I rarely write about my “real” everyday life here. For one thing, I have to live it and writing it all over again is a little tedious. For another, I work in a public school and they don’t take kindly to employees pissing and moaning all over the (public) internet. I feel like I should mention this particular real life event, because…well, it’s a big deal to me and I think it’s going to affect my knitting and blogging and photo-ing for a while. My husband got laid off yesterday. : ( Which feels like a big ole kick in the stomach, if you’ve never experienced it.
Financially, we’ll be okay. My job is (seemingly! please-oh-god-let-it-be) stable, and we don’t live outside our means. After a night of tears from me and “oh shits” from him and feeling sorry for ourselves, we’re sitting down and budgeting and we’ll get on just fine. Financially. What I find so upsetting is the unexpected emotional blow.
I did not grow up poor, by any means. My family is about as blue collar as it comes, solidly middle-middle class, with some forays into lower-middle class when my dad was laid off a few times. My mom is a secretary; my dad is a machinist who is now a machine shop supervisor. My sister and I never wanted for anything essential. What we did want for is the lackadaisical way many of our friends spent money. One of the side effects of being bused to schools outside where you live is going to school with all sorts; that’s the beauty and the challenge of busing. I ended up in a middle school in a more affluent neighborhood than the one in which I grew up, and consequently with acquaintances who were more affluent. I remember the absolute hunger I had for their neverending stuff: L.L. Bean backpacks, Chuck Taylors, Urban Decay nail polish, endless streams of new CDs. The casual way they bought cokes and candy without having to stop and consider: would I have enough pocket money until my next allowance? It didn’t matter, because money was something that flowed freely. There would be more.
Boo hoo, right? I know now that I was lucky, incredible lucky, to have food and a house and clothes that fit. I teach students who have none of those things. What growing up middle class among upper middle class kids did was give me a sense that there would never be enough money to be casual about it. I would have to watch each dollar closely, or else I’d end up starving and homeless and talking to myself on the bus. Being hella broke throughout college only crystallized this worry into a serious complex about spending money. On anything. I got to the point where I could not buy a $1.50 cup of coffee without guilt.
In the past year or so, my husband and I have finally paid off both our cars, paid down a chunk on my student loans, and were able to begin purchasing luxuries using cash. I now get coffee every morning with no guilt whatsoever. I bought an expensive but gorgeous wool sweater a couple weeks ago just because I loved it. I could buy all the Urban Decay make-up I want. I was starting to feel pretty okay about money.
And, now, dammit, that old apprehension is back. I had the urge last night to just sell everything that wasn’t nailed down and hoard the cash in my mattress. Feeling slightly more normal today.
Kntting-wise: my 12 sweaters in 2010 project is going to be suspended, for now. That much yarn is some serious change, and I want to knit with quality stuff. Lace weight yarn is much less pricey than sweater-weight yarn, so I envision a lot more lace in my future. Which is good, because it’s pretty and I’m good at it! See?
That’s the Cold Mountain Stole, about 45% done, in Malabrigo lace. I’m really enjoying the pattern so far. Maybe I’ll knit 12 lace shawls in 2010!
Thanks for reading this far, if you have. : ) I’m fine, and we’re going to be fine, and it’s okay. My new resolution is to breathe and get through it gracefully and take joy in small pleasures. Like whoopie pies. If you’ve never had a whoopie pie, man, I feel sorry for you. They’re a Northern delight unknown in the South. Luckily, my husband’s (former) coworkers work in New Hampshire and bring us some from time to time. I might have to find a mail order source for them, now! They’re that good.