Georgia Bound 13 – Home is Where the Heart is
“The huge gap between rich and poor, globally and within nations, is not only morally wrong; it is also a source of practical problems.” – Dalai Lama
Jenni has reluctantly made the suggestion that we get separated for a while. You see, my net income is just over $300 and I get $200 in food stamps for the family. It would be more, but they do not consider my net income. They go by my gross. It is completely irrelevant that over $400 goes to child support.
My wife’s income is presently $34 per month. She is being severely penalized for our total household income as a married couple with a disabled child. Kyra gets about $600 per month. We were each getting the same as Kyra before we moved into Swan Lake. Then the government said, “Oh no! We can’t have that! You are not allowed to have enough to just get by and we certainly can’t stand for you being even remotely comfortable.” Well, they didn’t actually say it like that, but you get the picture.
Our rent is $412 per month plus water. Our electricity is $150 and that is after we were able to bring it down. Throw in car insurance, clothing, vehicle maintenance, fuel, laundry and silly little things like bird feed and soap – well you can do the math.
The system is designed to keep the poor in poverty. If we were to increase our income from any outside source, we would be chastised. Our SSI, SSD, Medicare and/or other benefits could be reduced or cancelled. That’s why there is the lottery. The only way to go from poverty to comfort is by an instant monetary increase that would replace our income and medical benefits. So I gladly spend two bucks a month on a Powerball ticket. If I win the big one, I will buy Swan Lake and provide free accessible internet to everyone.
Life is a roller coaster ride. It has its ups and downs. No matter how bad things get, they always get better again. This is what I told my sweetheart when she suggested that we get a divorce, but something happened that changed my mind. Kyra asked for a new game for her Gameboy. She did not specify what game she wanted. She just wanted a new one and we simply did not have the money for a used miscellaneous game from Gamestop. First of all, Kyra never asks for anything. She has also been very happy since we started teaching her at home. We have never seen her so well-behaved. We have never experienced the amount of affection that she now bestows upon us. Only a few years ago, she could say but one or two words and she never looked anyone in the eyes. Now she was asking for something that we could not give her.
Since Jenni and I have been together, we have not been this poor. We have always been able to get what we need. Now we were having to take advantage of free food and Toys for Tots. If we were to separate, Jenni and Kyra would have more income than if we are together. Jenni’s income would most certainly go up and they would also have at least $200 in food just for themselves.
The decision has been made. We will split up.
I abhor dishonesty! It will have to be the real thing. I will not take advantage of the system no matter how flawed it will be. We will have different abodes, but home will always be where the heart is. We shall sleep under different roofs, but we will dream of each other. We will be separated but we will visit each other. Nothing and no one can keep us from being in love.
We surveyed our options looking for a different arrangement. Finding an affordable pet-friendly place was impossible, especially when you consider things like deposits, so Jenni came up with the idea of looking for separate homes here at Swan Lake. After all, when we first came here there were homes much cheaper for rent than the $412 we pay now. So what, if it was smaller. We would at least be close. I will miss my family, including the furry and feathered ones. That is not what really bothers me though. I can’t stand knowing how much they may miss me and this will undoubtedly mess up Kyra. She is not going to take it well, but what other choice do we have? At this rate, we will soon be homeless.
Jenni’s plan was a good one. In fact, it was brilliant! There was only one problem. She would have to talk to Sarah.
Jenni went to the office to see Sarah. My wife is more diplomatic than I am, otherwise I would have gone. I don’t think I could have held my tongue considering how overly compassionate Sarah has been thus far. The only consolation that we have concerning Sarah’s persistent demeanor toward us is that many of our neighbors get the same special treatment. Jenni told Sarah that we were going to separate and that we wanted to see what homes were available in the community. Sarah told Jenni that there was a standard $200 moving fee. She stated that, if Jenni and I separated, she would not allow both of us to live in Swan Lake because she has been “doing this for twenty years.” She suggested that we should stay together and pray to God to help us work things out. Sarah refused to show Jenni the vacancy list.
Jenni will stay here in Swan Lake at 11 High Bluff Rd NE. She loves it here. The neighbors are so nice, as most people in Rome are. It is nice living by the lake, even if it is nothing more than an aesthetic fixture. Kyra and the pets have plenty of room and we are crossing our fingers that the increased income will enable her to comfortably afford it here.
I must leave as soon as possible so that she can claim her new single living status. I am scheduling these posts so that, by the time you read this, I will have already been homeless since Tuesday, November 15.
“It is worth remembering that the time of greatest gain in terms of wisdom and inner strength is often that of greatest difficulty.” – Dalai Lama
If I am lucky, there will be a spot open at the shelter downtown. They are only open at night, so I will be booted out in the mornings. I will bring my smartphone with me in hopes that I may find a WiFi connection. I will also look for a place to recharge my phone. I wish I could tell you more, but I really don’t know what to expect. I have never been homeless before.
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