megpie71
megpie71
.:.:.:. .:..:. ::: ..:..
  Viewing 40 - 51 Forward
I Love Centrelink - Part 2

More on my ongoing argument with the Australian government regarding money. I was due to be paid this week. It was a public holiday on Monday, and there's usually a bit of a quirk or two about the way payments are processed on public holidays (it's still set up for the pre-computerised days, where you actually needed staff in the building to handle the transactions). So when I couldn't see any money in my account on Monday, I didn't curse or swear. I checked my account yesterday - still no money.

Now, this is where things get interesting. Being the logical creature I am, I decided to troop off down to the local Centrelink office to find out what the heck was going on. Well, it was a busy day yesterday - day after a public holiday, plus I think the computers might have gone down for a while fairly early on, since the queues were just about out the door when we got there, and hadn't really dropped much by the time we left about an hour or so later. I found out why they hadn't paid me, though - while my Newstart had been suspended, pending the processing of my Austudy claim, the claim hadn't been processed. They booked me in for a walk-in appointment, warning me it could be up to a 2 hour wait.

It wasn't. I think I might have waited about three-quarters of an hour. So that was one good thing, anyway.

When I finally got to see the CSO (Customer Service Officer) who was dealing with my case, I discovered the reason why my claim hadn't been processed. They'd lost it.

No, really. They had lost my claim.

Now, I'd handed in this claim form in person, at the same office I was talking to about the whole issue, about three weeks previously. I had given it to one of their staff. She'd presumably put it into the internal mail, and sent it off to be processed by whoever the Austudy experts are (and wherever they are). And somewhere in all of that, the whole thing had somehow got lost.

The end result is I have to submit a whole new claim form (complete with proof of ID and enough bits and pieces of evidence to sink a small battleship) and start the whole process again. If I'm lucky, they'll backdate my payment, so I get paid for the time spent waiting for the whole shemozzle to process.

Remind me again why I wanted to go back to university. I keep forgetting.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/8647.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: totally gobsmacked totally gobsmacked
Meg answers the "But Don't You Know You're Fat?" trolls

(Prompted by this thread on Shakesville)

Yes, I'm fat. Yes, I know I'm fat. No, I don't give a damn about it.

Yes, I've tried dieting. Yes, I've tried lifestyle changes. I tried for ten years or so, and all they got me was an extra fifty kilos; a thyroid condition; dodgy knees; an aversion to exercise and clothes shopping; and a major blow to my self-esteem that I'm still recovering from some fifteen years later.

Yes, I've given up dieting and lifestyle changes. I came to the conclusion they didn't work for me, after the gain of those fifty kilos and the thyroid condition. When should I have given up, in your opinion?

Yes, I know being fat is a health risk. I may lose years off my life. Given I've had three out of my four grandparents survive into their nineties, I have to admit I'm not overly worried. Yes, I realise I'm talking from a position of privilege here - feel free to complain about the genetics which give me a likelihood of an extensive lifespan, just so long as you realise they're also the ones which gave me a metabolism which was ideally adapted to surviving for a long time on low food levels. The same metabolism which was only optimised by ten years of dieting (oops, sorry, "lifestyle changes") so it now runs for ages on the metabolic equivalent of the smell of an oily rag. Can't have the one without the other.

Yeah, my body shape is a type the fashion industry isn't designing for (I'm short, big-busted, small-shouldered, big-hipped, short-waisted and small-waisted). The fashion industry hates me. Boo-fucking-hoo. I'm so upset. Given I'm a geek, all I tend to want out of clothing is a decent pair of jeans or trousers with enough pockets for the things I want to carry around with me; some shirts which don't gape at the cleavage; a bra which doesn't drive me bats or try to pierce my armpits (no underwires, in other words); and knickers which don't try to ride up my bum crack. Oh, and a decent comfortable pair of flat shoes which are built around the assumption humans have five toes rather than three or four. I've found all these, and often multiple examples thereof.

Yes, I'm sure I could find heaps of clothes which would make me look sexier if I was a smaller clothing size. But that's working from the assumption I want to look sexy in the first place, when, to be honest, I don't give a damn. I have a partner who thinks I look sexy no matter what I'm wearing - this is a man who thinks I look gorgeous when I've just woken up, can barely focus, and have bed-hair from hell. He's the one who matters. Please to explain why I should give a damn what Joe Monaro in the car park thinks?

