real life


We have a salary and employee sponsored health insurance. We don’t need to get a 2nd car pronto as annoying as metro in winter can be it’s still a perfectly doable option (that many families deal with and only have one car). The heater is working in the house, we have a meeting with our pastor next week and one with our financial advisor in a couple of weeks once we’ve settled into the salary.

The physical weight of being overwhelmed has lifted I kid you not. It’s amazing. I’m still exhausted, but that constant bearing down of doom is gone.

Yet I don’t feel  happy.

Is it the depression? Probably somewhat. I think too that it is the realization that all these issues in our marriage that I’d been putting off “till we’re in a better place” can’t be put off any longer. We have Things To Talk About that I can’t bring up because it causes a fight every time and then when I lose it in front of our pastor I’m accused of just steam rolling him. I don’t feel like it’s a safe place to talk unless there’s a witness, then I know I will be Heard.

Or maybe it’s just chemical. I had pretty bad postpartum depression due to hubs job loss and me needing to go work in my office when my baby was 9 weeks old. That was an awful 4.5 months of my life and I don’t remember a lot of it. I do remember when he got a job, and I was able to take a pay cut to do the same thing but from home, thinking how everything was working out and yet I was not Happy. That’s when I started meds. I wonder if my body has been supplementing itself with cortisol and adrenaline for so long that my already crappy ability to produce serotonin was affected. I need to get back to therapy but at $300/pop I’m not so sure. We’ll see if the new health insurance covers 60/40 or something. I’m not holding my breath.

But life goes on. I hate that I think I’d be a better mom and a better person if my husband wasn’t a part of my every day life. I have absolutely no idea how we’d get on (me and the girls that is) financially without moving in with my parents, but the fact that I even think about it must mean something. Still, we move on. Maybe someone I know will win the powerball and gift me my freedom. Ha.

So today’s headache is brought to you by medicaid. No surprise there, really. Long story short, we have no money, a tiny house, two insane children and the thought of a third baby makes me cry. I really really really don’t want another kid. I’m good with 2. And now that the little one is almost to kindergarten the thought of starting all over with potty training, solid food, terrible twos, threenagers, etc. just makes me want to shoot myself. For the love of all that is holy the little one at 4.5 still climbs into bed with me every fucking night. I say “me” because she will only sleep on my side and hubs is blissfully unawares on his half of the bed. An IUD seemed like an extraordinary idea. That required going to planned parenthood (#istandwithpp) or to a different OB/GYN since mine doesn’t take medicaid. As someone who has had irregular periods for 23 years, I figured it was a good idea to find another OB/GYN just in case I needed one as well. Happened upon a practice in the same medical building as my daughters’ pediatrician and they were able to see me fairly soon. IUD popped in, lovely doctor, all is well. Except for two things:

  1. While medicaid paid for the IUD and the doctor visit they decided I had other health insurance and wouldn’t cover the blood tests done. Awesome. I just got all the paperwork over to the lab to prove I don’t have other health insurance so fingers crossed that goes through.
  2. Now my OB/GYN wants to charge me 76 cents PER PAGE to transfer my records. I’ve been with that practice for over 10 years, had 2 c-sections, gestational diabetes, fibroids, cysts, PCOS, PPD, and a whole host of other fun stuff with them. My file is about 3 inches thick. 76 cents per page? I can’t afford to transfer my records!! And it’s not even like I’m transferring doctors because God willing hubs gets this job we’ll be on real insurance again and I’ll go back to my OB/GYN of 10 years and all will be well. I know that’s not really a medicaid thing except that if my doctor accepted ANY sort of medicaid I wouldn’t be in need of a new doctor and hence transferring records! It’s like at the pediatrician’s office – she doesn’t charge a form fee to the medicaid families so when I had to drop off the nursery school paperwork for the little one I didn’t have to pay the annual $25 fee for forms. Really, I don’t see why they can’t take my file, seal it in an envelope, sign off on the seal like they do with evidence bags in CSI and let me hand deliver it to the new doctor if I end of staying there for some reason. Anyway, I’ll be calling them on monday asking to take back my request to transfer records for now, or see if they can just forward a summary of the last few post-baby years.

The latest job update has us on the edge of our seats – hubs position was written into the budget for FY2016 which started on October 1st. And it was written as a real position with a real salary and benefits and vacation time and all that. The budget was approved, so we’re waiting for the trickle down effect to kick in and them to hopefully write him a job offer. The hitch would be we have no idea what the time line is and there’s still the chance they decide to put the job out there to see other candidates for some reason instead of just giving it to him (probably for formality sack to please the board as they are a NGO/non-profit). So we remain in limbo yet again. The only good thing is that if he does not get the job, he’s been with this temp position long enough that he could file for unemployment and we’d be eligible once again for food stamps.

