- Ryan’s SSI back-pay check arrived last Monday. Within 24 hours all but $40 was gone, but we repaid a loan, paid bills, and stocked up on groceries and household essentials (our refrigerator, freezer, deep chest freezer, and cabinets are overflowing despite everything being carefully Tetrised in)
- We ran out of propane on Wednesday afternoon, and endured a living room that didn’t get any warmer than 50° and huddling in layers of clothes and blankets until Friday morning, when our propane company was able to get out to us to refill one of our tanks (thanks to an especially frigid winter, we literally burned through 200 gallons of propane in just three months, and that’s even with setting our daytime thermostat to no higher than 68°, and our nighttime thermostat to 64°)
- Ryan’s March SSI check arrived on Thursday. It too is gone, but propane ain’t cheap ($322 for 100 gallons, and that’s with a small credit we had on our account) and mortgage companies tend to get bitchy if they aren’t paid (and hey, that’s what the money is intended for – care of the child, which includes household expenses)
- On Thursday Alyssa and Ryan’s Boy Scout troop visited a local radio station, and the station announced their troop and the kids’ names live on the air!
- Today is the 1-year anniversary of Alcide’s death
- I’m still trying to shake this depression and residual anxiety. I think I have forgotten how to relax..
(Amanda painted that lovely piece for me!)
And thanks to that (see above photo), THESE:
And now we’re battening down the hatches for yet another snow storm. This one is only going to dump a mere 10″ on us. We did our milk-bread-eggs (and butter and cheese and meat and extra lettuce for Dash) run on Friday, we’ve got enough propane to keep us warm for another six weeks at the current temperatures (and since we’re now in March my fingers are crossed that we start hitting above-freezing temperatures more often), and plenty to do in terms of household organization for the sprogs and I, homework and fun things for them, and work for me.
How are you?
So we learned a hard lesson: when it comes to the Social Security Administration, 7 to 10 business days for a Social Security disability (SSI) back-pay check is only the case if the applicant’s application isn’t randomly pulled for review. And since that’s how life has been for us for way too long now — one good thing followed by two to five bad things (and maybe one or two more for good fucking measure) — that’s exactly what happened with Ryan’s file. After a week of daily voicemails left with Ryan’s SS caseworker, with each message tallying the number of days past the promised 7 to 10 (yesterday’s was 15 business days, 3 weekends, and 1 federal holiday), and a semi-frantic call with whatever random caseworker it was who answered my call to the local Social Security office, I finally got an answer this morning: Ryan’s case, after being approved, was one pulled randomly for review, hence the delay. But he was finally, DEFINITIVELY approved, and the check in blah-blah amount was issued and mailed on February 19th, and the hold on his March payment was released so that we’ll also get a check for that, despite SS not liking to issue paper checks except in situations where the recipient hasn’t yet been able to set up the Direct Express card or a bank account for the payments (neither of which we have been able to do, since we haven’t received the initial back-pay check and included information on getting either of those options set up).
Whew. The wolves have been at our doorstep for far too long, and after being told three and a half weeks ago that as of two weeks ago we’d finally beat them away, only to not have that happen, well…you might be able to imagine the emotional tailspin I’ve been in. :( And I miss my camera like whoa, and I’m so sick of dragging laundry to and from the laundromat.
The check didn’t arrive today, but considering where it’s coming from and where we are, all that means is that it will be here tomorrow. I can’t wait to throw that sucker in our bank account and PAY ALL THE THINGS.
