AngelaJossy's Blog

Feb. 27, 2009 at 7:15pm

Not a good day for me

I know there must be a lesson in this somewhere.

I donít know what Iím doing. Iím confused, stressed, worried and overwhelmed. My list of things to do is so long that I literally feel paralyzed by it and the lines that end in dollar signs are far too few. It all started when I encountered some setbacks. I got two flat tires and learned that all four need replacement. I got a speeding ticket that I couldnít pay and ended up with a suspended license. I had to go to Gig Harbor to pay it plus a $100 fee. With bridge toll and all it ended up costing me $314.00. I lost a major project that I was counting on. My daughter got the flu then a week later I got the flu. I got turned down for unemployment. I thought I was getting a big tax refund, now it looks like I might actually have to pay. And we have a general shortage of household things. For the love of Bok choy!!!

I know Iím supposed to be some kind of unemployed superhero but man! Even I have my limits.

I am working, just not fast enough to keep up with the bills. Every other week somebody is threatening to shut something off around here. Itís constant crisis mode. No time to set up new jobs. No ďrealĒ jobs to be had. Any real jobs I find come with really long lists of requirements that I don't have.

I find myself always in the crux of two needs: education and income. Unfortunately knowledge is not the same as education. Knowledge is attainable. Education costs money. Knowledge has no cap and gown. It has no certificate of diploma. It just comes with a few bruises (experience) and a couple of tired corneas (research and reading). Iíve got plenty of knowledge. But most jobs require diplomas. Iím not rich enough to get one of those.

Today I was reminded about the cost of education when I missed out on a conference for Washington state festival and event planners. I would have learned, networked and taken my skills to the next level. But no. I didn't have enough money. I blame myself (and the recession). I should have campaigned for it. I should have reached out for help. I should have been fundraising for it. After all, I work for the community. My gain is their gain. If I become a better event planner and fundraiser then everybody wins. But I was preoccupied with survival and I missed out. The best I could do was ask my friends to take notes for me. I hope they do, between cocktails and prime rib dinners. : (

I canít cry over spilled milk though. I need to focus on the here and now. I get that. But I also want to look out for the future and be prepared to take the next steps. People keep asking me what I want to do long-term and I thought TALENT POOL answered that question but the draw back from that plan is the constant hunting, gathering and contract negotiation.

Contracts are apparently a necessary evil. A few days ago I was reminded that not everyone feels obligated by loyalty. For instance, if someone (who will remain nameless) hires me and I bring in a team of specialists and then after the job is over they go behind my back to hire one of my contacts and cut me out of the deal that hurts me and my business. But as a good person who tries always to create scenarios that are best for the people around me I donít feel like I can do anything about that since we had no contract extending beyond the project I was hired for. I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that person canít afford me anymore. I am a luxury item after all and people are making difficult choices these days. I canít blame them. But for TALENT POOL to work, Iíll have to make contracts and hold people to them. Am I going to be comfortable with that? The answer is maybe. Truthfully I just canít think about that right now. Right now I have to get work for myself. I need dependable work that will keep the roof over our heads, gas in the car, car in the driveway, food in the fridge, power to my outlets, web access for my computer, hot water for my shower and cell phone coverage for me and my offspring.

I've been really lucky so far. Has that luck run out?

I need no less than $2600 a month. I need $1000 of it in the next 5 days. My tax refund plan didnít pan out so I have no idea how Iím going to raise it. Maybe a garage sale? Benefit concert? A (pay in advance) sale? Turn my house into a temporary bed & breakfast? Give up my home for lent?     

As for the other setbacks, tires still flat, ticket paid, drivers license back in good standing, alternate vehicle needs tabs as of March 1st, flu gone and workload still backlogged. The hero is down for the count folks. Stay tuned for my big come back.



comments [43]  |  posted under diary of recession survival, Tacoma, unemployment


by NineInchNachos on 2/27/2009 @ 8:01pm
they say you can sell human eggs for about 2600 a pop.

