Another Year Come and Gone

Busy as we are — and, of necessity, reluctant to sign up for long-term contracts, as for oil — we found ourselves today on the verge of an empty oil tank, with a delivery already scheduled for tomorrow. As one might expect, few of the oil companies that we called answered, others could not come out for days, and a couple told us that they don’t make emergency calls until the tank is entirely empty.
The kind woman at Heritage Oil, however, informed me of something that I’m surprised not to have known: That diesel fuel will work in a pinch. She even made sure that I was aware that I’d need virgin gas cans that had never been used for regular gasoline. So, off to Walmart, where the cashier wished me a happy new year. “It can’t be worse than the last,” she said.
Well, I don’t know about that.
The first half of 2008 was a hopeful, if stressful, time for me. I was advancing quickly in the construction field, and whole new career paths were coming into view. I was able to meet my bills well in advance, and things looked likely only to improve.
The year has gone out on a decidedly down note, though, with a return to my usual state of being — by which I mean a return to paycheck-to-paycheck survival. I’ve even trimmed personal luxuries, such as flavored beverages with lunch, from my lifestyle.
Some of you will know how difficult it can be to live on the financial edge. A distracted glitch in one’s financial system brings a wave of unaffordable fees, because no buffer exists. The considerations that must be kept always in view — such as home heating oil — emerge as more numerous than seems to be the case when resources tie up loose ends before they are truly severed. The minor inconveniences mount until their aggregate effect is dispiriting: a broken car door handle, a toilet that flushes only every other time, an old electrical system that often trips in the middle of microwave cooking, a basement sink pump that fills and expunges at a glacial rate. These things are all easily fixed with a minor application of time and money, but both are in short supply.
And then there’s illness and injury. A broken bone in an active child can make a paycheck disappear without warning. Flus and coughs can cost in time and motivation. I spent much of Christmas Day returning to bed and sleeping on the couch. The daily schedule by which I feel life to be advancing has come up against the motivation-sapping effects of the worst illness I can remember since college, over the past couple of weeks.
Yet, things could be much worse, and there’s always reason to remind one’s self that they can get much better quickly. What will the new year bring? Probably good and bad. That’s all that it’s reasonable to say. We define our goals, develop our strategies, and do our best to build a structure by which to capitalize on the drifts of luck and blessing that ultimately determine our fortunes.
I hope you are entering the new year with determination and optimism. It would be naive to declare that it can’t be worse, but it would be unnecessarily pessimistic to forget that it truly could be better, often in ways unexpected. And behind all the comforts and travails of life, a divine infinity transforms it all to bliss.

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Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

Consider your sacrifices, both microeconomic (your household) and macroeconomic (Rhode Island’s laggard economy = less opportunity) to be for the “greater good” … as determined by the Democrat General Assembly.
To the elected “representatives” of Rhode Island, feeding the insatiable demands of the unions and poverty industry by extracting wealth from the private sector (even as it withers and dies in RI) is a greater good than would be promoting a business and economic environment in which all citizens can enjoy prosperity and hope for a better future.
Hey, to your average General Assembly member, if they don’t kowtow to the unions greed they might face a union engineered Democrat primary challenge, and lose that taxpayer financed healthcare plan. We couldn’t have that now, could we? Better to flush the average citizen’s interests down the toilet.
Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island are all suffering from declining economies, and have been for decades. The solutions are established and well known, as shown by the states with successful economies in the Southeast and Sunbelt – such as the American auto industry that “as we speak” is building new factories in the Southeast – away from UAW dominated Michigan.
But the union dominated Democrats that control the dysfunctional states have refused to enact the structural reforms necessary to stop the economic decline occurring all around them. There is little reason to believe that this will change so long as those states remain under Democrat control.
Detroit, Buffalo, Newark, Woonsocket, Central Falls. All has been cities that are the leading edge of their states’ continuous downward economic spiral. Such is the Democrat future for the rest of us …

12 years ago

May I point to the following statement printed in newspaper December 28, 2008; “The first six months of ’09 will be very painful, the second six months will just be painful, and 2010 will be uncomfortable,” Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi said.

Robert Balliot
12 years ago

The economy is certainly dependent on all of us working together. However, flaws in the system have made us fall into a self preserving, yet collectively defeatist lock step.
The video I have here shows how a design flaw does exactly that:

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

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