Sunday, January 1st–I slept late, took care of Belle, and read in Genet.
Monday, January 2nd–I slept late, until almost midnight, took care of Belle, and read in Genet. Was tonight the night I watched “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia”?
Tuesday, January 3rd–I slept until midnight, tended to and played with Belle, puttered, and read. I figured out the thing to do with the bedroom carpet, to prevent it from getting more soaked with Belle’s piss and shit: I spread out flattened plastic garbage bags over the carpet, then lay newspapers over them. That should do the trick.
…Michelle Bachmann dropped out of the presidential race. This is especially good news for the Minnesota village which, for all these months, has been missing its rightful idiot.
Wednesday, January 4th–I slept, took care of Belle, puttered, and read in Genet.
Thursday, January 5th–Since my case worker has failed to respond to my two calls and send me the paperwork I need for the Health and Human Services (Food Stamp) folks, I called H&HS myself.
I did the usual: I slept, took care of Belle, puttered, and read in Genet.
I retired around 1am.
Friday, January 6th–I got up around 11am. I took care of Belle, puttered, and read. And I got some mail. I got my check for Belle. I got a notice that I’d only been approved for three months of Food Stamps, which I was kind of expecting, though I need to get my status changed.
As it stands, I’ll only receive three months worth of benefits, now through March, and will be ineligible for the next three years. What I want is to have the renewable six-month eligibility, but to do that I need MHMR to send Health and Human Services proof that I’m considered by them to be disabled. On top of that I got a notice that I’ve been summoned essentially to appear at a Texas Workforce Commission meeting on the 12th. This has caused me to have a panic attack.
It says I have to be there at 9am and plan to stay for three hours. It further says, “This meeting is your initial day of job search activities. It is very important that you attend this meeting and are prepared to stay three hours.
“The SNAP E&T Program can provide:
Scholarships for school/career training
Intensive job search assistance
Interview clothing and uniform assistance
Tools needed for your new job
Short-term crisis assistance”
Must be receiving SNAP (formerly Food Stamps)
Must meet weekly participation requirement
Must be willing and able to work
Must register in Work In Texas
Must maintain weekly contact with assigned Program Specialist.”
Now I am only moderately looking for work right now, and then mostly just for stuff I can do at home. My agoraphobia is getting worse, and I’ve not gotten any treatment for it. I am not up to going out of the house and looking for work, nor am I up to going to weekly meetings. I am not willing or able to work unless it’s under certain conditions.
And I felt that to be in any situation where the government is offering to buy me work clothes is deeply embarrassing.
My benefits will be $200 a month. I’m also getting $193 for December. (I guess the petty bureaucrats decided I didn’t deserve that other $7 because I didn’t apply until December 9th. I thought that was rather chicken-shit of them.)
Saturday, January 7th–I woke earlier than I wanted to, attended to Belle, puttered, read, and waited until dark to venture forth. I got my mail, which was soaking wet for some reason, as was the whole area around the mailboxes. I deposited a check in the bank and got some cash out, ate at McDonald’s (Dr. Pepper, fries, apple pies), bought some groceries at HEB and more at the dollar store, then came home. All the walking hurt my feet.
Belle stressed me out by barking her head off when I returned. I took her for a walk, and she began running after another dog. I couldn’t keep up, and the gait hurt my feet, especially the heels, so that now I’m really having trouble walking. James has yet to return my messages. I plotted what to do about my various problems, then read until my eyes gave out. I retired around 1am.
Sunday, January 8th–Belle woke me up before 8am. I was exhausted. I walked and fed her, fed myself, puttered and read a bit, then went back to bed and slept until about 3pm. I saw no need of ruining another whole day by being awake in the daytime. My feet are still killing me.
I read more in the Genet, but I’m really getting tired of that fucking book.
Monday, January 9th–It rained. I got up later than I have been getting up lately, but still not late enough to suit me. Still no Food Stamps card in the mail.
Tuesday, January 10th–Still no Food Stamps. I called the HHS office to check on some things and they said I should get it tomorrow. I tended to Belle, puttered, and read.
Wednesday, January 11th–Still no goddamn Food Stamps. I tended to Belle, puttered, and read. James took me out for an Indian buffet. I went to bed at midnight, because I had to get up early the next day, and surprisingly, I didn’t have trouble getting to sleep–unusual for me when I have to set an alarm.
Thursday, January 12th–Today was just the worst–a real mother-fucker of a day.
I got a decent amount of sleep, though not enough. I’d dreamt all night of going through an exhausting obstacle course, albeit successfully. I got up, tended to Belle, ate toast, and headed out. I had a long wait in the cold for a bus, then no wait at all for my second bus.
I got to the Texas Workforce Commission center, and soon learned they’d not exempt me from job-hunting requirements. Some old [battle-axe of a] bureaucrat told me I had to actually be currently enrolled in MHMR to use them as an exemption, and when I talked to the younger man who was running the meeting, and explained my condition, he also was unyielding, though he was nicer about it than his co-worker was.
I’ll have to put in thirty goddamn hours a week of job-hunting, though apparently each job applied for online counts for one hour. So I’ll just apply for thirty jobs out-of-town and out-of-state that I have no chance of getting. Plus I’ll have to come in every Tuesday to meet with this guy, like a goddamn probation officer.
I don’t know as their job-training will be of any use, as it’s only for the more in-demand jobs. They do offer some cursory computer skills training, but it’s unsupervised and on software only available in the center. I did, however, wander around the building and find some flyers for some other training places that might help me.
