The Feast After the Famine

April 22, 2008

I haven’t written much about it here, but those who know me fairly well know that Dan and I have been struggling financially for the last few years. We used to make ends meet with enough money left over for a few simple luxuries like delivered pizza or a trip to the movies, but that was it.

But then gas prices went up, our electricity bills doubled, and our home heating oil price reached a new high. And as people all over the country experienced similar circumstances, they curtailed their shopping on eBay. My contribution to the household income dwindled from over $100 a month to $200 or $300 a month. And our expenses continued to rise.  On top of that, last fall we were faced with $2500 in car repairs, a $4000 health insurance deductible, and having to purchase a new boiler for our home ($4000).

We cut back everything that could be cut back. Air conditioning doesn’t come on until it’s 76 degrees in the house; heat doesn’t come on unless it dips below 68 degrees — and even then I have to turn it on because it won’t do it automatically.  We got rid of our cable TV and land line telephone.  We quit eating out. I clipped coupons, filled out rebate forms, stocked up when I found a good price on something, and pinched every penny I could get my hands on.

Just as Dan and I talked about the possibility of my returning to work, we got a call from someone who wanted to know if we would be willing to rent out our guest house. Why yes, as a matter of fact we would! (Thank you, Lord!)

Things were better with that added income, but we still weren’t really making ends meet. Dan managed to get a cost of living adjustment — his first in over five years! — to help with the bills. Finally, our income and expenses were about the same.

However, his company was not doing so well either, and the nearly $7000 of reimbursements that were due us were not forthcoming. (We will get the money eventually, it’s just taking longer than expected.) As a result, there is some credit card debt to deal with. So we needed some extra income to get over the hump.

I took the substitute teaching job out of desperation because it is virtually the only job I could find that would allow me to be home when my kids are home. It wasn’t great, but it fit my needs and I was happy with it.

Meanwhile, my friend Karen, whom I love dearly but never ever see because she lives a thousand miles away from me (literally!), invited me and my family to join her and her family on a mini-vacation next month. I have so desperately wanted to go, but I’ve also been stressing about the money because, honestly, it would only mean more debt. The little bit of money that I’m making as a substitute would help pay for it, but it wouldn’t cover the entire cost by any means.

But lo and behold, I got a call from a gentleman I’d listed eBay items for. He was swamped in his office. One employee had just left, and they were in the process of hiring new folks. He wanted to know if I would be able to come in and help out. I said sure, and he asked me if a rate of pay that is $4 an hour more than what I make substituting would be okay. I tried very hard not to giggle with glee.

God is so good!

So this week, I’ve worked two days in an office and am spending the next three days substituting. Next week I will be working in the office three days (Monday there’s no school and Friday I’m taking my dad to DC for a follow up appt).

But wait! There’s more!

What do you suppose was in my mailbox today? A completely unexpected refund check for $474 from Sophia’s oral surgery back in December.

Back to the mini-vacation: The hotel will cost $360; I’m estimating gas at $139 (assuming 20 miles per gallon and $3.50 per gallon, both of which are a little high). What does that equal? $499, a mere $25 more than that refund check!

Coincidence? I think not. God is good!!!


One comment

  1. Awesome!! Nope, not a coincidence. 🙂

    I am just grinning like a maniac after reading this!

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