Monday, October 8, 2007

Gold Dollars

Throughout my marriage I've collected the "gold" Sacagawea dollars and Susan B. Anthony dollar coins, and more recently, the presidential "gold" dollars. It's been my way of saving some "emergency" cash that I have on hand, just in case something Katrina-like happens, where people can't access their money via ATMs or whatever. My collection hasn't been huge, I add a few dollars to it here and there when I have a couple of one dollar bills in my pocket and happen to be near a place where I can get the gold dollars. My logic for saving gold dollars as opposed to "regular" money has been that if I have fifty one-dollar bills, it's a lot easier to grab them and justify an "emergency" trip to WalMart, where the gold dollars would be harder for me to break down and spend, because I like them and they're different.

DH has always known that I've collected them, the last time I counted them, we counted them together, there were 260 gold and silver dollars in the bucket. That was probably about two years ago, and I have regularly added at least a dollar every week or so, sometimes as much as $15, when I'm feeling "rich". The gold dollar collection has been a huge source of security for me. I figured there had to be $400-$500 in there now. And if that relatively small amount wouldn't necessarily pay our mortgage in an "emergency", it would buy gas if we ever needed to evacuate, and it would buy food if we needed cash.

About two weeks ago, I cashed my paycheck for my second job, and got three new "gold" dollars. As I was adding them to the bucket, I thought to myself, "I wonder how much I've got now", and counted my bucket of gold dollars.

$112. That's it. The rest was gone. I knew who had taken it, because there were only two people who had access to that bucket, and I wasn't the one who had spent that money. The only other person was DH, as the bucket is in our bedroom, which is always locked due to DD stealing from us when she first came to live with us. Only DH and I have keys.

I was devastated. I had been robbed by my own husband. I knew it was the bipolar again, he had to find some money to spend, and there it was. But that didn't help me feel any better. My security, my collection, all the pride I took in that I had found a way to save cash and keep it in the house and not spend it. Even just writing this is making me feel sick to my stomach.

I left the bucket where it was, on the bed, and went for a drive to clear my head. I decided I would go back home, take care of the animals, and go for another drive. When I got home, DH was just leaving, he was suicidal because he knew what he'd done, he knew what it had done to me, and he felt like I would be better off if he killed himself. So then, as DH's therapist so gently puts it, "DH messes up big time, hurts you big time, then gets suicidal, then you comfort him, then he's off the hook for what he's done, because you are worried that if you express your anger, he'll kill himself."

And that's right on the money (no pun intended). I am not able to bring up how angry I am, how hurt I am, how betrayed and disrespected I feel, because even though it was DH that messed up, he can get suicidal and I shut up. What a dysfunctional marriage.

Anyhow, I'm trying to get past that, although every one of these incidents that happen tears away at my love for him, I'm trying to just be understanding and wait for the meds to start working. I really don't know what else to do, but I suspect that if DH ever gets back to a level where I could expect a relationship between equals, the gold dollar thing will be something that will need to be addressed in some kind of counseling, as I am stuffing a lot of anger right now.

My current problem regarding the gold dollars is this: the other day I had three dollars in my pocket, and usually, if I found myself with extra money like that, I would run and get some gold dollars. I thought about it. And I couldn't do it. I just thought to myself "what's the use, I saved and saved and don't have anything to show for it anyhow." I know I need to get back up on the horse again, so to speak, but I'm really discouraged about all aspects of my (and our) finances right now, and I have worked so hard, it's like trying to swim up a river with a cement block tied to your foot.

And that doesn't even take into consideration the fact that there is no place in the house now that is sacred, where I could trust that my gold dollar collection would be untouched. I could keep it in the bank, but the point of having those dollars in the house was for non-computerized access to cash. I have a savings account at a bank already.

I was thinking that maybe putting all these thoughts down in the blog would make me a little clearer-headed on what I need to do next, but now I'm just feeling sick and discouraged, even though I do feel a little more unburdened than I did before writing. The right answers, I guess, will come to me when the time is right.