In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

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You Go Bro!

evtuxThis year has been a bit taxing for my siblings in the job department.  My sister used to work for David Weekly Homes in their design center.  That company is pretty much non-existent in SW Florida as of now.  She’s not been able to find solid, stable employment in her area until………..probably tomorrow.  This company will be throwing her an offer that I’m sure she won’t be able to refuse.  All I know is this.  If and when she ends up showing furniture in Milan or Paris, she must take me!  It seems this company sells high dollar furnishings and they’ve not yet been hit by the economic crunch.  Amazing.  I wish her all the luck in the world.

My brother (seen in the red Yakima hat on the left) has had a series of cool jobs managing bike stores for stints of two to three years at a time.  After his visit here over Thanksgiving, he returned home to find that he no longer had a job.  He’s not married, he doesn’t own a home and has no children.  It’s a bit easier for him to be unstable than those of us with mortgages and families.  Luckily for him he just landed a new job as a rep for Yakima.  The poor guy just returned from Portland, OR and Sacramento, CA.  They’ve provided him with a company car, a blackberry and a pretty cool itenerary. 

Hopefully, our town will be on his route to somewhere as his territory is pretty darn big!

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It’s Rough Out There

kids-yoga-1119Despite the economic slump, yoga classes are growing.  Why is that?  I feel perhaps it’s due to the fact that people are stressed out and if they do have less money to spend, maybe they’re choosing to spend it on self care.  Not a bad idea, economic slump or not.  Spending some cash on yoga or other bodywork will long out last the latest fashion craze or the other material fix of the moment.  And of course, if that’s even too much for your pocketbook right now taking a long walk or a bike ride is rather uplifting.  Especially the last couple of days as the temps soared into the high 60’s!   

Moderate exercise will also keep your spirits and your immune system up which in turn, will keep you from having to spend your hard earned dough at the walk-in clinic.  More companies should offer this opportunity of preventative medicine, to help keep production as well as employees strong.  MSU is one of those places that offers perks for those that participate in health and wellness programs.  Not just yoga, but other classes that involve health and wellness as well.  I feel very fortunate to be part of a place that gives such offerings to its employees.  I shall pray that it doesn’t get cut.  Not at a time when people are really jumping in and seem to need it much more now!

Part of my family lives in Florida, a state that’s been hit extremely hard with foreclosures.  My sister lost her job November before last and has since lost another job here recently.  She has finally received help in the way of a modification with their mortgage.  This was a horrible situation but at least now, they will not lose their home.  She spent hours on the phone and talked to her share of mean people and cried an awful lot.   One guy told her, “That she just needed to come to the conclusion that they could no longer afford the property.”  I really cannot imagine having to talk to people on the verge of losing their home all day long every day!  She was able to connect with this wonderful lady that would sit on hold, for five hours (not kidding) to talk to her mortgage company.  She was the best of help and if any one needs her name, I’ve got it!doug1

It’s also easier to digest all of this when you’re not affected by it so much.  It’s in the news and you talk to someone who knows someone who’s going through something.  We’ve been lucky and I believe we still are.  My husband’s workplace is scaling way back, but of course they want the same if not more output.  His company is going way green, changing light bulbs and focusing on turning off stuff at night to show the utility company they’re serious.  This is the first year ever, that there has not been a holiday party.  I got a call last week from the YMCA.  “We need to cut back even more and the way this will affect you is your one and a half hour yoga class on Tuesday night will now be one hour.”  Bummer.  It’s a big class.  It makes more sense to cut smaller groups, but maybe they have.  I don’t know as of yet what other classes will be affected.

I am thankful that both of our vehicles are paid for.  Our house payment is way low and yoga, might just cover it if something was to happen to Frank’s job!  We don’t really have any debt, no loans or anything like that but we are (were) interested in building on a very large space above our garage.  It would raise our house payment, not a ton, but anything extra right now the way things are going makes it seem stupid to take a chance.  My mutual funds, bad story.  I usually don’t pay that much attention to those pesky statements I get in the mail all the time.  But this last one I got I thought I’d take a look.  Ewwww.  Lost around $900 on that!  Wish I could’ve seen this coming, I could’ve moved that into a CD.  But of course if we could always “see what was coming” where would the thrill of being alive come from?1y1

(Ok so the YMCA room lacks in atmosphere, but it really makes up for it with the great crowd that brings their awesome personalities to the space!)

