Friday, May 15, 2009

Tough Times

My friends, Shelly and George (not their real names) are having some tough times right now. The three bedroom house they live in with their four children is being sold, forcing them to move. The irony in this is that the house is owned by Shelly’s father.

Apparently, twelve years ago Shelly’s father was in the throes of a deep depression caused by the death of his first wife. I can understand that, and I think anyone can understand the emotional baggage that accompanies a situation like this. Shelly’s mom died from multiple sclerosis, and since this was a while ago I have been told that without the medications that are currently available this was a very difficult and painful disease.

Shelly and George stepped in, traveling back from Washington State where they were living to move into the house her father had vacated. They took over paying the mortgage and settled quite nicely into the house that Shelly had grown up in.

About seven years ago, the furnace broke in the house. Shelly’s father told them if they wanted it fixed they would have to do it themselves. At this point, Shelly had already been diagnosed with having multiple sclerosis, just like her mom had. Shelly and George could not afford to have a new furnace installed so they settled for trying to have the old one fixed. After a good amount of money, they realized it was not fixable. They settled for space heaters and an open oven door during the winter.

Not long after that, the central air conditioning unit broke. Again, it was a matter of finances. With four children they were unable to come up with the money to put a new unit in, and Shelly’s dad refused to have the unit fixed. They have a window unit in their bedroom, since heat exacerbates the symptoms of MS.

Not too long after George’s father installed new replacement windows in the house, Shelly’s father announced he had had enough of being a landlord. He just wanted out of the whole deal. He sold the house and the closing is July 1st.

Shelly, George and the four kids are trying to find a new place to live, but times are tough. Rentals in this part of the country are not cheap, and George just got a new job after being laid off for over a month. Hopefully they will find something soon that is affordable and large enough. Although I can pretty much guarantee it will be better. At least their next home will have a working furnace.

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