Tuesday, February 8, 2011




This is not another pathetic post about me and my stupid disease or how I feel 'lost' since I forewent my career, blah blah blah.

It's about the Great Depression.

The one that no one wants to admit is here.

The one that my family has been in for awhile.

So here's my story.

It's funny, in a way.

Back in the day, when I wore my $250 Kasper power suits and Aveda makeup and oh-so-smart shoes.

Back in the day, when I went toe to toe and head to head with the meanest, vilest, most evil men the world has ever known, and never blinked an eye.

Back in the day, when I had my monthly $80 hair colors.

Back in the day, when I had to put on my game face each and every morning, and be 'amped' for nine solid hours, and then have a one hour 'cool down' during my commute home, always spent on the phone either to talking to someone 'fun', or talking to someone about the battle planned for the next day.

Back in the day, when I was paid quite handsomely.....




That was my job.



How does one, FIND MONEY, you ask?

Well, it's not so easy.

Which is why I was paid quite handsomely.

But I found it enormously challenging, and man, when I could come home at the end of the day, and tell my husband, "Hey! I found A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS today!", and he would stare at me bewildered and say, "How could anyone LOSE a hundred thousand dollars?" and I would say, "actually, it's much easier to lose a hundred thousand dollars on a HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR job than you might think, but it's mighty hard to find it, once it's lost".


That was my job.


I would get these mean, vile, evil men in a room, and I knew they were lying, I knew they were sandbagging, I knew that THEY knew where the money was, and I didn't blink an eye during our twelve hour, no lunch break, no bathroom break, no water, no cell phone interruption, stare-down sessions.

And they'd never give it up.

But I found it.


Every single time.

Every single job.

Which is why I was paid handsomely.

And why I was employee of the year (once).

And why I NEVER EVER EVER worried about job security.


That's the funny part.

Anyway, none of this is my point.

So here I am, NOW.

"We", meaning, my husband and I, have collectively been out of work for three years.


Except for a short stint working on the oil spills in North Florida and in Michigan, (of which I consider to be my husband's service to his country, since he never had that opportunity in the past and has thought twice about it for a very long time), Two Swords has been unemployed since September, 2008.

I have not worked, without any stints anywhere, since February, 2008.

THREE years.

Now, the 'professional' financial guys will say, always have 7 months' salary in the bank, in case you lose your job.

Well, we did.

And they say, have a retirement fund.

Well, we did.

And they say, keep your debt to a minimum.

Well, except for a mortgage and a car payment, we were DEBT-FREE.

NOTE TO READER - I am getting nauseous as I write this post, because it just makes me sick to my stomach that we did EVERYTHING right.

And they say, have college funds for your children.

Yep, we had those too.

There was a time, when our 'plan', was for Two Swords to retire as early as possible, because we thought his heart condition could not withstand too many more years in high end commercial construction. The stress is unimaginable, which just brought on more and more cigarettes.

And then we 'planned' for ME to take on a heavier load at work, to take a risky position (cuz I wasn't as qualified as others for that job), to climb the ladder, as I had more room to climb than Two Swords did, and he would retire early, and by then the kids would be in middle school/high school, so he really wouldn't be a 'stay at home dad', and our house would be paid off in 12 years, and I would work, work, work, as long as my body would let me, cuz I wasn't as sick as I am now, and.and.and. that was 'our' plan.

Wasn't God's plan, clearly.

My body gave out, first.

We changed the 'plan'.

We had enough money, more than enough money, to live off of Two Swords' salary.

And if I was home with the kids, perhaps his world at work would be less stressful, as we were 50/50 parents - if one of the kids were sick and couldn't go to school, we would look at each other at 430 in the morning, and say, "TODAY, whose career suffers LESS if they stay home?" And some of those days, Two Swords stayed home. Some of those days, Two Swords took a kiddo to the pediatrician.

So we had a new plan.

And it was a good, solid, it's going to be okay plan.


And then the bottom dropped out.

