My Wakeup Call that the Economy is Officially Kicking my Ass

Woman with empty walletOn Monday morning while half asleep and lying in bed, I reached for the remote, as I do every morning before my daughter wakes up  and begs to play “Barbies.”  I gently squeezed the “ON” button and received a wakeup call that I could not push “Snooze” on.  Your lifestyle is going down the toilet, well actually it said, You No Longer Have Direct TV Service.  Please Call Us, Deadbeat! Okay, there was no “deadbeat,” but all of the above was implied.  In a frenzy, I switched to my “Tivo List” looking for a prerecorded episode of Jersey Shore, to calm my nerves, but the Tivo service was also, no longer available. “WHY?” “Say it isn’t so.” and “What does this mean?” escaped my lips almost simultaneously.  Hello, the Bachelor narrows his bevy of possible flight attendants down to 12 ladies tonight, and what am I supposed to do while that’s happening… read?

Maybe this isn’t the first sign of my financial woes.  Has the proverbial alarm been buzzing and I’ve been sleeping through it?  Is it possible that being down to one credit card, that I randomly opened at Costco, was some kind of indicator that times are tough?  Is the credit card Roulette I play at check out not a real game?  You know, when you grab a card from your wallet at random and pray you don’t hear the dreaded “You’re Declined” which is followed by mental buzzer, while the contestant –me–  fishes through for another possible loser to swipe.

Now, in hindsight I feel almost silly.  I think there may have been other signals I missed.  Like when we cut out our annual vacations, or when we lost our savings in the market.  Darn it, have I just been phoning it in?  I’m not sure if those other signs are worth investigating, but the thought of missing the new Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice crossover (that they haven’t stopped touting) could send anyone into a deep over-advertising induced depression.

In response to my wakeup call, I’ve done what any pop culture/ TV addict would do.  I pulled out my Costco American Express and called it in.  I know, it’s not tightening the purse strings, but I intend to skip grocery buying this week to make up for the loss.  Eating is overrated… especially after the holidays.  The truth is, I have a perfectly tasty cat just walking around the house.  Taunting me like a steak on wheels.  That’s ridiculous, why would I eat my cat when my dog is 40lbs heavier?   I may be poor, but I’m not stupid.

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34 thoughts on “My Wakeup Call that the Economy is Officially Kicking my Ass

  1. Marsanne

    I so totally agree with that feeling. I hate waking up in the morning and not having any tv. Or for that matter, in the evening when the kids are watching it and it clicks off – one of them will no doubt come in and say “Mom, did you pay the tv bill?” Well, no honey, you can’t pay the tv bill when you don’t have any money. They never get that part 🙂

  2. cherie

    If you need to, you can move in with us, we have two extra rooms..or you can at least come for dinner…we have two cats and one is a little chunky.

  3. Jose V.

    I loved this posting. I have a good sense of humor, but some members of PETA are not going to be happy with it.

  4. jamile Nogueira

    That is funny and I like your story!

    … Never give up using your talents to balance your life value… And, for our comfort, as I stopped for a traffic light, I looked to my right and a red at a bus stop advertising board something like this: “_For the talented and gifted recession is a easy game.”
    You know oriental people already eat cats and dogs as delicacy food?

    We got to find our values and laugh just not to cry!!!

  5. Tiffany Merced

    I am so glad I am not the only one who has placed her priorities on the cable/internet/dvr over all other bills. Well, except electric – need that to keep the TV on. Keep on keeping on Jenny!

  6. Barbara Cox

    Jenny! I have a plethora of poverty ‘tricks’ to make me feel as though I’m still middle class. How about this. I call this one: ‘SECOND HAND ROSE’ I rip all the ‘sample perfumes that are on the ads of womens magazines and store them in the bathroom drawer so that I can open a new one daily. One sample usually covers behind the ears, the neck and wrists. I promise you, many a suicide attempt has just been an unlucky poor woman with a fatal paper cut. The risk is worth the price of smelling good on a shoestring budget!

  7. smilinggreenmom

    Ooooh, the dreaded “you are declined” at the store is soooo embarrassing! Not that it has ever happened to me ‘eh em LOL! You are not alone.

  8. Barry

    So, you think things are tough. I’m using a Push Mower to mow my lawn, gas is 3bucks a gallon. I’m thinking of doing my neighbors lawns too, if they’ll hire me. (could use a little extra cash) My pool is now a green slime, I’m trying to clean it myself. I’d wash the cars more often, but water and soap are so expensive. Things could be worse, I could have lost my Cable and TiVo.

  9. Insanitykim

    You can come pole dance down at the Blind Center for some extra money; they don’t mind the saggy knees, though you do have to yell, “over here!” to get your tips. It sure hurts when they throw quarters…

    And that is bad as I get.

    The End.

  10. Alan Mendelsohn

    You should syndicate your column in newspapers. Just peddle it. I am sure there will be buyers. You could definitely fill Erma Bombeck’s shoes. You have that ability to tap into what people feel but have not articulated.That is why it is so resonant. I would also suggest you try to do it to camera and post video. Your voice I am sure is more delightful than Andy Rooney. You may need a teleprompter or the old fashioned cue cards, which could also be fun as you could even show a couple of times the cue card and then it being cast aside. If you have training as an actress and you can memorize the material and then say it with flair even better. But do it.
    Look if someone can write a book and then have a movie made of her cooking Julia Child’s recipes. You can swing this and who knows how far you can go but it works great.

  11. Bill Ruesch

    This is too true and too tragic to laugh at. We are all the butt of their jokes. If you aren’t one of America’s aristocrats, and 80% of us aren’t, you are dispensable.

