Thursday, February 19, 2009

An uneasy, queasy feeling

All we've been hearing the last few weeks is about this economic stimulus package President Obama has been encouraging the legislature to get on his desk to help our struggling economy. Finally they have all agreed on something and to be honest, I don't know all of the details of it. The news has been pretty vague about the particulars, I'm not sure if it's because of the scope of what is in there or they really don't want the general working man to know (probably a lil of both in all honesty).

What I have been hearing about is the mortgage bailout portion of this stimulus package, and that's where most of my attention has been focused. This morning on the very early morning news on NBC, they had a clip from the President speaking in Phoenix about this mortgage bailout. The part that really caught my attention was when President Obama said, "The plan I’m announcing focuses on rescuing families who have played by the rules and acted responsibly. It will not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer money after bad loans.” Hmmmm sounds good, looks good...but maybe it's just me, but other than possibly helping families who have fallen behind on their mortgages due to job losses, WTH is this going to help other than the banks? Speaking of helping the banks...who were the ones that OK'd these bad mortgages to begin with? From what I've been hearing/reading/understanding the banks are the irresponsible ones, loaning out money on homes with inflated values. Now those homes values have fallen, and the banks are loosing money and have less cash to loan out on other inflated valued homes. So what we have is the banks and their shareholders suffering for taking a chance of making money by loaning it out, and now that their close to loosing their collective asses, looking to the government to make it all better.

For months I've been hearing that to get the economy going, money needs to be spent. Well DUH, took a genius to figure that one out. So what answer did the geniuses come up with? Give the money to big business to create and keep jobs for us drones. *Eyeroll* Now I have no issue with it being expected of people to work for what they have, I like the idea immensely. What royally pisses me off is that it seems us lower middle class working folk (hell at this point me and Daniel maybe in the working poor category, haven't looked in awhile) seem to keep sinking further in the hole financially. While we're lucky our workplace provides insurance, we're paying through the nose for our health and dental insurance. Add into that our car insurance and life insurance and we're what I call "insurance poor". Seriously, when our car and life insurance comes out of the bank, it takes upwards of half of my monthly take home pay. Our mortgage payment takes all of one of Daniel's paychecks and a few dollars more. Add into that propane to heat our home running $2.50/gallon, our electric bill, it leaves very little for discretionary income to spend to help "stimulate" the economy. We can make our bills, but damn is it ever frustrating to see so little left over every month.

I don't know what the answer to this financial mess is for all of us, but for months we've been hearing how people need to start spending money to help correct this economy. HELLO we ARE spending money people! Where it's ending up in this economy is beyond me, I don't have time nor the energy to track it down once we pay it out. I've cut so much fat out of our spending habits that they are starting to look like survivors of the Holocaust.

Daniel had a wonderful idea for a economic stimulus package considering our fine government wants to hand out billions of dollars. Go the the IRS and figure out how many taxpayers there are out there that make less than 6 figures a year, and then divide up that $790 billion dollars they are so eager to give away evenly between them. Not sure how much that would come up to, but stop and think about it. What would people do with it? Spend it of course. In our case, we'd pay off our mortgage, our vehicle loans and do some major spending in other areas like home improvement and such. Heck if it was enough, we might even just build a new house. Sure some people would go on vacations (we probably would too), pay off bills, and in general spend it. Ya knowing me I'd put some away in the bank someplace as an emergency fund and maybe invest a bit of it, but overall it would be pumped straight back into the economy. I know it'll never happen in my lifetime, kind of like winning the lottery but it's a fun idea to kick around at least.

Eleven months....

I had originally intended to post this at the 1 year anniversary as a memorial to my beloved Gramma, but after reading this post by another blogger, I just felt the need to get it out of my system.

Dear Gramma,

I miss you. It's as plain and simple as that. I see your picture everyday as I look on my dresser. Most days looking at it brings twinges of guilt that I didn't visit you more often, bring your great grandchildren to visit you, and in general didn't spend more time with you. I sometimes wonder why you didn't visit me more often as well. Often I wonder if you realize the impact you had on me both as a child growing up and as the adult I turned into. I often catch myself correcting my behaviors as I wouldn't want you to see me acting like that and be disappointed in me.

You taught me so much just by who you were, how you reacted to situations, events and obstacles that were thrown your way in your lifetime. Other people that knew you say they see the same tenacity, stubbornness, and strength in me. I don't agree with them for the most part. I manage to make it through everything that's thrown in my path, sure, but I don't think I do it nearly as gracefully as you did. Thank you for showing me that anything and everything can be overcame, learned from, and even prospered from.

Even though your gone away from us Gramma, you continue to lend me your guidance and strength. When faced with what seems like an impossible situation, or my heart and soul are aching from disappointment, I hear your voice in the back of my mind telling me that in time it will all work out, to pray, to keep my emotions from overcoming me in front of the kids and Daniel because they need me to be there to show them that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, things WILL get better, learn the lesson that there is to glean from it, and most of all to let it strengthen them. I find myself wondering what you would do in a specific situation, how you would handle it, and go from there when dealing with it.

