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Painted in a corner

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:52 am
by Knight
I need a plan that I can get excited about that allows me to take care of my kids and not go broke doing it.

In 2013, I quit my job and moved myself and my children from Kentucky to Nebraska to stay with my mother-in-law while we hunted for a new house and a new job for my wife. I got a job fairly quickly, but everything else about that trip was a disaster. My wife's siblings who offered daycare had other plans and charged us as much as professionals, my new job didn't pay as much as my old one, the in-laws had split schedules so had somebody trying to sleep at all times (and I had two toddlers with me), my wife wasn't able to find work (and certainly not work that paid more than we would spend on daycare) and the house back in Kentucky didn't sell. Several months later, we returned to Kentucky to our old house and I went back to work for my old employer.

After the return, we had a bit of an upswing job-wise: I was moved out of the slowest store in the district and into one with good traffic and started to get some good paychecks, and my brother-in-law moved in and started helping repair the house, which was a fixer-upper when we bought it. However the work is subject to big seasonal fluctuations and when the busy season ended we had spent our extra on building supplies and didn't have money set back to pay bills during the slow season. In addition, my brother-in-law moved out after tearing out drywall, etc. so left us with more repairs than when he arrived.

The problem now is giving up. The busy season is upon us again and I am starting to get bills paid, but too much money is leaking away on higher utility bills. I fight every morning to get my wife out of bed, then do 12 hours at my job, followed by washing clothing, doing dishes and repairing whatever the kids destroyed while I was away. The construction bag full of old drywall is still in the back yard. We eat late night fast food far too much. I bought flea treatment for the yard and house (which I dare not use while everyone is asleep) but it sits unused while I am at work all day. And it is not just my wife that is giving up. I used to take clean laundry to work to fold when the store was slow, but I've stopped. I used to jump out of bed on my days off to get stuff done that I couldn't during the week. Now I watch movies with my kids.

I love my wife, but I have *no* plan to do what needs to be done without her active participation and we are feeding each others ennui. I see so many things that I could do if I was single instead of a married parent with two kids and a dog, but have no plan to get out of the spiral I am in.

Re: Painted in a corner

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:29 pm
by Elaine Glimme
I am way out of my expertise, but here's what I think. It sounds like depression. Maybe a call to a doctor or a priest or a counselor for advice. Staying home with two kids is wonderful and difficult.

Knight, you've obviously done your share of the chores and more. And I'll never say that watching two kids all day is easy, because it isn't.

I assume that the higher utility bills are from using the AC. Suggestion: I have an attic fan. It cost about $150. It blows the hot air out of the attic through a vent in the roof, and drops the temperature inside the house by about 15 degrees.

I hope someone else comments here because I'm way out of my depth. And I probably don't know what I'm talking about.

Hang in there.

Re: Painted in a corner

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:13 pm
by SquarePeg
I feel like I'm spiraling down into the state you're in due to my wife's chronic health issues.

I think the key is figuring out why your wife needs to be fought with to get out of bed. Depression does sound like a possibility. Whatever it is, it's taking its toll on you and maybe even your boys. But if she can get excited about a 20-hour per week job (or more) plus some typical mom duties, it would free you to do your part. I'll keep an eye on this thread, plus post again when time permits.

Re: Painted in a corner

PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:54 am
by Elaine Glimme
I'm so sorry that you're going through hard times. I hope you're getting lots of support from friends and family. I'm sending you prayers or good thoughts or both - whatever you prefer. Molly sends a virtual nose lick. She wanted to mail Shadow a tennis ball and liver snack, but I suggested that there might be logistics problems. Molly humphed and barked something under her breath. I think it was "humans have limited imaginations."

Good thoughts, and/or prayers to you also, Knight.

May all your spirals turn upward.

Re: Painted in a corner

PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:34 pm
by Knight
You are correct, the wonky utilities are a result of the AC. With the walls ripped apart, you can see sunlight along the bottom of the wall in the kitchen, children's bedroom and bathroom. We have rolls of Insulation, wainscotting and moulding sitting around the house waiting to be installed.

You are also correct about depression and medical issues. At the moment, one of the battles we are fighting is getting the insurance company to approve medications. Our medical insurance exceeds the cost of our mortgage, and that is before adding in not including copays and medication.

My thought was that if I could find a way to make it - to juggle everything - as if I was a single father, then my wife would be free to help when she is having a good day rather than the opposite: being forced to help when she is having a bad day. The problem is that I haven't been able to find a how-to on juggling parenting and work without assistance. I know people do it: I just don't know how.

Re: Painted in a corner

PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:36 pm
by Elaine Glimme
Knight, I want to fix everything for you, and of course I can't.

Single parents get the work done the same way you do - they do the best they can. Most people have some support - baby sitters, day care, friends who exchange favors with each other.

The work will be easier as the kids get older. Small kids can help with chores, but it's usually less work to do the chore yourself, than to have the child do it. It's still good to get the kids in the habit of helping. And they'll be going to school soon.

But having a house to herself won't help your wife with depression, (if that's what's going on.) Depression feeds on being alone. Your doctor should be either fighting the insurance company to get your wife the medication she needs, or finding something that the insurance company will pay for that will get the job done.
I hope you have some support. Raising kids, under perfect circumstances is not easy. Anyone who thinks it is has never raised kids.
And I hope, somewhere in the middle of all the chores, you find a way to have a little bit of fun.

Good wishes.

Re: Painted in a corner

PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:21 pm
by inspiresuccess
Hi valiant Knight,

You have an overwhelming amount of things to deal with right now. I might be able to help. Let's try one area at a time.


I got my help with utilities in California by being "low income".

Each government agency (county, state, federal) has a different idea of what low income means. (So, don't assume you're not).

I struggled for years with high utility bills because I had no idea I qualified for help.

Here is one benefit I received from them:

Help (FOR FREE!) to make my house more energy efficient.

I filled out a fairly short, easy amount of paperwork. I qualified. Then they sent someone out to make sure the house actually needed what they offered. It did.

Here's what they did for me FOR FREE:

Sealed off all doors that had spaces around them that let in outside air
Removed old insulation from the attic
Replaced old insulation with new insulation
Installed an attic fan
Installed ceiling fans in all rooms that had a light fixture in the middle of the ceiling
Wrapped the heater with an insulated heater blanket
Replaced doors
Replaced old locks
Replaced screens
Replaced screen doors
Plus more because I can't remember it all (I don't live there anymore).

This was paid for by the state and the utility company. Your state/utility company will be different. It's worth it to ask.

Remember -- the website might not list things that the person on the phone will know or the person on the phone might not know about what you see listed on the website right in front of you. If neither are helpful, ask to speak to the person's supervisor. I know you probably do all this when you're feeling okay but I'm giving a reminder because when I'm depressed, overwhelmed, exhausted, etc. I tend to forget to do basic things I normally would do.

Hugs to you and your family, good luck, and I'll be back with more info in other areas you need help with.

Inspire Success

P.S. Please give us a nickname for your wife so we don't keep referring to her as "your wife"! Thanks!