I come home, pull into the driveway with music blaring ( Ever likes it, I can tell ) step out of the black jeepy thing to Bellatrix fixing me with her dragon stare and mewing. She's saying Milk, Milk, Milk, Milk- pause to lick paw- Milk, Milk. I coo at her and cluck her chin, walk into the house. The dead branches Mr. Curry and I ripped root upward a few weeks ago still lie piled on the front lawn, and the front lawn is still eighty percent dead; this is a complete anomaly in our middle class neighborhood, where everyone's sprinkler's spring to life together at the crust of dark and dawn. We however rent, and our landlord doesn't feel like paying for new sprinklers. Or a new oven, which broke a month ago. Or to repair the leak in the playroom roof. Or for a new garage door. Or the hole in the wall in the bathtub tiles that we have white-trash-patched. The reason he can get away with not paying for these things is because when I had my surgeries a few years back, money got horribly non existent, and we did not pay two months rent. We are still paying it back. Our rent is $2,100 a month, so times two, plus interest, plus the fact that we could not pay the rent back immediately because during that time I missed a lot of work ( the second surgery was unexpected and swift ) and so did Mr. Curry. The last year we have been paying him back the grand total of $100 to $150 a month, and at this rate expect to be finished by the time Ever is president.
We love our home, borrowed though it is. We love the cul-de-sac we live in, the neighbors ( well expect for those ones ) the many kids Lola's age that live here, the fact that two of Dakota's good friends live within walking distance, my work is literally a ten minute walk from here and the kids schools are a 10-15 minute drive. We have been here six years and the only time we have been late on rent is during my medical crisis years. Neither Mr. Curry and I care more about an upkept lawn, a patched up bathroom or a working garage door than we do about keeping our children in this house. To bother the landlord about these things invites the Universal frowny finger. We could be asked to move, the house fixed up spiffy and gorgeous with new carpeting, and rented out for at least a few more hundred dollars than we pay now, or could afford. That is why we moved from our last home.
We are quietly desperate to make more money. Mr. Curry is looking for a new job, one with a little better pay and health care. Right now guess who has insurance in this household? Me. That's it. I'm filling out forms for the children and hoping Healthy Families has waived it's waiting list, or it's on to the much more expensive Blue Cross. I have insurance because my work covers it, and I only pay a nominal fee to keep it. I'm working full time and plugging away the last few months on scouting articles around, finishing my novel, and poking a trickle of money from this blog in the form of sponsors. Mr. Curry often works six days a week, sometimes seven. We have a roomate. We are doing everything possible but the crushing weight of our financial collapse from my medical costs and lost wages and Mr. Curry's business going under changed our lives in a way that is still hard for me to fully grasp. We have been extremely disciplined with our budget in the last few years and slowly taking care of large important things, like paying the back owed rent, getting Dakota's cavities fixed ( just finished that this month! ) saving to pay for Dakota's testing ( the money is unbelievable for that ) Lola's much needed tutoring in math, paid off the debt from my car accident, etc. I hold on to this. ' Courage to change the things you can... '
And for those of you who wonder our rationale for working so very hard to become pregnant, I don't mind offering our thoughts. Mr. Curry and I don't have any biological children together. Ian is from Mr. Curry's ex-wife, Lola and Dakota from mine ( well, you know what I mean ).
It never feels this way, because Mr. Curry and I have been best friends since we were eighteen. So I was helping grow up Ian before I was his second Mom, and Mr. Curry was cuddling Dakota and Lola when they were in diapers- their father and I were no longer together by the time I discovered I was pregnant with Lola. I realized I was in love with Mr. Curry in my fifth month of pregnancy, and made him wait until she was three months old to kiss me. By the time we found each other, the children were all in love with each other. But. We really wanted to have a baby together. And so we have.
I walk in the door and Mr. Curry is in my pink heart apron, cooking dinner. Lola's room looks fantastic in it's new blue paint. The boys are laughing their almost men laughs and every corner of this house holds memories and echoes of our family life that is incredibly comforting to all of us. The boys are so sentimental they can barely let me replace their 17 year old white dresser that has not a single drawer in functional use at this point. Our dogs are play growling and jumping on the couch they are never ever to jump on. I feel Ever sumersault in my belly. I feel fear move in large circles with her tiny body. I am so tired of being poor. I am so tired of being afraid of how we are going to afford to move if we have to. I hold on to Mr. Curry, his enormous hazel eyes, his promises that as long as we are all together everything will be OK. But, I think, it will be so hard.
I am so tired of things being hard. Have you ever felt like this? Blessed beyond reason and deeply tired of the strains of life? Of course you have.
Love you guys.