luciab: (Default)
I think I may have this whole retail therapy thing wrong in my head.

Let me back up a minute-- I had my interview this AM with Social Security for my disability application. To clarify a murky situation, I have been approved for long-term disability from the state, which was my employer when I first had to leave work because of migraines. However, before the state will actually release any benefits to me, I have to send them a form saying I've applied for Social Security disability. Now as anyone who has ever read any of TranceJen's stories about her disability and application for SS benefits can tell you, there is no way in holy hell I will ever see one red cent from SS for my puny little migraines. I can still walk, talk, and function, after all. Still, it's a hoop that must be leapt through before I'll get the disability that IS reasonable.

I had an appointment at 10:45, and got there about 5 minutes early. After some initial misdirection, I got in to see the woman almost exactly on time. Once she stopped telling me I had made some mistake but it was okay, things perked along very smoothly. I'm still not sure why she had to go on about the mistake since she kept saying it was okay (and besides, it was the computer's mistake, not mine.)

I think my early experiences with Unemployment office people have set up my expectations of how government employees are going to act-- rude, suspicious, unhelpful and downright adversarial. (That was true in Iowa, Kentucky and NC, BTW.) Happy to say, the woman today wasn't like that, nor was the woman who I've talked with a few times on the phone. They were both very helpful and pleasant. What a relief. I was expecting to have to justify my very existence. Instead, she asked me a very few questions, apologized for some of them, explained everything, and was generally friendly. I was done in about 15 minutes. Woo hoo!

This excited me so much I decided to go shopping. See, from what I read about "retail therapy" it sounds like most people use shopping to cheer themselves up, but I'm the opposite. When I'm not happy, nothing looks or feels right, and I'm never satisfied; if I buy something anyway, it's always disastrously wrong. But since I was happy instead of depressed, I decided to go on and get a couple of pairs of shoes I've been meaning to get, but I'm never in the part of town where the store is. Today I was there, so now I have one new pair of Earth shoes, and one new pair of Dansko clogs. I wanted another pair of Earth shoes because I wore the ones I already have yesterday, and wasn't nearly as tired when I got home as I have been on other days. And I like the Danskos I have, and I've seen everybody and their brother wearing the clogs, and I had to at least try them on. Score!

I remembered to take my camera to the book repair shop this week, and took lots of photos. I'm still learning the camera, so I have some seriously fuzzy shots, and some where the camera was too close and the flash just washed everything out, but I got a lot I can use, too. I'll also try to replace the ones that are too fuzzy to use.

I volunteered at the local library again on Monday; I'm planning to be there for three hours on Mondays regularly. When I volunteered there before, it was like they were afraid to give me anything different to do, but after working there as a page they are more willing to trust me with a variety of work. I got sent to do all sorts of little things. It seemed to me like the place was hopping, but one of the librarians said it was about normal. Hell, I may have to go into tech services just to have a chance to sit down. They were running the entire time I was there.

And on the "I'm too old to be starting this!" line of thought, I had two people offer me their seats on the bus last week. Damn! I'm used to people telling me I look younger than I am, and suddenly I look so old people think I can't stand up for a few blocks? I must have looked really tired. Bad news is, one time it was in the morning. Yikes. I couldn't decide whether to be amused or horrified.

Okay, on that note, maybe I should take my walker and hobble off to do my homework. Which is just wrong; "walker" and "homework" never belong in the same sentence.
luciab: (Default)
I got some stuff done today, but not as much as I should have. Isn't that always the way? Obviously I'm not one of those "busy!" people you should give work to because they'll always get it done. See? Method to my madness.

So today I saw the doctor about the suddenly elevated cholesterol. Guess what-- she couldn't say why it went up instead of down despite all the diet-awareness, except "genetics." Okay, then. Bring on the pills. And apparently statins are really good for some other things too, so it's all good. She went to get me some samples and when she came back in I heard someone in the hall offer her sympathy. I must have looked quizzical, because she explained. Seems her mother died two weeks ago, after having surgery, infection?? and then hospital-induced psychosis, I think she said. That makes a lot more sense to me now than it would have 15 months ago. Anyway, while her mother was having this episode, her father had a heart attack; he's apparently doing reasonably well, though. Then her father's sister had some kind of surgery, and the doctor herself had some kind of alarm that turned out to be benign. I tell you, I was embarrassed to have bitched about a few exams and papers. Wow. What's a few exams and some elevated cholesterol, anyway?

