Guess the good luck wasn't meant to last. Eviction, nervous breakdowns, etc etc **WARNING LONG RANT POST**

Ok, y'all.  It's time for a little ranting and venting.  I'm kind of ticked off at the universe. Sadly though... this is almost an identical post to the one I made last Christmas... but this one is worse because I was supposed to learn from the mistakes we made before. This was supposed to be THE YEAR things were different.

((I added a short version for those who don't want to read this book: got an eviction notice a couple days before well-off family visited. Spent time cleaning house but they only saw the gnat infestation, I wanted to die. Found out truck was dead, friend was able to get it home, but can't be restarted til gets a new radiator. Dinner with well-off relatives was strained and embarrassing. Had no idea how to get kids to their school Christmas programs while Hubby is out of state for a week. Then found out Hubby has to go a week earlier when we have no money for gas or food for him. And he'd not be here with the van the day I had to pay the last payment to keep from being homeless.  But silver lining began to appear. Might be able to use a card to get gas and food or borrow it from his boss til the next paycheck. Finance people said I could come in on the 6th and make the payment as long as I also pay December's pmt and I planned to anyway.  WHEW! And he'll be here to take the kids to their programs and he gets to watch them too! ))

Now This is the Long Version (if anyone cares to read it).
I had said in my last post about how much we were looking forward to the day and evening out with my sister in law and her family. Well, just before they got into town, our world started falling down around us. For a while now, I've been trying to catch up on everything. One month I will get caught up on bills, but the house payment gets paid late and then the next month I'll have to make two house payments and the utilities either get cut off and we have to scramble to get them back on or I have to call one place and arrange to come in next week... basically robbing Peter to pay Paul.  

I knew it was getting deeper and deeper, but I wanted to believe I could figure out some way to get out of it...  then on November 17th there was a knock on the door.  The mail lady was delivering a certified letter from the company our house is financed through.  Let me tell you, there is no worse feeling in the bottom of your stomach than the one you get when you shakily hold a letter that has the big words "EVICTION NOTICE" at the top. 

It did give us 15 days to get it paid up to "cure" it. Normally it wouldn't have been so bad trying to get two payments in at once as I've been doing that every other month for a while (which they weren't too keen on apparently, go figure). But 15 days takes us til December 2nd... and Hubby was due to go to another state on his own dime (to be reimbursed *later*) to manage another store for a week... on December 6th. Plus the normal bills are due once again (funny how that happens every month)... Everything seemed to be ok, except we'd have like next to nothing for groceries (seriously I had $80 to buy groceries for 5-7 people for 2 weeks - all meals since I pack lunches and they eat breakfast at home)... But I knew the freezer had recently been stocked and I knew what was in the pantry, and I was able to print some $5 Save A Lot coupons.  I knew it would be very hard, but we could do it... sadly just like Last December.  (wow that's depressing to read and know I've not really learned a damn thing...sigh) 

Then the universe decided to step it up a notch. Since Hubby would be in another state the week of Dec 6th and that's the week of the kids' school programs, I knew I'd have to drive the truck and take off a couple hours from work (not really being able to afford the loss of hours, but no choice really).. well, guess what?  Go ahead guess.  

I had the 18 yr old (who I bought the truck for originally) take the truck and dump the trash, then haul stuff to the thrift store and the storage building so we could get the house a little less cluttered for my sister in law's visit. I gave her the keys and arranged to meet her at the theater where all of us were meeting to go see Harry Potter (sis in law's idea and they picked up the tab)...  Well, about 5 minutes before we got to the theater I got a call on my cell. The truck barely made it into the thrift store parking lot and died with "smoke " pouring out of it.  The movie would start at 3 and she had to be at work (at the theater actually) at 3 as well. She said to just go ahead and meet the rest of the family there and she'd get there in time for work.  Her fiance's dad was going to come look at the truck. He declared it "dead". The radiator has lots of little holes and one huge hole apparently. I have NO clue when or why this would have happened. I had JUST driven it a day before and it was fine. Needs plugs and wires, but otherwise, fine for an old work truck. They refilled it as best they could with water and coolant and drove it back home to park it.  He says it should not even be started again or it will blow the motor (350 block.. not a good idea).  So um yeah, no truck. I just had to hope I'd be able to find rides for my kids to go to their school programs and pray nothing terrible happens while Hubby is gone.  If he breaks down there, I won't be able to come get him now. That pit of the stomach feeling is coming back....

