May 4th, 2019

Hermione not amused


Not sure quite how it happened, but the "end of the month" for me last month started on the 10th and didn't let up until yesterday, when I got my SSDI payment. Even with getting food boxes earlier in the month than usual, it didn't help much and I was in survival mode for several weeks. My sleep schedule got completely fucked over by it because on the first, I was so excited for food stamps to get me a little more food to get me through the next few days that I only got like, four hours of sleep. Same thing happened on the night before the third; only got three hours of sleep that time. I got another three or four hours of sleep after getting home from WinCo.

I was so affected by this experience that I spent hours budgeting what to get at the store on the first, clipping coupons and stuff, and went to two different stores to get what I needed - Franz Bakery Outlet for bread, and Grocery Outlet for the rest. I did this again for my trip to Winco on the third, and ended up so tired that I gave up the system halfway through, and overspent a little. Forgot the damn coupons, too, except for one that was for $10 off any order of $50 or more. Ended up knocking a $100 thing to $90. Though a lot of that price is stuff like trash bags, storage containers for food, paper towels, etc. I did actually manage to get mostly just what I budgeted for, and not too much else. My budget had me paying $62 at Winco and $29 at Safeway because coupons, but where I gave up was me going "fuck it, I don't have the time or energy to go to Safeway, I'll just get those things here at WinCo. A lot of them are slightly cheaper here anyway, even without the coupons." (Quick calculation, 62+29= 91. I only really over-spent by $9, and the WinCo coupon knocked that bit out anyway.)

I've been watching a lot of videos lately on YouTube by a channel dedicated to teaching people how to do old-fashioned things like storing eggs without refrigeration or making pemmican. I'm starting to think maybe I should grow some cucumbers in my planned garden thing and learn from YouTube how to make pickles, have a whole row of jars of home-made pickles on the bottom shelf of my cupboards.

Next, I can buy a shit-ton of eggs on the cheap, coat them in beef tallow, and store them in a 5 gallon bucket of hydrolyzed lime and water so I can have eggs all month long and not have to worry about taking up too much room in the fridge.

Maybe tomatoes, too? Stew em up, make em into chili with a bunch of beans made from dry beans, stick the chili in the freezer or learn how to can it and stick the jars of chili in the cupboard with the pickles.

Kinda need a hobby to keep me sane anyway. Writing is good but sometimes I fall out of inspiration or get low on the kind of energy to write, and canning would take a different kind of energy, one I tend to have more of even when writing energy gets low. Sure, there'll be gardening, but that can't really be done at night, which is the bulk of my "need to do something to stay sane" time.

Poverty sucks.

Anyway, back to bed.

EDIT: I remember how this all happened, now. I had a bill that was past due, and instead of just paying the past due amount as I usually do, I actually went and paid the whole amount that was due. Which was a big mistake, obviously. The plus side is, when I went to pay that bill yesterday, I ended up with a $50 credit because the bill wouldn't be due for another few days. Which means that if I need to let that one get past due again, I can, which would buy me an extra month. (This month's credit = don't need to pay anything next (2nd) month = 3rd month regular due amount, let it get past due = 4th month, pay the past due. Or if things go well (LOL), just keep the credit going with new payments.)

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Chicken slurry

Another tale from last month, when I was in survival mode most of the month:

Last month, I made some of that chicken "burger" slurry the food boxes gives me sometimes, but in the slow cooker instead of the skillet, thinking that because slow cooked hamburger tasted great, that chicken slurry cooked the same way would as well.

Spoiler alert: it did not. Chicken burger is only edible when cooked on a skillet first, to give it a burger-like texture, mostly from cooking the moisture out of it, I think. Cook it in the slow cooker, though, and the only difference in texture and appearance between raw chicken slurry and slow-cooked chicken slurry is that raw chicken slurry is this red, watery paste similar to the "pink slime" of McDonald's, but red; cooked, however, it is the same, except faintly pink. I wasn't sure at first it was even cooked, despite it having been cooking for six hours. I put it on high for another three hours, and the color was the same. It was, literally, just boiling chicken slurry. Slightly more firm than when raw, but basically imagine eating it raw and you have an idea what it's like when it's been slow cooked. (Pauses to wait for the gagging and retching sounds to stop.)

Just looking at it was horrifying. Over the course of several weeks, I choked down maybe half of it, and only because I did some experiments to try to make it more edible. First experiment was mixing salsa and taco sauce into it. That only made it marginally more edible, like dipping turds in mustard before chowing down on them.

Second experiment, I mixed some of it with mustard and ketchup to make something resembling sloppy joe mix. That was a slight improvement again, but it was still barely edible. I didn't make much of that, because my hopes were not high, maybe made enough for three sandwiches. Had two sandwiches of the stuff over two days and couldn't choke down any more of it.

I gave up at that point, and froze the rest, thinking "gods that was horrifying, but at least it kept me fed for a while. Let's keep it around in case this happens again, assuming that doing so doesn't make me want to drown myself to avoid having to eat it again."

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