I applied for food stamps today.

I never thought this day would come. Every time I’ve been down to just a handful of pennies in my piggy bank, or opened a letter saying that my bank account was overdrawn once again, or had to explain to a landlord that my rent was going to be late, I never imagined it would come to this.

I had to apply for food stamps today.

My husband isn’t working right now. He left an OK job for a great job, one that paid double what he had been earning, and after 3 weeks they informed him that because of an old repossession in his credit report, he was no longer employed. He travelled to Illinois for that job, leaving me here with no transportation and no one to depend on to get me to work. It was alright, though. Once he was bringing in the big money, it would all be OK. We’d pay all the bills up and start saving.

He’s been looking for a job for a month now. He’s filled out countless applications and made endless phone calls. There have been no reasonable offers, and each lead quickly becomes a dead end. He’s trying, doing everything he can to get a job, but it just isn’t working. We’ve missed rent twice so far, and 3 car payments. I only make minimum wage, and even with 40 hours a week, I can’t pay half the bills on my own.

We are on the verge of being homeless. The landlord has already threatened eviction, and I don’t know what I’ll do if we get kicked out of our house. We have no family or friends to stay with nearby, and it will cost us at least $2000 to move back to Illinois.

There isn’t much left for us to do. My husband is still owed for the 3 weeks he worked in Illinois, but we don’t know when that check will come. I will go tomorrow to see if I can find a factory job in addition to the job I have now.

I hate that I need help. That we need help. I want to be the one who gives to the less fortunate, not the one who needs assistance. I work hard, but I still can’t pay the bills. My husband is eager to go back to work, but there just aren’t any opportunities.

We applied for food stamps today.

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Drunk Blog!

Hi, I’m drunk, how are you?

So yeah. That whole no smoking thing? I lasted a week. Then I realized that I’m much crazier without nicotine, and I’m gonna smoke. Smokey smoke smoke, all day long. If my week without cigarettes at least helps me cut down, I’ll consider it a success.

Man, I forgot how hard drunk blogging was. At least I’m getting my money’s worth out of the backspace key…

And also? The greatest thing ever? Cigarettes, a good drink (with vodka), a beautiful night, and *almost* beating my husband at Phase 10. I’ll have to challenge him to a game of Monopoly this weekend so I can regain my dignity.

Oh yeah… the best drunk food ever? I thought it was breakfast at Twin City Cafe, but I was wrong. It is definitely, without a doubt, a sandwich and cheese fries from Cookout. What, you don’t have a Cookout? Come visit, I’ll buy you dinner 🙂

I also had a new story idea. Woot! I need some of those. Sure, I’d love to start working on Finding Home again, but we’ll see. This story though? Could be good times. It’s about a farming family, and it starts in the late 1920s to early 1930s. It’ll go through at least 3 generations, and cover how hard it is to keep the farm alive through tough times as well as all the struggles the family goes through.

That sounds really lame. Don’t worry, I’ll make it interesting.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannddddddd… yeah, that’s all I’ve got. You know, if people would actually answer their phones when I drunk dial, you wouldn’t be submitted…. exposed… assaulted with this shit. Just saying.

Oh yeah. I remembered something else, and then I forgot it again. You’ll have that. Yay vodka!


You can’t do this to me anymore.

It’s been two weeks. Two long, lonely weeks have passed since the last time I saw you.

I’m done crying. I’m done waiting for the phone to ring, and I’m done worrying about you.

I spent last night shoving everything you left behind into a garbage bag. Your clothes, your mail, your old pair of Nikes, the half-empty bottle of shampoo you left sitting on the corner of the bathtub. I tore up all of our pictures and threw them away as well. I cried at first, remembering how much I loved you once. Then I thought about all the times you hurt me over the last five years, and I realized that you don’t deserve my tears.

You took so much away from me. My friends, my family, my future.

My child.

We never talked about that, did we? You knew what you did that day. You held my hand in the ambulance and sat beside me at the hospital. You didn’t speak up when the nurse asked what happened to me– I lied for you. I still don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I thought you might change after that. It might have been fear that made me lie. Whatever it was, I wish I had told the truth. I should have told them all that you did it to me, that you killed our baby as it grew inside me.

I stopped loving you that day. Did you know that? I think that you did. You were nice to me for a little while after that, acting like I was more to you than just a punching bag. It was too late, though. You took away the one thing I had left, and you showed no remorse. I hated you so much, but I stayed.

I stayed because I had nowhere else to go. My family wouldn’t take me back, and I couldn’t support myself waiting tables. So I stayed in that apartment, and I waited for you to start drinking again. I’d wait until the bottle was half empty in your hand, and then I’d say something to piss you off.

