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When a disaster levels a home, the rubble has to be cleaned up and a new site cleared before pouring footings for the new home. Once those footings go in, the owner experiences the excitement that progress is being made. Work has begun on their new home!

I laid some footings for my new life this week. The site of my life is still messy, and there is still much work to be done clearing out the old garbage. But, I’m excited that positive work has begun.

Life with my abusers consisted of endlessly chasing problems. They like to keep a constant state of chaos going, so they don’t typically look ahead and make efforts to avert potential problems. Well, except for themselves. As I found after R left, he’d been siphoning money into a private account for himself, looking ahead to the day he’d do what he did.  And, my mother had a trust drawn up stating that it was her intention to leave nothing to my brother or me.  Anyway, I digress. The necessary sacrifices were never made for the family in order to avoid future difficulties because those difficulties were actually desirable to keep us needy, confused, and desperate.

My harsh reality is that my landlord may kick us out this winter.  This dump of a house could burn down.  One of the outlets in my youngest son’s room is throwing flames.  We heat with wood and kerosene.  The wiring is all piggy backed; things short out constantly and breakers regularly blow.  I could die and leave my minor children with nothing.  My former abuser would swoop in and gather his little meal tickets, eager to collect the Social Security money and spend it on his many, many addictions.

What really can a broke, tired, sick, orphaned, single mother do?  What if any one of those things happens?

First line of footings:  I rented a storage unit from one of my clients and neighbors.  He’s cutting me a deal, and I’ll be moving a lot of my stuff into that 5 x 10 seamless, waterproof unit this weekend.  Should the landlord kick me out, much of the stuff I don’t use every day will already be boxed and ready to move.  If I have a hard time finding a place to stay, pretty much everything but my furniture will already be safely stored.  No panic trying to sort through fifteen years of living in one place with only 30 days to get it boxed and out and find a place to live.

Second line of footings:  While I’m boxing it all, I might as well take inventory of it.  As I boxed it up, I noted the value of my books and Googled values for other items.  I’ll give the completed list to my insurance agent.  I signed papers with him yesterday for two new policies, one being renter’s insurance.  I think those stored items are safe, but the things still in this fire trap certainly are not.  But, should she burn, I have coverage.  The company will pay for housing for me for up to a year and will replace my furniture, clothing, etc, that I’m keeping here in the house for our use, should a loss occur.  No trying to start all over yet again with absolutely nothing.

Third line of footings:  The second policy is not in place.  I have to submit to a physical, and my medical records have to be pulled.  But, the cement is mixing, ready to be poured.  Should I die, my adult son and his girlfriend will hopefully receive adequate funds to make sure that the minor children are taken care of, regardless of what R chooses to do.  It is money he can’t touch.  Money he’ll have no CONTROL over!  Boy, that tickles me because we all know how he LOVES control!  Barring my denial for the life insurance policy, I’ll eventually get a trust drawn up detailing my wishes.  The first attorney I had, the one who helped me with the first part of the restraining order, does estate planning, too.  For those of you who don’t remember, he was amazing.  He GETS abuse.  He is THOROUGH.  And, he specializes in helping you help yourself instead of just 100% representing you, so his fees are about half what most attorneys charge.  In the meantime, my son, his girlfriend, and my insurance agent all clearly understand my verbal instructions, and I trust them to carry them out.

Fourth line of footings:  You’ll be shocked.  I’ve made it very clear that I loathe debt.  But, I accepted a credit card offer from my bank.  It was pre-approved, 0% interest for a year, no monthly or annual fee, and it pays me up to $125 a year just for being me–paying more on my monthly bill than is required!  I’d love to move away from house cleaning and do child care and preschool full time, but right now I’ve been a self-employed house cleaner for almost two years.  That stability, and my good credit, were necessary for the offer.  So, I jumped on it before I make any more changes to my vocation.  And, should the car break down, which I also am anticipating, or should the landlord kick me out I now have $2500 approved for my usage anytime I desperately need it.

Can I really afford a storage unit, renter’s insurance, and a life insurance policy?  No.  But, really, can I afford not to?  It’s a sacrifice that must be made.  Just some of those things that must be done in order to stop chasing problems.  For $88 a month, I’m buying myself and my children some peace of mind.  And, that is priceless.  Something we aren’t accustomed to experiencing.