Totally Peopled Out (Also, Groundhog Day)

Let’s start with the obvious, Groundhog Day.  Seriously, groundhog?  We’ve still got winter to look forward to?  And the weather has been mild thus far.  I’m hoping this year the groundhog is wrong and we don’t have six more weeks of winter.  Even then, it’s only six more weeks, right?

As for the rest of it, yesterday I was so done on people.  I’m not entirely sure how it happened.  It just crept up on me.  I was out at a class with the kids and got totally overwhelmed.  Then I got a ride home from a friend of the other responsible adult in the house.  She stayed longer than I wanted, which added to the overwhelming nature of it all.  Then the other responsible adult brought me sushi, but it looked weird so I didn’t want to eat it.  The whole thing ended in tears over sushi, hiding in my room, and being coaxed out with my favorite blanket and a promise of mashed potatoes.  Yes, mashed potatoes is a comfort food for me.

I think all of this was compounded by not having Nika with.  There’s not enough room to bring her to class with the kids, so I don’t.  Tomorrow is going to be interesting.  This is going to be the first time I leave her totally alone in a long time.  I have a feeling she’s going to bark her head off like crazy, but what can I do about that?  I can’t really bring her with.  I really need to get her a crate to go in while I’m gone.  It won’t stop the barking but I’ll at least know she won’t be able to eat anymore laundry.  I’m really nervous about it.  Part of leaving her home gives me bad anxiety too.  Will she bark her head off while I’m gone?  Will she be a total bother to the neighbors?  Will this somehow make it so she’s no longer welcome here?  I know it’s not something I really have to worry about, but I will continue to worry about it.  I may just suck it up and find a way to bring her tomorrow, both for the people factor and for the nerves about leaving her home alone.

At the same time, I need to get used to this.  I’m going to have to leave her home when she’s in heat again.  The neighbors with the unaltered male dog are being evicted, so I don’t have to worry about that anymore.  I think I’ll just leave her be.  Taking care of her isn’t that big of a deal.  I’m mostly just worried about the male dog in the house.

I need to get over my own anxiety about pretty much everything.  I mean, I can handle going to class without her.  I lasted all these years without her.  One day shouldn’t be a big deal.  I should be able to handle this, right?  Right?  We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

 

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No More Cold Weather!

I wish it didn’t get cold again.  I hate the cold.  I’m not looking forward to having to do it this week, but I’ve got a lot of commitments that are going to drag me out of the house.  It’s good for me, but I’m not sure how I feel about having to get out in it.

The good news is I’m getting out and active.  That’s a big important thing for me.  I need to be getting out of the house and active every day, if I can manage.  I need to be moving, and if I let myself stay in the house because of the cold, it’ll just get harder and harder to leave.

But the weather is turning cold again.  I’m not looking forward to the weather being cold.  I’m ready for it to turn warm again.  Those nice days of incredibly warm weather were a tease when it came to the weather for the time being.  I know it was just the January thaw, and it’s a common thing to happen around here, but I’m not looking forward to a return to the cold.  I’m over it already.

At least I know it’s not going to be forever until the warm weather hits.  Generally in a month or two the weather starts to turn nice again, at least nice enough that I don’t mind going out in it.  I’m looking forward to those days.  I’m also looking forward to the summer.  Even though it’s going to be hot, my trips out are going to be largely in the evening, so that’s definitely going to help.  It’ll be when the day starts getting cool.

In other news, I ordered a yoga DVD for myself.  I’m going to be trying to squeeze in yoga in the morning and evening.  The program has two routines, AM and PM.  I figure that will be a good way to get myself up and moving in the morning and settled in the evening.  The focus is on stretching, something I need to do more of if I want to be flexible again.  Plus, once I’m limber enough I can move on to more challenging yoga exercises.

I’ve decided that’s something I might like doing, being a yoga instructor.  I’ve liked doing yoga, and I liked teaching dance.  The biggest problem I had with teaching dance was not feeling qualified to do the job.  With having to learn to be a yoga instructor and passing some kind of instructor training, I’ll feel like I actually know what I’m doing, which will help me feel like I’m actually qualified to teach the class.  Of course, we’ll see how well I stick to it on my own.  If I can’t stick to it on my own there’s no way I’ll ever be able to become a yoga instructor.  We’ll see how it goes.

