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.