Thursday, June 11, 2015

Leading the Precarian Life-Bellevue,Tennessee

I bought Guy Standing's "The Precariat-The New Dangerous Class" last week,for I am a Precarian myself,living an iffy life on the financial edge in the stodgy and declining suburb of Bellevue,thirteen miles from Nashville's downtown.

My neighbors are precarians as well.

The 83 year old who goes out to work as a courier at three in the morning. The Canadian woman once a ballerina,now a waitress,hoping for a break as a songwriter. She told me a few weeks ago,in a brief parking lot encounter (right after she informed me that Mr Gerald,another neighbor, had been taken back home by his family because of dementia) that she was frightened all the time.

Who is not?

My job at the Little Big House evaporated in January when Tennessee decided to close that pleasant little prison to save money. Now I work at a high end local nursing home as needed,or PRN as we call it in Nurseville.  Wednesday Social Security declined to send me my monthly money because I made 1300 hundred dollars more than I should have in 2014. $18,000 dollars,I earned. Three thousand more than I am allowed. This means another trip to the Quick Cash with their 300% interest rate so I do not get tossed from my apartment.

In the 90's when I and many others made a decent living,my suburb of Bellevue had a mall with a Mondi store,a Williams-Sonoma,,a Dillards.

But the mall withered and died,and has been vacant for almost 20 years. In the past two years the Circuit City closed,and a non-denominational church took its place. The ToysRUs gave up last winter,and is being replaced by a Goodwill Superstore with a job training center.

Some people in Bellevue are mortified the we have attracted a Goodwill and not a Nordstrom or a Whole Foods. But what do they expect when Bellevue cannot find enough customers to keep a Sonic open?

The Precariat are us.

Some industry has moved in,however. The Old Age industry. Bellevue is littered with Senior housing,assisted living,Memory Care facililities,regular nursing homes, with NHC opening another big one out near the Loveless Cafe sometime in 2016.

If you do not believe this suburb skews old, show up at Kroger on Senior discount Wednesday- the day Social Security sends out the money. And the people you see,the codgers like me, are the lucky ones, for we are still free to roam,unlike the Caged at the homes I listed,who wear Wanderguards on their ankles to foil escape, and who get their meds crushed and slathered with applesauce  three times a day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sentimental Favorites Seen in the Garden Yesterday

When I was a little girl in New England more than half a century ago, I had two bedrooms with giant lilacs outside the windows. The bushes were as big as small trees.

Not so here in Tennessee,where the French hybrids and Persian lilacs grow better than the common lilacs of the North country.

The tree peony and the lilac do not bloom for long,but what a joy they are when they do-

Sunday, March 29, 2015

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A while back I posted about the Siamese hybrid kittens I rescued, and at about that same time I contacted a local Pet Rescue about giving them three of the kittens. I thought it strange that this shelter provided no telephone number and had no physical existence,though a local pet store employee told me that the shelter's animals were kept in foster homes.

I sent a contact person photos of the cats, and received an email from her exclaiming how beautiful the cats were, and what I had to do to prepare them for "intake".

I would be responsible for neutering the cats,paying for multiple tests and shots,paying for physical exams,de-worming,grooming,an anal exam,flea treatment,and nail clipping. In other words a possible 600 or 700(or more) dollars per cat so I could GIVE them to an organization that would then collect a couple hundred dollars as an "Adoption Fee".

Does this seem strange?

If volunteers are caring for these animals,if there is no physical shelter to maintain,no phone to pay for and if they do not provide veterinary care, where do their tax free received donations and adoption fees go?

I find this strange-

Friday, February 27, 2015

Automotive Tyranny

When Americans turn 50, they receive an AARP invitation.. When they face their 65th birthday, their mailboxes are full of Medicare insurance supplement offers. And when their car odometer hits 100,000, they learn the new language of automotive disintegration.

Don't know what an actuator is? You will. It follows the alternator to perdition, and once hundreds have been tossed at both these parts, the starter will start screaming as well. I know this because I am now a beggar without a car. My neighbor is taking me to work tonight because I cannot depend on greedy Nashville cabbies to get me there. They do not come out to the provinces on weekend nights.

A starter, one would think, would be no big trouble. $100 for the starter,$100 for the labor.
Even I can afford that.

But not in Toyota Tundra land. In my truck the starter is under the engine, which must be lifted out of the truck for five hours and 500 bucks worth of labor. With tax and a tow I am looking at 700 dollars to pay a penalty for stupid design. Who was the idiot who planned this? Was common sense under anesthesia? On vacation?

Cars rule our lives for the worse, and anyone who thinks their worries are over when the car is paid off learns that the car is never paid off. I have paid out at least 4000 grand in repairs in the last two years.
And that is not figuring in the interest in loans and the late rent penalties that clank along behind the vehicle like tin cans tied to the bumper-

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why Toilet Paper is Provided Only By Request In My House-

Italian Sausage and Kidney Bean Stew

When I dug through my pantry this week, I found not one can of cannellini beans. I had used the last of the beans to make a bread and bean soup, and now had only some black beans and red beans left.

Perhaps chili, I thought,but discovered I had no ground beef either. What I did have was a pound of Italian sausage and seven ounces of roasted Piquillo peppers that I had frozen. With the addition of a few cloves of garlic and 1/2 sauteed yellow onion I created a tasty and unexpected stew.

1 pound of Italian sausage-hot or mild,according to your taste.
1/2 medium yellow onion,diced and sauteed till soft and golden.
2 cloves garlic,chopped.
2 15 ounce cans red kidney beans
Salt to taste(used when cooking onions).
4 or 5 red roasted peppers,chopped.

After sauteing the onion till soft,crumble the sausage and brown it a bit, stirring it in with the onions. Add chopped garlic and the kidney beans. Add the chopped peppers. Cook the stew for about 1/2 hour, though an hour helps the flavors penetrate the beans better. Cook over medium heat.

This should serve four. I ate it with corn bread muffins.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Destructo-Masters

Here they are. Resting from their labors. Soon they will wake, and start their day, and the dogs,plants, and I will be afraid.

My Uncle Jimmy once said that when you have kids or animals you don't have anything else, and he was right, though I give adult dogs a pass on this. They may shed on the couch, and pee the rug while you are off working a 12 hour shift, but dogs have a sense of shame. They show remorse. They do not smash Limoges. They do not smash flower pots on the carpet and then use  the dirt as kitty litter.
Dogs do not go directly from the litter box to the bathroom sink or the kitchen counter. They do not toss cookbooks off the kitchen shelves.

The mother of these heathens is a community cat named Brushy. She had these kittens in October, and when I saw they were not ordinary ferals, and after a raccoon tore one of their siblings to bits, I took pity on them and brought them inside to pursue civilized life. I thought I might keep them, but have revised my thinking and am looking for dupes to take most of them off my hands.

The top tom in the neighborhood did not father these cats. He is a big nasty tuxedo cat with a Hitlerian mustache. I call him "Oreo". He is father to the porch cat kittens whose mothers have no standards. They will hook up with any body.

Oreo is beneath Brushy, who is upwardly mobile and found herself an uptown man-a Siamese.

These kittens are beautiful. They are decorative, which is a good thing because if you adopt them you will have to put away all your other decorations if you want to keep them out of the trash. You need not worry that these cats will get into your purse and chew up your credit cards, but you will have to lock up the paper towels and the toilet paper.