People around here need to stop needing things

May is supposed to be all flowery and nice but right now I’m like, “Bite me, May.”

I loathe the beginning of the month. Everything being due at once should not be a thing. I have this converging with everyone in my house needing something. 

The short list from yesterday:

  1. “So, when can I get new glasses”- Daughter #1. “Yeah. Me,too. Mine are giving me headaches” – Daughter #3
  2. “Oh,and I have my period. We need pads and tampons.”
  3. “The crotch of my work pants ripped out at work.” – The Man (it’s huge. It’s beyond a patch job, so now he’s down to 2 pairs of work pants. )
  4. “I wish we had fruit. *sigh* I can’t wait to go back to school so I can have juice again.”- Middle son
  5. “I need special photo paper for my photography final”- Daughter #1
  6. “I owe $1,700 for tuition and can’t register for classes until it’s paid” – also Daughter #1
  7. “I really need to do laundry” – pretty much everyone (still no washer here. Laundromat is $3.50 a load. At least we don’t have to dry it there,too)

Also, the dog is not really eating but seems fine otherwise, good since I can’t afford to take her to the vet. I noticed both boys have holes in the bottoms of their backpacks so I’m crossing fingers that they hang in there until the end of June. Youngest’s shoes are also getting holey. We have a phenomenally large electric bill because we had to use space heaters a lot in Feb & March. I think I’ll have rent by Thursday? It’s not technically late until Saturday.

My youngest’s birthday is in a week and I have nothing for a gift. He will definitely be disappointed. At least I can bake a cake.

May is a bummer so far. At least in a couple of days, I can say “May the Fourth be with you” to everyone I see that day. That always cheers me up a little bit.  It’s the little things that get me through, I guess.

 

 

 

 

sweet potatoes and mt washmore

We went to the food pantry on Monday, the last one for this month. They didn’t have very much this week. The only produce was sweet potatoes so we used our points to get mostly canned fruits. There weren’t very many proteins to pick from either….neither meat nor beans. We did take a gallon jug of habanero-pineapple salsa. Really, sometimes they have the most random things.

I made a big batch of this sweet potato and black bean thing we like. I roast the sweet potatoes first then mix them with seasoned black beans. We eat it in tortillas, over rice, by itself..whatever. I eat it for breakfast with an egg.

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I can’t wait until our garden is a thing. So tired of the food we’ve been eating.

The major bummer this week was the washing machine dying. The washer belongs to the house. The landlord sent their repair guy to look at it. No fix. He said he would tell landlord they need to replace the washer.

One large problem with that: the washer and dryer are in the bathroom. When we moved in, I kind of wanted to use my own washing machine so we were going to move the house-washer out and store it in the basement and put mine in it’s place. Well, that didn’t happen because we realized that the bathroom door is 2+inches smaller than both the house-washer and my washer.

Yes, the bathroom walls and door were built after the washer and dryer were in place.

It’s hilarious yet not. Not only can I not put my own washer in place of dead house-washer but I’m thinking there’s no way a new washer is coming in there either.

Household of seven (five right now with the two college offspring returning soon). The laundry pile known as Mt Washmore is already looking insurmountable. We’re doing a laundromat trip today but doing just necessities for right now until we know for sure what the plan is for replacing the washer. Or not replacing.

The laundromat is not in my budget. When we renew the lease this summer, they want the rent to increase $50. Absolutely no way I will pay $1,100 a month for rent here if I have to go to the laundromat. Nope. Not happening. I’ll need that $50 for laundry and gas to get to the laundromat.

 

“Why don’t you just get a better job” and other dumb shit people say to low income earners stuck in precarious work

“Why don’t you just get a better job” and other dumb shit people say to low income earners stuck in precarious work

Posse.

For most of my working life I have been stuck in the hospitality industry which is lowly paid, painfully precarious and poorly regulated. In New Zealand, where I live,  hospitality employers mostly treat you as nothing more than an easily replaceable unit to turn-over-profit. I have spent over a decade in this industry and as such I have become acutely aware of the fact that no matter how many shifts I work or how many poorly paid jobs I undertake, I will never have enough money to meet rising living costs.

Sometimes, my life is a bit depressing. You know what I mean? I get up, I go and work one of my multiple jobs and I come home. Each week I check my bank balance and I feel pretty put-out about how low my pay is as compared to how hard I worked for it.

