If I’ve been not-wealthy for so long, why in the world did I all of a sudden get into a crisis situation? I should know how to handle myself by now, right?
So you would think, but 2011 was a banner year.
I had to buy tires for the truck. That would be my only “normal” purchase of the year.
A pipe burst under the house. It’s expected – I have the gray polybutylene plumbing and that’s what happens when it gets older. The good news is that I’m on well water, so I just have to worry about paying the plumber.
At the end of March it was food stamp recertification time. Unfortunately, the county was moving to a paperless system at the same time. My paperwork disappeared into the gaping maw of confusion, and they closed my case.
I called, I railed, I nagged, I begged. I reapplied (twice).
My case would stay closed until September.
Take a good hard look at your budget. It squeaks because it’s so tight, right? Now subtract your grocery money from that number but continue to purchase groceries. Where do you cut?
My daughter’s dog (he’s really mine – she’s never home to feed and regularly care for) decided to go toe-to-toe with a car & lost. The good news: only a broken leg. And my daughter has a Care Credit card. The bad news: the bill is more than her credit limit.
I applied for a home equity loan and got conditionally approved. And I have to turn it down. They want to wrap my student loans into the loan amount, which will make the payments unaffordable.
My regular sitter had to stop keeping the boys at the end of the school year. The pricey-but-awesome teen I hired to sit graduated and took off for the beach…for “two weeks”. For the vast majority of the rest of summer break, the boys came to work with me OR I only worked part of a shift and went home OR I completely called out.
Toward the end of June (I posted pictures on facebook on the 19th), the “Rope Swing” tree’s trunk twisted apart in a windstorm – taking the secondary pole with it. We didn’t have power for 36 hours. Everything in the fridge and freezer had to be tossed. Adding insult to injury: the power company dropped the limbs and left them there.
I called the free clinic – I’m almost out of blood pressure meds and need to be seen before anyone will prescribe more. They give me an intake appointment in three weeks, and I have to be approved by intake before I can make an appointment to be seen. The receptionist quite pleasantly informs me that the next available appointment is usually six weeks from approval. I take the intake appointment and call my regular doctor – who wants $280 when I walk in the door. They’ll let me make payments thank goodness. Now I just need to figure out where to squeeze those payments from.
The dog pulled his leg out of the splint. The trip to the emergency vet cost a boatload of money that I don’t have.
Robbing Peter to pay Paul is wearing me down. I’m at least 60 days behind on all the bills and it feels like there IS no catching up. My paychecks are big enough to get gas, pay part of one bill and buy food. I finally talk myself into going to the food bank to see if I can get myself some breathing room. I tell the intake worker that I’m just experiencing a temporary setback. I hope… (They did help.)
My hair is coming out by the handful from the stress.
Back to school supplies come out of the grocery budget. We can get away with wearing shorts and tshirts for a few more weeks, but I really really need to buy jeans. I take them to a department store for school shoes because I have credit available on that card. I know it’s irresponsible, but it’s the only way. There simply is no cash.
The mower of doom died and I had to tow it to the driveway. The teeth on the sprocket broke. Repair is impossible – the sprocket is welded to the axle.
The a/c had a “complete compressor blowout”. Estimated $4k to replace. I think we’ll be doing without central air for a while. The unit is circa 1995 (repairs expected), and at this point what’s one more broken thing??!!??
The benefit approval letter arrives. HOORAY! Let’s all do a happydance. And then figure out how to pay the waaaay overdue car insurance premiums and the inspection/tags/taxes that were due in August.
I got ticketed for driving with expired tags/inspection – on my way to the shop for the inspection. The officer advises me to take my documentation to the courthouse and they’ll dismiss it.
I finally get annoyed enough with our ped to ask for a referral to an ENT for Joe. The ped wants him on anti-allergy meds and nasal sprays and decongestants constantly. The ENT looks into his throat and immediately turns around and says “we don’t have to do this rightnow, but his tonsils and possibly adenoids need to come out. Go do your research, then call and let our office know what you want to do.” I don’t want to pull him out of school for this, but it’s gone on long enough AND when I call to schedule the surgery I’m told our dr won’t be doing surgery after the 30th. Our choices are right before Thanksgiving, or right after. Since I want him to be able to eat dinner AND since I am absolutely not able to take Thanksgiving off, right after it is.
Ten days without pay while he heals…
And that, my friends, is how we got here.