Friday, September 29, 2006

Feeling Poor

Integrity of Blogger
This was in my comment's yesterday:

Hey Leesa, I think I may have somehow deleted ~deb's comment. She made a comment and I responded to it starting my comment with "~deb:", but then I decided to remove my comment but then after removing my comment I saw that ~deb's was no longer there. If I deleted it I apologize. It was a good comment about Grant.

Now I am not going to call out the hacker who tapped into blogger, deleted a comment maliciously and exited the servers undetected . . . .

I am completely full of crap here. Maybe blogger (Google) is trying to drive us to the beta product; I won't change. I won't!

By the way, the comment that ~Deb had about Grant linked to some naked pictures of Grant when he was in the military. Perhaps that is the reason for the deletion.

Feeling Poor

I often wonder how many people have truly felt poor. I am not here to write about the romanticism of being poor, how money corrupts and the like. I enjoy shoe shopping too much to make any of those claims. But at different times of my life I have felt financially poor. Let me explain.

After college, I started working at a job where I was earning about minimum wage. Really. And when I started, I could not afford heath insurance. Actually, I purchased a very cheap policy – if I needed something major, after paying $3,000 deductible (as I recall), I had health insurance. But because of the high deductible I had no doctor, no preventative care. On the plus side, I was in my early 20s and healthy.

I do remember opting not to seek medical attention once. I had some friends who played intramural sports, and I was practicing with them one night. I turned an ankle, and if I would have had decent insurance, I would have gone to the doctor. Heck, now-a-days, I would have gone to the emergency room, seen a hunky doctor, and gotten good pain medication. But then, I opted to just limp for a couple of weeks. Yes, two weeks.

I was single, without real money. I remember knowing exactly when I got paid, how much I got, and already where most of the money had to go.

A few years ago, hubbie and I did something dumb: we ran out of checks. After the last check, I looked for the next book, and it was not there. Secondly, we had no debit card at the time. And we also had no ATM cards.

So when we ran out of checks, we temporarily ran out of money. Not really, because we had money in the bank, but for the weekend, we had no access to the money. On a Saturday morning. For the entire weekend, we had $4 between us. Hubbie actually had the $4 in his wallet. To go to a store and not be able to buy a soft drink – that's where we were. I know it seems insignificant, but it brought back feelings of being poor. And please don't argue that minimum wage is not poor. I was making $5.30/hour ($5.15 was the minimum wage at the time, and I remember when minimum wage was raised, I got a raise!), which turns out to be about eleven grand per year. Sure, money was worth more then, but eleven grand was not a lot of money back then.

Okay, now hubbie and I are doing okay, thanks mostly to hubbie. I don't really pay attention to pay day anymore. When the last week before pay day has popcorn to fill the tummy, perhaps you are a bit poor. I would do that. When ketchup and water equals soup, you are either a really bad cook or don't have a lot of money.

Would I prefer to have been born with a silver spoon – you bet your sweet ass. But I don't long to be part of the tennis set. We are a sum of our experiences – and I can remember going to sleep hungry when I was young, or without going to the ER because I could not afford it. Not a hard life – just part of a rich life, I suppose.


J R Estelle said...

When I was in college, I had to eat Ramen every day for 6 months, to this day the smell of it makes me gag a little. But, I was lucky with the insurance, my Dad's Union covered me until I was 25.

Like you, I never went to bed hungry as a kid and I always had good clothing...I drive by a homeless shelter every day to get to my office and I wonder where those people started out and how is it that they ended up here.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

naked pictures of Grant

Dammit!!! I am ALWAYS late! Anyone remember that link??? ;)

And right now, The PK and I are struggling with finances...since he hasn't worked in a few months (rotator cuff surgery), it has REALLY put us in a bind! Nothing we won't get thru...but still, it's a little scary at times.

Anonymous said...

I could see why naked pictures of Grant were deleted myself. ~Deb should know better!

Bruce said...

Try living on $1200/month disability income at the age of 54; that's me at this point in time. That's poor.

~Deb said...

Naked pictures??? would have been naked pictures of Leesa instead. ;) Definitely! No offense, Grant!

Tony said...

Your experience had an enriching impact upon your life. There are those who grew up poor and then try to make up for lost time when they get older and wealthier. In the end they miss out on a lot.

