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In a Bloggy Mood

May 28th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Yikes. Guess I am in a bloggy mood today...



I whipped up some muffins at some point over the weekend, and had forgotten the leftovers. So grabbed them for breakfast this morning.

I probably already blogged this in the past, but I just LOVE that jiffy hasn't change the look of its packaging, like ever. For it's blueberry muffin mix.

Love the quick/simple treat. But have blogged often how I am sick of going to the store and trying to find plain pepsi in a sea of 50 different kinds of pepsi, and same for the toothpaste, etc. I go mad.

So kudos to Jiffy for keeping it simple. Some of us like it like that. Big Grin

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I also had another topic to write on.

Being in California has been interesting since we were in the thick of the tech bubble, when we lived in San Jose, and now we live in the thick of the housing bubble, in Sacramento.

But interestingly, I had some thoughts that I don't see mentioned much in the media.

The tech bubble probably would have ended much worse, but people started dipping into their homes, much to survive. Sure, I have seen more than my fair share of excess when it comes to home equity. But the reason a lot of people started borrowing way over their head was because of the tech bubble burst. I can hardly think of a family I know that didn't face lay offs in 2002-2004. Significant, long layoffs. Even up here in Sacramento. My dad has never been laid off more than like a month in his life and he was out of work well over a year. We figured much of that had to do with age, but employment opportunities have been booming for him the last year or 2. So it seems it was more economy than anything.

So to be fair, a lot of people around here started digging into their homes, merely to stay afloat.

I was thinking about this since quite a few friends are starting to face layoffs, and lament they have barely recovered from the last round.

& so I do have to sympathize.

I was googling the subject a bit and didn't see much. California stastics showed 7% unemployment level at the peak. Today we are already wooshing past 6%.

IT's all a little deja vu.

I think this makes this forecasted recession much scarier. I am not sure how people will get through this round. The debt solution is pretty much gone.

I don't know.

I am surprised there is not a lot more observation about this though, in the media and in other blogs, etc.

OF course, "significant" and "long" are relative terms when it comes to layoffs. I Was perusing California unemployment data and it hit 10% for much of the 70s and 80s.

Ouch.

So anyway, I am back to, "Who couldn't see this coming?" Who could live in this area and not see this mess unfolding?

I guess a lot of people!

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That kind of reminds me I haven't seen gas up past $3.99, like gas stations were hesitant to raise above $4. Well today as I drove to preschool I noted $4.10 gas and $4.15 gas at the cheapie gas stations.

WOW!

I can only imagine what the Chevron on the corner here has gone up to. I'll have to look when I leave work tonight. IT had been holding steady at $3.99, prior.

& this reminds me, when all the gas hype started, I think where I Was with the housing bubble. "Who couldn't see this coming?"

Or maybe I just feel behind the times. Gas has taken quite a chunk out of our budget in recent years. I think we felt the pinch much stronger earlier in our one-income years (it had risen more percentage-wise in the years I had my children). So I found this all rather predictable, felt we were nowhere near the worst, and was unsure why the sudden panic. Though obviously we have reached a tipping point for the masses; I reached my personal tipping point LONG ago. PRobably what it mostly comes down to.

But I do admit that today my jaw dropped when I saw Arco for $4.10. Knew it was coming, but egads.

Likewise, I feel much the same about healthcare. Everyone is freaking out, and I wonder where the hell they have been. Where was the panic when rates increased 300% in a few short years? Not that they have for everyone. But in 2003 it was in the ballpark of $200/month to have full insurance coverage and small co-pays, for us. Now we pay $800/month for the privelege of giant copays and less coverage.

I feel like I should have invested in healthcare stock the last decade, and not be so proud of our efforts to keep housing costs down. For the short term, housing is decreasing greatly, and I am not sure how long until our healthcare costs more than our mortgage. Ouch! The interest on our mortgage is $1k monthly, so it's getting pretty close. At least the principal on our mortgage is a return on capital. But it makes our healthcare look that much more astronomical to look at it that way.

Anyway, with all this running in my head I am not sure what it is. I think just being a major planner and forward thinker means I panicked long ago about all of this stuff and have had time to adjust. It's all I can figure...

Every time I pick up the paper, all I Can think is, "Old News..."

Gas prices are insane and the healthcare system is bankrupting families. Well, where have you all been? I've been here for a while.

Maybe I should start making predictions of the economy. Hmmm... Though I have nothing to predict for now. Healthcare is the thorn in my side, for now. But I'll give you a heads up if I find a new thorn. Wink

Actually, I just thought of it. Income taxes on the elderly. You'll be hearing a LOT more about that in 5 years. I'll be yawning at the headlines, as usual.

(I do need to do a post on that - I really do. I guess I have a fair amount of insider info - preparing taxes and all).

Oh I can assure you the next thorn in all of our sides will be taxes, taxes, taxes. Maybe I should start blogging about that. Seriously.

But back to gas, yeah. I used to drive home every day for lunch. Every single day. I stopped in 2006 because gas prices had just gotten so out of control. So 2006 was a bad gas year for our family (well years like 2002-2006 slowly creeped up to that point). It's just something I Could probably never justify again. I miss that luxury. I just held out until my youngest weaned from breastfeeding. Probably would have cut back on the gas sooner, otherwise.

For now we budget $300/month for gas which gives us quite a bit of wiggle room. We can stretch it farther by driving the van less and the compact more. So that gives us lots of wiggle room. When our gas bills regularly exceeds $300/month is probably our next tipping point. At this rate it is not terribly far away, but I have already made the major sacrifices for gas prices, a couple of years ago... SO for that, it is old news to me. Our next step would maybe be selling the van (far more gas guzzler than I ever imagined) and/or carpooling more. Driving to see family less, etc. Just not there yet. Phew. Though I find those all to be rather small sacrifices except for the big one - less affordable to see our family. That is what I dread, and is already affecting our driving decisions...

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Well, in other news, dh and I are planning an elaborate date. Oooohh la la.

I got an e-mail about a comedy show coming to a small theater in the city. I have a friend who was in some productions, but haven't talked to her in a while, so wondered if she was involved. Anyway, I mentioned to dh that it looked interesting, and he said he had wanted to go see it - his friend was the Director.

Well, lah de dah.

The tickets will be $25 for the 2 of us, so really quite a splurge for us.

Plus the daycare.

I am a little uneasy since it is only on Fri/Sat night, on the later side. Kids stay up late, so no biggie, but we have been taking advantage of the drop-in care at slow times. So it will be a test to drop them off on a busy night. BM is fine, but LM much more timid. He needs more one-on-one care. But he does good with his brother. We'll see. Not sure it's any preferable to see out a babysitter we don't really know. They love the place at least.

I guess this will turn into a true test of our "freedom." The ability to drop the kids off and go out on a Fri/Sat night sounds absolutely divine. A luxury long ago forgotten...

I think with BM we have reached "freedom." I still worry about LM a bit too much...

Of course, I thought while we were downtown, what we really needed to do was to dine at our favorite upscale Indian restuarant. We rarely go because of the prices, but the food can not be beat.

The night will easily be $100, probably more. With show, daycare and food. But I think it will be a nice splurge.

Well we haven't picked a date for our date yet. Sometime in June. I do look foreard to that.
















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