This morning, I woke up to yelling and arguing between my mom, dad, and brother. Hearing all of the problems about money and all of the verbal abuse…I just laid in bed and couldn’t help crying.
I hate it when there are arguments because you can hear everything in this house. I can hear someone talking if they aren’t being quiet. If they are being quiet, I can hear some type of mumbling. Loud arguments and angry voices come crystal clear, no matter where you are…door closed or not. I don’t post emotionally personal & money-related entries too often nowadays, so I feel a little vulnerable, but it’s also one of those times where I’m at one of my lows and I wish someone would listen to me (or in this case, read). Things are all over the place. Which is what this blog entry will be.
My dad was laid off from work about a week ago, which is really going to hit our family hard. He had that job for half of his life, but one day he was called in and it was also his last. No severance pay for all those years of being a loyal employee, not even a notice in advance that he was going to be laid off. Of course my dad would feel emotionally upset about that, and even more is we are all going to feel the effects, financially.
My dad’s job gave our family most of our income. My older brother still lives off of my parents and is about to be entering his 30’s, but he has never, ever gotten a job before besides helping my dad out at work. My mom works really hard, but her income only pays for groceries and smaller things like that. So that is really freaking scary. There is his untaken vacation pay, but that is only enough to pay the bills in the short run. I know there is unemployment pay, but I don’t know anything about that, having never encountered something like this before…so I don’t even know how much my dad can get or how long it will last. I can’t imagine what is beyond that, and it’s really scary.
And now the situation gets even more complicated. My dad has the idea that he can start up this small business/job thing, but everyone in my family is walking on a fine line right now. My dad claims he will build up the business. My brother and mother worry that he will not build up, because he’s already had this small business (we’ll call this job2) for years and it hasn’t made too much money – possibly due to the idea that my dad prefers being home and not working. My father has the defense of working his other – before he was laid off – job from 7am-5pm), but the odds are against him when we consider the days and nights where he pushes job2 off to my brother while he stays at home to sing karaoke (don’t ask) in front of his computer for hours straight. The business was bringing in more debt than it was bringing money in, so he had planned to sell all the equipment and lease out the space once and for all. However, my dad seemed to be too stubborn to sell this business (job2) so to this day it has still not been sold.
Before this ordeal, he even wanted to retire from his well-paying job & just focus on the possibly failing job2, even though we really need his income to pay off the house and live off of (well the irony is now he got that wish, but it came very untimely). It’s hard to say what my dad will ultimately choose, if my brother will finally get a job of his own, if my brother will just end up helping my dad with job2, or if both my brother and dad will just have to go out and look for another job, or if my brother and dad can even find a decent job in this economy. In the end, if we can’t pay the bills, my dad said he’d sell the business (job2). If that isn’t enough, we’ll sell the house. Oh god. I have lived in this house for almost my entire life and it’s really heartbreaking. I have to remind myself, it’s just a house. But when I do, somehow I just find tears in my eyes.
On top of the money problem, my parents are still in that possibly permanent phase of their relationship where they go out with their friends together, and pay the bills together, but they obviously can’t stand each other for very long anymore. I can’t remember the last time my dad slept in the master bedroom together with my mom. It’s probably been at least 6 years now. My dad doesn’t do any household duties and I think he sees his only duty as bringing in the money while my mother has to work and do everything else, such as take care of the kids, cook, clean the house, get the cars fixed, pay the bills, buy groceries, call in somebody to fix the house, etc. It’s overwhelming, I’m sure. It’s no doubt that everyone appreciates my dad for the money he brings to this house – we would not be living in such comfort without him. I just think that there’s more to being a dad and husband than bringing in the money.
I think my mother brought up the suggestion that my dad take care of the house more since he is now unemployed and relaxing at home, but my dad lashed back at her for saying that. Honestly. I think all my mom wanted was some equality, love, and respect. Wash the dishes sometimes, or at least don’t leave dirty dishes at your computer until it grows mold. Don’t expect Mom to cook all the time when she’s tired. Don’t leave your dirty clothes all over the house for Mom to pick up. Don’t spend all of your money on stocks (equivalent to gambling in our opinion) and electronics when we are struggling to pay the bills. If you make a mess, clean it, rather than ignoring it so someone else can step in it and clean it. Call up the technician to fix something broken in the house, or do it yourself, rather than ignoring it until Mom has to do it, even though she has no idea how to go about it. Don’t slam the door when Mom is sleeping. Close the door when you take a piss in the bathroom. Turn off the light to conserve electricity when you go to sleep.
Do you see my point? I don’t think my mom was asking for too much. Some wives can be real “feminists” and expect their men to do everything! My mom, on the other hand…I feel like all she wanted was a man who could be respectful, dependable, and just help out sometimes. She is not out of line, because my dad is not known for being considerate to other people (specifically in our family…when it comes to his friends, he jumps head first before anything) and does not know how to take care of himself, let alone other people. I think what he does best is working, but when he comes home, he doesn’t do anything to help out or make my mom happy. If I told you all the stories about my dad at home (my boyfriend has heard far more than enough), he would make your blood boil.
All these years I’ve been worried over my university expenses, which I’m still worried about, but now there is the added worry of how the heck does my family take care of bills and necessities?
To give perspective, this is my cost from just school alone. Note that my parents have not saved a dime for my college tuition (a conflict that I still hold back inside with mixed feelings). Here is tuition (strictly tuition for the school year, not including summer school, transportation, housing, books, etc.) in the last few years that I’ve been in college:
- 2008-2009: $8,774.50*
- 2009-2010: $9,984.00
- 2010-2011: $11,927.25
- 2011-2012: $13,970.00
*I dormed my first year of college so my total for tuition AND housing for 2008-2009 was $23,845.50.
This is ridiculous. It almost drives me to tears. Higher education is getting so ridiculously expensive. With every generation, it’s getting so much worse. The United States of America – people dream of living here, but the fact is, we are in serious, serious debt. February 12, 2010 the USA was $14.294 trillion in debt. I will admit I know nothing about politics and government and the latest news, but why is it that the poor must suffer in repaying this debt, while the rich get richer? (median CEO salary was $10.8 million) It makes me sick to my stomach.
The application for FAFSA (federal financial aid for college students) was due back in March and what they give you is based on income from the previous year. Tax forms are proof of your family’s income, and tax forms are based on last year. F***, I think I’m just screwed. My dad barely lost his job this year. This is the worst timing ever because this year will be my last year of college. His unemployment will do nothing for my financial aid. It will be too late. I need to talk to the financial aid office soon, but I have a feeling that there is not much that can be done for me.
I wish I could say, “Please help,” but there’s really no one to ask. I know it will be okay in the end. I just don’t know how many sacrifices and tears it will take to finally get there.