I am breaking a long, at times painful silence as I begin typing these letters. I have wasted a good ten minutes already playing with the formatting of this post. In the months since last I sat at a keyboard to share a glimpse of the turmoil than resides in my scary, scary mind much should have happened, and yet nothing of importance leaps forward to be shared. I suppose I have been for the most part going about the busyness of living. Those functions and activities that comprise the seconds and minutes and hours of all of our lives. Eating. Sleeping. Communicating. Showers and personal hygiene, paying bills and emptying garbage cans. Caring for cats and keeping up with friends and family. Reading books and watching television.
I shan't belabor the mundane depressing details of what it had been like for me over the past months and years to not have any income. My efforts and failures at obtaining employment continue, and as I have yet to ascertain any manner of living without need for money I will continue to search out a way to pay those bills and buy that food. There is really no other option, is there?
The laptop I previously used to write and post for my blog died a painful, wheezing, grinding death in September. One of my older half-brothers and his wife very kindly gave me a new one for a birthday/Christmas gift. Such love and generosity. Which brings me to the title I have given this post, “Living Spare but Living Blessed”.
When I last worked I was making somewhere in the neighborhood of 13.50 an hour. That is not a lot of money, but it was sufficient for us to live comfortably when combined with my husbands Social Security Disability check. Now we are living spare. After taking deductions into account, we are living on 1600$ less a month. Let that sink in a moment. 1600$. Now think about the fact that we still have 2 adults to feed, a mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, utilities, medical expenses … Our electric bill came today and I am afraid to open it, I kid you not. I may get drunk first. We have a bottle of bourbon that has been opened and about ½ a shot is gone from it. Maybe I will get out a highball glass, throw in a few ice cubes, fill it to the brim and drink it as I open that envelope.
Scratch that idea. Drinking would raise my blood pressure, and since I have been off my high blood pressure medicine for almost three years that is not such a good idea.
I have not had any new clothes since December 2010. including under garments. He may have one pair of socks that do not have holes. He has lost about 50 pounds, me probably around 30. No trying to. Just less, a lot less, food. No eating out, no junk food, very few desserts. I quit using sugar in my tea and coffee because it costs so much. I am not adverse to cooking, and I am sure my mediocre talents in the kitchen have helped somewhat, but I will admit I am weary of beans and rice all the time. We have been the blessed recipients of gifts of food and other supplies several times and I am not kidding when I say those gifts of love have made it possible for me to put food on our plates. I never realized how expensive toilet paper and paper towels are and I am almost ashamed to admit I use as little of both as I can get by with. Laundry detergent, dish-washing soap, hand soap, bath soap, shampoo, deodorant - all things you take for granted being able to buy the brand and amount you want whenever you need to.
Our microwave oven died and a very kind and generous man brought me a used one he had in storage, I was so humbled and touched. A church sent us a love offering to help us get Roger to Mountain Home for his last medical check-up. Friends and relatives have stood in the gap for me several times over the past year, and I do not know what we would have done otherwise.
I know there are people who have a rougher row to hoe than we have, and I honestly do not know how they manage. The thing about life is that you cannot just stop the progression of time, the ongoing basic needs for survival are always there. Panic has overcome me so many times, fear and worry and stress about things plague my days and nights more often than not these past months. I try not to contemplate too long or deep of the times ahead because I honestly cannot see a good outcome at the moment.
Yes, we are living spare, and we are blessed as well. Blessed to have family and friends and compassionate strangers who have helped us. Blessed to have maintained our relationship, because financial concerns are all too often the cause of marital discord. But I will be honest, somehow somewhere something has got to change, and the sooner the better. I am exploring ways to generate income, hopefully something will come to fruition that will ease matters a bit.
In other news, I had two more installments in my Appalachian tales almost completed when the other computer went kaput. I am going to start on them again, hope to have one ready in the next few days.