Towing the Line

I’ve been absent from the blogosphere over the last month as I prepared for and survived the first week-long visit with my step-daughter. Full-time parenting, who knew it would kick you in the ass? It’s not difficult to understand how her little mind works, I’ve been parenting and teaching kids for over a decade; it’s keeping up with her non-stop 14-hour a day schedule that leaves me rocking back and forth, desperate for a nap. (Remember when we thought naps were stupid??) Sweet. Jesus. That’s a totally different kind of fatigue. Props to you parents who do this shit from birth, because it takes a superfluous amount of energy. During the drive home from the airport, my husband and I agreed that we are definitely part-time parents until the munchkin is old enough to decide if she wants to live with us permanently. We love her, we miss her like crazy, and in the gaps of time between visits, we are grateful for the opportunity to prepare for our little lunatic child.

Since then, it’s been a struggle to get back into the routine of life before she arrived. My mind continuously revolves around what I need to do to make this home better for her before she returns in June, and as a result, I’ve discovered just how financially compromised my husband and I are. We’re both contract employees (the husband will be a full-time hourly employee in April, thank God) and as such…we work when there’s a job available (we sit on our asses and pray for work when there isn’t) and we owe the IRS a shit-load in back taxes. Yay, adulthood!! I feel like the financial strain is my fault. Due to grad school requirements, I’m limited to the number of hours I can work during the day/evening. And daycare is a joke. I refuse to fly the munchkin to Texas this summer only to shove her in a crappy ass daycare we can’t really afford. So I sacrifice and compromise in the hopes that when she’s here, we can actually feed her. 

People have offered to help us out, but most of them are just as financially destitute as we are. I suppose that’s the meaning of true love and devotion…give to others even when you have nothing. Today I finally decided to research local food pantries…because yes, I’m that desperate. I was appalled by the fact that these facilities only service specific zip codes…and since we moved last year, our zip code isn’t included. So what do I do? Do I call and cry and plead with them to waive their boundary lines just so I can put some food in my cabinets?

We are the exceptions to many things. The government enforced healthcare is supposed to help people afford insurance…but it’s too expensive for us. We don’t have employers that provide insurance and we can’t afford further punishment from the IRS if we don’t comply. So what gives? Do I stop paying my medical bills and have my credit destroyed (because despite what you might think, medical debt can screw you out of your long-term plans to buy a house), stop paying our monthly IRS payment and watch them come try to milk us for the lack of property we own, stop paying my health insurance bills and watch the cycle perpetuate? We gave up the monthly tax break just to afford the monthly premiums. No, Obamacare, you aren’t helping me. You’re taking $200 out of my monthly budget that could go to feeding/caring for my child. Thanks, you’re super.

I’ve been in this position before, almost ten years ago…working like a fucking beast only to dig for rent money in the couch cushions at the end of every month (yes, that really does happen). I thought those days were behind me. I’m nearly 30 years old. I shouldn’t be drowning in debt JUST TO SURVIVE. I shouldn’t be unable to purchase food to feed my family. Not when I work and put forth effort every damn day. Too poor to afford the monthly bills, too rich to get government assistance. Even if I could get help from the government, I wouldn’t take it because I know there are people who need it more. If the government wants to help me, they can forgive the $13,000 we owe for the 2012-2013 tax years. 

I shouldn’t be towing the line of poverty. 

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