I went shopping for a digital camera as a reward for getting other errands done. I had my Consumer Reports printout clutched firmly in my hand..... and, as usual, the store didn't have a single one of the cameras they reviewed. The first clerk I had was really good and got curious-- he looked everyone of them up on the computer, and they not only didn't have them in the store, they don't carry them at all. I started looking at other cameras, wanting to try some out, and see how they felt, etc, and he said another clerk knew more about cameras than he did, so the other guy came over. He may have known more about cameras, but he knew shit about sales. He was of the too-cool-for-school variety and didn't want to waste his time with me. Too bad... I came home and did some more research online. There were a couple that I liked the looks of. I suspect I could shop forever, hoping to get exactly the right balance of cost and features, but since I don't understand half of what I'm reading, I'd have to first learn everything about everything, and screw that. Patience is not my virtue for today. There's only so much research you can do, and then you just have to hold your nose and jump. Anyway, I think that's going to be my gift to myself this year. Yay! And it's just the right size, too!

I did get confirmation today that I'm on track to graduate in the spring. Wahootie. For some reason I got nervous about that and felt the need to check.

Also did my Baronial polling today. I must be in quite the mood.... I pretty much just wrote down what I thought. Not rude, but I didn't go to as much trouble as usual to be Southern-polite about everything. "How nice!" wasn't on there anywhere. Just call me Lucia the Tactless. Hey, Venice is in the north of Italy, okay?
luciab: (Default)
Last year Nikulai convinced me that I'd do better itemizing deductions on my income tax than by taking the standard deduction. All year long I saved receipts from the art and office supply stores, hoarded receipts from doctors, and kept every damn "Explanation of Benefits" that came in the mail. As if I don't have enough crap lying around.... This morning I finished putting in every deduction I could lay hands on, including mileage (40.5 cents per mile for January through August, 48.5 for September through December, FYI) for anything that I could document as a business trip or a medical trip. The bad news is, all that saving bits of paper was for naught... I still come out way better with the standard deduction.

The good news is that I will get some money back this year, instead of having to pay them some horrifying amount, as I have for the last few years. Whee! File early!

I am presently seriously annoyed with technology. I got very organized on Friday and hit the store for all those little random things I've been putting off, like a new keyboard. The Apple keyboards are tres elegant, but too sensitive for this household. And I hate the Apple one-button mouse. I like having five buttons that I can program for things like "back" and so on. I also was feeling comfortable enough with the financial situation that I was willing to buy the battery and wireless card for the laptop A&R gave me.

So off I went, all jaunty and brave. When I went in to the store, I couldn't find anyone to help me, and a computer store with aisles and aisles of little gadgets is pretty damned intimidating if you don't know what all that stuff IS. I was walking around, stretching my neck to see over the rows of stuff, looking for a salesperson when a man wearing a name tag approached me: "Do you need some help?" Why, yes... yes I do. Again with the good news/bad news-- as soon as he starting helping me, he revealed himself to be a used-car-salesman type. Big, false-hearty, condescending... you name it. Goody. Even if I could have figured out how to ditch him, there still wasn't anyone else around to help me. Grrr.

After much running around the store, repeated questions, and several clear indicators that he was a manager and not a computer person, I selected a keyboard, a mouse, and found the wireless card for the laptop.

I'm outta there. Got home. The (wireless) mouse needed to be charged before it could be used. Sigh. Changed out the keyboard. Remembered that the Apple keyboard has USB ports, and without them, I'm one USB port short and can't hook up my palmtop to hot sync it. Grrr. Well, okay, I'll go on and do the wireless card, and order the battery online. Got the battery ordered with no problem. (At least it's ordered.) Installed the software for the wireless card and inserted card A into slot B. No joy. After trying everything I knew to try, I took it back to the store the next day, and wound up with a USB-connected wireless setup.

And the mouse-- well, it needs drivers installed, and they are on a 3-1/2" floppy disk. The iMac doesn't have any way to use a floppy disk. I went online to the manufacturer's site, and they don't have the one I need to download. GRRRR!

And to remind me constantly of how much fun all this is, the new keyboard is sized differently and the keys are off juuuuuust enough that I keep hitting "home" instead of "delete." I am so not amused. Keyboards are inexpensive enough that I suppose I could just get another one and keep this for emergencies, when I'd be glad to have any keyboard. And I still need the extra USB port....


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Susan Arthur

February 2011



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