Jonathan got paid $400 of the thousands he is owed. While it the saying is true that every little bit helps, $400 doesn’t help that much when you’re owed thousands.
I’m preparing for a yard sale this weekend. I’m fighting the unrelenting fatigue that comes with fibromyalgia and RA after work so preparations are going slow. I’m also planning the sell one of the only electronic devices I have worth selling: the iPad Jonathan gave me for Christmas. I need the money too much not to sell it as much as I’d prefer to keep it.
The only purchases I’ve made recently are medication and clothing. I need medication to continue living. I need to clothing because work suddenly changed the dress code policy so all the clothing I previously wore is now “unacceptable”. The CEO doesn’t think things through when he makes changes like this. Most of us are paid a tiny fraction of his salary and he doesn’t grasp how significant the changes are to our paychecks especially those of us who support more people than just ourselves (he lives alone).
Although I need the clothes, I still feel guilty about buying the clothes – even at 50% off, I feel guilty. That’s another problem with financial instability – even when you purchase things you need, you still feel guilty because the money could have been used for something “more worthwhile”. There is nothing more worthwhile, though. It only feels that way.
Jonathan hasn’t gotten paid again. This is an ongoing problem. Here I am again trying to stretch my earnings to keep the utilities on. Living in poverty is tiring, but so is constant financial instability. We’re not overspending. We live pretty simply, actually. We garden, we buy used cars, I coupon at the grocery store…we’re still falling behind and it sucks.
I’m working to re-home Dee’s dog which I’ve been fostering since she moved. I cannot afford vet bills and I cannot afford another mouth to feed. I’m also wracked with guilt like I should be able to take care of the foster dog but can’t.
What should I sell this time? All the jewelry worth selling has already been sold. The antiques have already been sold. We wouldn’t get much for our older TV or game system, plus the kids enjoy those.
Tomorrow I take Luke to get his blood drawn for labs. He needs regular blood work since he’s on the mood stabilizer risperidone. I promised him a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit as a reward. I’ll have to raid what’s left of the change jar for his biscuit. I can’t send him to school hungry.
Every monetary decision I make is bad. Well, at least it feels bad. Every dollar I spend on one need takes away from another need. Here’s hoping Jonathan eventually gets paid. Paying all the essential bills this month for things like electricity, phone, and groceries would be a relief.
I should be sleeping yet I’m wide awake again. Normally when I’m wide awake this late, I’m having painsomnia (pain so severe you can’t sleep).
Things have gone smoother with Luke recently…until tonight, that is. Luke called Oliver a “bastard”. I told Luke to go to bed for the night for calling his brother names. Luke was defiant and determined to test boundaries so he earned an additional consequence: losing his tablet for the evening. Instead of turning in his tablet, Luke completely. flipped. out.
Luke screamed and shouted and kicked the wall beside his bed. He positioned the tablet so that I’d have to physically wrestle it out from under his body. He called Jonathan and I unfair, the worst parents, fuckers…every adjective he could think of at the time. He threw things at Jonathan and told me that he hopes I die and rot in hell.
This HUGE outburst lead to him losing his tablet, computer, and cell phone. These things were not taken away all at once. He lost them progressively during the course of his massive, manipulative, tantrum.
Jonathan blamed me for Luke’s behavior as Jonathan typically does. If I require a consequence of Luke for his behavior (ie go to bed a little early because he called his brother a bastard), Jonathan blames me for Luke’s ensuing defiant behavior. It’s difficult not to roll my eyes at Jonathan for enabling Luke’s nastiness by refusing to intervene until the situation is completely out of control. Jonathan thinks that I escalate Luke’s behavior by actually enforcing the consequences for breaking a given rule. The family therapist and I disagree. Inconsistent consequences escalate Luke’s behavior. Jonathan tends to enforce consequences inconsistently.
I’m sure it’s no surprised that after all of the shouting, screaming, insulting, name calling, and generally stressful behavior, I don’t feel like sleeping.
Jonathan and I have been struggling financially for quite a while. A huge part of that struggle has been Jonathan’s inconsistent pay schedule. The company that uses Jonathan as a contractor sometimes goes a month or more without paying Jonathan and frequently owes him thousands of dollars more when they do pay him. Last month, the company didn’t pay Jonathan for 3 weeks and, once the company did pay him, he was still owed $3,000 more dollars. You can understand how this leads to financial stress.
