Thursday, March 10, 2016

That Money Thing

I'm going to try to make this post as light-hearted as possible. But as you know with the subject of money, that is a hard thing to do.

It is not just the renovation. I have come to learn that unless you are well-off to begin with, that there is no "good time" to do a renovation. Life keeps going. Things keep happening.

For instance....

It started with Luke's karate class. I won't go into all the details, but it turned out to be way more expensive than we thought. For instance, no one ever told us that it would cost $375 just to get Luke started, and then $89 per month.

I didn't think Dennis would go for it. I didn't think we would be able to get $375. But we figured out a way. We are now locked into an 18 month program of paying monthly payments. We wouldn't have done it at all, but you don't go and put a kid in Karate for 4 weeks and then suddenly tell him he can't go.

Ok, yes, you could do that. But I just couldn't do it to Luke. It is the one thing he has enjoyed. It has gotten him off the computer. It has gotten him outside. It has given him something to be proud of. It has risen his self-esteem. So, no. I couldn't do that to him. You sacrifice something to come up with money, and "make do" for 18 months. That's just the way it goes sometimes.

Anna had this weird thing suddenly appear on her lip. We thought it was just a cold sore. But then it got worse and worse.

No lip balm made it go away. In fact, it got worse. I finally posted the picture on Facebook to see if my group of mom-friends could help me figure it out. My sister and two other women said, "Oh, that's impetigo!"
Turns out that impetigo is a form of strep that can appear anywhere on the body. (Most commonly on the face.) Not only that, but it's contagious and can spread throughout the body and from person to person. I thought it was a strange diagnosis. No one in the family had strep, and Anna seemed to be fine.
A week later, Max came home with Strep throat. Not only that, but Anna's class had Strep going around.
We brought Max into the dr for his Strep. Dennis asked that we wait with Anna to make sure that it really wasn't just a cold sore. So we bought some cold sore medicine and are still waiting to see if it gets better or not. If it doesn't, we will have to bring her in. That's another drs visit in two weeks.
Then yesterday, Max came upstairs with a strange lump on his neck and was complaining that it hurt. Yep, it was a big lump, alright. Right underneath the chin. A strange place to get a lump.
So we brought him for the second time to get the lump checked out. Turned out that it was his thyroid gland, and it was swelling up because we had not given him his full dose of Strep medication. The dr gave us an extra prescription for another round of amoxicillin.
Then, I finally decided it was high time for me to get into the dentist. I had put it off because last time I went in I was given some bad news that was going to cost us much $$$. I put it off for a full year, so that Dennis could get his teeth checked and Anna get hers done (she had five cavities. Yup, five.) 
I finally made the apt and yep, those cavities are still there, plus one extra. Not only that, but I will need crowns for all of them. We are looking at $2000. Enough to do another bathroom renovation!
Needless to say, we don't have $2000 so I'm applying for Care Credit. Pray that I get approved!
Then, Lucy began to complain about her tooth. She has had a loose tooth for about two weeks now; it's been very stubbornly hanging on, causing her a lot of pain. One day, it did nothing but bleed off and on all day. Finally, Dennis tried to pull it. Let's just say it didn't go well.
When we looked at her mouth, we saw her permanent tooth already poking through, right behind her loose tooth. No wonder she was in pain! She had a cleaning coming up and I wanted the Dentist to pull it, but Dennis didn't want to get charged for it with any anesthetics or laughing gas. This tooth was so loose that it just needed a good yank, and wasn't worth the extra money. So I promised Dennis that I wouldn't let them give her any anesthetics. I just wanted him to look at her tooth.
When we went to the dentists, the Dentist said that yes, the tooth needed to be pulled. Lucy began to cry a little, and everyone tried to calm her down. We assured her it wouldn't hurt that much, that it would just be a little pull and then over. This didn't go over well with Lucy either.
I felt bad for her. I have been in her shoes many times and I couldn't bear to see her go through this without a little bit of help. We made a plan to put a numbing topical gel on her tooth and gum so that she would feel as little pain as possible. Insurance covered this gel, so I didn't see why we couldn't do it, and the Dentist felt the laughing gas would be unnecessary.
Still, Lucy was very nervous, but the hygienist was very good about putting on a good amount of gel to numb the tooth. The tooth came out very easily (the Dentist actually just pulled it out with his fingers) and Lucy only felt a little bit of pain. Next thing we know, he's holding her tooth that was causing so much pain and problems right in front of her face. They rewarded her with three prizes from the prize bin, plus a $10 Target gift card!
But, I still had to pay 46.55 for the tooth extraction. Insurance covered most of it. Can you believe it costs $100 to pull a tooth out?!
Dennis wasn't happy about the situation. He said he wanted to know where his $100 was for pulling out the other kids loose teeth over the years. I understand where he's coming from, but I don't think it's such a bad thing to pay for a little comfort to ease pain and fear. At least with children. And besides, I paid for it with my savings.
The last thing that has been dumped on us within the past couple weeks is perhaps the hardest of all. My social security is being reviewed, and there's a good chance they will reject me. I didn't get all my paperwork handed in on time and they only have a small portion. We are scrambling to get it done and still get it handed in, but it's still been stressful, waiting to hear their decision. It's like our livelihood is in the hands of the government.
It is an odd feeling; hoping you will qualify for social security. It's like you're hoping you are sick. I feel guilty for this, like I am faking an illness.
But all of this, I have to put in God's hands. It has been difficult for me--hard on the ego--to be sick without looking sick. Wondering if my brain still is injured enough to not be working. Feeling guilty that I can't hold a job, and that your husband has to be the only one shouldering the bills by himself.
It's humbling, humiliating, and shaming. It's probably the hardest "illness" I have ever been through. I can't really describe what it's like to be sick and look healthy.
But it is what God has allowed in my life, and He's allowed it for a reason. I remind myself that every blessing and burden, every trial and good thing has it's purpose. I know all of it is meant for me to be kept close to God. I am thankful for it, really. In an odd way, I am. Sort of like when I was a kid and in trouble with my parents. I would be in my room, sulking, but at the same time, a feeling of warmth would steal over me. I would feel safe, protected. I always knew that the punishment that they were giving me was for my own good, my safety, my protection. I felt loved probably more those times than when I did when I did something good.
It's sort of the same way with the trials I go through in my life. They are hard, but...they keep me close to God. It's like His way of giving me hugs.
So. It is a tough time right now. Lots of stress with money and financial things. Lots of people we owe money to. Lots of things that have to be done and then paid for.
And yes, there is the bathroom renovation. It has to be completed. We are almost there.
Just a little longer.

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