Trailer Park Unschoolers

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

Feeling Guilty, Feeling Used

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Yesterday we decided we couldn’t take it anymore.  We had to do something because it just wasn’t working out.  The kids were upset and going off the walls.  Sabrina was starting to go into hiding again.  Oz and I started sniping at each other.  As much as we wanted to help, it just wasn’t going to happen.  Helping the neighbors family was going to drag us completely under, kicking, screaming, and throwing tantrums the whole way.  We really wanted to help, but the truth is we never should have agreed to.  We ended up biting off more than we could chew.  I tried to think of a way to make it work, but it just wasn’t happening.

So, here’s kind of how things played out.  The first night they slept over they expected us to feed them.  Oz got some chicken nuggets for the kids for dinner that night.  We ended up going through two bags of chicken nuggets so her kids could eat them too.  Mind you, they’d brought over all their food, so they could have fed their kids raviolis or mac and cheese that they brought over, but she wanted to feed the kids chicken nuggets.  Oz bought two bags of chicken nuggets at the store, but we blew through both of them.  What sucks the most about it is not all of my family got to eat them.  Oz made the first batch up in the microwave for Beekee and Sander.  He made the second batch for me with some mashed potatoes for dipping.  Then her kids were fed.  Corde was eating last because she was supposed to finish organizing the boys’ room and then she would eat.  She didn’t get any of the chicken nuggets because there weren’t any left.  It really wasn’t fair to her.

While all that was going on, the television that was put in Corde’s room nearly caused an electrical fire.  Sander brought milk in there and spilled it on the table, which then had the cord for the television sparking causing a big fuss.  We’re just lucky no one was hurt!  On further investigation and with my knowledge of electronics, we realized that the cord must have been unsafe before it was even moved in.  It looked like something had been chewing on it and that probably caused a weak point in the wire.  We’re lucky it did as little damage as it did because someone could have gotten hurt or we could have had a fire.  No one told us the television had been out in the barn before they got it, otherwise I would have thought to check for chew marks in the cord.  Rats and things are horrible about that stuff.  We could have taken care of it and ensured it was safe.

Corde didn’t even get to sleep in her own room like we’d been promising her.  The neighbor’s boys slept in her room.  They were supposed to sleep there with Beekee and Sander, but Beekee couldn’t settle down at their early bed time.  They had school in the morning.  Sander didn’t want to sleep on the bed with the boys, so he went to sleep in his own room.  Corde ended up having to share a bed with Beekee.  She complained all night about how uncomfortable the bed was.  We didn’t know it until the next day, but she had good reason!  One of the neighbor’s boys shoved his shoes between the mattress and box spring!  No wonder she was so uncomfortable!

As if my kids feeling put-out wasn’t enough, Oz and I felt pretty put-out too.  They brought over laundry because we agreed to wash some of their clothes, that way they would have clean clothes to take with them.  They brought over two baskets of laundry that equated to about three loads, but I had to do all the laundry using our soap, something we’re quickly running out of.  They let their kids get so loud and distracting and walked in front of the television so many times that Oz and I couldn’t play the video game we were playing together without considerable frustration.  One of them was on my computer all night (which is why my last blog post was written so late) and then my seat on the couch was taken so I had to sit on the floor.  Sitting on the floor with no back support makes my back scream at me, so it’s not really where I wanted to be.  I was pissed off, so I told them I was going to work on my writing in my room.  My computer doesn’t get wireless internet anymore for some unknown reason, but I was determined not to leave it out.  They’d be on it all night and I definitely wasn’t okay with that.  As it were they were already on Oz’s PS3 for a while, even though he had it on lock-down.  They managed to keep it from locking them out of it all night somehow, and Oz was kind of pissed about it.

Yesterday morning we woke up to the neighbors watching Yo Gabba Gabba! with the kids.  Personally, I hate that show.  It’s one of the words television shows I’ve seen out there for the kids.  It’s pretty much been banned in my house with how obnoxious it is.  As if that wasn’t enough, they let their daughter eat a Pop Tart on the couch which resulted in a nasty, sticky spot on the couch.  I’m not sure which kid it was, but there was also broken up Pop Tart and a wrapper left on the floor.  I commented on it and how we don’t usually let the kids eat in the living room because of stuff like that and all I got was a mouthed, “Sorry.”  They did nothing about this until Oz asked them to pick it up, and even then just the food was picked up, not the wrapper.  I was told that she would help if she could, meanwhile she just sat there lounged out on the couch with my heat pad against her back.  Oz was furious.  I’d been cleaning the house to prepare for their stuff.  I’d been doing their laundry for them all day.  The least they could have done was help tidy up a little.  That would pay us back for the laundry soap, the water bill, the electricity, and feeding their kids, even though they’ve fed ours before.  They know we’re strung tighter than anything right now and we’re at the verge of getting evicted ourselves.  We don’t have the money to support another family right now.  As it is we’re scrambling to try and sell everything we can in order to get our late fee and water bill paid or we’re going to be in the same boat, minus the car to stay in.

