01 December 2009

What is going on?!

Over the past ten weeks - actually, beginning in early Spring -, virtual strangers have been helping me. Even government bureaucrats, who are notorious for thwarting one's ambitions, have speedily done their job.

I've no idea how to handle it.

First, in the spring someone whose blog I read diligently contacted me about a subsidized seniors development that might accept my application. No guarantees, of course, and there'd be a waiting list even if my application was accepted. I'd not applied to this particular project because it wasn't listed as accepting pets. Well, it takes someone who knows someone who knows someone else...

Next, there were those terrible two days in September, when Brodie was going to have to go to the SPCA. For the third time in two and a half years, Kiltie had acquired a urinary tract infection. I couldn't do it anymore, couldn't care properly for both cats, let alone care for myself; not on $67/month total for 'discretionary' budget needs - groceries, toiletries, laundry money - which was all that was left after paying for shelter costs.

Two wonderful women came forward, one who sent me enough money to pay for Brodie's food for a year. The other, to provide Kiltie with the special food she needs to get her back to health and to keep her there.

A fourth woman contacted me a few days later about another matter, after reading a comment I'd left at another blog. I'd mentioned Challenging the Commonplace proudly sporting the logo of that "Left-wing fringe group: Women" but said I wouldn't be able to order a t-shirt and wear my support in that upfront and personal way.

A few days ago, I received a t-shirt.

Then there was this personal request I posted many moons ago. The woman who sent me enough money to cover Kiltie's food for a year added a bonus: enough money also to buy an exercise bike. (She'd wanted to help in additional ways, but we ran into problems.)

I've had a Healthrider N40 upright exercise bike, bought for half price, for two months now and been using it regularly. Am already feeling stronger. My back gives me less trouble, causes less pain when I take the long walks I can't (and don't want to) avoid. The more mobile one can be, the more freedom one has and the better the quality of life. This woman's gift has improved my quality of life, for which I am deeply grateful.

About those bureaucrats...

Had been fretting for over a year that when it came time to applying for my CPP pension, I'd come up against a stone wall of administrative indifference and intransigence. As experienced with bureaucracy in the past, I imagined being required to go above and beyond what most citizens must in order to prove identity. The process has always caused me distress - delving into my the past ain't fun. Childhood upheavals of myriad number have resulted in a paper trail, of who I belonged to and what my name was, not following a straight line. BUT and this is what my hopes were pinned on, the one thing that was constant, once I began working at age 15, was my social insurance number. I was taxpayer number xxx xxx xxx and through that number all my CPP contributions were made.

So... filled with apprehension, I completed my CPP application and mailed it August 25th. Within three weeks - not the months I'd been envisioning -, I received a reply. In large bolded letters, in consideration of aging eyes, the letter began:

Your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Retirement Pension has been Approved.

In slightly smaller font, but still larger than average, further information was provided. It included the statement, in all caps: THE CHILD REARING PROVISION HAS BEEN TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION - not that that will result in much; still, anything extra is welcome.

The CPP payments will begin August 2010.

My cynicism has undergone an adjustment.

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