Yes, that’s right!

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Photo Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pexels

I’m going to set aside the health issues for a moment. After a lot of consideration, I am absolutely determined to go back to school. I am 100% sure this is the right thing to do. I have talked to Eddie about it and to my parents and even my brother and they all agree that that’s what I need to do. I know exactly what I want to take. I keep coming back to the same thing. I want to work in web development. I want to learn how to develop websites. Like really learn. I want to make it into a career. I mentioned before in a previous post that I wanted to work with children and while that is still something that I would have loved to do, it’s not really practical for me.

I need to do something that I can either do remotely from home or that I can eventually transition to do remotely from home. Something I can also do as a freelancer. I absolutely love to blog and love this blog so much and love the little bit of coding that I know. I am completely self-taught with the exception of a web design course over 16 years ago which really just taught me a bit about Photoshop, Dreamweaver and HTML and CSS. It never delved into anything else and is so out of date now that I don’t even list it on resumes, etc.

So, anyway I have decided to take a program at Athabasca University, a well know online and distance University in Canada. I am going to take a Bachelor of Science in Computing and Information Systems minoring in Web Development. It’s a four-year Undergraduate Degree Program. I am absolutely determined that I am going to do it. They have courses starting every month and I have an appointment on Thursday at Nova Scotia Works which is a career development place in the mall in Digby and get their help with applying to the school and applying for funding and also some advice on making a career out of it, and what to do in the meantime to help support us while taking it.

With that in mind, I have been joining as many freelance transcription and captioning sites similar to Rev.com which I am already a transcriber and captioner at so that I can get as many jobs as I can through them and try and work as hard as I can to try and make up what I am missing now that I no longer work for the bank I was working for. I am good at transcription and captioning and like it but really don’t want to make a long-term career out of it as my mom did. I am also looking for other freelance type opportunities that I can do. I like to write but really don’t have any niches or any experience or schooling on topics that I can write about so freelance writing seems out of the question even though I like to write.

I am starting a job part-time from home on Tuesday that I was supposed to start this past week but due to an error on their end I ended up not getting invited to the training last week, so I am starting in a training class next week. It won’t be enough money though. So I am still looking and just trying to make money anywhere I can. I have an interview over the phone tomorrow for a different job that is similar but a little more along the lines of the call center jobs I did in Halifax, only it would be from home as well.

One really good thing is that I found out today that my bankruptcy is no longer showing on my credit report, there is no record of it. In one way that will not help me with a government student loan as they were actually one of the things included in my bankruptcy years ago and they never got all the paperwork and so still show that I basically still owe it, but that’s okay too because I have the paperwork in my email to send to them. I just need to find out who to send it to and then once it is processed and my file updated I should be able to apply again. Hopefully, that does not take as long as other government-related stuff or I will likely have lived to 100 and be long dead before they update it.

I am hoping to look into other options for funding as well, and that appointment on Thursday should help as that is one of the things they do there. I am wondering about maybe getting a student line of credit through my bank. My credit rating is not the greatest but it is not the worst either, somewhere in the middle and with the bankruptcy no longer an issue I might have that as an option. I am sure there are other things I can look into too. One way or another I am going back to school. If I have to do it one course at a time and save the money to pay for the first course and then save the money to pay for the next course during each course I am currently taking, which is actually a possibility as well since they actually allow you to do it that way and allow you to take unlimited time in finishing your degree basically.

Somehow I am determined to figure this out and Eddie and my parents are behind me a hundred percent. My parents aren’t in a position to help me financially, but they will do everything in their power to help me achieve my goals and find the money. Eddie as well. So I am going to do it somehow, I am going to succeed.

Two to three paychecks away from being homeless

Image Credit: Anne-Onyme from Pixabay
This is something that has been on my mind for a while now and something I just feel like writing about. Almost half of Canadians are only two to three missed paychecks away from being homeless. I am sure this is true for many other countries as well. Something I have experienced myself is wondering where the next rent is going to come from or not getting groceries because you need to put gas in the car to get to work. It’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately because we have been struggling with money a lot.

Today, my mom told me about a story in the Chronicle Herald (Halifax) which really hit home for both of us. A 63-year-old woman, a woman my own parent’s age, suffering from diabetes living in her car in a Walmart Parking lot in Dartmouth Crossing after losing her job and then her apartment due to what she called “three bad blows”. Blows that could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Blows that do happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time but that if you do not have a nest egg of savings to get you through can render you homeless.