When you just want your spouse to respect your need to work, even though your work is something that is done at home on the computer (photo editing and freelance writing and graphic design). Why is that so hard? If he was the one bringing home the bacon that paid all our bills, padded our savings and retirement and allowed for the odd vacation now and again, I’d be cool letting him veg all day on this rainy Saturday. But on the flip side, he works his office job (The one we hope becomes perm in FY2016 which starts in a few weeks…), then goes and works on this shed he’s been building for a friend the past 3 months. He’s pooped, I get it. I however play single parent during the week (even when we see him home on a weekday it’s usually after dinner and the girls say hi, he changes into grubbies and takes the car to go work on the shed – leaving me to deal with bedtimes entirely alone, again). I’m pooped by the weekend too but cherish the fact that I could get serious work done for multiple hours in one go. Sadly that never happens. I suppose it seems only logical that I could very well go get a job at costco and work weekends, thus forcing him into the role of house-husband and caregiver for the children two days a week. But I don’t. I just want a few hours of time with out the interruption of children and also without the children being babysat by screens (because lets face it, that’s how I manage to get dinner on the table every day during the witching hour). I also like the fact that on a saturday I can work during the DAY, instead of sitting down at 9:30pm to get going.

But I’m supposed to use this place to stay positive so in that vein, Hooray for the rain, we really needed it. Hooray for a roof with no holes in it (although boo to the gutters that obviously need to be cleaned). Hooray for the freelance job that is sort of a trial for a bigger project to come. Hooray for fall photoshoot season. Hooray for the brown rice and beans in the crockpot simmering away till dinner time (and boo to the children who won’t eat it but Hooray for the 9 year old who can fix them mac and cheese). Hooray for church tomorrow and dinner with inlaws (which means being sent home with leftovers). Hooray for groceries and school clothes and new backpacks paid for by others. Hooray for mortgage loan readjustment. Hooray for access to social services. Hooray for lorazepam.

Today has sucked. I had to call my therapist to refill a script that requires her to do a prior authorization (because medicaid would like me to switch to a different generic than the one I’m on and have been on for 8 years…) and I know she’s going to want me to come in, which I can’t afford, even though I know she’ll bill me what I can pay and even then I’ll just feel guilty. I had a hang tag on my door from I assume the sheriff’s office that said NOTHING except to call a number IMMEDIATELY. I called and thankfully it took me to my mortgage company and because we are in the 3 month trial for loan modification they have to verify that the house was occupied. I’m kind of wondering why they didn’t knock; since a simple look into our living room would confirm that we were deeply entrenched here with no plans to hightail it out anytime soon. I still have to call the endocrinologist and decide if I want to try for a new endo just this once or get in to see a new GP who takes my medicaid and get her/him to give me the prior authorization to see my old endo. Honestly going to a new endo sounds like less work since it would only be one dr appointment instead of two. I think.

HOWEVER, a friend’s husband’s business that he runs has been going through tough times. She’s been out of the workforce for a few years but does mostly freelance TV production work which is horribly unreliable if it’s how you’re trying to support a family. So, she signed up for food stamps. I’m glad I could talk her through it and how it works when you need to buy toilet paper but you know your SNAP card won’t cover that. How it works at the end of the month when you plan on emptying out your card (don’t use the self-checkout, it won’t work there). How it doesn’t refill on the 1st of the month but goes depending on your last name. All stuff I found out by trial and error and fits of panic but for once, I saw something positive out of our whole ordeal: the ability to help someone else during their similarly tough time and ease some of their anxiety about a process they’ve never used or thought they would even need.  And that felt good. For once, some little bit of good came out of our hardship and that made the burden feel a little more bearable.

That being said, the end may sort of be in sight: Hubs job, currently a temp makeing 22.50 an hour for something that requires 10 years experience, has been re-worked and re-definied to suit him and their needs for that position (it was an HR assistant but they really need more of a Senior HR generalist who can also help in some program development), and at an appropriate salary! With all the benefits of a full time perm employee! It’s on the cutting board for the FY2016 budget meeting happening in 2 weeks. If it’s approved, he could potentially start as a real employee on October 1st. Praying it goes through and praying the salary is enough (because if it isn’t he’ll have to keep looking but at least we’ll have the stability of a salary and benefits in the meantime).

I know I wanted to start this blog to stay positive, to focus on the good going on in our lives amidst all the chaos of extended unemployment, underemployment, mortgage drama, and dealing with social services like food stamps and medicaid for the first time in my or anyone else I know’s life. But I just can’t today. The girls are going ape shit crazy (because I think they are overtired but forcing them to rest is apparently the worst). Today has done me in. I’ve sobbed on the phone with my mom, and I don’t know what to do.