Obviously, working hard at minimum wage…

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post-taxmas blahs

Overdue bills all paid, rent and utilities current, car fixed ,lots of necessities and a few wants purchased. Now I’m experiencing post-Taxmas  blahs. That large infusion of cash into our lives was a relief and so needed . Now reality kicks in and we’re still so damn poor we’re just po’. We can’t afford the ‘or on the end. Still same income. Still struggling.

Also, it went way too fast. Even thoughtfully spent, it just goes so fast. We just had so many things that we hadn’t been able to pay in ages and large things like car repairs. We also paid back all the people we borrowed money from. It added up quick.

I don’t even know what else to say about that.

I’m tired of talking about being poor. Yet I don’t want to not talk about it. It’s starting to define me too much. I’m “that poor blogger that talks about being poor”. If I talk about anything else personal, I’m told it gives an identity to poverty. It personalizes my experience and gives some people something to connect to.That’s always bothered me to think about. People need to give humanity to a person to find compassion for their circumstances? I’m sure it’s true for a lot of people but I hate that.
At the same time, when I share anything that reveals my personality and things that make me ME, it opens me up to attacks from the classist haters. Once I show that I’m a person who has hobbies,aspirations,skills, and especially things she likes & enjoys , then I stop being the image of the stereotypical poor person. I’m not supposed to ever be happy and have joy in my life. I’m supposed to be wearing rags, shivering in my kitchen, cooking a pot of rice and beans. That makes me think I need to put a lot more out there even more, even if it brings the hate. Because screw them. I, as a poor woman, deserve to have and celebrate the good things in my life.

Most readers don’t know a lot about me, unless they read my previous blog and I think a lot of those people bailed because they didn’t want to just read about poverty and social issues.  Someone who has read this blog since almost the start didn’t even know how many children I had. That’s kinda a big detail here. There’s still people who don’t realize I’m a white woman.Also an important detail.  I could write a thousand words just about that topic right there. It’s interesting how I’m praised for “putting it all out there” but I haven’t really. All I put out there was my financial circumstances. It’s so taboo to talk about money in general when someone does open up about struggling, it’s truly shocking for some people that someone would put THAT all out there for the world to know.  This is why we can’t and don’t have a better open dialogue about poverty. That bootstrap culture has made most people think they have to feel embarrassed about struggling and others think they have a right to demean those who are struggling.

Ok.

I came here to write about how awesome it was that my father in law built my boys a bunkbed and we bought them mattresses with tax refund money so now my littlest kid doesn’t have to sleep on the papasan-couch but ended up with all those words up there. I might be bad at this blogging thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

food we ate, april 4 til now

Well,honestly – this isn’t ALL the food we ate. I forget to take pictures or I’m too tired or my house is chaosville. Most meals were  made w/ things we got at the food pantry 2 weeks ago . We did do minor grocery shopping for basics. I had two crying meltdowns that were food related – one because the ground beef from the food pantry was spoiled and the other because bread dough (honey wheat oat…the one I make the most) didn’t rise.

About the crying – I never cry. Maybe once or twice a year. The advantage to this is that people who know me know that when I’m crying, it’s super important. Lately? I cry over every damn thing. Dearest says, “It must be hormones.” And I said, “No, I think this is who I am now.” To his credit, he didn’t even flinch. I notice this has been a gradual thing as I’m getting older. I cry if something is impossibly cute or beautiful or horribly sad and tragic. Bread dough not rising and spoiled meat  are probably not the most tragic things but it was in my world on the days it happened.

Anyway…on to the food.

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This was something I’m calling Loaded Potato Casserole. I diced potatoes, rinsed them, then coated them in a packet of “chili seasoning” that I found in the pantry. I added a can of pinto beans and baked the whole thing for 25 minutes or so. I threw cheese on at the end. The chives on top are super fresh. I harvested them from the garden…. the day after we got 6 inches of snow.

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Poor chives. They were looking pretty sad after the snow but have bounced back since.

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Basic spaghetti loaded with chunky onion tomato sauce. This was where I cried. I wanted to make meatballs but the ground beef wasn’t good. I DON’T EVEN LIKE MEAT. What the hell?

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I’m calling this one Eggroll Bowl. I guess it’s “Deconstructed Eggroll” but ugh, hipsters and their deconstructed ethnic foods. What happened here was I thought I had 2 packages of eggroll wrappers so I went ahead and made eggroll filling before realizing there were no eggroll wrappers. No crying over this for whatever reason. I just cooked it and put it in bowls over rice.Hubby had made a pork roast for a fantasy baseball thing he went to and I put some of the leftover pork in the mix.

