Saturday, October 11, 2008

Satur-daze

I'm parked on the couch with a heat pack against my lower back and my feet up. The dogs are at the groomer, and at some point I'll have to go get them or risk prosecution. They look so innocent when they're sleeping, don't they? This morning, though, when I was getting ready to drive them to the groomer, they were making me crazy. I actually screamed at them. I knew it was time for a Mommy time-out.

Fortunately, this is rather an all day thing at the groomer. When I do go pick them up, my housework will be finished (check), the cat boxes will be clean (check), I'll have showered (check), will have replaced the torn doggie seat protector in my back seat (getting ready to do that) after vacuuming up a ton of hair from all around it, will have had lunch (check), and will have caught up on blog-reading (check). After I bring them home, I'm going to rest before going out to see a movie with a couple of friends. I had hoped to get around to stripping some more wallpaper today, but I think I've pushed myself far enough, thank you.

Maybe I'm pushing through it all because it seemed like a long week. I couldn't wait to do something besides write about multicast. It was a tough week for everyone, I think. I count myself fortunate that I don't have a ton of money in the stock market or in real estate, because I know people who are in that situation and are hurting right now. We're feeling the credit crunch only in that peripheral way that is making us very grateful to have jobs and a roof over our heads.

Some people may fool themselves into thinking that they have planned and prepared so well that nothing can happen to them. Don't believe it for a minute. Do you know how quickly a protracted illness can wipe you out? Do you know how fast things can turn around? Just like the Nationwide commercials say, "Life comes at you fast." I've seen it happen. I don't say that because I want to scare you but because I've had one too many people lately putting their chin out and saying, "We have been very disciplined. We're fine. All of these people who are in trouble are there by their own fault."

Um, no.

Case in point, my dad had hundreds of thousands in the bank...cash, liquid. He felt that it was better than an insurance policy. He was a successful business owner, shrewd, smart, and strong. He was invincible... until he wasn't. The Big C hit and soon we were reduced to living in a small house in a small town on Social Security. All the money? Gone. It was 1975, and the first surgery cost over $22,000. And since he could no longer work and had too much pride to let my mother do it, we all suffered. No college for me until I could pay for it myself.

Another case in point. My husband spent 6 years in the Marines serving his country during which we suffered from the worst poverty we've ever endured. It was impossible to save money, because we were barely scraping by. We didn't buy our first house until we'd been married 12 years, and even then, we didn't have much to put down on it. We almost didn't get the house because we had gone bankrupt after my husband got out of the Marines. It wasn't because of debt we had racked up; it was because of medical bills. We had two kids who kept getting sick and ending up in the hospital, and we had no insurance. Finally, we lost everything and had to seek relief under bankruptcy. It felt like a real victory when we bought our house. Now we're living in the 4th house we've bought, but the ghost of poverty will always haunt us. We'll always be running from that.

My heart goes out to those who have lost or will lose their house. I can't imagine anything scarier. As you know, if you've read me for awhile, I have been homeless before. I never want to go through that again. My heart aches for those who are dealing with that. I'd wager that most of them never saw it coming. So before you pat yourself on the back too much, say a prayer that your luck and blessings will hold. Something as major as this stock market slide won't leave many people unscathed. Let's just hope it comes back to neutral soon.

As for me, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my afternoon while the dogs are off beautifying (nod to Daryl!) And a shout-out to NATUI for her kind invitation for me to come enjoy dinner with her and her family. I've got a rain check on that....

Peace - D

22 comments:

Maggie May said...

Oh... I'm the first!
Little dog looks adorable. How could anyone shout at the dear little thing. LOL
Well I was happy till I read all that credit crunch stuff! Yes it is really bad for many.
My daughter put her savings in the iceland bank that has been frozen. Would you believe it & newly widowed too. She will get it back eventually, but when?

Moannie said...

Well, first of all it sounds asif you are DOING TOO much. you've only just got over the migraine attack et al. Love your doggie pic.

As to the rest...it is all too awful. I have to say that we here in England don't know we are born...we moan, it is a National disease...about our health service. It is free! Can you imagine that? Oh sure, it has it's downside...we have to pay something owards prescriptions, and waiting lists get longer and longer, and the administration is enormous and too few people get too much pie, but need a transplant, a scan,anything at all, and you will get it free. I think it is scandalous that in a democracy people who need medical treatment can't get it unless they pay, that they can be impoverished if they need medical help. And socialized medicine does not mean socialism...it means that rich or poor are treated alike.
OK, I'm off the soapbox.
Take it easy XO

RiverPoet said...

