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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Taking Care of Business



Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 9:03AM

Good morning, this is us.  And me … so you get the whole thing this morning.  We are picturing above a German apple pancake or what is otherwise known as an Apfelphannkuchen. J  This isn’t the one Rich cooked last night – we didn’t remember to get a picture of it, but this IS a stock photo OF what he DID cook.  Maybe we should be saying though baked.  It had gone in the oven.  It was soooo good!  He had never made one before, but had been out with Bob for breakfast and Bob had ordered one ahead of time.  It gave Rich the bug.  Word is that EVEN his Mom has never made one.  So it was a first in the household and household extended.  YAY!! Rich!   Rich and I split one and we really stuffed ourselves to the gills.  Added to that was some maple syrup and we had the meal of kings!

Well, ok, you can see why that might top my list of things to write about this morning.  This guy – he treats us like a Queen!  Ok, some of us want to be instead Princesses, but you get the general drift.  It was GREAT!

As to other news, there is not too much going on.  The last time we wrote was on Monday, and it seems we had a Dr. Marvin appointment AND we had several days of editing.  We have finished the third chapter as to this level of editing.  I can be quite sure that each time we go through it we find more, but for the time being we’re doing pretty well.  I’m not sure how many times we went through the third chapter, but after we’d gone through it “enough,” then we went through a couple of times where we were reading from the start of the book up to the present third chapter.  One of the reasons we’d decided to do an entire make-over was that it occurred to us that we really had to take out all the ellipses.  Those are all those triple periods (…) that we put in-between so many of our thoughts.  I think what I am seeing through the editing is that it has allowed us not to speak in complete sentences, though as a writing form it doesn’t make good sense.  A lot of things like our abundant capitalization and excessive punctuation we left in because that captures more of our enthusiasm.  We found we really do get excited easily and we want that captured too.

I am pretty happy with what has happened so far in the story.  It might be different if it were the only book we’re writing, but because we’re doing a series it doesn’t have to capture the same thing each book.  In this particular book – the second, the first chapter talks about the virtual trip V and us took to Paris and China, and then the second chapter ends with us writing the paper for the self-esteem project we did with the clients.  The third chapter has to do with Thanksgiving and the build-up and problems that were caused emotionally by that event.  I am eager to do now the fourth chapter – December.  I could guess that it will lead to being off for Christmas and working our way into the start of a new year.  We aren’t reading ahead though so I have to wait and see how the next chapter occurs.  Maybe we will get to it either tomorrow or Saturday.  Tomorrow at 5PM we are going to meet Jasmine and then Saturday at 11:30AM we’ll meet Jade so those things have to be worked in too, but the general thing will be to start the next chapter.  The only thing challenging that schedule is the part about writing.  I’m really finding that writing every three to four days is working in that there’s not always a lot going on.  Like I’m really not so sure what we can add on editing other than what we’ve done.

I guess we could say that over the last couple of days we’ve felt a bit driven with the effort in that we seem to take only small breaks from it and then we are anxious to get back to it.  Yesterday was kind of fun with Linda because she seemed to be working on the same fast/eager pace as we were though she was sewing and we were editing.  We did meet a couple times during the day and that seemed to spark more interest in general and then again the duo-effort to be getting back to our own assignments.  It’s really nice to have a friend who has this kind of flexible, but also committed to project hours as we have.  I can’t imagine what our life would be without her.  At this point, we’re just grateful.

We just stopped to talk with Rich for a few moments before he left out of the house.  He is flying now.  He remembered about twelve minutes into the conversation that he was going to put a roast, potatoes and other vegetables into the crockpot.  Both of us will get home about 6-6:30PM tonight and so everything will be ready.  I’m really grateful too that he takes care of us so well.  He’s such a blessing in our life.

He’s been busy on the phones and computer this morning for about three to four hours.  He has to now meet with customers.  I think he’s going to be home around 1:30PM and then he has to leave at 4PM for a single game.  After we both get home, I don’t think there is going to be anything pressing.  Our schedule doesn’t have much, but we DO get to see Dr. Marvin today.  We should leave here about 3:15PM today.  Usually, on a Thursday we would leave at 3:30PM, but we want to leave a few minutes early because we need to pick-up one medication that we’d not gotten last time.  The word came back to Dr. Marvin that Medicaid won’t pay for the medicine, but it is about $20 so it will still be affordable.  This was the one that Medicaid will only pay for if it is for children with ADD, and obviously that is not the case here.  Dr. Marvin says that it supplements our depression medicine.  I thought it was more for concentration and focus, but we’ll let that go for the time being.

