The Theory of Relativity...

Einstein was a fucking genius. Yes, I know the world knows that already. He's famous for it.

But seriously, think about it. Who in the hell comes up with shit like the theory of relativity? What was he smoking? And is there any left?

The simplest version of any kind of an explanation that I found was this:
"Special Relativity says that every person has their own time. One person's clock says something different from another person's clock. The reason a person's time can be different from another's is because of Time Dilation, which can be thought of more easily by the Twin Paradox."

Time. Me and time don't deal with each other very well. I am always late, always behind, always trying to outrun time. There are always so many things I can do with my time--too many. The good part about that is that I am NEVER bored. Seriously. I can't remember the last time I was bored.

The thing is, there are things that I WANT to give my time to; and right now mostly it's my kid and being a mother. I essentially, am a stay-at-home mom and every full-time stay-at-home mom knows exactly how much time that takes. The problem with that is that most stay-at-home moms have a husband or partner who at least brings in the money so that she can be home with the kids and take them to karate or soccer or violin, help them with their homework, be there for them.

I don't have that, and that's a problem. A HUGE problem. And I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out how "full time stay-at-home mom" and "full time work-at-home graphic artist/photographer/illustrator" go hand in hand and seriously, I don't think they do. Cuz the other thing I notice is that other women who work at home full time have some kind of a help-meet... a nanny, a partner.

Now I could be wrong. Maybe I'm just rationalizing my failures away. It's a good possibility cuz I really am good at rationalizing.

But I know it's not because I'm NOT working that I'm broke. I work all the fucking time. I never ever (unless I'm really sick or have a migraine like I did about a week and a half ago when I crawled home, stripped at the door, got in the bed and slept all afternoon) am sitting around doing nothing. Yeah, I surf Crackbook. But seriously... while I'm surfing Crackbook I also have several other applications open, am probably trying to write, am probably cooking all at the same time and probably have a load of laundry going. AND, the main reason I surf Crackbook is contacts and networking with people. And I've gotten some work from that... so I can't say that Crackbook is a complete waste of time. Except for maybe when I play Scrabble or Wordscraper, but honestly, those games last days because I don't play consistently. I've long given up on Mafia Wars or Bejeweled Blitz cuz I don't have the time.

So enter the BigMan into the TimeSpace Continuum. Einstein says heavy objects bend time, and um, yeah. That would be true. BigMan takes up time. And I don't mind, I don't. I wanted it. But there's a downside to everything and the downside is that when he's here, in all fairness I really should sit with him and pay attention to him or talk to him or watch a movie with him. And I want to do those things, and I'm getting better at doing those things without my brain racing in my head saying "You know you could be doing this. Or that. And there's still THAT that needs to be done. And you could do a load of laundry too, while you're at it". He says I need to relax more, to get more sleep. He got kind of mad about it. And I told him listen... If I had the fucking time to sleep I would. But SOMETHING'S gotta give, and dishes don't wash themselves and laundry doesn't put itself away, and when the cat yukes on the rug I have to clean it and then of course there's work I need to do to finish projects.

Or, write, to clear my head, because it's essential to my well-being.

So he washes dishes for me, and mops the floor when I ask, and I like that, I do. And I appreciate it. But sometimes he just sits on the couch and bends time and THAT tends to piss me off.

Last week he'd gone home and I missed him and asked him to come back, and he did. But he was really bending time and it was making me nuts so when he went home I felt a little relieved.

And I'm not sure I should feel relieved when he goes home, considering how much I cried that I had no one when he wasn't here to bend time with.

Mr. True God, I'm not ungrateful. I really am not. I was specific in what I asked for and You pretty much sent what I asked except for one or two glaring exceptions (which I am really trying to weigh how essential they are to my happiness). I am trying to be patient and be cognizant of my narcissistic tendencies, and I am realizing more and more that I'm a lot more like my mother than I initially thought. Probably because the BigMan has certain tendencies that REALLY remind me of Poppy.

Poppy can bend time like no other. Poppy gets snarky when BigBear tells him what to do. "It's not what you say" he's said to her "it's the bossy way in which you say it".

Which gave me quite a start when the BigMan said exactly the same thing to me, only he used the words "condescending" and "relentless".

My response was, about a day later and in a joking fashion "Look, I don't give a shit about most people, and when I don't give a shit I don't say shit cuz it's not worth my time. So if I say something to you it's because I give a shit. And I am relentless in my explanation, and passionate in my delivery, and you should take this the way it's intended--from the heart--cuz if I DIDN'T give a shit, trust me, you'd never hear me say a fucking word."

