It’s been quite a while since I’ve felt the need to write a letter to myself. It’s been a significantly tough weekend and that exploded today.
I tried all weekend to avoid getting into an argument. Which wasn’t easy since it seems everyone else was equally on edge and stressed out.
The promise of a great holiday season from the Man didn’t pan out. I regret to say I didn’t think it would. Not only has he not gotten paid in the past several months, he’s asked his Mom for more money that I know she doesn’t have. A place I never wanted to go to begin with.
But if it were not for her $200 a month here and there, not to mention she paid his cell phone so he could keep working, we would have been starving.
I keep seeing news stories about donating gifts for the holidays, helping out at the local Salvation Army, volunteer here and there, but no one tells you how to be on the receiving end of those programs. People are setting up their trees and decorating their homes, posting pictures on Facebook and twitter and Pinterest. All happy and joyful.
We’re at rock bottom. Setting up a tree reminds us of what we don’t have. There’s no presents under the tree, no promise of Santa Claus coming for our son who really has been good for the most part. And this weekend things got worse.
It’s hard to live on bread and water when you have no bread. No flour to make a loaf of bread. Sunday the Man used the last tiny bit of flour to make crackers, about 2 dozen for 3 people. I couldn’t wait for today to arrive because it meant my Son would have breakfast and lunch at school. At least that’s one program we actually qualify for.
The anger is building up in him as he hears his other friends talking about their holiday plans and gifts. While he has nothing. This year even the school counselor who has been there for us over the past 3 years, isn’t there for us this year. Nothing has changed, so I’m not sure why she thinks we’re not in need. I asked the Man to talk to her in the morning. That was over a week ago and it still hasn’t happened. Seems when I’m there to do it, she’s in a meeting or out of school at a meeting.
So we’re on our own. I’ve submitted over 320 applications or resumes in the past two months and all I get is silence or rejections. What I get in return are newspaper cuttings and links to stories from family about people over 50 not being able to find work. I don’t need AARP studies or financial reports to tell me that. I’m living it!
Running out of food this past weekend really brought the stress to a head. The Man asked the cable company if we could pay the bill late this past month. They said sure, if we gave them a post-dated digital check. And he did that. I worked a little job and picked up $25 that we thought would get us through the weekend. Nope, that check hit and brought us $200 over drawn. The $25 was deposited and quickly became consumed by the $36 overdraft.
That only compounded the problem that we couldn’t pay the mortgage last month, or this one. Forget the electric bill that hasn’t been paid either. So with no food, worrying about the power bill, why pay the cable bill? Well, it covers the phone and the wi-fi. Something he needs to do work. To get his email, to scan the job sites for new projects to bid and to acquire plans to sites on jobs he does get. Yes there have been a few. But those don’t pay until months down the road.
Today my sister said my Mom told her to give us $100 for Christmas. There was a time, when $100 would cover a nice lot of presents for a kid. Today, it doesn’t go far. Especially since we’ll never see it as it was gobbled up by $200 overdraft. Well now we’re $100 over drawn at least.
The hardest part of all this is that I’m already feeling like I’m a burden. After all, the house, the utilities, my car and truck, the back taxes, the property association dues, all that is in my name. Not his, not ours. Mine. I’m the one who has been taken to court for non-payment of debt. I’m the one who the credit collectors are calling 3 to 5 times a day, including weekends. Thankfully my cell hasn’t been paid, so they can’t call me on that. But that also means I don’t calls for job interviews. LOL as if they’re calling to begin with.
Day after day, week after week of trying to find a job and it really makes you feel worthless. I have a friend who’s in her early 30s, who cleans houses for adding money to the alimony and child support she gets. Wish I could do that. My back has deteriorated, as expected, over the past 3 years. It’s hard to stand and when I do, I can’t stand for long without the muscles cramping up and dropping me to my knees. A result of too many sports and riding accidents when I was younger.
Everything came to a head tonight when the child came home from school. As soon as he was faced with a little frustration who does he take it out on? Who gets yelled at with a nasty tone and blamed for things not working. Not Dad who’s always in his office working 20 hours a day for his brother and getting nothing out of it.
I was looking at a picture of my little man today. He was about 3 years old and smiling happily on an afternoon out to watch the trains. I wondered what happened to that little boy? The one who loved Mom and thought I was great for taking him places, reading to him and playing with him? Now he can’t ‘have’ what he wants, or go out to watch the trains or on adventures like we used to. We can’t go out to dinner and celebrate his accomplishments. And mostly he won’t have presents to celebrate like all his friends.
The hateful looks, blaming me for nothing going right or being able to do anything..I’m so tired of it all. I’m not the one who keeps making promises that things are going to change and then nothing changes. For us anyway. His brother’s wife posted pictures of their children going out to eat and sitting on Santa’s lap. Must be nice. We don’t have the money for gas to get to and from the school each day, much less drive 20 miles to where Santa is sitting for free.
But it’s not Dad’s fault. I’m not allowed to say “Go ask your Daddy”. No the child says “Momma it’s not his fault. He’s working every day to take care of us. I guess since I’m not, it’s my fault. Since I can’t get a job, it’s my fault. Since I got laid off to begin with, it’s my fault. It’s my fault the computer doesn’t work right for him. It’s my fault the drier is broke, the microwave is broke, and now the stove is broke. It’s my fault we’re in this mess because “you’re the one whose name is on the bills” as if that means it’s all me using the power or house or …screw it. It’s my fault.
I stood outside tonight while warming up the last of the noodles for dinner and I actually looked up the drive way and wished I could leave. I can’t of course. I don’t have a car that’s legal, or works, or the gas to put in it. And if I did, there’s nowhere to go, I’ve gotten to poor for my old friends to still be my friends. So I sit here crying to myself, because I can’t carry the weight of the world for everyone else. No matter how hard I try. I’m simply not good enough for anyone, for anything any more.
~ Victoria Lynn