Anyhow. Sorry! I enjoy your blog posts.
One thing I did to save money was cancel my cell phone. Other good ideas are to get rid of your cable TV. Also the bus is pretty bad ass.

by NineInchNachos on 2/27/2009 @ 8:02pm
Also, never too late to turn to a life of crime.

by AngelaJossy on 2/27/2009 @ 8:14pm
Thanks NiN. Can you give me the number of your egg dealer?

by NineInchNachos on 2/27/2009 @ 8:30pm
here you go:

(they also take sperm... for the dudes down on their luck)

by Sassy McButterpants on 2/27/2009 @ 8:41pm

by jenyum on 2/27/2009 @ 9:19pm
I tried to do the egg thing back in my late twenties but I was informed that I was already too old and too short. (Shortness weighing against me more than education weighed in favor, apparently.) They missed out because that particular egg became my youngest child and she rocks. (And I'm glad she's mine) Used to pay more, too...

by Mofo from the Hood on 2/27/2009 @ 9:21pm
AngelaJossy, don't give up your home for lent.

by Mofo from the Hood on 2/27/2009 @ 9:48pm
What did the mother hen say when she saw a plate of scrambled eggs?

What a bunch of mixed-up kids!

by Mofo from the Hood on 2/27/2009 @ 9:58pm
Hey AngelaJossy, one quick question---Do you also write posts under the name Spike Jensen, My P.O.V.?

by jenyum on 2/27/2009 @ 10:30pm
On a more supportive note, I don't know what I'm doing or how to ever get anyone to pay me to do anything, either. And I've got a bunch of degrees. And since I'm not rich either that means I've got a big pile of debt to go with them. I was rehabilitating my student loan, then my lender went "poof" and now I'm apparently going to pay a collection agency until I die or win the lottery.

Everyone I know seems to be in this situation right now, from all kinds of backgrounds. You're doing better than most, to put yourself out there like this.

by fredo on 2/27/2009 @ 11:02pm
There would be more employment available in this state if the government would declare a moritorium on the minimum wage law. Businesses wanting to contain their overhead have basically two options: lower the cost-of-goods sold and/or cut the payroll.

Angie have you considered sharing a residence with another person for the purpose of sharing expenses? Also, how about some support payments from your child's dad? Finally, you might take some funds out of your IRA or 401K plan. There's a 10% penalty for early withdrawal but there are some provisions to avoid the penalty. I'm troubled by your misfortune but hope things come together for you soon.

by jenyum on 2/28/2009 @ 12:01am
Fredo, minimum wage in washington state is 8.55 an hour.

That means, if you work a 40 hour week (and most min wage jobs are part time) you make $342 a week.

Times that by 52 (number of weeks in a year) and you get an annual salary of $17,784.

Divide that by 12, and you get an income of 1482, before taxes.

The average rent in Pierce County in 2000 (really old numbers but the last I could find) was $666 a month. I'm assuming that's a studio or a one bedroom. Angela has a child, so she might want to be crazy and have a second bedroom. Just a quick look at craigslist tells me current prices for that run at $800 a month, if you are really, really lucky.

That means, after rent (with your imaginary tax free paycheck) you have $682 left. You might want to have heat or electricity in your apartment. Lets assume you are really frugal and your utility bill is $150 a month. You have $532 left.

You might want to eat. Probably your kid wants to eat. (in my experience, they do) With just two people you can maybe get by on a grocery bill of about $200 a month, if you eat a lot of mac and cheese. (Not very healthy, but you don't have insurance so you'll probably die young anyway)

You've got $332 left. You probably want to have a phone. Better be *really* careful with that one. Maybe you are, and you don't have a cell phone (which makes you a dinosaur to most of the business world) and your phone bill only costs about $80 a month. You've got $252 left.

Except wait a're naked! The customers at your crappy service job are complaining. (Sadly, bikini baristas rejected your application.) Assuming you're really good with thrift shopping and don't buy clothes until they fall off of you, you might be able to get away with spending about $20 a month on clothes. That's $240. You've got $12! let the party begin! Except wait a minute... there's that kid again. Her teachers are complaining, because for some reason they don't like her "sandals" which are really the tops of her shoes cut off and stuck together with duct tape.

