It’s been an odd year. The first half sucked big time because I wasn’t getting work. It’s scary when bills continue to come in but income doesn’t.
So I put out a distress call to friends, asking for edits. No one responded. Maybe I would have had better luck with GoFundMe, especially if I’d said I was raising money for a wall.
I lived off my savings for a few months, gave serious thought to how I would handle being homeless, and then things turned around, and I was getting work from my usual sources again.
My mother died in September, after five years in a home. She had dementia and, according to staff, breast cancer. Why they would do tests like this on an old woman, I have no idea. She was almost 94 when she died, and it wasn’t from cancer.
My dad spent five years in assisted living, and they wanted to give him a colonoscopy. Mom refused, and she was right to do so. A series of tiny strokes had destroyed his mind; looking for something expensive to treat was ridiculous, and if he had it, well, the brain was gone, why save the body?
It’s no secret Mom and I didn’t get along. We fought most of our lives, and I considered her a poor excuse for a mother and a lousy human being. I still wonder what my father saw in her; he was hard-working, kind, generous, and laughed easily. Talk about opposites attracting!
I suspect he often thought of leaving her, but because of the way he was raised, divorce wasn’t something you did.
I miss him. I don’t miss her. She was that toxic person in your life who ruins everything with a few well-chosen words.
Five expensive years of care for Dad, five expensive years of care for Mom. When I added up what that cost, I was shocked at how much money they had. The greedy medical and insurance industries made out like bandits from the hard work my parents did over a lifetime. The kids? Not so much.
What was left of their estate amounted to only a few thousand for each of us (I have two younger brothers). As I expected nothing, this was a pleasant surprise. I considered whether or not to spend it and eventually decided to buy a five-year-old car to replace the faltering ten-year-old car. It was fun jacking them around on the price and paying in cash. I think I got a good deal, but they’re like the gambling hotels in Vegas; no matter how good you think you are, they’re always better.
I had a little money left, but I was in no hurry to spend it. I planned to hang on to it in case of another extended dry spell–and with Trump as our idiot president, there are bound to be some as the economy continues to tank.
I didn’t take into consideration that my landlord would raise my rent. I was already paying more than I was comfortable with, so I hopped online to check out rental properties. You know those reports that say a person making minimum wage can’t afford a decent apartment anywhere in this country? They’re right. I make minimum wage most months (income averaged out over twelve months), and I couldn’t afford the rentals I was seeing. This is the first time I’ve ever run into that, so yeah, things are getting worse in this country, at a speed that is shocking.
I looked into renting a room and quickly realized that would be unpleasant, at least in regard to the places I checked out. I figured becoming someone’s new roommate would be much the same. I thought about renting out my second bedroom, but how do you vet someone adequately enough to know they won’t stiff you, party all night, or invite questionable people home? I don’t like sharing a space unless love is involved.
If I wanted to live alone, I had to go in a different direction. That’s how I ended up buying a bargain-basement mobile home in a park an hour away from me. The lot rent is $150 less than I’d be paying here in January, and water is included. In Florida, water is considered something rare, and it’s expensive. Having it included in the lot rent means one less bill to pay every month, so the move saves me over $200 a month.
I’m giving up concrete block construction, and a hurricane may eventually blow my house away, but when you’re living at the bottom of the economic scale, it’s now that matters, not what ifs.
I won’t be sorry to see 2018 go. Politically, it’s been a horror show, start to finish. Personally, it was a roller-coaster ride. A toast to a better year in 2019!
See you next time.