In the great economic crisis of 2008, Two Swords lost his job.


We did not panic.

Of course he would find work.


No doubt.

Tomorrow, in fact.


I made (strongly encouraged) him to take a break.

He had worked himself nearly to death on a horrible, horrible project of a building that was halfway built and then nearly fell down, and OMG, I would look out the window of the high rise building that "I" worked in, and see if "his" building was still standing, each and every day, that's how scary it was.

He had worked 20 hour days, 7 days a week, holidays included, for 9 solid months, as they tried to get this building fixed.

And they did it.

He did it.

And then he got cut.

(Nauseous again. Reliving it is still sickening, three years later)

So he took a break.

We pulled the kids out of school, and took a two week trip to WV and took the kids to our nation's great capital DC, and he rested, and he renewed, and he was ready again.

AND - the whole time we were gone, he had his feelers out there, he was faxing resumes, he was setting up interviews for when we got back.

We got back.

He interviewed.

Do you know how many jobs he 'got' that never started, because the banks stopped lending money to projects in Central Florida?

I'm going to round down.


TEN times or more, he was hired.

For jobs that never started.


So back to the title of my post.

My financial brain gears never stopped churning.

I calculated all that we had saved, added the unemployment that we would receive, and tried to figure out how much time we had before it got really bad.

I told him - we're okay.

I told him - it's going to be okay.

I told him - we've done all the right things with our money. All the 'smart' things.

I told him we had six months, before he had to 'worry'.

I was sandbagging.

I was doing what those evil vile devil men used to do to me.

I knew we could go a year.

I knew that if things got desperate (but of course they would NOT), we could go a year without touching our retirement or the kids' money.

We made cutbacks.

Out went the hair color.

And the College Football package on DirecTV.

And eating out.

And lots of other stuff.

Stuff that we haven't missed all that much.

Well, the kids have missed the restaurants, and the movies, and Disney World, and going shopping every weekend.

But they don't even know what 'poor' is, so i don't have much sympathy for them.

So a year went by.

How is it that Two Swords STILL does not have a job?

And I will not get into politics here, but man, you have NO idea how painful it was, to watch HIM watch Fox News each and every day. Nausea again.

Year two comes along.

Still here, still unemployed.

I have to start cashing things in.

I had to 'find money'.

I did.

First went MY retirement fund, because it was bigger, because I would pay less tax on it due to my medical hardship, because I didn't, and to this day don't, think that I would live long enough to 'retire'.

Still here, still unemployed.

Cutting back even more.

Year Three.

Still here, still unemployed.

Out went Two Swords' retirement fund.

We had no other choice.

And then went the kids' college fund.

Still here, still unemployed.

I went to 'work' in my brain, and found a hunk of money. Cuz, that was my 'job'.

Bought us another six months.

We have entered the beginning of year FOUR.

It's gone.

All of it.

We've unplugged our house phone, because every single call is from a bill collector.

Today, we received acceptance for food stamps.

Today, we received acceptance for Medicaid.

Today, I can't find anymore money.

It's lost.

All of it.

And every day is scarier than the day before.

The recession is not over.

And it's not a recession.

I'm no economist.

But I know alot about money.

We're not just lost.

We're depressed.

And I don't just mean me and Two Swords.

We are lost.

And if God doesn't throw yet another miracle our way, we are about to LOSE everything that we have.


I used to be really good at finding money.

I can't find anymore.



  1. I don't know what to say except I am praying so hard for a miracle for your family.

  2. You know that our lovely Governor and the lovely folks in the state legislature say that the only reason you two don't have jobs is because you're lazy. So get to work already!

    / sarcasm

    It is so sickening to read the news these days. Our alleged leaders are completely clueless, except for the ones that are total crooks looting as much as they can for themselves and their donors.

    I really don't know what to tell you H. We've already lost all our savings, and our house (as you know) and are about to file for Chapter 7. THAT will be a great relief, but that still leaves me three years into the unemployment nightmare myself.