20 May 2016

It’s been a hell of a day–again. I met with the new client who’s looking for a couple dog walks a week. She’s four bus stops from me. We chatted for 3 hours. Pets, Asperger’s, health care, housing, transportation…and Ruby licked and cuddled me, though she’s kind of reactive. The client also just moved and has boxes for me. 🙂

Then I went back to Goodwill. The printer was still there! I even found a power cord to match. And a sturdier case for my dying phone for $2. I can’t get my phone out of it, but that seems secure in a way. I spent $31 total. The printer weighs 30 pounds, and the Car2Go home was another $17. Denny and parts of I-5 were congested. We could fix most of that with a Denny subway and highway tolls, but we don’t like to do tough or sensible things. The navigation on my phone is better than the car’s. Yet again, the trunk refused to open. After Goodwill I picked up my study materials to upgrade my ham license. The tests are updated every three years, and these are good to 6/30/19. I didn’t even know they’d tried to deliver the books, or that they weren’t coming USPS. The call box at my building only works for land lines. And this is 2008 construction. We dealt with call boxes and cell phones in 2002-04 when I was on my co-op board in DC. I’m going to see about getting that fixed.

On Capitol Hill I passed the shuttered Harvard Exit theater. It’s so sad. Such a great old building with countless memories. I took my Meetup group there on Christmas 2008 and saw Slumdog Millionaire. STG saved the Neptune, and SIFF saved the Uptown and Egyptian, but I guess our arts community lacked the resources to save this one (our millionaires don’t, but they spend only on their whims). Meanwhile SIFF is showing films in Kirkland, Shoreline, Renton, and Bellevue. Toronto (our rival in North America) does nothing like that–if you hurry you can get between all their venues on foot. I also passed the former diabetic-friendly Mexican restaurant Galerias. It was among my favorites here, but they had a fire and didn’t reopen. The first time I went there, a young woman was dressed up playing a harp. No one seemed to notice when she switched from classical music to Stairway to Heaven. Now it’s a Tex-Mex place called Rooster. :/ Our best Greek restaurant, Costas Opas, is gone too; replaced by a damn Chase bank branch–2 blocks from Lenin.

InterConnection is having a $30 sale on smartphones, but they’re old. So I saved a trip to Fremont. My health clinic just got my MRI results, but the doctor hasn’t analyzed them yet.

Shockingly, Bruce Harrell’s staff got back to me about the vacant lot next door. It’s fenced off, with intermittent barbed wire, and neglected to the point that it has 3-4 foot grass, and thorny branches poking out. Not the right message to send in the heart of the neighborhood. I asked who owns it because I want to see why it’s just sitting there, and at least get them to maintain it a bit in the interim so it’s not so ugly. So is it notorious slumlord Carl Haglund? A developer stuck in permitting? A rich guy who’s holding the land to sell when it’s worth more? Nope. It’s… The Seattle Housing Authority! What the hell?!? Are they waiting for the housing levy to pass before building something? We could really use 6 floors of affordable housing above shops and restaurants. (The zoning is 40 feet–stupidly–but we make exceptions all the time) This is crazy. I have to get to the bottom of it.

The new printer has no ink, but I managed to set it up after a long call with Filipino tech support. I’m blown away. It has features I’ve never seen in a printer. It’s a 2014 model; mine is 2007. It can automatically scan and print double sided, has a top feeder so I can scan much more quickly, two paper trays so I can do regular paper and envelopes for example, very low cost per page, can fit legal paper…I can even print over wifi from my phone! And I think it may be able to print remotely via iCloud. It’s a productivity boost I’ve needed for a long time. Money well spent.

I made some final tweaks to my info flyers for the bus stop out front and posted them in the shelter. Hopefully they’re helpful to riders. I still want to represent the information visually since many people here don’t speak English, but it’s great for now. I got another round of things from the house and can print the food stamp paperwork on my old printer until I get ink for the new one. I got my mail for the first time in 10 days and need to do laundry for the first time in 2 weeks. I walked 13,000 steps today. Tomorrow there’s still more to do before a brief sitting job in Greenwood.