Crap. All gone.

Also, I hope you weren't expecting her to buy anything from any local businesses, because if you didn't notice, there's not enough money left in that budget to do that.

My point is, what (the hell) kind of solution is it to this economic crisis to say the solution is to pay people less. Wake up.

Who has a 401k? What planet are you on?

by AngelaJossy on 2/28/2009 @ 12:35am
"my lender went "poof" and now I'm apparently going to pay a collection agency until I die or win the lottery."

@Jen, dude, that is messed up.

@NiN @ Sassy - I was joking about the egg dealer ... I think. Do people really do that? I think the Jossy genes should be worth more than average. Do they negotiate? I come from good stock (except for the whole my parents died so I'm an orphan thing).

@Mofo - Thanks for making me laugh. And what the? POV? Do I "TALK LIKE THIS???"

I usually try to stay positive but there was just too much bad news in one day. But please don't worry. I will figure something out. I always do. I'm sorry for venting and bringing people down. I've got a few irons in the fire and a few more moves left in this game. :)

Thanks for being my virtual support group. :)

by fredo on 2/28/2009 @ 6:56am
Jen@The difficulties encountered by people trying to support themselves with a minimum wage job pale in comparison to the difficulties encountered by people who are unemployed. Less is more than nothing, Jen, what planet are you on?

I gave 3 suggestions that might help Angie. How could I know if any would be applicable to her situation? Here are some more suggestions: prepaid cell, food stamps, school lunch program, Housing vouchers, public transportation, food bank, child tax credit.

People who want to live independently at a high standard of living have a few options. Marry well, win the lottery, give birth to highly capable children, or learn a skill or trade which is in high demand. The event planner job that Angie discusses frequently seems to be sort of a vaporous postition. I have great sympathy for ms Jossey and other unemployed individuals and that's why I post so vigorously on economic issues.

by Dmitri on 2/28/2009 @ 9:53am
Fredo's solution to every issue is to lower the minimum wage.

Any business that relies on an underpaid work force is subsidized by everyone, since underpaid workers need more public services.

A business that relies on underpaid workers is a business that doesn't deserve to exist and is doing nothing to help society.

by fredo on 2/28/2009 @ 10:14am
Underpaid workers need more public services than unemployed people? I don't get it.

by morgan on 2/28/2009 @ 10:32am
AngelaJossy et al: You're not alone. I heard there was a support group that meets at the Parkway every Wednesday evening. Or was it every night? Anyway, there was something in the TNT about a it recently. Good luck trying to find anything on their website. And when WILL they get rid of those damn pop-up ads?! That is so 1999! (pardon the min-rant)

by jenyum on 2/28/2009 @ 12:28pm
Well, click on all the non pop up ads a lot and maybe they will go away. Seriously. If we all clicked on their ads more (and actually read the advertisers pages, I'm not recommending fraud here) they'd be making more money and wouldn't have to resort to giant three D hands emerging from our computer screens, grabbing us by the scruff of the neck and forcing us to look at the ads.

by Sassy McButterpants on 2/28/2009 @ 12:32pm

I wouldn't donate my eggs either. Do you know they give you hormones to swell your ovaries to the size of grapefruits in order to harvest them? yeck.

But you can do medical studies, they usually involve taking experimental meds and getting paid several thousand dollars. God only knows what you're putting in your body, but you would leave with cash and excellent blog fodder.

by Dave_L on 2/28/2009 @ 6:28pm
I'm pretty scattered today, and I'm having a really tight week myself, but I'll try to help a little next week with that one idea if the timing can work out. In the meantime, I'd pay to come to a F>>T House concert at a house or a place that wouldn't cost you to secure. It's hard when one is facing the too-little-too-late possibility. Though if anyone can pull through this, it's you. I have no idea if having a renter is even a possible option, but a friend of mine who rents out most of his house said there is a huge increase in people looking to rent, and his Craigslist ad was answered in minutes. I hope that perfect job comes soon. I'm sure you have proven yourself to be a miracle-worker. None of us will be surprised when soon you'll be cookin' with bok choy.

by kathy on 2/28/2009 @ 10:58pm
Hi Angela...
I SO know where you are right now!
I work for a non-profit and I am supporting two teenagers full time.

