Saturday, August 25, 2012

Something's Gotta Give

I don't know how people live these days. How they put food on the table. Clothe their children. Maintain a vehicle and pay for gas. Splurge a bit on simple pleasures like cigarettes and beer. What have they got to live for?

The Hillbilly family is very fortunate to to fall smack dab in the middle of lower middle class. We are not hurting. But neither are we rolling in dough, dripping with extravagant accoutrements, or socking away security for our golden years. It's a matter of one step forward and three steps back. I save each month, but something comes up to eat away at our nest egg. Like the air conditioner fiasco. Our guilty pleasures are 44 oz. Diet Cokes, gas money for the #1 son's used Ford Ranger, and goats and chickens for Farmer H to play with. But we're getting by.

The people we know are struggling. One couple withdrew their kids from the bowling league several years ago, to save twenty dollars a week. A teacher friend cleans houses after school. Her husband has a good, steady job. But he scraps with his son as time permits. Not scrap as in fight. Scrap as in round up junk and sell it to the scrap yard. Farmer H's buddy, his own wife a teacher, does dozer work on the side, and hauls loads of rock in his dump truck.

How did things come to this? Working people working extra to make ends meet. I can't imagine a young couple just starting out. You know they both can't work until their kids are in school. Because daycare would sap up all the second-job money. No wonder people are selling meth, robbing each other blind, and chucking the whole support myself thing in favor of zoning out on drugs.

The only business I can imagine thriving at the current time is Little Caesar's Pizza. Those five dollar pizzas will feed a family cheaper than groceries. And without running up the utility bill.

Thank the Gummi Mary, I set aside the bankroll for my handbasket factory when times were better.

4 comments:

Sioux said...

Perhaps you and Farmer H could better your situation.

Talk to Farmer H's friend--the one whose wife is a teacher--and see if she would be willing to cut you guys in on her action.

There is scads of money to be made by selling tape, staples and white-out on the black market. Have you ever seen women (with little clothes on) standing on a big city street corner? These are teachers. They don't make enough to wear clothes all over their body, and they're on the street, trying to sell the supplies they've stolen from the school vault.

I mean it. Talk to her. It might result in the cash flow you're in need of.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Sioux,
So THAT explains those corner ladies! I was under the impression that teachers would moonlight at a job that got them off their feet...

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Times are tough, that's for sure. I will be seeking employment this winter. Our revenues are down 75% this season ..... because, as you know, I refuse to be set up to accept EBT cards and give the locals a chance to swim.
I now have a couple living here in two very small trailers in an "L" formation. Very old, very small trailers. They currently have no bathroom, since he ripped it out to insulate the trailer for winter. She is very short and very round and confessed that she did not "fit" in the area that contained the toilet.
But, the bad news is that he has been laid off and is "trying" to get unemployment. I will have no choice but to evict them if they can't pay to stay. They are younger than me and I am wondering why they don't look for jobs.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Kathy,
They don't look for jobs because they come out ahead with a big tax refund for taxes they don't pay when they don't work. Except that paltry sales tax. Maybe not these two specifically. But those who work the system for years know it. Tax time is Hillbilly Christmas.

I don't consider unemployment a handout, though. The employer pays that money into the system. The workers can only get it if they are out of work through no fault of their own. If they have done something leading up to getting fired, they can get it, but after many weeks of penalties, during which they still have to show a job search. Sure, they fake that. But it's not guaranteed money right off the bat.