The Ongoing Quest for the Missing Birth Certificate 

Social Security caseworker left me a message saying my “document” (birth certificate) is available at their office in the dreaded federal building for me to pick up. This seems odd given that they repeatedly told me they’d sent it to me in the mail. Perhaps they discovered it had been sitting in their office all along, lost. But “security” (police state) wouldn’t let me in since I had a small pair of gardening clippers with me. The county administration building lets you check prohibited items to claim when you leave. The federal building not only does no such thing; they told me I had to take them off federal property “meaning across the street”. So apparently federal security now thinks the street and sidewalk belong to them and not the city. 

Also, I looked carefully for any sign saying photography isn’t allowed in the building. I couldn’t find one, unless it’s included in the huge sign with tiny print listing the conditions of entering the building. That would’ve taken a good 10-15 minutes to read, which would assuredly make the cops suspicious. 

So the quest for the missing birth certificate continues. I’m thinking I should recruit a round table of Knights to assist me in The Multi-Year Quest for Disability Benefits I Need and Paid For. American social programs must make Kafka blush in his grave. 

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The Bureaucratic Nightmare That is Disability

Called Disability Determination Services (DSHS subsidiary that does part of your disability approval/rejection process) since they sent me a threatening letter last week. They’re mad they haven’t gotten the 20-30 pages of forms back from me that they sent to my old address after I gave them the new one. Woman kept interrupting me and was extremely closed-minded to the notion that a person with disabilities like autism, depression, PTSD, and sleep apnea–plus the death of my cat a week ago–might need extra time to fill out such forms. I pointed out that I left her a voicemail weeks ago that got no response, but she claimed not to have received it. I noted that I’ve been without my birth certificate for six months because SSA lost it (I called about that earlier, but they close at noon on Wednesdays). She disclaims that DDS and SSA are separate offices (for some reason, my case is in the Spokane DDS office). She kept asking me what she needed to do to get my completed forms back, then interrupting my answers. She also exaggerated the amount of time I’ve had to finish the forms and threatened to reject my case if she didn’t have the forms in 10 days. What I really need is a therapist/caseworker familiar with the disability process to walk me through these forms. But I don’t think that’s available. This whole process is hell, and we’d save a lot of time, money, and frustration by scrapping the disability program and replacing it with A GUARANTEED BASIC INCOME FOR ALL.

Grief Process, Part 1

There are times when I want or expect Lucy to be there, but she’s not. I’m slowly doing things like cleaning and putting away her food and water bowls, or emptying her litter box for the last time. I forget that I can close my door all the way now since she doesn’t need to get in or out anymore, and I don’t have to close the toilet lid for her. I have uneaten food to return to the pet store or give away. The cat hair that finds its way everywhere is starting to get cleaned up¬†but no longer replaced. I haven’t been the wreck I feared; the main result seems to be that I’ve slept poorly since she died. But then I fear breaking down in tears at some other random time. My dogsitting job for this weekend got canceled, so I won’t be volunteering with the foster cats in Ballard. The shelter has a pet loss support group that I plan to attend. I decided to have Lucy cremated individually with the ashes returned to me–but not to go to the crematorium in Auburn. I may have her ashes shipped to me rather than brought to the emergency clinic in Renton. Apparently, “they ship people all the time”. The things you never expected to learn…10988519_10152695769922507_1706186877072026819_n

Is My Cat Dying? :(

UPDATE: (8pm) Lucy died about 5:30 this evening. They think she probably had hyperthyroidism leading to arrhythmia. It was sudden and quick, and I was home with her. I chose to have her cremated and keep her ashes.

ORIGINAL POST: I can’t sleep. In part I am increasingly worried about Lucy. She seems less happy, energetic, and playful than normal. I’m worried about arthritis, weight loss/boniness, much greater hunger, Hairballs, odd new behaviors like napping right in front of her litterbox, and ultimately death. We have a Thursday vet appointment, which she’s needed for several years now, but I’m worried what they’ll say and how much I may need to spend–when I’ve liquidated the last of my retirement and don’t make enough to get by. I’ve never lost a pet and know I’ll take it very hard. A pet is a huge boost especially for an autistic person, and I couldn’t afford a new one now. Pets improve your mental health and reduce your risk and severity of heart attack and hypertension. She’s 15, but I need her for a few more years. I’ve had her since January 2002 when I was in DC working for my hero, soon after buying my first home. She’s been with me through so much–the plane crash that killed my boss, Montreal, my snowballing health problems and career collapse, trying and giving up on dating, the hell of my housing job…I can’t imagine life without her. Torties are temperamental; she doesn’t like many people or animals and bit, scratched, and hissed at me plenty, but she’s also my loyal sweetie girl.

A Plea for Seattle to Stop Being Passive-Aggressive

Seattle is a great city. I love it. But that doesn’t mean I ignore its problems, or that it couldn’t be better. That’s the premise behind DC’s Greater Greater Washington blog–DC is a great city, but it could be greater. Recognizing that doesn’t mean you hate the place.

Our biggest problem, in my view, is that we’re stuck in the US. That can’t be fixed. But several others can. We have chronic (not intractable) housing and transportation problems. On housing, we know what to do but aren’t willing to do it. On transportation, I can only summarize our situation as mainly a big clusterfuck. Our gorgeous water and topography make transportation inherently difficult here, but we’re smart and creative, and for the most part, the fixes aren’t rocket science.

But the other blazingly obvious problem could easily be fixed with individual action. We are a passive-aggressive city. Passive-aggressiveness is immature and unhealthy. It’s not a lifestyle choice or a harmless cultural trait. It’s a pernicious, insipid, childish behavior pattern that destroys trust and relationships. So many Seattleites are utterly paranoid over the slightest conflict with any person or entity over the tiniest issue. They’d rather hide their needs or opinions, pretend something they said was a joke, take or do what they want regardless of anyone else, and worst of all–assume rather than communicate. Many adults never learn healthy communication skills because, well, our country is a shithole that can’t even keep its bridges up or first graders from being gunned down en masse. But the education and training IS available, and when you become an adult, it becomes your responsibility to learn to communicate like one.

COMMUNICATING IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS BETTER THAN ASSUMING.

It’s trite but true, as I’m reminded almost daily, that good communication is crucial to the success of pretty much any relationship. Yet Seattleites prefer to cower in the fear that someone might disagree with them or be offended by their words, creating a false patina of happiness and functionality to paper over festering problems, all the while expending unnecessary energy to avoid conflict, inflating their minimum ignorance, and making themselves and those around them unnecessarily unhappy.

This must stop. We can all make our city and our lives, and those of the people we interact with, pretty quickly and easily better by renouncing passive-aggressiveness and conflict avoidance, and trying our damndest to communicate as mature adults at all times. I’ve seen it happen before, among the DC staff where I worked 2001-02, and it was marvelous. And healthy. And successful. We are all human and thus imperfect; perfectionism and “gotcha” catching aren’t the goal. I don’t mean to exempt myself; I intend this in the first person plural as something we ALL must do together. Unless we like gratuitous suffering.

Seattle, it’s time we fucking grow up. Don’t assume–communicate! Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Don’t pretend to agree when you don’t. Don’t pretend not to care about or know something when you do. Don’t pretend to be happy when you’re not. Don’t take conflicting positions just to avoid disagreement. Those are forms of dishonesty. Express yourself clearly, completely, and maturely. You’ll be amazed how much better life can be. Even when you’re stuck in traffic going home to an apartment you can’t afford in a country that can’t agree whether global warming is real.