I signed into wordpress to catch up on other blogs, and to try once more to shake the theme of “Identify Theft” hanging out in the back of my brain. While I have had no success in stepping away from this particular aggravating ear worm, I was very pleased to note an interesting blog from Chronic Yogi which talks about what I’m struggling with – health and finances as a meritocracy.
One of the things her blog touches upon is granting yourself absolution for things which are beyond your control, including health and wealth, when one is struggling with their chronic illness.
In my case, I didn’t realize that I had a particular vision of myself, other than “independent” and “liberated”.
I’ve always been able to hide my illness and work through any issues to be able to earn for myself a lifestyle that afforded me a comfortable living.
However, as I’m in the midst of a fight with my employer about who I am and what I’m owed based on those prior earnings and related benefit payments, I’m coming to the conclusion that my identity has been stolen by the new classification, “disabled”, and that I must continue to fight this theft with every spare bit of energy I possess. To summarize:
(Photo credit: Lick Observatory, about 15 miles from home)
I feel like Heidi looking at these pictures, as a closeup of the observatory from yesterday afternoon shows what I could be dealing with in terms of snowy weather, if not for the microclimate I am lucky enough to enjoy:
(Lick Observatory, up close this week)
It’s been freezing cold since just before Christmas, and the ongoing rains have turned my Northern California foothills a lovely spring green, while also bringing rain and flooding to the areas surrounding my new home. While I knew that I’d be trapped indoors for most of this Winter, I never expected the identity thief of exhaustion to have prevented me from finishing painting the interior of my home, truly leaving me stuck inside amongst the crap and debris of half-finished projects while trying to stay warm and not run up the heating bill.
It’s hard to look back and realize that I gave myself a full two months to do a basic rehab and painting on this home prior to moving in, and that the two months was anything but sufficient.
It’s that lack of reliable planning ability that irritates me the most. I set what would be a reasonable goal, then again and again I fail to attain the desired outcome. Yes, there’s plenty of excuses, but in the end it all comes down to health and finances.
I’m sitting here doing my taxes and dreading what the outcome will be for knowing if I will get a refund (one would hope) or will have to pay additional taxes (one hopes not – certainly not after having paid out $36k already).
Through various sources, I have amassed almost $100k in income for 2016 through a combination of Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability, Profit Sharing, Bonus and Stock Cash Outs.
While I can tell you I was much easier to live with in February, when I was getting paid $4,408 per month, and could see some light at the end of the tunnel, things continued to drop lower and lower as the months went on. It’s not like any of that money was pocketed. I paid off my car. I took care of myself medically, when the insurance company wouldn’t pay for various treatments. I did waste a bit of money traveling to check on my Aunt and keep her company on a cruise, but it was all stuff I’d been doing since 1998, when I first began checking on my Aunt in place of my Mother.
My long term disability kicked in as of July, dropping my monthly income to $2,408. While my income dropped steadily from the original amount of $10,500 per month, none of my living or medical expenses were cut, however, and I was scrambling for every bit of cash to purchase my mobile home by the end of August.
I’ve leveraged my 401K, and I got through 2016 only owing $2,500 to the credit card company (thank heaven for payments to keep me afloat until my ship comes in). I have one payment left to make to a doctor for $46.xx for an outstanding bill, and then I will be current to once again begin the juggling act for 2017 finances.
So, I then get a notice that I’m getting a disability income increase of $8 per month for 2017 – I’ll now take home $2,416 per month.
Of course, then I received a subsequent notice from my mobile home park (thank heavens it’s a non-profit and directed at low-income seniors and disabled folks) informing me that my monthly space fee will increase by $7 for 2017, starting in April. Phew ! I am $1 ahead.
Such a little thing to be grateful for, but as I’m dealing with the identity theft that being without funds is doing to my life, I’m finding a whole new appreciation for any kind of breathing room I can get.
I know others have it much harder than me, having no place to live or no money at all for extra room. But, even knowing how well I have it, I still very much resent counting every single thing that I may need to make my upcoming month livable via medication, supplements, food wise, and stopping to purchase that first, before it gets wasted on other essentials like gas for the car, heat for the house, additional cans of paint to continue working, vanity such as hair colors and cutting, etc.
My lawyer is continuing the good fight on my behalf, and I’m counting the days to see if I will get paid my 2017 Profit Sharing, Stock Cashouts, and backpay that I am owed. It will all be ok, eventually. Until that point occurs, I’m in mourning for the person I used to be. Identity theft sucks.