Jonathan was offered a job with steady hours and steady pay. The new job’s starting salary is 3 times Jonathan’s currently yearly salary. Yet, Jonathan didn’t take the job. He also didn’t consult with me about not taking the job, he just declined the offer.
Jonathan was offered the job a second time in mid-July. This time, having been shorted over $3,000 on his latest overdue paycheck, Jonathan accepted the offer. He immediately quit the contracting company with no notice and prepared to start the new job the following Monday. Unfortunately, there was no new job.
Between the first job offer and the second job offer, the CEO of the company hired someone else. So the job that Jonathan had been offered technically had been filled. The manager who offered the job to Jonathan offered to employ Jonathan at his personal residence doing handy man work until the CEO makes his final decision.
That’s where we are now. I still work for TheCompany as an underpaid programmer. Jonathan is working on and off as a handy man with an unsteady paycheck. Jonathan could have made a choice to improve our financial outlook tremendously. Instead, he made a choice which has us teetering on the edge of financial crisis. At any time, the manager could run out of handy man jobs for Jonathan leaving him essentially unemployed.
For a brief moment I was hopeful. For a brief, glittering, shimmery moment I thought I could count on someone else to pull our feet out of the fire just this once. Jonathan could accept the higher paying job. I could work part time for a while, chauffeur the kids and my father in law to appointments, and take care of my health. This is not not the case, however. The responsibility again falls to me and it’s up to me to push through.
Things are mostly the same.
FatherInLaw is still very sick, but stable. I’ve been cooking for FatherInLaw, but he hasn’t been eating what I’ve cooked. Presently FatherInLaw refuses to eat anything other than HotPockets and Jello.
Luke forgot to take his meds last night. By “forgot”, I mean Luke told me he took his meds but did not take his meds, so he was wildly uncontrollable all day. I’ve been reading “10 Days to a Less Defiant Child” to help deal with Luke’s overwhelming defiance. He’s defiant at school, at home, to me, to Jonathan and he antagonizes his brother every moment they’re alone together. Luke’s behavior is completely intolerable.
Speaking of Jonathan, he hasn’t been handling his father’s illness well. Jonathan isn’t sleeping, is working constantly, and every little thing causes him to have an outburst of rage. A few days ago he threw a heavy saw, some saw horses, and barrels filled with trash out of the garage into the driveway.
Since Jonathan has either been working or at FatherInLaw’s house, I’ve been taking care of the kids by my lonesome. It’s difficult to take care of everyone by myself. That’s what I’m doing mostly – taking care of everyone by myself. The only chore I haven’t handled myself has been mowing the lawn.
Luke has a band performance at school tomorrow night and I cannot attend. Someone has to visit FatherInLaw – bring food, change bed sheets, change the sheets to shield the furniture from chemo sweat, plant 30+ cantaloupe… Yes, FatherInLaw wants the cantaloupe planted tomorrow.
Jonathan is taking Luke to the band concert largely because I’m FatherInLaw’s cook and responsible for organizing and bringing the food. Jonathan always forgets to bring the food delivery when he visits. Jonathan forgets most things, actually.
FatherInLaw lives in a tiny house. A literal tiny house like the variety you see featured on Pinterest. Tiny houses have tiny water heaters and the tiny water heater at FatherInLaw’s is broken. In addition to being FatherInLaw’s personal chef, I’m also his laundry and dishwashing service.
Everything keeps piling up. Piles upon piles for things to do and things to buy and things that are needed and I just can’t do or afford them all.
FatherInLaw has lost 20lbs in two weeks. I’m responsible for ensuring that he eats better largely because I know the most about cooking and do not have 5 children. SIL2 has 5 children. SIL1 only has 2 children – one is 22 and the other is 4.
Now, in addition to working 50hrs a week, being completely responsible for cleaning the house myself, being primarily responsible for the care of Luke and Oliver, as well as the care of 5 cats and 3 dogs, …oh, and having 2 chronic illnesses…I’m also responsible for cooking an entirely separate menu for a week at a time.
