Tag Archive: economics


Today a few things have come to my attention that bears ME looking at my own personal GOOD plans and preparedness and perhaps you should too…first on the agenda of things that will come to pass…The state of Minnesota went into shut down mode a couple of weeks ago over an impasse in the budget (hmm, sounds familiar) where a lot of people who worked for the state have been placed on an indefinite leave of absence, but today, the Miller Brewing Company announced, that because no one is available to process licensing, they may have to shut the plant down and pull all their beer from store shelves and bars. While this in and of itself doesn’t bother me too much, it’s the large picture that does. We are so regulated in our everyday lives that even a partial shut down of the big gov brother would cause untold misery. Not that not having the beer of your choice is a big deal (though I suppose it will wake some people up to the impending reality of economic crisis) but it’s the fact that we take for granted so much of a government running (somewhat) efficiently that when it stops, even for a short time, that it can have dramatic impact on our personal and daily lives, especially if you are a business owner such as I am, let alone our food supplies that are so heavily regulated… This is troubling…and is starting me thinking even more about the little things that I take for granted in being able to get right now…liquor for my herbal medicines, herbs from out of the country, heck, right down to the envelopes that I use for mailing things (which aren’t made in this country). It also makes me wonder about law enforcement (which is already hurting from cut backs) and what the roads and areas are like up there right now and what it could be like in my neck of the woods if my state every went into meltdown mode (or my country for that matter since the state is so hooked on that feeding trough). My other business is dealing with the courts…and right now in the state I live in they are backed up to the hilt (which has other consequences) and are not hiring even to replace key people such as court clerks that make the wheels of justice MOVE with speed…what would happen if this continues along as it is and people quit or get laid off? Nothing will happen, no one get anything done in the courts and it basically would become a septic tank back up that would take years to unravel…definitely not a pleasant thought on top of everything else…in China yesterday a 12 year old bridge came apart…and in California they are closing a 10 mile stretch of a major highway for a couple of days…THEY ARE WARNING people to expect 30 mile back ups and to BE SURE TO HAVE A FULL TANK OF GAS…(and this happened in China not too long ago…took DAYS for people to get home) What’s my point here? From a survival and preparedness stand point it reminds me that we are so dependant upon our infrastructure that isn’t being taken care of (I vaguely recall somewhere where a large section of highway peeled up because of the intense heat) or that is getting hit hard by the weather this year that it becomes imperative to keep that full tank of gas and know all of the get out of dodge routes that you can possibly know and don’t depend upon that navigation system either that thing is programmed for major roads and doesn’t know its head in the ground sometimes. But escape routes are important no matter where you are at and for many reasons. I for one don’t want to be caught at the grocery store and not know how to get home if something happens to my normal route or having to leave home or the area for some reason in all haste and be stuck having to use major routes with everyone else (think Houston during that hurricane). And having a full tank of gas, well, that’s nice too but getting caught in a 30 mile back up? Just how long will that tank last…and the highway authority is TELLING people NOW over construction work that was planned…hmmm…just something crossing my mind today…

In short, I am reassessing my GOOD plan today and need to remember to top off the gas tank too this afternoon. This GOOD plan (get out of dodge) should include escape routes, mode of transportation, what you will take with you (food, water, clothing, personal items, pets, valuables, you have to make choices and doing so now, having that plan will make it easier just in case) and knowing where you will go in the advent of such and such. You should also have a GOOD Plan for if the SHTF when you are work…same drill…and this means having in your car a good BOB (bug out bag) that would or should conceivably get you home or to the agreed upon location with your family. I am thinking about the ‘what if’ plans for my businesses too and need to make some decisions soon about particular things dealing with my businesses. Continuity type things…And again, I am thankful today that I don’t live inMinnesotaorCalifornia…they are dealing with some major SHTF issues and its not even bad yet.

Do you have a GOOD Plan? A BOB bag? Know the routes that can save your life and get you out of Dodge without facing the hordes and zombies? (Yeah, the very same ones who no longer have their beer) And yeah, I know it sounds funny that way, but humor keeps you sane you know?