As to Rich and our conversation, it was mainly about business and what was happening directly for him.  I think it helps him to talk and relieve some of the pressure he feels in coordinating all the events.  He seems to know how much he has to make to make everything work, but he’s low on his set numbers so is worrying about covering all of the bills.  We got a pep-talk on why it is important for me to relieve stress by doing little things around the house.  I had already gotten the litter box and had steamed about four pieces of clothing so we were on the right track.  It would be better if we washed something in the washing machine today, but that would require we move pretty quick and that’s been really tough for us of late.

Being able to wash clothes was actually one of the hot conversations between Dr. Marvin and us.  He’s probably made thousands on trying to get us through laundry.  I wish it were easier or maybe that I was less lazy, but it seems every time we get past one of our excuses then another one pops-up.  This last time we discussed doing the laundry when Rich wasn’t sitting at the back door.  Somehow it seems like with Dr. Marvin that trying to escape past him or Rich is difficult.  It’s a confusion that builds-up in our head and then seems impossible to get past in thinking through what could otherwise be considered a simple task.

At this moment there is no Rich at the door so it would stand to reason there is nothing blocking us from doing it right now except to get dressed.  It’s just a few moments until 10AM so might be a good time to try?

Ouch-ouch we’re back.  The back is really aching today.  Someone had their clothes in the washer so we put them in the dryer for them.  We’ll go down in about an hour and hope they’ve moved the clothes.  It didn’t seem they had a back-up load and you can never be sure how people feel about you touching their clothes, but the bottom line is that it hurts too much to do all those stairs to include another effort of going up and down to see if they’ve come down and moved their load yet.  This way their task doesn’t really slow us up.  Hopefully, they will come down and take their dryer clothes out within the hour, but if not, they will go on top of the dryer.  It would be nice too if they paid back the dollar, but for so little money, we’re not going to lose sleep over it.  Thing is that we had clothes to do and we just don’t handle well people slowing down what has to happen in turning over those shared machines.  We’ll see.  I’m good until about 11:05 AM. 

There is one more frustration in that in the past nobody was really using the machines on a weekday morning, but now it seems they are.  That adds to the competition and pressure to get things down there earlier.  We’re going to have to now sooth that over in our mind.  Ok, ladies?  Let’s let this go for now, hmm?  I can appreciate that we are very anxious now about laundry, but maybe some of those feelings will dissipate, because we do have our laundry in the washer so all is good.  Next?

It seemed that Linda stopped by, but then must have had computer problems because it looks like she’s signed off after dropping a short FB message.  She had said she had problems with one of her scissors and that she had stayed up late last night.  We had seen her later, but there wasn’t a lot said.  We had stayed up past Rich who went into the bedroom to read at 10PM.  We had been up and then fell asleep and might have been up a couple more times, but about 5 AM after feeding the kitties we crawled back into bed proper.  The other times we had been sleeping on the couch.  I believe we woke-up about 8:30 AM, so we seem to have caught-up on some of our missed sleep.

We had thought we’d get done with the editing enough to do some ironing, but the real edits weren’t finished until 9 PM.  Rich and I had planned to watch the DVR of the new NCIS, but it turned out they had a rerun. So, we went back to the paper for another run.  This time just the last chapter and we didn’t need to get out the marking pen.  WooHOO!

As to Dr. Marvin this week, as noted, we spent time on trying to figure out this long-lasting battle with laundry and other housework.  One thing that he noted was that it could be that we are actually angry with Rich and so it is coming through in not helping him around the house.  I’m thinking at this point, it would be passive-aggressive.  Dr. Marvin thought it was most likely a fallback from not getting the house.  I guess internally we’re doing a bit of a pout.  No one likes to hear that kind of thing about them, but at the time it seemed to strike a bell.  We had also read in our editing work that there are parts of us that pretty much seem to be here just to say, “I don’t care.”  Or, likewise, “I don’t want to be bothered.”  That pretty much describes our position on doing things around our place.  Rich touched a nicer note in encouraging that he feels more like working and being here when the place is picked-up and although we didn’t say it out loud, we would have to agree.  It’s nicer when things are taken care of. 

