Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 2013, My Month of Begging

Oh, friends. I didn't share any of this, but now that it's over and I am so grateful I am moved to tears, I think it's time.
I'm not sure why I didn't say anything at first. Shame? Fear? We'll never know. Much like a lot of other things I do on a daily basis, my motive will remain a mystery.
First, we're gonna start with the part you DO know about. My hubby, The Makeshift Dad (MD), had a truly horrible job that took him away from us for months at a time with no warning and around Christmas he decided to switch jobs so he could be home more often. That part has gone exactly as planned. He's working and he's home and it's all perfectly boring, which is exactly what we were hoping for. Well, ya know how when you start a new job you have to wait awhile for your checks to kick in? We all know that happens, so our family had planned accordingly and paid all of our bills with his last check from The Job From HELL. Then, with my check, we were going to cover rent and groceries. Things would be tight for a few weeks, but we had it all planned out and we were gonna be fine. F.I.N.E.

You know what they say about the best laid plans...

So then came the big surprise- My check never showed up!! It is two weeks late. It sent our entire household into a panic for awhile. We were running out of food, rent wasn't paid; it was a catastrophic mess. We had to go to the food pantry last weekend and have someone else provide for our kids. A few words come to mind regarding that- humiliating, humbling and grateful to name a few. We'd been keeping our apartment complex in the loop about what was going on and they were playing nicely with us, but they can only wait for so long before their boss gets a little angry about why we aren't paying rent and why they aren't evicting us. We were given until 8 am tomorrow to come up with money OR to have something in writing from the people who sign my check about where it is, whether it's going to be reissued, just what is the plan exactly.
I had been calling my paycheck signers for a week and nobody ever answered. I wasn't even allowed to leave a message because every voicemail in the entire building was full. I had emailed them a few times, no response. Things were not looking good. For over a week now we'd been tucking the kids in at night and then sitting on the couch and sobbing. And packing. And trying to find somewhere to store our stuff, someone to watch our dog, trying to figure out what kind of crackers we were gonna have for breakfast. We had contacted the homeless shelter, certain that we'd be there this upcoming weekend.
*Side note- At our shelter, if you're legally married and you have kids, you don't have to sleep in the huge room of bunk beds, they let you have a little "apartment", which pretty much looked like a hotel room with an efficiency kitchen. Still, I was trying to be happy that I wouldn't have to have my kids in the big, scary room.

Well, today I finally got ahold of someone in my office. Turns out that the computer systems were switched over Jan. 1st to get ready for the new tax changes in 2013. (On paper, I don't work for the same place anymore, although nothing changes about what I do or who I answer to. Unfortunately, they forgot to inform any of us that this change would be taking place.) When they switched programs someone royally screwed up and nobody's contact information transferred with their name. Therefore, they had an office full of checks and nowhere to send them. I couldn't leave messages or talk to anyone because they were so unbelievably busy trying to catch up with the ensuing madness. They faxed our apartment complex telling them what was going on so we don't get sent to the attorney's office tomorrow morning and they're sending out my check and I should have it in 7-10 days. I thought that was where my good news was going to end, but NO. A little while after I got off the phone with the office, one of the churches we had been to for food called us. It seems that the deacons had a meeting and were so touched by our story that they've adopted our family this month and they will be paying our rent. They also offered to take care of any bills we had, but we didn't need them for that, and they are providing us with more food this weekend. There were tears again at my house this afternoon. Tears of happiness, gratitude, surprise. Tears that come when strangers step in and literally save your life.
I have been rescued and the kindness of strangers has really touched my heart. I know we do a lot of talking on the Facebook page about kindness and being positive, but I have to confess that although my kindness did not slack, my positivity was next to nil.
When 2013 started, MD and I decided that this was going to be our year of giving. We had noticed that our children were becoming very entitled, and dare I say it, downright bratty. We really wanted them to see how lucky we were to have what we have and how rare it is to be as fortunate as we are. How insanely blessed we are to be able to have a mom who can be home all the time, more clothes per person than will fit in a dresser and a closet and food to eat on a whim, even when we're just bored and not hungry at all. We all wanted to have humble hearts. Boy, are we ever humbled now! Funny how things work like that. In the end, we got exactly what we wanted, just not in the way we had envisioned. Which is ok, I think. Next time though, I'm gonna be a little more precise in my requests.