Saturday, December 8, 2012

Running against the wind

I find myself a month behind in rent, a shut off notice on the gas bill and no money for groceries. I have food enough to carry us for a month, perhaps a little less.  I am frightened and worried. My husband received a $25.00 gift card  for doing a focus group. Of course, it is for the most expensive store around. Which means $25.00 isn't going to buy much. There are the three of us. Myself, my daughter and my husband. He is a meat eater, it's not a meal until it contains some kind of meat.

We have had it hard over the years, but is is about to be the worst than it has been in many years. My daughter and I have lost our insurance. I take several medications, with one of them costing nearly $600.  If you add all of them together it totals about $1000.  We survive on $1346. a month. I have friends who pay more than that for rent a month.

I think we have handled this situation pretty well for the most part. Guilt over my daughter not being able to have everything she wants or needs is the hardest part.  Deciding what bill to pay and buying food seems to be a true juggling act.  We dropped a ball and are faced with $800. worth of shut off notices.

It is December - a dreaded time of year for me. Filled with embarrassment and sorrow, when my daughter puts on a brave face and pretends everything is okay. Last year a woman that I've known since elementary school bought Christmas for us. She sent clothes, a music CD for my daughter and personal items, not only for my daughter  but also for myself and my husband. It was much more than I would have ever expected anyone I haven't seen in over 20 years to do. It was very humbling and a kind act. I did no ask for it, I would never do that. And I still cannot express my deep and complete gratitude to her.

This year is no different yet very different from past years. My heart is broken along with my spirit. We struggle, like so many others and most of the time do so without complaint. No, this is not how I envisioned my life. But it has and could be worse. I have been homeless, I have eaten at the soup kitchens and I have had to survive through a lot of things of my own making and some not.

I put up our ugly little Christmas tree, I decorate it with no enthusiasm. I hung the garland in the archways and a wreath hangs on the door.  But there is little joy. There will be no excitement on Christmas morning. It will be just another day.  I will make as many gifts as I can for my daughter, a scarf, a bracelet and maybe a throw with the yarn I have left. I had bought her a sweater, a pair of pants and a hat last time I had a little money. She told me to wrap them and put it under the tree.  I wish I could go back and make different choices. I know each and every one that lead me to this place. Sadly I knew at the time I was making the wrong decisions.

SO, back to the reason for writing this post. I have went through every cupboard and I have written down every box and can of food I have. I now have the task of figuring out how to feed us for as long as possible. I have no idea when I can buy more groceries.

There are two thinks in this world I think area more important that most anything. Having a roof over your head and food in your belly. I know there are people who have even less than me and they are happy to have it. And believe me when I say, I am truly happy for all I do have.   As I work to make a filling menu with what i have available, I am going to post any recipes I use. Maybe I can help someone else out there who have a similar situation.

Tonight I made Dirty Rice.  Not really a recipe, I've made a few times and always different. Tonight was very simple.

Dirty Rice

1lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1/2 Green pepper, diced
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
 2 green onions, sliced in rings
couple dashes cayenne (optional to taste)
1 cup water
3 cups cooked rice

Browned the meat, drained any fat off, added onion and bell pepper, all the spices, green onion and cup of water.  Add cooked rice, mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.  I didn't not put an amount for the salt, I don't cook with it. We just add salt after we get our servings.

Really easy. Pretty tasty.

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