Yes, I have aches and pains which are probably connected with being fat. My knees ache, I have a dodgy ankle, and I have chronic depression. But, given diets Lifestyle Changes don't appear to work for me on the physical side, and have the lovely side effect of making the mental illness worse, there doesn't appear to be much I can do about it, does there?

Yes, I am aware a lot of people find fatness physically unattractive. That's their problem.

No, it's their problem. Not mine. I refuse to apologise for my existence. They think the world could be a better place without me, they can take it up with my parents. I certainly don't see it as my responsibility to change my physical self to fit their world view.

Nope, don't give a damn who else it is. I like me for me. My partner likes me for me. My family accepts me for me. The rest of the damn world can go tie itself in a knot.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/7907.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: activist activist
Current Music: "Buses and Trains" - Bachelor Girl
I Love Centrelink.

I love Centrelink. Really, I do.

But sometimes, they make it extremely, agonisingly difficult to so much as like them. Like today, where I've received a lovely little note from them saying my unemployment benefit had been suspended pending enquiries regarding my eligibility. This effectively means I have no money coming in.

Now, I am well aware that the whole business revolves around the issue of which section of Centrelink's budget the money they will (hopefully) be paying me once again will be coming out of (I'm hopefully moving from Newstart - aka "the dole" - to Austudy). But a single-sentence letter saying my payment has been suspended, when I'm on the low end of a pay fortnight, and I am literally down to my last week's rent (I have $300 in my bank account - this will cover the cost of my share of the rent for next fortnight; after that I don't have any money at all) DOES NOT HELP THINGS at this end of the equation. Now I'm in a real tizzy about whether or not I'm actually going to be paid any money at all for the next fortnight, and what the hell I'm going to do if I'm not paid anything and what the hell I'm supposed to do to obtain the next instalment of the rent.

Okay, maybe I'm over-reacting, but the absolute terror that comes from realising I have no money and I have no way of getting any in a world which is very much geared toward needing money from people in order to acknowledge their very existence is very hard to overstate. Particularly since one of the number one nightmares I have, the really deep, existential fear which drives my very being, is a fear of vanishing completely from people's notice - slipping through the cracks in reality, perhaps.

I'm stressed, and I'll admit it. If I don't wind up getting onto Austudy; if I have to re-apply for Newstart, or worse still if my eligibility for either of those benefits is cut off and I'm regarded as being ineligible for both of them (for whatever reason) then I am genuinely without resources. The global financial crisis may not have hit Australia very hard, but it's hit our particular household hard enough that we are teetering constantly on the verge of bankruptcy, and we literally have no financial resources available to us. It's a stress I don't need, coming on top of a bundle of other stresses I didn't want.

[I'm having to write this in fits and starts, because if I stop and think about things too much, I'll wind up flooding my keyboard with tears, and at this stage I can't afford a new one.]

So for the rest of the day I'm going to sit tight, and try not to think too hard about any of this. I may have to sublimate a lot of the anxiety in a frenzy of washing dishes and cleaning the house, or gaming, or find some way of doing something to take my mind off things. Tomorrow I have my orientation day at uni, and I'm going to be absent from about 8 in the morning until I finally stumble home at about 10 past 5 in the evening. Hopefully by then I'll have received a nice letter telling me whether or not I'm getting Austudy. If not, I have a meeting with the nice man from CRS on Friday (to which I am going to have to scoot directly from the second uni orientation day, missing the social activities side of things... damnit) where I'll be able to get him onto the whole mess. After all, HE was the one who recommended I go back to uni. He can damn well earn his fucking keep.

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to pour myself a cup of tea, and try to convince myself that this will all work out in the end.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/7517.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: pissed off pissed off
Well, that's my free time sorted for another year

I got a nice letter from the university I went and attacked dracolichs at on Monday. They said "yes, we'd love to see you here this year, here's a web address, now get cracking on your enrolment, O Week is next week!"

