Winter is a very aimless time for me.  I’m freezing.  It’s too dark  both in the morning, and too early in the evening.  My hands are chapped.  I’m fully clothed, yet still not warm enough.

Mostly, I spend my time watching the clock, to make sure that I don’t spend all day in bed trying to hibernate through the Winter months.  When I’m not watching the clock, I’m double-checking the temperature gauge to make sure that my fear of exceeding my income by keeping the heat too low to save money isn’t unhealthy.

I turned on the heat for the first time in the new place as of November 2nd, and I got my first bill which includes the cost of the heater running, at an additional $9 for that month.

Since then, I’ve been running scenarios in my head, trying to figure out how high the heating bill might run for increasing the total of my bill.  Until I get my next bill at the end of December, I’m not going to have any idea how bad it will get.

In my prior apartment, the lovely garden apartment “dump”, without any kind of insulation, my heating costs increased between $250 and $400 per month from October thru April, depending on my health and the weather.

The copper temperature gauge in the picture above had pride of place in the old apartment, and even though I’m not finished painting the living room walls, it was one of the first things I hung up in the new home.  I no longer have the high income I had at this time over the last 4 years.  Additionally, I no longer have the crappy income I had at this time last year.  No, this year I’m dealing with half of the previous year’s crappy income, and trying to find a way to make it be enough.  To be sufficient.  I need this to work out, so that I can continue to live on my own while dealing with the reality that living with COPD has caused in its latest round of impact on my life.

So, today I took my aimless butt over to craigslist to see if there was any possibility of coming up with new surveys to take to earn a few unrestricted dollars, or find some sort of part time income that might work if I’m well enough to try.


Every other posting was for Uber or Lyft.  Doordash or Amazon.  So many opportunities pre-Christmas, when I am still highly restricted from doing anything while I am still employed and fighting for my back pay and benefits after being put on permanent disability.

I was able to find a couple of local studies for Yahoo!, and will hope that I get picked for one or more in order to get some extra dollars to get through the cost of heating my new palace.

Unfortunately, having had 3 car accidents as part of finding that it was time I go on disability as my COPD worsened, I don’t think it would be a good idea to join Uber or Lyft.  There might be an option with Safeway for grocery deliveries (if the timing isn’t too tight and the bags aren’t packed to heavily), or with Doordash for bringing folks their fast food. Again, driving is involved, but the only safety I would be risking is my own vs. myself AND my passengers.

Of course, I’m sitting on my butt trying to evaluate what kind of work I can do, and should try and do, having just come from taking the cat to the groomers for her monthly appointment to defur her, and trim back the purrsuaders.  (Believe me, the $50 I spend on her is vital to my mental health and physical health for living with her, and is not optional for cutting as a way to conserve costs).  Before I could do anything, though, I needed a nap.

Exhaustion with COPD is a fact of life.

I was up at 7:30, at the groomers by 9am.  Then, got breakfast (Bacon, Egg and Cheese McGriddle with my meds and water).  Killed some time looking for a particular type of jewelry “looper” tool that I need for making tiny, .02mm loops and eye pin twists, but eventually it was 11am and time to pick the fur coated diva up to bring her home.

I’d been up less than 5 hours, and the only thing that I could do the minute I got home was go to bed for an hour or so nap.

How does one plan a work routine around exhaustion???

I’ve spent most of my work life hiding my condition and passing for normal.  I know it’s a failing that I’m very competitive and will push myself in order to pass for normal when it comes to keeping up.  That’s partially what lead to my 3+ car accidents.  So, I’m still sitting here contemplating my naval and reading the “part time” and “etc” job postings in the hope that I can find a part time job that will get me a couple of extra bucks each week, and which will not be humiliating to lose if I find that I cannot keep up.

Yes, I’m seeking the golden egg, and haven’t seen hide nor hair of the goose that’s supposed to be delivering it.

This is (hopefully), going to be a big week for the lawyer to make progress on my lawsuit against my employer.  I should hear something by December 5th about whether or not they have received the paperwork they need from SSDI to proceed, if my case is going to remain on hold, or if they are going to proceed in evaluating my health without that so called “critical file”.

