So I recently finished Then We Came to the End
, by Joshua Ferris. It was funny and highly entertaining (I still laugh when I think of Chris Yop saying "buckshelves" instead of "bookshelves"- it's just one of many memorable details), but I also felt some degree of discomfort all the way through. For those who haven't read it, the story is set in 2001, when the dot-com bubble has burst and employees at a Chicago ad agency are getting laid off left and right. Who's next?
is a pervasive fear.
Maybe it wasn't the best reading choice given the current economic crisis.
So far, neither Mike nor I have heard anything definite about furloughs or layoffs. But as the economy tumbles a bit further every day, I have stopped wondering if
and now wonder when
. It seems inevitable that we will face some kind of income reduction. Being told that a job share is no longer an option
now seems far from the worst that could happen.
I've never worried about being laid off. I figured my sector's stability made up for the fact that my salary, while adequate for us, would never be huge, and that things like bonuses and commissions would always just be nice ideas. Now it seems no one is safe- except maybe the bankruptcy and employment lawyers
I don't like to be pessimistic, but I also don't want to be caught unprepared. And I'm not looking for sympathy, so please don't feel obligated to leave a "Atta girl!" comment- many of us are worried about our jobs, or have already lost them. I'm simply thinking with my keyboard.
When I'm worried, I do something. Action feels better than just sitting around, waiting for the monster to jump out of the closet. So Mike and I are donating diapers and formula to our local women's shelter. We may be concerned, but we still have plenty. Do unto others, and all that. I'm also considering some kind of volunteer work that I could do once a week with Lion in tow. Driving for Meals on Wheels, maybe? I'm not sure yet. I'll keep you posted.
I am also making a concerted effort to remember all the things I should be thankful for. And so I bring you the following:Little Celebrations1.
Mike's stepfather is a closet mechanic. He has saved us hundreds of dollars on car repairs. He and Mike's mom also have a second car that they lend us when Mike's on the fritz.2.
A baby isn't really a "little" thing, but I love him so much. I am very, very thankful for him.3.
My nipples aren't bleeding anymore. That's always good.4.
Netflix. We signed up for the one-at-a-time unlimited plan right after Lion was born, which costs just $8.99 per month. It's our main form of entertainment these days, and it's a cheap one. Renting two movies from our local video store would cost more that that.5.
Impromptu dance parties in the living room.6.
The library. Really- I know I'm biased, but can you think of anything better than your public library? I have a nice, big stack of books that I'm slowly working my way through, and they didn't cost me a dime.7.
iTunes. A song costs only 99 cents! (see #5)8.
I roasted a big mess of Brussels sprouts, yams, carrots, and cauliflower with rosemary and thyme on Saturday night, and there are plenty of leftovers.9.
Some friends of ours just offered us all of their childproofing equipment. Cha-ching!10.
Another friend offered us her gently-used dog clippers, just as we were about to buy some. (mental note: look for a short-haired dog next time. Grooming a fluffy black dog when it's 90 degrees and humid as hell is no fun, unless you like looking like a very hairy man)11.
Mike graciously offered to clean up the impressive amount of dried diarrhea that I discovered on our rec room carpet yesterday. Alex's housebreaking is usually rock-solid, so I think it happened right after his surgery, when he was still feeling the effects of the anesthesia. (mental note #2: you might want to visit the rec room more often)12.
Lion has already outgrown his infant car seat, necessitating the purchase of two (pricey) convertible car seats, but hey- he's growing, and it's thanks to my boobs. I'm glad breastfeeding worked out for us.13.
My upcoming haircut. I've been trying to stretch the number of months between cuts, and haven't been since October. Having my hair shampooed in a quiet salon while Mike watches the baby sounds like sheer heaven.14.
We're having friends over for dinner this weekend. We haven't done this since Lion was born, and I'm really looking forward to it.15.
Mike's mom lives just 30 minutes away, and would babysit every weekend if we'd let her. Sometimes she comes over just so we can clean the house or do mundane errands. Having a loving, experienced sitter nearby is priceless.16.
Mike's stepfather never had children of his own, and is beyond tickled to have a grandson. He eagerly comes along for every babysitting job, and it's so touching to watch him playing with Lion. My son has three attentive grandfathers, that lucky boy! I never got the chance to know either of mine.17.
My brother is getting married in June, and I love his fiancee.18.
I ended up with a $35 store credit at Macy's after I returned a baby gift that we didn't need. I'm saving it until a good use comes along, but I like knowing that card is in my wallet.19.
My dog doesn't have cancer
There's a very delicious-looking red velvet cupcake waiting for me in the kitchen.
What are you celebrating these days?
Labels: Good Things, Senseless Worry, Work, Writing Assignments