Kelvin was fitted for his “ankle bracelet” within two days upon arriving at the little house at 1004 s 20thst. He could venture as far as 100 ft from the house so he was able to mow the yard and was granted permission to look for work. He found a job at the plant in Gower working with cement. I turned in all the wages between the two of us to Social Services and they said I would not be able to continue with the Food Stamp program.
By the end of July when things were settling and the bills were being paid I got a letter from the landlord that he had sold the house and I had to be out by the end of the month.
Kelvin told me things would be fine as we started looking for houses in the paper. One Saturday when we were both off from work we did a double take and circled around to check out a house available for rent on Penn St. It had a nice rectangle shaped living room, carpeting, large kitchen, big bedroom and a small bedroom for Dakota. On the East side of the kitchen there was a small laundry room and a door leading to a large back yard and patio. The rent was 3 times what I was paying with housing. I stressed and stressed about the expense but Kelvin assured me with the extra money he was making and my salary we would be fine. He was paid every two weeks but the opposite weeks that I was being paid so we had two weeks of pay coming in every week. We told the landlord we would take it and asked how soon we could move in. He said as soon as we wanted. We had to pay the first and last month’s rent, half the deposit and sign a lease. We started moving as soon as we got back home.
I was so excited; it was such a nice little house! The walls in the kitchen were tongue and groove wood paneling and the counter went all the way around. I needed counter space so badly. All the rooms were carpeted including the small laundry room. The walls were white except for a couple of walls in the kitchen that had green leaf wallpaper in place of the paneling.
The yard was magnificent. It was huge but no fencing which Kelvin remedied with a few scraps of fence and posts so Lassie could be free to roam the whole thing. It was the first time she would be free of that cable in three years. The neighbor to the North of us and to the East of us had privacy fencing making the job so much easier; there were only a few areas that were open and needed closed off.
By October of that year, 2004, we applied for and got a new truck for Kelvin, a 2003 Ford Ranger. The payments were 406.00 a month so again I had to figure out how we were going to be able to pay the truck payment, rent and utilities, four charge cards I had before Kelvin came home. The house was insulated and came with a window air conditioner in the living room plus we purchased a small one for our bedroom and was much easier to heat and cool than the last one. In the winter time at the old house Dakota and I almost froze to death trying to keep warm. Dakota’s old bedroom had to be wrapped in plastic so I had him sleep with me when the temperature got below zero. Lassie stayed in the basement in the winter time there, I would get up in the mornings for work, let her out then put her back in until I got home. It was very warm down there and cozy. I knew she was getting older and had bouts with arthritis. At this new place there was only a crawl space under the house where the furnace resided and the door was off the ground about a foot and kept closed at all times. We still had her dog house which I had filled with blankets but it tended to leak. It had to be really poring down before she would resort to going inside. When the weather was too cold and the snow was getting deep we would let her inside the house with us. She was well house trained and just slept in front of the big screen television in the living room.
On Wednesdays Kelvin got paid and I had those days off so I would get up early and leave about 11:30 to go to Gower and pick up his check after he cashed it and kept a hundred dollars or so for him giving me the rest to put in the bank to pay bills. I would then get paid 10 days later the following week on Friday. Everything appeared to be manageable until Kelvin lost his job.
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