Changes

There’s a lot going on right now.  I’ll be honest, I’m not handling it well.  I’m super anxious about the whole thing.  The decisions that were made have been made and there’s no going back on it now.

I tried to get my mind off of it.  I tried to get distracted, but as soon as the other responsible adult left for work I was stuck with my own thoughts, something that isn’t really a great thing when I’m dealing with uncomfortable emotions.

Three times I cried over the whole thing today.  I don’t do change well, not even a little bit.  This whole thing has me twisted in knots.  Thankfully moving is not a part of the process.  I’m hoping we can stay in this place for at least five years.  We’ve got one done already, which means four more to go.  Since most places ask where you’ve lived for the past five years, it would be good to have a nice, long rental history.  Plus in five years my oldest will be getting ready to move out on her own hopefully, so we may just wait until she’s ready to move out on her own and get a smaller place.  Then again, that may not matter if we decide to move south and buy a place.  That would be worth it.

I’ve got to say, I’ll be happy if there are no more changes for a good long while.  I’ve had enough changes for now.  I’m tired of it all.  It makes me feel overwhelmed, which is exhausting.  I’m ready to take a nap and the gray, dark sky isn’t helping things any.  Sunset is not far from now, so that might be part of the problem.

I’m just ready to have my life fall into a predictable routine.  It would be a good change from everything I’ve been dealing with lately.  I need a little bit of calm.

Inspection Passed!

Yeah, that’s the news!  The inspection was passed.  All of that is over for another year.  We didn’t even have the same inspector and this one barely glanced over the place before signing off.  The other guy was a lot more particular.

In other words, I spent way too much time stressing about this and didn’t need to.  The other responsible adult in the house took time off of work this morning (which turned out to be a good thing) so I could go to my counseling appointment and someone would still be here to meet the inspector.  That meant the inspection happened while I was at my appointment, which saved me the anxiety of being here for it.  Thankfully he was still able to go in for the remainder of his day at work.

That brings me to my counseling.  We talked about my hesitance to homeschool and what I was actually afraid of.  Much like this inspection it’s not a rational fear.  I’m afraid to homeschool because I’m afraid I’ll be judged harshly because of it.  I’m afraid my kids won’t pass inspection if that’s the case.  I’m just not sure I’ll be good enough to make the state happy with me.  Screw the state, I’m not sure I could make my family happy with me!

But this all comes around to the same thing.  The house passed the inspection, even with two trash bags of wrapping paper in the kitchen and dishes in the sink.  The same is going to come of me and homeschooling.  The only people I have to prove myself to are the school board, and even then I can do it with portfolios of the kids work rather than the mandatory state testing kids in school have to go through.  I can do this.  If I can pass the inspection, I can pass that standard too.

That being said, I’ve decided to do it.  I’m taking the leap.  I’m going to get the curriculum for the online schooling for the kids in January.  I’ll give them a week, maybe two, then I’m going to pull them out of school.  I’m ready to do this.  The only one that’s going to be left in is my daughter, and that’s simply because she originally said she wanted to wait out the year.  Now it doesn’t look like that’s going to matter much.  She wants to homeschool now.  I’ll be sending in her paperwork once money comes in to slap a stamp on it.

I feel like this is a victory.  I’ve lasted out two days of my family being in my home, passed the inspection, and now I’ve made up my mind to homeschool.  This is a good day.  Now I just need to keep with my convictions on homeschooling straight through the point I withdraw the kids from school.

Beyond Stressed

I think that says it all.  I’m beyond stressed right now.  I’ve had two back to back days of shopping, one of them on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, my parents over yesterday, and then today it was my grandmother, aunt, and uncle.  I’m so burnt out right now.  And the inspection, as it turns out, wasn’t today.  That’s going to be tomorrow.  I’m going to have to handle it alone because the other responsible adult in the house has to work.  I feel physically ill at the thought of it.  I’ve barely been able to eat for days.  Now I’ve got this hanging over me and I’m half starved.  This isn’t working out fantastically well.  On top of it all, we’re pretty much out of money until Friday.

Let me tell you a little thing about how I handle stress.  Let’s start and end with “I don’t.”  I don’t handle stress well at all.  Even with medication this whole week has been enough to pretty well put me to tears.  I am literally sitting at my computer talking myself out of crying as I write this.  I’ve had enough.