I have to think now what else we talked to Dr. Marvin about.  I think there was a portion of the meeting where we were talking about the last post and still being mad at Rich’s mother.  I don’t really remember a discussion about it though so thinking it had gone toward another part.  I do recall that there was quite a bit of time rocking and sitting on our hands until they were useless to us.  I think we’d entered his office riled because the “paper” lady next to him, jumped in front of us, and then after Dr. Marvin dismissed her, she leaned back with another few questions.  We know we don’t do well with this scenario and we tried to be calm about it, but it took several minutes to let it go past us without being a direct bother.  Dr. Marvin and we both realize that it’s a problem to us, but like several other things that affect our physical boundaries, it’s not at a level to be fixed right now.  Just need to get through it.

I think we were teasing Dr. Marvin again about not working hard enough because we were looking for some harder stuff, but then he gave us some and then we decided we wanted back to the easier side.  I still can’t remember the majority of things that we talked about.  I do recall thinking before going in that I wanted to be able to really feel the connection between us.  And, I think that happened AFTER we got past just relaying what things had been happening.  He almost always seems to bring himself to the event of meeting … just sometimes we are more scared to connect to him than others.  I like it sometimes when we get so bold and daring to be able to look at him while we’re talking … I have to say that its very sensual – though we are not thinking sexual.  But, the energy that plays-out is very “hot.”  Ok, ok get your minds out of the gutter we are talking on a level where she LOVES her psychiatrist, but is not “IN love” with him.  Meaning we’re not looking for any relationship other than building the best one a client can have with her doctor.  He’s just got so much vitality.  It is hard not to want to tune-in to some of that.  He is such a gracious doctor!

Ok, girls … tongue back in mouth!  We seemed to have babbled-on through that quite uncomfortably.  I really do mean to say that sometimes being in the room with Dr. Marvin leaves a stronger impression than even the conversation that ensues.  We still have some fear that he would be taken away from us one day – most likely because he costs so much.  Breathe easy girls, breathe easy!  Next?

Soooo, it’s time for peanut butter rice cakes?  Ok, yes that’s the stuff! There are 15 minutes left before we go downstairs.  Hmm, I don’t THINK it’s too early for a pop?  What do we usually drink at this time?  Between Rich and us I think we run the pot of coffee out sooner than later.  Ok girls.  Really?  Really this is so important?

Ok, ok moving on.

Thinking here this is where we are sometimes with Dr. Marvin when we might ask, “Could you give us some hard stuff?”  It is a little bothersome that he doesn’t have to reach back far before we are saying squeamishly Ooh L  If he were here right now and looking over this last week, what might he ask about?

We did talk to Rich about our hidden well of anger between our thoughts and feelings and doing housework.  I know, I know … its ten years later and she’s still having problems with her domestication skills.  I know that Rich heard what we say, but I don’t recall if he responded to it.  I don’t have a recollection of going much more into the housing problems that we’ve been facing this month.  If I were to take a guess at it, I would say that Rich has since focused his attention on to what he can do for himself – such a work, that doesn’t rely on his Mother finding some sensibility.  In our minds we’ve left the whole topic go PRETTY much.  We aren’t taking looks at the pictures anymore.  I’m sure we still have some anger in those regards, but we’re not directly facing it.  I suppose we could peek-in and revisit our thoughts with the aim of clearing things in our mind.  I don’t think we can look at the house pictures without feeling the yearning things that we’d done before. 

Ok, ok … maybe in a few moments.  We started the slideshow, but then stopped in about three to four pictures.  We’re thinking that since we have to do laundry in five minutes, it would be better to do it after we got back upstairs. 

Pswhoo!  Back upstairs with achy back again.  I can tell when we’re having a bad day because after we climb the stairs again it aches so back that we’re not sure we’re going to make it from the back door to the front living room.  It has been like that today.  The person that we put in the dryer, we had to take out of the dryer, because her load is still unattended.  I wish people wouldn’t do that.  It really is a put-off to the other tenants of the building to have to wait on someone.  We are pretty careful about setting our timer so that we don’t mess someone else up.  It’s just common courtesy.  Ok, girls let’s bring it up a level?  We were going to look at the pictures, remember?