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Economy Seems Alive & Well

I did a little shopping (for others) with my mom while she was here, which meant I had to make a return.  I hate to shop on Saturdays, or any day, this time of year.  I have stock piled toilet paper and toothpaste, I do not want to get in a cash register line unless I have to.  So after work yesterday I headed out.  At approximately 12:30 p.m. the lot in Target was packed.  Inside was worse.  Pure craziness.  Was there some secret sale I was missing out on?  I thought the economy sucks and no one has any money.  I traded out, bought some Ibuprofen, downed 3 in the car and headed to Petsmart.  That place wasn’t so bad, but busier than normal.   From there I had to go to the post office, eeeek.  Long lines, xmas packages and e-bay sales.  I’ve stood there with 25 e-bay boxes myself and now, I print out the postage sticker online, call the post office and they pull up to my house and haul it off, for FREE!  So by the way things were looking yesterday, I can’t tell our city is suffering much.  People seem to be dropping $$ in full force, in our town anyways. 

Talking with my sister yesterday, was an entirely different story.  She lives in Florida, enough said, if you follow any news.  That state was top in home foreclosures, until recently, they were just passed by Nevada.  I do feel bad for those that have lost their jobs.  What I don’t understand, is a bank, that says “you qualify for a $200,00 loan on a $50,000 a year income” and the buyers go “OK.”  I remember the first house we bought.  The bank said we qualified for a $92,000 loan.  Our jaws dropped, we were making about $32,000 a year between the two of us at the time.  Did we take that loan?  No way.  We went for the $54,000 home, it was brand new, and it was affordable.  We still had money left for one car payment, gas, food and insurance.  I don’t get it.

My sister is one of those “lost job” individuals.  She worked for a huge building company, HUGE.  Everything has come to a screeching halt, offices shut down, model neighborhoods are empty, lawns are tall.  She said it’s odd, like driving through a ghost town in many places.  Lots of people have just packed up and left the area.  People that have lived there for 25+ years.  She can now drive to work in half the time she could this time last year, not too many snowbirds.  Her husband is also in building and construction, on the water feature end.  He works very little, but will be doing 11 pools in Palm Springs, CA in January.  For now, she’s back to working retail at a ritzy kitchen store.  Four years ago she worked there at Christmas, it was packed, registers were cracking.  This year, it’s way different.  I suppose because not everyone can afford to pay $800 for a coffee pot this year. 

I love this kitchen store, it has lots of cool stuff, and some of it will last a lifetime.  But they are also very wasteful.  If they get something in, and it has a scratch on it or a chip for instance, they take it outside (another person goes with you, to be sure you do the deed) and compact it.  She’s had to compact Emile Henry platters and All-Clad cookware.  Not kidding.  Stuff like that makes me sick.  Everything they sell, must be perfect, no scratch and dent here!  Ridiculous.  The store is located in a high-end, beautiful, outdoor Mall.  A few nights ago, the fancy jewelry store was robbed at closing, at 9:00 p.m.  She’d left her Gucci watch there to get a new battery, no word on that yet.

I don’t get the people that “camp out” in parking lots on Black Friday either.  The only time I shopped on Black Friday, was once, when I was pregnant.  And apparently, delirious.  What can you possibly need or want, that possesses you do to that in order to save like $15?  And what could you possibly need or want so bad, that you must be the first person to grace the store at 5:00 a.m. and trample a person to death?  A person that got up in the middle of the night, to simply unlock the door, for $8 an hour? 

I’m not anti-holiday, I’m not.  I just feel like there’s so much more to it than all “that” and I think lots of people have lost it.  Credit card spending is out of control.  For instance, my parents recently closed their video store.  The credit card company was holding their money for 45-days before depositing it into their account.  Whoa.  Kind of crazy.  Especially when you rely on cash flow to pay business bills.  People were dropping $200-$300 on movies, per transaction, on plastic.  They finally had to put up a sign.  No credit cards over a certain $$ amount, cash only. 

I did read somewhere the other day, that Missouri is running low on their “unemployment funds.”  What happens then?

I borrowed this from Post Secret.  Not because I want everybody to “go under” not at all.  It’s just exciting to know perhaps, some may be forced to change their ways, be more simple and get back to basics and shop responsibly!