Through the tunnel, darkly.

My brother has finally snagged a job…it pays a bit more than minimum wage and only part time, but a job is a job.  I thank God for this! 

He has been such a great help around the house, and a great source of support for Dr K as he searches for employment.  As for me, having my brother around give me the incentive to cook and serve sit-down meals, and we have a blast reminiscing about the old days when he lived with me and The Rancher back in the ’80’s.  I didn’t realize how much I needed that comradery.

We are still trying to keep the wolves at bay.  But this bit of good news, my brother’s new job, makes that light in the tunnel a bit more believable.

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Oh Wah Wah Ad Nauseum

If anyone heard that rumbling sound last week, that was a shoe storm.  Not a thunderstorm, but the sound of a thousand shoes (mostly steel-toed work boots, from the feel of it) falling on this house.  Good news is, we’re still alive. Bad news is, Dr K did lose his job, and along with that our medical insurance.  We can almost survive on my paycheck alone, but not without insurance.  The cost of COBRA coverage is ridiculously expensive; but then, even if it was only $100 a month, it would still be out of our budget.

I am signing up for insurance (for myself only, per Dr K’s orders) through my work, but that too is so expensive that my take home pay would be a double-digit number. That’s double-digit as in @#.00.  The man of the house has applied for unemployment, which will take a few weeks, and will help enormously to keep one or two wolves away from the door.

On another note, or maybe a similar note, my brother, who is in worse financial straits than we are, exhausted his stay at the local homeless shelter.  He would have been able to stay indefinitely if he had been given a job, but is still looking.  He is pounding the pavement daily but has only one nibble, so to speak, and this morning should bring good news.  I’ve invited him to stay with us until he has been employed long enough to qualify for low-income housing via the V.A.   So…I have two unemployed guys living with me.  When I am not working at my physically and mentally exhausting job, I am online, helping the two of them with their resume’s and job search.  Yes, I have to admit I am somewhat enabling them. Ok, totally enabling them.  I could just throw it into their laps and wait for them to do it, but I kinda like having a roof over my head and food on the table and, oh, health insurance. So sue me.  And for the sake of brevity, I won’t go into how I really want to take both of these men and knock their heads together, drop kick their butts out the door, and then murder the person who invented game apps for Facebook.

I have to admit, I have never been this destitute. That is, as an adult. 

 As a child, in a large family with a Patriarch who favored his alcohol and his own comfort over that of the rest of us, we lived hand to mouth and sometimes without running water, electricity, or decent food.  But when you’re a child, you tend not to think of life like that as anything but normal.  You learn how to build a fire in a wood stove, gather eggs, milk cows, grow vegetables and can them in mason jars.  You sew your own clothes, knit hats and gloves out of yarn ravelled out of an old sweater, and master the art of butchering chickens, hogs, and an occasional wild animal.  You think that a gourmet meal is lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich with “boughten” bread.  You learn dozens of ways to turn eggs and milk into a meal.

  You learn to survive. 

These survival skills sure come in handy when you find yourself  poor again after years of a fairly well-off life.  I pity the person who was never forced to learn survival skills like those I was forced to learn.

I can survive.  I hope.

Oh Wah Wah

I’m having a pity party, and for those who don’t want to partake, go to another blog site. Ok? Well then, for those who masochistically chose to hang around….
We are looking into a tunnel that, for one reason or another, does not have a light at the end. Or, if there is a light, it’s so far away that we will hopefully, or probably be dead before we see it.
Since I started working for my present employer, we have seen the effects of having half the income we were used to making. We’ve cut back and cut back even more, but the expense of just surviving is far more than what we bring in for wages. Every day we wait to see what kind of disconnect or wage garnishment or new expense will kick us further down the ladder of life. Dr K, who is showing symptoms of a grave disease, can’t take time off from work to have the tests done to diagnose his illness. “Can’t take time off” means he’s taken too many sick days due to his illness, and his job would be in serious jeopardy if he misses another day. And our insurance is through his job, not mine.
The worst part about my job is that I love it. I work hard, both physically and mentally, but I get to see the results of my hard work whereas, in my previous jobs, I felt like just a micro-cog in the wheels of big business. I love the people I work with, love the stress, love the hands-on aspect of it. But loving my job is making my personal life a hell. If I could make just two or three dollars an hour more, life would be a dream…instead of a nightmare.
Yes, I know there are so many others out there who are in worse financial straits than we are. But, when it comes down to who-is-more-deserving-of-compassion, I tend to forget the worse-offs and think selfishly of myself.
I know there are higher paying jobs for me out there…but I also know I would–and never have–found the satisfaction in them as I do in my low paying position. Dr K makes more than I do, but he hates his job. That doesn’t stop him from doing his utmost best at his work, but it does make him depressed, miserable, and sick.
We will soldier on, thanking God that we have a roof over our heads and food to eat. But the stress of waiting, waiting , waiting for the next shoe to fall, so to speak, is killing us.