So I take a break from blogging and my blog hits go up. I'm not sure that's a good sign but, then again, I'm glad folks are still hanging around. I really needed a break and time to breath without too many obligations.
We've been grinning and bearing it around here but now that we are able to exhale a little bit I can honestly say we have had a couple of the hardest years of our lives these past two years and we've learned to stop saying "It can't get any worse" because, as it turns out, it can. This recession really kicked us in the teeth and it happened so fast we didn't have time to prepare for it. We thought we were in an "upward trajectory" with everything and then it all tumbled to the ground. So much for my smug plans to "choose to not participate" in the recession...
It turns out you can only have a fabric store if you have customers and if those customers lose their jobs they then cease to be customers. Add to that the fact that Joey hadn't received a raise in over 5 years and our living expenses were going through the roof (ever stood at the gas pump brushing away tears?) and it wasn't long before we were looking at each other and asking "What just happened?".
Not only have we had the threat of foreclosure hanging over our heads this past year (where the heck am I going to go with 7 people, 4 pets, and all this fabric???), but every major appliance in the house began to break (thankfully my parents own rentals so there was always a spare fridge or washing machine around, who cares if it's harvest gold at this stage?). Then the cars starting dying. First Olivia's, then Joey's. Our one remaining car could hold us all but the air conditioning had died last year so it became a miserable ride (remember, I'm in Arizona).
So I've been walking around with a stupid grin on my face because you can't be out in decent society screaming and crying (which is what was actually going on inside my head). Joey took every side job available (bug spraying, sound system set-up, computer repair, handyman stuff, anything...God, I love that man) and I kept busy sewing and trying to hit on the thing that would replace the modest salary my fabric store had provided (it was modest but it had paid the mortgage and some groceries).
I try to stay on top of market trends and it turns out that the folks out there who still have money really like to buy laptops. They want cute covers for them. I'm busy again. I now allow myself the luxury of crying because some days the feeling of relief engulfs me. I don't know if we're out of the woods but I know I'm using the words "desparate" and "crisis" a lot less these days. We just found out our power bill is going up over 100.00 a month but it wasn't nearly as painful as it would've been a few months ago.
We are busy accomodating our Hipster Haberdasher business and catching up on our mortgage payments. Sometimes I think about the damage done to us by this recession and I'm sad about things lost like our, once thriving, fabric store (I miss my beautiful shelves of fabric and being a part of supporting the creative genius of my designing friends) and our now-in-the-tank credit (which is why I was so desparate to do anything to hold onto our house since it would be many years before we could ever qualify for another mortgage).
But we have our health and our kids are terrific so it's been an opportunity to condense life down to the things that really matter in the long run I guess. In my mind I'm singing "Always Look on The Bright Side of Life" by Monty Python (and the Lumberjack song, I'm singing that too).
And isn't this cute?
Thank you for bearing with me. I really, truly hope all of you, my friends, are making it through this season unscathed (but sadly, I think my story might be a little too common these days). I do have some fun stuff to share soon but I really felt it was important to share a little slice of our family's real story finally. Blogs can get pretty fluffy but sometimes that doesn't really help. I'm full of encouragement and advice if anyone needs a shoulder to lean on. Really. Thank you.