The Mark of My Dedication

Even though chapter two of 10 Confessions & A Kiss is still way overdue and The Heavenly Bride is sometimes on a very slow production status, there is a mark of my dedication. It’s something you can’t deny, either. No matter how childishly mad you get about it. Or selfishly want to throw me away over it. Or ignorantly think it makes me a burden on society.

I’m sick, like, all of the time.

And it’s a sickness that can’t really be tracked, mostly because no one will listen to me on the matter. I know what it is – because I’m no dummy. It’s a serious chronic sinus infection coupled with developing allergies and a slight chance of rain. There might be more to it, considering MS runs in the family and wotnot. But the sinus infection I’m sure of. Because I’ve been dealing with it for years. When I was a kid I always had one of those disgusting runny noses people hate kids over. And when I was even younger I was just… always sick.

For the past two or three days – I can’t remember how long – I’ve had it worse than usual. I’ve literally been in bed wailing with tears rolling down the sides of my temples. Part of my frustration is from the pain. I mean, where once the infection would only make me feel like one sinus cavity was on fire now it’s like my whole head is on fire. The other part is from lack of medical care.

Don’t start spouting your Obamacare crap at me. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about how when I *do* go to the doctor in this idiot area, I  get told – and I’m going to quote – “Lose weight. Drink more water.”

And then I get bullied and yelled at because I won’t let them touch me for female medical exams. As if I want idiots touching my tender areas. No. Just. No.

I’m fortunate, though. My mother’s father, who grew up before the Great Depression and saw a change in America from dirt roads to paved roads and fast cars, believed in learning how to care for yourself. Where he came from, that’s what you did. You didn’t run to your doctor for everything as if he could somehow save your soul. You went when you had to. So I do a lot of home care, a lot of medical herbs, a lot of things on my own. And muddle through and am normally quite fit and healthy – except for this annoying chronic infection. Damn this chronic infection!

The mark of my dedication to being a storyteller is how I treat the world with this infection. I didn’t blame other people for my problem. I don’t go trying to sign up for welfare because I have a condition that has gotten me fired from more than one job. (Not that I qualify. Because I don’t and rarely have.) You know what I did?

I sat here at the computer with one hand holding a bag of ice to my head and the other flatting for my client.

I sat here at the computer setting up panels for Heavenly Bride. Then closing my eyes to rest. Then opening them and working more.

I moaned once on Facebook that being sick sucked and then formatted a document for a client.

I tweaked the script to Heavenly Bride and spent some time setting up uniforms for Akashik.

I watched some Avatar the Last Airbender.

And my husband, when he realized how much worse it has gotten, did some herbal research and found me a home remedy that helped the pain better than most things on the market I’ve tried. We were only able to get one half of the remedy because the other half isn’t available in my area. But man, what a relief to have that much at least.

Again, I’m lucky. If I were working at, say, Walmart I’d have been fired by now. When these painful migraines come, I can’t even think straight. Literally. I reverse facts, you name it. In fact I’m staring at the latest Heavenly Bride page wondering how I can easily fix this very glaring mistake in the last panel. But I don’t have to worry about that anymore, because I went and created my own job and my own business. What am I going to do if I get sick: fire myself?

But that’s luck of my OWN making. When I lost that bill collecting job all those years ago, I remember the look in my roommate’s eye when I told her. I remember her pointed silence when I sat down at this computer and decided it was time to make a different tract in life. But I didn’t complain. I kept at it. And here I am. I am a successful business woman – not because someone else promoted me. It’s because I found something and became dedicated.

So make no mistake. If you’re truly dedicated to your craft, to being what the best at what you want to be, you won’t make excuses. This includes “but I’m disabled” and “I have this diagnosed condition”. Life is about obstacles. If you want to succeed you’ll get off your butt and you’ll do it. And it will get done. If you have any integrity it will be done well.

So currently my dedication is causing a conflict. I want to be dedicated to my stories. They don’t bring enough money for me to do that 100%. It’s an obstacle. It’s such an obstacle that this entire website and all of the webcomics almost went down permanently last month. But. Again I’m lucky. Pestilence is willing to help me defeat this obstacle, and together I think we’ll win.

So let’s hope we can do it. For the sake of the story.

Now if only our commissioners and various leaders were as that dedicated to serving the people. We did hear back from the commissioner’s assistant, that we’d be contacted last Monday. It never happened.

