Kiki's Kitty

See, I told you dreams come true!

I know I don't update here very often anymore (BAD ROBYN, NO COOKIE!).  We've been having a pretty hard go of things lately.  Not as bad as some, worse than others--it's never good to compare situations.  But bad for us.  BUT, I am happy to say that as of February 1st I will be starting a new, full-time job which is, literally, the answer to our prayers.  It is the perfect job for me, it's ethical and meaningful, and it pays enough for us to make it!  I will be the new Associate Director of a local eco-justice center.  Gah, I can't even believe it yet.  So, I thought I would pass this around, just to let y'all know what's new in my life. 
the truth

Rules for taking public assistance

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, mostly because myself and many of my friends are now on varying forms of state aid. Taking public assistance is a daunting thing to do, generally incredibly depressing, and just all around no fun. Many perfect strangers are happy to criticize you for your dependence, regardless of the fact that they have no idea what your actual situation is.

With this in mind, I've compiled a simple list of rules (or perhaps, "guidelines") to help minimize the embarrassment and discomfort of taking public assistance. This list has been created based on my own experience and the experience of friends. Please note that contravening any rule in any way does grant legal rights for every person who sees you to judge you (out loud or, if desired, in print) on any or all of the following: your lifestyle choices, your parenting, your personal hygiene, your laziness, your education, your intellect, your lack of patriotism/apparent Frenchness, your very existence as signaling the certain decline and fall of our entire civilization, or any other topic of choice. So please do be careful out there!

The Rules:

1. Don't be dirty. Present yourself in as hygenically-perfect a condition as possible. You should have no visible dirt on your person (including fingernails), clean and well-kept hair, freshly-laundered clothes, no rumples, etc. This goes double-extra mega for children. Any signs of uncleanliness in your children could be considered grounds for busybody supermarket shoppers to call DFS on you.
2. Don't be clean. But remember, you are poor. You shouldn't be able to afford things like shampoo, or fresh laundry, etc. If you're too clean, you are obviously wasting the taxpayers money on frivolities. Do nothing to breach the carefully-maintained prejudices of the public who believe that people on assistance are dirty, lazy slackers who really enjoy living on $250 per week.
3. Never engage in any luxury activity at all, ever. Remember, you are currently taking public aid, which means of course that you must never, ever, find any way to enjoy your life that costs any amount of money at all. Do not ever do any of the following: go to movies, rent movies, go to the theatre, go to a restaurant, take your children to amusement/skating/other fun activities, or anything else that might cost money. You are poor--you don't deserve a moment's enjoyment of life. If you did deserve it, you wouldn't be poor, right?
3a. In addition to money-costing activities, also remember that free activities that you might enjoy are also forbidden. Every moment you are enjoying yourself is a moment you are not spending trying to find a job, keep a job, find another job, or find a third/fourth job. Obviously this must be your only focus. As such, all of the following activities are also forbidden: walks in the park, taking children to the playground, having a picnic, sitting on your porch with friends, visiting family, going to parties, etc.
4. Never possess any item which could be construed as you spending money. This rule is a bit confusing, so examples might serve well here: do not let your SIL give you a manicure for your birthday, or fix your hair in any fancy way. Do not dress in business clothes, even purchased secondhand. Do not borrow your parents/in-laws nice car to go to run errands. Never dress your children in the expensive clothing purchased for them as gifts by loving relatives. Do not use public aid to buy your child a birthday cake and soda, which was the only thing they asked for for their birthday. Obviously, if an upstanding, tax-paying citizen sees you in a grocery store with nicely done nails & hair, driving a nice car, and buying a cake and soda, they are entitled to decry loudly (and post everywhere possible online) how abusive you are being of the system. Just because they have no idea how or why you have these things is no excuse--it is your responsibility as a poor person to never make taxpayers have to think about, well, much of anything.
4a. To maintain the personal moral indignation of the taxpayer to our situations, it is acceptable to on occasion breach rule #4 in limited fashion. This allows the taxpayer to continue with their prejudices, which is crucial for our status quo.
5. Only purchase things deemed appropriate by the surrounding consumers. Again, the guiding principle here is that you are poor, and obviously incapable of making educated decisions (otherwise, again, you wouldn't be poor now, would you?). You must only buy products that other tax-paying people think are appropriate. As this can vary somewhat sharply by area, it is often helpful to pass out a brief questionnaire to other shoppers before attempting to shop yourself.