I’m also supposed to hear at some point this month if they are going to terminate my employment status despite the lawsuit not being resolved.  On the one hand, I wish they’d go ahead and terminate me, just so that I could get my hands on my 401K.  On the other hand, I don’t want to do anything that will jinx the possibility of them paying out the benefits that I’ve paid into, and which they owe me.

So, unable to work a predictable 40+ hourly week, and restricted from taking any kind of part time work as I’m technically employed by my former company despite being on disability, I sit and wait.  Aimless.

Hopefully, the next two weeks will be productive in term of resolving my working status, back pay and benefits, prior to the end of 2016.

Whether or not those two weeks are productive, though, as time continues to pass at a snail’s pace, is anybody’s guess.  I just have to possess myself of patience while otherwise wishing my life away, hoping that the clock would turn faster.

No answers here, but I continue to ruminate on the possibilities once my position is resolved.


4 thoughts on “Aimless

  1. Arrgh. I watched a movie “The Fault in Our Stars” last night. In a way it made me think of you, because one of the central characters had lung cancer and could not breathe. Not on her own anyway…she toted around the oxygen cannula with her everywhere she went, because to take it off meant no breath. She said at one point (and I was really reminded of your situation) “Not being able to breath SUCKS. It sucks and there is no upside to it!!” Now you don’t rant about it and you get on with an amazingly positive attitude (to me who can suck in air at will ((unless I’m asleep apparently)) ) and you just deal with it. But remember when you get frustrated about having to nap in the middle of the day or after what you might consider minimal exertion, that not being able to get oxygen to your vital bits is WHY you are napping. Stoking up the cells to have another go round. The character in the movie had to sit. A LOT. She was a 17 year old girl too, and i recall that age, I could not sit still for long. There was a scene where she had to do a lot of climbing up stairs and a ladder and the exhaustion was very real, I could relate. And about the gas/heating (electric?) bill – maybe I’ve asked you before, but doesn’t California have a equal payment plan for utilities? They do in Utah and it saves my ass every year for cutting costs in the cold months (although up here they outsource their electricity needs to someone I’ve never heard of, and the end of last summer was a helluva shock because the electric went through the damn roof because i used my A/C) . It’s a thought if it’s available. Best wishes and I’m glad to see you having a moment to write again!


  2. Thanks for the suggestions. Because I’m in my own home, but the gas and electric come through a central party, I’m not sure how it all works. I’ve got some padding in my budget for the heating to increase by up to 200$ more each month before it gets critical for the overall health of my budget, but it’s the whole “fear of the unknown” that gets me agitated.

    Right now, I’ve started a spreadsheet so that I can track the costs of everything that’s lumped in with the space fee, and I’m charting my month-over-month costs for use of water, electric, gas, sewer, and all the other applicable fees, and we’ll see how it goes. I don’t miss dealing with PG&E directly, but I did like their algorithms which showed me how much other neighbors were spending for electric or gas vs. how much I was spending. Being Fred’s Granddaughter, you know I fell on the very THRIFTY side, LOL.

    Where possible, I’m putting in solar accessories to supplement for lighting (my car parking area doesn’t have a sensor light, and the porch lighting cage is too small to change it without hiring an electrician – a minimum $245 charge – if I could get them to show up !).

    Anyway, I put a solar light on the roof of the shed, and it’s sucking up power like nobody’s business. At night, the minute I drive in and get out of the car, the sensor light picks me up and runs for 3 minutes. More than enough time to get into the house, and certainly to run continuously if I need to go in and out multiple times while unloading the car. Best $45 I ever spent.

    I’ve talked to the park about supplementing our power needs with solar, and they want nothing to do with it, sadly enough. They say the calculations for splitting the costs would be too complex. Sheesh !

    Between the tax rebates and all the low-income folks who live here and who could use a cut on their electrical costs, I believe it would be great. But, if the manager doesn’t want to explore the cost savings options, it’s then up to each of us to restrict ourselves to making changes where the Park Management has no say. Outdoor lighting is a key area for me, especially since that can be expensive.

    As for the “Fault is in our Stars”, I hear you.

    I haven’t wanted to watch that movie as it is a very real depiction of how much worse my life could be, and I don’t need the mental drama. I know the exhaustion is from doing stuff, never mind just breathing, but it’s still frustrating to know that I’m sleeping my life away some days. Sad.

