Monthly Archives: March 2016

Only Child’s thoughts on living poor

Only Child and her son Martin who helps her survive.

Only Child and her son Martin who helps her survive.

Except for a couple of years, I have been living on or below the poverty level for nearly 18 years. So I think I speak with some “personal authority” on how it goes.

It is a mixed bag, but unfortunately you lose more than just money. Many not-so-good traits and habits happen. Living constantly in survival mode has turned me into a skeptic, made me cranky, angry, sometimes rude, pessimistic or overly optimistic, which I know doesn’t make sense. I have learned to watch the optimism because that can too soon change to the opposite.

Money may not buy you love (the jury is out on that one), but without enough money to live on, I do some things others might find crazy or unbelievable. My biggest financial issues don’t usually include food (more on that one in a sec), but health and home  (including utilities’ escalating costs and repairs). Despite scrupulous monthly budgeting, my health expenses always go above budget – the last few months hundreds over budget. The latest is my prescription eyeglasses which have to be replaced. My vision (excluding the glaucoma) is the same as when my eyes were tested the end of 2014 when I purchased my new prescription glasses, so getting a new pair of glasses now doesn’t please me, to say the least.

Saturday I had just returned home from the first round of grocery shopping, placed my bags of groceries on the veranda between the front doors and hauled out my keys. The keys slipped from my fingers and fell to the ground. When I bent down to retrieve them, my sunglasses fell off, landing on the soft bags. One frame side (the part attaching to the ear) fell off. I was very angry at God (not watching out for me)  and after putting the groceries away and eating a light lunch, I rushed to The Bay Optical where I had originally purchased the glasses. They can’t be fixed permanently because of how it broke off and the company doesn’t make those frames anymore. So, a whole new pair of glasses. Of course, the one-year warranty was up but the optician glued the frame back on and after I went into my poor senior-living status and I asked, she did agree it could be glued on again until I could afford a new pair. Because my vision is the same, so same prescription, the cost is a bit lower – but still more than I can afford now, what with house and property repairs – the eaves trough situation I had blogged about previously and the one property thing I was saving for – some tree and branch removal issues. Hopefully the temporary remedy my son suggested for the eaves trough will work a bit longer than planned. Trees must be done this spring, the earlier the better before leaves appear and plants around the trees pop up.

The health issues escalate the supplements and now there are the monthly eye-drops and having too much income to qualify for the Ontario government drug co-payment play for seniors. The government scrapped the increase on this plan (I would still be above a few hundred dollars in income to qualify). But the deductible starts all over again each Aug.1. Fortunately my son will now pay the difference.

That brings up something on a broader scale. CARP (formerly  Canadian Association of Retired Persons) has stated that many seniors don’t get prescriptions filled because they can’t afford them. CARP is lobbying the government for a Canada-wide drug prescription plan for seniors – heck everybody could use one, at least up to a higher income level.

As for food, I do budget and usually stay within it each week, occasionally go a few dollars higher, but then sometimes I’m under budget. Not easy. Here’s my little secret – I ration my food, not only spreading out meat and fish dishes into several meals, but dividing up some fruit such as oranges into two or three meals (depends on the size of the orange). I buy lots on sale and yes, there are some tinned meats and fish in my food repertoire. In spring and summer I have a vegetable and herb garden, so that helps.

The garden is one big reason I continue living in a house. I also like this house (despite the property problems that crop up). My garden, my writing, my family and friends, reading, TV, walking help sustain me.  They have to. I can’t afford even a few concerts and plays, travel only to visit family (I am grateful for that) or the occasional day trip to Aurora and the like. Bucket list? Can’t afford to carry through with anything on a bucket list.

