I'm sitting here with an electric heater on me keeping the living room warm. This past weekend was a new low but we made the best of a bad situation.
Our oil tank is empty. It's really not surprising considering the last time we had a delivery was at the end of the summer. That was the beginning of the end of our financial cushion. I didn't realize how bad it was because my husband never chose to share it with me. Unfortunately, we have separate accounts and take care of different household pieces so I didn't know. I've always wanted a shared household account but I understood that my husband was burned by his ex-wife when it came to money. She drained all their accounts when they split, let their car be repossessed (rather than sell it), lived in their house until the bank foreclosed on it and wrote bad checks. I get it so I don't push. It's small in the scheme of things. However, he's always been clear with me on how our finances sit. He's always had some savings to fall back on. Now it's all coming down around us. The extra mortgage payment sitting in the bank is gone and there's nothing left sitting around. The end is slowly, perilously drawing closer and closer.
The biggest drain is my parents and my heart is sick over it. Nine years ago my dad lost his job of 30 years. His plant closed and everyone was out of work. My mom came to stay with us and help with my son, who was a baby at the time. It helped them financially because it was one less mouth to feed, less energy being used in their house, etc. My dad finally admitted that he could not find a job where they were living. He left my brother in charge of the house, found a job where we were and moved in. Ever since then we've been carrying most of the financial burden. We paid $100 extra a month in rent because my parents were living with us. We paid the whole rent. We were under the impression that once my dad got back on his feet he would start helping with the rent. One year turned into two, turned into five and it never happened. Sure, he would contribute to the groceries here and there or part of an oil delivery but nowhere near half or a third of the cost for us to all live there. All of us (6 of us in a 3 bedroom once my daughter was born) was way to much. It put a huge strain on my marriage and my relationship with my parents. The good that came out of it, is that my kids got to see their grandparents every day. Too bad they had trouble enforcing boundaries with them. It was rough. My husband and I were both retail managers working on salary. At one point we both were working 60 plus hours a week and I was commuting 45 minutes each way.
The strain got unbearable. The bickering worse. My husband and I knew we couldn't continue to live that way. We knew our marriage was unraveling quicker each day and we fought tooth and nail to survive. Finally, after searing off and on for a few years we found a two family house to purchase. It wasn't exactly where we wanted or how we wanted to live but we knew we couldn't continue going on as we were. Ideally, we needed and wanted my parents to find their own place but that wasn't going to happen. We couldn't abandon them because we are not that kind of people. That was part of the mental and emotional battle we both had going on. My dad committed to being able to pay a certain amount of the mortgage each month.
Now we are where we are. My dad has never actually paid the amount he committed too originally. We are still not in our ideal living situation. My dad acts like he's the primary mortgage holder and tries to call the shots. He doesn't get it. We pay over $500 more a month then he does. We have identical places except their attic is finished. They have more livable space. I don't begrudge that, especially since I like our side more. What continues to kill me is every time we struggle to make the mortgage payment my dad doesn't get it. If we ask him to put in more money he says he either a) doesn't have it or b) needs us to repay it within 7 days. It kills me. We have been very clear about the situation. He has blinders on and refuses to listen. At the end of this month he will be driving to visit my brother who is 6 hours away. He will spend at least $500 while he is gone. I don't begrudge him getting away but paying the mortgage is way more important. I don't think he understands that he will be losing the roof over his head too and that if it comes to that he will not be welcome to live with us. His only "solution" is for us to move in with them and rent our side out. Ummmm.....no. Make that a HELL NO! We bust our asses and pay the majority of the mortgage we're not going to pack up everything we own and live on your side with you. We did that before (but them living with us). It didn't work. They treated our house like it was their house and we were living with them. I didn't mind them feeling at home. That's how it should be. But it wasn't like that. It was like we were visiting. Lights blazing everywhere, living room TV running my mom's TV shows 24/7 and her claiming one couch as hers. I can only imagine how they would treat us if we truly were living in their house. It would be a nightmare. To top it off (and I mean no judgement or disrespect to anyone) but my mom is a pack rat (hoarder) and a smoker. She use to smoke outside when she lived with us and the first year in this house (2 yrs ago) but not anymore. I can literally smell the smoke seeping through our shared wall (their kitchen, our entryway into the basement). It's too much. I draw the line. I can't live that way and I can't expect my family to do it either.
My husband is actively trying to find work out of state, where the cost of living is reasonable. We're hoping to rent out our side of the house. Until then we continue to keep our heads up and get by the best we can. We did get kerosene for the oil tank. Unfortunately, nothing will kick in. My dad is trying to figure out why now. The temperatures last night fell below freezing. I had to leave the faucets all dripping and pray the water didn't freeze. We ran the electric heater upstairs at a 65 and stayed warm all night. This morning I turned on the downstairs heater too. While the air is warmer, there's still a cool breeze in the air. Doesn't help that all the windows in the old house are extremely drafty no matter what I do.
I'm off now to pick up my son from school while my daughter goes to girl scouts. I pray that the furnace will be working when I return. I don't know what we'll do if it's not. We've been showering next door. I've been doing the dishes by heating water on the stove and pouring it into the sink. We'll survive but it won't be easy. Praying the temperatures heat up soon. We can't afford for anyone to come out and look at anything. It's a disaster right now. Keeping my head up, my mind clear and my attitude as positive as I can. If I don't I'll be a sobbing mess and that won't help us right now. Too bad a great paying, work from home job couldn't land in my lap right now. Or we could win the lottery. Either of those would work right now.
***Chin up and moving forward.