    I’m frightend by this and feel helpless in the onslaught of higher taxes, higher oil prices, and higher interest rates. They will get theirs, ours, and everybody else’s and if absolutely necessary, over our dead bodies.

    I wanted to say something funny but I’m just not in a laughing mood these days.

  12. Mark

    Oh Jenny, you’re gonna hate me…I still have cable and just not watching a lot of TV…I should watch the Grey’s tonight but I haven’t watched it all season.

    Great post as always…hang in there, don’t let ’em take your laptop and internet too! “They’ll be fighin’ in the streets…!”

  13. rachy

    oh, jenny, wait until you’re trying to put your kids through college to feel the real economic kick, worrying if you’re slowing slipping under water while piling up debt — mortgage, home equity, college loans for the kids — yikes!

    be glad it’s only direct tv!

    but if you’re looking for good dog recipes, my cousin married into a vietnamese family, and they know how to cook up canine cuisine!

  14. David

    Don’t forget to let us know how the dog went down. I’m assuming it’s one of those sausage dogs – or am I wrong?
    Nice post
    Good luck and best wishes

  15. Jessica

    Thanks for voicing what we’re all feeling – and for the idea about a cat meal – my cat’s been getting on my nerves, anyway.

    Very funny, indeed.


  16. Robert

    Hey, Jenny – hang in there. We’ve all been there on occasion.

    I’m reasonably confident things will start to will pick up long before the rioting starts.

  17. Ellen

    As a newspaper writer in an industry on its decline, I can totally relate to a dwindling bank account that never quite reaches its potential.

    It’s the simple pleasures like CableTV and the bonus of living too far away from malls to justify going out in the cold that keeps me under house arrest, and therefore less tempted to spend money!

  18. ThoughtOfaMom


    I hear ya sista! I’ve been debating between our lab {70 lbs} & the skinny cat {3 lbs} since the 1st week in December! Thinking the cat would make good toothpicks after I’m done with the dog :o)

    Still have the internet & dvr {barely} & float shamelessly between the two on my “dark” days.

    In the spirit of ‘it could be worse’, you could be raising a teenage son that “borrowed” the neighbors car {w/out their permission ~ or a license for that matter} & is facing time behind bars {not to mention kissing his Air Force dreams goodbye!}

    Or you could have the endless creditors calling day in & day out that want their money you used to start a failed business {it lasted 3 months} … have to keep tellling the kids that it’s solicitors ~ that’s why we don’t answer. So far, they seem to believe me.

    Warning signs … sure they were there ~ it was just way more fun in The Land of Denial, pretending things would miraculously fix themselves!

    Keep on breathing!


  19. Susan


    Happened to my husband and I at least twice, but we had to use the debit card to turn it back on because we had no more credit cards! My husband was unemployed and couldn’t LIVE without the tv.

    Kudos to you for writing this…I was thinking about the same thing but my embarassment was stopping me. You made it funny and not embarassing. Thanks!


  20. Rajean

    Erma Bombeck is from my hometown. I knew Erma Bombeck and you’re no Erma Bombeck – but you’re close 🙂 She got paid rather well, and um, I’m guessing based upon this post, you don’t – yet. Actually, come to think of it, Phil Donahue is also from my hometown. But since your Costco card might not allow you to have cable for much longer you…wait! Phil’s show is not on t.v. anymore. Whew. We’re safe. You had me laughing all the way through your sob story, as if I were laughing at myself. Crap. Not that I have time to get interested in your blog.

    Well, come to think of it, if I don’t have cable & TiVo anymore, I guess there will be time. Crap again.

  21. nancy schutt

    oh girl, you’d better not eat the dog or I will force you to watch Dog Song2 over and over until it works like zapping gay guys with jolts of electricity when they view naked boys. But then, that doesn’t work. I think the Universe might be telling you it’s time to go vegan and dump the TV for board games, like Monopoly! how ironic, Monopoly ha ha!!!

  22. Laurie

    Great post!! I loved it. I totally could have written this exact post, just not as well! LOL I am in this boat right now and am hoping things will start to look up. I just cut my cable and I still don’t know where I found the strength for that one! I keep telling myself that I want my kids to read more and that cutting the cable will help me accomplish this. Maybe I will become a craft- loving, book-reading mama with only expanded basic cable to pass the time. Here’s to tightening the purse strings and better times ahead. 😉 Thanks for the great post!

  23. Trish Golomb

    Jenny…when I read your columns I feel like I really know you. Wait…I DO KNOW YOU!! 🙂 Another edgy, funny article from a truly funny, edgy gal. Love your stuff! Keep writing!

  24. oni mcknight

    Jenny… OMG! I love your post. This is how many of us feel these days! The funny part is you stress Cable, I stress the cellphone, my sister stresses, bus or taxi! But we are all feeling it. Please continue to write our truths, I love it.

  25. Petula

    I am never disappointed when I click to your blog. You are hilarious and so real it’s refreshing. So… I was thinking you could come to my house for dinner (I don’t think I like cat or dog) and if you can stand the small, old TV we can watch and eat while we laugh about all the people responsibly paying their bills instead of paying for cable and cell phones. Ta heee… yea, that felt good. Thanks for the chuckle!

  26. A J

    Oh yes, I agree, it’s a hurtin’ world right now, for all that “they” say, although I draw the line at eating dogs. These days the dollar stores are your friend. You can find all kinds of real bargains with a bit of searching through local stores. It’s no coincidence that shares in the franchise have risen sharply since the credit crunch began! Good luck, and I hope your money woes end soon.

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