Gramma, most of all, thank you so much for being there for me. Even if it is just in my memory. I miss you so much that it hurts, but I'm glad that your gone away from all the pain that had been plaguing you in recent years, and that your burdens are gone.

I love you Gramma,


It's been a difficult journey for me, learning to let go of Gramma. I haven't even went down to visit Grampa once this year for fear of having a total meltdown being in her home because of the realization that she's really gone and not coming back... her not being there. It's much easier to distance myself from it than deal with it I suppose. Perhaps I'm not ready mentally to deal with it in a huge in-my-face kind of chunk like that. I'm not totally sure in all honesty. I was kicking myself pretty hard about the fact that I hadn't went down to see Grampa the other day and my Dad called. Of course, Dad knew something was bugging me so he pressed me on it and I finally 'fessed up to what it was. Of course Dad tried to make me feel better about my lack of visiting but in the process ended up opening a Pandora's box of reactions in my mind.

"Quit kicking yourself Sis. Ok maybe you should have at least went down and had lunch with Grandpa, but it's not like you've not had much else going on, Dad understands why you haven't been down. Let it lay"

"Dad it's not that easy, I can't just "let it lay" as you so eloquently put it. He's down there all by himself and Lord knows what kind of mess that house is in *sigh*."

"Ya it's probably a mess that's making Mom turn over in her grave, but he's a grown man, he is more than old enough to know better, it's not your place to take care of him. If anything it would be my place but that's another can of worms. Gramma would understand why you've not been down there coddling him, and to be honest, and I want you to think long and hard about this one Chris... Your home burnt less than a year ago, you kids had to basically start out from where you were 10 years ago after your divorces but now have 4 kids at home to take care of and contend with, where back then you only had 2 at home. Three of those kids are teenagers and Mom knew all too well what nightmares teenagers are."

"Ya but Dad....."

"No 'Ya but Dad'-ing me on this Chris...Your doing what your supposed to be doing, taking care of your family, providing for them, and rebuilding a home for them. Just like Mom did after Grampa Joe died for me and your Aunt K. Your making her proud doing what your doing, and how your doing it so quit kicking your own ass so hard and take some time to enjoy it. THAT'S what Gramma would have wanted, you know it just as well as I do."


"You want to tell me that I'm full of shit don't you but your not because you know I'm right"



"Shut up would you *sigh*"

"Heh heh, ok Delores, oh I meant Chris..."

About that time his cell lost connection and our conversation dropped but he was right. I could almost hear Gramma telling me that Grampa needed to learn to take care of himself for once in his life and I needed to learn that I can't take care of everyone all the time. MY family, the one I have at home, were the ones that needed me the most, even if they refused to say it in so many words.

(Why I felt the need to throw that in this post I don't know, I'm just going with the flow of my mind atm...sometimes it's just best that way.)

Now my Gramma wasn't one to lavish gifts on her grandchildren, or spoil us rotten as most Grandparents do. When her and Grampa came to visit, there weren't lavish gifts handed to us as they came in the front door, but there were always hugs and kisses with a lap to sit on later on. When we went to visit or stay with them, we weren't met with sweets and cookies, but rather with meals at regular times with snacks between times. When we were told stories, they weren't out of books, but rather of hijinks our parents or aunts and uncles had pulled as children, of how Gramma and Grampa had grown up, what it was like back way-back-when. An outing with Gramma and Grampa was a simple drive to church, the coffee shop, grocery store, Gramma's weekly Thursday shopping trip and the highlight of that trip was picking out your cereal for breakfast and your favorite flavor of Kool-Aid (soda was nonexistent at Gramma's house unless you were sick, and then it was 7-Up to settle your stomach), over to the neighbors to pick sweet corn out of their field for supper, and if you were REALLY lucky, go golfing with either Gramma or Grampa and get to keep score and drive the golf cart. Amazingly simple and rich at the same time kind of things. While some of my cousins were never happy going to visit Gramma and Grampa, there was a handful of us that would BEG to go to Gramma's house. It was like stepping into a different world for us in so many ways. Out of those 5 particular grandchildren (one of them being me), 3 of them were city kids, born and raised while me and my cousin who is a year younger than me were bona fide country kids. All of us had one thing in common though. The only time we all got together was at Gramma's house. It was a precedent that started in childhood to last throughout our lifetime. How ironic it is to me that the last time all of us got together was Gramma's funeral. I hope we didn't bury our too infrequent get togethers with Gramma.

So many things have changed in the last year. Sometimes they seem overwhelming for me. Somehow, someway, I find the fortitude to get through them, one step at a time...just like Gramma did.