If It’s Good Enough for Obama, It’s Good Enough For Me: How I Chose To Resist

Gentle Readers,

You know I feel strongly about making the world a better place. You know that I am not in favor of our current POTUS. There are so many things he stands for that I find abhorrent. However, one person can only do so much, and I prefer to focus my efforts into things I can actually impact. I cannot do a damn thing about Russian interference. I cannot stop climate change. I cannot protect NAFTA. I cannot make them hold a hearing for Merrick Garland.

My advocacy must lay elsewhere if it is to have an impact

For advocacy to be most effective, it should focus on asking the right person to do or not do something specific that is within their power to do or not do. Unless your advocacy is more broadly about making a conversation happen. Changing narratives is important, but it cannot be the only thing done. I am glad that there are people staging protests and using their voices in that way, but it is not the route for me.

My tactics are different. I do not have much available time, and I must use it effectively.

I know that the election was decided by a very small margin of voters. I also know that many potential voters wanted to vote, but were disenfranchised. Either by someone’s intent, or through inability to secure the proper documentation. The very inability to secure the proper documentation is because of how we set up our system. I think it is intentional. Many countries automatically register everyone to vote, or use ink on a finger as proof that you’ve already voted, etc. Our system is not the only way, nor is it an effective way if you want more of the electorate to vote.

One of my many internships was working at a nonprofit that considered itself a homeless shelter without walls. We did not have beds for people, but we acted as a hub in that community to enable people to access the multiple services they all needed. Most of our clients had been through homelessness and many other complicating factors. To access services provided by the city and state, they needed to prove who they were. Many homeless individuals lose their birth certificates and other documentation because they are very far down in the hierarchy of needs.

Part of my job included contacting the office of vital records on a client’s behalf. I would fill out the paperwork and get our treasurer to write a check for ten dollars. None of our clients had ten dollars to spare for something that was not urgent for survival. Within seven to ten business days, that man would have a birth certificate. Then we would help him get an ID. Another process that can be hard for people to navigate. The forms can be confusing even if your language skills are more “advanced” than others. The forms also required patience and the ability to prove where you lived. Not always easy for someone. People who’ve been homeless don’t often have utilities in their name.

Without an ID, people cannot vote. As seen above, even without government agencies and officials intentionally disenfranchising people, ie felons and former felons in some jurisdictions, the processes to navigate having the paperwork can be impenetrable. If a person uses a mobility aid, and the bus system only comes by once an hour when it works properly, that person may not be able to make it to the DMV during the appointed time. Having nonprofits who can literally arrange transportation for people who do not have access to personal vehicles can literally be the difference between a citizen being allowed to vote in elections that impact their bus service and not being allowed to vote.

How I chose to resist

Knowing all this, I have followed President Obama’s lead and will focus my energies on voter enfranchisement work. He is a politician, and rightly focused on anti-gerrymandering work, but I don’t have the political knowledge or resources to impact these efforts. I know more about how government works than the average American, but not enough about the systems and processes and political machinations to be able to successfully work in that arena.

I don’t have the capacity to volunteer in a nonprofit at this time, but I do have the internet and the ability to research.

I looked at the states with the most voting restrictions. Then I narrowed that list to those states that had the closest elections in 2016. I chose to narrow in this manner because I do not have unlimited funds. If I were rich, I would have expanded my list and worked on all states with significant voting restrictions.

The states with the most voting restrictions that had the closest elections in 2016 were Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

I then searched for organizations in those states doing voter registration or anti-gerrymandering work. I found https://www.wisconsinvoices.org/, http://www.nonprofitvote.org/, and http://www.blueprintnc.org/. All of these organizations are focused on nonpartisan civic engagement.

If the organization I interned at still existed, I would love to donate to an organization like that. Especially if they allowed me to direct it to enfranchisement efforts.