If you follow these simple rules, you should lead exactly the joyless, grinding, depressing life you are meant to lead, while simultaneously having any sense of self-worth or pride expunged from you forever. Remember, if you work very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very hard, you may be able to get a job that will allow you to pay taxes, and then you can decry all the other people on public assistance for not "taking every opportunity to get yourself out of that mess like I did!" If you work even harder than that, you might someday be able to afford your own health insurance!
depressed garfield

Line me up.

I saw a thread about the line-drying debate (srsly? we need to debate this?) over at pollanesque, based on the NYT article about it here:  So I though I would share my own thoughts on the right-to-dry movement, and those who oppose it:

You know, there's something deeper (and sicker) going on in the minds of folks who "just don't want their view obstructed" and are concerned about their "property value", and it was hinted at in the article when someone said that line-drying had become synonymous with "being too poor to own a dryer". So what's the real problem with line-drying? Is it ugly? Of course it's not. Now, maybe a line of underwear isn't the loveliest of things, but it's just not ugly, and about anything else looks somewhere between fine to downright pretty. Is it dangerous? Unsafe somehow? Toxic? Uh, no, not really. So what is the problem? The problem is that [conspiratorial whisper] it might look like there are *poor* people living near you!!!! (GASP!) Now we all know how terrible it would be for POOR folk to live nearby, what with their no-skiing-vacation and budget-eating ways. And poor people bring down the value of *your* property because, well, living next to a poor person really is just as bad as living near a trash dump, or superfund site, or prison, right? I mean, hell, it's practically the same thing! No no no, we can't have poor people living near rich people, and if it becomes too difficult to tell the difference between poor people and rich people, we might accidentally ostracize people based on actual character flaws and behavior, in which case we'd all be kicked out of our own communities....

*headesk headesk headesk*

Dharma Wheel

(no subject)

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
--Robert Frost

Welcome, autumn.  =D


We got a letter from the unemployment office which stated, basically, that ISU did not provide any evidence that Brian was terminated due to his performance (which would invalidate our unemployment claim).  In other words, they've finally (in at least one place) admitted that Brian's non-rehire was not due to him.  *sigh*  That's very heartening. We always rather suspected as much, but it's good to see that they didn't even try to make a case for themselves (and, FWIW, usually they do).

Of course, we're still unemployed.

In other news, I'm still canning tomatoes.  I'm on pounds 140-180 now.

Kiki's Kitty

Yesterday, and the unemployment throwdown!

Er... okay, not really much of a throwdown.  More of a "Huh?!  But what if we do X instead?  She didn't know?  What if it's Y?  Didn't know that either.  What, exactly, DID she know?"  Thankfully, we have a friend who used to work at the unemployment office before our state switched from publicly-owned to privately-owned and she was--get this--LAID OFF FROM THE UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE.  But she cares lots about us, and still has friends at the office, and was able to hook us up with someone who in fact DID know things, and who was able to convey them to us in an efficient and clear fashion.  Nifty.  Short story, yes, we will be getting unemployment, and no, our IRA will not f*sk with anything, no matter what we do with it (well, not much anyway).

We're both looking for jobs now.  That's okay.  There actually are some jobs out there that we qualify for, which is nice.  Now it's just a matter of getting one of them.  There's a really cherry position at R-H in admissions that we would love to have, that Brian is well-qualified and suited for, but we've not heard anything yet.  I'm looking at secretarial, and secretly kicking around applying for the cook position at a new steakhouse.  But that job would just be too indulgent--it wouldn't pay enough, and would doubtlessly be sucky hours that I'm not sure we could hack as a family.  I also need to get the kids onto the state insurance program, which is really really good.  That means that we have to be somewhat careful not to make too much money such that our kids get kicked back off of the state program (and we still can't afford out-of-pocket private insurance), unless one of us actually lands a job with benefits.  There's no way we can pay for insurance out of pocket, and in fact B & I are now officially uninsured and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.  So I kinda, ya know, hope nothing happens to us or anything.  A medical situation can pretty much only resolve one of two ways for us right now:  (1) bankruptcy [and probably loosing the house] or (2) indentured servitude to the hospital for the remainder of our lives as we work off our debt.  Yup, our healthcare system is obviously the best in the world.