So I am now enrolled as a full-time student (I hope... I have a funny feeling that because I don't have to do a Foundation Unit[1] I may just be scraping in a little below the "full-time" course load radar). But I'll go along there tomorrow (bus and train again) and then over to the nice people at Centrelink some time soon (oh crap... I've just realised, the best time to go and talk to them would be NOW! before they get mixed messages from Murdoch, Transperth and everyone else they get information from, and decide on an Alexandrine solution to the whole Gordian mess by cutting off my payments altogether! Excuse me while I grab the phone...)

And having done that, I've discovered I can't actually sign up for their customer disservices online, because I don't have (wait for it) a receipt number from Centrelink for some time in the past eight weeks. I'm on delayed lodgement through my Job Services Australia provider (my next form isn't due in until about the middle of March) and this means I generally go three months at a stretch without seeing the inside of a Centrelink office. The last time I went in there was when I went to find out why the heck the nice people from the government agency who were handling the bond assistance hadn't managed to get things set up to take the money directly from my payment (which apparently needed a different piece of paperwork from the one I had in my hot little hand, and therefore couldn't be dealt with right there and then).

[...]

And now I'm back again, stressed out, tired out, shopped out, and about ready to strangle things. And I still have to head back to the Centrelink office tomorrow to actually get the bloody stuff submitted and handed in (because although I can *print out* the form from their online page, I can't actually submit it online (or at least, that's how I'm reading things - and since just *finding* the bloody form took about six go-rounds of their website, because I still had my mind in dealing with the university mode, where they go for "sensible and logical" as a default, rather than bureaucracy, where the default is "bloody-minded to the extreme", I'm not going to push my luck). My only worry is that there's apparently rules which say the government is only going to support me for so many years of study (and this is equivalent to the length of the course plus one semester). Now, over the past twenty-two years, since I finished high school, I've spent at least eight of these engaged in either full-time or part-time study. Of those eight years, Centrelink was supporting me for an absolute maximum of four (and three of those four were when I was working for them, so I strongly doubt they count!). But I am in full "dealing with a government department" paranoia mode at present. So I'm going to head down there tomorrow, tidied up and ready to face the worst they can throw at me.

Meanwhile, since the paranoia module in my brain is kicking out in full throttle at the moment, I'm currently panicking that I'll bomb out in the first semester, crashing and burning and failing horrendously. Ah, the joys of going back to uni.

Wish me luck, folks.

[1] Foundation Units are a Murdoch University speciality for students who have never been to university before - basically "uni in a box 101" for kids who are just learning how to put things together. Since this will be my fourth attempt at an undergraduate degree they figure I already know what I'm doing with regard to things like writing essays, attending lectures, and showing up for tutorials.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/6960.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: frantic frantic
Musings on Australia Day

Tomorrow is Australia Day. On 26 January 1788 (in the Gregorian calendar of Western Europe) the landmass now known as Australia was invaded by a group of boat people. Since permission to land was not granted by the existing occupants of the landmass or the traditional owners of the area where the landing occurred (and has yet to be either sought or received by any of their subsequent descendants) it would be reasonable to describe these persons as illegal immigrants, and the persons who organised their transportation to this landmass as people smugglers.

If you look at things from this perspective, the current Australian fusses about border protection seem just a tad hypocritical. (Not that anyone in the Liberal party is going to stop and consider things when protecting folks from the yellow/black/red/[insert $OTHER here] peril is perceived as being such a sure-fire vote winner).

More below the fold )

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/6319.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: philosophical philosophical
Current Music: "Down Under" - Men at Work.
Excuse me while I scream

There are days when I want to kill my partner. This is one of them.

As some of you may be aware, we're under a few deadlines at the moment. For one thing, we have roughly 1 week left in our current place of residence. For another, while we've put in an option on a rental place, we haven't heard back from them yet (except for a quick call yesterday which didn't make me feel positive at all, since they were saying firstly they hadn't heard back from our one and only rental reference, and secondly they wanted whole heaps of information about what Himself does for a living). So while we do know we have to move out, we don't know whether we have somewhere else to move into at the other end of it. Stress number one.

Stress number two: The real estate agent who is attempting to sell the place has one offer, for about $110K less than we need to clear all our existing debts. We discovered today there's a potential second buyer (I discovered this when I spotted him peering in our front windows, under the impression the house was empty). Rather than refer the man to the real estate agents, Himself has decided to try and sell the place privately, and thus save the fees and commissions.

