Friday, June 28, 2013

It Takes a Village vs. Socialism

I saw a story posted by someone on Facebook about a young boy who raised money to pay for his grandmother's funeral. Here it is:

8 year old Michael Diamond of Ohio lost his grandmother recently. He overheard his parents talking about how they couldn't afford a proper burial, so last Thursday, he decided to help out by setting up a stand selling Kool-Aid to raise money for his grandmother's funeral. 
He only sold $55 worth on the first day, but the local news found out about it and did story on Michael. The next day, tons of people came out to buy Kool-Aid! Some people paid $100 a cup. By Monday, he had raised over $5,500! Enough to give his grandmother a decent service. 
One boy with a simple selfless plan + lots of generous people = inspiration and respect! #amazing!

While this is a heartwarming story, I see a couple things that bother me. The cost of funeral expenses, and the effort of setting up a Kool-Aid stand. Something seems pathetic and sad about selling Kool-Aid to raise money for something like this. I guess it's cool that he had the idea, but if it hadn't been for the local news stations, how much would he had raised. That's right: $55. 

I see stuff like this and wonder how people can read this and smile and think, "isn't this great?" Because the bottom line is that this family could not afford to bury his grandmother. Word got out, and people paid money for Kool-Aid, enough money so they could bury his grandmother. Some people donated way more than what a cup of Kool-Aid costs. Did they get $100 worth of Kool-Aid? Of course not. Money was donated. The village stepped up.

So how is this different from socialism? Because Kool-Aid was sold? Because word got out and enough people "paid" for Kool-Aid? Because the money didn't come from the government? Because I thought people who couldn't pay for stuff and asked others for help were either, depending on how you look at it, needy, or freeloaders.

Americans are more comfortable with buying something rather than flat-out donating to people in need. This is a nice story, but for every success story like this, there are hundreds, if not thousands of others who sell a pathetic amount of a product. What happens to them?




Touchy, Touchy!

Every so often, I encounter people who fly off the handle when I point something out to them. It happened in 2005, and it just happened again.

My former computer guy was on the news recently, saying he's moving out of the south side because the crime is so bad. I don't think the entire south side is bad, just certain pockets. I said perhaps he was protesting too much, and he went bananas. I wrote another response, and asked him if he'd checked out the neighborhood and the potential neighbors before moving in. He called me a piece of garbage and hoped I got robbed and said the reason I never had kids was because I had bad hair. He compared it to Medusa. I wish I could have said that was original, but he was about 35 years too late with that insult. No "yes, I checked out the neighborhood", or "no, I didn't." By his response, I think it's safe to say he didn't check out the neighborhood.

I don't know what he paid for rent, but I'm thinking if he really wanted cheap rent, he was in the right neighborhood. The south side gets a bad rap. I don't think all the neighborhoods on the south side of town are bad, but there are certain places there where I would not want to live, just as there are places on the north side where I would not want to live.

I know three people who bought property on the south side. Two have been burglarized. None of them ran screaming from their homes. But I'm thinking the reason they bought on the south side was affordability. Fort Wayne is one of the few towns where if you are single, it's possible to purchase a home. And if you want an affordable home, the south side is the place to be, unless you can luck into a fixer-upper somewhere else.

There's a price to be paid for everything in life. If you have a dirt cheap rent or mortgage, is it worth the cost? If you like to be outdoors during the summer, is it worth it to have a low rent/mortgage knowing it's too dangerous to open the windows, or go for walks? If you like to have a nicely landscaped lot, but won't do it because it will be vandalized, it it worth it? Is low rent worth being burglarized? Unfortunately, some people have no choice.

In a perfect world, we would live where we want to live, and it would be affordable. I think my computer guy rented where he did because he was looking at price only. Or maybe I'm wrong. He's rented for years. Why he would throw money away like that when he could well afford to buy a place and build equity, I don't know. I hope wherever he ends up he's happy.

But I wonder about him. His vicious tone in his responses was a little unsettling. The last person who blew up at me like that continually made fun of me on her blog until she got tired of it. She ended up in a mental hospital, and eventually started calling me, asking for forgiveness and wanting to be friends with me again. I never returned her calls.