And I do try to be rational and understanding and thoughtful when I speak but sometimes fuck, I just don't have time for all that. Just do what I say and your life will be a lot easier, can't you see that? Must I sugarcoat everything???


The other day I started the process of applying for Welfare. The end result of that experience in Hell is that the next motherfucker who rants about "Welfare recipients who do nothing but collect checks and have children on my dime" within earshot of me is going to get slapped.

Why? Cuz the ones who have the fucking time to waste going through the process and dealing with the bullshit deserve to get it. And Welfare is designed to support just those very people, because anyone who REALLY desperately needs a break does not have the fucking time to deal with the bullshit.

On Friday the 30th I went about 10AM to the Welfare center and stood online for an application. The app booklet itself is fairly simple and straightforward; slightly more info is asked than on the Foodstamp app, but not much. But in addition there is this HUGE amount of fucking paper booklets that go along with it. You get a blue ticket and go up to the blue floor (all the signs are blue and the walls are blue--the FoodStamp Floor is lavender). And wait.

If you think the waiting room is full of nodding junkies and pregnant black women, um no. Pretty much a broad spectrum of ordinary folk and no, no Mexicans. Those motherfuckers all have jobs. Cuz they will work for less than minimum wage in slavery-like conditions as busboys and nannies and live 10 to a room to save money, and one day those motherfuckers drive up in their SUV and buy your house in Yonkers.

You can't be in a four-year college and get welfare.

You can't be working and get welfare.

And Welfare, in New York City, land of the overpriced housing market, only pays $280 towards your rent (in 1987, when the Professor and I took over the $200-a-month apartment next door to the parents and had just taken over the Diva's life, Welfare paid $197 a month). And they'll only pay THAT if you have "plan of action" that tells them how you plan on paying the rest of your $1,000+ rent. And no, bitch you can't have a job. Cuz that cuts into your budget. So really, you need Section 8 (and that list/program has LONG since been done) or someone who will pay the balance.

Except for the screaming/bored babies, it was pretty quiet with most folk avoiding eye contact. Nobody in their right mind REALLY wants to be there. Later on I peeped that the ones who DO make eye contact are the professionals.

So after sitting there all morning I met with a very nice Hispanic woman who took all--and I do mean all--my info and input it into the computer and told me all the shit I was going to have to do in the next 5 days just to keep my application open. "Non-compliance" means they immediately close your case. My case is already closed, I'm sure of it, but I digress.

One of the things you have to agree to is finger-imaging. Let alone the fact I've ALREADY been finger-imaged cuz of FoodStamps. Um, it's not like my fingerprints are going to change. But no... I would have to be finger-imaged again. I also had to have my child-care provider fill out this rather large booklet (which requires them checking off "yes" to questions like "Provider agrees to refrigerate leftover milk and formula" and supply their social security info and whether they themselves are receiving foodstamps or welfare) and bring the booklet back to the Center on the 4th. I needed proof of childcare to get my childcare allowance so I could go sit in the FEGS office all day.

I had some other paper to fill out from the landlord about my rental arrears, but the really nice worker had a Hispanic accent that was so thick I couldn't understand a fucking word she was saying (and seriously, that's thick, cuz I can even understand my Dominican hairstylist).

So on the 4th I dragged my sorry ass back up to the Center. This was Wednesday morning, about 10, after I dropped the Sun off to school. The line was out the door, down the block on both sides of the entrance. The longer side was the Welfare side, the shorter side FoodStamps.

I went first to the childcare section. I told the woman my kid was 10 and I could leave him in afterschool so I didn't need to provide any data. When I checked off "no" to the question "Could you accept a job today?" I meant no, not THAT day cuz it would be unexpected and I'd have to make arrangements to pick up the kid. She was very nice that woman, and spoke English and when I told her have a nice day I meant it.

Then next I went to the Yellow Floor with a Yellow Ticket, which was the HDU floor. That's the floor you go to when you have rental arrears or an Impending Eviction and are looking for a One-Shot Deal. There were nothing but women there, and later one lonely young man who was probably aging out of the foster care system. It was then that I remembered I'd been on that floor before, when I was in School and broke, and I hadn't had any relief from them then.

And ain't gonna get it now.

Welfare will only pay your back rent IF you are in court with a Pending Eviction AND you have a "plan of action" on how you're going to pay your rent once they pay the back rent. In other words... you need a job.

Which is sort of an oxymoron, don't you think? If you had a fucking job you wouldn't be behind in your rent.