And it’s not just stressful stuff, it’s stressful people.  My grandmother, in my own living room, had the nerve to tell my daughter how important it was for her to stay in school.  I’m sorry, but if I homeschool my kids, that’s my business.  She has no right to pressure my daughter to stay in school, especially if she hates it.

I swear, the judgment train rolled into the station today and I’m lucky I got through as unscathed as I was.  My family doesn’t spend time at my house for a reason.  I don’t want them here.  I don’t want them spending time with me.  I don’t want them to be a part of my life, but they have to be.  I’m not entirely sure how I want to make this work in the future, but hosting all the craziness here doesn’t sound like the answer.

Right now I’m so exhausted.  I just want to go back to bed.  My stomach hurts.  I’m probably going to attempt to play my video game again, but I don’t know how successful I’ll be.  I can’t concentrate.  I’m honestly ready for bed, but I can’t go to bed because the kids are still awake.

Oh well, I guess I’m going to have to find a way to get through one more day, but days like these make it incredibly difficult not to shut down.  The other responsible adult in the house refuses to call out tomorrow, which means I have no choice but to do it on my own, and just the thought of it has tears rolling down my cheeks because I’m just done.  I can’t handle this anymore.  I want to quit, to leave, but there’s no other option.  I really don’t want to let this break me, but I really don’t have much choice in what I can handle and what I can’t.

Christmas Day and Chinese Food

Today was actually a pretty good day.  It didn’t seem all that much different than a regular day, aside from the opening of presents.  There was no great ceremony, no family visiting or to visit.  It was just kind of quiet.

I have to admit, it was kind of nice to have a chill Christmas.  It felt kind of anticlimactic to have nowhere to go and nothing to do.  There’s always something much more special about having family to visit or having visitors at the house.  Because the presents from my family are coming with my family, there wasn’t that craziness either.  It was a pretty sedate, chill kind of day.

The end of our Christmas always caps off the same way, with Chinese food.  Now, let me tell you, Chinese food always costs so much.  It’s almost not worth the money spent, aside from the leftovers that undoubtedly always occur.  We almost went with sushi, which would have come out to about the same, but Chinese food is the tradition.  Maybe we’ll do sushi for our anniversary or Valentine’s or something.  We’re not really a couple, but we’re just kind of rolling with things at this point, and our anniversary is kind of the point at which this crazy ride happened, so it’s only fitting that we continue to mark the day we began a life together as a family.  Besides, I’m finding I really like sushi.

Now I just have two more trying days to get through.  Tomorrow my parents and my sister are coming over to celebrate Christmas.  The day after that my aunt and uncle will be over some time after the inspector drops in.  As if I didn’t have enough stress with the holidays, having that inspection hanging over me doesn’t help.  Thankfully the majority of the graffiti has been painted over, and we have intentions to keep on painting until it’s done, so hopefully we’ll be able to get through without too much issue.

In the mean time, I get to go eat.

It’s Christmas Eve

It took it long enough to start feeling like Christmas.  I’m finally feeling in the mood, even though the whole season has pretty much passed us by.  I’m glad I’m finally feeling in the mood again.  It certainly took long enough.

The kids have been watching Christmas movies for most of the day.  When they weren’t watching Christmas movies, we were listening to Christmas music on the radio.  It was a pretty good way to get in the mood for Christmas.

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Nika chilling on the bus

Then there was my adventure.  I decided we had to get pajamas for the kids for Christmas.  I’m glad I did.  I was able to get pajamas for all of them for pretty much half off.  I hadn’t expected that.  As a result we still have just over $7 on our gift card.  I’m pretty happy about that.  Because it was still early and wet and gross, no one was really out.  It made our yearly tradition of having to buy something Christmas related on Christmas Eve really work out well.  I’m glad I’m the one to do it.  It really worked for us.  Nika even got to try out her new coat.  She was looking all kinds of snazzy today.  We had to take the bus and she was quite the popular girl.  I felt like the whole bus smelled like wet dog, but no one seemed to mind.  I got all kinds of compliments on how well behaved she was and how good she looked in her coat.  That’s becoming normal for us.  I’m slowly getting used to the attention.

img_20161224_120606_628Because it was wet and gross out, I didn’t get to enjoy the trip out nearly as much as I would have liked.  Thankfully it was a good test run for Nika’s jacket.  It kept her warm and dry despite all the gross and wet.  She wasn’t thrilled to be out in the weather, but she didn’t hate it as much as she could have.  I think I’m going to have to look into getting her a rain jacket, too.

