Barely making ends meet?

Generally, I stay positive from day-to-day, with permission for an occasional pity party, but today things have gotten to me.  The economic news is bleak and though I do not usually subscribe to the mass hypnosis of the media on the state of the economy, now that I need a dental crown and my car is in the shop, I am finding it hard to keep myself from crying.

Fortunately, I have a job.  I am not in love with this job, and I am grossly underpaid, but it’s a job just the same.  Nearly 10% of the population would trade places with me in a New York minute, so I keep the belly-aching inside my head.  Still, it’s challenging to get fired up enough to shower, dress, and drive to the store where I work.  Since it’s retail, I have the “pleasure” of dealing with the public-the joy of which has been experienced by my fellow public servant, Jet Blue flight attendant, Steven Slater.  For the record, I was a stewardess for United Airlines, back in the day when the traveling public dressed in their Sunday finest, and being a “stew” was considered a glamorous job .  A little part of me applauded Mr. Slater for his actions, knowing only too well that after years of being abused, like the elephant who has been tortured for decades and finally snaps and says…ENOUGH…Steve exited with great aplomb.

But, I digress.  My fractured bicuspid needs a crown to the tune of $1475.  Speechless, I told the office manager that it was only one tooth that needed capping, to which she offered me a paltry 10% discount.  Thanks lady, but I don’t have dental insurance, nor do I have $1400 sitting around.  I, like so many of my fellow Americans, live paycheck to paycheck.

My beloved 2002 PT Cruiser, with 118,000 miles, all put on the odometer by me, said she’d had enough of the relentless and brutal heat of Phoenix summers, and just would not start, as if  saying…I need a vacation!  She was towed off like a sick person in an ambulance to the “hospital” for tests.  Right now, I await for results of her “illness,” with my fingers crossed that it’s something simple.  I live paycheck to paycheck.

At the moment I am also waiting for my Dad to die.  That may sound cold and callous to some of you reading this, but he has been dying for over a year…maybe even longer than that.  He has lost over 50 pounds, comes and goes mentally, gets skin tears that bleed nearly every day, and has a deep wound on his left foot that will never heal.  Add to that the catheter he’s worn for over 4 years, the recurring prostate cancer, even though his prostate was removed in 1996, increasing pain levels, and heart issues…there is just no way around the fact that he would NOT want to be living like this…if he were aware!  It is excruciating for me and my family and probably not a picnic for him.

My house is still my house.  I so appreciate that fact.  I was one of the fortunate ones who actually succeeded in modifying the loan.  Not something I was thrilled to do at my age, but it was the only wise decision I could make at that moment.  It does not help the fact that I owe $125,000 MORE than the house is worth by today’s market values.  I remain one of the original owners in my neighborhood.

So after writing all of this, I guess I’ll just allow myself a short pity party this afternoon before I go pick up my car.  By the way…it was the battery!

It’s not private property if it’s a state run facility!

This morning I met a friend, for whom I have been saving newspapers for her to take to Best Friends in Utah. I handed her the papers and chatted for about a minute when a car pulled up and the woman driving asked if she could help us. She said we were on private property and would have to leave.

We were about twenty feet from the street where the road meets to take you to one of the Arizona juvenile detention centers, and thousands of yards from the actual facility. Nowhere is there a sign stating that we were on private land, and nowhere was a sign that said “no trespassing.” There is  simply a sign with the Arizona emblem and words that say it is the Adobe Mountain Juvenile Detention Center, that’s it!

We left, but as I was driving home I began to think of all the questions I should have asked, like “where’s the ‘private property’ sign?” This whole incident just made me madder the closer I got to my house. After all, the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center, a triage and rehabilitative care facility for sick and injured wildlife, shares the property with the detention center. In fact, last November, the wildlife center held an open house and gave directions, telling people to turn into the Adobe Mountain Juvenile Detention Center.

So what the heck did we do wrong? Am I missing something? Is this a police state?  The detention center is a state-run facility and therefore, is NOT located on private property. In fact, since I live and work in Arizona, I contribute not only to the facility, and the care and feeding of the inmates, but to the salary of the woman whose impressive sleeve badge had obviously gone to her head.

So I say to the Adobe Mountain Juvenile Detention center…if you don’t want people to turn around, or hand off newspapers at the edge of the property, I suggest you post a sign saying that it is private property. But, wait a minute, you can’t, because it is a State facility, and therefore, NOT private property.

Just sayin’…

Author’s note: Though I usually post photo’s when I blog, I opted not to return and take a photo of the sign. I apologize to my readers for the lack of visual.

Healthcare for ALL

The abysmal American health care system was in my face yesterday at the store where I work and I am more sickened than ever.

One of my co-workers fainted and fell to the floor. Though it has been many years since I worked in the medical field, I was, at one time, an oral surgical nurse, so I offered to help. I suggested the usual…keep her head still…don’t move her…as I answered questions asked by the 911 operator.

While I was on the phone the “patient” began crying hysterically, saying she didn’t want anyone to come. Why? She has no health insurance. When she needed help and was clearly ill, her first concern was that of no coverage and the prospect of looming medical bills; quite scary for an hourly wage earner.

It’s not that my company doesn’t offer health insurance; they do. But this woman, who works harder than anyone else in the store, doesn’t work the 32 hours required for coverage. And it’s not that she doesn’t want to work, it’s that there are not enough labor dollars to schedule her for more.

bandaged pig and crutches

Are you covered for the unexpected?

In this economy she’s fortunate to have a job, but I doubt she was so grateful yesterday when all she could think about through her fog, was that she didn’t have money or insurance to help her when she needed medical assistance.

People who shop at my store would put it into the category of “health food store.” We sell a good amount of organic products like produce, coffee, peanut butter, and meat, and there is a large vitamin and body care section. People would think that everyone who works there is healthy and has the peace of mind of medical insurance should they need it one day. People would be wrong. Most of the employees are not covered for the same reason as the woman who fell yesterday…not enough labor dollars to go around.

With labor dollars in short supply, health coverage lags behind and everyone suffers. In recent years the average employee health insurance premium has risen nearly eight times faster than income. The problem is that the health care program being discussed today will build on the current, and antiquated system, leaving my co-worker, and millions like her, with no insurance.

According to statistics from AARP, “Americans spend more on health care every year than we do educating our children, building roads, even feeding ourselves—an estimated $2.6 trillion in 2009, or around $8,300 per person. Forty-five million Americans (like my co-worker) have no health insurance whatsoever.”

It is my opinion that ALL Americans deserve to be covered, and I believe they should be covered through a single-payer system similar to Medicare or the health program offered to federal-government employees. And know this – many of the people fighting against health coverage for you are the members of Congress and the Senate YOU voted into office, and whose coverage will last their lifetime.

Who pays for that? Yep…WE do!

As I drove home last night, I, a very non-religious person, thought of a verse from Leviticus 19:18 – “…love they neighbor as thyself.”

I KNOW that passing a bill giving healthcare to ALL Americans is the right thing to do, and if my taxes increase a few dollars, so be it!

 

Gratitude

It’s not that I’m not grateful every single moment of every day, but certainly, days before Thanksgiving, the thankfulness I feel for my dear friends and family is worth mentioning publicly.

Without my daughter Trish, and my two closest friends, Dan and Cindy, I have no idea how I would have survived this past year.  Oh, and I cannot leave out my cherished dog Rosie ( a Pit Bull, by the way).  I may shower and dress before I meet Cindy or Dan, but Rosie loves with with morning breath and through every single bad hair day.

Who makes your life better?  Think about it today and every day, and let each person know just how special they are in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!