This Christmas was a hard one. Nothing particularly bad happened per se, and I was given wonderful, thoughtful gifts from my family and friends. So I suppose I shouldn't complain, as others had a much worse holiday season, but there was this feeling of helplessness.
As many of you know, Three quit a very abusive job at the end of October. His boss overworked him to the point where he was nearly hospitalized for dehydration and exhaustion, only to start him right back working 70+ hard physical labor hours, while only compensating him for 40 hours of work. It doesn't help that Three is diabetic, which just complicates things further. He wanted to hang on for another week or so, but I was having none of it. I just knew that he would be actually admitted if he kept up this regimen of sleeping for four hours and then working ten or fifteen hour shifts. With no day off. After handing in his manager keys, it seemed like no amount of rest could get him healthy again. Two weeks of essentially constant sleep got him to where he could stay up for longer than four hours at a time, but he was still so tired. This, however, didn't keep him from plugging away, trying to find another job. He wasn't picky, either, as so many job searchers are these days. But in our city, there's a huge concentration of unemployed workers, many from out of state. Plus, our rent increased, although they sneakily worded the lease where it looked like we were paying the same amount, and we weren't the only ones who made the mistake. I had also signed Three up for health insurance through my job, and my premiums skyrocketed. It seemed pretty bleak, but Three and I stayed hopeful that things would come together.
Then the end of November came and yay Christmas. I made soaps for my mom and grandmother, bought my sister some makeup (that was decently priced), made a gift basket for my Santamoose*, and found a bargain bin for PS3 games for my dad. I would have loved to have done more, but we were limited. We didn't even buy things for each other this year; not even little stocking stuffers. And then came the realization that we weren't going to be able to pay all of our bills in December. We had scrimped and gotten rid of a bunch of things we didn't need, never ate out, went on walks in the park, played video games at home, went to free events, etc. I even took the bus - my pass is paid for by my job, which is nice - to save on gas and to give Three the opportunity to go on interviews.
But we were still short. By about $270. We sat down and talked about what we could do, and I went ahead and suggested the least of the evils: asking my parents for help. Sigh. I'm 28 years old and HATE the fact that I now have to go to my parents for assistance with basic necessities. The entire Christmas day, Three was on edge, so much so that even my sister asked me if he was alright. After opening up presents and eating Christmas lunch/dinner, we called my parents into another room and let them know what was going on. They were so incredibly gracious and immediately agreed to help; tears were in Three's eyes, as this came as an embarrassment to him. While my mom and I hammered out the details of how we would pay them back, he and my dad went into another room and had a long chat. I'm not sure what it was about, but they were both laughing by the time we had to go home. In the end, we left my parents' house, feeling better and worse at the same time.
We're not out of the woods yet. We're kind of back at square one, now, but at least we're not in the negative. We're trying to find a cheaper apartment a little further out of town, so we can be closer to our dream house (which is still for sale!!). And Three started his new job today, which has elated his mood much more than I expected it to, so we'll have a little more income in the middle of January than normal. So things are looking up. I'll just have to give it a little time. And then next Christmas, we'll be better. I know we will.