Grad school enters final lap soon, student teaching awaits, and the effort to stay afloat despite more bad news from the state

Honestly, I’m not depressed. I just thought it would be funny to wear this necklace with a frowny face. Don’t call in the troops. I’m OK.

Dear friends,

I’m sorry I have not written much in recent weeks.

Below is the latest update on my fundraising efforts to stay afloat while I recover from knee surgery and finish graduate school at Drake.

If you’re of a mind to donate to the cause, the details are at:

Read back through for the full story. I won’t bore people who know with it now.

I am plodding forward through what will be, I hope, the last of my classroom finals. There are a lot of papers and presentations to finish before the semester ends on Dec. 17. I am tired and welcome the coming holiday break to clear my mind and prepare for student teaching. I have a Zoom meeting with my mentor teacher Thursday, which will be my last activity of the semester.

Over break, there are a series of online courses I need to take, including lessons on blood-borne pathogens and the state’s mandatory reporter law.

The fight to claim benefits remains stalled. I applied for a program called Training Extension Benefits, which extends unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks or the end of your training. In my case, it would get me through the end of graduate school in the spring.

I won’t rehash all the stressful difficulties other than to say this has been going on since early August. I was given incorrect information by my caseworker which mucked up my appeal. After a time, I finally got proper advice to appeal.

My appeal is in the system, where it’s been since late November. I called the appeals office last week. They said they were just getting to October appeals. I had a minimum of a two-week wait to get on the calendar. That puts us during the holidays. I don’t expect to hear anything for a month.


In other terrible news, I received a letter from the Iowa Department of Revenue that they had refigured my taxes and I somehow owe almost $700. The letter arrived on a Friday and it was too late to call, so I’ve been stewing about this all weekend. I wonder if this has something to do with the identity theft I had that mucked up my unemployment benefits this year. Who knows?

One of the struggles I have with anxiety is knowing there’s a problem, not being able to immediately fix it, and then mentally grinding that a parade of horribles is going to march through my life. I will say this much for the last 18 months, I have learned some measure of patience. Most problems I can’t fix right away, especially the ones involving the government.

My mobility continues to improve. I still use a walker for long distances. Your donations helped me get a new set of wheels that offer more stability. They’re much better at negotiating variations in pavement. This will be key if we have a lot of snow and ice this winter.

It has been a long 18 months, but I believe I’m right on the edge of something great. I just have to make it through student teaching. Then, hopefully, I’ll get on contract with a metro district and begin Daniel 2.0’s life. As always, I thank you for your patronage.

You have kept this march going both financially and with an immeasurable amounts of emotional support. I have asked a lot of you. You have always responded.

I want you to know I hate this. As appreciative as I am of all your support, I hate that you hear from me with my hand out.

Perhaps when this trail is over, we can have a gathering at a shelter house in Union Park after my graduation. I can meet some of you in person, say thank you, give a hug to those who will take it. Then, at least, my gratitude would have corporal form.

I know how expensive this time of year is, but if can spare a few dollars, as always, everything helps. I’ve got to get back to my finals. I’ve got two left to write and a final presentation. I love you all. You have taught me about unconditional love almost as much as Parents 2.0.

Bless you for your contributions and your kind, kind hearts.

With love and hope,

Daniel P. Finney

Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.
Zelle: 515-371-9453.

Daniel P. Finney wrote for newspapers for 27 years before being laid off in 2020. He teaches middle school English now. He writes columns and podcasts for, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating $10 a month to help him cover the expenses of this site.
Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311.

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