Okay. Deep breath. Here I go. If you’ve read some of my posts you may know that my husband is retired. He is 13 years older than me and has been retired for 13 years. Adjusting to retirement pay is interesting. Once he quit working it became obvious that I would need to work. I have had various short-term jobs over the last 13 years, ran my own business for 5 of those years and eeked, and I do mean EEKed, out a living for us.
I am not a “professional”. Hubs was an electrical engineer and worked 7 days a week in the auto industry in Detroit. Loved Detroit. Wonderful city and I hope they come through their financial troubles quickly. Anyway we lived there for 16 years and I loved it. Maybe because I could indulge myself with a business that didn’t turn a profit (selling antique quilts and used and out of print books). Maybe because I could grocery shop without worrying about the total – or maybe because I could indulge my hobbies of gardening and reading and creating without being on a strict budget.
In the 1980s I started quilting. I was working as a psychic at the time and had blocks of time during the day or whole days between teaching and groups where I could sew. I learned the basics and then started making quilts that were not based on traditional patterns. My own. I hooked up with a lovely women, Merry Silber, and she featured my work in the several quilt shows she managed. It was a magical time.
I started collecting antique quilts and tops. I regularly trolled Ebay to find that special quilt for my collection and to find dealers. I found a lady in California who had collected African American quilts for years. I bought all I could. I loved those quilts. They provided a huge living for us in Prince Edward Island when Gee’s Bend became popular. The quilt show at the Whitney Museum made all of my quilts valuable. Which was good because we needed the money but bad because I sold them. I wish I still had some of them. I loved them.
I made over 100 quilts. I took the ones I hadn’t sold with me to PEI. One day when I was in Charlottetown, I stopped at an art gallery in one of the side streets. The windows were lovely and the gallery itself reminded me of a gallery in Tuscany or Spain. The proprietor was from Barcelona – that explains the atmosphere. So I was looking around and Pilar was asking if we needed help and I mentioned that I sold antique quilts and she immediately wanted me to put them in the gallery! And she wanted my work too – long story short – she sold tons of antique quilts for me at a good cut and also sold my work. It was a very good stop that day. And she told me about life in PEI and the coolness I would get from the citizenry.
After 8 years in PEI we finally sold our house. Living on a small island in Canada was not the rosy picture we thought it would be. It was different being a resident instead of a tourist. We were actively disliked. It may have been my fault, who knows? But it was not a way to live. I worked for a Toronto businessman who wanted to start a bookstore on the Island. The other employee was actively hostile toward him because he was from Toronto – even though he was providing a job for her – and felt that he should not come to PEI to start a business. Any whiff of industry or money was enough to get people on your tail. It was not pleasant. So we moved back to the States – to Maine – and in another post of mine you can read how lovely that has been.
We had a small amount of money left over after all the expenses of the move and buying the new home. I paid our oil bill for the year in cash. Then the next spring I got the “budget” amount for the following winter. It was $480 per month. Twelve months of the year. That was 2008 when oil prices skyrocketed. This year my “budget” was $363 a month. And we have used $1900 over that budget in oil. I needed a job then and now and so I trooped out and found one for a famous Maine outdoor outfitter – I had done this kind of work before. Then I went to another call center. But that call center – no. Didn’t care for it – left. Then I found a job in a law firm – jeez louise – didn’t like that either.
I was laid off for lack of work – actually because they wanted me and my mouth out of there. The law firm was run by the women – actually two. They were pretty weird to me. The first week I was told that “You’re our courier bitch too.” Pleez.
So I was left in 2010 hunting for work again. And times were tough. I couldn’t buy food or oil or anything. The people at the law firm thought I worked for pleasure. I did not disavow them of this notion. But we needed my pay. So finally in a couple of months I was hired for a cell phone call center. I lasted a little over a year and a half and that was by seriously being depressed every damn day I had to work there. It was horrid.
So then back to the Maine outfitter for a season and another season. And another. And I got promoted and laid off in February. They will call me back but until then – no paycheck.
So I decided to start my own business again. But I have no money for supplies. I want to sell hand spun hand dyed yarn. And hand dyed yarn. I started a campaign on Indiegogo called Hand Spun. It is a crowd funding site. Although no crowd has flocked to my campaign. I have 12 days left and no funders. I set a goal of $1650 for a drum carder to blend sea cell with silk/wool and for fiber and dyes. Not a lot. Just $1650. And no funders. Sigh.
Since we’re having no luck with this – once again I do the job hunting thing. I need to bring in $1,000 a month to make ends meet. I can do it with less – but the 1K is a good goal. And I do have an in-person interview but I know not when. The interviewer’s schedule is tied up. And he has to drive 3.5 hours to get here. So I wait.
Just a word on retirement. Don’t do it. While you are working – recognize that one of you will be ill in your old age and chronically so. Recognize that you will eventually need to go to a nursing home because it will be too hard for your spouse to take care of you. Recognize that if you have any money it will go to the nursing home. Do not buy a piano for your child or piano lessons. Leave off the new clothes, two car payments, vacations, plants for your garden and food. Live miserably because you will need it to live miserably when you are retired. If you can retire. Do not spend unnecessary money buying a home. Do not decorate the home and stay out of fabric and antique shops. Do not read unless the books are from the library. Live like a miser. Be miserable. Because you will need to be miserable later on. Both of you must work. Or all of you. Who will raise the children? Other children who have two working parents. Better yet nobody. Let the little buggers raise themselves. Do not home school your child because the school system sucks. Let them go to a school that sucks. Do not concern yourself with your elderly parents. Do not help them through their retirement. They will be dead and unable to help you in yours. Just get into a corner and scream. It will be good practice for when you are over 60. Do it while you are young so that you will know what old will feel like. Be miserable all your life. Do not live, save.
Retirement is a time when spending $4 for a copay for medicine is a problem. It is when the weekly allotment of milk runs out and you need more and can’t find the cash. It is when your overdraft protection at the bank becomes part of your budget. And it is hard. So don’t do it, do not do it. It is not traveling to France and having your picture taken for a commercial for a broker. It is not starting to learn to fly or cook. It is not any of those things on retirement investing commercials.
Yo get in the moment. I am. Not a good moment. I have heard that the universe only gives you the best it can at any moment. So where’s the abundance I have resolved to live in? Not here. Not unless it is an abundance of poor.
But I am the only one that can worry about tomorrow. My spouse can’t even remember yesterday. But once again pay day has come, the house payment paid and the little left over to bills – so we wait until the next pay day. Which will be the 3rd of May. Pleez. I need that job. I need it now.
Just a cheerful little post today – trying to scrape up a dime.
And a word from our economy here in America – we added only 88,000 jobs last month. And more people left the job hunt. Not worth it.