General Update

APARTMENT:
I went back to SHA. She’s submitting my file today and expects me to be approved. She said it might happen Friday. It’s a 2nd floor unit, and it has a dishwasher (hooray!). I’ll have to see later about getting a ham radio antenna outside. The rent is 30% of your income, updated annually. You also pay electric. The deposit is $300. She’s being extra cautious because of the way the feds pore over everything. Their check on me had temp agencies I worked for in college and the address where I first lived with a friend outside DC for two months in 1999-2000.

SHOULDER:
The x-ray results were done right after I got them March 30th, but I only got them yesterday. They say everything is normal. I gave a copy to my physical therapist and got a doctor to request an MRI. She said they’ll want the PT notes, so my therapist is submitting them. They really make it hard to get an MRI and strongly discourage it. But my therapist thinks I have a cartilage issue, for which they might have to do a “manipulation under anesthesia”. You get *general* anesthetic, and they move your arm all around to force it back to its proper range of motion, breaking up the cartilage. Then you have more aggressive physical therapy. I’ve had general anesthesia once before and don’t look forward to the vomiting. (Why is my phone correcting physical to phytoplankton?)

FOOD STAMPS:
I finally got a form from DSHS, and my therapist filled it out to say I’m disabled. I need to scan and submit it.

MENTAL HEALTH CARE:
My new home clinic referred me to a separate place for medication management; they don’t do it there. This is part of the stigma of mental health and illness–why should it be done at a separate facility in a different network? No other body part gets separated out like that. I have lots more paperwork to fill out then a 2 hour intake. Hopefully I can get them to prescribe klonopin; apparently many Medicaid mental health places won’t. If I get med management there, they’ll want me to switch my therapy there too, but I’m pretty sure you still get just one hour every two weeks, which is definitely less than I need. The doctor I saw showed me that I’m listed as “medically complicated” in their system.

TRANSIT:
I’m behind on writing an article on late night transit service. I do have at least one rider who works late and is willing to talk with me about it. I also got a short email reply from the venerable Jarrett Walker.

Indirectly and unexpectedly, I got one of the ORCA cards being given to people who live near the new U Link stations. It’s good for free trips through the 13th. I start dog sitting in Burien Friday though.

HAM RADIO:
I really badly want to get back on the air already. The guy with a spare radio to loan me should have it back now, but I haven’t heard. I could use my client’s car to pick it up from Burien which is slightly closer. I go to the Spark Museum in Bellingham tomorrow. Weather-wise, it should be a good day to go north. I have to wake up at 4:45am, and take a couple Whatcom bus schedules with me.

I have to get my hat back from my last clients and may have a free movie to see tonight. I’m at Top Pot now. It’s not what I should eat, but food is the one human need I can control.

Life Update/Thoughts on Our Rising Dollar

10628842_10152415917312507_8216021641307924469_o (1)Life has been very busy the last 7-10 days. Which creates a paradox where life in poverty is so hectic you don’t have time to document it, contributing to overall lack of understanding of what life in poverty is like. I’ve had a few dogsitting gigs that made me a little money. One generated another 5-star review online. I spent so much in September bus fare that a pass would’ve been cheaper, but dogsitting isn’t predictable enough to buy one early in the month. I volunteered to be in a TV ad for Pramila Jayapal‘s state Senate race. It should air on cable in Renton, where I don’t think I know anyone. But it was fun, and I met a very attractive woman who lives near my new home (I love Columbia City) and has been looking for a dogsitter. I’ve shifted my scant savings to financial institutions that pay higher interest. I got an iPhone 6, paid for by the trade-in value of my iPhone 4S. I decided to delay, again, buying a new laptop (this one is more than 8 years old and doesn’t support Chrome or Skype, for example, nor can it sync the calendar with my phone). So between that and the trade-in value they made available only if you ordered by 9/30, I figured I deserve a new toy. Which I like a lot so far. 🙂

I had an initial intake appointment at the private DBT clinic, and I actually feel hopeful about it so far. It seems like a better fit for me than the Harborview program. I got assigned to a therapist who has experience in PTSD, which I think is my top mental health issue right now. Also, she’s about my age and pretty. 😛 I also FINALLY got a blood glucose meter and test strips, and the insulin pen we fought 2 1/2 months for (I had to prod the pharmacy and bug my insurance). But now my nutritionist thinks my blood sugar levels are coming down enough that I may not need the pen. At least this is a good problem. If I can get my average bg under 150, I can resume an autism drug study in Bellevue that pays decent money.

