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A Bit of a Necessary Pity Party…because I want to sleep but can’t.

It’s 12:17am on a Tuesday morning. I should be in bed. I should be snoozing away peacefully in preparation for the day ahead of me, ready to work, ready to hit the grindstone and earn that money that my family is always scraping by on.

Instead, I’m too paranoid to sleep…because the propane is out. Again. Third time in two months. I don’t even know what the cost of propane is right now. I know it high. I know there’s a shortage. I know that the concern is enough to cause people to panic and to provoke the creation of an emergency propane hotline that, fyi folks, doesn’t do much. I called them up hoping for some form of epiphany…some relief from this overwhelming fear of having to face another measly fill to get by. Instead, I was directed to the emergency heating assistance number and my name and number was taken down with various other facts to add to the compiling data and ensure that no price-gouging was going on. That call ranks pretty high up there on my list of let-downs.

Because the propane is out, I’ve got two space heaters and one ceramic heater keeping this house a balmy 68 degrees. I shouldn’t complain. 68 degrees is nice to most people. And with the fact that the wind-chill is currently at -30, it’s impressive that my house can maintain that. One of the very few reasons I’m happy about living in a house that’s too small for two adults and two little girls.

And I’m not going to lie guys. There’s a lot of self-pitying going on right now. A lot of it. It conflicted, I promise. There’s a lot of “so many have it worse than this. There are women in shelters right now because they can’t go home to the spouse who’s abusing them, there’s families who have so much less, children who don’t have a mom that is afraid to fall asleep because their house might start on fire from the use of space heaters.”

I know things could be a lot worse. I always know they can be a lot worse.

But at the same time…I keep asking myself…how did I become this person? I look at the bra held together with a safety pin, the laundry stacked haphazardly on every surface, the dishes not done because I fell asleep putting the kids to bed and there is no dish detergent right now. I look at the 67 cents in my bank account and the $25 left from the advance I reached out for…second one in two months. I look at the debt that isn’t necessarily being added to…but it’s also not going anywhere any time soon…and I think…how did this become me? Where did I take one misstep that lead me down this path to constant financial struggles? I rack my brain hour after hour and amongst the numerous back up plans I try to come up with…that’s a question that is consistently there.

I know I’m a good mom. I love my daughters. They want for nothing. Regardless of the ups and downs my husband and I have, we’re pretty solid. We still have our days but on the whole, we work as a pretty good team.

But this money thing…man, this money thing is the least fun thing a person could possibly do. And I don’t want to be this person. I really don’t.

I don’t want to be the person who’s afraid to talk to debt collectors because all I can offer them is a laughable $5.00 a month. I don’t want to be this person who’s asking for the required minimum propane fill because it’s all I can afford and then, when that money’s gone, move on to play the fun game of how far can we stretch the remaining $100 until payday with both of us commuting a half an hour to work and back at different hours of the day and four mouths to feed. I want to be better than this. I want to be stable. I want more than a week of not having to worry about finances. I want a lifetime of not having to worry about finances.

I want to be realistic and positive and proactive…but at 12:17am on a Tuesday with the temperature in the house being held in place by three space heaters….that person is hard to find.

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