Well, during the movie I tried to lose myself in it... thankfully the people in the movie were just as miserable as I was.. even more so so they made me feel better about my life. Funny how that works. Yeah we only have one semi-working vehicle and almost no money, barely any food for Thanksgiving dinner, and hubby will be gone for a week... BUT there is no magical Dark Lord trying to kill us! Hooray!

Afterwards, they bought tacos for all the kids and we dropped them off at our place for my older kids to babysit while the cousins all played together (they have a boy and a girl near my kids' ages). I'd spent so much time cleaning the house and making the kids clean their rooms bathrooms etc... It looked and smelled good.  So what's the FIRST thing that happens? My youngest takes their daughter to her room to see it. So, the girl comes out and goes, "Mamma come look at their ceiling!!"  And my sis-in-law says, "Oh is it covered in star stickers?" and heads off down the hall and my heart sank... She and the kid look up and see hundreds of those damn fruit fly/gnat things that I've been battling forever (I think the eggs are in the guinea pig bedding). I'd gotten rid of them everywhere but in there which is where the g-pig cage is. I honestly though I was going to puke.  I felt that mortified.  

My in-laws are not borderline white trash/ red necks like we are. He makes a TON of money in a tech company and she makes another ton in corporate insurance.  They live on Long Island in a big house where he moved his mother in with them (she's one of us, lived in a trailer here in Tennessee - hell so did he when we were teenagers!) So, just being around them is an emotional roller coaster.  We LOVE them to death really.  We've always gotten along since were in school and he's as big a geek as my hubby... but that social thing is starting to really show a bit and I know how bad it makes ME feel.. and it's multiplied exponentially for my husband. I know how much it kills him to see how well off they are and how we are still poor white trailer trash compared to them... no matter how hard we work or how much we get ahead. 

All during dinner we both got more and more depressed. So, I apologized for our moods and told them a little of what was going on. I figured maybe they might be able to help us out.  I've long past lost all sense of pride anyway. It was embarrassing, but if there was a chance they might help, it would be worth it. And then it happened... we got the same looks from them that his thrifty and frugal grandparents have always given us. I wanted to just go home... or get drunk.  And you know what?  At that point since they were paying, I didn't even give a damn. I was going to try to get smashed at least.  

But it was actually their idea to go get dessert and drinks and ordered me a mudslide and told me to get a big dessert as well, then later told the waiter to bring me a top shelf long island ice tea since I'd been eying the cheap one on the menu. (I have no idea how much the top shelf one was, but it had Patron in it). Thankfully I was getting drunk because over dessert they told us how she was wanting to her the frugal grandparents a roomba (they're $300) and then... they told us about how they are buying the grandparents' motor home while they're in FL visiting them for Thanksgiving.

I know it's not their fault that they escaped the average lifestyle of this areas. I really am happy for them and am glad that overall, they're not really any different than they were all those years ago when we were in high school and college. It's just so hard when crap is happening to us over and over again, and they just seem to be even better off each time we see them.

I tried to be happy the rest of the evening, and the alcohol helped a little. They left with their kids on their way back to their hotel room and I asked my husband if he'd had a chance to ask them alone if we could maybe borrow some money. He just looked down and said, "They heard how bad things are... if they don't offer, I'm not asking."  I could almost hear my heart break.

Well, I've been coming to terms with all of that and had sat down and gone over the budget for the 4th or 5th time noting how we'd barely be able to pay everything if I could time things just right.  It's literally a matter of floating some things in overdraft, but not too much, so when the next check comes we can cover it, but still have the cash to make the rest of the payment so we keep the house... stomach is churning again.... That brings us to now and the NEXT thing the Universe decided to gift upon us.. 

Hubby did mail the money order for the first almost half of the amount we own on the house. USPS don't fail me now!  Everything is falling into place with the budget and what's coming out when... then today I told Zoe to call her dad at work and tell him to get a cheap bag of guinea pig food on his way home, and he asked to talk to me. It wasn't fair really.  I had *just* woken up, when he said, "I have more bad news." 

Someone somewhere decided that all the assistant managers who were going to help at the other out-of-state-3-hours-away-store and already had a set week they were going...would now go one week earlier! So, Hubby would be going this coming Monday!  We didn't have the money now for him to drive up there or to eat on for a few days before the next paycheck came in. Then I realized that meant he'd be gone in our only vehicle on the day I was supposed to take the last half of the house payment to the finance people in person an hour away.  I can barely remember the gibberish I started spouting, but I know something about nervous breakdown was part of it. I honestly thought I was going to just lose it and they'd have to lock me up. 