Despite working full time I had to take a second job for a while.
My tires were shot, my tabs had been expired for over a year ( needed work to pass emissions no tabs.)
One night driving home from my second job I was stopped for the tabs and given a $216 ticket. There went several days of working the second job so I could get my car fixed, emmissions passed and new was like the frickin' "gift of the magi" in reverse!

I pulled over at a gas station and had a sob-fest in my car. I was ready to throw in the towel...I mean I was trying SO hard and felt like one step up...three steps back. It was then I noticed a message on my phone...I answered it to find the most amazing, supportive and wonderful message from my boss. That one thing gave me the strength to keep pluggin' away.

It's been a tough year, and things are still really tight, but I am moving forward.

You are an amazing bright and resourceful person, and I know you will be just fine.
Hang in there!!

by AngelaJossy on 3/1/2009 @ 2:08am
Thanks you guys. It means a lot that you believe in me. I actually had a really great pep talk from my tax guy today (who by the way *is* getting me a sweet refund) and I think I may have a plan to actually make this recession work in my favor and be able to help people at the same time. Its not a new idea really but just a different angle of approach. I'll tell you about it later. For now you just need to know that I'm OK. I'm good actually and its really true about that whole darkness before dawn thing.

@Dave L - that house concert thing sounded really fun. We might just have to do that anyway. It would be fun to see all the blogger people in a casual homey environment.

by ensie on 3/2/2009 @ 7:57pm

Glad to hear you are getting a nice tax refund. You are a fantastically creative person and I have much faith that things will eventually turn around.

Frinklin is riding the unemployment train at the moment as well and I was laid off last summer. I have a new (low paying, suck ass) job that I'm trying like crazy to hold onto. My in-laws just moved in with us as they lost their house. My parents are helping to pay our mortgage.

I know where you are are coming from, and I know just how hard it is. Much love and luck to you.

by ensie on 3/2/2009 @ 7:58pm
Also, Fredo - We tried life without a minimum wage and it didn't work. That's why we have one.

by fredo on 3/2/2009 @ 8:14pm
Ensie, I wish you and Franklin the best of luck, just as I did for Angie.

You say life without minimum wage laws didn't work. Well how's life with minimum wage laws working? Unemployment in Washington is 7.8% and in Tacoma it's 9.1%. The governor's solution to unemployment? Well, she doesn't have one, she's too busy gnashing her teeth over the $8.3B deficit mess she's gotten us into.

by ensie on 3/2/2009 @ 8:27pm
Yep, that minimum wage law is what drove our country into a massive recession (and potentially a future depression). All on its own.

Minimum wage laws were set up to protect employees and provide a minimum standard of living. As it is, the minimum wage in our state bumps you out of the poverty level by only a few thousand dollars. Even less if you have a family.

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/2/2009 @ 8:59pm
Yeah? Well my toaster shorted out two days ago. I had that thing for eight years. Today I got a loaf of free French bread because I did a phone survey for the grocery store. Well when I got home tonight with my loaf of free French bread, I walk toward kitchen thinkin' about how tasty this bread is gonna be toasted, ya know hot and crunchy and evenly butteredĖ-real butter warmly melted down into the toast crevices. Then it hit meĖthe instant I looked at the kitchen counterĖno toaster! I must've like blocked my mind off from the shock of that whole sparking and smoking toaster malfunction incident the other day.