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“Baja Fish Tacos”. This was a taco meal kit from the food pantry. Well, the seasoning and tortillas was. The fish was from the food pantry,too. The fish we get there is frozen pollock and it’s not terrible. I’ve found it’s ideal for things like tacos or sandwiches.

The tomatoes and lettuce are from this tiny produce shop near us. It’s literally in an addition on this man’s house on one of the more traveled back roads here. His prices are great and most things are pretty local. He also has eggs, both local small farm and more factory farmed. The latter were reduced this week because he had too many so we picked up several cartons for 75 cents each. We’ve been eating a lot of breakfast-for-dinner meals.

And we still have a ton of these frozen pancakes left. When I first served them, my littlest thought I was handing him a plate of small cookies. Yeah, they do look like that.

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One of the most memorable things I made recently that I didn’t take pics of was Jim Lahey’s Potato Pizza .Because potatoes, which we have a lot of right now.
I loved it but I got mixed reactions from the rest of the family.

“It’s …..interesting.”- Husband

“I just don’t know how I feel about this.”- 15 yr old

“Don’t call it pizza. It has no sauce.” -11 yr old

“Nope.”- 5 yr old

I wish my other kids had been home. I think they would have appreciated it.

My 11 year old is an incredibly picky eater (sensory issues. No, “if he’s hungry enough,he’ll eat” doesn’t quite work here) . We accidentally discovered that he loves those stupid chunky campbell’s soups – Loaded Baked Potato,specifically. I HATE buying soap in a can because I can make it so cheaply at home. I have tried feeding him various homemade potato soups and he’s rejected most. FINALLY, I made one this past week that he loved. Bye, campbell’s chunky soup.

Used homemade broth for it,of course.
I don’t remember what I did with that chicken. Garlicked and baked,maybe?
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I still have a bazillion carrots to use. I’ll get on that this week.
I’m sure it’ll also still be pretty potato intensive.


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I’m this cat.

[contents: segregation in education, transgender women living in poverty & violence in Detroit,gentrification in Washington DC & San Francisco, evictions,housing ]

 

Me today but with these links.

99-year-old woman facing eviction from her Western Addition apartment – 90-effing-9 years old and bastards served her an eviction notice. The woman has lived in the apartment since the 50’s and was granted a lifetime lease. The building owners claim she isn’t living there but her family insists otherwise.


 

Wealthy Virginia county plans to redistrict high poverty,mostly Hispanic families into separate schools – economic and racial segregation in schools isn’t new but it’s usually more subtle and not so blatantly planned. The board’s argument for the plan is that resources can be focused on these “high need” schools but history and experience contradicts that this will actually happen. Schools with low income students may get more for meals programs but they tend to have less money for quality programming and curriculum


How Detroit is becoming a flashpoint of violence against trans women – I’m tired of people asking me why I talk about transgender people on a blog that’s “supposed to be about poverty”. If you really need a deep explanation, this piece is excellent at explaining how transgender people are kept in a cycle of poverty and subjected to violence.


Mice, bedbugs, broken heaters: What it takes for D.C. to sue a landlord for neglect – The Washington Post – gentrification, ffs.

The Panama Papers

A couple of good links that explain The Panama Papers and why it’s important.

 

What You Need to Know About the Panama Papers – And Why It Should Piss Us Off – video in the link that explains how people and companies have hidden $20 trillion that could be used to build infrastructure and just in general make life better for everyone.

The Panama Papers prove it: America can afford a universal basic income – the money is there.

The Tax Justice Network estimates the global elite are sitting on $21–32tn of untaxed assets. Clearly, only a portion of that is owed to the US or any other nation in taxes – the highest tax bracket in the US is 39.6% of income. But consider that a small universal income of $2,000 a year to every adult in the US – enough to keep some people from missing a mortgage payment or skimping on food or medicine – would cost only around $563bn each year.

A larger income, to ensure that no American fell into absolute abject poverty – say, $12,000 a year – would cost around $3.6tn. That is a big number, but one that once again seems far more reasonable when considered through the lens of the Panama Papers and the scandal of global tax evasion. Because the truth is that we have all been robbed, systematically, by the world’s wealthiest people, for decades. They have used those stolen dollars to build yet more wealth for themselves, and all the while we have been arguing with ourselves over what to do with the leftover pennies.

Just think… there are money management and frugality bloggers out there who write entire blog posts about how working poor shouldn’t get EITC and tax refunds  and make poverty sound like a moral failing who won’t write a single word about how wealthy elite hoard money that could educate,feed,house, and heal society. The latter is about as immoral as it gets.