longer driving all the way across town to spend long days rushing frantically about. I'm back to normal life, sort of. I get up and take the bus to work downtown. It feels almost unreal after three weeks of the rush.

I took the weekend off, but I still want to sleep for a really long time. I mingled with some lawyer people this evening, and their response was approximately, "How are you even standing after a three week long [Major Work Event]?"

Yup. Truth.

I am trying to take it a little easy. Today I took a break and went to the eye doctor and ordered the fewest number of new contacts possible, due to lingering brokeness and lack of vision insurance. I really had to shell out the cash, though, because my contacts were starting to hurt my eyes. I figure that is never good. 

I need my eyes to do this work. No eyes = no pay.

It's kind of sad when your break is a trip to the eye doctor.

One thing I have thought about a lot since I began this current period of brokeness is how being poor is expensive. It really is.

I called around about the eye doctor, and the cheapest place to go to the eye doctor is c0stc0. To go to c0stc0, however, you must be a member. Membership at c0stc0 costs $55, or $110 with a $55 rebate plus 2% cash back on everything you buy each year. 

The catch? You get the $55 back at the end of the year. 

If you become a c0stc0 member, you get things like gas at $0.60/gallon off commercial prices. You get things like my normal lotion $2.50 cheaper than other stores. 

The catch? You have to buy two bottles of lotion at once. 

If you are living on a serious budget, these things don't work. You don't have the extra cash to buy two bottles of lotion this month. You can't float c0stc0 $55 for a year. 

One of the reasons why I have been able to survive this brokeness is because I wasn't broke for the years prior. At the worst of my financial difficulties, I still had contacts in my box of bathroom supplies. I still had tubes of toothpaste that I bought in bulk. I still had a drawer full of spices. I still had a car that functioned well. And every day, I still got up and went to network and do small jobs looking like a professional, because I had purchased professional clothing in the years prior.

If you'd never had those things, I can't imagine where you would start.

If you had to have a nice suit for an interview right now, but you'd never owned a suit, how much more would it cost you than the suits I bought on clearance while I had the time and money?

If you had to have a car for a new job right now, but you didn't have any savings, how much more would it cost you than the car I found and bought four years ago when I had the time and money?

If you had to have glasses or toothpaste or lotion right now, and you couldn't afford to shop in bulk or pay for a c0stc0 membership, how much more would you pay for it?

In the long run, it's more expensive to buy packages of sliced American cheese than to buy the two pound block of extra sharp white cheddar, but what if in my grocery budget this month I can only afford the slices?

Everything is like that, it seems. It is much more expensive to be poor than it is to be rich. I think we forget that.

18 October 2014

Ebola fury

I slept for 9.5 hours last night, and I momentarily feel human again (momentarily because on Monday I am going to jump right back into the second half of a two week long Major Work Event and then I will be exhausted again).

I am so busy with this Major Work Event that I can't even stop for more than a second to lose my shit about the fact that so many people are dying in Liberia and rather than give one single fuck (swearing absolutely necessary here), the entire United States is up in arms that one single hospital in Dallas didn't take enough precautions with one single Ebola patient. 

How the hospital was allowing staff to treat an Ebola patient without coverings for their shoes is a legitimate question - had no one even googled Ebola? I am not a health professional, and I know better.

But I know! (Here comes massive sarcasm:) Let's freak out and waste our time blaming the Obama administration and try to get them to close our borders to people coming from that part of the world (really? really? when most of the people arriving in the US from West Africa are US CITIZENS, how are you going to enforce that one?), when what we should be doing is STOPPING PEOPLE FROM DYING IN WEST AFRICA, starting with basic things like oral rehydration salts and gloves and clean water and doctors.

Sometimes it truly drives me to fury how lives in Africa don't seem to matter.

Let me put it this way: if your child got sick, and you took care of her for days while she vomited and had diarrhea because there was no hospital to take her to, and then she died in your arms, would you be sad?

Why do we think of it any differently when the child dying is in Africa? Do we somehow think that the mother who just watched her child die in Liberia cares less than we would?

Yeah, let's think about that for a while, while we ignore the thousands of real people who are dying in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. 



15 October 2014

stop

For various reasons, I drive all the way to a far suburb of Gone West every day right now, and the days are long.

On the way, I see the changing colors of the leaves, and again on the way home, but I am stuck in traffic and mostly they just fly by. Today, though, I left in time for the last of the daylight, so I pulled into a little cul-de-sac off the main road, right by the row of beautiful reddening trees. For four or five minutes, I took a break from the crazy day and the crazy drive to take pictures of leaves and trees. 

And then I jumped back into my car and drove back into the busy.

(The reason this matters is because I have developed an addiction to Instagram. Yes, yes I have. I try to post one pretty picture per day. No selfies allowed.)

10 October 2014

cups

I unpacked two boxes of kitchen stuff today.

Unfortunately, the stuff is now sitting on the counter waiting to be washed and put away, somewhere, I'm not sure where, since the girl who moved out left most of her stuff. All those cups? I have no idea where they are going to go. There is a whole shelf of cups, but they are not as pretty or interesting as my cups. 

They are a lot more uniform, though. If one wanted matching cups, the ones already in the cabinets are the ones to keep.

(Who wants uniformity, anyway?)

29 September 2014

seeping

I thought I was going to sleep on the air mattress. I was ready to sleep on the air mattress. I laid down on the air mattress and attempted to sleep.

The air mattress was seeping air. 

I could hear it. 

Do you know how distracting it is to hear and feel the mattress beneath you losing air as you try to fall asleep?

I will give you a hint: I, for one, cannot sleep while that is happening. 

I tried anyway, and I managed to achieve that half-asleep stage where you cannot fully deal with the problem, but you are also not fully asleep.

Then the air mattress pretty much fully deflated. 

I don't know what time that was. I do know that I was really glad that I had already moved my sleeping pad for camping. 

I stumbled into the closet, grabbed the sleeping pad, stumbled back to the deflated air mattress, and sat on it, with my eyes closed, blowing into the valve.

I then slept approximately like one does while camping: badly.

Fortunately, my new roommate has been sleeping on one mattress atop another on the floor and was willing to loan me one of them, so I will be sleeping tonight on a blissful layer of coils and polyester.

28 September 2014

one place

Moving is the worst. The worst ever.

I have moved, this year, ten times. I have gotten better at the logistics but there is no improving the emotions. The emotions only get stronger with too many transitions in too short a time. The human psyche was not intended to survive so many changes and so much uncertainty.

Although some people thrive on it. I don't get those people. I don't even like backpacking around Europe. I'm happy to travel, sure, but give me a place to leave my stuff. It works like this: get a hotel. Leave your stuff there. Go see the town. Come back to your stuff.

Similarly with travel in general: leave your stuff at home. Travel. Come back to your stuff. It's lovely that way.

I am sleeping on an air mattress tonight, but there is this: I have a year-long lease on this apartment. I signed a lease. 

That means that I have to come up with the rent every month. It also means that I don't have to move for a year. 

I've never been so happy to be tied to one place.