This is the concrete action I have chosen to take. It is okay if you have chosen something else. I just needed a discrete problem to focus on because of how my brain works. I cannot solve all problems. I know advocacy works. I saw it when all of the phone calls, town halls, letters to Congress and berating our Legislators resulted in the Affordable Care Act living to see another day.

I cannot do everything, but I can do this one thing.

How do you engage in resistance? Do you have a nonprofit you wished I more folks donated to?

 

Net Worth Week 50 – It Might As Well Be Spring

Gentle Readers,
So sleepy this week. I’ve been working hard in my own business and getting OT at the gig. I’m trying to get more than ten hours of OT this week especially since I will miss a day each in the next two weeks because I get to see my girlfriend in person for the first time since she moved! All of the happy dancing!
I had a free appointment to see if I am a candidate for a cheaper version of invisalign. My dentist wants me to wait at least six months after my wisdom tooth extraction regardless, but I wanted to collect the data. I don’t fully understand why this version is significantly cheaper than traditional invisalign. I am waiting to hear from my friends to hear about their experience of this company. To be continued.
My company is stonewalling me about the W2 and I’m still waiting for a K-1 from an investment. Sigh.
I’m getting more and more excited about my skill-building classes. My progress feels like it is tipping over into the exponential realm

This week’s net worth numbers

3/17/2017 3/24/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 342 994
 IRA  12812  12693
 Brokerage 694  684
 Rewards Card 2 0 -301
 CC (largest) -3500  -3500
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1252 -1302
SL 1 -104172 -104288
 SL 2 -45883 -45936
 Earnest -5704 -5716
 Net Worth -144174 -144183
 Percentage Change .46% -.01%

How has Spring Sprung in your neck of the woods? We’re in a cold front and anticipating.

  

Net Worth Week 49 – Stella Edition

Gentle Readers,
My new suit is still being fixed at the dry cleaner, I’ll write a post about this drawn out process soon.
I began talking to my friends about local orthodontist and invisalign costs and timelines. My crooked teeth are causing more pain and I need to use my money to lessen that.
Still couldn’t finish my taxes, because my W2 is wrong, again. This company was wrong last year, too. Same damn issue. Same nonsense of telling me that they aren’t wrong. If they don’t fix it by Monday, I’m reporting them to the IRS. Tired of their bullshit.
It was a busy week with Winter Storm Stella and my skill-building class, but I am feeling more and more confident in my abilities.
I see her in two weeks and I’m so excited!

This week’s net worth numbers

3/10/2017 3/17/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 622 342
 IRA  12568  12812
 Brokerage 688  694
 Rewards Card 2 0 0
 CC (largest) -3999  -3500
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1629 -1252
SL 1 -104057 -104172
 SL 2 -45831 -45883
 Earnest -5692 -5704
 Net Worth -144841 -144174
 Percentage Change -.70%  .46%

Were you impacted by Stella?

  

Net Worth Week 48 – Oral Surgery Edition

Gentle Readers,
My suit arrived and the tailored made it fit. There’s still one small snag that I’ll need to have my dry-cleaner fix, but it looks like a million bucks. I’ll write a post about this drawn out process soon.
Oral surgery happened. Then ice cream and applesauce did. This process let me know that my insurance is now only acceptable at pharmacies that my insurer runs. No longer may I utilize CVS. It is inconvenient, but my past performance on prescriptions being such a rarity for me will hopefully continue trending.
I opened a new rewards credit card and was able to use my oral surgery to hit part of the spending limit. This card is for an airline that flies often between the cities my girlfriend and I live in. For now, I’m keeping all of my other cards open, but I may re-assess my needs and potential impact on credit rating. You’ll notice the big dip in my travel and EF account, because I wanted to pay for as much of my oral surgery as possible up front.
Taxes drafted. Schedule C. (got side-lined this week)
Skill-building classes returned!
Another client hired me as I nearly completed work on a different client’s project.
I finished funding my 2016 IRA.
 I bought my first ticket to go visit her in her new city!

