I do my big grocery shopping once a month, preferably without kids. I shop for an entire months worth of shelf-stable and freezer items. I prep for at least three days. 1 for coupons, 1 for cleaning fridge and vacuuming the cabinets and 1 for defrosting the freezer. I could spread that out over a couple of weeks but I’m a lazy procrastinator. That and it would all just get dirty and frosty again so why bother.

This month was no different in the basics. What was different however was that I took two cart with me through the store. I figured that I could have one for heavy stuff like cans and juice and one for the more fragile items. I got quite a few strange looks but I didn’t really give it much thought.

I was almost done and in the frozen food department grabbing some veggies when a woman who was giving me a strange look in produce a couple hours earlier asked if all that was for me. She was very nice, especially after I explained to her that I do most of my shopping once a month because taking 3 kids under 4 to the store every week is just insane. Moments later another woman asked basically the same question and got the same answer.

They both nodded and agreed that taking little kids to the store was tough. They both had kids, now teenagers though. They knew that you did what you had to do.

I was in a great mood even after I got my total. The $75 I saved in coupons and shopper club discounts really helped with that. Hell, I was practically giddy because of that.

I dropped my receipt in the lobby and when I bent down to pick it up I heard a voice.

“I bet that’s taxpayer money.”

I stood up and looked straight into the eyes of an 70-80 year old man walking past me. He was talk to me! I was in total shock. He kept staring as he walked by and muttered something under his breathe as he went.


So many thing ran through my mind in those few seconds, I couldn’t even respond to him. I almost called out to him or ran after him but he was lost in the crowd by then. I went and load up my truck instead. 

I was insulted and angry. I waited for him to come out so I could rip him up. or run him over. I sat there for a little bit before I decided to move on before I lost a ton of food to the heat. I cranked “Bleed It Out”  and sped across the parking lot. 

Then I saw him. I was pointed right at the piss ant when I stopped at the stop sign. Once again I just stared but for a different reason. This time I knew just what to do. I wanted to feel the thump of his body hitting my bumper at a high velocity and see his shocked face as his carcass gets thrown. If my foot had touched the gas pedal, I wouldn’t be here to write this. I’d be in court pleading insanity.

I’m not normally an angry person and Linkin Park only comes out when I need a release for my frustrations. So why did this old douchebag get to me so bad?

Because it’s true.

 Yes, my family receives public assistance in the form of foodstamps and medicaid for the kids. It’s not some thing I’m proud of and I would certainly choose to work outside the house if it would actually help. I’ve done the math, it would make us worse off than we are now. If I worked we would need this to survive-
375 a week for daycare
100 gas
150 health coverage
150 groceries and formula
775 just to cover what we would lose and the cost of going to work. 400 if I work a schedule opposite Tom and ask family to babysit for free.

I only have a couple of semesters of college and live in a rural community with a lot of other people out of work. Jobs that pay that well are not only scarce, they’re unheard of. Tom is a CNC machinist and doesn’t even get paid half of that. Sad, considering that the average pay for that job is 37,000. Tom makes $10,000 than the federal poverty guideline for a family of 5. And yes, 400 a week is very rare around here.

It seemed for a long time that every time we would start to do okay, the birth control would fail and Tom would get laid off. The companies he worked for would run out of work and in one case they ended up closing for good. So we applied and qualified for assistance. 
We did this for the kids. It’s not their fault that we live in an economically depressed area . It’s not their fault the housing market took a crap and people stop building new homes. 

We’ve looked at it from every angle. Alternating schedules, asking family to help, moving, me working from home. There is always a fatal flaw in the plan that makes it not workable.

I have to sit and bide my time until it is financially feasible for me to work. Feeling like a schmuck because I am physically capable just so deep into The Brokeness that we would be homeless if I did work. 

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