So over two years since I first applied for SSDI (that would be Social Security Disability payments, for the non-US folks here), and was turned down, and appealed, and was turned down, I had my hearing last week. My long term disability insurance co., that's been paying a large part of what I'm (barely) living on arranged for an attorney for me--they do this for everyone; if I get granted SSDI, then the LTD co. has to pay a LOT less and they get a fucking huge retroactive payment that SSDI would pay me--this all makes sense since their job is is essentially to fill in a gap: they pay enough so you get 2/3 of your former salary. If SSDI and my retirement don't add up to 2/3, they pay the rest. Except I haven't been getting SSDI, and the LTD co. has been paying the biggest chunk of what I get monthly. So they provide an attorney for the hearing, and the company for which the atty. works does a lot of paperwork for me, and I mostly just have to show up and answer the judge's questions. My atty. told me they want you to be comfortable, so wear sweats if I want (I'd hardly want to walk in there looking professional). The hearing was in a city next to the city where I used to teach, but it was a little beyond my comfortable driving range, so I drove to campus, and two of my former colleagues drove me to the hearing. It was really, really stress-free after all the bullshit they've put me through. The hearing was like half an hour. The judge had very specific questions--could I lift 5 pounds? could I do that 8 times a day? They just want to know if you can work at anything
no matter how low the salary; if you can work, you don't need SSDI. My atty thinks we made a good case that I can't work. I have the concentration span of a flea, and I have to nap twice a day or more, and actually whenever I go out one day and do something, say, w/ a friend, I crash the rest of that day and the next day too, so working full-time would be hard.
So half an hour and then my friends and I went out to breakfast. It's pretty weird for me being w/ my former colleagues, even good friends. I want to see them, natch, but they're Real Girls, and I'm not, and I want more than anything to be a Real Girl again, and I hear them talk about English Dept. stuff, and I already feel waaaaaay out of touch. I managed not to cry till I got home at least, and the SSDI thing was so less awful than I expected. A big part of the stress was getting there
, and it was really nice having company. My blood pressure had been way high for the past couple months, and by three days after the hearing it had dropped a LOT.
And now for something completely different.
My house was built in 1984. My fence around my very large back yard was built in--yep, you guessed it--1984. And has been falling apart for a long time. I've worried off and on about what I'm going to do when the folks who share the fence want to replace it, which I wouldn't mind, but wouldn't have money for either. The fence on one side has been replaced, and we and that neighbor had gotten an estimate from another neighbor who does stuff like that. At first the neighbor next door was going to go with that, but then he decided he wanted something more elaborate, so all I had to pay was half of the original estimate.
So the back fence. Memories. For Bradley's 3rd birthday, I spent a lot of time sanding down a big section of the back fence, and the kids' dad and I painted it white, and at the birthday party, everyone could paint whatever they wanted. One friend painted, in very neat capital letters, "Clapton is God." The oldest kid there painted the Big Bang. The little kids painted all sorts of stuff. I painted one of my all-time favorite U2 quotes (you can see it on the right side quote box part of fading_coal
). It was totally fun, but of course by now it's completely faded. Anyway, I got a call from the woman who lives along the longest stretch of that fence, and she wants to put up a brick wall and pay for all of it herself. (!!!!!) Problem fucking solved! They needed my permission, and will have a paper stating that they're choosing to pay for the whole thing, and I'm delighted. Brick wouldn't be my first choice, but those w/out money to replace a seriously leaking roof can't be picky. Robert Frost must be right. Anyway they're very nice, and apparently Tyger has been visiting their yard (there are many openings in the fence big enough for a kitty), and their cats are indoor cats, and Tyger sits outside their glass door, taunting them, "I'm outside and you-ou're not!" Actually the neighbor said they just sit and stare at each other. And we both complained about Evil Gray and White Kitty who is constantly invading yards and wanting to start fights. For some reason Evil Gray and White Kitty and my next door neighbor's cat, Figaro, were sort of fighting in my yard. Figaro is a big bruiser but a total wuss, so I went out and shooed Evil Gray and White Kitty away from him. Anyway, I'm blathering. But the fence being replaced w/ out me paying for it is another big relief.
Now if I could just find someone who wants to redo my roof . . .