This week’s net worth numbers

3/3/2017 3/10/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 324 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 811 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 2640 622
 IRA  12234  12568
 Brokerage 698  688
 Rewards Card 2 0 0
 CC (largest) -4260  -3999
 CC (longest) -191  0
 Rewards Card -2322 -1629
SL 1 -104201 -104057
 SL 2 -45896 -45831
 Earnest -6145 -5692
 Net Worth -143831 -144841
 Percentage Change .34% -.70%

How have your Marches begun?

  

Net Worth Week 47 – Grind it Out Edition

Gentle Readers,
I’ve been doing a great job this week of getting lots of things done and getting overtime in to tackle this debt. I was really worried that her absence would make me despondent, but I still feel wrapped in her love from hundreds of miles away. I’ll use this time to focus on being even better at tackling debt and growing my business. When I’m with her, I can then just focus on exploring her new city with her and enjoying being near her without worrying about costs. (remind me of this when despondency rears its head)
I made it to the tailor who is fixing a suit for me. She estimates that it will be ready this weekend and I’m very excited to finally wear it. I scheduled my oral surgery; it still does not feel like the best time financially, but I would like to have a happier mouth and less pain.
I’m going to draft my taxes tomorrow so that I can talk to my accountant friend for a paid-review of the Schedule C I’ll prepare. I also need to prepare to pay my quarterly taxes for the first time since I paid myself from profits in December. I know that I have the money on hand because I have kept all profits I’ve paid myself in a sub-account. I don’t know what I’ll do with that money once I know what it is like paying self-employment taxes. Right now that money has the job of teaching me how much I’ll bring home depending on the number of clients I have. It’s a good lesson.
My skill-building classes return again next week. I’m really excited. I love the class and the teacher, and it is free. I intended to finish a book on the subject during the 2.5 months we did not have class, but I did not make the time with how much happened in my world.
We also can’t seem to keep a fourth contractor on this project. The most recent hire did not make it a month. No one has explained his absence to us; he’s just not there. It’s a very strange work environment. I hope he found a permanent job somewhere. He was nice and diligent.
.

This week’s net worth numbers

2/24/2017 3/3/2017
 Joy 1104 1105
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 811
Business 751 1002
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life  1622  2640
 IRA 12163  12234
 Brokerage 693  698
 CC (largest) -4215  -4260
 CC (longest) 0  -191
 Rewards Card -1909 -2322
SL 1 -104085 -104201
 SL 2 -45844 -45896
 Earnest -6133 -6145
 Net Worth -144323 -143831
 Percentage Change -.13% .34%


What do you like to have on hand for post-surgery self-care?

 

  

Net Worth Week 46 – She’s Gone Edition

Gentle Readers,
I took my girlfriend to the airport this morning and called in “sick” to work. I believe mental health counts for a sick day, and that it is a stupid system that tells me I can only use the time-off I’ve earned in one particular way.
My best friend is meeting me after work. I am meeting my other best friend’s new puppy this weekend. I’ve got some client work to do and also am not trying to get any OT this week, in part because the holiday pay calculation means that I would have to physically work 40 hours plus 1 in order to get the time-and-a-half pay-rate. Not today, Satan.
 Time to do the errands I’ve been putting off while focusing on her move: trip to the tailor,  oral surgeon,  preparing taxes so that I can understand how to do my schedule c/k? properly, grocery store, skill-building.
My net worth took a slight dip this week, which is attributable to my getting a hotel for her last night in our city. Absolutely worth it.

This week’s net worth numbers

2/17/2017 2/24/2017
 Joy 1104 1104
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 810
Business 751 751
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life 1608  1622
 IRA 11974  12163
 Brokerage 688  693
 CC (largest) -4203 -4215
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1682 -1909
SL 1 -103970 -104085
 SL 2 -45738 -45844
 Earnest -6122 -6133
 Net Worth -144139 -144323
 Percentage Change .33% -.13%

What should I do for self-care?