Hmm, ok … we looked at the pictures.  We set it on slide and just let them click from one to another in front of us.  I have to admit it felt that we had some walls up that we were peeking at from behind.  We wanted to see things, but we were trying hard for ourselves not to be upset.  It has been on the market now for 111 days.  It is such a shame for such a gorgeous place.  Maybe somehow a miracle would happen and we’d be able to still get it, but the chances for that are so low, that I know we shouldn’t even entertain the idea.  There has been some mental break thinking that Rich’s Mother wouldn’t live with us, but that makes getting a place like this that much more difficult.  I just don’t see it happening.  It was hard to look at some of the details that we’d really loved in particular.  There’s a lot of things like corners, windows, and special walls, but especially because they were each painted or surfaced in exactly the right way.  The counters, cupboards, walls, floors, and curtains – EVERY thing was done just right.  I’m feeling more sorrowful and upset at this point than I would have wanted.  If Dr. Marvin was looking for hard stuff today, I think that the sorrow for not being able to purchase this place would end up on the top of the heap.

Not sure how to handle the feeling other than wanting to escape it.  I don’t want to put our thinking parts with our feeling parts, because it might lead us to be sharp and accusatory.  But, the bottom line was that I couldn’t buy this place for myself, so I had little right hoping that someone else would buy it for me.  I’m not so settled that I can glibly look at the other without blame, but intellectually, I know that I would have to perhaps do this for myself and that it wouldn’t be anything that Rich or his family could do for us.  I do appreciate that Rich is trying for both his benefit and mine to bank toward our future as to procure housing that could be paid off making our small retirement amount go a longer ways.  Just maybe today it is a little too sensitive to talk about.  It would be nice if we could just take a quick look in the future to see if we’re still on disability or if by then our 10-12 books would have been published and we were making a higher income there then we would on disability.  It seems this is an unanswerable question though something we’ve been asking for a long time, because we’ve already seen the hope for publishing in the second book we are now working on.  We also at that time had posted a picture of another house with about the same amount of space and cost.  The other had been in Bolingbrook and the neighborhood wasn’t as secured.  I’d like to say that we’ve made some advancement, but I don’t think that’s the reality.

At this point … our feelings are doing a dive.  Sort of like – it doesn’t matter we’ll never get there.  Sometimes, I wonder what people who own houses think of in their spare time if people without houses spend so much of their time trying to figure out how to get one.  I suppose through real life or TV we’ve seen enough houses to know that what goes on within them as to peoples living conditions vary a lot.  We’d just like to think that we’d have a nice space.  Most likely we’d still be asking ourselves how we keep it up, but having things like washing machines, dishwashers, and vacuums would certainly help.  Mostly, I wonder what security would feel like to know that you would have a home to live in for the rest of your life and you wouldn’t have to worry about the kinds of things renters go through, like the building turning from one hand to another, the costs going up, or the possibility of doing something wrong that might evict you. Plus there is just the plunging of our money.  So far, we have put $120-140,000 into the building through rent.  It is an awful lot of money for something that we don’t get to keep.  As happy as we are here, all it would take is a note on the door, and we’d lose everything we had in a home.  It’s really not very secure.

I suppose people in houses have equalized problems in that they worry from month to month being able to cover a mortgage and if that mortgage wasn’t covered, the bank could come in and take the property too.  So maybe there is some problem there.  But, in the way we dream, we’d be able to pay off the property very quickly, or relatively quickly.  Unfortunately, it still means Rich receiving his inheritance from his mother.  And, for that matter that my mother gives us the $10,000 she’s offered. I have to be careful because it is so sensitive in the area that our worth is so low. 

We’re back.  It’s about 2:38PM right now.  We’ve been “about” for the last period of time.  I think last time we were knowledgeable of being here was when we were waiting for the clothes to dry.  I think that was about what?  Noon?  I seem to remember that the clock went off about 1 AM and we did take the afternoon medicine, but we aren’t remembering if we had clothes folded or hung by then.  I think that we took our medicine when Rich came home though and he was home about 1:30 PM.  We talked for a bit about some of the stuff that had been happening since he was gone.  Of course, he had to listen to our spiel on the lady downstairs not taking care of her laundry.  It’s just the way it goes. 

The next part we talked about was what we’d been working on with school loans.  We tried to progress it some, and I think that we’ve gotten now forms to be filling out from our email.  We worked through the issues of Rich being on our accounts so that he could read stuff and explain it to me.  The school apparently sent an exit interview, but we can’t figure it out … we lose our concentration very quickly and am unable to read what they want me to know about the school loans.  There seems to be some kind of test at the end … I tried reading the first question and we couldn’t make sense out of it.  It seems to require that we read the other part of the agreement, but it’s just not happening.  We did find on that paperwork a number from the Department of Education Ombudsman.  My understanding of that would be that they’d be an advocate of the student in trying to straighten things up.  We went through some trial and errors on the phone in trying to connect with a live person, but at some point, someone called me back (instead of waiting online).

