Well, it finally happened. What my husband and I have been worried about for months now.
Yesterday, I noticed the water in the faucet never quite got past lukewarm. It wasn't icy cold but it wouldn't get hot. I didn't want to fully acknowledge the obvious, so I put it on the back burner. Hubby got home early and him and my son went with a friend and his daughter to see a basketball game in the city. They were able to go because my husband's friend gets free passes to things like this. I'm very grateful they were able to go and enjoy a guys night out because they deserve it. And to be honest, it gets tiring being stuck in the house all the time. Part of it is due to the crappy, unpredictable winter we've had here. But most of it is because we are broke. Broke, broke, broke. Sad, but true. We've accepted the bitter pill rammed down our throat. So, it was nice that they could get out and I wasn't going to ruin it by telling my hubby something that could wait.
I woke up this morning and the house was still at 60 degrees. This is where we keep the thermostat set as of late. I run an electric heater downstairs during the day and turn one on upstairs before the kids go to bed. When I go to bed I turn it off. I'm constantly concerned about electrical fires. A family in our town had one on Christmas day and that's when I decided that the heater stayed off at night. To be honest, we haven't really missed it. So, since it wasn't any colder than normal, I thought maybe (just maybe) I could be wrong about my conclusion for the lukewarm water the day before. I tested the water. Nope, still lukewarm.
My parents live next door to us. We share a 2 family home that we primarily pay for (part of the whole we're broke thing). The silver lining was I went there and was able to use their shower. Hallelujah! I told my dad about the water and he said he'd go over to check things out. We both knew it was one of our biggest fears come true. I wanted it to be some minor miracle where the hot water heater shut off and just needed to be reset.
Yep, my prayers for a miracle were not to be answered. I couldn't cry and rally against god. I knew it was coming and there was nothing we could do about it. Our hands are tied financially. We're doing all we can to hold onto the house at this point and make the mortgage payments. My dad came back with the obvious answer. We were out of oil. Goodbye heat and hot water. Goodbye. I don't know how the house stayed at 60 degrees all night last night, but I am eternally thankful it did.
Here's the dilemma about being a middle income family...you don't meet the requirements for any kind of financial assistance EVER. It sucks! I know living in a lower income household is worse. My heart aches for people in that situation. I don't want to be there and we're struggling on the verge of the precip and ready to tumble over into the darkness. The fact is between my husband's salary and my unemployment/comp we make too much for assistance. No one takes into consideration the necessary cost of living. Sure, we don't have to own a house but we can't even sell the house for what it's worth right now. We've only had it 2 1/2 years. We got it right before the housing market totally crashed. If my dad was able to actually contribute the money he claimed he would to the mortgage we wouldn't be in this mess. We've slowly made our way through our little bit of savings. Every month we are late on all our bills except the mortgage. I don't know how we're going to make the payment this month. I'm scared and worried but I keep it inside because freaking out is not going to help the situation.
The oil problem has been over our head for a while now. We received our last oil delivery back in July. The cost was over $700. We still owe about $350 because of the monthly late charges. They refuse to deliver any more oil. My dad even asked back in December if he could pay (cash on delivery) for a delivery for us. Don't know how he could afford it, but he tried. They said no. We had to pay our balance in full before they would deliver. We can't win. They won't deliver until we pay the whole bill off and if we do pay the whole bill off they will only deliver if we pay cash on delivery. So, even if we could by some stretch of the imagination pay it off we can't afford to fill it. It's a no win situation. We're truly stuck.
My husband is going to go to the gas station after he gets home today and fill up a couple gas cans with kerosene. I wish we could avoid this but we have no choice. We're in a no win situation and I'm worried we could very well be homeless in a few months. I keep tapping down the worry. Trying to think positive that everything will work out. My husband is feeling the pressure of it all since he is the main income holder. He's about ready to lose it. He is the "bread winner". He holds it all together not only for our family but for my parents too. Not that my parents really realize this. They are in denial. I think they believe we have money hidden away some place and are just asking them for more because we want to save ours. It couldn't be farther from the truth.
I can feel the house getting colder as I type, even with both our electric heaters running. The next few days will be ok but by mid week the lows will be below freezing and I fear about the pipes freezing. Hopefully the kerosene will get us through the next few weeks...next few months.
The pressure is on and the fear is there. Going to go try to put on my happy face for the world so they don't realize how close I am to losing it.