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.