New Start? (or am I kidding myself?)

Published September 28, 2014 by mamapossum1954

It’s been over 9 months since I graduated IUP. I’ve had 3 job interviews, and applied for many more positions than that (even ones I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to do, in view of my panic disorder and physical limitations). Anyway, yesterday, my friend Sara mentioned there’s a position available at the place where she’s interviewing on Tuesday: Havin (domestic abuse shelter) in Kittanning. Well…..firstly, I don’t have a reliable vehicle. Secondly, even if I did, would I be able to handle the winter drives to & from Kittanning? Remember, I worked at Central for 5 years, and it was “white-knuckled” driving every winter. So, where does that leave me?

There are no jobs here in Indiana, PA apart from retail or personal care. The first is unacceptable due to my panic disorder. The latter, due to physical limitations.

I cannot apply for jobs that might be available further afield (e.g., Johnstown, Greensburg, Kittanning, Pittsburgh, out-of-state, etc.) – reasons: (1) lack of vehicle; (2) lack of finances to move.

Our truck is still holding on, but needs work. We can’t afford another vehicle. My son can’t get a credit card (he has no credit history) or a loan. I can’t apply for any of the Master’s Program (let alone, my dream of the Sociology Masters), once again due to lack of finances.

So…..the main point to this post…….Nate mentioned an idea to me the other day…….Why not try selling handmade items on Etsy.  I’ve allowed the idea to simmer since then…and it seems a possibility. I’m under no illusions that I could actually “make a living” at it, but it might bring in desperately needed extra money. And it was something I did contemplate in Australia at one stage. So, I’ve been looking at “how to” articles on google, and sussing out the shops on Etsy, and even registered on the website (though have not “opened a shop”). I need to ransack my room to see what unfinished items I have, and figure out patterns, materials, cost, whether the sewing machine actually works, etc. before I commit.

Still, it IS something to consider.

An Emotional Incident

Published March 8, 2014 by mamapossum1954

Perhaps it was the result of not having taken my antidepressants for several weeks (reason being, I can’t get another prescription at the UrgiCare section of the hospital, and it’s too complicated to reapply for WeCare or ICare or whatever it is, and it’s also too complicated to contact the CAO to apply for Medicaid & wait to get turned down & then apply for whatever the “Care” it is).  Perhaps it was the result of no longer being a college student, of having attained that goal of a Bachelor’s Degree, and feeling less grounded.  Perhaps it is the stress of living my son’s minimum wage earnings, of not having enough money for bills and the essentials.  Perhaps it is the stress of seeing my son stressed about our financial situation.  Perhaps it is the circumstance of living in a small college town in rural western PA where there are NO jobs available, apart from retail (which I cannot do).  Perhaps it is the fact that I’ve always been emotional to the extreme at times.  Or perhaps it is a combination of any or all of the above.

Whatever the reason, this evening I had a profound experience. Considering the difficulties and challenges I faced trying to raise my son on my own in Melbourne, with very little support from friends and family, and the fact that I made numerous mistakes in not only my parenting but my personal choices, I feel I did a good job in raising my son. He turned out pretty special, and I have to say I’m proud of him.

He came home from his 8 am to 5 pm shift at Sprawlmart, handed me a cigarette as “payment” and asked me to wake him up in an hour (he was going to take a nap on the couch). Well, I continued to surf the internet in various areas….after awhile, I swiveled my chair around and looked at him stretched out on the sofa. So relaxed, so …. grown up.  I felt a deluge of memories and emotions – of him as a baby, a toddler, a young child, a teenager…and it just hit me. How much I truly loved this person I’d given birth to. Okay, I had a C-Section, to ‘technically’ I didn’t go through childbirth, but still….One of the few (perhaps the ultimate) remarkable things I’ve accomplished thus far.

