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Dominoes

A few years ago my husband said we should take a loan out on my house, where we lived, to fix the roof, change the furnace, etc. I kept saying that I was good with money if he would just stick to a budget. I couldn’t see it taking us more than a year to save cash for the roofing and the furnace. We were lucky people. All we had to do was live like we weren’t and in a couple of years we could do what he wanted without spending any time in debt. I even asked him to sit with me and refigure the budget more to his liking, but the thought of that depressed him. It took another few years, and a proper diagnosis, for me to discover why it would.

I was depressed and emotionally whipped because it seemed that everything I did hurt him. I felt so responsible for everything that instead of saying hell no to the loan, I listened when he said it would be like an extremely low rent and most homeowners paid a lot more each month in mortgage payments. Why on earth would I think we couldn’t pay it easily with his salary even if his work dropped off? What was I so afraid of? He even noted how scared I looked when I signed the papers (and he almost never noticed anything real about how I felt.)

He said I should trust him. I think that’s why he agreed to keep making those payments in our divorce papers. He never wavered on that, although he had something put in about getting some of the money back if I sell the house. I figured that was fair. Anger is one thing. What’s fair is another. Whatever’s going on with him now, that he won’t communicate with me about, has stopped him from making about three months worth of those payments. That’s the second domino.

I was hoping I could save a few dollars for a good faith payment to the bank, but the first domino is preventing that. Property taxes and Chicago’s ridiculously high water bills are the third domino. Although I’m no slouch about figuring difficult things out, searching for information, making phone calls, filling out forms — I have very little comfort for it. In times when I’ve had about twenty extra dollars a month, I’d plan all the aggravating measures that tie me in knots knowing that I could go to the movies and eat smuggled popcorn once it’s all done, as a way of getting the kinks out of my soul.

Without something to look forward to after, I feel strange, like I don’t matter. Then I feel selfish and unworthy of the life I have because so many people on earth would be grateful to be surrounded by the luxuries of shelter, something to eat and access to the internet every day, even if these things could morph at the drop of a hat into something unfamiliar and unstable.

Yesterday at the public aid office, the intake worker wouldn’t let me talk to anyone else and said that her computer screen showed that my case had been started all over again completely from scratch and I may not hear from them for another thirty days. I know that eventually they’ll put an amount on the card dating from when the application was filled out, but I can’t get back the cash I shouldn’t have to spend during these thirty days because of their months of mistakes. I left in some kind of shock. I know because everything looked weird when I got outside and I felt as though my lungs had shrunk. I went ahead and got milk and vegetables since I knew it wouldn’t be okay in a few days. Now I’ll try to stay inside, stretch things out and do the best I can to get some work done.

This help is supposed to be a temporary solution while I work on my book and get it out there, and then think of other ways to make money, like trying harder to publicize my baby sweater pattern and just thinking of new ways to do the things I know how to do. I wish I was the kind of person who could do all of that really well while being messed around by an ex-husband and the system. But I’ve been trying, and so far I’m not quite there.

I can’t think of a different next step that could have a real effect on any of this. Even if I could, my body has been fighting me for the past few days. It keeps telling me to stop. Right now I can’t describe it any better than that, except to say that when I don’t stop, it makes everything hurt.

I wish I felt like writing unimportant fanciful stories. Complete distraction from things that hurt. I haven’t been able to think of anything like that yet, but if I do and it doesn’t suck, I’ll post it. They say life is hard and then you die. I was kind of hoping I could have a little more fun before that happens.

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8 thoughts on “Dominoes

  1. That hurts. It hurts to read, and it must have hurt to write. (Though I hope that writing it gave you at least some catharsis). I wish I could punch the public aid idiots. I wish I could punch your ex-husband. Is there any kind of troubleshooter TV where you are? Sometimes a little negative publicity can get a lot of errors fixed. Wishing you the best, and wishing you hope for tomorrow. Wishing that this should pass sooner, rather than later.

  2. What courage you have – this all sounds so insurmountable but you are getting through it so well – I’m so glad you told some of this story and I really am thinking of you and hoping things improve.

    • Same here. I’m catching up now after two weeks and I “liked” the previous two posts but I just can’t do it on this one. Auuuughhh. So many hugs, and so much love. I sent you a prayer for comfort last night even before reading these posts. ❤

  3. Ré, I wish you a lucky break. I know what it must feel like to feel helpless and buffeted by the winds. If you can see a light at the end of the tunnel then focus on it. I hope you can. Sending my thoughts………..

  4. I hate the circular connection of these kinds of problems. He defaulted on a legal agreement. He should be taken to court, yet to do that you need money. It seems to just keep circling the drain with no way to solve anything. The hopelessness is what gets to me, and some days it’s just so damn hard to find some tiny piece of hope or even a spot of happiness. One step at a time, one breath at a time, one word at a time. I’m sending a hug your way, too.

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