We explained our situation that we had been in school, and then had had to take a medical leave, and then we weren’t able to go back to school and the school wrote saying they had to drop me.  We explained that we were on disability so wouldn’t have too much money to pay, but basically, what was it that we are supposed to do.  She said that the papers we were looking at were from the school and that we’d have to take care of that with them.  So, we said ok.  But, then she said if we were 100% disabled which I believe we are because of being on disability through the government, that we should apply for something to let go of the loan or cancel it.  I understood at that time that it meant we’d never be able to apply for student loans or go back to school.  But, I just don’t see that as ever happening again.  We have found in the last year that the problems that we were having with St. Rose in keeping up and being able to take care of our stated duties has also been impossible with the goals we’ve tried to do here at home.  I think that the last upset was in trying to work on the NEWS blog.  It seems that we just can’t make things happen and after ten years we are still struggling with simple things like trying to wash a load of clothes.  Part of the disability is in being so immobile and the other parts are mental.  We’re not going to go into that right now though.

We took a lot of notes when we talked to people and we’re going to try getting some of that down here before we lose our connection to what had been said.  Basically, the ombudsman told us that we had two loans and that they were through ACS and Great Lakes.  That wasn’t something we knew.  She gave us the contact numbers and we made it through mazes trying to find someone to talk to.  Both calls were similar in the end with both of these loan places.  It turns out that we have through ACS $34,726.41 of loan and through Great Lakes we have $21,870.45 of loan.  We told both of them the advice we’d gotten through the ombudsman and both agreed to send paperwork for us to fill-out and then there would be a part that Dr. Marvin would have to fill-out too.  We got through these two companies and through the school which we called too to assure that Rich was able to call any of them and ask questions, because things were so difficult for us to understand, especially the second lady.  She was going quickly from one thing to another, and we couldn’t get it written down to study later.   Basically, what I got was that we should fill-out the information they had both sent us, and with the help of Rich we would be able to take care of that and we’d have to have help finishing up the papers from school.  My understanding is that after the school gets our paperwork, they will tell the loan companies we are no longer an active student, and then we can finish paperwork with those.  We have to remember that for Great Lakes, they couldn’t take care of something until they got notification from the school so she had said that we should take care of that and then call them back.  I think what we wrote down and would have to ask them for at that point is the form for economic hardship.

I think what we got was that the economic hardship would put our account in deferment until the other part went through and that the long part in proving longstanding 100% disability would take three years from the start of our disability.  We’re going to need some assistance from Rich and Dr. Marvin to make sure that everything goes in.  It seemed like a whole lot of documentation all at once and we’re going to need not getting lost in the shuffle.  For the record the number for ACS is 1-800-835-4611 and the number for Great Lakes is 1-800-236-4300.  I think that’s the majority of what we’ve had written down and still understand.  It seems that we went into deferment while going through school since September 1, 2011.  I know now that one of my loans is 7%.  I put the four notes sent to me through these contacts in a file under Rich.  The forms are for total and permanent disability.  We still have to talk to Dr. Marvin and assure ourselves that this is the right thing to do and if this is really our status.  Basically, will ever get better?

It seems that this writing about our day to day moment to moment life is about the only thing that we’ve been able to do consistently, although even with this there have been months we were distracted and couldn’t even write here.  We still have the aim of writing toward books, but after getting only about $200 over two years, I don’t think that would mean we are not disabled.  Basically, if I were a real author I would have to be able to make an income from the writing.  I still have hopes that one day that might happen, but as to the present … the only thing I can do is continue to write about how we are getting through life – the good and the bad parts. 

Hmm, thinking we better get dressed.  AND, as also something we are having trouble with … we need help from Dr. Marvin on how to become legal as to our driving.  We’re still without a driver’s license.  Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that happen in our mind that we get such fear and anxiety built-up we can’t do the stuff we know that we are supposed to be doing. 

Ok, we’re dressed now and only have a few moments.  I hate this part … the part about having to leave my comfort zone here at the computer to go outdoors.  Maybe that would get better if we had our license.  But mostly, we just have to try not building-up too much anxiety.  It’s like ok … you took your shower, you got dressed, now you just put on your coat, grab your phone and go out the door.  We go through our own paces getting there like setting the cruise control no more than three miles over the speed.  Ok, girls you gotta go now! Shoo!

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