Since my husband went on disability through the Social Security (SSI) (something the law requires he contribute into, as with all of us, the funds, our own money, the Republican’s want to take away from us calling us leaches for being repaid for our life-long investment, the program they now term as an "entitlement") he went from a fairly well paying job to a poverty income (See Social Security - Friend or Foe?). Of course we have my income so together we get by and are by no mean in dire straits (yet...but getting there) but because of his illness and not being able to go back to work we have seen our income drop by about 40% and that includes adding back the meager SSI pittance that Trump and his entourage are now working to take away from we "dregs of society".
We were alway able to maintain, and still are able to maintain but there are things we can’t afford to do anymore, and while most of these don’t involve necessities (yet), the adjustment to our income has impacted our lives in other ways such as if an appliance breaks or malfunctions to the point we require a replacement or if we need a professional service to make repairs to something in our home the odds are likely we won’t be able to afford it and be forced to “charge” the payment, in turn increasing our debt level, and of course that would mean more of our funds would be going to pay some other bank interest instead of maintaining and keeping up the other things that need constant maintenance that will eventually break down due to the lack of funding and the never-ending circle will go on and on. You know, vet bills, new car tires, electrical work, etc.
We seem to be running out of money lately. I find myself being very conscious of every dollar I spend, literally... I will avoid spending a single dollar now if I can get away with keeping it. Despite our income, which even with the my husband’s 80% reduction in pay, we manage our mortgage, we pay our electric, we have Internet service and we have food in our refrigerator so in the end we are still very lucky. We just don't have the money we used to have and when we want to do little extra things I think we've been robbing Peter to pay Paul and it's catching up with us, all this tit for tat is affecting the social aspect of our lives which I would guess has suffered the largest impact since we don't have the extra money to go out to eat with friends or attend a festival or to buy something frivolously and impulsively. I’m not bitching because as I said, I still have a warm house, food, happy animals, a car, a job, etc., so I should be grateful but honestly I miss going out with friends many of whom I am in contact with through media such as Facebook so I see that they are still doing all the things we used to enjoy and can no longer afford. Now admittedly because of my husband’s health we are also limited by what we can do as he can no longer take long strolls or eat the foods he used to eat. He can no longer be as active as he used to be and must take things very slow and easy. He has to watch his sodium intake, his sugar intake, his liquid intake and outgo, not to mention he is almost always on oxygen now.
So as I'm walking around the yard with my dogs and recording my thoughts to Google DOCS to be translated to my blog at a later point and not that it matters I guess but the date today is December 11th 2016 and the Christian holiday of Xmas fast approacheth and as I look forward to the New Year I think I will remember 2016 as being one of the worst years of my life. I always thought other years were bad especially when I lost my parents and no words can describe how devastating those losses were however those were individual incidents in any give year. This year of 2016 I have lost 2 pets, my cat and my dog. My husband has been hospitalized in excess of 20 times and in at least three of those events I was told to expect him to die. Then you throw in a multitude of little annoyances, like car problems, water issues, toilet breaking, problems with tenants in our old house that we still own (but want so badly to sell….there is so much to story of the other house it is a blog post on its own…) and before you look back at the beginning of this post and say “He owns two houses how dare he complain about money” we are underwater in that house and do not collect enough rent to pay the mortgage and regardless of the tenant of which we have had many over the last 8 years who move in with all these claims and promises of being good renters and then never pay their rent on time or in single installments causing me and my husband to generally have to supplement another family. And again I will detail that separately at another time in another post.
My two remaining German Shepherds are both starting to get up in years and my female Shepherd is becoming incontinent (See: Good-bye to my Beloved Pet). She is starting to pee on the carpet rather than indicating that she needs to go out as she had been trained to do and had started doing this during the period in which my first Shepherd was declining in health so the result is I now find myself having to clean up urine on a daily basis. I thought I could be clever work around her problem by outsmarting bladder and working with her new "pee" schedule and started taking her out later at night, before going to bed removing any water sources by picking up her water-dish, including ensuring the toilet bowl lid was closed as this is one of their favorite sources of water, but these attempts failed. I tried keeping her in our bedroom with us overnight instead of letting her wander the house during the night as she usually does, because that freedom generally results in a piss puddle in front of the living room TV but that just resulted in a piss puddle next to my bed. So on top of everything else my house is starting to smell like urine and no matter how many times I run the carpet cleaner the smell is still there. (I guess it's shameful that I’m worried about such minor things as having clean carpeting when the world is at war and people and animals are suffering, it makes me realize how shallow I truly am but this is my life and these are the things that are impacting me now so please humor my whining when you compare my problems to world events, the Syrian atrocities or the Orange Hitler and his ambitions to create a new American/Russian Republic of the United States of Putin.)
Within the last few weeks our drinking and shower water has been starting to smell like sewage. Our house is on well water and it turns out that over the last eight years while we've been living here we should have been doing something called “chloroforming the water well” which involves putting bleach into the well to keep the water pure and clean. No one ever told us this and we never thought to research it, after all water is water, you turn on your faucet and you have water. (And yes again, when compared to the poor people of Flint, Michigan, this is minor and probably commonplace in that area, but to repeat what I just said in the last paragraph, it's my life and I can’t be apologetic for having my own problems. I do sympathize with those people but this is what I am experiencing, I know there are those that will accuse me of being shallow for having my own problems in the face of the diversities of others.)
Anyway my husband thinks the smell is Sulfur like but to me it smells like sewage. So in our research it turns out that when you have well water apparently you have to clean it at least annually (Ironically some people at work have told me either they or their parents have had well water and never have had to go through this process, one young man said his father has been in the same house with the same well for 38 years and has never had to chloroform it.) So I guess while this is generally a maintenance that should be done it is really hit or miss if it will ever affect any one particular well and in keeping with my luck for 2016 it HAS impacted us.
So I did process and poured the bleach into the well and ran a water hose down to opening to stir up the sediment, loosen it as it was described in the several YouTube videos I watched. I couldn’t believe it when was started running our taps and millions of ants came out of our faucets so I don't know whether we are running out of water and the beasts are starting to build homes down there which makes me fearful we are going to end up having to drill for more water, but I guess we will face that problem should it occur.
In the meantime we went through about two weeks of our water smelling like Clorox. We did get what appeared to be at least one advantage from the cleaner and more pure water, our water heater kicked up a notch and the hot water which we were accustomed to coming out only warm but warm enough for a shower or to hand wash dishes in the sink was now coming out scalding hot. I thought 'well this is great, you know, now we really have hot water as a bonus to the soon to be clean fresh drinking water.'
No such luck…the result is that now the water gets so hot that the heater’s internal circuit breaker flips and we end up with cold water so now we have to figure out a way around that. My husband said he saw in the instruction manual there is a way to turn down the heat setting so it won't make the water as hot so we are going to try that today and hopefully with that fixed we will start having hot water again because as it is now it's hit or miss whether in the cold mornings I will be showering in ice water or scalding water.
So in the end (obviously this addendum is hours later) adjusting the water temperature on the water heater seems to have worked, however we are now a bit leary whether we will make it through an entire shower without the breaker tripping. As far as drinking water goes we don’t really trust the water anymore (we are having it tested a 2nd time for contamination) and have purchased a PUR water filter attachment that hooks to our kitchen sink and to further ensure clean water we have purchased an additional PUR pitcher that remains in the refrigerator so we are double filtering our drinking water at this point.