And if like me, you're applying for Welfare cuz you've been looking for work/not making enough and DON"T have a job, they MIGHT pay your rental arrears IF the apartment is legal and the landlord provides documentation that it's legal AND you have a plan of action detailing how you plan on paying your rent from now on, especially since Welfare only pays $280.

And the worker rather snottily explained, IF you have a job you have to come report it and they get to DECIDE whether or not you're making too much.

I don't have time to figure that shit out. I walked out of there thinking fuck this, but went downstairs anyway to my mandatory job-training/FEGS orientation that was about an hour long.

Really, the talk the facilitator gave was about 20 minutes, in which she told us (all women, one pregnant and two who had small children) that we were REQUIRED to go sit in the FEGS office for 35 hours a week and work on jobskills. And look for jobs. And if we still couldn't find a job, they would assign us jobs. And no, we weren't working for "free", see... we were receiving benefits. Except, um... I was to report to FEGS the next day and STILL wasn't told I actually had Welfare yet.

In my head I was doing the time equation: 35 hours a week in a hot (probably) basement pasty-colored room with slow-ass people who had government jobs instructing me how to write a resume or practice my interview skills.

I have a fucking resume.

Maybe my interviewing skills suck. They probably do... I haven't had an interview in probably 5 years... but at some point I apparently interviewed pretty well since at one point in my life I made $87,000 a year. But I'll be goddamned if I sit in a hot fucking office sleeping and twiddling my thumbs when at least if I'm home twiddling my fucking thumbs, I'm networking Crackbook, working on shit, doing laundry, cooking, and applying for jobs. I have a computer and (so far, still) Internet service. I touch type 90 fucking words a minute.


The pregnant girl said she was six months... the facilitator said that didn't matter. Your ass still needed to go sit in FEGS. And don't worry, they won't assign you anything like cleaning trains, you can do a customer service training course or a clerical gig. You know, filing all the fucking denied Welfare applications.

A colossal waste of a fucking day.

I'm really not sure what I'm going to do, but I know one Goddamn thing... Welfare is not for me.

But I don't think my landlord is going to like that too much so I'll just continue not answering the phone. She'll send me a nasty letter eventually. I'll deal with it then.


On a happy note, time spent practicing something useful makes one better at whatever it is one chooses to spend time practicing. It's really nice if you actually ENJOY the time spent. In the Sun's case, he claims to not enjoy violin, but he was dared by Roberta to practice 6 days a week for two weeks and she bet him a dollar he would be better. And he did it, with not too much screaming. And he got better. He's got tone. He's even getting a little vibrato. when he plays "Eleanor Rigby" it almost sounds like singing. His "Minuet II" makes me want to dance a pretty waltz. I love when he plays "One-Masked Tango". And he can transpose "Florida Blues" into another key with no music... just his ear.

Little bastard. I'll never let him quit. The downside was I bribed him with a new phone if he met Roberta's challenge, which meant more to him than the dollar she promised. But I couldn't fulfill my end of the deal, since I owe Sprint a lot of money and they won't let me upgrade his phone. Shit like that bothers me even more than the landlord's nasty letters...


I don't know about NYC, but Craigslist can be a good source of job openings, as well as rooms to rent and houses to share all over the country. You'd be amazed at the cost of living in other places. Craigslist literally saved my friggin' life back in the summer.

Is there a mid-sized town elsewhere that's always appealed to you? I think the economy will drop off the side of a cliff after Christmas. Being in broke with a kid and no job in NYC will probably be a nightmare. Pulling up roots is hard, but it would be harder if those roots could no longer get any nurtursnce where your are. Think about it, okay?
The Bear Maiden said…
Yes, I have to be more proactive about Craigs list...

but I can't move. If I had the one months rent/1-2mths security + broker's fee to move, I'd pay the landlord... and it's not like there's much cheaper than what I have for a huge 2 br apartment. I did consider Orlando a few years back... but my whole support system--friends and family--are NY through and through...
Anonymous said…
Reading this pisses me off, it seems like we have a system designed to keep folks down. I swear the fplks whp create this system should be forced to rely on it so they can seen how little sense it makes.

I was reminded of my bout with unemployment back in 07-08 when in order I keep getting my UE check I had to go to a class on finding work. Well like your situation it was a waste of time. Let's see I have not only a BA but a masters degree and my last job was teaching adults about what? But how to find I knew all I needed to know about looking for a job problem was there were no jobs.

Well I have been back to work a year now but I make less than I did a decade ago and have no benefits. Crazy world we have!

Good luck to you and hang in there! I agree with KIT that sometimes Craigslist can be useful, I picked up some freelace work there once, try it out.

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