When Is A Book Club More Than A Book Club?

I’ve been in full financial freak out mode for weeks now. It hasn’t been pretty. I’ve had to resort to putting a wave machine on the iPod I got for Christmas just so I can get some sleep at night. Traffic sounds. Who knew that’s what would do it?

The other day, I came home and O told me that one of my friends from book club had stopped by and dropped an envelope off for me. Inside was a nice card that said “We got your back,” basically, and some gift cards. $200 to Stop & Shop and $100 to Target.

So of course, I started crying. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, for myriad reasons. The girls need new sneakers and O needs shirts and I had no idea how I was going to swing that – the Target card will come in handy. And the Stop & Shop cards will buy stuff my food stamps (I hate that I’m on those) won’t buy, like paper towels, toilet paper and shampoo.

I’m grateful to them beyond words. The help that I’ve been getting, from everyone, has been so wonderful. I hate that I have to accept it but I’m so humbled by everyone, for everything they’re doing for me. I’ll never be able to repay everyone but I can say thank you. A million times, thank you. You guys rock. And just ignore me if I start crying the next time we meet. At least I’ll have my own tissues now….

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Jesus Is Alive And Well And Walking Around Northampton

OK, maybe he’s a little banged up, but he’s alive.

File this under “Too Good To Keep To Myself”

Hard Times

I watched Kit Kittredge the other day. Kit Kittredge is an American Girl doll and all American Girl dolls come with a book that tells about their life and the time period in which they live. Kit happens to live during the Great Depression and they made a movie from the book. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It’s a nice little film and it doesn’t hurt that it has Chris O’Donnell and Stanley Tucci in it.

It got me thinking, though. People really seemed to band together back then. They took in relatives and boarders to help make ends meet. They sold whatever they could sell and bartered for what they needed. They saved everything, they made do with what they had and somehow got by.

I wonder why we aren’t seeing more of this now. Do people just not want to put up with the hassle of having other people moving in with them? Do they value their space over their families or friends? Are we all so accustomed to having our own private bubbles that we can’t fathom sharing things in such an intense way?

I’ve been pondering these things as I go about the business of rebuilding my life. I don’t like having to be on food stamps and welfare but I don’t have a choice. Until I can find a good-paying job, I have to take it. But I do sometimes think that life would be a lot easier if I could move in with my sister. She’s in a tough place financially, too, but she doesn’t want to do it. She says we’d kill each other if we had to live together. She may be right but still, it would be nice to have one more person there to help carry the burden a bit. She helps me out immensely, watching the girls when I need to be somewhere that I can’t take them, but I feel like we would both be doing a lot better if we pooled what meager resources we both have. Sure, it would be difficult – my sister and I are two very different people and I’m sure we’d drive each other insane on a regular basis, but I can’t help but think we’d both be better off.

Maybe it’s that most people haven’t hit hard enough times. Maybe we won’t, maybe this isn’t as bad as it was back then. Or maybe it’s that we’re all a little more selfish these days, wanting our own couches, wanting each kid to have his or her own bedroom, wanting to keep living as though financially, we are all just fine.

So after letting this post sit here and coming back to it several times, I have come to the conclusion that I have completely lost my ability to write. This post sucks. It doesn’t convey nearly what I want it to and it’s pissing me off but I’m publishing it anyway because if I don’t plow thru the shit, I may stop writing altogether.