Sometimes you’d hit me. I’d watch your fist come towards my body, hoping that this time would be the last. This time, you would finish the job. But you never did. The part of your conscience that still remained always stopped you, and I hated you more for that.

But now, it’s over. You left without saying goodbye, without giving me a reason. You were just gone, and I was happy for the first time since the night we met. You told me for years that I could never do better than you, and the truth was that you couldn’t do better than me. I don’t care where you are anymore– lying in a gutter somewhere, sitting in a jail cell, or sleeping in another woman’s bed. You’re finally out of my life, and now I have the chance to get that life back.

My only regret is that I didn’t see through you sooner.


Soap Operas and Withdrawal

Yep, that's pretty much how I'm feeling at the moment.

No, I’m not experiencing withdrawal from soap operas. There’s no such thing, in my opinion. I mean, I can go 6 months without watching Days of Our Lives and be caught up on everything again within a week.

The withdrawal I’m going through is from nicotine. And holy fucking shit, I’m stabby. Really, really stabby. This time, it’s going to be permanent. I ran out of smokes last night with $10 in my purse to last us until next Thursday. We checked the gas gauge in the car, pissed away the money on horribly unhealthy fast food that was ohsovery delicious, and I smoked the last of my cigarettes after cleaning the house. Since I’m broke for the next week, I figure this is the perfect time to just deal with the bitchiness and the depression and the insomnia and quit smoking for good.

Have I mentioned lately that this shit is fucking hard? This is why it took me so long to start smoking the first place— I just don’t have the balls to live through getting over an addiction. Fuuuuuuuuuuuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.

I’ll work on my other bad habits after this one is out of my system. You know, once I can go 5 minutes without thinking about how much I want a fucking cigarette.

Anyway. I’ve been distracting myself with soap operas. Why, you ask? Because reality TV tries too hard, and because I need to be watching Days when they finally get their heads out of their asses and bring back Dr. Mike. And you know what? I’ve learned a few things while trying to figure out who the hell all these random people are.

She really doesn't have much to live for. Might as well end it now, get a teary funeral, and leave with dignity.

 1. Carly’s suicide would make an awesome storyline.

I know, that sounds really fucking mean, but let’s just pretend that’s the rebellious, pissed off addict in me talking. Seriously though? I don’t want to see a soap-opera-riffic intervention, or watch her find love (and Jesus, let’s not forget Jesus) in rehab. Fuck that. I want to see her give into the pressures of being ugly, alone, and second best to the Horton women in the eyes of… everyone.

I hope she gives me a shout-out in the suicide note. “Cyberhomewrecker” would be sufficient.

 

 

 

"Yeah? Say that a little louder, my hearing aid is on the fritz!"

 

2. This whole multi-generational cast thing they’re trying to cash in on?

Really fucking stupid. It was bad enough with Victor and Stefano constantly trying to outdo each other. Who wants to watch geriatric fucking gangsters? But add in a “sisterhood moment” with Julie and Maggie and you’ve lost me. As for the teenage storylines– if they’re going for realistic, they’re failing miserably. These kids don’t spend nearly enough time texting, ignoring everything around them, and making ironic comments that they think are entertaining when in actuality they just need to shut the fuck up. Granted, I don’t know much about what’s going on because they don’t show the teens very often, but still. Cut the crap and bring back Dr. Mike.

 

I couldn't find a picture of her with a halo, and I'm too lazy to paint one in.

 

3. Jennifer is a fucking douchenozzle. She comes off as that annoying friend who you hold on to and invite to things because she’d do anything for you if you needed her to, and because of that you’d feel guilty cutting her off. She is a great person, and that’s her downfall. She’s a Horton, and she’s Dr. Mike’s little sister (I like her because she’s one of very few women on the show that I know for sure won’t be found in bed with my future husband). She’s holier than thou, but she doesn’t have that attitude about her. She has that whole “I genuinely want to help you just for the sake of making the world a better place” attitude.

It makes me fucking puke. I mean, how am I supposed to live up to that when she’s my sister in law after I marry Dr. Mike? With lots of fucking nicotine, that’s how.

 

 

Then there are the questions. So many fucking questions. The most important one, of course, is:

When is this show going to get interesting again?

The easy answer to that would be “whenever they can get Mike to come back.”

In the meantime, they should really work on answering my other questions.

Who the fuck is Dario, and why should I care?

How many siblings does Rafe have?

Why did EJ and Nicole ever get back together?

Can I see EJ naked?

What’s Jensen Ackles up to nowadays? Any chance he could come back?

Since when does Vivian have a son? And why the fuck is he Australian?

Sometimes, I get a strange tingly feeling in my lady parts. What causes it, and how can I fix it?

