Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Feeling Buried

The first bill from my most recent misadventures arrived today.  I have a pretty good sense of how much ORs, anesthetists, surgical plates, etc, cost, so while the sum was depressing to me, it wasn't at all surprising--it was about what I expected.  It caught Doug off guard a bit.  I tried to be reassuring by responding, "We'll get there."  He responded, quite understandably, "When?! When I'm 90?! When the kids are 90?"

Our marriage has sort of felt like one long, bad cosmic joke, financially.  We've always been pretty frugal (the big exception being going to the expense of driving to Montana once a year when we lived in California. And the year we had the most wiggle room, we bought everyone annual passes to Disneyland, back when buying them for the whole family cost us less than the price of one plane ticket to Missoula).  We rarely go on real dates, and even when we do, usually pretty cheap ones. The kids have lived almost entirely in hand-me-downs, thrift store finds, and eBay purchases.  Our cars have been modest, and we only had one for the first 8 years we were married.  Our home and all of our rentals have been modest, and we've rarely done much with them, as far as decor, improvements, etc.  We have never bought many toys or extras, for the kids or the grown ups--presents were limited to birthdays and Christmases, and we kept those pretty simple.  All the shoes and clothes I have owned our entire marriage put together cost about as much as a month's rent for a family home.  All the furniture we've ever bought consists of a couple of hand-me-down couches, a couple of thrift store recliners, a set of discount bunkbeds, our king bed, and our two (inexpensive) couches.  The one indulgence has been the bit of travel we have done, and most of that has come out of tax return funds.

And yet, we manage to keep falling further and further behind.  We were in school, then grad school the first few years we were married.  We took the job in Lindsay, realizing it didn't pay much but that the future was good.  We managed to buy the townhouse, and then almost immediately ended up in the ER and then in the hospital for 5 days with little Dylan, and then took in an entire family.  Those bills almost sunk us.  But they didn't.  So we started climbing out of that hole, little by little, and it took several years.  We were finally almost there, back to something of an even keel, when Doug lost his job.  We faced 16 months of no steady income, precious little income of any kind.  We were just starting to get ourselves back to something resembling normal bill paying, when we totaled our van, and had to unexpectedly add a car payment to our monthly bills. For everyone's sanity, we had to finally break down and spend the money to seek treatment for Doug's ADD (and that is one decision I have not regretted for one second--it has made all the difference in the world). We had made no progress on any of the debt from all of that, but were at least back to a reasonable monthly budget, when my brain freaked out.  Repeatedly.  Two ambulance transport bills. Two ER bills.  Two EEGs, CT scans, MRIs, multiple appointments with a neurologist.  We hadn't even had a chance to touch those bills yet and BAM! treacherous ice threw thousands more dollars at us: another ambulance, another ER, surgery (with implants), multiple trips to the orthopedist.

And we've decided to set Doug's resignation at the end of June.  I am regularly tempted to freak out.  To panic, or to be angry, or just to break down and cry.  But I always get the impression that its going to work out: that we will not be buried and behind forever, and that we will actually make progress much faster than I expect.  I don't see how that's possible--I really, really don't--but I trust it.  Its really the only reason I haven't had a meltdown.  Maybe it means that business will take off even quicker than we expected.  Maybe it means that there's some adventure waiting that we haven't foreseen.  I don't know.  But I keep getting the impression that we will be able to offer our kids and our family more than it seems right now.

I sure hope so.  Because this is getting old.


Kaytee Postma said...

I understand your pain all too well. But somehow by the grace of our great Savior, it always seems to work out. It's a miracle all in its own that we don't end up living on the street about every other month! Love ya! Let me know if you need anything!

Kaytee Postma said...
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