FLOTSAM

Stress and Poverty

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Poverty is exhausting.

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Fall is the most beautiful season because it is full of crisp air—- golden days where time hovers rather than flying off.

Today there was blessings in the air. Despite the fact that everyone in our complex has been stressing out about having inspections, today was serene, and golden. Many of us were still trying to cram stuff into the dumpsters this morning, and you could hear that people were getting their last minute cleaning done. It is really stressful for the management, since it is usually a third party that wants to inspect, whether it is the State, the City, or the Tax Board.. Sometimes we are lucky to be randomly chosen ahead of time, which is good because you can do a quick clean on the patio and front door, make sure your blinds are straight, etc. Not knowing is REALLY stressful. You have to be ready, whether they chose you or not. Since they flush your toilets, check you fridge, turn on the stove, open windows, and look under sinks—you really have to clean, not just tidy up. There is something really unpleasant about letting a group of strangers into your home, and watch them check every room and utility. When you have company, of your own choosing, you may not care how your house looks, or you may just clean the front room and the bathroom- the essentials. I know they are not looking to see how tenants rate on the messy house scale, and that it is in the interest of tenants to have these inspections- they are making sure that the subsidized housing is not being a slumlord and leaving people in sub-par units. However, it is physically and emotionally exhausting. I wish that all the parties interested in view our units, would do so all on one day. You also have to understand that each inspection, means getting a pre-inspection done by the management to make a to-do list. Management is not so bad, and once you’ve been there, they are a bit like family. Still, gotta clean and avoid the shame. On the plus side, my house is clean and I could handle visitors without freaking out! This time around was really exhausting because my husband hurt his back earlier in the week, and I had to do a lot of furniture shuffling, and bed hauling by myself. I am pooped, but I have a nicer home.

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Poverty is exhausting… well. Yes, these damned inspections and all that cleaning! This week I almost cried a few times because of trying to clean ahead of time, on top of normal day-to-day cleaning, all the while my little monkeys making more mess. And our washer broke, so now we are out of a washer and a dryer (I was line drying or hauling wet stuff to the laundry). Sooo. This means having to have quarters on hand and not being able to do laundry on whim. This means every towel that the kids wipe something yucky on is tragic because it depletes my towel reserve and my energy. Laundry that the kids slosh water on, becomes a chore that demands going out to get quarters, and starting a load in the laundry room, despite all the other things you have to do. It means having enough money for quarters, or having to choose between gas for the car, laundry money, or toilet paper.  Ya Allah! Poverty is not having money to fix a car, or gas to visit family. It means weekends at home, no farmers market escapades, or going out with the kids for a treat, which is OK, but you know, sometimes you need to not “feel poor” and be able to do some low budget things out in the community. Sometimes it is wanting toilet paper, and having to wait and make do. That is the worst. Putting up with crappy low cost dishwasher detergent is not fun either (at least I’m using it up despite how not-great it is).
Poverty is not being able to buy your kids clothes that they kind of need or you know they will need soon… We get pretty creative, and thank god I never emphasized looking “smashing” or matching. I don’t care to much about my own clothes, and when I do it is easy just to back-burner the feeling. With kids though. It is harder.

It is just exhausting, and I do pray things will pass. That my husband can find a job, that I can wrangle my moods and energy and find a way to make a little too. I am thankful we live in a nice town, in a nice complex, have really good neighbors, and that as a family, we are pretty awesome–and that is quite a lot.

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