Living poor is a struggle. Perhaps the only plus is learning to be resourceful. But at what cost? Your health? And one thing I have learned from experience – mine and others. You can’t depend on God to help. Just look at all the poor people, especially the homeless. God helps those who help themselves? More like, just help yourself – if you can.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

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Filed under CARP, finances, God, Health, Health Seniors, Healthcare coverage, Home and Garden, Life demands, Old Age, Poverty

Only Child terrified of horrible winter storm coming Wednesday and Thursday

Only child worries about upcoming winter storm

Only child worries about upcoming winter storm

I was going to start writing posts of how I am trying to make my world a little more joyful. Instead I am in emergency storm watch mode which will become big storm starting  tomorrow into Thursday. Southern Ontario is going to get hit with a big storm thanks to yet another Colorado clipper. We have the warm air and cold air clashing and that could bring freezing rain or snow. I might have known that something bad would be coming.

It might be nice if I was wrong for a change. Meteorologists can’t, at this time, actually nail down what will arrive where and when- all rain, freezing rain or snow and some mixing. We will get the latter Wednesday, but it is overnight Wednesday and into Thursday – all day and into evening – that is the big concern. I hate winter weather with a passion, and hate to say this, but I preferred the extreme cold of last winter. We had no mixed precipitation, no rain, no freezing rain and there was not a lot of snow. For this unwelcome, unwanted storm coming up, I would pick regular rain only, except this time it would be a lot of rain with the winds coming from the east and some water might get into my basement. Freezing rain is the one I really don’t want. Think power outages, ice, ice and ice on trees and hydro etc. wires and on the ground. Think the big ice storm in December 2013 in southern Ontario.

After all that ice in December 2013 and a two-day power outage where I live, I do not want to experience it again. I should not have to. Neither should anybody else anywhere.

So, I’m putting emergency plans into operation but really, it won’t stop the ice storm and any power outages, downed trees, icy roads and sidewalks, etc. resulting.. Only God can prevent the freezing rain and I am hoping he will be merciful this time and listen to me (and any others asking him). Sparing us the ice storm is something that will benefit many people.

I’m also supposed to be part of a panel of crime writers presenting at a library Thursday evening but hopefully that will be cancelled and we can re-schedule for all of us for a later date – preferably in late spring, summer or early fall.

If those reading this post think I am being a fear-monger or a wuss, just think about previous ice storms around the world. Maybe you had to go through one (or two or more). They are not to be taken lightly and in fact, should be taken completely off the weather we get – anywhere at any time.

Not bloody likely.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Anxiety, Extreme Weather, God, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Ice storm Toronto, Life demands, Mixed Perceptation, Power Outages, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child looks at the macro of our horrid world

01910012You have had enough of my rants on personal reasons why this world is so bad, so except for my opinion on it, today I’m going to go into the macro area – why our 21st century world is doing worse than going to hell in a handbasket.

First, for those who didn’t read the comments from my last post, here’s a brief update. I’m not going blind yet and have expensive eye drops for life for my left eye. My son Martin is helping to pay for them. The left eye has glaucoma and is badly damaged. The right eye is fine. So, not getting an eye patch yet for the left eye. No Pirate Sharon for now.

So what is wrong with the world we live in? Here are a few things I’ve either seen (in person or online or TV), read about or people I know have experienced. FYI I believe the world just went really bad when we entered the 21st. century. Think 9/11 in 2011. Before we left the 20th century, the world was still livable, not perfect, but not way out of whack.

Here we go with my dirty dozen on what’s globally wrong.

  1. Terrorism escalating. Enough said here.
  2. Recessions, high unemployment, high debt (some people have no choice but to go into debt because income doesn’t meet expenses even if they do budget. I’m not talking about buying too expensive houses and taking on mortgages that can’t be paid if someone loses a job).
  3. Pollution.
  4. Extreme weather being the norm everywhere. I do blame global warming for a lot of it and we (the collective “we”) screwed up. I still believe that God controls the weather and could put a halt to all this or at least get it back to normal. But I also believe that because he gave us free will and he doesn’t like what we have done/are doing with it, he’s not helping us. Can you really blame him?
  5. The world is overpopulated. And you can use your own take on the whys and the wherefores here.
  6. Religious fundamentalism  of any kind and its results.
  7. Bad leaders and potential leaders in some countries. You can also use your own take here.
  8. People are getting ruder and nastier and more violent.
  9. The over-technological world we live in. Is all this necessary when we see what it does and can do to people? Yes, basic cell phones are probably necessary (text and phone functions) for emergencies and the like. But all the “bells and whistles,” the apps, etc.? And full digital kitchens? Come on, where’s the fun in cooking?
  10. Too many people getting too many cancers.
  11. Medical – both the primary caregivers – some are so inept and also how the practices and medical clinics are run. Here’s what’s happening with one cardiologist being disciplined.  And the cost to people for medical services, including drugs and supplements – what isn’t covered by government medical insurance and the high cost of private insurance.
  12. Too many people living below the poverty level and too many living high on the hog with too high salaries. The middle class? What’s that? It’s shrinking.