I've already warned Himself if this backfires, and we lose both buyers, he's going to be hearing about it from me on possibly a daily basis for the next twenty years at least. Other than this, I'm staying the hells out - I don't have the energy, or the stamina, to get involved in arguing with him.

Stress number three: I went for a job interview last week. I still haven't heard back from the company involved, and I'm suspecting I'll get the usual answer when I do (ie "Sorry, not interested"). So I'm busy waiting back to hear from the recruiting firm, who'll probably give me some kind of vague answer along the lines of "oh, they didn't say" rather than the truth of the matter, which is probably along the lines of me being too old, too female, and/or too fat for the job (it's a helpdesk operator position - by "too fat" they mean "not pretty enough", or "not suitable office totty". Women are under-represented in the IT industry for some reason, and none of the guys can figure out quite why...). So I have this inevitable disclosure to look forward to.

Stress number four: Himself's parents have made an offer to us of the use of a couple of rooms in their house should we find ourselves without somewhere to go. It's starting to look like we might have to take them up on this. I don't want to do this, since at present I'm stressed enough without having to wear my "public" face all the damn time.

Stress number five: I'm unemployed. Christmas is coming up. 'Nuff said?

Stress number six: Day one of my period, and I have cramps and a temper like a bear with toothache.

End result: while I'm sure my situation has a whole heap of positives in there (as per my nice rep from Commonwealth Rehab Services) I can't really see them at the moment. All I can see is the potential for things to go very badly wrong. This doesn't make me any more likely to relax, or calm down, or want to do anything other than sit in a corner and scream for a bit. Unfortunately, I'm not able to do this at the moment because Himself's folks are over doing a spot of weeding for us (and probably thinking of me as the most lazy bitch in the universe, which is probably true) and I can't really let loose until they've gone.

Small relief: I've just discovered I can suspend my health insurance rather than cancelling it, which means I've one less expense to worry about. It also means I've another $60 per fortnight to play with when it comes to rent and similar, rather than spending it on the health insurance.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/5078.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: stressed stressed
Current Music: "Not Pretty Enough", the Spooky Men's Chorale
Repugnant Behaviour

It's interesting, really, when so-called "Christian" spokespersons get to talking about other religions in the media. For example, Australia's favourite Christian Democrat (imagine the scare quotes around each of those terms, please), the Reverend Fred Nile, has spoken up following the deaths of thirteen people on the Fort Hood military base in the USA to suggest the following:

"Australians would like to be assured that our defence forces have in place a system of assessment and review which would identify any person whose adherence to any alien ideology might one day override loyalty to mates and loyalty to the Crown." [...]

"There is an argument for suggesting that the safety and morale of our troops may warrant a ban on dedicated Muslims joining the armed forces, who may be influenced by Islamic fundamentalism."
(quoted from the article Muslims in ranks a recipe for disaster: Nile on the ABC news website)

I'm not a Christian by any stretch of the word, but I seem to recall from my reading of the various gospels (and most particularly the gospel of Mark) one of the key things Jesus Christ (remember him?) said about following in Christ's footsteps was you had to put your loyalty to God before your loyalty to anything else - country, posessions, employment, even family. For examples of what Christ had to say on the matter, have a look at the following biblical passages: Mark 9: 43 - 48; Mark 10: 17 - 25; Matthew 5: 29 - 30 (the sermon on the mount); Matthew 6: 19 - 21; Matthew 6: 33 - 34; Matthew 10: 37 - 42.

It should therefore be reasonable to suggest there is an argument (in order to assure the Australian defence forces are able to "identify any person whose adherence to any [..] ideology might one day override loyalty to mates and loyalty to the Crown") for dedicated Christians to be banned from joining the Australian armed forces. Surely this is a more reasonable criterion than banning Muslims, since the religion of Christ, and particularly the version of the religion of Christ created by Saul of Tarsus (aka St Paul), is strongly opposed to the notion of warfare, fighting, and conquest in the first place - and therefore antithetical to the concepts on which the Australian Defence Forces are based.

It might also be reasonable to suggest the best thing the Reverend Fred Nile can do, in all Christian charity with the relatives and friends of those injured or deceased as a result of the Fort Hood shootings, is to shut his bloody gob, and re-read his bible. Maybe this time he could pay more attention to the gospels than to the eighteenth chapter of Leviticus.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/4218.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

location: In a right snit
Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Semi-regular update post

Gods, where to start? It's been a bit of a frantic week-and-a-bit. Let's see - how about I give a rundown of "good things and bad things" and then an expansion in TL;DR below.

