I’m absolutely terrified to post this. I’m praying that posting this won’t cause irrevocable harm to my marriage, harm my relationship with my kids, and/or lose my beloved readers but I have held this in for some time now. If I don’t get it out I’m afraid it me eat me hollow. Being poor is something I’ve tried to hide but it’s time to come out of the closet. Someone recently said something to me that really upset me. I won’t get into the exact words said but the fact that this person was so heartless and incredibly mistaken about me and my life was both depressing and infuriating. This blog has apparently led her to believe that Mr. C and I enjoy a high income lifestyle. But nothing could be further from the truth. But my dear friend (a sister by love) convinced me that sharing our story might help others. So here I go.
You see, since my spinal cord injury and Mr. Comfortable’s cancer we’re broke. And I don’t Hillary and Bill broke. I mean we can’t buy our medications, clothing, or groceries broke. You may wonder how I’m able to keep up the blog and post recipes and I really struggled with coming out with how we manage things but I realize that some of you may be experiencing the kind of financial hardships we are and thought sharing might help.
The tips and additional information will come in my next post but I know that there will be questions so I’m tackling them first and, if anyone is left to read, I’ll give the tips next.
Q: If you’re so broke why do you have this blog?
A: I have a blog because the internet is the only contact Mr. C and I have with the outside world. We cannot afford dinners at restaurants or movies in a theatre. We can no longer even afford gas to visit friends as we have to save it for required driving. Since talking exclusively to Mr. C and the dogs bores them (I tend to tell the same stories over and over because I don’t have new experiences) writing distracts me. And researching cheap everything gives me something to write about.
Q: If you’re so broke how can you afford the Internet?
A: We can afford the internet (sort of) because we’ve given up every other form of entertainment. As I mentioned we don’t dine out, go to movies, or visit friends. We haven’t taken a vacation in years. We don’t even rent DVD’s. We have a television which gets 4 stations as long as no trucks drive by and it doesn’t rain. Our antenna for that television is from the 1980’s and the rabbit ears are actually wire hangers we’ve bent and stuck into the little box that apparently does nothing but hold up wire hangers.
Q: If you’re so broke how can you make things like lamb roasts and shrimp?
A: We can’t afford groceries. Almost all of our food comes from food pantries in the county. Our son helps us as much as he can with groceries. My disability check (which isn’t enough to pay for my medications each month) and Mr. C’s social security check are just enough to disqualify us from any kind of financial assistance (because they don’t count medical expenses and spinal cord injuries and cancer are EXPENSIVE) but they’re not enough to actually live on once the house payment and some of the bills are paid.
Q: If you’re so broke how do you pay any bills?
A: Every dime we get from SSDI and SS goes to bills. We no longer buy our medications because we 1) can’t afford the prescription costs and 2) can’t afford the doctor visits required for them to renew our prescriptions. Our younger son helps us by footing our entire electric bill himself which is quite high due to a previous balance and by slipping us money on a regular basis but his work is seasonal so it’s very difficult for him. Our older son has 4 kids and is still in his apprenticeship so he’s barely making it himself.
Q: Why are you broke if you worked before?
A: Mr. C worked for a non-profit which means we did not profit but the upper executives did really well. And when he retired after 38 years his pension wasn’t enough to pay for health insurance so when he got cancer (did I mention cancer is really expensive?) it took every dime of our savings and his pension, which was a lump sum. When the bill got to over $800,000.00 Mr. C stopped everything. He no longer goes to his follow up oncology visits and has stopped getting the scans and other tests to ensure he doesn’t have a recurrent cancer (that’s cancer in other parts of his body after having the treatments).
If you feel compelled to scold me about any spending you think is unnecessary please realize it’s nothing I haven’t said to myself.
Please look at these photos that Google brought up when I tried to find “poverty-stricken senior citizens,” “very sad senior citizens,” and “poor senior citizens.” I think society needs to open its eyes.
Apparently the Internet thinks being poor means having money to throw away.
This is what I got when I looked for “poverty-stricken couples.”
According to the Internet every day is a party for poor senior citizens.
This is supposed to be a group of “low income” senior citizens. Thank you, Internet, for your accurate portrayal.
And for another look at poverty read this interesting article on how we got article some well-known sayings because of poor folk!
UPDATE: As soon I clicked “publish” I went in and threw up. But I’m not going to delete this post. It’s too important for people to realize that things aren’t always as they seem and life isn’t always a picnic.