– got a call from the collections side of the mortgage company because we’re coming up on 60 days past due. apparently they don’t talk to the loan specialists who know our loan modification request finally went to the underwriters last week.

– got a letter from the state telling me we have 45 days from our notice of foreclosure to do something; now i have to sort out if there’s something i have to be worried about from the state and not just the mortgage company.

– got a letter from the food stamp office telling me we make too much money. the amount they have listed as our monthly income is a hilariously high number. it’s like they took our re-application (that you do every 3 months), did bad math, and ignored everything else in our account. i have a fucking college degree; i was under the impression i didn’t have to re-submit EVERYTHING, so if i did, i understand even more clearly how easy it is to go hungry. of course it’ll take about 2 months to sort out so yay! ramen for everyone in the meantime!

– went to planned parenthood for an IUD, have to go back in a week for actual insertion; have sufficiently freaked out uber conservative parents. but they take medicaid and don’t require me to wait 6 weeks for one of those rare new patient slots. i really just want to see my doctor, the one i have a 10 year relationship over 2 babies with.

– have 5 bills due this week and not enough money. husband has a separate “business” account for his handyman work (that’s about a weeks worth of ranting blog posts in and of itself) and says that money is being saved to fix his car (which has been parked out front undriveable since april) and he can’t give any to the household.

To friends who have gotten married in the past 2.5 years that we were unable to attend your wedding because it was out of state, or get you a wedding gift (I have a list for when we have enough money of what I’m getting each of you), I’M SORRY. It sucks to have missed out on multiple special days in our friend’s lives; and sucks that I couldn’t pick out a fancy and fun gift to give you to mark this important milestone.

To my kid’s friends who got crappy cheap birthday presents over the past 2.5 years, I’M SORRY. It’s not that I think you needed something big and expensive to show my kid’s love for you, but you’re kids. It’s hard to explain things like this to my own kids, let alone their friends. I think we did OK; I’m pretty sure everyone loves stickers and funky pens and fresh new notebooks and playdoh (always a cheap standby that everyone loves to open a new can of).

To my kids: I’M SORRY. We haven’t been able to go on vacation for 4+ years now. Or take trips to amusement parks or local expensive attractions that require tickets. Partly we can’t afford these things and partly the stress of the past 2.5 years has beaten me down I’m so exhausted I can’t comprehend taking a day trip. Even a low cost one where you pack your own food requires gas and ice cream and that add up when your budget is in the red every single month. I’m sorry you don’t get to go to camp again this year. I’m sorry we can’t go see the new summer blockbusters coming out in the theatre. I’m sorry I’m such a grump so often and lose my cool so easily. I have zero patience left and am in a constant state of alert. My body hurts and you just want to play with me at the pool and I discourage it. I’m so sorry. This whole situation has left me not the mom I want to be, and I know daddy feels the same way. It hurts my heart to hear you complain that you don’t see him often enough and that he doesn’t come to the pool to play with you (thank god for the pool, though). We love you, and we hope our love shines through and you see that despite having a summer very different from your friends.

To those who gave us money or gift cards, both anonymously or known, THANK YOU. I’ve thanked you personally if I know you gave, but if you are sneakily giggling to yourself and rubbing your hands together like an evil genius at your secret good deed like I’d be, THANK YOU. I seriously look fondly towards a time when we can pay it forward.

To those who gave us food, THANK YOU. Not so much because we were struggling and hungry, but more because of the stress and having a meal prepared for you feels like the greatest gift in the world some weeks. I want to do this for others. We shouldn’t wait only for illness or new babies to share food within our community; look for those who are struggling, or maybe forget trying to find a reason. Take someone some food.

To those who watched our kids so we could take a financial class, or meet with our pastor or deacon recommended financial planner, THANK YOU. Back to the bringing food thing, this is part of our village that we love. You watched my kids, I’ve watched some of yours, we should all be doing it more often.

To those who treated my kids like the special little snowflakes they are, THANK YOU. You filled in the gaps where we were unable – with trips to the movies, or a gift card to splurge on birthday presents, or just a silly trinket that brightens their day when it unexpectedly arrives in the mail. All those little things that cause me to do mad amounts of math in my head wondering if we can splurge once on three movie tickets but only if we go to the early show and I pack snacks in my purse.

To those who gave hugs, passed the tissues, or made us laugh through our tears, THANK YOU. I know we wouldn’t have made it this far without you. I feel like we’ve broken through that invisible barrier in so many friendships and gone from just good buddies to FAMILY. And that’s huge.

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