Just had to put this out there. 😀

Facts about Me

Published February 26, 2014 by mamapossum1954

I was baptized in the Catholic Church, raised in the Catholic faith….became disenchanted with their dogma as a teenager and tried other denominations over the years (including Buddhism, Mormonism, and Wiccan)….Yes, I consider myself a Christian. Yes, I recently had my First Holy Communion and Confirmation in the Catholic Church…..sometimes things come full circle.

My parents were Democrats, so I was raised believing that that party advocating for the working man, average middle-class people. For a long time, I was conservative. My first excursion into political awareness was registering as a Democrat…then I moved to Australia. There, the parties were similar: Labor (supposedly for the common people) and Liberal (for big business). Naturally I voted Labor. And “Down Under” a person MUST vote or face the possibility of a fine (without a legitamate reason). When I returned to the USA in 2003, I was extremely conservative and felt that the Republicans cared more for the common man than did the Democrats…so I registered as such. Being the open-minded person I was brought up to be, I realized that it was a pile of manure! So….at the moment, I am a registered Republican, and will likely remain so, but my political beliefs/opinions are neither conservative nor liberal; neither are they middle of the road. I will say that it depends on the issue. I will also say that I am more radical than anything else. Thanks to what I’ve learned throughout the years, and what I’ve discovered by investigating issues and seeking out both sides of the story, neither main party in the USA represents the people. They represent the wealthy, the corporations; their main concern is profit.

Although I’m a conservative or liberal or radical depending on the issue, I do hold some very strong, solid beliefs, values, and opinions on certain things. Yes, I advocate for a woman’s right to choose – between pregnancy or abortion, that is. That being said, I also believe that life begins at conception and do not agree with abortion. But legalizing abortion or forcing citizens to accept the limitations of abortion being made illegal will NOT stop the problem. It will simply lead to more women seeking out abortions from the wrong places and face the possibility of medical problems or even death.

Gay rights….now there is a loaded issue….guaranteed to turn father against mother, daughter against parents, parents against children, etc. As a Christian, no…that’s not quite accurate. My personal opinion is that…no, that’s not even accurate. I stand behind the LGBT community and their fight for equality. My dearest and closest friend is transgender. My personal opinion is that being attracted to a person of the same gender is something a person is born with. I didn’t always believe that, of course. At my most conservative times, I was anti-Gay….I’m ashamed to admit that, but there it is. I’ve since come to my senses.

Gun control….another big item. I see no problem with states requiring people to regisster their firearms. I do NOT beliee it will lead to the government confiscating weapons.  I do NOT see a “bogeyman” behind every issue. I also believe in a person’s right to bear arms. Of course, criminal checks should be continued. Too many people should not be allowed to own firearms. I also believe that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

If any right-wing, ultra-conservative, fundamentalist Christians has an issue with my values, beliefs, or opinions, that’s their perogative. The turth is that there is NO PERSON who knows what God thinks, feels, etc. Who am I to sit back and make the statement that “God says….” I am not God. Yes, we have the Bible…and, while I revere the Bible, I also realize that there is a possibility that many things were altered during the translation processes over time.

One thing that angers me is when conservative Christians and/or those who support the Tea Party movement refuse to entertain the possibility of other opinions and statements having the same validity as their own opinions and statements. These people will swear black and blue that yes, they read, watch, or listen to media that is not conservative in nature. But, in truth, they simply skim over alternative information and dismiss its validity – mainly without realizing it. They will also swear black and blue that they are NOT racist….all the while complaining that people of color are victimizing and oppressing the white people….that there should not be a “Black History Month” – so they form their own “White History Month” website.

The vilification of President Obama is another issue that irks me. People have compared him to Hitler, to Stalin, even to the Antichrist!!! As if Obama is the ONLY president who made a mistake.

Anyway, enough for now. I will say that those of my friends who are ultra-conservative need to begin to do a bit of self-analysis. If they claim to be Christian and claim to follow Christ, they had better decide if capitalism, gun rights, discriminating against people of color and gays and whoever, private health insurance etc. is what Christ would have them support.