I’m to be arraigned next week and have a trial set in December for my Failure to Comply arrest. I may have persuaded my parents to pay for a private defense lawyer, but I haven’t had time to get one yet. Only this week did I get the actual writeup of my supposed crime, in which the officer says I “argued” with the Federal Protective Service officers (to them, anything other than immediate, complete, unquestioning obedience equals refusal) and refused to leave by falling down. When other people had already seen me shaking badly because I was so nervous/worried. It got worse after that, and I lost the ability to walk or even stand for a while. The officers had to almost carry me, and offered to get an ambulance. The head pig, though, said I was faking. I’d tried to explain multiple times that I’m autistic and how that was affecting me, but I don’t think they gave a shit. Anyway, the idea that I refused to comply by falling down reminds me of the guy in Ferguson, MO who was wrongly shot by the police, who then also charged him with destroying government property because he bled on their uniform. This is the country we live in now. My lawyer and public defense friends think I’d likely be better off taking a guilty plea with community service or a suspended sentence, but I find this so ridiculous I want to see if it can be dismissed or I can win a jury trial. I can’t abide the idea of pleading guilty to something I didn’t do. Aspies are very strong on principle(s).

Finally, I wrote a very long email to my parents basically to promote myself (which is very difficult and unnatural for me) and convince them I’m worth helping financially. I shared it with a few close friends and relatives and got incredibly positive feedback. My psychologist aunt said I struck exactly the right tone and apologized that I’m stuck with the parents I got. I was amazed at my parents’ reply, which was nice and clarified some of their goals or hopes more clearly and explicitly than I ever knew. I nearly cried tears of joy. They say they’re very busy, which seems odd as they’re retired, and today sent a photo of their “new girls”–three sheep. I have absolutely no idea what that’s about, had no idea that was coming, or what the heck else they plan to do with their 10 acres in West Bumfuck, Oregon. They’ve lived their entire lives in suburbia and have never farmed or even gardened a thing. All I can think of is going there so they’d spend money on me (even just nice restaurant meals) and assembling a gorgeous, huge ham radio antenna array. I can’t wait to buy a $100 apartment antenna I found from MFJ and hopefully get back on the air once my friend and I move into our new house. I’m told there will be a class this winter for upgrading your license to the highest class (I have the middle of three basically), and I hope to take that and get my Extra class license even though the class is up in Snohomish County. I think accomplishing that will make me feel proud and hopefully generate some momentum for other positive things.

With that, I should get the heck out from behind a screen and hit the grocery. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook about a NYTimes article I read on the US dollar rising against other currencies:

My lightly informed opinion is that the dollar was too high for too long because that’s what Volcker and Greenspan did with interest rates. And given that recent history, we need a period of lower interest rates and a weaker dollar to sort of balance things out–give exporters, tourism, and beneficiaries of cross-border shopping a chance to do better. Sure, you generally want GDP to grow rather than shrink, but in this country that indicator, like unemployment, has become detached from what the economy is doing for most people. If CEO to worker pay were 25:1 instead of 350:1, and if GDP growth and productivity gains were broadly shared like they were 1945-70, I’d be more concerned with GDP. We’ve already seen that middle class and poor foreigners are doing better than their US counterparts. We also see Germany loosening immigration laws because it has a worker shortage. Spain, Portugal, and Greece aren’t Germany–economies vary within the EU. But I’m leery of the notion that Europe’s economy is really–objectively, broadly–doing worse than ours. They certainly don’t have our poverty and suffering at the bottom, and my sense is that they’re mostly more democratic. Austerity doesn’t work in recessions, but that seems more limited to the UK. We didn’t exactly get the Second New Deal we needed either. (though the stimulus program bought Seattle’s new LED streetlights that Bruce Harrell takes credit for)