Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cat’s in the Cradle

How old are you? Have you felt this same way as this song? How old do you feel?

This song was brought out by Harry Chapin back in 1974. In the early 70s I was reacting with my parents after we’d moved to our new home. My Dad saw me walking home from school one day, looking at the ground. Later that day he had a chat with me and told me I had to hold my head up, walk with pride. After that I developed a like for high heels – or platform shoes in those days. I had a platform of cork with white sandals on top, and clogs, and wooden heels and anything else I could find! I respected what Dad told me – I thanked him: I felt more than 6 feet tall with those heels on! But I still lived different to my parents.

In the 50s we were brought up with great parents, most of whom would always stay with their partner (my grandmother left her husband because he used to beat her up: her second husband became my Pop from the 1960s). Born between 1920s and 1940s, parents from the 1950s, I’m told, were the “Silent Generation”, named by a Time article  - they feared speaking up during the 1950 McCarthy era, but they needed to reinvent the population. So those of us, who were born in 1950s, became the “Baby Boomers”. As we grew up we were still supposed to add to the population – get married, have kids, have more. Women were still the “wife”; however their husband played around was up to him, not up to her.

1980s parents had so many TV shows – The Partridge Family, Hogan’s Family, Growing Pains, Who’s the Boss?, Family Ties, Diff’rent Strokes, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father… what were we doing?? Certainly the growth of children in the 1980s then was nothing at all like we’d been brought up in the 1950s. Who was thinking differently than that era? We were, it seems.  Kids brought up in 50s and 60s were “so much better off”. We were grasping our future! The 80s programmes would teach us anything our parents hadn’t taught us!

The latest feminist movement started in 1963, according to the Guardian article (even though the suffragettes had been around for at least 50 years before that):

"Is this all?" That was the question that echoed around a generation of US housewives in the early 1960s. Theirs was the problem with no name, wrote Betty Friedan in her 1963 bestseller, The Feminine Mystique, and the symptoms were legion. They included creeping fatigue, tranquiliser and alcohol abuse, bleeding blisters that appeared suddenly on their arms, which doctors attributed not to the cleaning fluids they used constantly, but a deeper malaise. In the years since the war, women had grown smaller (department store buyers reported they had shrunk three or four dress sizes), more feminine (30% of women dyed their hair blond), and apparently much sadder.

I started with feminism in the 70s, but didn’t really support them until the 90s, after I divorced my first husband. Sadly, back then, I realised what I did wrong – I had taken his name and passed that on to my children. My daughter hates it. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned my lesson until 2013 when I was left by my second husband whose name I had also taken. I should have picked up from the feminist movement in the 60s and 70s - I now swear that I will never take anyone else’s name, I use my own.

I heard Chapin’s song back in the 70s, and I agreed with it. I am woman, but how different was I to a man who was less important than his child? At the bottom of this blog is a pic with the words. Read them. Learn them. Make sure they involve you… because they do.  You have no control over any of your children when they grow up. They will get educated, find a job, find their own partner… and won’t see you as often as you would so hope. I did the same to my parents, with the final stupidity after Dad had died and Mum was alone and not well but I still moved over to Oz. Oh, I’d pop back over and visit her again, but she died, like Dad had, in hospital. I regret what I did. I regret that I didn’t spend so much time with her because I had married for the second time, which – I say – should have been a second event after Mum.

Baby Boomers are blamed nowadays for how our children are. How they are poor compared to how we raised them. How they are rich compared to how we were back then. How they had to pay for their university education when we got our own free. How they get well paid jobs. How they lose their jobs when they are behind the ball of going ahead. How… how… how… That hurts me to see that, read that, be told that. I’ve argued with other people from different eras who would comment about people like me. They didn’t know, or didn’t care. I brought my kids up as a single parent. I always thought I did pretty well. I was also poor, but I paid for the things my kids wanted to do. I was also stupid to “fall in love” for my second marriage (11 years after I had broken off the first one: 11 years should have taught me).

Why am I writing this? Because I am old. How old do you think your parents are before you look on them as old? In the PA Hospital before I went in for surgery I was 57. They told me I was young. My daughter didn’t believe that. These days I accept that I’m old.