I have to say, this jacket is a little big on her, but it covers her straight to the rump.  It sits a little far back on the shoulders, but the coverage is pretty good.  It’s big enough on her that I can easily add another layer if I need to.  It was wet and cold out, but she seemed to fare pretty well.  I’m really happy with the way the jacket is working out for her.  Of course, she’s also wearing a brown coat, which tickles the Firefly fan in me.  My dog is now a Browncoat!  If only they made their rain jackets in brown too!

There wasn’t a huge crowd out either, which helped.  I looked for the pajamas, settled on my selections, then went on to get some stuff for my nails, and some chocolate milk that I didn’t even get to have much of before it was jacked by the littlest.  Wouldn’t you know it, about an hour after I got home the sun came out and it was warm and beautiful.  Oh well.  At least I know I missed the bulk of the traffic and the crowds.

Now we’ve got painting going on.  The house was cleaned while I was gone, so I figured we should do our part and work on finishing up the painting.  I did as much as I could before my arm started screaming at me.  I’ve painted most of that last room by hand.  I needed a break.  That’s going to be done before long and then it’ll be time to settle the kids to bed.  They’re going to watch the launch of Santa on Reindeer Cam, then Prep and Landing, then it’s off to bed.  I’m hoping I can get the boys at least to squeeze in a shower, but I don’t know if we can.  I’d love to have them shower, get into their new pajamas, and watch the last movie.  Then they can hustle off to bed, nice and clean, so they’ll be ready for pictures with their presents in the morning.

We also took a look at what the presents were on the listed bags last night.  There’s some pretty good stuff in there.  The boys had kind of a small amount, but I don’t think they’ll care.  At least I hope they won’t.  The littlest has a whole bunch, a pretty crazy amount, actually.  I think that’s for the best.  The littlest one often gets forgotten.  The older kids, especially my daughter, get a lot of attention from family friends.  The littlest often gets forgotten or told to go away and ignored.  It’s got to be frustrating.  I’d like just for once for the little one to be spoiled.  That’s how it should be.  The littlest is supposed to get spoiled, yet in our house it’s always the oldest.

I have to admit, I’m ready to call it a day.  We still have presents to wrap (though thankfully few) and everything to set out for the big day.  It’s not quite as big of a spread as it was last year, but it’s still pretty good.  I’m pretty happy with the way everything turned out, and I’ll be honest, more is not always better.  I would like to get to the point when Santa brings less stuff each year until we get to the point where Santa only brings one or two things.  Last year we had gifts from Salvation Army, Project Imagine, SMOC, and the VA’s group, though I’m not sure who they were.  This year there’s gifts from the VA and the National Honors Society.  I have to be honest, the gifts from Salvation Army weren’t a great selection, very little the kids had much interest in, so that’s not a loss.  SMOC gave us a lot of very generic stuff, but it also didn’t match the kids needs.  I’m much happier with the groups that have people buy specifically for each kid.  They get what they really want that way.  I know we’ll lose NHS next year because the kids won’t be in the school system, but just getting gifts from the VA would probably be fine, especially since they give gifts to the adults too.  I’m also not going to bother wrapping Nika’s presents.  There’s no real point.  I can just set them all under the tree.

Now it’s just the countdown to things kicking off.  The Reindeer Cam Santa Launch happens in less than an hour.  Prep and Landing starts about the same time.  Then it’s off to bed with the kids and hopefully they’ll actually go to sleep.  Hopefully we won’t fall asleep with them.  Wouldn’t that be awkward, for them to wake up to having no presents under the tree because we forgot to put them all out.  It’s just a waiting game.

Painting, All the Painting

Well, the crayon on the walls is pretty much history.  We’ve been painting like crazy people.  We’re probably going to be painting in the morning too, getting everything finished up.  We’ve got two bedrooms down, the downstairs hall, and most of the upstairs hall.  There’s just one segmented off part that seems like it was formerly a door to the room that needs to be painted.  Now instead of one room it’s been sectioned off into two, leaving a weirdly shaped hall with an archway where a door used to be, and a weird frame on the walls to both rooms.  It’s too bad because it would have been a really nice single bedroom with plenty of space and a large closet.  Anyhow, all of those are done.  The hallway upstairs needs to be finished in that segmented off spot and the last bedroom needs a second coat of paint.  Hopefully that will be enough to satisfy the inspector.  There are three other rooms that could probably benefit from painting over the graffiti, but they’re not bad, so hopefully it won’t be an issue.