Winter weather in PA = Depression

Published February 17, 2014 by mamapossum1954

It might be the fact that we’ve had a ton of snow here recently, and it’s been overcast and gloomy and extremely cold. It could also be the fact that I’m no longer an IUP student and feel adrift without the life raft of classroom routine. It could also be the fact that I have my paperwork to register for the GRE test – only lacking the $92.50 in  registration fees.

I just can’t seem to get motivated about anything really. No jobs listed in the local paper; no jobs listed on Careerlink; can’t look further afield due to lack of transportation; can’t take the civil service test until Marcia can drive me to Johnstown. Living on my son’s wages from a minimum wage not-full-time job, trying to pay rent, electricity, internet, gas for the truck, other essentials…with the truck inspection coming up (AND an exhaust leak which may not pass the inspection)…our AAA membership coming due by the end of this month.

It all seems too much at the moment. And, of course, in another four months or so, they’ll be wanting me to start paying back my student loans….what with, I don’t know.

Snowstorm????

Published February 5, 2014 by mamapossum1954

Totally unexpected! Nathan worked 6 to 10:30, comes in about 10:45 and says get my shoes on ‘cos we have to go get smokes. It’s snowing as if there’s no tomorrow!!! Roads are horrific…PennDot hasn’t even been out yet. They were saying earlier about 6 to 8 inches, but it’s been downgraded to 1 to 3 inches. Even though I wasn’t driving, just being in the car and going less than a mile down Warren Road to Sheetz  and back was enough to nearly bring on a panic attack! Good thing Nathan has tomorrow off.

On a side note, I paid the internet bill with the unexpected gift of money (I presume it was a combination birthday/Christmas/graduation present from B.)…so there goes all thoughts of using the money for the GRE test. And I still haven’t taken the civil service test yet – although Marcia did say (weather and Dan’s outage schedule permitting) she’d drive me. Guess it’s just wait and see for now.

Still have to mail out a book, and the graduation announcement to Fiona, and pick up my ISIR papers from campus….was hoping I could do it tomorrow, but that’s not going to happen with all this snow that’s coming down. Maybe Thursday or Friday. With a bit of luck, it can be Thursday and I can meet Murphy for coffee before her classes.

Not been a good day….

Published January 25, 2014 by mamapossum1954

Actually managed to get some “decent” sleep last night…The weather, though, has been awful: snowing, windy….I really feel badly that my son has to work outside in this from 3 to 11 for the lousy pay he gets. He really hates his job now….though not in the beginning. If it weren’t for the way the “corporation” treats their employees – especially the cart pushers – it wouldn’t bother him so much; he likes nearly all of the CSM’s and the cart pushers, too.

He got his W2’s from work yesterday!! So that means he can file his very first tax returns!! It’ll have to wait until he has a day or 2 off, though, so I can show him the ropes and explain things.

Thanks to the Fish Antibiotics I purchased online, my ears are finally nearly 100% back to normal. Just a shame that I had to resort to that, plus self-medicating with OTC stuff – since I can’t afford to see the doctor. Have had a new “symptom” with this mystery virus I get nearly every year like clock-work….kind of a queasy, bloaty, nauseous, achy feeling in my “stomach”. So, naturally, I kept thinking about it; how it feels as if I’ve eaten something with a lot of eggs (like a baked cheesecake, or egg nog, or whatever). Well, when I woke up this morning, I remember thinking “gall bladder” – have NO idea where that thought came from…but I googled gall bladder symptoms. There is some kind of condition that gives you the bloaty, nauseous feeling and also chills and fever. Made me wonder if that is what this weird mystery virus is all about. But of course I can’t go to the doctor about it – since I have no health insurance and Pennsylvania won’t expand Medicaid.