The first of which was her mother getting sick and having to move home to Nova Scotia and to Halifax to take care of her. She also ended up taking care of a special needs niece and her brother who needed palliative care while dying from cancer. Having to put her life, her job and everything on hold to take care of loved ones selflessly asking for nothing in return. She found a job at a call center, again something that hits home for me as I have been working in call center’s for most of my life and only recently left to work in a branch of a bank. She worked there for 8 years when her luck ran out.

The second blow came when she had to have three toes removed from complications of diabetes. It does not say what type of diabetes she has and honestly, it does not matter. As Leah writes about in her blog the.insulin.type all types of diabetes matter and all have the potential to cause horrific complications if not controlled, and getting and maintaining control is a constant struggle which even a little cold or infection can have a huge effect on. Anyway, this is what happened to this woman. She ended up having to have three toes removed. After coming back to work from a leave of absence, most likely too soon, but when you need money you need money, she was only able to get part-time as her hours were cut back.

Of course, her bills started piling up and she was falling behind on her rent and she was eventually kicked out. Family helped her as much as they could at their own expense, a brother-in-law allowed her to stay in a house he was selling before the new owner took occupancy but then she was forced to move again. All of this took a toll on her job as she kept having to miss work to move and she was eventually fired. She doesn’t blame the call center at all, as she says in the article she knew the rules and she didn’t comply with them, really through no fault of her own though.

Without a job and without a roof over her head she has resorted to living in her car in front of her brother-in-law’s place at first moving around every few days, after a while, she found out that Walmart allows RVs and campers to park in their parking lot and that is where she currently is. A friend took her in during Hurricane Dorian and her brother-in-law maxed out his own credit card putting her up in hotels every few nights so she could have a good sleep and a bath. An MLA also reached out to the Department of Community Services and they provided her a few days of accommodation in a motel. She is 2 years too early for Old Age Security and only has a small Canada Pension Plan (CPP) amount of $277 a month that she is getting and due to having no permanent address she does not qualify for further assistance from the Department of Community Services.

A GoFundMe campaign was started for her by a friend and co-worker but honestly, unfortunately, it takes time for funds to be raised through GoFundMe, and then once the goal is met and the money is requested it takes time for the funds to reach her. She doesn’t have time, however, as another blow has come, living in her car and not taking her shoes and socks off often, she failed to notice a blister forming on her heal that had gotten infected. Anyone who knows anything about diabetes knows how serious that can be, especially after already having three toes removed on the same foot. She is supposed to wear a special boot while healing but due to circumstances can’t because she would not be able to drive or get around as she is living in her car.

She is falling through the cracks, the weather here right now is getting cold, very cold. It is currently -3°C in Dartmouth and it feels like -8°C and it is just going to get colder. She is in an impossible situation and she is just one of many people and children in the same or similar situations in this country. It’s a big issue and is only going to get bigger. My husband and I are fortunate at the moment that we have family that has stepped in and helped us but sometimes that help can only go so far and even being in a bad position ourselves this haunts me to the core, her story and the stories of people like her.

Her story really hits home for me. Partly because she is a diabetic, partly because she is the same age as my parents which kills me the most and partly because her story shows the human side of it.  It shows me that it can happen to anyone, anytime, living anywhere and that there are people even worse off than her, here in Canada and really all over the world. My mom and I have both been really affected by reading her story and have been racking our brains all afternoon on how we can help, how we can make a difference, to the point my mom said she wished she could drive up to Dartmouth and bring her home to stay for the winter to get her off the streets and give her a chance.

While that is probably not possible or feasible, there must be something we can do. Money is tight for both my parents and us, but we just feel like there has to be something we can do. We just have no idea what. She is two and a half hours away. Maybe even just getting her story out there might help. I have no idea. All I know is it is really bugging me.

 

When it rains, it pours…

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Image Credit: Edward Corbett

Well, November ended with a bang. As the title suggests I am having a run of bad luck right now. Eddie worked last night from 4 to 10 PM. I left about 9:20 to get him. It’s about a 15-minute drive. The first 5 minutes are on the old highway which we live on and then I went up the ramp onto Highway 101. As I got off the ramp and started picking up speed and heading down the hill to the bear river bridge when suddenly a deer jumped in front of me from the left.