I am not ‘rich’ by any means… I have no savings what-so-ever, credit card debt (thank goodness not that much, way under 5k and paying them off rapidly and not using them at all and yes, they are still in my wallet), not a lot in tangible assets that are worth anything of value, student loans, two businesses that are supported through the law of supply and demand, 3 cars (yes I do have 3 but 2 are paid for and both are at least 10 years old) a home that I owe a mortgage on for the next 28 years and this morning, I was smacked into financial reality, yet again…the mortgage is due and when I pay it, I will have only $100 left until my customers pay me and I need to go to the grocery store, never mind the rest of the bills that are coming due. Today I feel like I am gambling and on the loosing end of the stick.

 This is situation NORMAL for me but yet, each time I come face to face with this ‘normal’, I get a bit nervous, okay, more than a bit nervous if you want the truth. I really don’t want to go into my stash of food because it would be like admitting something is definately wrong with this picture. I really don’t want to have start selling things off to make the bills either, but you know, I just may have to if things don’t get turned around just a bit. Used to be that I could at least count on positive cash flow from one of my businesses to at least meet the basics, (never mind anything ‘extra’) but right now, hmm, not so reliable, rather sporadic and it bothers me greatly…fear creeps into me…So what the heck do I do?

I will tell what I do(what I AM doing right this moment as I write) when I come face to face with the uncertainity in my life…I get a grip, yep, get a grip. I am blessed to own my own home which is not upside-down nor am I behind in payments, the power is on, I own vehicles outright that do run and nothing is in cut-off status (yet). I am not ‘sick’ per se, though I live thyroid disease and my children are for the moment, healthy. My dogs run in the front yard and aren’t starving or sick…I do have food in the house thanks to being ‘prepared’ just in case something happens and worst case crash, drop dead senario, I do have tangible assets worth money that I could sell. So my pitty potty time is brief. I count my blessings and remember that I enjoy an abundance that millions of others in this country no longer enjoy. I remember that I can create money from the work of my own hands, and I am smart and savvy (okay, not all the time but forgive me for being human) and can work and will work and DO work long hours leaving the dirty dishes in the sink until I have to go make dinner. And after dinner and finishing up a bit more business related work I get to go inside and take a shower and go to sleep in a warm bed. Thank goodness I am not homeless, without a way to earn money and I am not tottering on the edge of some giganitc financial cliff (yet) from which there is no return. There is still room to wiggle. I actually still have a pretty ‘normal’ middle class life.

I get a grip remembering that for me, the NORMAL is that things change on the dime and sitting here worrying only occupies my mind and time allowing for no positive forward thinking or getting things done and makes me sick, literally. For me, sitting here worrying is a distraction and a waste of energy that is better spent doing what I can when and where I can to cut bills down, taking care of customers quickly and putting more effort into my work (that just happens to pay the bills). Worry can quickly turn into depression, anxiety and dispair if I don’t get a grip and wrap my head around gratitude and acceptance…so I work on that today…can’t change what is in this moment but I surely can be grateful what I do have instead of spending time lamenting to myself about what I can’t do today and over what I have no control over. And in a SHTF senario, worry, anxiety, depression and dispair can get you dead real quick…it can immobilize you when you need to get digging deeper or become more creative in how to deal with a situation and it WILL cause grief into the future because when you worry you start creating from FEAR and THAT is a big mistake. While I don’t suggest putting on rose colored glasses or sticking your head in the sand, I do try to remember that the REASON WHY I have choosen to get prepared is to avoid this very thing called worry and fear…and I am to some degree, prepared.

I get a grip on the idea (which then turns into a feeling) that I AM OKAY TODAY, no matter what my bank account says. Adjust Laura, adjust and get a grip, it will all be okay. It may not be what I want it to be, but it will all be okay, just get a grip, you ain’t something ‘special’ and you aren’t alone in this…so get a grip and carry on, its all good.

Just for some perspective I offer this:

Car Sleepers, the New Homeless

Are They Serious?

