Probation Officers, Survival and etc.

I can’t seem to find a Daily Prompt that I like, and I can’t think of a topic to fill an entire post, so let’s just do some stream-of-consciousness stuff around a few topics and see what happens. I got up early on a Sunday to write in this damn blog, so I’m gonna come up with something.

I saw my PO (probation officer) on Friday, and I’ve got to start paying $25 more a month in restitution. I owe over $30k in restitution for the crime I committed, which is probably more than I’ll ever be able to pay. That extra $25 a month is going to hurt. We already barely make ends meet at the end of a month, so we’re going to have to tighten our belts a little and squeeze by. It won’t be fun, but we can do it.

Financially, we’re in a bit of a mess. We owe $75k in student loans that we’re in default on and will probably never pay, then there’s the $35k in restitution. To put it in perspective, we live on $735 a month. If I get my disability, we’ll probably bring in more than double that $735, but our rent will go up, our food stamps will go down, and I’ll have to pay $150 a month in restitution instead of $75. So even me getting my disability won’t be a real game-changer for us. I worry a lot about money and about what Trump budget cuts might do to the programs we rely on to help us get by.

In other news, my PO actually drug tested me for the first time in like a year. I was clean, of course. I’d so like to smoke some pot that it’s not funny, but my paranoia would kick in. If I actually smoked some herb, I’d convince myself that I’d get drug tested again and turn up positive. So far I’ve done everything right on probation, and I don’t want to change that. I’ve got a year and a half left and I just want it to go by as smoothly and hassle-free as possible. I can smoke pot when I’m done with probation.

The PO also wants me to be getting in more “social” activities. I’m a homebody and a loner by nature, and their little computer programs tell them that loners are more likely to reoffend, so they always want you to be doing something “pro-social”. So I told the PO I would look into starting to go to the local chess club. That seemed to satisfy him and it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing anyway. I haven’t played serious chess in a long time, and I’m not averse to the idea of picking it up again. I haven’t looked into where the chess club is or when it meets, but there’s a big university right up the road from me, so I’m sure they have a chess club. Chess seems to have taken a nosedive since I played, but there’s gotta be a few nerds out there who still play.

You always hear criminals complaining about their POs, but I have no real complaints about mine. He’s very by-the-book, but he’s always been pleasant to me. To hear most felons tell it, POs are always trying to get you locked back up, but in my opinion that’s just because the average criminal is too stupid to stay clean and do what they’re supposed to do to stay out of prison. On the prison unit I was on, three separate guys got out and came back during the time I was there. It’s always drugs. They just can’t stay clean. Now, they’re probably addicted to something heavier than pot, and I know addiction is a disease and yadda yadda ya, but damn! Going back to prison for shooting up some heroin or snorting some meth or whatever, that’s a hardcore addict there. I’m glad I don’t have that problem.

One problem I do have is that I’m wanting alcohol in the evening nearly every day lately. I think it’s just because I’m so bored, but it’s still not a good habit to get into. I’m not an alcoholic, and I don’t want to become one. Plus, we can’t afford to be buying booze every day. It takes a lot to get me drunk, so it gets expensive quick even though I drink the cheapest stuff I can find. Well, not the ABSOLUTE cheapest–that stuff is undrinkable–but close enough.

Changing topics, I made a first effort at disaster prepping the other day. We picked up a dozen cans of Spaghettios at the store, and I’m keeping them in our storage closet. We have a few gallons of drinking water, but didn’t have anything to eat. Everything in our apartment is electric, so if the power goes out we have no way to cook anything. Spaghettios, at least, you can eat right out of the can. I’m going to add some peanut butter and trail mix and other things to the disaster kit. I’m not a doomsday prepper, basically because I don’t have the money to afford it, but I do want us to be ready if there’s a big earthquake or an ice storm or something and the power goes out for a while. I need to make a list of stuff we need. We’ve got a couple flashlights, but we don’t have extra batteries, etc., stuff like that. We’re in a bad way if the shit really hits the fan, and I’d be sitting on a bunker with ten years’ worth of food if I could be, but that’s not my fate unless I hit the lottery that I never play. If society collapses entirely, through nuclear war or meteor strike or what have you, we’re probably not going to make it. But maybe that’s for the best–I’m not sure I want to survive some things, like a nuclear war. The world is dog-eat-dog enough as it is, and though I love post-apocalyptic fiction, I’m not sure I actually want to live it. But the least I can do is get us ready for an earthquake–we’re overdue for the Big One to happen. I worry about the structural integrity of our building if it’s a really big quake–our building was built in the 1960s–but I just have to take it on faith that the building holds up to the quake. I guess if it doesn’t, all other survival prep is moot anyway. There’s no way you can get ready for every eventuality–not without spending a small fortune.

I don’t really see the world ending in a nuclear war, although it’s certainly possible, particularly with the orange gorilla in charge. I see it more as a series of die-offs as various things fail. Everything from financial collapse to energy shortages to climate change and disruptions in the food supply is fair game to happen. I just hope it doesn’t happen in my (or my wife’s) lifetime. I triggered myself the other day by reading The Automatic Earth and realizing just how unprepared I am. What’s worse, there’s no real way I can GET prepared. I just don’t have the money. It’s something I just have to try to avoid thinking about, because I’ll just worry myself for no good reason. If the shit hits the fan, we’re in trouble. But the world hasn’t ended yet, and maybe it can keep wobbling around the sun for another 30 years before things really start to go to hell. Here’s hoping.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading. =)




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