Need another writer for Days of Our Lives? Cause I need a fucking job, and you need some new storylines. Just saying.

 

 

Psssh, I bet you thought that after a month of not blogging, I’d come back with something interesting. Ha, right. I’ll try to stay away from my blog in my withdrawal-induced craziness, but I guarantee nothing.


I cleaned my desk so I might as well use it.

Hey, what’s up? If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you got left behind when the rapture came and all of your Mormon friends got taken away.

Go ahead, click on the image and check out the website. I'll wait.

What, you didn’t see that episode of Family Guy? Or South Park? I can’t remember which raunchy cartoon it was that said the Mormons got it right…

Anyway. On to more important things. Like, why I’m blogging sober on a Friday night.

“Toni, why are you blogging SOBER on a Friday night?”

Because I’m unemployed and therefore unable to afford liquor, and I’m in a place where I know roughly 10 people other than my husband, therefore I have nothing better to do on Friday night. Thanks for rubbing it in, asshole.

Actually, I started writing this blog so I could tell you two things.

I see you leaning towards the screen of your looted Mac (pretentious much? Isn’t the whole point of owning a Mac being able to tell people that your computer cost three times as much as everyone else’s?) in rapt attention as you wait for the life-changing lesson that will inevitably follow.

Shit, I forgot what I was going to say first.

Give me a minute, I’ll remember…

I think it might have been something about my inability to finish anything other than a sandwich. Yeah, we’ll go with that. See, I have all these big plans for things, like books and a website to meet other pathetic losers who are stuck at home Friday night because they’re new in NC and don’t know anyone, and all sorts of diet/exercise plans, and I’ve never finished any of them. Not one. Hell, I can’t even finish cleaning my house in one try. Usually, half of my house is clean one week, the other half the next.

I’m being generous about my cleaning skills. They’re more along the lines of the whole house is a mess most of the time, and occasionally a room or two gets cleaned.

That would be a pretty awesome name.

So yeah. I need to work on that whole willpower thing. It’s not that mine is inadequate… it’s that I just don’t possess anything that could be even slightly construed as willpower. Unless, of course, you count awesomeness. I’ve got lots of that.

Now that you’re all completely in awe of my awesomeness (check out that awesome alliteration!), I’ll tell you the other thing I came here to tell you about.

(Insert creative segue here…)

Get it? Segway? Ha, I slay me!

In 2006, I started a job as a switchboard operator. I got the job completely by chance… It was through a temp agency, and I hadn’t checked in with them in 6 weeks when they called me about the job. They had decided that I would be perfect for it; they described me as “bubbly” on the phone.

For the record, I have never, ever been described as “bubbly” in person. Or even “fit to be out in public.” But that’s beside the point.

Obviously, I took the job. It was employment, and part of my job description was playing on the internet all day. Woot! My training was pretty basic. They covered how to talk to the customers, how to record their info, and who each type of call should be directed to. What they didn’t really cover was what to do in the event of an irate (and possibly mentally deficient) customer. Sure, they warned me about the “bad” calls, but they didn’t really give me much guidance as to what to do in those situations.

Fast forward two weeks. Keep in mind that I was still a temp at this time, and still worried that one day they’d tell me not to come back. We had a new customer whose service was a pain in the ass to hook up. It took a few days, but everything finally got dealt with and they were just waiting for their scheduled installation. A woman and her boyfriend were listed on the account, both of whom had been nice in their impatience. After fielding quite a few calls from them over the course of a few days, I recognized the name and number when it came up on the caller ID.

Me: How may I direct your call?
Her: I need to speak to a manager. (Note: this wasn’t the woman whose name was on the account. And I knew why she was calling.)
Me: What is this in regards to?
Her: Tell them it’s about marketing. (Really? Make it a little more obvious that you’re lying. And also, how many managers will actually take a call about marketing?)
Me (rolling my eyes): Sure, hold on just a moment please.

I tried to transfer the call to 4 different managers, but the only one who was available told me to transfer the call about “marketing” to his voicemail. I switched back over, and no one was on the line. Not surprisingly, she called back a few minutes later.

Me: None of the managers are available at the moment (since I had just tried them all), would you like to leave a voicemail?
Her: No, I need to talk to someone.

I’ll save some time here and not type out every fucking word… and also, it was 5 years ago so I don’t remember *all* of the conversation. She reiterated how desperately she needed to talk to someone RIGHT NOW, blah blah blah, and refused to believe me when I told her no one was available.

Her: I may have a little bit of an accent, but I’m not stupid. (Dude, did I just get accused of being racist over the phone? Yes, yes I did.)
Me: (I told her for the 42625465387th time that no one wanted to fucking talk to her.)
Her: What is your name? I’m gonna report you to the Chamber of Commerce.