Here's the weird thing. I know a lotta people have an extra brand new, never been used toaster. I've searched Craigslist up and downĖand not one free toaster in Tacoma. Well I suppose I could use my stove oven, but it takes like 45 minutes to make a two slices of toast and I'm not young anymoreĖI gotta make every minute count...

by NineInchNachos on 3/2/2009 @ 9:16pm
make toast with a propane camping stove. YUM! and even faster than lame ass electric toaster.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 3/2/2009 @ 10:42pm
Is the minimum wage higher in Tacoma than in the rest of the state? Is that why the rate of unemployment is higher in Tacoma?

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/2/2009 @ 10:52pm
Hey that campstove idea reminded me of those metal lean-to shape toasters for campfires...If I only had two metal cheese graters then I could pitch them against each other on top of a red hot kitchen stove plate. Wait a minute...I can make toast Woolworth's lunch counter styleĖput butter in a frying pan and butter on the bread and then fry it on the stove top.

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/2/2009 @ 11:26pm
Okay, I didn't really want to admit this to myself, but I don't have a frying pan.

by NineInchNachos on 3/2/2009 @ 11:39pm
they probably have toast at the Tacoma Rescue Mission mofo. (Tell them you're a born again christian and you'll get an extra butter spread packet).

by jenyum on 3/2/2009 @ 11:54pm
You can usually find a cheap toaster at the Value Village on Mildred or Hosmer.

Also, a frying pan.

by scout on 3/3/2009 @ 12:13am
Also, the cat and I have found some of our best Halloween costumes and other outfits there! I love Value Village. I wonder...
Do you suppose they pay minimum wage?

by NineInchNachos on 3/3/2009 @ 1:06am
If you were really hardcore mofo you'd use an old hubcap from a 64 chevy corvair. But then you'd be a Hobo from the Hood.

by Mofo from the Hood on 3/3/2009 @ 7:45am
Okay, I just finished building a frying pan. I used my hacksaw to cut off the knob top of one of my Revereware pot lids. Then I used Krazy Glue to fasten to the lid side 9" metal salad tongs to make a handle.

All those shop classes I enrolled in at Stewart Junior High are still proving their merit to this day.

by thriceallamerican on 3/3/2009 @ 9:18am
@Dave_L & @AngelaJossy:

Loving the idea of bringing back the rent party...great for helping people pay the rent/mortgage, helps out musicians who may be seeing less bookings as clubs scale back, and allows those of us lucky enough to be employed share the wealth a bit... When do we start?

by ensie on 3/3/2009 @ 10:39am
You can also try Freecycle for a toaster. People are being encouraged to offer kitchen appliances this month.

by AngelaJossy on 3/3/2009 @ 11:41am
@thriceallamerican: we can start as soon as someone volunteers their home for the party.

@everyone: Check out this article in the Washington Post. It was written by the founder of LinkedIn. This is the best idea for saving the economy that I've heard so far:

by thriceallamerican on 3/3/2009 @ 11:49am
@AngelaJossy: Half of me is inspired to create a website that would expressly act as a platform to bring rent-needers, bands, and partygoers together. The other half of me worries about the legal implications therein...

(btw, use of "@everyone" is priceless)

by Dave_L on 3/3/2009 @ 12:05pm
Mofo, you just have to put that frying pan on
I'd have to ask, but if no one has a place I should be able to secure a house with a decent-sized living room and big kitchen with several frying pans and a four-slot toaster. And a garden on the roof. There are some good house-concert guidelines available on-line. Potluck sounds fun.

by AngelaJossy on 3/3/2009 @ 12:09pm
Potluck and BYOB

by Shep on 3/9/2009 @ 1:05pm
I'm pretty new to blogging here, but glad to see such great support. Potluck is a great idea and works! I've been laid off since the day after New Year's and had to move myself to a cheaper rental. When I had friends over for a housewarming, they brought so much food and wine, I ended up having another one the next week, just so we could eat and drink it all up! Luckily they were nice enough to bring extra chairs and glasses. Angela, you are a pro blogger! I just started one and it's pretty rinky dink so far. If you want to visit, let me know. I'd love your feedback (didn't know if it was ok to put the url in here). Take care and hope things are looking up!