This morning while listening to CNN (okay, I am a CNN news junkie…it gets rather boring sitting at my computer all day long working without something going on in the background and for me, it helps me focus) I snapped to attention when an ad for Lending Tree came on offering…of all things…’new’ adjustable rate mortgages! yes, sir, one of the very same companies that I hold responsible for some of the mess we are in is back in ‘business’ with lines such as NEW LOW RATES OF 3.85% (um excuse me but whats wrong with a 4.5 % rate? or even a 5.5 % rate that is fixed?) and GAURENTEED UNTIL 2018 (yeah and then you will HIKE IT THROUGH THE ROOF based upon what fictional ‘basis’?) and then it will adjust ONLY ONCE A YEAR AFTER THAT (umm…yeah, so for the remainder of the life of the 30 year loan I can count on my mortgage rate going up anywhere from 1-5% a year and forbid that my credit rating starts having problems!) BUT WHY PAY THOUSANDS OF EXTRA DOLLARS IN INTEREST ON A HOME THAT YOU PROBABLY WON”T BE IN IN A FEW YEARS…are they KIDDING ME?!?! the market is in the dumps, foreclosures on the market that the banks refuse to sell at market rates and homeowners are upside in many markets and homes sit on average on the market for AT LEAST 9 MONTHS NOW? and you want me to get an ARM and think that I will be able to sell in the future to get out from under the ARM with ease and grace into something bigger and better? Um, excuse me, while I recognize that I am ‘just’ some ignorant homeowner who works for herself and has (apparently to them) no clue about the economic situation in this country, isn’t this an example of EXACTLY what got us here to begin with? (okay, I admit, it is a small part of it, but really!) I am really starting to feel like bankers are insane creatures who have no clue about what they did a few years ago (okay, I am giving them no credit for their intelligence, the DID KNOW and went after the quick buck and just figured they would be able to sell distressed properties to the next sucker when they repo’d it) but greed, I recognize has no boundaries it seems…so they and the powers that be it seems, have decided that in order to ‘sell’ overpriced houses they will give teaser rates again, but this time we will make sure they can afford it (uh, yeah, at the teaser rate) and cross our fingers that the snow blowing around about the economy will clear up soon. Sounds like a receipe for another meltdown…and btw…of interest is a builder in Florida who is so desperate to sell houses that he is letting people in with no money down and special financing again…

Me, I stay put and watch the warning signs and get myself and my family prepared to weather the coming storm…its kinda like watching a hurricane form on the weather radar in many respects…but I have to ask this one question:

ARE THEY SERIOUS?

Preparedness and Parenthood

I get strange looks sometimes when I buy big bags of rice, or 4 packages of diapers or 6 12 packs of toliet paper (all at one time), and sometimes those looks aren’t from strangers. The poor UPS guy who delivers in my rural town (who must think I am sort of crazy survivalist) has delivered, this past week alone, a 50 lb bag of organic hard white wheat and boxes from Auguson Farms and 50 lbs of DE (amongst other things like a huge box of diapers, but that was Fed Ex and that guy knows for sure I am crazy). But its all good. I am just doing my duty as a good parent to ensure that my children are and will be taken care of no matter what. I am making sure that they will have what they need just in case something happens to my income or one of us gets hurt and can’t work or something happens that disrupts supplies (think storms, floods, pestilance of the crops, heck even the banks collapsing). Down where I live, when hurricane Isabel came through, they had no power for 10 days…there were reports of people stealing chickens and killing goats after 3 days…yep and that was just a little bitty hurricane. No power, no grocery store. And those great big trees across the road? well, that would kinda keep you at home wouldn’t they? and the county surely has bigger problem than my road, so no deliveries or movement for several days…but I digress…