This guy posted as part of his response to never call him again to fix my $%^& computer. I wasn't going to anyway, as I've had issues with the computer since the last time he touched it. At first, I thought the repair service was great, but realized it wasn't quite what it was cracked up to be. But it's my own fault. He has really good prices, and I didn't realize there would be an additional price to pay. Caveat emptor.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Single Childless Women Ain't Shit

It's a pretty harsh title I've chosen for this post, but if you're a single childless woman, you know how it is. I swear, if I ever win the lottery, or my writing takes off, or I become incredibly successful, I'm going to start an organization called Single Women in Need, or something like that. And it's going to be geared towards women who are single and childless. Because if you've tried to get help from any sort of agency at all, you've probably been turned down.

I had to have surgery. The hospital called shortly after I got home to see if I was eligible for Medicaid. Of course I wasn't. I don't have kids. I have a small 401K. If you're single, what sort of bills do you have? You aren't spending money on kids, you must be rich!

I resent that sort of thinking. I work three jobs. Eventually, I just want to have one good paying job, but for now, I live a sort of piecemeal existence, relying on the scheduling of my retail job to get me enough hours to get through the summer. I have to hope that enrollment is up, so that I can have at least two classes to teach this fall semester. But hospital bills will probably eat up any disposable income that I have. I'll have to work out some sort of payment plan. I have no choice.

But when I tried to ward off disaster by being proactive, I was told nothing could be done. I thought I wouldn't have any disability income, so I called various agencies and the trustee's office. The agencies didn't return my call, and the trustee said they do emergency cases. It turns out I didn't need help anyway, as I had a couple more checks from work than I anticipated, and I did get disability after all (I had signed up for it through my insurance). Plus, I stayed home a lot. You don't use gas when you don't go anywhere.

This is another tough lesson I've learned. If you don't have money saved, you're screwed. For circumstances I don't want to go into right now, I've not been able to save any money. So, I'm screwed.

It's not the first time I've needed help in my life, but what I was reminded of a month or so ago holds true today. If you are single and childless, society and the government don't care about you. If you don't have a strong support network of family and friends, you will scrape by in whatever situation you are dealing with. It makes me furious that because I made a responsible decision years ago, I am worth nothing in society's eyes because I never had children. If you have kids, help is on the way. But if you don't have kids, forget it. You aren't worth helping.

I'm not saying being a mom is a piece of cake, but because I didn't make the choice to have kids, why am I being punished in times of need? My history with men and my reproductive issues pretty much dictated that I would never have kids. I never had a career, or a decent paying full time job. While my mother would probably have adored any child of mine, I wanted to do as least as good of a job raising my child as my parents did. And I didn't want to be a single mother. Since the men I've met have been lazy, cruel or out and out assholes, I figured the world didn't need another single mom. Because of that, I'm not eligible for government help, and at tax time, I don't get any breaks.

But I want to secure a future where I have enough money saved, so if I have to take time off for surgery, I won't have to call ANYONE for help. And if I ever do get super-successful, I'm starting an organization to help women like me when they need it. I'd like them to know that even though they choose not to have kids, they are not worthless.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bing Cherries! And Some Thoughts on My Negativity

Okay, so about a week ago I said I was two weeks away from bing cherries. Well, I bought some yesterday. I had some today. And they are wonderful.

I went looking on the web for right hemicolectomy recovery. A site based in London advised eating fresh fruit, while on my discharge papers, it said to stick to a low-fiber diet in order to give my colon a chance to heal.

I wonder if here in the states, we are lied to. Everything here seems different from the rest of the world in terms of healthcare, education, food, lifestyle. I sort of see my surgery as a way to start over again. Maybe the polyp was due to my eating. Maybe it wasn't. There are people who practice a way healthier lifestyle than I do who wind up with cancer. For a long time, I had the urge that I should eat better, that I should stop eating like a kid. My appetite is still down. But my weight hasn't really dropped.

I've struggled with depression. I think it's been a little worse that I'm recovering from surgery, and feeling so freaking tired all the damn time. I bought some iron, and I'm going to start taking it tomorrow, along with calcium. A good multivitamin is something I should consider too, since I'm eating one meal a day, and maybe a few snacks. I just can't gear up enthusiasm for food anymore. Considering the weight I should lose, that's a good thing. But I was thinking about my depression last night, and thinking that I'm sick of being negative all the time, and comparing myself with other people. So I'm going to try to counteract the negativity with doing something, creating something, making something. Doesn't have to be a big thing, it can be something simple. I'm going to create--either write a little bit, or start a short story, or take a picture, or make music or a video. We'll see what happens with this--who knows, maybe I'll collect it all together on a website or something.