So what have I learned about this?  Aside from my back and arm hurting from all the painting, I really enjoy it.  It’s somewhat peaceful to sit there, working on a wall.  Plus there was something great about hand painting the second coat to cover all the little spots the roller missed.  The parts I did look really even and turned out well.  The parts the other responsible adult did?  Well, I’d never tell him this, but it’s kind of obvious what he did versus what I did.  Mine has a nice, smooth finish and my edging is so much better.  Still, it looks pretty good.

Painting for me is very zen.  I think I may have to look into doing it as a hobby when we’ve got the space for it.  I think I’d like learning how to do some simple things.  We plan to paint my littlest’s dressers and I want to put some flower stencils on it, something pretty Nordic over a “Elsa blue” background.  My littlest decided that was the color name.  We’d talked about doing stencils on the walls as well.  It might be nice to get into painting furniture like that, even if I never did it for money.  It could be fun to do stuff up for everyone in the house.

Hurting the way I do comes with benefits as well.  I feel like I actually did something.  I worked for once.  I pushed myself to the point that I couldn’t do it anymore when I quit.  There’s only a little left for me to do tomorrow.  I’m feeling pretty good about that, even though I’d planned not to paint on Christmas Eve.

As for things I’m proud of today, not only did I paint, but I ran errands by myself.  I had Nika with me, of course, but I went to Target to get printer paper and PetSmart to get claw clippers for Nika.  I’m not brave enough to cut her nails, but the other responsible adult said he’d be willing to take on the task.  Sable did it the last few times, but it really needs to be done again and I won’t see her again until next week at best.  It could be longer than that.  I just want to make sure it gets done.

The list of things I did today that I never would have done before Nika is one I’m pretty happy with.  I walked to the bus stop and waited for the bus.  I took the bus to the mall.  I ate lunch at the mall, and despite being told I couldn’t have a cup for water for Nika, I didn’t panic because things didn’t go according to plan.  I changed plans to clean out my soda cup to let Nika use it for water from the bathroom sink.  I navigated a busy mall at Christmas time with crazy last minute shopping chaos.  I managed to only call home to make updates and to ask about spending money on food and about the bus schedule.  I walked a good distance between stores.  I changed plans and picked up something I didn’t intend to buy, but needed, without panicking over spending money.  I spent money on the thing I needed to buy without being panicked about money.  And I rode the exceedingly crowded bus home, pulled the stop requested cord at my street, even though it’s not a scheduled stop, because you can do that on the local buses.

Now that list of things might not seem like much to you, but looking at where I was without her, I never would have any of these things without an adult escort or without having someone on the phone with me the whole trip.  It was different in the south.  Living in the south was safer.  We didn’t live in neighborhoods that were dangerous.  Even the neighborhood I live in now is sketchy in comparison to the places we lived at in the south, and we lived in trailer parks, which are known to attract trouble.  Then again, in the south I still had a lot of problems getting out on my own and tended to frequently get overwhelmed when I was out without another adult.  I had to be on the phone with someone the whole time or I needed to have one of my kids with me.  Otherwise it was impossible to get me to leave.  Now it’s harder to do even that.

I’d like to think I’ve come a long way.  Not only was I able to do a lot of things that were impossible for me to do before, but I was able to stay motivated to get the painting done.  My shoulder is not happy with me and I feel like I could use a massage, but I’m pretty happy with the outcome.  The kids’ presents are almost all wrapped because most of them came that way.  Tomorrow night we just need the living room cleaned so there’s space to wrap the final presents.  Then we need to set them all out.  That shouldn’t take terribly long to do.  We need to make sure we’ve got cookies to put out for Santa too.  The painting needs to be finished with second coats on a few things.  I’m feeling pretty good about this week.  It’s not what I would have wanted the week to be, but I’m pretty confident about getting through just fine.

