Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Hard Lessons about Low Income Living

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We just got some bad news today, and I have a feeling it’s going to be kind of rough on my kids, depending on how things go.  I’d love to say it’ll all work out, but I’m not in the middle of the situation and really can’t say for sure.  My kids are just hoping that, whatever happens, we’ll be able to find them some better long-term friends.

So, here’s the scoop.  It looks like Maddy and Mackenzie’s mom is being kicked out, at least that’s what’s filtered down the grape vine.  They’re too far behind on rent and bills and just can’t catch up.  They may not be here past the end of the month.  And what’s worse, our new neighbors who have only been here about a month might be getting evicted too, depending on if they can find the help they need to get their rent taken care of.  This not only will mean the two families that have been helping us out with rides are gone, but also the two families with the kids my kids are closest too.  It’s not going to be easy on them, that’s for sure.

This happened in the last trailer park we lived in too.  There was a little girl, Brigid, right about Beekee’s age.  She and my older two were great pals.  They always wanted to o everything together.  The kids never had a closer friend, and it was great because she lived right across the street.  They could play whenever they wanted, which was almost every day.

Then Brigid had to move.  It started out with Brigid spending more time with family because her mom had to work extra hours to keep up on the bills.  Being a single mom isn’t easy and Brigid’s dad wasn’t exactly keeping up on child support.  She was always struggling.  Soon it was too much for Jessy, her mom, to take.  Between that and some stupid neighborhood drama she finally decided she couldn’t take it anymore and moved.  This took Brigid away and they never so much as had a chance to say goodbye.

Thankfully the kids didn’t mind much because we were gone less than a month after Jessy and Brigid moved away.  They made new friends with the kids from Oz’s dad’s girlfriend.  That didn’t last long as, well, Oz’s dad and his girlfriend both hate me.  The kids didn’t seem to mind much because her youngest was incredibly mean and out of control and her oldest was sulky every time she didn’t get her way.  The kids were kind of glad to be exposed to new kids in the neighborhood.

But, let’s face it, we live below the poverty line, as do a lot of our neighbors.  It’s tight for all of us right now.  Simple stupid decisions can mean the difference between getting by and losing everything.  Sometimes luck is the deciding factor too.  We’re balancing, just barely, but we just found out child support is being taken from Oz’s check each week now, so we’re a lot tighter than usual.

Here’s a little background for you.  Oz is paying child support for a child he’s never been allowed to see and may never be able to see because of his ex-wife’s attitude towards the fathers for both her kids.  He’s tried to get in touch several times only to be met with hostility.  All he wants is to be a part of his kid’s life, especially since he has to pay support, but he should have seen this coming.  She did the same to the oldest’s father.  She talked Oz into trying for a baby while he was drunk one night, and being a man of his word, he went with it because he said he would, drunk or not.  Then shortly after she found out she was pregnant she tried to convince Oz to move in with her parents as soon as he found out he was being kicked out of the military.  He didn’t want to live with her parents because it would be a step back in his eyes.  He wanted to try and handle it on their own first.  He would get a job and if that fell through, then they’d see what happened.  Long story short, they got in a fight one night and he told her if she was so miserable she should go back home.  She took that as him kicking her out, called his command, and caused all kinds of problems for him.  He knows it was his fault.  He met her online.  They’d only known each other for two weeks in person before they were married.  They only lived in the same state for three months of their whole relationship.  The whole thing was the kind of mess the military warns you about, but he wanted nothing more than to have a family.  That blinded him to the reality of the situation.  Besides, he was still just a kid when he married her.  He was only twenty at the time.

All that giving background, he really wants to see his kid, but now he’s starting to think that she planned getting pregnant and running out on him for the child support.  From everything he’s said about her she seemed to have done just that to the other dad.  He’s feeling like he’s been used for the child support money, especially since repeated attempts to contact her so he can see his son, even just send Christmas and birthday presents, has not gone well.  He’s trying again in hopes that things get better, but we may just have to fight this out in court in order for him to be able to see his son.  Unfortunately, we don’t exactly have the money for that.

While things are tight for us, we’ve still got a few ways to skate by.  I’ve got a small income from Amazon Associates (if you check out the links on any of the pages, those will take you to Amazon and any purchases give a small credit to me).  Oz is working.  We have child support coming in for the older two.  It’s not easy, but we make things work, even if it’s really close.  We’re currently juggling which bills get paid and which ones fall a little behind, but we’ve put a priority on making our bills.  Other families have prioritized other things, like buying new video games, going out to eat, or buying a car.  To each their own, but that’s how we’re managing to keep on top, even if it’s challenging.

It’s hard for the kids knowing that their friends could be leaving before long.  They know the chances of seeing them again if they get kicked out are pretty slim.  Sure, I’ll be able to keep up with their moms on Facebook, but unless they live nearby and we can arrange visits, that’s about all we can do.  In the past it’s always worked out that once they’re gone, the kids rarely see them again after that.  It’s not easy living a life where your friends can show up out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly.  It would be different if it was a matter of choice, but if their friends end up homeless they’re going to be worried.  Corde doesn’t remember what it’s like to live in a family shelter, but she’s heard me talk about it and doesn’t want to see any of her friends go through it.  She’s got her fingers crossed that her friends’ parents can find a way to work it out and stay.

