I have just had a “falling out” with some of the “in-laws” that live in my compound. For some reason, they seem to think that I have an unlimited amount of cash on hand or that I’m hiding money from them — money that they think they deserve more than I do. When I start giving the details as to why we are not getting along, I’m sure you’ll understand the situation from my point of view. If not, then you just aren’t thinking straight.
My compound consists of two residential parcels. When I and my wife were having our house built, we tore down the hollow-block wall that separated the two properties. We bought the first property in the late 1980s, when I was stationed on Okinawa. Because I and my wife didn’t have a permanent address in the US at the time, the property was listed in the names of my parents-in-law. It’s still our property and my wife will be changing the names on the documents when she returns to the Philippines in a month or two.
Besides my wife, my younger son, and me (who live in our own house, of course), there are 23 other people living in this compound. Those 23 people include people from the ages of 1 through 73. That’s a whole lot of people living in three houses and a make-shift house (between two houses) on the other property.
Due to circumstances beyond their control, my two remaining brothers-in-law are permanently unemployed (two other brothers-in-law were murdered in 2001). I support them and their families on a monthly basis the best way I can. Neither of the families pay rent or utility bills. The only expenses they have are food and clothing and incidental expenses. A portion of my monthly pension, plus what I make from Google AdSense, is used for this support.
My wife has six sisters, three of which live in this compound with their families. I support two of them for incidental expenses only (like trips to the doctor and things of that nature). They are unmarried sisters-in-law, and most of their support comes from their so-called husbands-to-be. One has four children and still isn’t married to the father.
My Monthly Budget
Until my 25th wedding anniversary remarriage in January of 2010, I have a total monthly budget that is half of what I make from two income sources. The other half is the money I’m saving in order to complete the house (the dirty kitchen and laundry room, as well as repairing screwed-up plumbing) and pay for the wedding. It shouldn’t take four years to complete the building of any house, but the incidental expenses have eaten up most of my savings and taken a bite out of my monthly budget for this month.
My monthly budget includes paying for food, utilities, telephone, DSL, cable, and my son’s monthly expenses related to nursing school. By the end of the month, every month, I have spent more than my monthly budget allows and it’s always because of the incidental expenses for the people I support.
Upon my wife’s return, I will have a mere $3000 (in US dollars) saved. It’s not enough to take care of what we need to take care of by the time we have our wedding in 2010. I can’t count on income from my wife (she’s working in the US) because she is paying off the remainder of her credit, hospital bills and doctor bills. She has to be debt-free when she returns to the Philippines because she isn’t going to be living in the US ever again — unless both she and I move back to the US on some future date we haven’t even discussed yet.
The Incident in Question
Until yesterday, I had zero dollars in the bank. I pulled out everything at the beginning of January and it was supposed to last until the beginning of March. After I got soaked for property tax, a nephew had an emergency with his newborn son, and a brother-in-law had an emergency with his younger daughter, I am almost completely broke. I have the equivalent of $40 to last me for the remainder of February and we haven’t even completed the first week of the month!
I can’t give up the last of my cash-on-hand. I still have to do my yearly registration with the Bureau of Immigration and take care of my own incidental expenses. I just found out today that I have to pay for another court hearing (a different story that I won’t get into now) and I don’t have enough. I now have to go back to the bank and take money from my savings just to cover it.
The latest incident was that in which one of my sisters-in-law asked to borrow (utang in Tagalog) money to take her 15 month old baby to the doctor. He has a mild case of diarrhea. It doesn’t justify a trip to the doctor. He still wears diapers! For some unknown reason, ALL of my relatives think that every sickness in the world (including the common cold) requires a trip to the doctor. Needless to say, I didn’t lend her any money. I’ve lent her money before and it was never repaid. This time wouldn’t be any different.
You can call me an asshole, or a walking penis, or anything you like, but I’m not going to foolishly give out the last of my cash-on-hand because a relative THINKS that she needs to take her baby to a doctor. She has a live-in husband (unmarried) who works. It’s their responsibility to take care of their children, not mine. As I told my mother-in-law, I didn’t make those babies (she has four children) and I shouldn’t be providing their support.
I discussed this incident with my mother-in-law and she told be that her daughter asked her for money after I refused to give any to her daughter. She doesn’t have any money either. She gets about half of what I get for her monthly pension (social security survivor’s benefits). She supports a sister and one of her grandsons (one of my nephews), as well as herself, with that pension. She also pays the utility bills for the property on that side of the compound (except for one house that I take care of).
I don’t know why the other relatives seem to think that I have an unlimited money supply. I know it’s what they think because when I told another sister-in-law on a previous occasion that I didn’t have any money at the time, she repeated it in a mocking tone. In her case, as I told my wife via Skype a few hours ago, the next time she does that will be the last time she receives anything at all from me (she has a husband and one child).
Yes, my free money tree is bare. At this point in time, I really don’t care.