At our latest shopping trip, Nadine announced we “still” have $32 on her food stamps card. She had over $600 exactly 24 days earlier.
She said that, for four people, that really wasn’t bad.
Um, yes. Yes it is.
The main problem I have with this is that we really haven’t bought much that’s substantive. We’ve had maybe 8 homemade meals this month — which were admittedly delicious. The rest has gone to odds and ends.
She’s gotten me a few bags of candy. Tim’s gotten his expensive cereal (we’re indulging him, since it’s at least healthy) and two or three squares of nice cheese. The kind that’s $10-12 a pound. Which, admittedly, I was more than happy to help him with.
For Thanksgiving, she planned for more people — even though Tim had repeatedly said that the people he’d invited turned out to be busy — and so bought: a 20-lb turkey, a 7.5-lb roast, three different kinds of cheese, a package of sliced salami (Tim had barely made a dent in the one she’d gotten him a few days before) and a few other things.
The roast, which turned out to be a tongue-swallowing $55.80, is still sitting in our freezer. I don’t eat red meat, and Nadine barely eats since her gastric bypass.
There’s also been a lot of soda. None of it generic.
It’s like she thinks the surplus food stamps would continue forever. I’ve repeatedly told her that she’ll get VASTLY reduced food stamps here. She nodded and said she knows. At one point, she wondered out loud if they would qualify at all.
But that wasn’t enough to stop her asking if I needed anything each and every time she went to the store. The last trip, which I was actually present for, she asked me at least 5 times if I needed anything and suggested some candy.
She’s generous. It’s sweet. But it’s also worrying.
I’m partially to blame here. I saw some bad signs at Costco last month, and I didn’t say anything. I figured maybe it was a one-off. She was still a little harried from the move. So I didn’t say anything as she threw in a $9.99 bag of Baby Bell cheese, or a packet of 6 different kinds of sliced cheeses.
I had come in for $15.87 Swiffer cloths and some toilet paper. Maybe $30. Maybe. Instead, we walked out with a bill just over $132. Now, $30 of that were some chairs for the guest house. But $70 of things — only $13 of which was for prepared entrees “meals” — is a lot.
I paid, since she couldn’t use food stamps. Since we’d be sharing a lot of the food, and since she paid for most of the groceries this month, I never asked for repayment, and she never pushed the issue.
Given that they bought a new microwave so that they could give us their old one, I never even felt comfortable asking for the money for the chairs.