Swan Dive in to Shit
Thank goodness for blogging, because it truly is my only outlet for frustration right now. Zero readers, 100 readers- it doesn’t matter, I just need to journal. Don’t you hate that tired old saying…”well it could be worse right?” Yes, it could be, but this sucks pretty bad too. Honestly the last post I wrote about our cat getting sick and spending the car payment on her vet bill, well I stupidly jinxed myself by joking that the next thing to happen would be an expensive car repair or a hospital stay. Well hello expensive car repair! I was wondering when you would show up, please sit down, make your self comfortable, may I get you some ramen noodles (because that is all we have to eat around here) or perhaps some water from the leaky faucet?
The way John and I see it we are taking a swan dive in to shit. I am not sure what I did in a past life, but it must of been up there with pushing a child off a cliff or something, because in the past year I have gone from living a somewhat normal middle class existence- you know a person who paid their bills, looked forward to the weekend, saw a movie or went out to dinner sometime, someone who had hopes and a few dreams, yeah I went from that person, to the person who is facing homelessness in about 3 months unless I can land a job by then. I took a gamble and decided to finish my education and then look for a job I was qualified for without realizing that people these days search for jobs for years, not weeks. Oh well, I can’t turn back the clock.
It seems to be Murphy’s Law that when you are down on your luck, broke and out of hope, that’s when the shit start to smother you. And I know this, because I have been poor most of my life, when you are poor it only takes one or two punches and you are down for the count. So we are down for the count now.
A timeline of bullshit…
We have some savings (not really savings, but leftover student loan money we have put away for expenses/safety net) that we are trying to hold on to for dear life, but the universe must have other plans for that money. During my unpaid internship my computer (which I had to have to do the work) died on me, and it was illogical to get it fixed versus buying a new one because the costs were so close. Well, I couldn’t quit the internship because I needed the class credit to get my degree and I needed the reference to help me land a job, so there went $1000 out the door when combining the cost of the “diagnostic” for the old computer and the cost of the new computer.
Okay so 1000 down, we are still squeaking by. This was July.
John gets fired from his part-time job for being “too slow” making crap for a deli, we lose 800 a month. This was August/Sept.
Now we are scraping by on my unemployment only. I get a letter from unemployment, my benefits will end 12/31, even though I have enough credits in my account for 6 more months of payments. The state unemployed percent fell low enough that tier 3 has been cut for next year. That was Sept.
I have applied to 178 jobs and nothing has come of it. Three interviews, a hundred or more rejections. Lots of competition out there, not so good for a new grad.
We were planning on using money from the school this fall to move ourselves closer to John’s college (it is 50+ miles away, one way) to save on rent and gas. We were going to find a cheaper apt and pay 6 months up front. Well, 3000 was yanked from John because he failed one of his classes because he bombed a math final, despite having a solid B in the class. So there went that plan. No one will rent to us on unemployment/without employment and we do not have enough in our savings to do this now without that extra cash. So we continue to live unnecessarily far away from his school costing us more in rent and gas…oh and enter the poor old car.
We have 2 cars, one old and one newer. One is paid off the other I make payments on (which I bought way before I was laid off from my job). We used to be pretty good about car maintenance, but now with money so tight we have let oil changes and tune ups go a little longer than we should. John uses the older car to get back and forth to school, etc.
The state of WA loves to screw people who have the misfortune of owning an older car. First, if you have a car that is over like 9 years old they require an emissions test in order to renew your tag and registration. So let’s add this up:
Tag + reg in WA for one year= 90
Mandatory emissions test in order to get your tag if your car is old= 15
Failed the emissions test, so now mandatory inspection and attempted repair/repair= 170 (the state requires you to spend a minimum of 150)
This was in Oct.
We thought, okay, surely nothing else will go wrong, right? Wrong.
2 weeks ago, cat gets pretty sick, vet bill= 262
I have one credit account left to pay off, they send me a note, Hey guess what, that card you thought was zero interest, well really we meant zero interest and then we tack on the year that was at zero percent, so we are doubling the amount you owe us and your monthly payment. Gee thanks. And it was a health care credit account so I could get some chiropractic work done…how wonderfully ironic..a pain in the neck indeed.
Yesterday, old car breaks down on the side of the highway. County tows it 5 miles away (no choice on our part) bills us 265 dollars and an additional 23 bucks every 4 hours it sits in the yard.
Car is now sitting in a tow yard about 30 miles north of where we live. Call AAA, guess what, membership is expired, that’ll be 123 bucks, thank you very much.
On the way to release the car from impound get pulled over for speeding (I was in a rush because another hour meant another 23 bucks owed to the tow yard), there goes another 150 to the state of WA.
AAA tows it to a mechanic, he calls, says $4000 to fix it, the engine is dead. Offers me a 100 bucks to “take it off my hands”, and fix it up and give it to someone who needs it (umm like us?!! WTF), I say no thanks, I’m going to shop around.
So now, down to one car, which is okay but let’s total up this landslide of bullshit since July.
New computer= 875
Car issues= 793
Sick cat= 262
Miscellaneous credit card nonsense= 700 and an extra 30 a month
Total bullshit= 2630, or about half of our savings
On another happy note, I got a call from my school wanting to know when I was going to get around to paying them the last 400 bucks I owe for my final semester because my loan didn’t cover all of my expenses. I also got a lovely email from my student loan servicer reminding me that I have a 6 month grace period now that I have graduated and my payments are estimated to be between 215- 300 per month. They have already tacked on $1000 of interest while I am in deferment and looking for a job. How kind of them, thank you.
Oh and I have no health insurance but my doctor insists that I come in by the end of the month so they can bill me 15o bucks to spend 6 minutes with me and then write me a prescription for my blood pressure medicine.
On the up side I had a phone interview for a job in Georgia yesterday, yep, as a paid intern making 5.15 per hour, with the added bonus of potential hire after an indiscriminate amount of time doing scut work for peanuts. Could be 3 months of slave wages and no benefits, could be 10 months, depends on the “flow of things”.
So here we are, 3000 miles away from anyone who gives a damn about what might happen to us (thank God for moms…well not my mom, but John’s), wondering what the hell we are going to do and if living out of the car might actually work for a while.
There you have it folks, the typical American story of late.
Things are pretty bad when you used to be able to rely on yourself for the most part and now you put all your hope in to getting approved for welfare or 1.00 deals on ramen noodles. And you know what else is stressful, getting an in person interview for a job, why? Because that means I have to find a way to buy a suit to look presentable. I can’t even get excited about that anymore.
Heading off out in to the wilderness and tent-living minimally doesn’t sound all that crazy to me anymore.
And I am dead, dead, dead, serious about that.
***I decided to add some articles from my favorite, oh you feel like shit, well read this crap, website- gawker.com, co-misery, what can I say? I am not above it. There are 13 volumes of tales from the underclass & unemployed to read on the website. Follow the link I provided and then look to the right hand column for the rest of the stories. These stories are people’s reality every day in America. And if anyone happens to be reading this who is going through tough times, well read these stories, because you can at least take some comfort in knowing you are not alone in the shit pile.