Maggie - My heart is just broken for your daughter. And now the bank frozen? I head that Iceland went bankrupt and my question to my hubby was, "How does a country go bankrupt??" I pray this will pass quickly and she'll have access to her funds again.

Moannie - You said it, "Socialized medicine does not mean socialism!" You definitely get it. Thanks for your comment, my friend...

Peace - D

Ruth D~ said...

Wow! A combo post. The world at home and the world outside. Both a bit chaotic, I see. Tough things you and your family have been through. You know from whence you speak.

Dianne said...

sweet sweet dog!

you seem to have all your plans in such a row, I'm envious :)

SandyCarlson said...

Please enjoy that unbeautified, beautiful afternoon!

the walking man said...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279


RP...the above video is 47 minutes but it explains in layman's terms the how of what is happening. It is a case now of do we have the wherewithal or the will to change.

Akelamalu said...

I have been very lucky in that I've never experienced true poverty and I am thankful for our National Health system which means I don't have to worry about medical bills. I too feel for all those who may lose their homes and be plunged into poverty.

Jay said...

It's certainly true that no-one is immune to the effects of this little financial meltdown, and my heart goes out to those who need medical care and suddenly find themselves impoverished by it, too. Likewise, those old folk over here who've worked and saved all their lives for their retirement and suddenly they're having to check into a care home and the goverment basically takes their cheque book, house, everything. They're given an allowance, and that must be so frightening. Dependent in all senses...

That dog is a little sweetheart, but I do know how they can drive you nuts! LOL!

RiverPoet said...

Ruth - Yes, it is a little more chaotic than I'd like!

Dianne - Hmm, doesn't feel like I've got my plans in a row. Feels like I'm being plowed into the row! :-)

Sandy - Oh I did enjoy it. It was very nice.

WM - Thanks! I'll check that out!

Akela - You know, you would think we could do that in the "richest" country in the world, yes? But we just let people die from preventable or treatable illness or we let our hospital systems eat the cost if patients can't pay. It's criminal.

Jay - You know, it isn't much different for retirees who are sick here. They have to give up everything they own or get no help at all. Once they are thoroughly impoverished, the government will help a little. Sad! As for the dogs, yeah. They make me NUTS sometimes!

Peace - D

Mental P Mama said...

Hope your back is better today...great perspective on the economic front. It is all relative, no?

RiverPoet said...

MPM - Ain't that the truth! :-)

Peace- D

Hilary said...

I can't imagine the stress of worrying about unexpected medical expenses. My heart goes out to those who do.

Great photo of your sweet pup.. and I love that shot of you in the sidebar.

the walking man said...

Addie Polk shot herself today.

tysdaddy said...

Love the pooch pic. He's adorable.

Hope you are doing well, my friend . . .

B

Daryl said...

LOVE the new photo of you, those glasses rock, Doris! SO flattering.

I am trying hard not to stress out over all that's happened since I know its just the beginning ...

I know I should be more worried about planning but I just cant .. I itch enough as it is ...

:-Daryl

CrazyCath said...

Excellent post Doris - well said.
Here's hoping the finances get sorted out soon for folks who are hurting.

Love the new photo.

RiverPoet said...

Hilary - Yes, it's stressful enough being sick, and then to have to worry about how to pay for it on top of that? Awful. (Thanks for the compliment!)

WM - I know, I heard about that. Can you think of anything more awful than a 90-year-old woman thinking she has no other choice than suicide when faced with foreclosure.

Tysdaddy - It's good to have you around here again. I am doing well.

Daryl - Aw, thanks! And yeah, it makes me itch, too, when I think about money!

Cath - It's good to see you here! Apparently I must have done something right today. Did you see the market? Up 900 pts? :-)

Peace - D

Deb said...

Hi ~ Well-written and so true. I am reminded of the saying ~ Never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes!

And... I also love my dog but she can be a pain. Can't we all?

Jo said...

Oh, gosh! I don't understand how a country like America can't initiate universal health care. We have universal health care in Canada, and despite what other folks may hear, we also have the best health care. I used to work with a doctor who won a Nobel Prize in medicine. The insurance companies in the US are preventing you folks from having universal health care. I read recently that medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcies in the United States. That should never, ever, ever happen.

Your father sounded like an amazing man!

I hope you're feeling better soon.

RiverPoet said...

Deb - That is so true. I feel like God has blessed me by allowing me to walk in so many peoples' shoes.

Jo - It really is criminal, isn't it? Instead of giving our money in taxes to a government program that covers everyone, we pay exorbitant amounts to private industry and count ourselves lucky. It's truly backwards.

Peace - D

Lavinia said...

Today's post, so apt and so well written.Fortunes rise and fortunes fall..history has shown that no one is immune.