    So many with my disease suffer from depression, and I’m fighting very hard to keep moving to fight off those feelings of frustration / despair.

    When I did a survey through Stanford back in 1995 / 1996, it was very entertaining. The surveyor took my responses in October / November, and was due to come back in a few months to see how I was doing after the holidays. It was quite a surprise when she tried to reach me and found nothing but rubble at my former home due to the PG&E natural gas explosion.

    I really enjoyed talking to her, and talking about how my roomie and I both coped with the resulting stress and depression due to the changes in our lives, and how quickly each of us got back on our feet despite our challenges. I told her then the same thing that my mother told me. “Busy people don’t get depressed. Depression is a disease of the rich. Folks who have too much time on their hands that they don’t “have” to get up and do anything. They don’t “have” to find a way to cope. You’re not rich, so get up and get moving. Truly tough love was preached in my house, and I’m the stronger for it.

    Not saying that physical activity works to cure depression in all cases, but my Mom’s tool of making me go scrub the floor or the bath tub or do something manual when I was feeling ill treated always served 2 things: 1) It made me tired enough to sleep well. And, 2) It made sure I was too busy to focus on feeling like crap.

    Mm would always say, “Just try for 15 minutes and then see how you feel”, and she was right. It may not work for everyone, but it’s certainly worked for me.

    At least, as I often remind myself, I still have the OPTION to get up and do stuff. I’m not a paraplegic where I HAVE to stay in the chair or in bed. So, use it or lose it, as the saying goes.

    Thanks for dropping by. Hope you’re having a good day by the time you see this response.


    1. My day has been peaceful, if not interactive. I think you have the wrong idea about “The Fault in Our Stars” — it’s not depressing (well the end is, but overall? Upbeat). As I said the main character reminds me of you. She’s a FIGHTER. It’s a love story and love stories make me wail. I think you’d rather like it actually, it does not focus on the lack of breath in the girl, but rather how she refuses to let lack of breath stop her. At doing anything she wants. You might like it.

      And for the solar thing? If the managers think the calculations would be too difficult, hey! They’ve got a wizard with figures who has recently moved in and is looking for things to do. You’d have to volunteer to do the nitty gritty stuff, but if/when you’re at a loose end, maybe it’s something to think about.

      And your mother had a point – depression is for the ‘rich’ because theoretically the ‘rich’ have more time to dwell on how they feel about stuff rather than DOING something about it. And the head doctors say learning to focus on living in the moment and being proactive about feeling shitty is key…but your mom was also wrong in one aspect. Not that I don’t think her attitude was wrong. For some of us genetics and bad ‘wiring’ (chemistry in our brains) is the culprit. I’m not looking for a scapegoat nor saying that one can’t learn better ways of dealing with a lousy outlook on life in general, but it’s comforting to know that it’s not all “me” being too sensitive or whiny too. I get frustrated by those who refuse to take meds or do anything proactive and who constantly wallow in their depressive misery actually. Because I know there is a solution, even if it is temporary.

      Good days my friend! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you seen the TED talk about the Australian woman who was a dwarf, and her parent’s refused to allow her to receive an award just for showing up? That viewpoint shaped her life, and that’s kind of where I’m at regarding “The Fault is in our Stars”.

    IMHO.if you’re living it, it’s anything but enjoyable to review your life’s daily challenges from someone else’s viewpoint. (Yeah, that’s my grumpy point of view. If I ever get over my fear of suffocating, I may watch it, but for now it’s off the list of possibilities).

    And, I agree with what you’re saying. My father, and my Mother’s Mom are / were seriously depressed, and couldn’t get out of their own ways. Daddy Dearest refused to take the meds after 6 months of peace and quiet, so I can see your point about being frustrated with anyone that won’t help themselves. In the case of the Stanford study, they were focusing on coping strategies, and if your strategies worked to help keep you from getting more depressed with bad things happened, or if you spiraled down into a worse depression. No answers, because that was many years ago, but I believe that they took the approach that physical exercise “couldn’t hurt” anyone who was depressed. Go figure.

    Happy Sunday !


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