Chapin’s song upsets me. This happens the same way that I treated my own parents. Now my children treat me that way, and it frustrates the hell out of me. I don’t blame my kids, but I get annoyed if they expect me to visit them rather than them coming to visit me. I get annoyed when I think of the aphasia I suffer from, which I know has recovered a lot but is still there. I get annoyed when my rental place treats me like I don’t count, expecting me to simply find somewhere new – never mind that I need to take my dog! Yes, that’s another post – has been.

Last night I saw an ABC program which interviewed Rutger Bregman about his view that 15 weeks paid work would spread all work around the world. That is so good! I have been aware of the Universal Basic Income and think that getting Bregman’s book might help me to understand. It needs to help so many other people understand what is happening in this world! 1% people are rich and don’t care about what happens within any other generation. What I have wrote about today is that I am a Baby Boomer, I am not at fault for what is happening in this world, I have previously written a post about population, posts about rentals, posts about homeless and unemployment and NDIS and so much more.

Harry Chapin’s song is still correct. 1974 isn’t far away. Too close for comfort. Be sure you understand Chapin’s song. And Bregman’s suggestion which could fix this world.

If you want it to.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Relocation – depression?

9 months ago I was “relocated” from the retirement village I’d lived in for only 5 months. My dog, Jordie, had been on the lease at the start, but she was kicked out after 4.5 months… why?? I moved into Eagleby, a fairly decent (albeit not the best) unit underneath a house where Jordie could definitely be… until, 9 months later, I had found out that the unit was “illegal”. The owner had never got approval from the city council. I had to move. Again. Why?? I wrote a post about this on 25th August, and again on 1st September.

The first day I looked at a one-bedroomed unit, same price as I was paying, but I didn’t know for certain that they would accept Jordie. Two days later I turned away from it, even though I had filled in an application. I had no idea where would accept Jordie, I couldn’t move without her.

I looked at 6 other units in as many suburbs, ranging from $230 up to $260. I couldn’t afford an increase of $30 a week. Even those which didn’t mention pets on their ads told me that they couldn’t accept “them” – meaning a dog as big as Jordie. I looked at an NRAS unit, $10 a week less than what I was paying but two staircases to get up to it (no elevators) and NO pets. I had four more units on my list - until I received a phone call from the agent: my dog was accepted!!

I felt shock. This was the first place I had looked at, which I had walked away from. It was one-bedroomed, but the back yard – small – was fenced and they would accept Jordie. That same day I received another phone call – the two-bedroomed unit I had looked at – which was $30 more a week than I pay now – said that the owner would accept Jordie! OMG! One bedrooms, she was accepted. Two bedrooms, she was accepted. I had to consider the costs. I had to, also, consider if I could fit into one bedroom.

Last night took so much thought. The three units. One bedroom, same rent, Jordie allowed. Two bedrooms, more expensive, Jordie allowed. Two bedrooms, a beautiful balcony looking over a paddock with horses in it, but two staircases up and Jordie not allowed. In the end, the cost of where I would go and the acceptance of Jordie, were the main things I had to think about. This morning I accepted the one bedroom.

I told the agent that I wanted two weeks rent free (I had already stopped paying) and the owner to pay for removalists to shift me. She’s talking to him, but I don’t think he could refuse. I would take him to QCAT, if I needed to. I don’t have enough cash in the bank to move myself. I don’t need to move myself. I didn’t ask to move. I didn’t ask for higher rents, but I am accepting a unit smaller than where I am right now, because they accept Jordie. I don’t know how longer she will live – she’s 15 years old, she had arthritis in her front shoulders and hip dysplasia in her back hips – but our celebration is on 17 February 2018. I will have had her for 10 years since I adopted her from RSPCA. She will be 16. I absolutely count on that celebration, so Jordie must come with me.

Relocation can cause depression. Compare My Move said “There will be an unsettling period of disequilibrium and with that can come a certain (normal) level of anxiety.” I think I suffer a bit more than “normal” anxiety. My Moving Reviews said “It is believed that the toughest stage of a move is the tricky period of dealing with a post-move phenomenon known as relocation depression.” The problem is I’ve been through this before. This time is again. One guy in NY Times said that “he moves a lot because he is always looking for a better deal, a better space, a better neighborhood.” I know about that. Except I seem to be moving downhill. Quotes for Removals in UK said there are five main common emotions when shifting: regret, anxiety, loss, sadness, fear. I understand each of those: I feel each of them. Domain Aus said “It is one of the most disruptive, stressful and chaotic of life experiences. It can also be really expensive.” I know all about that, especially when relocations have not been my choice. A blog, posted on Arrohome talked about how to make your “new” home feel good: grab some houseplants, fill the house with food, try to add something, and warm the house with friendly faces. The first three I could do… the fourth one isn’t something I could do. I’ve lost friends since my aneurysm and stroke. I don’t really know how or when.

