Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11th ~ Friday State of Our Union Address

Hubby & Me ~ 1991

So-so..., all is so-so for now.  I don't know why it is, but as the dollars in my wallet dwindle a certain sense of calm gently gets me through each day, and I certainly needed that today.  I hate earthquakes, so was shaken to the core as I watched  news coverage from Japan on CNN from just moments after it happened.  I fell asleep on my makeshift bed (ottomans pushed together lengthwise) watching the news in the family room - where I've been sleeping since my husband returned home after being laid-off from his job in Mexico last November; It's a huge adjustment after sleeping alone for such a long time.  It was around 4:00 am when my eyes could no longer stay open. I guess the sobbing and soul wrenching prayers wore me out.  I'm okay now.

Everyone under our home's roof is okay today.  The kids had the day off from school and that made it easy to sleep in - which is always good.  My husband was also tuned into the news in his bedroom; Correction... our bedroom.  He was pretty wiped out from poor sleep and it wasn't until late morning that he came downstairs to say good morning.  Because the kids were home, breakfast was "every man for himself" (Yeah, yeah... or woman.)  I had two chocolate chip cookies.  

Of course, having everybody home proved there was "nothing to eat" according to my three most reliable sources... even my husband showed signs of doubt that there would be any lunch.  I proved them all wrong, by cooking some pasta and heating up a jar of Italian sauce.  Delicious pasta w/ butter, topped with sauce and served up with Parmesan cheese and crushed pepper...  I did not disappoint.

Things remained quiet as everyone kept to their own rooms most of the day.  My husband was still in bed when I went up to get dressed to go out to the grocery store... I guess he decided to take the afternoon off from job hunting.  Hot dogs were on the menu for dinner which required another trip to the store.  Gosh, I'm really not having fun with spending the little money we have, but we need to eat after all.  Now, I'm falling asleep as I type.  I did plan to write a post for each of my other blogs but I doubt I'll make it.  I just may call it a night after filling a dishwasher load.

So... that's the state of our union for March 11, 2011.  Not too bad if you ask me.  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10th ~ Loaves and Fishes

The story I remember goes... Jesus of Nazareth gives a talk to the masses - by the Sea of Galilee I'm pretty sure - and it's been a long talk witnessed by both believers and non-believers.  Everybody is hot and hungry - Jesus's apostles as well, and they worry about the people that had been there all day without food or drink.  Jesus's friends realize people must be fed... but how?  Jesus is apprised of the situation and asked how would they be able to provide for so many people.  Jesus instructs them to put out what food there is; he prays.  Lo and behold, fishes and loaves multiply to feed the multitudes.  Awesome.

Now, I'm no expert in bible studies or religion, but the idea of  feeding a lot of people with meager amounts of food; well that's something I need to figure out how to do to feed my family as financial times get tougher now that our household monthly income has been reduced to my sole, monthly Social Security disability benefits (10% of Rick's previous monthly income).  But, believe me, I've seen this phenomenon - feeding a party with fixings that would normally feed a family.  My Auntie Mary did it all the time; my sister too, and it is pretty impressive.  Take my Aunt, everyday she cooked dinner for a family of eleven! Every time, there were leftovers! My uncle, the sole provider of the family was a hard worker and made good money; Auntie Mary was expert at managing it.  I have a lot of first cousins - 26, including Mary's brood - and she loved to entertain the bunch of us, with food as the main attraction. She was expert at that as well.  Her brunches, barbecues, and festivities in general, never disappointed; she worked her heart out to make her meals memorable... And they were!  What was most noticeable were the serving bowls and meat platters which seemed to pretty much hold the same amount that she would normally serve during typical family meals, except, they were meant to feed our masses -cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends who happened to drop by (which was often expected).

Auntie Mary was my sister's Godmother, and coincidentally, my sister also has the very same gift.  Interesting, right.  Sis has had parties where she would cook up a small pot of beans, a 10" skillet of rice, a cookie sheet worth of enchiladas, and a garden salad; she sets it all out buffet style, and guess what?  Same as with Auntie Mary!  On average, my sister had 10 guests at these get-togethers and we all left fat and happy.  Amazing!  How?

How am I going to do the same - feed my family of five on my tiny budget (until Rick finds employment) and make a feast from meager portions.  It's a mystery to me how I'll manage that; but, I do believe in miracles.  I have to, that's what everybody's been telling me, anyway.  So tonight I pray for a miracle... the miracle of multiplication.  The mysteries of the Universe will provide all we need.  And so I pray

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 9th ~ Pray you never have the need to send similar email...

Today's sampling of life as I know it:  A letter emailed to three of my daughter's high school AP class teachers.  ~  A humbling experience to say the least.

Dear Educator,

I'm Lillian and my daughter is in your A.P. Biology/U.S. History/Language Arts class. I just wanted to inform you of current situation at home and would ask if you could please keep me posted if it seems to you that my daughter is showing signs of stress.  She came to me concerned about upcoming tests in AP classes.  My daughter reminded me today that test fees are due and that she will be needing us to purchase study guides as she doesn't feel fully prepared.  I plan to ask her grandmother for help with test fees, but as for study material, I can not afford to purchase books at the moment.   Do you advise she not  take test?  Her dad has been extremely preoccupied with "college talk," asking if she has decided where she would like to apply; he seems to not understand that college for the kids is just not feasible; as for my daughter, she has always relished the idea of going to college after high school - only makes sense because she does everything possible to keep a 4.0 GPA.  My heart breaks for both of them... my oldest and youngest too, because they have worked so hard to be good students.