Of course, I refused to tell her my name. Why would I tell anyone that who just called me racist… over the phone? Fuck that. Surprisingly, I got a little sarcastic.

I know, you’re shocked. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures!

Anywho, she actually called the Chamber of Commerce. I had to explain to my manager what had happened, you know, how someone who wasn’t on the account (therefore I didn’t have to do shit for her) wanted me to lie to the managers about why she was calling. And that whole I-hung-up-on-a-customer thing too. Oops. Apparently that’s frowned upon unless they’re cussing at you.

The bitch also called AGAIN, and then she came into the store.

I’ll admit it, I hid.

What did I learn from all this, you ask?

1. Apparently I don’t need to know what color someone is to hate them for their race.
2. Everybody was on my side. Ha!
3. There was a very racist statement here. Then I realized that ending the blog that way would cancel out the funny. So, I’ll put in this picture of adorable kittens instead!

Awww, a pile of kittehs!

Just think… when your heathen grandchildren ask you what you were doing the night before the rapture someday, you can tell them about this blog.


Just Write: The First Step

themindofgame.com

I’ve read it a million times from every author/hobby writer who’s ever used the internet:

“The biggest part of writing is just that… writing.”

How can anyone expect to get their writing noticed if they don’t ever write? I suppose that I could explain the thought process. See, I’m one of those “writers” who just sits around waiting for the muse to strike and tell me exactly what to write. I remember when I used to write on-demand: I’d always have a notebook with me, and any spare moment would be spent adding to whatever story I happened to be working on at the time. Those days are long gone even though I have more time I could dedicate to writing than I used to.

any-parental-control.com

The difference is distraction. There are so many other things to do. Get on Facebook, watch TV, check out the entire internet a few times, get sucked into the Youtube cycle of suggested videos… I could name a hundred more distractions, but I think that list gets the point across.

The question becomes this: How do you overcome the distractions?

The simple answer for me is to grab a notebook instead of my laptop. That way, when I get stuck, I don’t have that little button to get on the internet and completely forget about my writing. Then there’s making time to write– determining a specified amount of time each day to spend with just my notebook and a pen.

I think the best solution would be to find a cave or a log cabin (think: Secret Window) to go hide out in. No internet access, a phone only for emergencies, and a beautiful setting to draw inspiration from. Unfortunately, hiding out for as long as it takes to finish a book isn’t exactly feasible for most people. Then there’s that whole developing homicidal multiple personality disorder thing that makes me a little weary…

So how do you eliminate the distractions from every day life? How do you put aside time to write, and not let your writing be affected by life?

1. Write whatever is in your head. Don’t worry if it’s not the next great American novel. Just write through the crap, and eventually you’ll find the good stuff.

2. Find a little bit of time each day to write. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, take that time to write something. A blog, a letter, a page on your story, a poem– whatever. Just write.

3. Limit your internet usage. Figure out what is important when you get online, and do it quickly. There are programs available to lock your internet access– if you need to, invest in one of those and set it up to only allow you online for 30 minutes or so a day. Or, set it to block access for the time frame you’ve determined you’ll use to write each day.

4. JUST WRITE.

That’s the bottom line. If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write. If you truly love writing, it won’t feel like work. Just let the words flow, and don’t worry if it’s not your best work. You can always edit later, and not everything you write has to be seen by the world. Eliminate whatever distractions you can for as long as you can, and listen to your characters as they tell you their story.

And start looking for abandoned caves you could hole yourself up in for a few weeks…

thezensite.com

What do you do to overcome distractions when you want to write?


Operation: Kick the Habit

Yeah, that.

Ok, it’s official. Well, almost. I have 14 cigarettes left, and after they’re gone, I’m done. That should happen sometime tomorrow afternoon.

The withdrawl-induced freakout should commence roughly 24 hours after I smoke my last one. The longest I’ve been able to go before I start scouring every conceivable crevice for loose change is 48 hours.

So yeah… we’ll see how it goes this time.

Oh, how I've loved you.

I apologize in advance for the bitchy. But I’ve been smoking for 3 years, 3 months, and 3 days… it’s kind of poetic that I’ll be able to say that when anyone asks how long I smoked. I just don’t want to do it anymore, ya know?

Haha, nice. I had to type that last sentence twice to get “don’t” in there.

So. Awesome.

I can think of lots of reasons why I shouldn’t smoke- money, health, social pariah, etc.- but the bottom line is, idontwantit. I don’t want to worry about getting a pack when we’re running low on cash, I don’t want to always be the one who’s sneaking off to have a few puffs, and it would be nice if this yellow spot on the side of my right middle finger would go away.

Sooooo… the rest of this week should be interesting.