So many websites which talk about getting used to relocating. I had Googled “feeling about moving homes in Australia” and found far too few responses which I could relate to me. I needed a response from Beyond Blue, or Mad Dog, or any other support group. I added a word – “depression” to the Google search: “feeling about moving homes in australia depression”. Beyond Blue ran an online forum about moving house anxiety. R U Ok said “there are changes in the social supports that we’re receiving and the connections we have with people in our lives. It can occur suddenly … through a sudden relocation.” I know that. They also said that I should “seek the support of others. Reach out to say you need some help.” I don’t even know how to do that any more.

So I am getting myself relocated, with no help from “friends” or even “family”, because I have no idea any more how or where I fit in with them. I live alone. With my BFF dog, Jordie. I am moving into a one bedroomed unit the weekend after next.

Just me and Jordie.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

Many years ago I fell in love with the U2 album The Joshua Tree. The title of this blog post is a song from Joshua Tree. That album was produced in 1987, and the song had words that I relate to; not relating to ‘love’, but to how I felt.

I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls

That was me. That was how I had felt, although by 1987 I couldn’t have told anyone about what had happened to me years before. I had blocked that memory. So this song was something I related to. Nowadays it’s still the same. “It was warm in the night, I was cold as a stone.” So cold. Alone. And what is happening? I know it. Do you?

My last post was about how I have suffered – again – over a rental. This unit I am presently living in is illegal. I can’t stay here. I’ve been looking for a decent unit which will take Jordie, and I have so far looked at 7 or 8, applied for 3. I turned one down because it was my reaction to what I had found out, but it wasn’t really good – and I don’t think they took dogs. I’m waiting for any response from 2 more. The one I went to see last Thursday – a week after I had found out about my unit being illegal – seems a perfect place for me and Jord. But the one I saw a week before that is not letting me know. Yes, I saw the notice saying ‘No pets’, but Jord is NOT a ‘pet’ – she’s my BFF, I need her!

I’ve been into more other units which I can’t apply for. Most of them aren’t ‘good’. Most of them say no pets. They don’t say that in the ads – they only say that on their sign at the gate. I’ve been to Eagleby, Beenleigh, Marsden, Slacks Creek (OMG, NO!!) and Waterford, and thought about Shailer Park, but it’s too far away from the rail station which I need. The two I’m waiting for are from Eagleby and Beenleigh. They would be around 1km from the rail station and supermarkets, so I can walk every day. And Jord can be there! She only needs a toilet, and the back yards are small but private. Perfect for her. She doesn’t need to walk – she can’t. Sometimes I’ll take her for a drive, and she won’t walk but she loves the drive. If I want to walk I can take her in her pushchair.

How many more units do I have to look at? I keep looking through the rentals ads, find a unit which looks perfect for me and Jord – and at the bottom it says ‘no pets’. Or it never says that until I go there and have a look at them. Frustrating!!

This morning I went to look at a place which – inside – looks lovely, but outside is disaster. Even the gate into the yard is by walking across the front house lawn – which would be very muddy after rain. Nowhere to park. Is that unit legal?? If it is, mine should be!

How much more do I have to do? How long do I still have? Do I just get an ‘approval’ from Bond Loans so I know I could have a bond, or do I wait until I find out about any of them? Do I get to save any funds? I know that doing this looking is running me broke – yet all these costs should be on the owner of the property where I am living – which is illegal. So feeling hurt, upset, frustrated… angry.

“…all the colours will bleed into one, but yes, I'm still running.”

Homeless doesn’t look at all good.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Breathe, Lady!

What happened to me???

Back in November 2016 I moved away from Park View Retirement Village in Bethania. The managers mistreated me; I attempted suicide; I was illegally locked out when I got back from hospital; I spent a week homeless, sharing accommodation with my friends. Park View didn’t care. I spoke a little about all this in previous post on 1 January 2017, 21 March and 16 May, and wrote fully about it on 9 April.