Our family is presently facing an enormous amount of uncertainty.  Since losing his job last November, my husband remains unemployed and our family without income other than my disability benefits.  Our situation is pretty bad; he is now being treated for depression with prescription medication, and we are faced with having to forego paying all bills to have money for food and day-to-day essentials.  At the moment I'm at a loss wondering where we can to go when utilities are eventually shut off due to our inability to pay bills anymore.

Regretfully, my kids don't know the extent of things... Don't know how to tell them. I am afraid about how things will affect them as far as school is concerned. So if it's not to much to ask, please help watch my girl, as she is very low-key about anything that may be troubling her.
You can read updates on our family on my blog:  Email me or call with any concerns about my daughter or if you have any questions.  Thank you.


Lillian Carilo

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7th ~ Monday Moratorium

Didn't have the heart to issue this memo to occupants of this house today:  COBRA healthcare benefits have ceased, so nobody get sick.  No coughing, no sneezing. No injuries or infections... until further notice.  That's an order!  Oh, and that goes for your little dogs, too.  (Sorry we can't get your vaccines, Shaddy.)  Those with chronic medical conditions and illnesses who are currently treated and cared for by an M.D., please bear with me while I try to figure out what to do.

Today is the four month anniversary of the hubs being unemployed, and I would love nothing more that to be able to say that all is well.  Because, obviously it is not.   I've heard it said that individuals should have 3 or 4 months income saved in the event of job loss... I've even heard 3 to 4 years worth!, but how absurd is that, right?  We were fortunate enough to have had a couple of months severance to get by on.  (Did I mention it's been four months since my husband's been home looking for a job?  Yeah.. I think I did.) Do you know what the premium for health insurance alone is?  Under COBRA, for a family of five living in Colorado:  $1,653.48.  Yup.  Bet you didn't know.  Without insurance, someone like myself who has illness medically managed with prescription medication (as do four out of five in our family), basic monthly costs breakdown to this:  Office visits ~ $83.00  Rx ~ $265.31, or $4,179.72 per year total. (Time to pray for a cure for bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia, asthma, chronic fatigue, etc.)  Guess what our average monthly family household expenses added up to these last four months...?  Our monthly Cobra payment times four (not including food, fuel, non-utility bills).  To put it another way, had the need for medical insurance not been such a great priority, my family would have had cash reserve for another month, maybe month and a half.

 ~ Can't help but wonder if the hubs will finally be working again between now and mid-April?  Moot point - being as we did pay the premiums while we could and now we don't have money to pay for health insurance or anything else other than a couple weeks worth of food.  God, please help us. ~ 

So, tonight I pray:  That I feel better by tomorrow.  That those of us on prescription medication have enough until we can afford next refills.  That I be able to arrange for some of us to receive free follow-up care.  And, that our doggies stay healthy.   I ask that you pray with me for all people experiencing this very same hardship.  Peace.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 6th ~ Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Me, on my way to Target

Did a bit of grocery shopping this afternoon, and all the while I was there I felt like everyone knew just how pathetic the contents of my pocketbook were.  I had a small list - thank God - so it was a quick stop which - again, thank God - did not go horribly wrong due to my not having enough money in either Rick's or my debit card accounts... It happens a lot these days.  I was smart this time.  I had the kids' bank cards, so I withdrew money from the kids' savings accounts to pay for the groceries in cash.  I went all out, and by the time I walked out of the store I had put a huge dent in the old wallet.  NOT SMART.   What happened to the short list?  Well... it doubled.  Also, I can't seem to get past the fact that  being a creature of habit is totally working against me... "Put down the higher priced name brand item," says the booming voice in my head.  Did I listen? No.  (It is me I'm talking about here.)

So now, after emptying each shopping bag, I sit here sad - sad that I cut into a fifth of our total cash reserve AND sad that I must say good-bye to my favorite name brand items.  Don't know what's going to be harder; cutting out the stuff I use, or substituting products the kids prefer.  I love Oil of Olay face lotion - it smells so good and the newer formulas work wonders on my maturing skin.  Ole' Olay.  I'll miss J & J Baby Lotion too - love smelling it on my kids (even if they are teenagers).  Bye-bye, Baby.  And, what about toothpaste?  I remember using baking soda (nothing wrong with that), but are my kids going to be bummed when the last glob of Crest Pro-Health toothpaste is squeezed out of the tube?  (It's a very good toothpaste.)  Ta-ta toothpaste.  Oh, to not have the luxury of shampooing their hair with Dove Damage Therapy Intensive Repair Shampoo; worse, what will become of my hair without Garnier Fructis ANTI DANDRUFF CLEAN & FRESH SHAMPOO!  (This high altitude Colorado dry air is murder on dry skin and scalp.)  I could go on and on naming all our family faves:  Old Spice and Dove deodorants (How bad will we smell?  Ewww!); Cetaphil face cleanser; Soft Soap bath wash! (the girls insist on it for leg shaving).  Oh, Chapstick and Burt's Bees.....  This is depressing.

I've always been a bargain shopper - 90% of the clothes in my closet cost me between five and ten dollars (50% of my "wardrobe" is a Target label. Ha, ha.)  Shoes are usually at a 50% or more discount - except for my LIVESTRONG Nikes (Love 'em!).  So I now find it amazing how much a person starts paying attention to store pricing and sales as the need to get a stronger pinch on the pennies increases.    I can't believe how expensive laundry detergents and softeners are today.  In my old life I used to buy eco brands; my favorites were Eco-Ver, Method and Biokleen,  now it is Tide and Downey.)   I had forgotten how much I liked the smell of Palmolive dish soap my mom used to buy; Mmmm....fresh, clean.  I've become accustomed to fragrance-free and dye-free soaps over the years, I guess; same goes for tinted paper towels and toilet paper.  (Gasp) WAIT...!!  I'll miss you too, Scott!!

Life is going to be sooo different.  Can't wait... NOT.