What am I doing about it? Trying to combine what is necessary for me in technology and becoming more self-sustainable (if there is such a word) in my life. I’ll go into that more in a future post.

So, what are you doing about this world we live in? One of my blog post followers has a slogan at the top of her blog

“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” — Laurie Buchanan

Check out her blog posts. It is people like Laurie who give us hope for the future.

 

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Civility, God, Health, Health Insurance, Life Balance, Life demands, Money, Only child, Problems, Rude Rage, Technology overload, Weather

Only Child off to potential “death sentence” today

Only child ponders life, death and the root - bad health

Only child ponders life, death and the root – bad health

As mentioned in last week’s post I am off to the ophthalmologist today to get my eyes, particularly the left eye, checked for eye pressure and all that may be connected to that. I purposely left it to this morning to do an Internet search of eye pressure condition and all it entails.

Just as well I did. It is scary stuff. No cure but maybe can be stopped. The treatments – eye drops of varying kinds, laser surgery and surgery are some options. I definitely don’t want the latter two – they are connected with a specific type of this condition  of glaucoma, I presume. I hope I don’t have that particular type of glaucoma. And the drops – lots of side effects. As I suspected, my regular eye doctor, the optometrist’s answer to my question “what are the side effects of these prescription eye drops?” of “zero, ” was lies. I didn’t believe him even then. All drugs have side effects. Very occasionally an individual will not get side effects. When I had migraines back in the 1980s I was prescribed Inderol (a high blood pressure pill) to prevent the migraines. No side effects. And yes it decreased the number of migraines to once a month or once every month until I finally reached menopause. The latter is the only thing good about getting old. Also  I had no side-effects with an anti-fungal drug – Nystatin –  which I had to take a couple of times.

Those are the exceptions. The way my life has been going lately, especially my health in at least the last 10 months, is all downhill.

So, I am preparing for the worst. Quality of life is most important to me. But how to try to maintain it is also important. Taking action that make it worse than it is now, making life more difficult and scary,  doesn’t seem to be the answer. I have started (as they say) getting my affairs in order, including getting copies of legal documents to my son, letting him know what is happening, and clearing out/sorting the paperwork in my house.

Realistically I would like to live at least another 15 years – but my health must be good and better than it is now. If it deteriorates in ways unacceptable to me, if I have to take actions I don’t want to take, then I reiterate the ending of  last week’s post.  I will “pull a James Darren as in “Goodbye Cruel World” and I won’t be doing like Mr. Darren sang in his 1961 hit – “off to join the circus.”

Depending on the outcome of the ophthalmologist’s visit and diagnosis today. I would give eye drops a try and join a support group. I hope those are options still okay and open for me.

As for my regular eye doctor, the optometrist who didn’t follow-up last year – he is in big trouble, now much will depend on the outcome today.

Cheers.

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Health, Health Seniors, Life demands, Only child, Opticians and Optometrists, Problems, Seniors, Seniors and Happiness, Vision

Only Child always living in survival mode

Only child ponders finances, health and the like

Only child ponders finances, health and the like

I am constantly living in survival mode and I’m fed up with it all. As I seem to get rid of one obstacle two more show up. So, here is more of my Why I Hate the World I Live In list. It is only partial, or we would be here until Easter.