I got off the phone, tried to calm down and wake up. Then I remembered another phone conversation I'd had earlier in the middle of when I was sleeping - so having gone back to sleep, I'd forgotten about it briefly. The finance people had returned the call I'd made last Friday when I left a message about wanting to see if they'd possibly extend the date to the 6th since that would include another paycheck giving us some breathing room. So, she called back and we talked about it and she begrudgingly agreed but said I would also have to have December's payment in that day as well.  I told her not to worry, I'm sure we'd be able to get there on the 1st or 2nd like the letter specified, I just wanted that extra time *Just in Case*.... well guess we had a Just In Case afterall. 

So, I relaxed a little. I *could* take the van and make the payment on the 6th which would be the very last possible day AND would have to come up with another house payment on top of the second half of what we owe already. But I already had another house payment budgeted to come out of that paycheck anyway. Relaxed a little more.  I also figured he'd be able to use a delayed debit card (goes through paypal first - I <3 this card) we have to get gas and food til there was more money in the bank - but again it's all about timing and floating an overdraft without bouncing anything and not getting more overdraft fees than I expect. Then I looked at the calendar. The two kids' programs that I was stressing about getting them to and having to miss work (though I really DO want to see them, just can't afford to miss work) were on the 6th and the 9th, and Hubby would of course be back by then.  He could take them and actually get to GO to their programs. He'd been so upset he was going to miss them before. So I called him back at work and said it might be ok afterall and to make sure they let he be off work by 5pm those two days so he'd be able to go to the programs. He also let me know his boss understood the issue and said he'd be glad to loan him money for gas and food til his next paycheck.  YIPPEE!  So, this "bad news" actually ended up being good news? Is that possible? I'll tell ya, I think I'd rather have a huge winning lottery ticket or something, but I guess I'll take what I can get. 

So, tonight while work was a little slow, I worked on the budget again. I had to rip out all the pages of the one I'd recently done.  I did the new one in pencil.. Well, we'll have about $300 for Christmas for all 4 kids and each other (not to mention the entire rest of the family)... ironically, the price of one roomba.  Still I don't think that's as bad as last Christmas or many many Christmases before. I have warned the kids that I want to go back to doing thing the way they were done when I was a kid. Each person gets ONE GIFT. I never knew of people giving or getting more than one gift from another person until I met my husband's family. That first Christmas with them left me a bit overwhelmed. I think it may have been because there were a lot of gifts, but they were all ... what's the word... "piddly"?  Instead of one nice well-thought out gift, it was just a pile of wrapped things people had picked up all during the year or gotten as free gifts when they bought something in a catalog (not kidding there, it became a running joke with me).  Now and then I'd be surprised like when I received a gold birthstone bracelet with all my kids names and stones on it. That was awesome.  So anyway, this year we are going back to ONE GIFT. My kids are not happy, but I really don't give a flying flip. Hubby and I won't get anything to have more money for the kids. The season is for them anyway. 

The budget going into the New Year is looking a LOT better than these two months, that's for sure. In fact, In Jan and Feb, I will be able to finally pay off the van, the truck and all our cash advances! Then we're going to work on getting old no-good-anymore-credit card bills paid off as well as medical bills, getting Hubby's prescriptions filled (he's been out of his cholesterol meds for over a month - recall he had a heart attack.) , and with the tax refund, we're going to put some money down on a newer more reliable van/suv and pay up some of the payments way ahead of time so this crap never happens again. I'm just going to give the kid the truck and let her get it fixed. I hate having to finish paying it off when it's a hunk of junk, but I have too much in it now. We'll probably keep the van we've got since we only have one more payment on it (which will just have to wait til January the sound of tow trucks driving by makes my stomach lurch too).  The new vehicle needs to be big enough to take at least 5 of us plus my MIL on road trips to visit family, so actually hoping to get a Suburban (obviously it won't be as nice as the in-laws.... I'm not obsessing really.).  

So yeah, I've got some stressful days ahead, trying to make sure money goes exactly where it's supposed to go, and we have cash when we have to have it.  I'd say a very small percentage of people actually have to deal with this sort of thing as often as we do... at least I sure hope it's not the normal way of things. 

I'm just hoping that I can finally stop our bad habits and actually learn from our year and years of mistakes, and maybe just do it right next year. 

I'll let you know how that goes. 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 
Let's see if maybe 2011 is The Year eh?