If you’ve been around here a while, or know me in any way, you’ll recall that I live with my sister. We’ve been roomies for a long while now, and it’s not as unusual a situation as you might think. There are plenty of adult siblings who room together, among those who get along, of course. There are even adults who share households with a single parent (and I’m not talking about those who’ve moved back in with Mommy and Daddy – but there are certainly a growing number of those as well).
With all due respect to the alternate life styled among us, my sister and I consider ourselves Domestic Partners. We both own our house, we share all the bills, we’re best friends so we socialize together – even our Mother refers to us as “an old married couple.” Our names are on both of our checking/savings accounts, and we have a separate shared account for a hobby business we both run on the side.
The only thing we lack, aside from the obvious, is health care. I have it, she – thanks to her a-hole former employer who saw fit to lay her off two weeks ago – does not. And I can’t add her to mine as a “spouse or domestic partner” because we’re not gay.
Again, no offense, but that sucks. In every respect other than sex, we’re domestic partners. Both of our names are on our banking accounts, our mortgage, the titles to our cars. We share the bills, we share the duties, we share everything. Where she falls short, I pick up, and where I’m lacking, she handles it. I could only add her if she were legally disabled, and she’s not.
Why am I saying all this? I mean, what do you care, right? It’s a strange arraignment, to be sure. Not your standard fare. But over the years I’ve come to find we’re not so strange after all. More and more of you are living in a unique setting aside from the typical marriage of man and woman – even aside from a sexual partnership. Women living with their widowed mothers, men sharing a house with their cousins, sisters and brothers, friends mutually helping each other. Even full-on families sharing a house out of financial need and charity. The list is growing.
The reason you’re getting an earful today is because my sister is out of work again, and we’re back on the roller coaster of madness.
It makes me queasy.
People don’t seem to get it, why it should bother ME if my sister has lost her job. After all I have a job, a very good job, with medical benefits and the works. But if you stop and think about it domestically – what if your wife lost her job, and her medical benefits, and you couldn’t add her to yours? What if your husband was laid off, and you couldn’t add him to your medical plan? Now add some medical issues to that laid off spouse, that you’re going to have to pay out of pocket for.
In every outward respect, we are domestic partners lacking the benefit domestic partners are given. If my sister were my lover, I could legally add her to my medical plan.
We live modestly – we might even survive – unless her health care becomes a serious issue. She’s been cancer free for a few months now, but she’s on daily prescriptions and has routine doctor visits. There’s lymphodema starting up, which is a side effect of having had lymph nodes removed, and she’ll need to see a specialist in a week or so – which we’ll have to pay for out of pocket.
She’s applied for unemployment again, but they’re trying to deny her. We have forms to fill out, and hoops to jump through. She’s also applied to DSHS for health care, but we haven’t heard back about that yet. Fingers crossed there.
And if you’re thinking Obama-care will come and save the day – think again. It’s not “free health care for all.” It’s really just a mandate that requires everyone to purchase health insurance. So when that takes effect, if she’s unemployed still, she’ll be forced to pay a fine every month she’s unable to pay for her own health care plan.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’m not alone, neither are you, and sometimes we need to vent. Maybe not every day, maybe several times a day, I don’t know how it’ll work. Any post I make regarding these issues will have comments opened, so feel free to vent, share, commiserate or feel free to ignore my Diary of Madness. If I help no one but myself, it’ll have been time well spent!