This time a year ago, I was recovering from emergency surgery for a perforated intestine (ulcer), while dealing with a bad case of pneumonia. While it’s not an experience I would ever want to repeat, it’s also one that I’ve unfortunately relived in one form or another in several nightmares. I joked about PTSD, but apparently PTSD after a medical crisis is certainly no joke, and very much a real thing. That combined with a bad year due to other reasons (health, finances, family drama) would definitely explain why I’ve been such a wreck. And I still feel awful for what happened that day and during the subsequent days – not just for what happened to me, but the stress and fear and hasty coordinating of schedules that Dan, Jason, and Amanda went through. And not to mention what Alyssa and Ryan experienced…they go to bed thinking everything is fine, and they’re being woken up early the next morning, bundled up in whatever clothes were closest for Dan to grab, hustled into the car, and driven to a hospital nearly an hour away from our house to see me before I was taken back for surgery – and there I am, laying in a hospital bed, nearly out of my mind with pain and fear and fever, and doing my best not to start vomiting until they’ve left the room. It was so terrible all the way around. This is pretty much how I feel when it comes to the idea of going through any of that ever again:
And now it’s a year later. I’m not only prioritizing protein and vitamins, but I’m taking Carafate four times per day to protect my stomach pouch, as until October I had two active ulcers – and I still have one that has been flaring up a bit recently (today included, blah). I took Protonix twice per day until my prescription ran out, and as I am currently without health insurance (Dan and the kids are covered through his job, and Ryan also has Medicaid coverage due to his autism; but I don’t mind being without coverage so long as nothing explodes – then it’s kind of stressful to not only worry about insane hospital bills, but insane prescription medication costs which actually gave me an extra day’s hospital stay while my surgeon figured out medication alternatives and secured discounts from the hospital’s pharmacy), I’ll have to wait on getting more. Although I may just call my surgeon’s office and ask for refills on both the Carafate (I think I only have two more) as well as the Protonix – she’s aware of the no-insurance-then-insurance-then-no-insurance situation, so I’m fairly certain she’d authorize the refills without making me pay a $125 office visit fee.
Besides taking medications to heal and protect my ulcers, I’m very careful with stomach-irritating meds: I indulged in some Ibuprofen last week because I was miserable with constant headaches and migraines, but that aside I use NSAIDs very sparingly – as in almost never. One more good reason for the hysterectomy I had in September: no more horridly painful periods having me downing extra-strength Midol like candy. I was on an anti-depressant over the summer, but stopped it between weight gain (ick) and the realization that it was indeed causing stomach irritation (double ick). I’ll take non-medicated coping over pounds and ulcer aggravation, thank you very much. Oh, and Ativan, which fortunately does not cause stomach irritation. It’s more for anxiety than for depression, but the anxiety is what paralyzes me more than the depression. The depression sucks and puts me into a general funk, but the anxiety can cause me to freeze up. Ativan aka Fuckitol is nice in that regard, because it numbs the panic and fear and enables me to function.
It’s been a longgggggggggg year, and I’m so relieved that so far 2014 is going okay, and we’ve had several small “ups” so far, and it’s only the middle of February. The biggest “up”, of course, is Ryan being approved for Social Security disability benefits (SSI), though the 7 to 10 business days the caseworker told us on January 29th has stretched into 13 business days, 3 weekends, and a federal holiday, and still no check. I won’t lie: between wanting to pay up our mortgage, pay off a personal loan so I can get my camera back, and buy a washer, with each subsequent day that the mailbox yields no mailing from the Social Security Administration, I get more anxious and frustrated and worried and upset. But I will also admit that I’ve never been one for patience. Sigh.
Nearly three and a half years ago I put together a list of reputable and trustworthy paid blogging companies that I’ve had personal experience with, and subsequently trusted and recommended. It’s now three and a half years later, and I feel that the post I write is in sore need of an update. You can check the original post for what I had to say about paid blogging companies then, and here’s what I have to say about them now:
Dead and gone.
Blogsvertise is still operating as before: opportunities are assigned seemingly at random, and there are also “grab bag” opportunities available. Each opportunity pays anywhere from $8 to $30, and there are paid blogging opportunities as well as the opportunity to post pre-written guest posts. Payout is around 30 days from the date a post is approved, though Blogsvertise often waits a bit longer and will pay for multiple assignments all at once.
Buy Blog Reviews allows you to search through a database of available assignments, and apply/request assignments that you’re interested in. Opps pay anywhere from $1 (no lie) to $100, depending on the criteria and the blog qualifications. Payout is done on the 1st and 15th of every month. I haven’t had a bite from Buy Blog Reviews in a year or more.
PayPerPost, IZEA’s original paid blogging project, has dried up significantly, but I still manage to find a handful of opportunities that pay $5 to $12 apiece, or on occasion a bit more. Opportunities are assigned to you, though you can also indicate interest in “leads”, which you then may or may not be assigned. Payout is 30 days from the date of a post being approved, though to avoid a $2.00 fee you need to accumulate at least $50 before requesting a payout.