Anyway, I’ve been stressing so much about finances, and bills, and finding a job, and Nathan hating his job…..We drove all the way to Johnstown on Wednesday so I could take the County Caseworker civil service test….I printed out directions and everything. Not only was it the coldest day of winter (at least it was sunny) but we ended up driving all over Johnstown and could not find the roads we were supposed to turn onto….so back home we went.

Now, of course, the truck’s exhaust is much louder than it has been…we wasted 3 hours and nearly 1/2 a tank of gas…for nothing. That’s the same day the virus hit me; Nathan had been sick since the Monday night (he still isn’t 100% yet); and I ended up sleeping off & on for over 18 hours – not even eating since the Tuesday. When I finally did eat something (my typical peanut butter & cheese sandwich), it tasted like sawdust or cardboard. Even coffee didn’t taste good.

So….bills. Here is Nathan, working for minimum wage (here in PA it’s $7.25/hr), roughly 30 hours per week at manual labor, and having to pay the bills (since I don’t have any financial aid now that I’ve graduated). Problem is that just the rent by itself (which is due the first week of each month) is nearly an entire 2 week paycheck!! Plus there’s the electricity, the internet – thankfully we don’t have cable TV or a landline phone…but there again he buys the phone cards for our prepaid cell phones, plus whatever we need that’s not covered by food stamps (laundry liquid, shampoo, toilet paper, dog food, quarters for laundry, cigarettes, etc.)….And the internet is due around the same time as the rent.

So he’s stressing about the bills and how far his wages will go….He’s spent nearly all the money he managed to put away while I was paying the bills with the financial aid refund…So I’m left with a quandry….How to pay the internet bill and also not touch the money Barb sent me as a birthday/Christmas/graduation gift. Of course, I still would’ve had to come up with the difference between what she sent me and the cost of the GRE test (I had $75 and the test is $92.50…which is what I would pay with the fee reduction program)….but can’t be done.

So I told Nathan not to worry about the internet bill, that I’d pay it. Of course he wanted to know how, so I told him. He looked relieved. Of course, when I explained it to him, I added that it wouldn’t make much difference anyway since (1) I probably wouldn’t pass the GRE test anyway, and (2) I probably wouldn’t get accepted into the Master’s Program for Sociology at IUP anyway. To give him credit, he did try to boost my morale by claiming that I probably could pass it and could get into the program….but it’s a moot point now anyway.  So much for dreams, I guess.  I’ve been fooling myself with dreams for most of my life, so why should now be any different???

Small step in the right direction

Published January 16, 2014 by mamapossum1954

Yesterday, Murphy & I caught the 12:30 bus to town….I had to stop at the bank for quarters for laundry, then we went to Giant Eagle Express for coffee. Then…another trip to Clark Hall to see them about my fee reduction for the GRE test. Didn’t take too long, fortunately. All fixed up now. Well, it will be once I get some ink & can print out some forms & what-not – not to mention coming up with the rest of the $92.50 I need to send in for the test.

We took the Green bus to Walmart after that….well, actually, we went to Petco….BIG mistake!!! Wandered around for awhile – I was trying to find the baby bearded dragons. Told Murphy I’d love to have one….only one major drawback: feeding it live crickets (since I absolutely despise “bugs” in any way, shape, or form)!!

We wandered around some more – they have got tons of great stuff in there!!! But….then….on our way out, I saw the sign to the left of the exit: “Cat Adoptions”…..so, naturally, I said to Murphy, “Let’s go have a look!”  Well, they had 4 cats there. Since my ears are still on the mend & I knew I couldn’t bend down without my ears clogging up, I just looked at the top 2. One was a big fat ginger tabby, male, about 6 years old; asleep, of course, but really cute. On the right, Murphy is looking at this wide-awake smallish female….named “Peaches.”  Well, I absolutely fell in love with her!!!! So affectionate and sweet. Darn it! No way could I afford her….No way would Marky be able to adjust to her….No way Nathan would let me get her!  Totally disappointed!

Well, time to make my son’s lunch….I may be back later….