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Cold

Haven’t written in awhile. I’ve been dealing with many things lately and haven’t seemed to easily gather the energy or inclination. The past few nights have been nervous ones. After rent I had just under five available dollars in my account. This means food pantry again this month–and we have to make it last because we can only go once a month. Choices are crucial: do I choose the can of mandarin oranges from the pantry or the pumpkin pie filling? Which type of noodle provides more bulk, spaghetti or egg? With egg noodles is there more protein?

Another night here in the hospital with my husband. He has pneumonia and they can’t seem to keep his fever down. Two nights ago I brought us both here with symptoms of heat stress. The (supposedly new) central air unit to our trailer started making its own unhealthy noises and finally stopped. We spent one hellish night trying to sleep, but it wouldn’t come for me. My beloved spouse, already ill with fever, couldn’t do anything but sleep and baste in his own juices. My dog engaged in scary, rapid panting. I stayed up all night trying to google for helpful numbers (one reason Internet is a strange non-luxury) on my low-cost wifi for those of us on public assistance. I called a slew of 24 hour assistance numbers, texted my landlords (church people), and generally worked myself into a hot frizzy to no avail. I worked the phone and my email well into the following afternoon. Oddly enough, the fact that a disabled woman couldn’t afford to fix her air conditioner to help her sick husband and precious pet cool down elicited little more than scripted lists of who else to call for help, anyone-but-us, who all had similar responses. One guy, from the “House of Help” snorted, “I have a window unit, but I can’t give it to you. I don’t have any money.” Puzzling.

The sum total from my efforts was a 12-inch window fan which, as anyone experienced with June in the South can tell you, is just a punishment. And I received a frozen chicken. Which if I cooked would probably kill us with the heat.

When the thermostat read 95 degrees, the air was like molten metal, and my spouse was having seizures, I brought us here to the hospital. It’s a cold world, just not in a way we need right now.

What I keep thinking is this: 1) God is supposed to be our source of help; 2) He works through people; 3) reaching out to my local church people did squat. Does that mean something about God, the local church, people, or all of the above? Does the fact that almost all I can feel is a raw, gnawing sense of abandonment mean that there’s something wrong with me? That I’m “playing victim”, looking to ascribe blame? When what I want is a good home, health for my little family, peace, and a chance to do something like afford a movie once a year. Is that too big a job for God, or are his employees just tone deaf idiots?

If The Church can’t help us now, who can?

My husband’s last temperature reading was 100.3F. It’s up again. His breath rips through his body as he lies there passed out from total exhaustion. And we have no insurance and I don’t know what we’re going to do. I’m so scared I want to vomit.

Earlier a church member offered me the requisite “thoughts and prayers” via text. I miss my dog who is housed elsewhere. I can’t do anything to make my husband well and he is my only friend in this world.

Thoughts and prayers.

Choke. On. Them.

I am officially a grown up.

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I’ve gone and done it. I’ve purchased, and had installed, a brand new commode.

The old one in our very experienced mobile home had a leak. The tank was cracked. Also it ran. And ran and ran after flushing. Costing us lots of cash through water waste.

Once I started looking a few weeks ago for a replacement I moved pretty quickly into shock. Commodes can be surprisingly expensive for such humble items. The average price hovered around 400 dollars. And I learned that I had to watch out when reading the ads. I’d get all excited about a model that I thought I’d found for around 200 dollars, only to figure out the tank was sold separately. Or that the cost didn’t include the seat.

I also learned about one of the most important measurements I’d have to take before figuring out which unit to buy. This measurement is called the “rough in”. This is the distance from the wall to the center of the bolt which anchors the toilet to the floor. You have to buy one that fits your current rough in. That seems pretty straightforward. It’s not.

There is the “standard” rough in, which is 12 inches. There is a rough in that is not standard, and that’s 10 inches. Several measurements of our rough in gave us 11 inches, which according to the kid running the bath section of our local big box retailer doesn’t exist. To be on the safe side we would need to buy the 10 inch to make sure our new unit would fit. And of course the units with 10 inch rough ins were special order. And not cheap.

I really started to feel down. As first world problems go this wasn’t even a major one, but it was still a challenge to my faith. I struggle with anxiety around money and about whether God will take care of me. A problem like this just spins me right out. After all, I’m not made of money, this was all sort of unexpected, and I wasn’t entirely sure God even wanted me to have an actual roof over my head. Now this.

Several weeks, crazy bad customer service, and hundreds of dollars later–she’s in. And she is a glistening white throne.

Should I love it this much? It’s a hunk of plastic and ceramic, but it’s almost an extension of myself. It gives me solace. Since it’s installed I’ve been less depressed. I think my hair looks healthier. I walk a little taller. I feel my faith life has improved. Sometimes I go in there just to sit and feel better about myself. Safer. Deserving. Isn’t that a bit much?

Am I on the verge of worshipping this object?