I didn’t notice it until it was in my headlights. I braked hard but it was too late. I hit the deer with the right front of my car. It hit the guardrail, bounce off and slid across my car landed on its feet and took off… how I don’t know. It was a big one too. Male with antlers and I hit it fairly hard. It had to have been hurt. It did some damage to my car and smashed my front headlight and signal light, left a large hole in my bumper, damaged my hood and the corner panel.

Image Credit: Norm Van Tassel. The concrete bridge is the one I was headed onto on the far end of this bridge in this picture. The second bridge, the train trestle, is long gone. It was torn down years ago.

I pulled over to the side of the road up against the guardrail after and there was a car already on the 101 that I merged in front of moments before. He pulled over as well and got out to see if I was okay. He looked the car over good with his phone’s flashlight and said he thought it was likely still drivable. After ensuring I was okay he waited for me to pull away and followed me across the bridge and I pulled over at the exit right after it as I was shaky and also concerned because a caution light was on.

Image Credit: Edward Corbett

The guy must have gotten off at the exit. I didn’t see where he went from there but I called my mom because I was starting to get sore and wasn’t sure if I should drive the car or not. It felt shaky but that could have just been me. I think I was in shock a bit. My parents came to get me. We drove into Digby and picked up Edward and by that time I had searing pain across my whole lower back and my hip and knee on my left side and my wrist was getting sore.

Image Credit: Edward Corbett

I usually drive with my left foot in the footwell on the footrest most newer cars have. I won’t do that again. My husband and parents both thought I should go to the ER at this point to be checked out. So they drove us there, dropped us off and went back to the car and Dad drove it home with mom following behind and parked it in our driveway then came back to the hospital to wait for me.

The ER doc luckily was my favorite one (it’s a small town and he’s been contracted to work in the ER for a while along with Dr. Ron) who doesn’t fool around and is actually a really great doctor. He was concerned about my description of the accident and where my foot was placed and where my pain was and wanted to rule out a hip or pelvic fracture and x-ray my knee.

Image Credit: Edward Corbett

There didn’t appear to be any and he said my pelvis alignment looked good. He figures the impact caused a shock wave up my leg because it was braced against the wheel well thingy and up through my leg and knee into my sacroiliac joint and lower back. My wrist and elbow and shoulder likely had a similar shock through them. I am pretty sure my stomach hit the steering wheel. I am experiencing a lot of pain there and am going to have to go back and get it checked I think as it’s been progressively increasing overnight and my head and shoulder hit the door.

Unfortunately, I had the previous injuries all on that side and in the same joints which I still have pain from. So this is just going to aggravate that. I imagine this is likely going to cause my fibromyalgia to flare and cause me even more issues. He put me off work till Thursday but said to come back if I need longer or am still in a lot of pain Thursday to be re-evaluated. He said it should start resolving in a week or so but he didn’t know how bad my previous injuries were or that I have Fibromyalgia. Probably should have mentioned that but even with him, I didn’t want that to overshadow it.

I am so pissed about the car. We have only had it a little over a month! At least it’s not badly damaged. I also feel bad for the poor deer since it wasn’t killed but its back end must have been injured. I called the non-emergency RCMP number this morning to see if I needed to report the deer and she said no unless it’s dead and needs to be moved off the road or is lying injured on the side of the road and can’t get up then the department of natural resources prefers to just let nature take its course and leave them alone. It was long gone anyways it ran for the woods. Hopefully, it’s not hurt too bad. Not even sure why it was crossing there or came from as the side it came from was steep coming down to the road and where it was going to had a guard rail and on the other side a steep drop off to either the sea or the road that runs alongside it like 100 ft below, its basically a cliff.

I also called my insurance and they said it would fall under comprehensive so it would not affect my premiums or anything and they started a claim and booked the car in at 11 am tomorrow in Smith’s Cove for an estimate and set up the rental car for when it is in the shop. They also started a benefit claim for the injuries and said they like to get you into a clinic to assess injuries and determine what’s needed for physio, etc.

I have to pay a $250 deductible which fortunately I just changed last month when we got the car, it was previously $500 with the Nissan Altima. There goes our winter tire money. Kinda pissed about that too. Took me a few months to save it up. Going to have to deal with all seasons for the winter or see if there is anything left over to at least buy used for this year.

Also, it’s a good thing I know not to swerve as that guard rail would not have stopped me going over the edge either