Criminal Mind

I drove to an urgent care center on the south side of Tucson today to meet with Dr. S for my physical eligibility interview for SS disability. Kind of weird, but whatever.

He was an older man of Hispanic descent. Sort of a bad toupee type wearing brogans and a striped shirt. We share some discourse on how long I’ve had MS, how it affects me, symptoms, side effects, medications, etc.

He proceeds to ask me why I moved to Tubac. I don’t know, needed a change, ready to get out of LA, blah, blah. What did I do exactly? Why did I move to Tubac, again?

I begin to feel a little bit uncomfortable. What f’ing difference does it make why I moved to Tubac? He gets this sort of Dr. God attitude and continues to question me like I’m there on a murder rap or something, yet at the same time like he’s a serial peeping Tom, undressing me with his eyes.

It totally creeped me out. Where does Lopez come from? Why’d you get divorced? You never remarried? How old are your children? Do they live with you? Do they have boyfriends? Are you a grandmother yet? It makes no sense you left LA. Why’d you move to Tubac again?

Maybe as a State employed examiner, he is suspect of people applying for disability. I felt like he should work for the TSA ~ you know those guys that stare you straight in the eye while they open your suitcase and fondle your underwear for contraband. C-R-E-E-P-Y.

I am not a criminal for pete’s sake. I am a solid tax payer with a few bad genes and I need and deserve some help, that I have paid for!

I came home and took a shower. It infuriates me that this bitter man (who obviously wishes he lived in Tubac!?) holds the keys to my financial future and lords it over me with a smirk and inappropriate prodding questions….argh! I am mad as a wet hen. I do not think I should feel totally violated from a physical examination (which thankfully I did not have to undress for!) regarding the level of my disability.

Along with the summons for the exam was a service evaluation. Bring it on!

State of Mind

The State of California has totally thrown me under the bus. I calculate that I have paid in the neighborhood of over $50,000 in income taxes over the past 10 years and have lived and worked there for most of my life. I’m 53, have been working for 35 of those years in California, and even not being very good with math, can figure out I’ve given the State a lot of money.

So when my 26 weeks of unemployment ran out, what did they do? They denied my extension and threw me over to Arizona where I now reside. Bless little Arizona, they are at best a poor cousin to their next door neighbor. I’m not surprised at the disparity…..honestly, Arizona charged me about 1/3 the amount for a drivers license as California and it’s good for like 20 years or something. No wonder they’re broke!

There are no physical UE offices here, so it all must be done by internet.  Ok, no problem. The online application asks some questions such as “have you worked out of state in the last 18 months”. I answer yes and am prompted to call in. I slogged through the phone system and finally got to an unemployment agent, and he was as nice as could be. Friendly with all the time in the world. After we discussed the SF Giants winning the 2010 World Series and his inherent dislike of the LA Dodgers because his parents were originally from SF and that’s such an age old rivalry even though he now lives in Arizona and is a Diamondbacks fan, he explained that I must file online.  I explained that the online prompts to me to call this number.  He explained back to me that I can’t file a claim without a PIN that can only be established online. Wow.

He gave me some super secret information which I will not divulge publicly here (I told him I had rooted for the Giants too, that must have done it), and I was in the system. So then I crawled back into the mire of the telephone system and waited and waited (and waited…and waited) until the next super nice agent came on. She and I had a nice long conversation about her niece who has MS and how her disability application was coming along, and how her aunt (the niece’s mom) got disability for just knee surgery and diabetes, not even anything like MS, yet the niece had been denied twice already.

I felt I was making good progress and it had only taken me about 3 hours so far. This nice lady filled out my application for me and told me it would take a few days for them to decide if I was approved or not, and I would find out by mail. Then a one week waiting period, and if things went well I could expect to start receiving a weekly check.

As you can no doubt ascertain from the amount of taxes I paid California, I was making some pretty good money back in the day. California pays out a pretty healthy weekly benefit…Arizona, not so much.

So now I have a new challenge. There are billions and billions of dollars in the global economy, and I need some of them. It’s time again to recreate myself and my wealth. Rule number one, be open to suggestions. I have some of my own nuggets, but anyone else have any ideas?

New Year Resolutions

I love the whole idea of New Year resolutions. Having a clean line of delineation between “before” and “after” is always so, well, defining.

“An Oreo? Oh heavens no, I don’t eat cookies anymore”. “Watch TV on a Saturday afternoon? Oh no, I only work out now on Saturdays, no more afternoon TV for me”. “Go to the mall? No thanks, I’m off to go call my mother, I do that religiously every weekend”. Ad infinitum. Since this last Saturday morning, Jan 1, 2011.

We all have the best of intentions in giving up our little personal illicit activities (ok, chocolate might not be that illicit…) but like many things, as we all know, we skip one day, which turns into 2, which turns into a month….

I’ve often wondered why it’s so hard to give up Chunky Monkey ice cream…why can’t broccoli or brussels sprouts be so alluring? “Damn, what a day ~ let’s put it behind us with some cauliflower!”

But on a more serious note….I can’t tell you what I would give to be able to fulfill a New Year resolution to go running every day. To walk a mile every morning. To learn to salsa dance. To go to work everyday brimming with energy (of course fortified with fresh fruit and an egg white omelet…no donuts here, that’s on my resolution list!).

But I can wake up every morning and breathe clean air, look around me, feel the sunshine on my skin, hear the birds yammering and be grateful for all those things. I can still read, write, eat, laugh and hirple.

I would like to challenge each of you reading this to stop for a second and be grateful for what you can do. If you can dance, walk, run, ski, hike, skip ~ go do it. Today. Now. Skip to work. Hop on one foot to the busstop. Dance your way through the day.

One day, you won’t be able to do those things anymore. Guaranteed. Don’t be someone who looks back on life and thinks “Crap. I wish I’d gone dancing and eaten more green beans.”  Be one of those people who looked at the line and crossed it with a belly full of vegetables, and an ice cream cone in hand, doing the limbo and then sliding into home plate.