On days like today I feel like crying. Except I don’t cry. Not really cry the way other people cry with tears and wrenching sobs. I don’t cry the type of cry where people can “let it out” and feel better afterwards. Sometimes I shed a tear. Sometimes 2 tears roll slowly down my cheeks. There are no sobs; no ugly cry. My voice doesn’t shake. I don’t feel better afterwards.
Every once in a while, if I cry hard, I have flashbacks of my mother hitting me and screaming at me for crying. Which, of course, only makes crying worse. I can hear my mom screaming how “dramatic” I am or how I’m a “cry baby” who “whines all the time” just before hitting me to “give me something to really cry about”. The flashbacks only compound the existing feelings of misery.
For our 2 year anniversary, Jonathan researched restaurants I might like and we drove to a small town about an hour from where we live to have brunch and visit a small strip of locally owned shops. He bought candles for me at the shop – sandalwood candles.
When I was 17, my mother kicked me out of the house and I lived with a friend for a while. Her family had a tiny spare room which I stayed in. I’d never had my own room before. I’d never had privacy or a door to close or a space to consider my own. The tiny room smelled like the single sandalwood candle I carried out of my mother’s house in a laundry basket. I didn’t own a suitcase.
Sandalwood smells like home. Well, the way “home” should smell if home didn’t smell like garbage, urine, stale cigarette smoke, mildew, and dirty dishes. Sandalwood smells like the way a home that I wanted to live in would smell: Calm, clean, and peaceful. Jonathan doesn’t know what sandalwood smells like home. I doubt I will ever tell him. He just knows I like sandalwood.
Tomorrow FatherInLaw gets admitted to the hospital for his first round of chemo. The oncologist is hoping to shrink his tumors to prolong FatherInLaw’s life for a few more years. Without chemo, he’s expected to live only four months.
Jonathan’s grief comes in waves. Grief comes in waves. Jonathan often sleeps on the couch because he struggles with insomnia, but lately he’s slept in bed with me. Sometimes it helps to be close to the person you love when someone else you love is dying.
At first work was understanding of the situation with FatherInLaw, but not anymore. I’m not permitted to work off site anymore. Also, I’m required to write a paragraph explaining what I am planning to do with my day off. This bothers me. On one hand, the company wants “all our personal problems dropped at the door” but then they do things like demand a detailed explanation of what I plan to do with my personal time. What a contradiction.
The washing machine is dying. The motor is dying, specifically. The manufacturer doesn’t make the motor for that model anymore. A replacement is required. I don’t have money for a replacement. I don’t have money to go to the laundromat either at $30 a week and a 40min drive each way.
One cat and one dog fell ill last week. The cat couldn’t keep food down and the dog had bronchitis so I took them both to the vet. The bill came to $700 in total. At least I have 2 living pets on the way to wellness even though I had to charge the bill to a credit card. I requested Revolution for the cat we took to the vet but used it on a 3rd cat who has ear mites. Although I feel guilty for conning the vet, I literally can’t afford to take 3 animals to the vet especially for a minor problem like ear mites.
My father in law is dying. He’s 64. For the past few months he hasn’t been feeling well. Kidney infections, difficulty passing stool, difficulty sleeping because of the pain… Much like my family, Jonathan’s family doesn’t believe in modern medicine and FatherInLaw wouldn’t go to the doctor. After FatherInLaw’s uncle died last week, he finally went to the hospital. His body is riddled with malignant tumors. FatherInLaw may come home tomorrow so Jonathan and his family have been cleaning FatherInLaw’s house – it was filled with mold and mildew from running the gas heater without a humidifier.
The situation with the Oliver and Luke is better. After several weeks of having Jonathan as the “primary parent” – the one who assigns chores, plans meals, disciplines, and makes plans – the kids decided that I should resume “primary parent” duties. They said Jonathan’s parenting method leaves them confused and they don’t like it when Jonathan gets frustrated and shouts.
The kids also decided they want to move in with their mother and her boyfriend. Well, Luke wants to move in with his mother and her boyfriend so Oliver wants to move into the same house as Luke. Luke wants to get away from Oliver and Luke also feels that his mother and her boyfriend won’t enforce any rules. Luke has clearly forgotten what it’s like to live with his mother. Also, his mother and her boyfriend moved in together as soon as they started dating 2-3 months ago. This whole situation is a real face-palm-er.