Good things:

  • Meds packaged in blister pack, Silver Chain stuff almost up and running.

  • Purchased Dissidia on Tuesday, already 9/10ths of the way through the initial part of Story Mode

  • Heard from my folks, they're coming back to Perth early


Not-Good things:
  • Still depressed

  • Court hearing on Tuesday resulted in an order to hand over the house

  • Still unemployed


This is the TL;DR stuff )

So yeah, how's everyone else doing?

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/3013.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

location: Here, for now.
Current Mood: stressed stressed
An Update - 1 week on from needing help

It's been about a week since I wrote the "I need help" post, and about a week since the breakdown which prompted it. Since then, I've had a few things happen. I've contacted the Silver Chain people about getting some assistance with ensuring I take my medication regularly. From what I've read on their website, they're probably the best people to provide the kind of help I need, which is someone dropping in on maybe an "every second day" basis, in order to ensure I'm taking my meds regularly and getting out of bed at a reasonable hour. They've returned my contact, and advised me to get a referral from a GP, which I did on Thursday last week. Now I have to wait for them to get back to me again, and let me know whether it's possible for this to happen or not.

I'm back to taking my medication, and I'm going to try and keep consistent with it, even though I know I have problems with this (see the above paragraph). So far I'm on day two, and I'm suffering the understandable side-effects of restarting psych medication after about two weeks without it. Or in other words, I'm dizzy, dopey, and a bit distracted at present. This too will pass, but at the moment I'm trying not to move too much too quickly.

More under the fold )

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/2772.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

location: On the drugs
Current Mood: wheee! wheee!
I Need Help.

Amanda "Brocky" Stachewicz had everything: a loving family with children, a great career as a doctor and a home in the western suburbs. The former St Hilda's schoolgirl got top marks for everything and was beautiful inside and out.

But at her funeral at her old school in March, mourners were stunned to hear about how she felt before she died.

"I'm tired and I don't want to suffer any more," Brocky wrote before she committed suicide.

Her schoolmate Karen Heagney is running in November's New York marathon to remember her friend and do something for mental illness.

"Depression is a hidden disease," Karen said this week, as she limbered up for a training session at Perry Lakes. "If you suffer from a physical disease it's visible and tangible and people ask how you're going. With depression often no one knows."


This is an excerpt from an article which appeared in our free local paper[1] this week. It was one of the things which pushed me over the edge into absolute screaming hysterical fury today, and got me breaking down.

More under the fold )

[1] Mosman Cottesloe Post, Vol 36 No 37; September 19 2009.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/2264.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: depressed depressed
Cranky

I'm cranky. I don't know why. I've been taking my meds all week like a good girl, so in theory I shouldn't be feeling this irritable. Unfortunately, this isn't theory, and I'm currently feeling tetchy enough to bite the heads off live chickens just in order to satisfy my craving for something destructive to do.

The annoying bit is that I really don't know why I'm so cranky. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I cancelled my WoW account today (and got rather irritated at their cutesy "you made the peon cry" bit in there, while I was at it). Unfortunately, I didn't actually have much choice in the matter - Blizzard appear to have chosen not to continue supporting the graphics hardware I'm using, and I'm not in a financial position to be able to pay largeish amounts to upgrade my laptop just so I can play one damn game. I went looking around at other MMORPGs, and decided to give "City of Heroes" a try, but installing it requires downloading the software, which means I have a flippin' 10 hour download waiting for me. Yays. To make matters more interesting still, Himself decided to confide in me that we're coming up to the limit for our bandwidth for the peak hours (ie everything between 8am and midnight - off peak is between midnight and 8am) so if I want to do this download, I have to wait until midnight to kick it off. Hoo-fucking-ray.

Ach, I think I'll get out the bits of fiction I'm working on and see whether I can come up with anything for those. After all, if I'm going to be cranky, bad-tempered and frustrated, I may as well do it to some purpose.

This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/1037.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

location: At the computer
Current Mood: cranky cranky
Current Music: KH2 fight theme
  Viewing 40 - 51 Forward