After all of that happens, we finally motivated them to get off their butts and get things done.  While they were getting things done I got a call from the neighbor saying she thought her water broke (which it didn’t).  I have no idea what I was supposed to do for her.  She just wanted to talk to me about it.  All I could say was “call your doctor”.  I had no idea what to do.  Her doctor told her to wait it out.  Then I got back here to find out that her son had been breaking things again.  Corde’s keepsakes from Maddy were broken.  Sadly, none of the neighbors cared.  They just shrugged it off.  The kid had even attempted to hide it in his pillowcase and they didn’t care.  Poor Corde was so hurt by it that she said she hated him and never wanted to see him again, then told us that he’d already been caught with acorns in his pillowcase, which got dumped out on my floor and stayed there.  We also found out about the shoes shoved inside the bed.  I was not amused at the least and the fact that the whole thing was just shrugged off only served to make me even more upset.

We were done.  We told them that they couldn’t stay another night.  We hated kicking them out to the street, but we can’t afford to keep another family here when we could barely afford to keep ourselves.  It was like being stabbed to hear their son say, “Mama, did you find a place for us to stay tonight” and his mom’s sharp snap to let them worry about it.  I wanted to tell them, “No, honey, you’re not going anywhere.  You don’t need to worry about it.”  I had to bite my tongue.  I couldn’t exactly say, “The kids can stay, but you two can’t.”  I couldn’t say they could stay because we can’t afford to support another family.  We’d all end up out on the street that way.  I just had to suck it up and pretend I didn’t care, even though it hurt me so incredibly much.

Last night was bad.  My relief at having them out of my home was replaced with this sickening pain in my stomach knowing that I’d just told three children to go live in their van.  I tried to console myself with reminding myself that the pastor hadn’t exactly offered up his home to them.  I tried to remind myself that the pastor advised that we have to see to our own family.  We can’t help them any more than we have the ability to do.  All we can do beyond that is pray.  I literally cried myself to sleep at the thought of those kids out freezing in the van.

When I woke up this morning Oz had to point out that the ground was white with frost.  Normally I get all excited about this.  Christmas is sneaking up on us and this is the first sign.  Unfortunately it just made me painfully ill with guilt at the idea of those kids being out in that cold.  I wanted to call them and say it was a mistake to leave them out all night.  They needed to come over and we’d work it out.  I wasn’t worried about the neighbors.  They made enough of a mess of things.  They could have spent and saved their money wisely.  From what they’d said they had a couple of opportunities to better their situation, but they spent all their money waiting on a settlement from someone’s life insurance that they might not even get.  The kids didn’t do any of that.  It’s not the kids’ fault.  They’re just having to pay for someone else’s mistakes.

Then I found out she’d spent the night in labor and delivery.  She didn’t have the baby and the medical evidence shows just what I’ve suspected.  The contractions aren’t nearly as strong or as close as she claims they are.  She’s been saying for a week now that her doctor has sent her home for rest and declared it “the beginning of labor”, but she still keeps getting sent home.  They spent a majority of the night there, probably because she called the doctor knowing it would keep her and her kids somewhere warm.  Then she drove off to a friend’s house and is staying there.  All of that guilt was for nothing.  I hate to say it, but I almost want to tell them to come pick up all of their clothes now because they’re staying with a friend and can keep them there.

In the end I’m kind of feeling like we’re being used, and have been used.  Our late fee is a result of Oz getting caught up in trying to help us.  Then every time we went over there to get them motivated they were sitting around playing games or watching television.  They came over here and let us do all the work to get everything clean and all put away.  It’s still not all put away.  One of our couches is completely covered in their clothes.  We’ve got four white trash bags, a huge black garbage bag, a 40 gallon tub, and three more laundry baskets worth of laundry in our house and they’ve already taken a 40 gallon tub of clothes with them.  They were supposed to be sorting out and giving us the clothes their boys were growing out of, but apparently they already went through all that before they moved next door.  However, they told us they’d be going through the boys clothes and giving us some stuff for our kids, so now I’m wondering if that was just to convince us to do their laundry.  If we’d let them stay they would have just continued to use us for food, internet, game systems, a place to sleep, and would have continued to be the lazy, slobs that they were in their own trailer.  Still, I keep reminding myself that we’re doing the right thing in showing kindness.  We’ve just got to stick to our own limitations and everything will work out in the end.