And now I’m going to take a turn for some more positive news.  Oz was looking at being a long-distance truck driver.  If they accept being employed with the temp agency that got him the city job then he could qualify as soon as the beginning of November.  Of course, this will put him on the road a lot, which will make life hard for us.  I know we can get by.  I’ve handled military deployments and I’ve seen a friend go through separation from her husband while he’s on the road.  It just won’t be easy.  Then again, with the money he’d bring in we could start looking into improving our own situation, getting a car, getting situated with furniture, maybe even buying our own place, even if it is just a trailer.  We could look into a four or five bedroom double wide that’s in much better condition we’re in now.  We could even move it onto the park and take up one of these empty lots.  Then there’s another option for work.  Oz could get back into working as a diesel mechanic, working for the city.  That would be an awesome job because it’s what he used to do in the military.  He’s wanted to get back into it, but he doesn’t have the civilian certification.  Military certifications rarely work in the civilian world.  Better still, he loved working for the city because he’s found it really becomes a sort of extended family.  And there’s the possibility of a third job offer doing factory work, which he’s not thrilled about doing, but it will mean making more than he does now and he’ll get full benefits.  It would certainly help us out come Christmas time because I have no idea what we’re going to do this year.

So, I know it’s asking a lot right now, but if you can keep our situation in your thoughts and prayers, we’d definitely appreciate it.  Whether it’s wishing Oz luck with getting a new job that would offer us more stability, praying he finds a way to see the son he’s never met, or keeping our neighbors in your thoughts that they might find a way to keep their families safe and off the streets at the very least, we’d appreciate it.

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

7 thoughts on “Hard Lessons about Low Income Living

  1. Dear Sister, you are in my prayers often. 🙂 I know what it’s like to live hand to mouth. It’s tough, but keep your head up, there are so many prospects ahead.

    Don’t give up on that church. I understand wanting to know what they are teaching your children. Mine are teens, but I still want to know what they are learning in church. I want to make sure it what they are learning lines up with my convictions.

    Check out this website and see if this helps out Oz’s situation. http://www.lanwt.org/txaccess/

    • Thank you so much! Hopefully Oz can land one of these jobs and we’ll be in a better situation soon. It seems the season of opportunity for him. Strangely, it always is this time of year.

  2. Sounds rough. My husband has a CDL and was gone three weeks and home for 2 days, then gone again. The trucking companies can really be ruthless so check over the contracts and check AGAIN! What they say is different than than you get. It is hard to be without a partner for so long. I was the one who had to call to straighten out checks and all because he was on the road. The driver can be charged for unloading, loading ,straps ,etc. depending on the company and contract,

    I always thought that single moms ( and families if not too many people) should pool resources and live communally. Share rent, food and all. It would be easier if jobs could then be set for shifts that no babysitter would be needed. I think we in the west think too highly of ‘our stuff’ even when that same stuff is no longer ours!

    I have been worse off than I am now but we are never far from the edge. It helps to breath, whether through church or running or sewing. Give everybody a free day with trip to a park to run free and save for the special treat of ice cream at home. That which does not kill us only makes us stronger. And as the Persian Sheik had engraved on his ring ” This too shall pass” .

    • I love the idea of communal living, but in the state of Texas it’s illegal. I’m sure there are loopholes and things to get around it, but it’s one of those things where it only takes a few crazies to get everyone a bad name.

      I’ll keep that in mind with the truck driving job. I hate to say it, but I hope Oz gets one of the other jobs instead. We know a couple of families with truck drivers and I know it’ not an easy living. The company he’s looking at was recommended to us by a neighbor, so we kind of got the scoop on what to expect there, but still. It’s a lot more money than he’d be making working for the city as a mechanic or at the factory job, but it comes at higher costs too.

      • The are communes in Texas! http://directory.ic.org/records/?action=search_results&full_text_search=texas&x=0&y=0 Maybe you have heard of some law trying to deter this type of living because of the Mexican and South Americans that live like this, 2 or more families to a house and the city/ lanlords don’t like it. But I am sure it would be hard to prosectute. We lived in Texas too! We can’t let frivolous laws get us kicked into the street.
        For drivers it can be better to live there, they can get home more,:}.

        Do you know the story of the phrase? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_too_shall_pass

      • It’s not about two or more families living in the same house. I guess there was a case of a closed community where a man tried to get his 16 year old daughter impregnated in order to ensure the next generation in the community. I used to have an article about it, but I can’t seem to find it now. I found it just after I arrived here in Texas. There’s something about communally sharing property, though it might have to do with the number of families sharing that property and whether or not they’re related. I’ve wanted to find a loophole, but I haven’t spent much time looking. I know there’s a lot of places where you buy your lot and pay something like a lot fee/condo fee. Because you own your property it’s not considered a “commune” and is therefore legal. I know that’s what they did in one community in Mass. I’d really love to do that, but I obviously don’t have the start-up funds for something like that. We’d thought about moving into the sustainable community out by Tyler, TX, but we don’t have the money for that either. It’s definitely something to think about.

        Nope, never heard the story of the phrase before. I just knew it was Middle Eastern or Buddhist of origin or some such. I’ve always loved it because it’s a constant reminder that everything in life is fleeting, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even childhood passes on into adulthood and old age. It’s just…beautiful, a beautiful concept. It’s a constant reminder to appreciate every moment for exactly what it is.

        I need to make a cross-stitch pattern for that phrase…have it plastered up on my wall…

    • Oh, yeah, and “This too shall pass” has kind of been the mantra I’ve kept my whole life to the point where I’ve thought about getting tattooed with those words just as a physical, daily reminder. Too funny that you should mention it!

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