1. The Federal Government has cut back on my Canada Pension Plan payments. They are saying I wasn’t making enough in my business to contribute enough, so from 2012 to now, they are cutting back each month. The cutback is only $1.00 and some odd cents a month and I’m not complaining about that. My beef is that they are deducting the whole difference for my May payment. That will cut into my meagre monthly food budget as I have nowhere else to cut. It’s the fault of these uncivil servants in the CPP department – they are supposed to be monitoring the situation but why every four years? I didn’t even know they could cut back and arbitrarily steal the money back. Not that it is much for me, but I am going to need every penny I can get (see points 2 and 3 below). I can dispute it and will do so formally but all they might do is spread out the amount they are taking back. And to call the CPP part of Service Canada, I had to go through my MP’s office and she connected me through the French line. Even she couldn’t get through even to wait in line for the next available person. At least the French guy spoke good English and gave me good information so I can proceed with my dispute, etc.

2. Problems with weather and animal-related (read “God” here) damage outside that will require repairs. Actually for the minor expense one, my handyman shares the blame with God’s windy weather. He didn’t put a new downspout extension in one spot or secure the old one enough, so it’s fallen off and I can’t get it or the new ones (yes, I did buy the new) on. He is waffling about when he can get here to fix it and no doubt take more money from me. The animal-God one. I will need new eavestroughs this spring because the middle of one on the far side of the house is bent out like a boat. So in heavy rainfalls (like we had last week and yes, some water did get in my basement from it) the water just p0urs off the side of the eavestrough there and onto the ground and seeps into my basement. The latter part is Nigel Applewaite’s fault for his faulty sealing job in 2011. But most of the blame is raccoons  on the roof and raccoons are nature, so from God. I talked to Mike about this last week. He was the one who found this problem late last fall when he was putting up the heating cables. Now I find out he doesn’t do eavestroughs and he says those who do usually don’t replace just the one side but do the whole thing. He said he would check with his colleagues on that. I told him to emphasize to them that I’m a senior living below the poverty level. My ex-husband would pay for half of this, and I might be able to manage half for one eavestrough side, except for No. 3 below.

3. One of my repeat editing clients needed me to edit her latest book. We agreed that because I was meeting a publisher’s submission deadline with my latest Beyond mystery book, that I would edit her book in March – as long as I finished by the end of March. I finished the Beyond book a few days early and when I emailed her about the edit, her reply was she had already had her book edited by someone else. At first I said I was glad that she got her book manuscript edited. Now, it’s a different story. I’m mulling over what I will do here besides keep trying to get more clients to start work with now. I have some for April on.

4. This one is a health issue. According to my optometrist I could lose the sight in one eye – because he didn’t tell me the whole story at the year before’s eye exam and didn’t follow up. All he told me back then was some pressure in the left eye and may need eye drops, so he wanted me to come back in soon. I decided to wait until I got my new glasses and got used to them. Then I got busy with other stuff and forgot. He should have had his receptionist or whatever her title is – phone to remind me a month or so later if it was so important. Would I have gone in then? Yes, if before late June last year when all the other health issues came at me, overlapping. End of this January when I went in for my annual check-up he chastised me for not making an appointment and included that I would have seen a specialist then. Excuse me. He never mentioned going to a specialist back then. I was too shocked and worried to give him hell for that, but I probed and probed about what it was all about and why couldn’t he prescribe the drops. Optometrists can do that. He didn’t give me an answer. So next Tuesday I’m off to the opthamalogist’s to get my death sentence.

Because if I lose any of my senses (and I have partial hearing loss in my left ear, but can manage so far with that), I’m ready to do a James Darren. Well, not Mr. Darren himself, but some of you may remember one of his first big hit in 1961, “Goodbye Cruel World.” Unlike him I won’t be joining any circus. Hey, I may not be able to see the tightrope, let alone the non-existent safety net in this world.

The odd thing here about my sight is the actual vision is exactly the same as last year when I had to get new glasses. So, my glasses have helped here.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

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Filed under Eavestroughs and dowspouts, finances, God, Health, Health Seniors, Life demands, Only child, Opticians and Optometrists, Poverty, Vision