Thursday, February 19, 2009

Portrait: Washington D.C.

One year ago, my husband died from cancer. I went from an over-educated, cheerfully employed mother with an au pair to a 34-year-old widow with three-year-old twins who depends on the kindness of friends and Social Security. That was the start of my own personal recession. The rest of the world is just catching up to where I've been for a year now.

I'm still working full time. My family still has health insurance through my employer (a fucking miracle, considering the beating that policy took when my husband died.) But all of my husband's investments had to be sold to cover his debts. Taxes. Attorney's fees. No more au pair. Hello, strange renter living in my basement. Could you please stop smoking marijuana in my house when the kids are home?

I'm praying that the 2002 Subaru holds out for another couple years. I'm praying that the roof doesn't blow away in some epic thunderstorm. I'm praying that the aging washing machine keeps running on a little bit longer . . . scratch that. Now I'm praying that Sears will take pity on me and hook up the new one so I don't have to figure it out myself.

I'm praying for that Stanford bastard to get caught and tell the SEC that whoops, my bad, musta mixed up the last two account numbers, HERE's the money, and my employer gets its fucking money back so my paycheck doesn't bounce. Due diligence, my ass.

I'll put my kids in public kindergarten next year. Goodbye, sweet little Lutheran preschool. I can't afford you anymore. Broken molar, you're gonna have to hang on a little longer. Apparently I owe the heating oil company more than my last paycheck, and considering that Mommy's paycheck is the only paycheck coming into the house these days, we're going to have to live together for another month or so.

I admire single-by-choice moms, whatever route they took to that destination. But I didn't chose. I just get to deal. And that's what really sucks about the recession for all of us. None of us had much of a choice. But we all get to deal.

Washington D.C.