The last month has been a strange one for our family, full of ups and downs. Fortunately—so far anyway—the downs have not been as bad as they might have been, and they’ve all been followed by ups. As I told a friend, I feel like we’ve been walking under a black cloud and then finding a patch of sun, only to walk under the cloud again and then find another patch of sun.
Black cloud: We were in a car accident. Sun: No one was seriously hurt. Black cloud: It looked like my car might be written off. Sun: The estimate for the repairs squeaked in under the insurance company’s limit. I was without my car for a couple of weeks, but I have it back now and it looks better than before the accident.
Black cloud: A family member was seriously ill. Sun: She’s okay now. Black cloud: It looked like her cat (her main companion, as she’s housebound) might have to be put down. Sun: It was a false alarm.
Black cloud: Child One damaged someone’s new car with his car door. Sun: It’s been three weeks and the guy hasn’t contacted us to pay for the repairs, so we’re hoping that it turned out to be an easy thing to fix.
Black cloud: My husband’s company announced that there were major layoffs coming. Sun: We found out yesterday that he’ll be keeping his job. And living with this hanging over us for almost a month has been a good exercise for our family—one we’d rather not go through, of course, but good nonetheless. We already live a fairly simple life compared to a lot of people. Our kids are not into the latest this and that. My husband and I are very experienced at living frugally, having made it through a ridiculous number of years at university without student loans (in fact, we managed to save up enough money for the down payment on our first house during that time). Over the last few weeks, as we thought about what losing our major source of income would mean, we realized just how much of an advantage our lifestyle and experience would be. And we realized how much we would still have—so much more than most people in the world.
Life is still a bit cloudy, but I’m grateful for every patch of sunshine. Despite the economy, my desk is still full of all the work I can handle. A client recently paid me more than I invoiced because she was so grateful for the work I did. My family is happy and healthy; we have a roof over our heads and enough to eat. And, thank goodness, I can finally put the snow clothes away.
As I said to my friend when things were looking bleak, there’s nothing to done but to keep walking and carry an umbrella.