I was going through my pictures file and realized that the last trip of any kind we made was in February. That was a small day trip to Charleston. In March we had friends move in. I had no idea at that time what a mistake we were making. This is someone we have known for 10 years, we have a lot of history together.
There were 4 of them and we were relieved when they went to go live with her mother. I knew that could be a huge problem and it was. In less than a month they were back with an extra adult. So three adults and two kids moved back in.
Let me tell you, their family of five out ate our family of eight. They were in the back shop and had their own refrigerator. They had food stamps but they only lasted about a week. The rest of the time we were feeding them. It got to the point where I only bought what I needed. They ate all our food that had been sitting in the pantry for a long time. They ate stuff I bought to make meals so I didn't buy food unless it was needed. I shopped on a daily basis. We had our own stash in our closet of snacks and a refrigerator in our bedroom and started cutting the milk in the main refrigerator. I put my moms special foods in her bedroom. We spent thousands on food and other items such as toilet paper. We were going through several rolls a day. I think that their dog even ate more than our dog.
The bills got extreme. Folks, we had $700 utility bills. We even had the utility company call us to see if we had a problem. Our bills had never been higher, we tried to conserve but they didn't do the same.
Their dog destroyed a lot of stuff with his chewing and their kids did their own damage. We have damaged furniture, lighting, toys, and such.
Finally one day I had a panic attack. I had never had a panic attack before. Our budget had been fine for our family but supporting 5 more was breaking us. My husband left his job 2 1/2 years ago and we were prepared to live on military retirement income and savings for a long time. Slowly the purchasing power of our income had been diminishing with increased cost of food and gas. However, we still did fine until this summer. While we went nowhere our boarders made it to the beach. They could afford fireworks when we couldn't. Their kids got a lot of back to school items and ours got one item.
We finally gave them an ultimatum, get out by October.
In August I found a trailer for rent within their budget. We went and looked at it and they actually knew the owner. However, they had no money saved. I don't understand how they expected to ever get a place of their own. They were able to get a special grant to pay for their utility deposit and $300 of their first months rent. We paid $900 for the deposit and the rest of the rent. It is supposed to be a loan but I expect I will never see a dime. However, it was the best $900 we ever spent. We were broke the rest of the month but that was OK.
Then came the complications, from the beginning we had given them Sarah's car to borrow. Well, they drove it to death. It died several days before they were to leave. In our area you have to have a car to get around. We lent them the truck for 2 weeks, gave them a cut off date. On the cut off date we had to go and get it. It was damaged and required a new tire and alignment.
They lived with us for 6 months and never saved a dime. Never made a serious attempt to get a car. Never paid us a dime. Used as much of our resources as they could. Almost seemed like they were intent in driving us to the ground.
One argument we had ended with her telling me that she didn't have the opportunity to live a privileged life like I do. I realized then that she was jealous. I offered her as much as I could but it wasn't enough because I still had more than her.
They still call us for things, for rides, for help. However, our support has ended. I can no longer use our families resources for their family. Sadly this experience has cost us our friendship.
In the short term this experience hurt us financially. However, we are rebounding and will be fine. The loss of a friendship was more painful.
Oh, the dog....they got rid of him within a week of leaving because he was chewing up their stuff.