PostJoint is relatively new (I discovered them in November of 2013). While a week or more may go by without a bite, I really like Post Joint because it’s all about connecting bloggers with content producers who are willing to pay to have pre-written content — guest posts — placed. Some advertisers may request that you promote your post on Twitter, but this doesn’t bother me since it’s something I do anyway. You can browse available opportunities at your leisure, or sign up for email notifications of new opportunities. If you see one you like, simply request it, and specify if you’ll include a tweet, as well as your rate for posting the content (advertisers can specify their budget, or may leave it open so you can list your own rate). Payouts are done by the advertisers themselves, and depending on how quickly you post their content and they review it, you may be paid as quickly as a few hours after publication.
PayU2Blog is still going strong, though while they are still consistently giving bloggers assignments in a “queue”, the number of assignments has dropped significantly. And, don’t expect PayU2Blog to abide by their own bi-weekly pay guidelines. They used to pay every two weeks, but these days payouts seem to come every 3 to 4 weeks. Still, the assignments are somewhat consistent, though the set pay of $5.00 per opportunity can be quite aggravating when you realize that you may be asked for a 60+ word post with one link for $5.00, or maybe a 200+ word post on a specific subject for that same $5.00 (maybe I’m just a minority in expecting more pay for more work?).
SocialSpark is also owned by IZEA, and is still around, though the amount of opportunities available has decreased significantly over the past couple of years. SocialSpark assigns you opportunities, and also offers leads for you to check out and indicate interest in. Instead of listing what an opp pays in dollars, SocialSpark utilizes a “points” system, where 100 points equals $1.00, and opportunity payouts are listed like this. Opportunities pay $5 to $25+ apiece, and generally require 200 words, 1-2 links, and sometimes an image or an embedded video (opps that require embedded videos usually pay more). You can do an automated cash-out once your account balance reaches $50 (compensation for completed and approved posts is done after 30 days) – request a payout under $50.00, and you’ll be hit with a $2.00 fee.
Sponsored Reviews operates similarly to Buy Blog Reviews. In addition to sponsored posts, Sponsored Reviews also allows you to participate in other marketing campaigns, including paid links placement, as well as traditional paid content and posts.
I’ve lost track of how many snow storms and subsequent snow/ice days the kids have had so far this year. I know that their last day of school has been moved from June 6th to June 16th, and two in-service days have been canceled, and some of the other school districts in our county are discussing weekend/online/summer classes, so that right there should be a good indicator of how insane Mother Nature has been this winter. Bitch is clearly off her meds. This week alone we got a massive 18 inches worth of snow dumped on us on Thursday morning, another 6 inches overnight, and we’re bracing for another 4 to 6 inches tonight. There was already a foot or so of packed-down ice and snow before all of this came through. Dan nearly killed himself digging out our front deck, steps, walkway, driveway, and cars yesterday; and this morning it took both of us working together at least a half an hour to free my car. The mounds of snow on either side of our driveway are as tall as, if not taller than, our cars.
Without a doubt, the worst thing about all of these snow and ice storms is the toll they’re taking on my head – I’m waking up and going to bed with headaches and migraines, and dealing with them throughout the day. Imitrex is pretty effective in knocking out the pain, but it leaves me feeling woozy and dizzy, and when I accidentally took Dan’s 50mg dose instead of my 25mg dose (the foil packets are identical and the pills are nearly the same size, which is why neither of us noticed the discrepancy until I started feeling the effects) I really felt like I had gotten slammed with a ton of bricks. So I’ve been trying to stick with Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Excedrin, and reserving my stash of Imitrex for the really bad migraines. But too much Tylenol and I feel nauseous, and I’ve clearly overdone it with the Ibuprofen and Excedrin (which contains both Ibuprofen as well as caffeine) because now I have stomach pain to add to my list of complaints. :/
I am really, really looking forward to spring: not just for the warmer temperatures and thus less of a drain on our propane and no more snowmeggedons and snow days to deal with; but for the slightly more stable barometric pressure! And it’d be nice to get the kids to school more than one or two days a week. Alyssa only went three days this week, and Ryan only made it in once due to being home sick Monday and Tuesday (ear infection), and then yesterday and today were snow days.