When you are pregnant with your child you plan. You start thinking of all the things you will need for the precious child that you will be having soon in your life and next thing you know…you are getting PREPARED! You buy the crib, the car seat, clothing, diapers and any number of a million and one zillion things. You are getting ready for a life altering event…the end of the world as you know it right now…the birth of your child. You pick the hospital, your doctor, make arrangements ‘just in case’ this or that happens, you get your family involved (or not). You start making plans for what you will and won’t do after your baby is born, breast feeding or bottle feeding? Stay home or go back to work or even work from home? Daycare? All these decisions are called making plans which is part of you getting prepared for the arrival of your little one. Preparedness can be so much work! But you know these things that you are prepping for make a good parent…planning, preparing, getting things… being ready for him or her when they arrive and your world changes. Next, after the arrival of your new baby you realize just how much you don’t know about this thing called ‘being a good parent’ so you start asking question and doing more preparing for when they begin to sit up, eat solid foods, crawl, walk, talk. You have to get your house ready after all don’t you? Not to mention get all the information you can lay your hands on so that you can make informed and sound decisions about how you want to raise your child…this is all part of being a good parent. It just goes on and on this getting prepared for your child and it changes, evolves overtime to fit, upon demand, the circumstances and stages that you see coming down the road for your family as your baby grows and circumstances change. A good parent has…foresight, knowledge, leadership skills and techniques, tactics and supplies on hand for whatever may come at any given moment and sometimes, in a strange or odd moment…wisdom from past mistakes…Sometimes things just take you by surprise…can you say forgetting the diaper bag anyone? (this why you put a couple of diapers under the drivers seat)…or a fall or accident (speed dial and first aid kit) or someone notices that you are busy paying attention to something else and sticks the half chewed dog biscuit in the dvd player, managing to close it too…(say bad language and a screw driver when you find it later that night) but that is okay, you have thought things out enough to feel confident that when it happens you handle it with grace and ease (or freak out first, quickly regaining a shred of self-control). But my whole point is this…you planned and prepared yourself into being a good parent!

So, I, ever wanting to be a good parent have just taken things a bit further…preparedness is being a good parent. Being ready for when the crap hits the fan, in whatever form it may come to your door step, (think going into labor!) is being a good parent.   Having things on hand ‘just in case’ or for an emergency, is being a good parent (extra this or that, tools) and most certainly having a means to protect your family is being a good parent. It might seem a little strange at first, this new aspect of being a good parent, simply because you haven’t do so before. But that’s okay, you’ll get over it. You will gain a new sense of pride and confidence (hmm sounds just like what you feel as you get the grove of being a good parent!) as time goes by. You will find that you are less anxious and worried about the future. You will find that this new aspect of being a good parent will actually help you become a better parent as you gain skills in being self-reliant that will be passed onto your child…indeed, preparedness and parenting go hand in hand…and it is all part of the job.

Just An Opinion…

One reason why I started this blog was to be able to call a spade a spade and not have to worry (at least for now) about censorship…this morning as I got going about the business of taking care of the business of the day I did as I usually do…turned on the news, CNN…and was assaulted by the worst fluff I have seen on CNN in a long, long time…’most noteworthy’ (at least according to CNN) was the coverage of the Casey Anthony hearing (took up hours of their time) and then maybe 30 seconds about the fact that Obama is meeting on the debt crisis…then back to Casey again. Sigh…can I have some real news please? I mean, reality isn’t Casey Anthony and it while it certainly extremely sad that a little girl died (I have 5 kids myself and couldn’t imagine loosing one of them) do we have to cover it ad nauseum when the world is collapsing around us? Oh, that’s right, according to ‘the administration’ that governs our great country we are out of the recession (uh huh..yeah, right maybe the uber rich are but the common man isn’t and infact its getting deeper) and the reality is that our country is beyond repaying its debts (but that isn’t true is it? heck, we will just print more money and presto! we will be okay! wink, wink, nod, nod) so the ‘debt crisis’ meeting today on the Hill is really just to figure out how rework our budget and keep the economy going (as the ship sinks and we borrow more money just to pay the interest we owe)…sigh…yep, Casey Anthony wins hands down, much more important to keep us focused on this rather than an inconvient truth that the housing collapse was just the beginning of the decent into economic hell…give them circuses and let them eat cake…and ignore the pile of crap that is just beginning to spray outwards…yep…much more important…and btw, she gets out next Thursday sigh…the next circus…think I will keep the cable off that day and focus on figuring out how I will be getting out of debt myself…