First off, I want to say how much I appreciate your comments on my blog. At least there are a few people in this world who recognize the way things REALLY are. And because they do, they're doing what they can to prepare for the coming harder times, times worse than they are today.
I suspect most of you have tried to talk to others about what's coming and how to prepare. You all know the drill: pay down debt, stock a pantry, grow a garden, make repairs around your home, stop buying useless crap, learn some new skills, and move your money (if you have any) out of the ponzi scheme called stocks, bonds, hedge funds, etc.
Well, you know me, I can't keep my mouth shut for long. So once again, I've dared to reach out to family and friends via my annual emailed Christmas/New Year letter. Instead of the usual blather about how wonderful the grandkids are doing and the high points of our year, I basically shared a few ideas/practices that have helped us live debt free and be less affected by the current downturn in the economy.
This list of family and friends amounts to about a dozen people, none of whom are acquaintances, though an acquaintance may be willing to consider the merits of my advice!
Most of my email went to one geographic location which - according to what I read in the local paper - has finally been affected by store closings, layoffs, etc. What many thought was a well-insulated community has now found itself in need of another sweater or two, if you get my drift. People are mad; they're confused, and they're shocked.
So little ol' prepper me thought this was an opertune time to speak up. How wrong!
Responses to my email have left me feeling like a small voice in a deep, dark forest. Couldn't I "just keep things positive" and "cheerful" and "focus on silly, funny things because I don't want to think of bad times?"
And then my children, three people who still spend like there's no consequences, all got together at one of their homes and called me. "Mom, we're wondering if you're okay. You sound so gloomy. Why don't you come home for Christmas? We know you're broke so it's okay if you don't buy anything for us." And then they asked to speak with Sweetie: "Do you think maybe she should go on an anti-depressant?"
Thank God, Sweetie just laughed into the phone. Maybe it was better that he spoke to them anyway. They don't know him well and when he speaks they tend to listen. So he says, "You mother and I are just concerned enough to try to help you the only way we can. If we had loads of money we'd still be advising each of you to stock up, stop spending and consider making some other changes."
After a few ah-ha, ah-ha's from him listening to them, he handed the phone back to me. "So you're serious about this stuff?" my oldest son asks.
By then I'd built up enough frustration to melt the snow around here. So...I calmly said, "You know what? Forget about everything I've said. I'm gonna email each of you a list of links that I hope you'll take the time to read."
Oldest son and my daughter say, "Okay."
Youngest son says, "I don't have time to do much reading."
I say, "None of you bother to pay attention to anything outside your navel but maybe, for your Blessed Christmas, which to each of you is all about GETTING, you'd consider GIVING your attention to something outside your anatomy!"
They had me on speaker phone by then by the way.
So, after a long silence, my youngest son says, "This reminds me of how serious you were when Rosie died. I guess we'd better listen up!"
I tell you, I don't know if anything positive will develop from my advice but, I just can't seem to stop trying.
EACH of them knows the economy is sliding downhill but their solutions are kinda like Bernanke and Paulson: more of the same. One has taken on a third job, one has tapped into his father's credit cards to stay afloat, and one has decided to open a second business to make up for the loss in his first business.
There are days when I absolutely dread 2009. Not because I fear we won't survive. Because I fear the ones I love won't.