Have a poem by a black, queer poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Happy Black History Month, y’all!

“I loved my friend
He went away from me
There’s nothing more to say
The poem ends,
Soft as it began-
I loved my friend.”
Langston Hughes  

Net Worth Week 45 – A Change is Gonna Come

Gentle Readers,
There was another week of net worth growth, but big changes are brewing. These changes will impact my money, my time, and my general happiness.
My wonderful girlfriend had a short period of unemployment before accepting a job very far away. It’s an exciting opportunity and will be a great chance to grow professionally, but it is also bittersweet. A change of scenery may be good for the spirit, but it also means that our hug quotient will go way down. She flies away next week.
Thankfully, my employment is flexible. I have not yet broached it with my agency, but I will request that they allow me to work remotely outside of the weekend to sometimes work from her new place while she is at her job. This will make visiting her monthly far more feasible. I have the approved computer for remote work. My bosses don’t supervise us, nor care that one person sleeps while “working.” This would allow me to continue pursuing their overtime goals and allow me to purchase cheaper airfare. They should say yes, but may balk. We’ll see.
With all of this, I also need to continue to work on my balance transfer from last summer, and pay it off before July.  Her move is why I have not yet made my appointment with an oral surgeon. I want to spend as much time with her and helping her as possible. Sometimes love includes dental pain.
I have a lot to learn to make this change work. I did not previously know that South West Airlines had such flexible tickets. I will be looking up travel hacking, and all sorts of other things to make sure that our love and support stay strong.
 .

This week’s net worth numbers

2/10/2017 2/17/2017
 Joy 1104 1104
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 810
Business 751 751
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life 819  1608
 IRA 11536  11974
 Brokerage 679  688
 CC (largest) -4182 -4203
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1120 -1682
SL 1 -103854 -103970
 SL 2 -45738 -45791
 Earnest -6109 -6122
 Net Worth -144610 -144139
 Percentage Change .40% .33%

What made a long-distance relationship work for you?  

Net Worth Week 44 – Best Week Yet

Gentle Readers,
My high credit score officially returned last week. It took a beating down from excellent to high-ish after I completed a balance transfer last summer. The balance transfer rate ends in July. I am doing a lot of OT right now, and part of the aim is to use those funds to knock it out before then.
I still have not made an appointment  with an oral surgeon.  There is not time right now, and my focus is elsewhere. I am going to try and sneak in a massage or reflexology. My body is terribly stressed right now.
My streak re-set to 2 week’s positive net worth growth! This is my closest to zero since I’ve kept track.

This week’s net worth numbers

2/3/2017 2/10/2017
 Joy 1103 1104
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 810
Business 7511 751
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life 1356  819
 IRA 11459  11536
 Brokerage 674  679
 CC (largest) -4182 -4182
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1530 -1120
SL 1 -103998 -103854
 SL 2 -45804 -45738
 Earnest -6562 -6109
 Net Worth -145201 -144610
 Percentage Change .33% .40%

Are you making plans for Valentine’s Day? Do you spend a standard amount?  

Net Worth Week 43 – Back on the Right Track

Gentle Readers,
I have not been able to make an appointment with an oral surgeon yet, and am going to hold off for a few weeks. Some big changes are happening and I need to focus my attentions elsewhere for the short-term.
My “new client” from last weekend never arrived. Cash-flow is always going to be interesting it seems.
My streak re-set to 1 week positive net worth growth.

This week’s net worth numbers

1/27/2017 2/3/2017
 Joy 1103 1104
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 810
Business 501 751
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life 1501  1356
 IRA 11458  11459
 Brokerage 674 674
 CC (largest) -4209 -4182
 CC (longest) -10  0
 Rewards Card -2030 -1503
 SL 1 -103883 -103998
 SL 2 -45751 -45804
 Earnest -6546 -6562
 Net Worth -145688 -145201
 Percentage Change -.39% .33%

Any unexpected changes to your plans hit you lately?