Well, possums, it’s been roughly 2.5 months since ol’ raincoaster here was in receipt of any of these much-lauded Covid-19 supports. She got what has been referred to as “The Letter” although she got it by email which is a damn good thing because if it were up to the Post Office who knows when, but there, I’ve said too much. Like that this week they emailed me a job opening that closed on January 15, yes, before it was posted. The Letter informs the (un)lucky Canadian that the Tax Person (we don’t say Tax Man anymore) requires them, the Canadian, to prove that they had a net income of $5,000 or more in 2019 and that it ceased as a result of the pandemic. And that, until they do, they get nothing.
At least on Tuesday they announced they won’t be clawing back the money given to people whose net income was less than $5000, but whose gross income was above that benchmark.
So, there’s that.
Now, there’s a workaround that should be effective, but I’ve got to do another call with them on Monday, which will be a solid month after the last time they requested documents from me, and we’ll see what happens then.
So, anyhoodle, money has been scarce around the ol’ raincoaster burrow since the end of November, as CRA requests documents, then requests 4 weeks to review those documents, then requests more documents and another 4 weeks theretoreview, and so on, all to determine whether or not my income from pet-sitting did or did not evaporate during the pandemic.
Spoiler alert: it did.
But in between hunting for a job and whining on social media about having no money, I still find time in my busy schedule to engage in the favourite pastime of the destitute: making fantasy shopping lists.
Now, back in the day when I had a steady income I could flip through glossy magazines and put, say, some whimsical 17th Century Chinoiserie chairs on the list, but these days, when I can’t even afford the catalogues and the library is closed and Connoisseur magazine folded, even my dreams have contracted.
Presented here, on the general principle that pain shared is…well, just great material for a good goth lyric, if nothing else…my fantasy shopping list of All The Things I Would Have Bought By Now From Local Companies (fuck Amazon!) If I Still Had The CRB To Which I Am Entitled Because Duh, Pet-Sitting In A Pandemic, I Mean Come On.
- Skates. I do not want to leave this town until I’ve skated on the canal at least once. Since I’ve been gearing up to move back home, I’ve been looking into ways to Ottawa as hard as I can before leaving. It seems only fair to give the city a shot. And skating on the canal is indeed enchanting, from what I remember from last century when I did it, but I have not done it yet this century, and if I don’t get the money for the skates within the next two weeks or so, perhaps I never shall. There’s also a community outdoor rink practically across the street from my house which is floodlit at night deserted after 9pm and perfect for me, but again, skates.
- Mini Trampoline. Because it’s like a thousand dollars cheaper than a treadmill and does more or less the same thing, only more amusingly.
- Studio Apartment. Well, okay, I wouldn’t be buying it. I’m not in a position to get a mortgage, and in even less of one to pay cash. But I could, on CRB, afford to rent a studio in, say, Vanier, which if you walk as much as me you consider walking distance to downtown. Vanier’s gritty, sure, but…how to say?…have you met ME?
- Yarn winder. Let’s face it, you can’t be a Power Crafter if your yarn is in skeins and not balls. It’s like $20 unless you get the Shaker-made one which can also function as a chandelier/art piece, which I will not do because employing Shakers is well beyond my means. And I can’t afford pre-made clothes. I gotta start from scratch and make them myself; if I’m lucky, I can find a stray sheep wandering Bruce Pit, spare the cost of the yarn, and get going on permaculture. While I’m there I can save time by banging my clothes against rocks in the creek to get them clean. Life, possums. A cabaret, it is.
- Used car. Because this is honestly looking like the only way I am EVER going to get back to God’s country. After what I said about him the other day, the plan to cadge a ride from Trudeau is clearly off the table. Say hi to Poole’s Land for me.
- Gimbal to make walking videos of Ottawa. While the streets are empty is a prime opportunity to make some “Winter Wonderland” walking videos and also get my exercise in. Gotta walk somewhere, might as well walk somewhere pretty. And put some nice visuals on YouTube; the people at Tourism Ottawa, I must say, have been supremely helpful with advice and resources. This is the sort of thing I have in mind:
- Move back to BC. Yes. This would have happened already, and Ottawa would have been rid of me for good, if only the money to pay for it were in my hands. Penticton, Sooke, Tofino, Powell River, Victoria, hell, even Vancouver: I. Don’t. Care. Get. Me. Out. Of. Here. Ironically, the only advertised contact tracing jobs I can find (very compatible with an investigative reporter’s skillset) are in Vancouver, so throwing my hat in to that ring with extreme vigour.
- Animal-based proteins. At the beginning of the month I had some cash for fancy groceries, “fancy” here meaning “derived from or composed of animals, plus some things in jars.” So, like, frozen mixed seafood, cream for my coffee, and salsa. You know, fancy stuff. Now that I have $35 to last me the rest of the month, I’ve got to dial it back to lentils, black house brand coffee, and The Roommate’s ketchup. I stay hydrated by drinking my own tears.