So if you don’t hear from me again this weekend, here’s hoping you have a wonderful Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.  We’re going to be celebrating with our usual Chinese food on Christmas.  Then we’re going to have four, yes, four Christmas related celebrations.  Christmas Eve is the standard Christmas Eve ritual, get a last minute Christmas gift (probably pajamas for the kids), watch a Christmas movie, send the kids off to bed, and set out the presents.  Christmas morning we open presents and get Chinese food.  The day after Christmas we’re celebrating with my parents and my sister.  The day after that my aunt and uncle are coming over and the inspector will be back to tell us whether or not we’ve done enough to clear us with the housing authority.  Undoubtedly I’ll have lots to say after it’s all over, but I don’t know if I’ll be back before then.  It’s going to be a busy few days.

And Christmas Packages Are All In!

There weren’t many things to come in the mail this year, but all of them are in.  All of our Christmas donations are here too.  We’ve got packages everywhere.  I don’t think the kids need anything more this year, between the gifts we’ve got, the general bombardment of gifts from my aunt, and the gifts from my parents and sister.  We’re doing a Christmas marathon this year, dragging it out over four days.

It feels kind of good to have all the packages in right about now.  I just wish we had more hiding places for presents because we’ve got a lot to hide.  Last year they were hidden in the room that’s now my room, and that would be a little obvious.  This year they’re taking over the other responsible adult’s room, though I think we’re going to need to do a better job of hiding them or they’ll be found out.

We didn’t have much on order this year.  We had some workbooks for my littlest.  We ordered a printer and ink, which I’m really excited about, but we didn’t get any paper yet.  That’s something we should really change.  There was a stuffed dragon from Go Dog for Nika.  We ended up splurging and getting her a travel water bowl and Hover Craft from Ruffwear.  She also got her boots, which fit just fine, and her K-9 Overcoat.  That means she’s got plenty of gifts.  That leaves all of our gifts on order, at least through the holidays, at our house.

As for the donations, I have no idea what we’ve got.  The gifts from the National Honors Society are all wrapped.  We’re not going to know what those are until the day of.  I’m really hoping the kids get some good stuff, but I don’t know, obviously.  The stuff from the VA I don’t know about either.  I don’t want to open it up to investigate until the kids have gone to bed and we can do it without the kids knowing.  It’s hard to maintain the illusion of Santa if they all see the gifts before Christmas.

I’m finally feeling like I can make it through the holiday.  I’m not as confident as I was at the end of last year, but I think I can do it.  I just need to make it through to tax season so I can finally get a car and make my life easier again.  Next year things will be better, I’m sure of that, but for now this is going to have to do.

I have to admit, I’m exhausted by all of this and it’s not even Christmas yet.  I’m looking forward to it all being over.  Usually I like this time of year.  It’s the music, the excitement, the decorations, but I’ve barely been out.  I haven’t been watching Christmas movies.  All in all I’ve been pretty much a loner.  It hasn’t had the excitement of years past.  Something about not having a car and hardly leaving the house to do shopping and things really kind of killed it for me.  I’m really hoping we can get a car so next year would be so much better.  Getting out of the house this way is so hard.

Stress and Being Poor

Somehow it came down to it again today.  I got in a discussion about my state’s “benefits” and being poor.  Oh, wait, no, I remember, we were talking about schools.  In poor towns schools tend to be not as good as richer towns.  That’s no surprise.  However, my son has to go to school clear across town and it takes him forever to get home in the afternoon.  By the time he gets home he’s so tired he doesn’t want to do anything.  It’s an incredibly long day.  He doesn’t even want to do his homework.  It’s honestly unfair that he’s got to get home so late, especially in the winter when sunset is so early.  However, I don’t have too many options.

Now, I haven’t made a formal announcement or anything, but my decided answer to this is to homeschool.  This cuts out the problem of trying to get everyone on the bus at different times and also leaves my son getting home at a reasonable hour.  Of course, I wasn’t comfortable enough to let that bomb drop, but it is what it is.  I just said I was frustrated because moving him to a closer school wasn’t an option if he’s already struggling in the school he’s currently in, which is a really good school.

This all came back to moving and my options.  It was pointed out that we discussed this problem when we started talking about moving to this town.  As much as I appreciate that we discussed that topic, there wasn’t much that I could do.  Our options were limited, and thanks to a lot of Section 8 residents that trash their houses, a lot of landlords don’t want to accept Section 8, and I can’t blame them.  Unfortunately this leaves me with a limited number of places we could move, and being in a shelter, beggars could not be choosers.  We had to take the first place we were offered, and so we did.

