Dropped: The Other Shoe

I planned on writing about how Chris works for a mortgage bank - how he's always worked for a bank - and about how that has always served us well . . .until now.

I was going to tell some funny stories about how all year we've joked around about the economy - how I call him and ask "Are you at a desk . . .ooor on a curb?". How I frequently suggest that he should ask his boss if he's thirsty or needs a back rub or maybe a new puppy? Boy, how we've laughed.

We've joked about the precarious situation we're in because that's how we - mostly me - deal with unpleasant things. I always joke about what I fear most as a way of getting comfortable with it (like when I tell Chris I want my headstone to say "I told you I was sick!").

There's no joking any more.

Chris works for one of the last standing banks. They've struggled all year desperately trying to battle this sinking economy while losing hundreds of millions of dollars every month. Last week the news came that they're looking for a buyer and if they don't find one by next month, the government will seize the company.

I have absolutely no idea what this means. I mean, I can grasp that it's bad news, especially with their stock losing 95% of it's value in a matter of months, but I don't know how it will affect Chris specifically.

There's so much going on in my head right now. Regret for not saving money when we had it, gratitude for what we still have, fear over what the future brings, and shame over the years I spent not being grateful.

I cried until there were no more tears left when I found out. But, not Chris. Chris said "I'm a valuable commodity out there. We'll be fine" and then he went to the gym. (Maybe he has a small trust fund I don't know about? He sells watches out of his trunk? He's going to hide his dismembered thumb in some chili?)

The funny thing is, all evidence to the contrary, I believe him. We will be ok. Because I believe in him. Chris is the sort of guy you want with you during an earthquake or if you get trapped in an elevator or when you're out of Reduced Fat Ruffles. I know we will be ok because I know he will make sure of it.

Characteristically, this whole situation is making me a little emotional. Like this morning when I was watching the cats play and languishing in the doorway with my coffee. I whimpered to Chris "Look at how fat and fluffy they are. I just feel so blessed that they have food in their bowls and Savannah has a closet full of clothes and we have a kitchen full of groceries! We're so blessed!". *SOB*

Chris looked up from where he was tying his shoes. "Uh huh." He stood up. "I gotta get going."

I relayed this story to my mom about how I'm blessed (you know, with cat food) and Chris' puzzling reaction and she replied "He's in survival mode. He's focused on a solution and you're not".

I agreed. "You're so right! It's like he's trying to start a fire and build a tent and gather food and I'm over here going 'These leaves are itchy!'. I'm no help at all!".

So, I'm done feeling sorry for myself. (Although I do have one more Sara McLaughlin song left to listen to while I wail pathetically. But, then for sure.) I will look forward. I will think positively. I will send out resumes and market for new clients for my business. I'm going to do whatever I can to make this better for us. I owe my family that.

But, you should tell your husbands to be nice to their Hooters waitresses just in case.

Wake me when the Dow's up.


Y said...

There is an inspirational book in all of this. Just look hard enough, Lena.

"The cats are well fed, as is my Soul."


Chris said...

Ernie has his heart rate up.

JachiCue said...

I gotta tell you, that I would be doing the same thing.

Totally not in fix it mode. That's why husbands are good :)

Good luck.

Linsey said...

I am proud of you for your outlook in this. You are right, you will be okay. I have read your blog long enough to know that you are resilient. You guys will be okay, for sure. In the meantime though Good Luck.

And Y is right, there is definitely an inspirational book in all of this. You will find it.

Marcia said...

I'm totally doing what Chris is doing right now - I am the most productive, awesome employee that my boss has ever seen.

I know you will be fine! I have faith in you two.

Suburban Turmoil said...

Thinking of you. :)

The Over-Thinker said...

Thank God for husbands and ruffles. And husbands who totally drive for the store for the ruffles.

Hope there's a silver lining in your future. One made of actual silver would be helpful, right?

Butrfly Garden said...

My joke was, "With the cost of gas at half it was a month ago and groceries going down now, this recession will be great for us so long as neither of us lose our job!" HAHAHAhahaha ha ha...ha.

But I'm actually trying to use this time to do something else with my life - put it in a new direction. We'll see if it works out. All I can do now is hope, pray and work hard.

Good luck to you guys, Lena.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain! My husband works in finance and every day feels like eight plus hours of waiting for bad news. He's holding up just fine - valuable commodity, blah, blah, blah - while I'm wondering if we can afford toilet paper and vowing not to be so wasteful with things like, say, heat. And orange juice.

