The winter at the dump was cold. There was no heat in our little house, and little insulation. We had a good amount of snow(for South Carolina), and we were sleeping on a mattress on the floor. The heaters we had were little electric ceramic heaters which helped, but never really got the place to a comfortable level.
I found a job as quickly as I could...I was working for a home medical equipment company, answering phones, taking orders, scheduling deliveries, and helping out with insurance filing. I enjoyed that job. Jason went back to work at the fast food restaurant, working as a shift manager.
Frances' first birthday was while we were living there...it was fun to have Jason's family out to celebrate with us! We were doing okay, but were really looking forward to getting out of that house!
In January, we lived through a series of events that rocked our world. In short, Jason was accused of neglect, on the testimony of an anonymous tipster who lied to the police. Our daughter was taken from us, and Jason had to call me at work to tell me all of this. Frances was 13 months old at the time, and still nursing. I got to see her ONE TIME during that week...I was MISERABLE, Jason was miserable, and I'm sure that Frances was a very sad little girl during that week as well. There were no official charges brought, but we had to deal with the VERY invasive tactics of the Department of Social Services, and the anguish and trauma of having our child taken from us for a week's time.
After Frances came home, we got a puppy...he was a cutie! Frances loved that little guy, and his was a lot of fun. During that summer, we moved again...away from the dump (YEAH!!), and into a duplex in town, where we spent about 2 years. The pup moved with us, and grew by leaps and bounds...as did Frances. Sometime that summer I also found out that we were expecting again. I had quit my job by this time, and we were trying to get by on just Jason's income...and he was working two or three jobs at a time.
In the mean time, my relationship with my parents had gotten even worse. They kept putting more and more pressure on me to do things their way, and both Jason and I got to the piont where we could not handle any more of it. One day, I sat down and typed out a letter to them stating how upset I was with how they were treating us, and how I could not handle any more of it. I said that I was going to have to go for a while without talking to them, until I was better able to handle communicating with them.
Let me tell you...that letter did NOT go over well. My brothers were very adament that I was in the wrong (honestly, they really didn't care about Jason at that point), and that I needed to "fix it" and talk to my parents. I didn't get any communication from my parents, at all. No attempted phone calls. No letters. Nothing. Even so, I was petrified. They had tried forcing me away from Jason before, and I knew that their tendency was to be a "little" controlling.
The next four years were hard.