At the same time, even the kids think I’m crazy.  Corde has pointed out more times than I can count that they just don’t care about anyone.  She’s annoyed that they don’t care that their son broke her keepsakes.  She’s furious that they’ve trashed our house because she knows how hard I work to keep it as clean as it is.  She’s seen Oz and I working our butts off to make space for their stuff and she thinks they’re treating us horribly.  Corde suggested we sell off some of their stuff as a fee for making us do all this other work.  We should get paid because they wouldn’t do the same for us were the situation reversed.  They’d be expecting things from us, like money towards gas and other things.  Well, we aren’t asking them for anything, even though we should be asking for money to pay for what they’re using.  If a nine-year-old can point this out, maybe they really do need the wake-up call.  I had to tell Corde the hard truth that they might have to live in their van and Corde wasn’t the least bit sympathetic.  She said it was probably because of the decisions they made in their life, but she didn’t want them to stay here because she didn’t like what it did to our house and our family.  I can’t blame her.  I’m pretty upset about it too.

Right now Oz is out looking for a new job thanks to his hours being cut again.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he can find something.  He needs a ride to sell some stuff so we can get our feet back on the ground and take care of that stupid late fee.  Everyone send prayers our way if you can spare them that we can figure all this out and keep our heads afloat one more month, and that this bit of charity doesn’t drown us.  I know prayers are about all anyone has it in them to give right now, but I’ll take all of them we can get!  Hopefully tomorrow the kids and I will be a little more back to normal and we’ll be able to get back to our regular stories about the things we do and nothing quite so stressful.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Feeling Guilty, Feeling Used

  1. In my opinion you did the right thing. Your own family comes first. It definitely does sound like you were being taken advantage of. It sounds like you guys need help too. Have you asked the pastor if they have some sort of emergency fund set up to help families in these kinds of situations? I will certainly pray for you guys. My husband’s hours have been cut too, and now all my appendix hospital bills are coming in. I know how you feel!

    • We know the church has an emergency fund, mostly because our neighbors keep using it for help with gas money. Oz is out selling some of his old magic cards and his Frisbee golf discs, so hopefully he’ll be coming home with just enough to bail us out. We’re REALLY hoping not to have to get help from the church, or if we do we want to be able to get as little help as possible. It’s not that I don’t want to accept the charity of others, but I’d rather not go that route unless we actually need it. We’re going to be seeing how much money we’ve got at the end of this week, then we’ll decide if we want to ask for help before church on Sunday.

      Thanks for the encouragement. It’s hard not to feel bad sometimes because children are involved. Those kids deserve so much better, but I can’t give it to them, especially not while their parents want to take advantage of us. I don’t think I could have put up with two weeks of that. Oz and I were already sniping at each other and it hadn’t even been a full day!

      Good luck on your situation too. It seems like when things happen, they happen all at once. Sounds like you can use some positive coming your way too!

  2. Not only do I think that they took complete advantage of you, I feel like they were ungrateful and felt like they “deserved” or were “entitled” to it. I keep trying to put myself if their position and being granted an opportunity like you gave them. I would have gone out of my way to make sure my kids behaved, and made myself useful. I would have done my own laundry, I would have cooked the chicken fingers for you and your kids and then made the Mac and Cheese for my family. I would have told you to sit down and me and my kids will tidy up as you are being more than generous to us – it would also teach the children a good lesson! I am absolutely baffled they had the nerve to take advantage of your heart and your good will. Although you did the right thing , it doesn’t hurt any less.. You did what was in the best interest of your family. If you invited them back I am sure the stress, and aggravation would have caused you to get sick – which is unfair to you, and it is completely unnecessary.

    • Very true. I try to keep in mind that I’m not entitled for to anything, so I should always be grateful for everything I have. I just don’t understand how other people could feel that they’re entitled to so much. However, I guess I gave them a chance to use our space until they could get their lives straight. I did my part, knowing full well it would come back to bite me in the butt. At least I tried.

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