Reading your post made me feel a little insane - and more resolved to keep my chin up. Thanks for that.

mothergoosemouse said...

Oh, can I ever identify.

Fingers crossed. For both of us.

Erin said...

Mark my words, Chicken Soup for the Economically Downtrodden is going to be the largest volume in the series yet! :)

Marjorie said...

I'm sick over the way this mess has impacted so many people who have always worked so hard to take care of themselves and their families.

Everything seems so precarious right now...

(And this is the first time anyone has ever made me laugh in reference to the economy and to lay-offs...a funnier blog I don't think I've ever seen...)

kait said...

Love how only you make me laugh while discussing the current economy.

Love you Lena!

Priscilla said...

I feel for you Lena, I really do.

My husband was a Construction Project with the housing market being as it is, I think you should see where this is going.

He got laid off in January, & was able to find another job within 2 weeks, making more money than before, so we thought we'd be fine.

Then in May he hurt his knee.

Upon arriving home from the E.R. at midnight, we realized that company A did not continue his health insurance with his severance package, as we had originally thought...and of course the very last day to apply for Cobra was that same day, so we then could not get insurance because he had a pre-existing condition.

He had an ACL tear & an MCL tear & required surgery, which we put off until August. A month after his surgery, he was let go by Company B, but we couldn't file for unemployment because he was still recovering from major surgery & was not physically able to work. (The FMLA act that allows you to take unpaid medical leave & have a job to return to did not apply to us, because he had only worked for Company B for 6 months)

When he first got hurt & we realized we didn't have insurance we had drained all of the savings accounts for all of the hospital & surgeon deposits, so when this happened, we had less than $2000 to our names.

It should also be mentioned that I'm a full time college student, hubby was the sole provider, we have 3 children (ages 3,5, & 8) & just built a brand new house last October. To say I've had my hysterical moments is a great understatement.

But we've managed the last few months & have not been late on a bill as of yet. You come to a point where you have to throw all your pride out the window...especially when you leave your 2500 square foot home, get in your luxury SUV & go to the grocery store to use your Food Stamps card for the first time...but my children have to eat.

We applied for medicaid to pay what was remaining on the surgery bills & I went to my kids school to get the free lunch.

I have school 5 days a week so my youngest was in preschool, but we had to withdrawal her from that & just let her stay at home with daddy during this time. We've had to say no to soccer, dance, & school fundraisers this year as well.

Now that he has gotten the doctor's okay to work, we've filed for unemployment & are waiting on that to go through.

I'm not telling you all of this to try to bring you down, I promise I'm not. I want you to know that IF things do get hard, what now may seem impossible, IS possible to get through.

People tell you to stay optimistic, but I can tell you that my pessimistic tendencies are the only thing that has gotten me through. You can't just sit around dreaming that things will work themselves out, while you're losing everything. You have to be assertive, you have to take action.

I imagined what I thought was the worst thing that could possibly happen & that didn't even compare to what it has now come to...but even so, I know that I was a lot more prepared than I would have been if I had kept a cheery outlook & believed "everything would be ok". Sometimes it's not ok, in fact it's very bad, but you can't sit there have to do something about it, because it's not just you, your child is relying on you too.

I've been a reader for a couple of years now & I know you are a very strong & determined person when you set your mind to it. Be grateful you're all in good health & when someone tells you that things will be okay...know that YOU will MAKE THEM okay!

La Petite Chic said...

Hang in there, hon. I work at "Meddie Frac" and am currently weathering that same storm. Once the initial shocks wears off, survival mode definitely kicks in.

Ree said...

Dude. ((hugs)) Been there. Done that. Already been laid off. But Chris is obviously a survivor - and you all will do fine.

Mel said...

Oh, I'm so sorry.

(But at least you're an amazing writer! And you have great hair!)

Real Live Lesbian said...

Sounds like you have a keeper! Keepin' my fingers crossed for you guys.

Red Dakini said...

Lena with your humor you can survive anything!XXXX

Christy said...

My friend, Linsey, introduced me to your blog and I adore it! I'm so sorry for what you are going through!

I wish you my 2 most reliable (non-human) friends in times of trial:

*the really good, name brand tissues, with aloe, that are gentle on your nose.

*a fully stalked candy drawer.

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