If you don't know me, and you probably don't, I'll give you some background of how we got where we are today. I live in a tiny town in Illinois, in the same house I've lived in since I was 4 years old. It's my mom's house. I have an older sister, Cheri, and I have 3 half siblings as well. My dad died when I was 3 so my mom moved here to be closer to her family. My whole life it was just Mom, Cheri, and me. After I went to college, I moved back in with mom. She didn't like being by herself and so I just paid her rent. It worked fine...she never remarried and I never found anybody either. My sister had moved out and gotten married and had 2 kids, my nephew Michael, and my niece Mackenzie. Cheri's marriage ended in divorce and in 2010 she and the kids moved in with me and Mom. A month later, Mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Six months later, she was gone. When she died, half of the household income was gone and I also got stuck with quite a bit of debt. I was working in mental health and my sister was going to college. A year later I lost my job and the bottom fell out from under us. I went back to school briefly. I want to be a nurse but since I already have a degree, I can only use a student loan to pay for my classes. Unfortunately you can't use your student loan to pay for prerequisite classes, only "degree seeking" classes. I find this rule to be extraordinarily stupid but there's nothing I can do. I need a chemistry class to even be able to apply for nursing school. My sister's van died so now we just have one vehicle which my sister takes to school and I work evenings and weekends at the local Walmart. Recently my sister had to take a medical leave from school because of strange headaches and dizziness. She sees a neurologist next week to try to figure all that out.
Life has been tough here lately. Our plumbing above the kitchen sprung a leak and we are now missing 1/4 of our kitchen ceiling. Possums got into our furnace over the summer and broke it and we have not been able to get that fixed. It's just been one thing after another! We don't have any choice but to make due with what we have..or don't have as the case may be. So we got signed up for food stamps which has helped although they were cut this month. We also signed up for a program that would help us to weatherize our house and repair our furnace. Thankfully our furnace was looked at yesterday and repairs should be coming shortly. November in Illinois is pretty cold!
Hopefully I'll be able to share some of what we do to get by and maybe it can help other people who might be in the same boat. I have learned to stretch my food budget by getting creative with our meals at times. In the past year we've been without electricity, gas, and heat at various times and I can honestly say that I do not take anything for granted now. Welcome to my blog. I'm glad you stopped by!