When we couldn’t afford to heat our home

A few years ago, my family and I were living in a rural area in New York State and planning to move to Los Angeles, where my husband was working. A family had contracted to buy our home, but the sale was contingent on them selling their house first. This did not happen quickly, and all our funds were tied up until the sale was completed. I was very fearful and spent many nights tossing and turning.

It was the middle of a harsh winter, and our big, old Victorian country house needed lots of heat. Our house was heated by oil, which was supplied via a five-hundred-gallon tank in the yard. The oil company called to remind me that it was time for them to refill it, but I told them not to come, not knowing how I would pay for the oil.

One day, feeling brave, I decided to go and look at the gauge on the tank. When I saw that the needle was below empty, I felt the blood drain from my face, and my heart started racing. I was overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to find enough money to pay for a large oil delivery on top of all our other expenses.

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