Having little option but to accept the place we landed, it seems a little unfair, even cruel to jump on me about these problems with the school system.  It’s not my fault I ended up here.  I was victim of the system, just thrust to whatever place we were stuck having to take.  It’s really how the system works in this state, and given our income isn’t anything fantastic, we really can’t afford to live anywhere else.

Here’s the problem.  The poverty line for a family my size is in the ballpark of $70K per year.  In order to make that amount our household income would have to exceed $5k every month.  Yes, that is an extreme number.  It works out to needing to make around $32 per hour or something of the like.  Now, my sister, a college graduate and with experience, was only able to net a job making $20 per hour when she was hired on.  What does this tell me?  That we would need two incomes, both well paying jobs, to exceed that amount.  That also means we’d need childcare, which will take away from that income.  Basically, if I were a single mom, I’d be completely screwed because where am I going to make $32 per hour?

Then (the part that really steamed me) we talked about how my issue here was that I wasn’t a resident of the state when I arrived.  Had the incident that had me fleeing happened in this state, I would have been eligible for oh so many more programs.  I would have been able to get on my feet so much faster, but because I was from out of state and they knew it, I was pretty much screwed.

Now, here’s where I take issue with that.  I’ve met people in the shelter system who went through domestic violence in this state.  One woman was found out by her ex and put in the hospital before they moved her to a safe location.  Simply knowing he’d found her wasn’t enough.  I’d called three times to ask to be moved because I thought I was found and I never even got a call back.  No one cared.  As for the domestic violence only programs?  No males allowed, which meant I couldn’t take all of my children, and I wasn’t about to do that.  It wasn’t fair, but it’s reality.  Nothing would have changed had I been a state resident, nothing at all.  Hell, because my abuser wasn’t anyone I was in a relationship with, I might not have gotten any help at all and may have been told to stick it out where I was at and to avoid any of his advances on me.  Unless there’s a police report or an incident report at the hospital, the state is apparently known for not responding and not caring.

So what about me?  The only reason I came back here at all was my family was supposed to help.  I’d had another program that I had the option of participating in, one that would have helped me get my life back together and get back on my feet.  I chose not to take that option because it was supposed to be so much better for me back home.  I was supposed to be able to get my life together here.  I was supposed to have so much more support and help along the way.

But where has that support been?  Who has been offering to give me rides when I need it?  Who has been offering to come over and watch my kids so I can have a night off?  Who is babysitting so I can go to counseling, or get a job, or whatever it is I need to be able to do?  That’s right, not my family.  It’s not the people who promised to help me out when I got here, the people who swore I would have support.  Instead I’ve been left to struggle.

The kicker to all of this was being told that the state obviously doesn’t care to help me pull myself out of the hole I’ve landed in, so it’s on me to figure out how I’m going to do it.  I wanted to scream.  I could be doing this with help and support.  There’s no one cheering me on, no one helping me make wise decisions.  Hell, I was supposed to have a new computer for school.  The money is there, sitting in someone’s bank account, but I have no access to it.  I’m not even allowed money that was given to someone to hold for me.  Basically it’s my money to buy something I need, and I’m not even allowed that because I might be irresponsible with it.

This whole thing is totally not fair.  I wish I lived in the south again, where we’d only need a collective wage of $18 per hour to be out of poverty, a wage that can easily be attained by one person working a job.  Living in the south means living in a place where I could go out and get a job, and my daughter could stay home and babysit without any questions asked.  In this state I have to defend my right to leave her home and in charge.  I miss living in a state where we could actually get by and make a life for ourselves, even if it meant struggling a little bit, without the need for state handouts.  I miss all of that.  I wish I’d never come up here, struggled through everything I’ve been struggling through, and instead gotten my life together in the south where we could actually make ends meet.  I hate it here and I hate that I came up here because my family promised me something I should have known would never happen.

This rant is getting long and I want to do more than rant all night.  I guess the only thing to do is start working on a plan to fix my life, to pull myself out of this rut I’ve gotten myself into.  Right now that plan involves getting my degree.  Once I get my degree, I plan on moving back south again.  Having a degree will put me ahead of all the other applicants for the jobs out there.  If I play my cards right I might be able to land an IT position or something.  It’s not what I want to do, but it’s a job, and a job I should have no problems bringing Nika to.  All I know is something’s got to give, and to have the life I want, I have to move away from somewhere that the wages I can earn are so pathetically far below what I need to actually have a life.