Monday, January 25, 2010

Things Are NOT Recovering

Other than shopping monthly, reading the blogs or watching TV, I wouldn't realize just how crappy the economy is. Truly, I wouldn't because I don't interact in it or rely on it like the mainstream.

I'm not a nine to fiver; I don't dress for success, chase the almighty dollar or watch the clock. I don't have massive debt, creditors calling or late notices in my mailbox. In that regard, I'm really, really fortunate.

But today, via email and phone calls I got a peek at how horrible it's become locally. My son, who bought three foreclosures to rehab into rentals, called with this news: one house had been vandalized of work tools and lumber; another house had squatters hiding out in the attic!; and, as he came in the front door of his home, someone carryied his 32" flat screen TV out the back door. It was the ONE time he hadn't left his pit bull and Golden Retriever home. And believe me, they don't let anyone in the door! What a Monday!

Then my youngest sister called. She'd been out walking her dogs and found a young girl (maybe 8-10) picking through a garbage can! She wasn't in school and said her family had no heat. I've never heard of such a thing in this area. Never. Not picking through a garbage can. Most malnourished kids go to school because they qualify for the school breakfast and lunch.

Then I emailed a friend who'd been laid off from her counseling job. The agency had lost its funding and closed with a two week notice. My friend will be fine. Everything she has is paid for. She has savings, grows a garden and cuts her own firewood. So I asked, "Out of curiosity, how much do you think the economy affected your practice?" She said: "One Hundred Percent."

Without violating confidentiality, she said every single client's concerns/problems could be traced back to the economic downturn, though she had a different term for it: the "Shit can system."

I'm sure her terminology is due to the frustration she and her colleagues felt after losing their office and its affect on their clients. Imagine, day after day, hearing the horror stories of people whose lives have skidded to the bottom rung. Drug, alcohol and physical abuse. People losing their home, cars, jobs, savings, health insurance, status, security (or at least the perception of it), marriages and relationships. Children acting out, being teased and getting depressed.

Regardless of race, religion, or age, people everywhere are being affected by the downward spiral of "the economy." Sometimes its not as noticeable. Sometimes people aren't looking - too busy being entertained and pacified - but what happens at the top (think Washington, DC., the Fed and Wall Street)trickles down. Always has and probably always will.

It's the middle guy and the little guy and those who are nearly invisible who are most affected. It makes me mad as Hell to see this deterioration. And it makes me more determined than ever to push back, to practice local charity and prep like Hell.

With regard to charity, I don't "donate" to any organized, tax exempt group. I don't trust it and feel I have an immediate affect working one on one. My sister discovered who the young girl's family was. Tonight I packed some food to deliver there tomorrow. I also called a friend who operates a free store. She has access to heating funds, clothing and will lend a hand.

My youngest son has a girlfriend who's struggling. She works 30 hours a week for $7.60 an hour. She has a five year old daughter and lives in a trashy mobile home she rents for $100 a month. I've never been there but my son says,
Think Appalachia." My son keeps her van running and I give her one box of food a month enough to feed them for a week. This gal gardens and cans and goes deer hunting so she's tough but still she needs a little help.

These are my charitable contributions. If anymore were expected of me, well that's another post.

We're monitoring the weather reports because snow and single digit temps are on the way. We have three out of town medical appointments this week. Not looking forward to the road conditions! Have a great week everyone.


2 Tramps said...

Things sure do sound tough for folks in your region. Around here the big news is Facebook. They are building a $188 million dollar data center in our region. It should bring in 200 jobs for a year for construction but then only an average of 35 jobs to run the place. And uneployment here is running over 17%. Some things just don't make much sense...

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

I'm seeing this everywhere. All who pay attention-- even sans media-- should be.

Sad. But?

Get ready...

WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

We think exactly alike when it comes to charitable giving, Treesong. Even the biggest (and supposedly 'best') of the organized charities brag that 60 cents on the dollar goes straight to where it's needed! Well, that sounds like a raw deal to me. If I help my neighbor or a co-worker or a stranger I see on the street, I know that every penny of my dollar goes to them. I'd say that's a better deal for them.

I hope your son had insurance on his tools. Safe travels on your appointments this week.

Anonymous said...

Now that is the kind of 'charity' the world needs more of, in my opinion. I think all this money folks are sending to Haiti is going into the rat hole govt. down there. We , the U.S. gives them all kind of money already and they seem to be living in squalor already. I am thinking the 'tent cities' they are living in are way better than what they had already , a step up.
Good goin' on helping where you know it will actually help. Someone with sense.

chinasyndrome said...

I had same thing thing happen on house I was working on.THings really are Bad,despite Media and politicians saying we're in a recovery.Saying it doen't make it so. And I envy your descriptions of yourself,hope to be that way soon myself.

Did it MY way said...

WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said it best. I prefer that the ones I help get 100%. I remember the days when friends helped friends. We were all in the same boat. But we servived because there WAS NO CREDIT. Today some people are in so deep you can't help them.

No debt, and prepped is the only way to be.

Stay safe on the road.

See Ya

Sharon said...

I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and 2010 sure doesn't look like its going to be any better. I got laid off last April, but was ready and willing to retire. Most of my co-workers are still out of work, with mortgages, car payments etc. I'm so glad I found all of these blogs that opened my eyes to prepping for the future.

Survival Chic said...

In Northern California we have literally foreclosures everywhere and people out of work... In our small area many have simply stopped paying their mortgage and have applied for food stamps. Unemployement can take care of electric bills and they are just waiting.. for what? 400 of foodstamps a month will buy the basics... but then what... I make a box of food every month and give it to my churches food bank. I put in a bag of eggless Pancake mix, a bottle of surup, peanut butter and jam, 2 pounds of beans and rice, 12 cans of soup, a bottle of salsa and three boxes of crackers and a large bag of tortillas and a small bottle of oil and a box of oatmeal. $35. That is the list they give us! I understand they add fresh fruit, veggies, milk and eggs.

If you have a food bank.. please contribute.

Mayberry said...

Well I think what you're doing is wonderful Tree. And we're seeing a lot of the same stuff down here as well. The shtuff is getting pretty deep, both in DC, and down at street level. The worst is yet to come....

HermitJim said...

One thing about living at the poverty level, I don't seem to feel the hurt personally, but I know others in my family are.

I help when I can, but it could never be enough, I fear!