Not that talking to them would lower our $400 light bill. Currently we’re considering just letting everything go. This is one obstacle we don’t prefer to deal with. But. One thing at a time.

Electric Company Update..

… mostly for those people who helped us out with our last emergency, so they’ll know what’s happening.

We got the new electric bill today. And despite our best efforts to cut back on usage coupled with the fact that we had no choice but to use less because one of the house wall heaters broke (and the landlord disconnected it entirely so it wouldn’t eat power) our monthly bill is even HIGHER.

I called the power company and was completely brushed off. What to do next? Complain to the area’s commissioner. Which I just did.

To Whom It May Actually Concern,

I truly dislike having to trouble you with this,  however trying to handle things ourselves has gotten us brushed off and ignored. Research into how to file a formal complaint indicates I am to come to you with this problem. And it’s a problem I only know is shared by my entire community because my landlord complained as well.

Of course I’m talking about our electric bill – a burden that people shouldn’t be FORCED to have (if they can live without power, let them I say) and they don’t even get to choose who their company is going to be. When my husband and I first moved to Glenmora, LA the power bill was reasonable considering the amount of power we use. I work at home and he’s a soldier. I constantly have to go behind him and turn off lights, unplug things, etc. So with a household of bad habits we moved in and even with two air conditioners running full time (it needs to be noted at this point we have no thermostat) our bill was at most around $150. At one point I got it down to a manageable $100. Considering we’d ran the air conditioner that month, I was feeling quite proud of myself.

But in the past four months things have drastically changed, and they’ve changed to a point that we literally can’t pay it. I had to hold a fundraiser to pay the $700 bill we got last cycle ($350 for two months each). I don’t have the resources to pay the $371 with cut off notice bill I just got today. Everything has been exhausted between the army expecting my husband to run office errands on his own dime due to budget cuts, me losing a good amount of work, and now this. This is just crazy.

It wouldn’t be crazy if we were, say, doing things that actually merited an increase in electric use. Here is what makes it crazy: After getting the $700 bill, we cut back enormously on what we were doing. We already have a habit of unplugging everything we didn’t use so they would not generate electricity. We increased that habit; let the laundry pile up in fear of running the dryer; one of the wall heaters broke so that the landlord not only had to disconnect it he disconnected the wire entirely so it would not generate electricity; we covered the windows and every opening with blankets; and during the day when my husband was at work I holed up in my office with a tiny heater literally shivering while also feeling exhausted due to lack of sunshine… trying to work. My work production was very negatively affected by this circumstance. VERY.

When we got the $700 bill we questioned the matter to CLECO and were brushed off. That’s what the meter says, we were told, and it must be accurate. So how is it, I asked them today, with the decrease in usage to a health detrimental level it’s went UP? I got no straight answer. Instead I got a list of things that may or may not be using our power that may or may not apply to us, like our heater and air conditioners. I was told that even when things are turned off they generate electricity, after I told them we also unplug. They went through our usage days, and the fact that usage nearly doubles on weekdays when my husband is not home and less items are being used was completely ignored. I was told that we would have to test the meter themselves, that they don’t send anyone out to check it. I was told to hire an electrician.

Meanwhile on the bill, aside from a crazy amount of usage, there are fees such as “fuel charge” – which I’m given to understand is to fuel their trucks that won’t come to see if something is wrong with the meter. We are charged a $48.75 infrastructure and incremental costs recovery cost… but we didn’t have to have anything repaired, and if we did have to have something repaired we wouldn’t know because they won’t check their equipment. We are also charged for storm restoration, because I guess somehow storms blowing through is our fault and we must pay. All of those charges alone are nearly half the bill.

Something needs to be done about this. They’re literally killing us. I can’t make this much money in the days they’ve given me to pay it. I’m a comic book artist. I get paid once a month, and that money has already went to them. And my husband, well… he’s facing medical discharge (How’s that for a thanks. This is why I get annoyed when everyone says “thank you for what you do” because in the end they just don’t mean it). The way things are going here: I love the country. I grew up in an area almost just like this. My father was a shrimper. But I can’t wait to get out. So far Louisiana looks nice on the outside. And that’s just about it.

Thank you for listening.

Katrina Joyner,
irate writer who is about to take this to her blog. It’s not a very well read blog. Don’t panic.