Later this month I will turn 69 years old. Rather daunting to think of it because I didn’t think I’d even make it this far. But a lot of people on both my mother’s and father’s sides lived well up into their 80s, and my dad’s cousin is in his 90s now. Both of my parents, of course, died younger than I am now (Dad at 64 and Mother at 60), but I think my genetics will allow me to go a little longer.
At various times in the past I have had to ask for help along the way, either to help me get yarn or to make ends meet. And several friends have come through and helped me. Plenty of times I would have been homeless or facing mounting bills, but several recent factors happened in a short period of time and I discovered I would not and could not cover my monthly bills, all of which are due within the coming week. Part of this was due to the shuffle with my yarn supplier — the original owners retired and a different company absorbed most of the original owner’s operation (another company absorbed most of the rest of the operation); another part is that yarn sales have been slow; and another (huge) part was this past summer’s excessive heat.
Both my gas and my electric services are on “balanced billing” – each monthly bill fluctuates somewhat, but the billing is averaged out over the prior 12 months. Normally this helps the consumer have a better grasp of their expenses month to month. Here in southeast Texas, they add a special surcharge during the months of high usage. Before I signed up for balanced billing, my electric bill would be $70 to $90 in the cooler months, and spike to a few hundred dollars when it was hot and the a/c was running. Because of my fluctuating income, I’d go hungry in the summer months (not literally, but limited groceries at times), so balanced billing definitely helped. This past summer, starting in about May, we stayed at 100º or more for daytime highs for several months, hardly dropping down into the mid-80s over night. My a/c ran without pause from May until just a few weeks ago. My current bill (just over $385.00) is a reflection of what my electric bill will look like as the high temps of summer (and high use of the a/c) get balanced into my monthly bills. I am seriously dreading it.
After looking at what I have on hand (both cash in the bank and yarns available to sell) and the amount of money I have to pay out soon, there’s no way I could make it. So I had little choice but to put it out on FB that I need help in a big way. And thankfully several people did help, so I will be able to cover the biggest of my utility bills right away, and the rest from next weekend’s yarn sales.
The issue with my yarn supplier has settled and that looks fairly stable going forward. I’ve cut my cable/internet bill by cutting off the cable (gotta keep the Internet, of course), and there are other things I can do that will help in the long run. I had to sell the collection of quilting fabrics that I had cut and prepared for some projects. That made me sad, but oh well — there will always be other fabrics, once I have the time and space and other things needed to actually piece a quilt properly. Yes, of course I could do it by hand like generations before me used to do, but … UGH!
With rising costs for just about everything, I’m not sure how long this is sustainable in the long run. I’m getting to an age where I can’t still be constantly stressed about money and basic living expenses. Even now it is difficult, but with help I’ve been able to manage. Without that help, though, I’d be up shit creek without a paddle, many times over. I am very much indebted to those who have helped, and hope to be able to return the favor in some form or fashion.
What I need to do is find a sustainable consistent income of an additional $1,000 a month. This, along with my little Social Security, would keep me housed, fed, and current on utilities. But prices keep going up, so eventually I would need to create even more consistent income, and I honestly don’t know how to make that happen.
I do enjoy putting color onto yarn, even though I don’t always relish the pre-dye and post-dye processes, which take far more time and energy than the actual dyeing. And I do feel somewhat ‘stuck’ because I’m not reaching enough people to buy the yarns I do dye.
I’ll figure it out, one way or another, of course. But I hate feeling dependent on others just to get by. Everything in my life is a result of where I’ve been the last 68 years, but most of my current troubles are largely due to my own poor choices at various turns. Not that I would have, could have, or should have made different choices; I’m just saying I’m not a perpetual victim of circumstances completely beyond my control, so I can’t be dependent on others to rescue me.