I found a different unit, a garage turned into a 2 bedroomed unit. The small yard, fully securely fenced, was great for me and my 15-year-old BFF dog, Jordie. There were some problems throughout the unit, but not too much for me. I never wrote about any of these in my blog posts, so here… read on.

I got the unit from Paul Flynn Properties, and the owner was named on the lease. I moved in from 1 December 2016. At that time this unit wasn’t clean, so I cleaned it. I found a few problems – no covers over the front or back door so rain could come in (which did in the kitchen until I got that fixed); I didn’t really have a driveway, nor a carport; there was only one letterbox; the cupboard in the laundry wasn’t filled in and held a smaller cupboard which opened the opposite way; the curtains were too long on these doors (short ceiling?); the clothesline was sinking into the lawn and the concrete around it was breaking up due to the roots from the big tree; there were no hoses on my side of this property; there wasn’t a garden shed where I could have put my tools or anything else; movements upstairs had a very loud echo in my unit; the kitchen cupboards weren’t sealed – mice in there. And more stuff, but it didn’t seem too bad to me. Oh, I wrote to Paul Flynns a couple of times: most not fixed.

In April this year Harcourts took over the lease: same owner. I wrote to the property manager about much of what I had written to Paul Flynns, and had a builder in who fixed the laundry cupboard and looked at other stuff but didn’t do much else. I included the driveway which I didn’t have, up to the carpark I did have. She suggested I could contact Logan City Council. By this time I wasn’t thinking of a real driveway, just some yellow paint I could put on the roadside so people wouldn’t park in front of me. I wrote to LCC. I got a phone call shortly after I wrote to them, saying I couldn’t paint on the road. Oh well: I thought that was the end of it.

On Tuesday this week I got a phone call from a chap from LCC who said that he was not aware if my unit was legal. Say what?? It seems that the work inside this unit was not ever done through LCC. Illegal. How on earth am I getting into illegal stuff?? This was not my problem. 

Yesterday this chap and a workmate came to the unit to check it out. I also had the property manager from Harcourts at my place.  The unit certainly was illegal. The ceiling was too low – which was all they needed to tell me, but they’d write a report to the owner. He would have 20 days to answer. If he didn’t plan on fixing this ($100,000, they suggested, to lift it to legal height, fix the fire separation between the levels, ensure that everything else was legal) I couldn’t live here any more. 30 days, they said. The LCC chap gave the property manager a whole lot of plans for this property which she could give to her own manager and/or talk over those with the owner.

I felt sick. I had been in Bethania – with my dog on my lease for 4.5 months - before they mistreated me and Jordie. I’d moved to Eagleby 9 months ago – and it was a very good private area – before I found out yesterday that I’d been signed into an illegal property. 

What ever more??? 

Around 4.30pm I went to look at a unit advertised through Harcourts. It looks okay, but it’s not the best I’ve seen. I’ve got more time now. I looked through websites and found 6 units which I could go and look at – compare them against each other. Where do I want to live? Definitely closer to town, but I need the Mylestone CPL carer who is based in Beenleigh.  And I must be able to take my dog.

I contacted the Department Housing group in Woodridge where I’d been back in November 2016. They’d helped a lot back then, and organised a bond – which I frustratingly don’t think even relates to where I am now! I spoke to the Call Centre who gave me some info and suggested I get into Woodridge for the application for the Department of Housing Community Housing.

I rang RTA and asked what steps I should take. They said that I could go into QCAT and make an application for moving costs covered by the owner of this property. I had memories of the other organisations I had used and spoken to in November last year, predominantly YFS and QSTARs. This afternoon, on the way home from my choir rehearsal, I stopped at Woodridge and got the application forms and an application for yet another bond loan. 

What am I doing??? 

I am so much over this! This has happened since I had my brain surgery and stroke. I can't react the way I would have before that. Park View mistreated me, and I sure hope I will (finally) win the QCAT case next Tuesday, without it being postponed again. The owner of this present unit has now mistreated me, and my costs could be a lot higher as I try and get into a decent property which will support me and Jordie – who has to live with me until she dies! Those costs aren’t mine! The behaviour of property owners has gone down the drain, and, for my thinking, the cheaper properties aren’t the “best” for the “less” rent. I only found 6 properties for $250 or less – all of which are more expensive than I have been paying. Owners should think of people on a Centrelink benefit. They should think of how their properties are treated, and look after them.

And, most of all, they MUST think whether their properties are or are not legal. Because “legal” is essential.