Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Welcome to the "Real Economy"

I know, I promised no more doom and gloom, but heck, it's how I'm feelin' these days. (Sorry, been watchin' too much Sarah Palin on the news. Ei-yei-yei.)

The "real economy" is about to bite us all in the ass no matter whether credit markets are beginning to crack. The real economy is where we all dwell, and things are starting to get ugly just in time for the holidays. Job losses will be very, very real and hurt very real people, and the pervasive fear of potential job loss will cause consumers to guard their cash dearly, creating a negative spiral downward.

How is the economy affecting you? Have you all started to feel the pinch? Are you circling the wagons in the expectation of a pinch? Or is it shopping as usual?

For us, we're already facing tough decisions. The "real economy" has meant dwindling resources for my mother, and it looks like we will be combining households within the next few months. There's a very good chance that she'll be joining the ranks of mortgage defaults, as the likelihood of her home selling is pretty slim. Certainly we're in no financial position to maintain two households, and so the real economy comes crashing through our doors. These transitions will not be easy for any of us, and I'm working to wrap my brain around the change and come to a place of open acceptance, trying to prepare myself to take the high ground of empathy over selfishness. And I know we're not alone.

Most moments I feel so incredibly grateful for all that we have. We're lucky that Jim's job is very secure. I look around at my beautiful children, and thank our lucky stars for our health. I look around at the bounty on my land, and I'm humbled by the abundance. Most moments I trust how very insulated we have made ourselves, but there are those other moments when I recognize my own sense of attachment to that insulation and feel the lurking specter of fear that goes hand in hand with that attachment and understand that my real job right now is practicing non-attachment even as I continue to prepare.


mnultraguy said...

We are in a similar boat, as we moved to MN from CO 2 years ago and still own a house with our in-laws in CO. They cannot afford to pay the mortgage if I lost my job or had to take a lower paying one, so we are trying to figure out what to do there. We do not want to move back to CO, as it is not a sustainable place to live, but our house here is too small for 7 people. Good luck
The Quince

Grammy said...

I know what you are going through. I have already had to sell every thing we had in St Louis and mo here to a fixer upper we had that is paid for.
It took 2 years to get over our loss, and want to live a better life with what we have.
I wrote a post on our economy. As my daughter too lost her job. There is a rainbow in every thing we just have to see what the good will be. But we can not allow fear to rule our life. The fear of the unknown is worse than what may happen. The rain bow for me is 1/2 of my family will will live close by now. So I will get to see 2 of my grandkids grow up. But it would be better if you bring in a small trailer or have a moms quarters. It will make the transition of 2 house hold run smother. That way you both have your own space. I learn this lesson with my kids.
Being adults and living with me in the past.
It will be very hard for your mom. She will miss her home. So if you can find a way to make her feel wanted and needed it may take her mind off her loss.
My prayers are with you.

Danielle @ Savor Culture said...

Hi Danielle,

My husband and I have just moved back to Tennessee, where I'm from. I'm grateful to have a job that I enjoy and that is stable (working at Trader Joe's!), and my husband is starting a small business. The opportunity cost seems as low now as it will ever be, as foregone income is minimized at this stage of the business cycle. That's our silver lining! He will be building small, wooden boats by hand.

We left New England because staying there didn't seem financially viable. However, I love the culture of Massachusetts and Vermont, and hope to settle there one day. We're in a good position to buy our first home, and may do so in the coming year.

In the meantime, we're living with my family. I was interested to read comments from your other readers about their arrangements. I'm glad to be able to spend time with my family, after living far from them for several years. My husband and I have the joy of helping them with tasks, and I think that our presence brings benefits to them. I hope that people who have less choice in the matter will also find peace in their situations.

Ren said...

Well, there's never been "shopping as usual" for us so not much has changed really. Bleu's job is the one hurting us at the moment, because real estate is not a great career to have. But there are still houses selling, even though it's slow. We're feeling the veil of fear and things are still pretty normal for us. (hear that knock on wood sound?)

We figure that my job is the stable one for the moment and if we cut everything else, I can pay for the mortgage and food if he makes no income at all. We'd have to live without electricity but that can be done. So we talk about the possiblities and keep on living exactly as we have been. Frugally, but not to a fault.:)

I love thrift stores. I love storing food and growing food and plan to do more of that. I have my rain barrels. We aren't nearly as prepared as we need to be, but I'm not scared either. Probably should be, but life is good.:)

el said...

My mom swears she's going to pull up a doublewide and park it in our side yard. She's all bluster, but there definitely is something kind of intriguing to me about having a multigenerational household. It is only recently that we started living in all these separate dwellings, after all.

Of course we worry about our financial situation. Knowing how tenuous life really can be, however, we've intentionally sought a lifestyle and a place in which living on one income is do-able: we have a cheap house, we live in a cheap part of the country. Any extra income is gravy and goes into savings. Even though we have thought ahead, I still worry horribly, because if I lose my job, we lose health care. I hate to think that I am really mostly working for health care but that is the sad truth.

Gina said...

My mom has also made that DW comment and even has the spot picked out on the land.

Many hugs for your difficult situation. Even though I know this economy is bringing us back to a normal from years past, most of us are ill-equiped with the cultural need for "space" to make this easy transistion of togetherness.

I wish you all well and for an easy transistion. I second the commentor who mentioned how hard it is going to be on your mom as she grieves the loss of her house...

Beka said...

Hi: I came across your blog as I was looking for a plan for a high tunnel. Actually I came across your husbands which led me to yours. Great blog. I hope you don't mind if I copy some of your ideas. Also, if there was anything you would do different with the high tunnel waht would it be? Great to meet you!!

Madeline said...

{hugs} That is challenging. A separate structure sounds like a good idea for all of you and, who knows. Some real good could come of this.