Yesterday, Tim wanted to look at another house. We've been married for almost 12 years. We met at a plastic injection factory which no longer exists. Tim was the mechanic on my machine. Luckily, it broke down frequently. Anyways, the real estate agent who showed the apartment building to us was another person who worked at that plant. I've watched him in the years since the company went down (and out...). He's quite successful, and even helped to sponsor the July 4th fireworks. His name appeared right up there with some of the companies that have managed to hang on through these economic hard times.
We talked a little about these hard times. How people are really struggling to make ends meet. As my uncle phrased it "Making ends meet? Shoot. I can't even find the ends." I know that comparatively speaking Tim and I are lucky. He can (and does) do all of our automotive repairs, which is good. Our old car did not pass inspection. To repair it would have been $500. Tim can go to the junkyard in most cases and find the part he needs. I heard once that a good cook is not someone who can take the freshest, finest ingredients and turn out a good meal. A good cook is someone who can take a scrap of meat and a piece of stale bread and make a good meal. I am a good cook. We heat with wood. Tim hunts. We cut our own meat. We have seen deer get hit by cars. Depending on the hit, the meat is salvageable. We bring it home, so technically, I guess we are eating roadkill, just like some red neck joke. (Fresh roadkill, I hasten to add.) We will have a small garden. I dress from the Goodwill. We are careful with our money. We are resourceful people, and we are practical, and I am glad for that. We'll get through these times, and we will be okay. It's not fun, but like I said, we are pretty practical.
I don't understand. I was talking to a relative last night. They are both unemployed. Her husband turned down a truck driving job because it required 'over nights'. They are both young. They have no children. It is exasperating. I want to say things like 'A job is a job. It doesn't matter if you like it. You take it because it pays the bills, and from the safety net of that job, you continue to look for another.' I worry about how they will be able to afford their new house. I worry about the fact that they are headed home for a visit when they probably should be job hunting. Both of them. They seem blissfully unconcerned about what will happen next. I love them, and so I worry. But they have to make their own way. Life is going to bite them. They refuse to listen to anyone's warnings, so they will get bit, and they will sit there wide eyed and angry at the unfairness of life. You know, life is not easy. Everyone goes through hard times. I cannot tell you the number of times that I've looked at Tim and thanked God that I'm married to a practical, hard worker. I know that he values that in me, as well. The old saying is that tough times don't last, but tough people do. Tim and I are definately tough people. I sure do wish that it was possible to gift wrap that commodity and hand it out for birthdays, weddings, Christmas, and the like.
We decided not to get the house that we looked at. It would have paid for itself. We could have qualified for a business loan, probably, since all the units were rented out, but we have a philosophy, Tim and I. We believe that it is morally wrong to ask tenants to pay us to live in a place we would not live in ourselves. This place was in horrible condition. It is not a place either of us would want to live in, so we decided against it. I thanked God, this time that I am married to a man with ethics. I shot an e-mail off to the agent to let him know.
It is a strange and hard time. Someday, Tim and I will be well off. I know this. The careful decisions we make now will pay off. At some point, these houses will be paid for, and the repairs all done. We will begin to realize a profit. At some point, I will have a degree and a good job with benefits. At some point this hard time will end. Until it does, however, Tim and I hunker low, living careful lives, living by our wits and our ethics, taking pleasure in the small joys of life: a good book from the library, our 2 for $1 video trips, our cozy nights on the couch with popcorn as we watch movies that most people have already seen. It is enough. We are content.