Thursday, October 23

Tax Return

For a family whose income is as low as ours, some things are put off until we have the money.  The dryer is broken, the sink plugged, the shower and tub nozzles both work at the same time, and the tub drain is slow.  My car needs brakes, the wagon needs another battery, the kids need jeans (preferably without holes).  I've been stringing my eldest daughter along, waiting for the right time to get her front teeth bonded to hide a hereditary imperfection in the enamel. The Playstation has been broken now almost longer than we have owned it. When do all these things get fixed?

 "When the tax return comes, we'll take care of it."

Ha.  Tax time has come and gone, and about half the list is taken care of.  I got the kids some jeans, and some shoes, because holes are infectious.  The tub no longer fills when I shower, which means the hot water lasts longer, but the tub drain is still slow, a problem aggravated by having 7 hair beasts using the shower alongside the hubby and my son. The sink is still plugged.  The dryer is still broken, but at least we have a clothes line now.  The car still needs brakes, and the wagon is still making do with a battery that won't hold a charge for more than a couple days.  My daughter's teeth?  I'm hoping our medical will cover it, because, hey, malformed enamel!  It's not just a cosmetic issue ( I will argue this one!).

Fast forward months later.  It's August and all those things and more need to be taken care of.  The girls now need bras and everyone needs undergarments.  Some dressers are not holding together well anymore, and I'm running out of silverware.  My plates, all melmac, are also running away.  I'm guessing this is why that nursery rhyme exists, because it must be true!

Thankfully, we have a pantry full of food, freezers stocked, cabinets overflowing because I broke down and applied for food stamps and medical coverage.  Kids are getting shots they missed out on, I am getting work done that is sorely needed, hubby had a procedure done and blood pressure medication prescribed, and psychiatric help is on the way for at least one in the family.  Me? Not for me, but I may ask if padded cells with pretty buckled jackets are covered...

Wow. I started writing this one a long time ago. It's almost Halloween, couple years later. The station wagon is long gone. My eldest told me she doesn't want to cover up her teeth because they are different, and she is fine with it. My plastic plates have all disappeared, replaced by a hand me down set of dishes someone got tired of. I've since bought silverware at the thrift store since I won't have a full set of anything matching long enough for it to matter. My tub is unplugged (thank God and my mom!), and the dryer works, but I don't like using it, because electricity is more expensive than sun and wind. The Playstation is fixed. I have probably been through another set or more of brakes on my car, which needs more than brakes now. I have been in this house almost 11 years, and am still waiting to get rid of this nasty mottled brown carpet. The tile on my once beautiful old counters is falling off around my sink. The faucet is dripping because the water pressure is so high here that I have to replace it every few years. My security screen is not secure. The girls still need underthings.

We'll take care of all of this at tax time.

Wednesday, August 15

First Day of School XIII

It's the night before the first day back to school.  Kids are rooting around desperately looking for ID cards on lanyards they were given a week ago, emptying backpacks and restocking them, fretting over outfits, and making the house a huge chaotic mess.  The shower has been in use non stop since 5pm, in 30 minute intervals, and I get the last one.  Good thing the water heater springs back from cold pretty quickly, not that in this heat it would matter anyway.

Everyone seems to have the bare minimum they need to go to school.  It's all that they will have until I get paid at the end of the month, unless some benevolent soul drops paper, folders, highlighters, notebooks, and the like off on my doorstep.  See, tomorrow is also first day back to work for me, and last month was no pay month.  My mortgage company is forgiving, and has worked out a payment plan we all can live with, but the electric/water/trash/sewer/etc. that is my city utility bill is long overdue, and I don't know how I can pay it.  The Gas Company sent the pink notice last month.  My bank account went overdrawn last month.  I'm just gritting my teeth and hoping for leniency until the 31st.  Come on, pay day!

Last year I had a kid in every level school this district runs.  One in elementary, one in middle, one in junior high, and then a freshman, two sophomores in the high school, and a senior attending school digitally.  This year, there is no one in the middle school, one in elementary, one in junior high, 3 in high school, and one attending digitally.  Back to school nights stink, as they usually fall one after the other after the other.  I attend the ones where they are promised extra credit, and miss the older kids if I can at all help it.  If they are bombing out later in the year, all the more reason to visit then.

As much as I am looking forward to some time without them in the house, the district I work for is starting quickly on the heels of theirs this year, so I get half a day of the end of summer with out them.  Not much relief, as hubby is supposed to be laid up after hernia surgery, which means I will be making lunch and dinner and cracking the whip when the kids get back from school to get them back on the homework and chores track.  Fun stuff.

So, enough complaining from me.  YAY for back to school!  Tomorrow, maybe I'll write about the reason I started this blog last yearish and where I hope to go with it from here on out.  I know I have more to talk about than MMO games that I play to keep my sanity.  The insanity here should be excellent blog fodder!

Until tomorrow...

Friday, July 8

Station Wagon.

(Imagine, if you will, a picture in this spot.  Then come back in a day or so and it will be there!)

You'd think with 7 kids I'd have something a bit bigger, like a passenger van or a small bus.  My dad, when he heard our family was about to grow (again) was fortunate enough to find a 1990 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser with only one owner who garaged it and kept it under 100,000 miles.  In 2006, this car was pretty rare, and seeing another is a little exciting, even today.  It's a great car, with enough belts for 8, though we double buckle one in the back if needed.  By the back, I mean the rear facing seat in the cargo area.  You know, the seat that kids from large families loathe, but all their friends think is sooo cool?

(Pretend with me there is a picture of a sporty little red compact car here.  I promise I'll put it up later.)

Anyhow, this car replaced my little red Mitsubishi Mirage (circa 2000), because, let's face it, there was no way all those kids were going to fit in there, because it was already too small!  I've been driving the beastly wagon every day to work, and to wherever the whole family needs to go for 5 years now, and with the way gas prices have been, it has been difficult to afford.  So, my kind step father got my little 4 door red compact car back on the road.  I love the little thing.  It's a great gas saver.

The station wagon has since been sitting, driven once a week or less, in the far part of my driveway. The big reason, of course, is the price of fuel, but other reasons are easy.  It's older, no air conditioning (too expensive to fix), and some of the doors and windows are kinda wonky.   Today, since hubby had the red car, I had to pull out the beast to go pick up my girls and their friends from church.  My oldest sat in the middle seat, and the rest piled into the back.  Funny how, when it's just family, all I hear are moans and groans about sitting back in the hot, no leg room, squishy part of the car. When there are three teenage girls back there, all you hear is giggling, the tick tick of nails on a cell phone keyboard, and people behind me honking at the outrageously silly show these girls put on.

(Again, another imaginary picture, this time of at least one of my girls cleaning fingerprints from the back window of the car.  Or doing blowfishes on the glass.  Or just making funny faces.  It'll be here soon.)

The fun doesn't end with the ride, though.  Dropping them off is also a show.  One decides to climb over the middle seat and exit through the middle door. She ends up practically upside down on the middle seat trying to get the door open.  When it finally opens, doesn't she almost fall out on her head! As we yell goodbye, the other girls giggle in the backseat as I pull away.  Then we pull up to the other girls house, who more gracefully  manages to climb over the middle seat to get out the side door, and proclaims herself the winner as she walks into her house. My two are pretty quiet the rest of the way home.

Station wagons are fun. All you Suburban and mini van owners are missing out.  No expensive entertainment system can outdo the fun of a rear facing seat at eye level with most of the cars on the road.  If you have any doubt, I'll take the station wagon out for another spin for you.  You can sit in the back.