I think ~Deb's link to the naked Grant pics was accompanied by a comment about Grant knowing Latin and I think the responding comment was somewhere along the lines of "wouldn't that be pig-latin?".

Stupid hackers. Always screwing stuff up.

Prata said...

When I was about 19, I was living in Pennsylvania without a job for six months. I stole prepared food from a Chinese restaurant so I could survive the week on half a bowl of rice a day.

I was looking for computer work and my ex was pregnant...I let her eat all of the vegetables and most of the rice. I walked everywhere and every last dime I had went to prenatal care.

I lived poor, there's nothin' heroic or nice or romantic about it. We were half a step in the street, and you know it makes a better person out of you. Regardless of the scars left behind.

Rick said...

I remember an instance, in my early 20s, when I opted to spend my last dollar for cigarettes instead of the gas that would've gotten me to work that day. And here's the real brilliance of that logic... it was payday.

Leesa said...

I completely agree, Leesa. We were poor as children, and I certainly went through many poor times as a young adult. I've eaten spaghetti noodles with ketchup.
But I look back now and wouldn't change much, because it makes me who I am now. I appreciate what I have now.
Great post :)

Leesa said...

jr: I ate Ramen in college as well.

stacy: I know. I did not save the URL either.

mike: yeah, ~Deb should have known better.

bruce: I understand.

~deb: The other Leesa, you mean!

tony: good come-back.

prata: wow, what a story.

rick: the choices we make!

leesa: I won't eat ketchup now. Not because of the taste, per se, but because of the memories it evolks.

Edtime Stories said...

I grew up poor, I went to bed hungry a few times. But deep down I knew my mother loved me and that was a good thing. After my dad died I was struck with how much my mother knew how to help us survive. I will always be blessed by that.

Video X said...

ha! I lost my ATM card a while ago and absolutely hate to charge random nonsense to my credit I know what you mean when you just don't have access to the cash!

i was definitely poor when i had my son...well...and before that as well, but throw in a kid...i was halfway thru college and it was certainly wrong that i was unmarried, catholic, pregnant...hehe. lots and lots of jobs. up to four at once with the baby and my classes...i can't say i'd EVER want to go back there again. i do suppose it has made me a different person though. and i also wish that i could've been born with the silver spoon as well!!!

Advizor said...

I have to say up front that I have never been poor for real, meaning that I've always had enough money for food and shelter, so I have always considered myself really blessed.

That being said, I have days when feel very poor, but it's all relative. I live in southern California where the median home price is now OVER $500,000. I live in the "older" part of my area in a 1974 era house, and it has a market value of $425K. While that sounds nice, there is no way I can move to another house in this area, everything newer is over $750,000. My wife and I are trying to save money for our retirement, for the kid's school (college is a short 12 years away), for a new(er) car, for a new backyard, for braces for at least one of the munchkins, for new carpet for the living room, for my video camera, digital camera, computer (all overdue for updating), and the list just goes on and on. On paper I make more money than my dad ever did, yet my life is 10-fold more expensive that his ever was.

There are many days when I feel poor, maybe I don't feel poor, but overwhelmed because everything takes more money than I have. Believe me, I'm not living the high life either. I feel poor because I run out of cash at the end of each month even while I'm balancing my checkbook sitting in my own living room in a safe house in a neighborhood where I won't get shot. Of course I'm NOT poor, but I feel poor because we are under a set of expectations that push us to get more, bigger, faster, more expensive toys at every turn and I can't seem to keep up.

I know I won't be getting any sympathy for those who have struggle with real poverty, but we live in a society where we all feel poor, because we all expect to be rich.....

GW Mush said...

I was very poor growing up and into my college days. I recall one month that I was locked up in the attic for disciplinary problems, i was so hungry that I nawed of two of my toes and ate them raw.
I know what you are thinking, this guy wont lick his wife's toes now as foreplay due to his bad experience. You are right to think that, very perceptive of you posters:)
Be right back, Im looking to see if I can find a dime under the couch cushions. Ok, back now.
No money under my cushions but I found some old popcorn there and ate it. Now I feel satisfied, God bless you

Leesa said...

ed: wow. Sounds like your mothers is a strong woman.

VX: I am not sure I could have done what you have done, sweetie.

advizer: I actually don't expect to be rich, and strange as it seems, I never felt poor even when I had little to eat. If you have never experienced much, how can you feel deprived?

gw mush: rather sarchastic post.