After the meeting I had to let the two functionaries look at my paperwork, and I commented on how utterly useless the TWC job site has been for me the last ten years, how though I’ve been signed up to receive job notices from them, I’ve never gotten a decent match or a useful lead. Naturally the old [bat] took offense and said that was my fault, that I’d not entered my job skills in correctly. The fucking [bat]. The guy, however, suggested I wait around for a class on just how to use that site, which would be meeting in that very room right after he finished processing everyone from our meeting.
I hung around, tried and failed to access my e-mail so I could print up my resume, and waited. I went back to the classroom and was told the meeting was being moved to the “ABC Room,” and that I should check with the front desk about it. I did so, they said when and where it would be, and when I headed in that direction they stopped me, saying the meeting hadn’t been announced yet. I waited another thirty minutes and asked another functionary when the meeting would be, and was told it had been moved to the “XYZ Room” and was already finished.
Then followed another long wait in the cold for a bus. I did, however, see a green exotic bird in a tree branch. I assume he’d escaped from his cage. I got back to my neighborhood with no further incidents, and got some dog food at Petsmart, before coming home.
So even though I got nothing at all from going two-and-a-half years to MHMR, I’m still going to have to re-join the goddamn thing. I called and set up an appointment for Tuesday. Fortunately, I won’t have to go to the original location where I signed up in 2007 and can go straight to the main complex, where I have business anyway. And the MAP office is nearby, so I may stop in there beforehand, and arrange for an appointment there. Maybe if I get things squared aware with MHMR I can avoid all the TWC bullshit requirements.
My Food Stamps card didn’t arrive, though I’d been told it was supposed to arrive yesterday. I tried to call the “1-800” help desk number they gave me, but some of the buttons on my phone weren’t working. I called the operator and asked him to dial the number for me, but when he heard it was a “1-800” number, the cocksucker switched me over to a recording that said they don’t dial “1-800” calls.
James, however, gave me a link to some outfit in Germany that dialed the number for me, and I learned that whatever idiot case worker had worked on my account had awarded me my benefits, but had failed to take the final step of assigning them to an actual card. When I tried to find out what this meant the gal I was speaking to was very evasive, and assured me that someone would call me at an unspecified time to tell me about this. She wouldn’t say when, wouldn’t explain the problem, or say when I was getting my card.
[I then found out some very upsetting financial stuff online connected to my family and my belongings.]…
I finally finished Genet’s “Our Lady of the Flowers” and started Quentin Crisp’s “The Naked Civil Servant.”
Friday, January 13th–I slept for about ten hours and got some much-needed rest after that awful day. I woke with terrible allergy problems. I attended to Belle and puttered. I didn’t get my Food Stamps or my Basset Hound Calendar in the mail. I took two allergy pills before bed, in hopes that it’d dry up some of the gunk in my nose that’s been troubling me so badly today.
Saturday, January 14th–I slept a good long time, got up, and attended to Belle. Still no Food Stamps in the mail.
God dammit! God-fucking-dammit!
I just saw a dog run over and killed.
Belle wanted to go out for a walk, even though she’d been out and peed and pooped fairly recently. We were meandering around, and I bent over to pick up a switch I found in the parking lot, just to have something to do with my hands, when I heard a thump, and a yelp, and looked around and saw Belle had been knocked off her feet by what looked like a young Pit Bull, who’d come barreling out of nowhere. I wasn’t sure if the dog was playing or attacking.
I looked around for an owner for a cue as to what to do next, to see if he or she was going to get the dog. Then I heard a voice. A teenaged girl came running outside, barefoot, saying that was her dog, and asked for me to catch him by the collar. My reactions weren’t fast enough.
The dog ran over to the girl, playing, then tore off to the street. The girl ran after him, saw a car coming, yelled the dog’s name, and then I heard a loud and sickening thump, followed by the dog screaming and the girl screaming louder. Belle and I ran over to see what we could do. The dog ran back up to the grass, which made me think perhaps he’d only been grazed. He convulsed horribly, then collapsed on the grass.
The car pulled over some distance away, and the driver, your basic goateed suburban office park asshole dad, got out. I started screaming obscenities at him: “YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE! YOU GODDAMN CARELESS, INCONSIDERATE MOTHER-FUCKER!” I wanted to pick up a loose stone and start bashing him in the goddamn skull with it, but I had Belle with me.
Neighbors poured out of every apartment. The girl was beside herself, though she never went over to be with the dog in his final minutes. Someone called the cops. Other men came by and hovered over the dog, wrapping him in a blanket. The driver kept making cell phone calls, commenting on his car damage, and mumbling excuses, such as, “The way she screamed I thought I’d hit a child….It came out of nowhere.”
There is a speed bump in that road, a road that separates the two phases of my apartment complex. The purpose of the speed bump is to slow mother-fuckers down in a residential area, but this cocksucker was apparently driving too fast to let even a speed bump slow him down.
Different people went back and forth amongst the groups—the dog/driver/girl’s dad/cop group, the girl and her comforters, and those of us standing in the middle. The dog finally died. Someone drove the girl away somewhere. The dad was expected to shake the driver’s hand. I thought he should’ve spat on it. Numbers and documentation were exchanged. I talked to the lady who’d called the cops, a lady I knew from dog-walking. I told her I felt guilty. If only I’d thought fast enough to grab that dog’s collar none of this would’ve happened.
Belle was clearly stressed out. She didn’t feel like walking around the grounds anymore. We went home and she was soon fast asleep.
My late dog Fred was a huge part of my life for eleven years. But oddly enough, during his life and afterwards, the only time I dreamt about him they were dreams where he got loose and was in danger of getting run over. And now I’ve witnessed it in real life. I didn’t actually see the impact, but I heard it and saw the before and after and failed to stop it or punish the asshole who caused it.