I'm starting to feel beaten up... Or beaten down. I don't know which. You see, husband's business went under in the spring. He's been frantically looking for a job for months - since the last one ended just before I went on maternity leave. He worked 3rd shift security for a while but it turned out to barely cover the expenses of working... So it was a wash, and physically it was killing him - because 2 days a week he watches Rose - during the day. The constant rearranging sleep took its toll. He had to stop - because he wasn't making enough for the sitter to watch Rose the extra 2 days - or even one, with my parents taking her for the other. He had a short-term thing he did, but it's over and has been. He paid a LOT of bills from that and filled the freezer with meat and other foods. But last night he had to tell Pat that until he gets another job, he cannot renew the XBox Live. That was a horrible thing for me to overhear - the extreme defeat in his voice. The "Dad, don't worry, I understand" from Pat. husband's ex partner is suing us. Yes, us... PERSONALLY, though I had nothing to do with the business and even washed my hands of it entirely. I guess he doesn't get that some investments don't work out. This guy is a real piece of work and I will stop there because he makes me very angry. Our company had to furlough us for 4 days. (Some people lost their jobs entirely, so it could be worse.) But that is $150+ a paycheck I am losing - they allowed us to split them up so I set them so no more than one would hit per check. My last one was Tuesday, so one more short check. Rose is outgrowing clothes like crazy. So is Pat. We still have hospital bills for about $500 a month for me, her, and Belle ($200 for us, $300 for Belle - ours will be paid off in March, Belle's sometime next fall). Camping was actually less expensive than staying home because father in law paid for most of the food and the campsite. I got paid today. I looked at the bills to be paid - mortgage and sitter for Rose - and the things I wanted to do go out the window. Like a date night with my husband - or even just a movie. I know we will be okay - we're not going to starve, we have a freezer and pantry full... But the luxuries are quickly going POOF. There is a festival this weekend I love, I go every year with my parents. I always buy extra to freeze. Not this year... They always "treat" us to a meal there. But I won't be taking home any extra and that is going to BOTHER my Mom. The expensive kid (Belle) is out of the house. Pat is no more expensive than he ever was, except maybe bread-wise, and I can get that for 49 cents a loaf. Rose's clothes are MUCH cheaper than Belle's ever were - I can get 6-8 complete outfits for her for what a pair of Belle's jeans cost. And yes, I do believe in thrifting, but they don't usually have a lot in Rose's size that are any better of a price than Wal-Mart. Mom picks up cases of diapers for us... Rose eats what we eat... But I do know what the difference is. 2 years ago, the peanut butter I bought Pat was $5 for a big jar. Now it is $9. That is an 80% increase in price! Soda pop - OMG, the stuff doesn't get BOUGHT unless I have a super coupon on top of a super sale. $4.99 for 12 cans is outrageous! $2.29 for a 2-liter is insane! We drink a LOT of tea. Fortunately, I like the stuff. Gas prices... Ugh. Just ugh. I need pretzels and prayers, juju and nekkid chicken liver dances that husband finds a job that we can actually live with. Or we win the lottery. Thanks for listening. ...And... I feel guilty because so many people are getting by on so much less.