Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Can’t Complain

The recession has been like a dull buzzing in the background of my life this past year. I only bring it to the forefront once in a while, as when I say to myself, “I can wait until this item goes on sale,” or “I don’t really need to buy this right now.”

Most of the time, I ignore it until I absolutely have to deal with it, like now, with this medical bill staring me in the face, soon to go to collection. I think the insurance company should pay for it but hasn’t due to a bogus technicality. My appeal is pending. Happy bleepin’ New Year.

Hubby has been laid off for exactly one year now. He works a part-time job as much as legally possible to supplement his unemployment payments. My son is a recent college grad who works but hasn’t landed that “career” job yet.

As for me, I haven’t had a raise in a couple of years at my job. There have been layoffs and for those of us still standing, there was a “temporarily” reduction of our salaries last year by 5%. None of my coworkers are making too much of a fuss about it and only the younger ones dare to leave for other jobs.

But I guess things are not so bad. I remember being somewhat poorer, back in the days when I was a stay-at-home mom (I’m not married to Donald Trump, you know); and after that, when I was only working part time so that I could pick up the kids after school, help with homework, make a decent dinner, play with them, tuck them into bed. A lot of scrimping, and lot of sacrifice, but we made it. Then I refocused on my career and met with a measure of success.

So we had a good run, the subsequent years of doing what we want–you know, the American thing of buying new cars and filling up the grocery cart with abandon. So what we now have to give up HBO? There is  so much mindless television to watch on digital cable that our DVR is threatening to explode (although I miss Curb Your Enthusiasm).

Chinese take-out? Every other week instead of twice a week. We cook instead. Fewer forgotten potatoes in the pantry and onions growing sprouts.

Also, we all took defensive driving classes to lower our car insurance bill. Now the world is safer all around, huh?

Plus, no one is actively sick right now. What more can you ask for? Crazily enough, deep in my heart I wish I would be laid off so that I could spend more time writing what I want to write instead of what I have to write. I could scale down my lifestyle some more.

The internet, digital channels, and DVR are not on the table for negotiation.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2009.


Comments on: "Can’t Complain" (8)

  1. Last night as part of my yearly nye ritual, I sat down and began to write about all the things I am grateful for. It was an incredible process because once I started I found I could go on and on. There are always things we wish we had or think we need but for the most part – we have enough. Moving to the bush (away from malls and consumerist society) has shown me that everything I once thought I needed is absolute nonsense. I think the global recession had to happen because we had become a society of glutenous pigs. Still, I know in the states it has affected people badly and I suppose all people can do is to pause for a moment and give thanks for what they do have. Its a nice feeling to shift the focus around. Happy New Year Sweepy Jean!

  2. NYE really is a good time to take stock of the year and of life. Probably, the key to happiness is being thankful for what we have.

    All the best to you down under, Misha! Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side.

  3. While we all feel the effects of this recession, I think you have a healthy attitude towards it. If you have a roof over your head and food for your family, then you’re surviving. I think a lot of us (me included) think of non-essentials as needs nowadays. We can survive lean times. Everything is cyclical and it will come around again.

    • Well said. The economy will come around again. By then, maybe we’ll have learned to use our time and money in more sensible and holistic ways. Thanks, Brent.

  4. ..this is the year we are going to see the end of this crunch.May it come to pass

  5. I have to say I agree with Brent, and I agree with you. Trimming the fat of our luxury items, for me personally, has meant I really USE and appreciate what I have left. Something that made me grin was the fact you miss Curb…but wait…I have a couple tips on that! Netflix, the basic program, is like 9 bucks a month. It is cheaper than renting, more choices. When my hubby was ill, and I couldn’t get out Netflix saved my life. I could browse their catalog online for hours (entertainment in itself) I listed the DVD’s of all my fave TV shows, watch and return. Curb is in that list, I know because I had it in my line up! I also looked in video stores for their sell off DVD’s…you can get some full seasons of shows for a little bit of nothing! Cheers Sweepy! Thanks for your writing.

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