Big layoffs at hubbin's workplace - he's survived two or three of them, taken a salary cut and now he endures mandatory unpaid "leaves". The man is working a lot harder to make up for the missing personnel and he's doing it for a lot less money. He gets unemployment insurance for the forced leaves but we still take a big hit and the money situation is simple. We are broke.
Before the downturn we were on our way in that direction anyway, if I'm going to be honest. We had cross country family emergencys, going back and forth a number of times, so that's airfare, plus dog boarding, car rentals, parking, bargain motels. In the end travel adds up to a lot of money nomatter how many discounts you use or cheap franchises you eat in.
Plus we own a home. An OLD home. Old homes are beautiful, monstrous, money grubbing bottomless black holes that mercilessly suck the cash right out of your pocket before it ever has a chance to feel human warmth.
We've had to replace doors, windows, walls, ceilings, big appliances... the whole shmere. Listen...even PLANTS aren't cheap. Nothing is cheap, not even grass seed. Plus it's obvious we bought this house just as everything in it was about to expire or dissolve. And there's more to be done.....always more.
When we bought in, the prevailing wisdom was home ownership makes more sense, is more cost effective than renting, which is true depending on where and what you rent. This is the first home for both of us so of course we grossly understimated the upkeep, maintenance, emergencies, all of which appear with regularity that makes our eyes spin in their sockets. Let me tell you about the joke called "home equity" and how having lots of it can send you laughing to the poorhouse.
Needless to say but I'll say it anyway, we were broke before we got really truly broke. Hence today's kvetch blog because sometimes, like the last few days, it gets to me.
Top of my list is health: we don't dare go to the doctor (even with health insurance) because when one of us goes, we get some serious bills. Then more bills.
I am not a stupid woman but I do not understand our healthcare plan any more. I've called them and asked them to explain it to me six ways to sunday but I still don't understand why we're paying so fucking much and they're paying so fucking little.
The bills themselves start out nickle and dime - first the visit to the doctor might be $35 or it might be $75 depending on which doctor and why and when and whether or not it's raining. I can't figure it, it's never the same and I don't understand the answer when have a half hour to get one, so I've stopped asking.
So here come the first wave of post visit bills, $47.82 here, $178 there. A couple of weeks later the next, mostly for the first stuff but this time we're looking at the "adjustments" meaning what we were billed and then paid for the first time is back. Why is this? Why are they paying X instead of Y? Maybe Mr. Insurance Exec needs a teak desk to accent the duponi drapes. I don't know. No one knows! Why should we know anything? Our job is to pay!
We DO know if we have an emergency we have insurance to cover it. (we think) (who knows if they're covered within the obscure parameters of the superfine print). From our POV, if an appendage isn't dangling, and we haven't lost too much blood, spouse #2 will apply appropriate first aid and hope no infection sets in.
On the home front, we can't afford to hire contractors to do the serious, heavy duty, insurable repairs, so we muck about doing the best we can ourselves. Our DIY repairs look acceptable but we're aware of the limitations of our handywork and as a result, our repairs may be the same or worse than no repair at all.
Hubbin monkey has learned to look sharp as a handydandy handyman armed with his DIY books, his tool box (and his nice plumber's buttcrack). But the downside is when he works he's a quiet, very grumpy monkey. And I am a chattery bossy type.
Bossy and grumpy monkeys are not a good match and could in fact be an OSHA hazard. Usually within an hour, Grumpy monkey wants to bash Miss Bossy with a big hammer. But Bossy is a fearless female simian and usually succeeds in driving Mr Grumpy screeching to the basement, punching and swinging at the air. The dogs become very quiet. At that point we each quietly take on a portion of the job, neither of us saying much, sweating and grunting and grinding our teeth. That is DIY, monkey style.
Those are big nailsl!! This person might be a DIY-er spouse who offered up too many "helpful" suggestions.
Thing is, I know, I know, compared to a lot of people, we're doing pretty damn good. We have food, we have shelter and clothing, we can put gas in our car, the dogs are still pets and not a potential meal. But it's tough.
So someone, please....make it go away. Give me back my blithe indifference to money matters. I wanna be a knuckleheaded middle class American again. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.