Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't you feel like the worst is over?



I do.

I am buying stocks again, pushing more chips toward the dealer. Like many, I have recession fatigue and I am itching to spend again (cushion-cut citrine ring, I have been a really, really good girl... don't you think I deserve you?).

I think the recovery will be slow still, but I feel like the boot is off our necks now.

Anyone else feeling it, too?


Photo from HERE.

93 comments:

Olie said...

No.

Decorno said...

Olie - more, please.

muranogirl said...

I feel as though we are not in free- fall any longer. We have leveled off. I'm not itching to get back to the stock market just yet - high school tuition is calling.
I do see more people creeping back to the stores. Union Square was a complete ghost town here in January, February and March. Just this weekend I saw the hints of European tourist coming through and women doing a little damage at Barney's and Macy's.
It will be slow indeed but I think we have turned the corner

kelly said...

yes, i do! i was just saying the same thing to a bunch of friends this weekend. maybe it's that the sun is finally shining, which makes everything seem rosier...i dunno. it's been one hell of of a winter and i'm ready to move the fuck on to greener pastures/happier times. just bought 40 shares of j.crew stock today as a matter of fact! is that weird, to buy stock in j.crew? it seems odd now that i'm saying it out loud, although j.crew will be around long after wamu folds..oh, wait...they already folded...love me some j.crew!

Olie said...

In my neighborhood, north of seattle, I see retired parents now paying their recently unemployed children's morgages. Two families in forclosure. Stores closing. For lease signs everywhere. County employees taking unpaid leave.
What is the sign that will show us the economy has turned? For me, it might be a seeing a home sell or new business start up.

Anonymous said...

i would say no since i just heard today that we're going through even more budget cuts at work. i was also told that i would "feel the pain" very soon. can't wait!

vicki archer said...

A slight light at the end of the tunnel in Europe - but I don't think anyone is spending yet. Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings...we just need someone to start things off, inspire confidence etc etc...so I would buy that cushion-cut citrine ring in the interests of national recovery....xv

Anonymous said...

No.. I was laid off a month ago today. No signs of any jobs that are actually in my field at all on the horizon. For sale and for rent signs everywhere.. a month and STILL no unemployment check because California is overwhelmed.. So.. no.. I do not feel like its getting better.. :(

Anonymous said...

No. I understand recession fatigue, but I don't see any signs of relief at all. None.

Anonymous said...

um, judging from your posts, you never felt it.

DDgirl said...

For me, the worst is going to hit next month: in my business, we usually get our bonuses in June-July (2 to 3 month of salary, at least, up to 4 months if you behaved). This year it's gonna be 0 bonus...
Well, I still have a job and a house, so I shall not complain, I'll try to enjoy summer instead!

Anonymous said...

For us, no. My husband has been laid off twice in six months (I take care of our special needs son) and he has been trying so hard to find a job in the DC area with no luck. We've run out of money and are facing a move to western NY to live with family. I'm not thrilled about it, but at least we won't have as many bills.

I'm so ready for this to be over!

tracey said...

No, but I took my money from Kevin Rudd (Prime Minister of Australia) who gave every tax payer $700 to stimulate the economy and bought myself a cushion cut citrine ring! Seriously! If you are looking for a divine one (and it will be cheaper for you in Aussie dollars) look at janlogan.com.au - they are divine!

Courtney said...

I think it's very much a fatigue and season combo. South Africa was only declared officially in a recession yesterday and we are heading into winter now. And even a few of my friends have been retrenched; this has been quite uncommon up until the last few weeks. Very bleak indeed. We haven't been as hard hit as the rest of the as we put strict credit rules a few years ago, it seems our time is up.

hello gorgeous said...

My chips are off the table. I sold almost everything I had left a month ago when stocks had gained about 30% in two months.

Taking those stocks as an example, they have been trading in a range for quite awhile. So traders appear to be making money.

My husband and I watch CNBC and read the financial press every morning to see whether the recession has been cancelled today or whether the cancellation has been cancelled. It's our little joke. Only it's not really funny.

I think commercial real estate is next.

hello gorgeous said...

Btw, I'm surprised to hear of a light at the end of the tunnel in Europe when S&P just downgraded UK's credit outlook.

Anonymous said...

No. My BIL was laid off last week from the power company after 20 years with them. He was one of the lucky ones, due to being the highest paid with the most vacation.

All those who are left are taking five consecutive days of unpaid leave annually.

Guess other areas are doing better. The Midwest is not.

g. said...

No. I think the free-fall mentality has been replaced with button down the hatches, but I think we are in for a long ride.

Jenny said...

No. Britain is a basket case. Australia is borrowing billions to spend to try to get the economy going. Who knows who the government is borrowing from. Lay offs are still happening. We don't even count unemployment figures properly. Many private sector firms aren't giving bonuses to the staff they are keeping.

Tracey: the stimulus was up to $900to eligible people in Australia. This included backpackers. But it was not paid to "every taxpayer". It was means tested, with a cut off. It was not paid, for example, to people who worked overseas for no pay through Australian Volunteers International in the last year. It was not paid to some unemployed people. Nice. Good that you spent your $700 - maybe it kept someone in a job for 5 minutes.

It's taking the Big Issue magazine sellers longer to sell - people aren't buying so readily. Imagine what's happening in the third world, with world trade contracting. As always, the pain will be felt by those least able to deal with it, with the least buffer to protect them.

This is not over. But it's nice if you feel that way, Decorno. Enjoy it. Enjoy your books, your new rug, and your new ring.

Maya said...

Definitely not, just look at the big picture. By the end of summer unemployment will no doubt be ~a point higher, judging by GM and Chrysler alone.

The Countess of Nassau County said...

I'm still very much feeling it.

I spend my summer with a group of wonderful people, all of whom are rabid Republicans. These folks put themselves through college, got good jobs, go to Church on Sunday, take care of elderly parents, played by the rules....and THEY ARE ANGRY. They are angry because as they see it the banks got bailed out (on their dime) the people who used their homes as piggy banks through re-fi after re-fi are getting bailed out (on their dime) while the working class, middle class, and upper middle class are losing their modest bonuses (the kind that pay for kids camp, x-mas presents, braces, and home repairs) so they are relying more and more on plastic to simply maintain. For them, there will be no bailout, they are just stuck cleaning up the mess. The people who either screwed the county or are screwing the system are getting a pass.

This kind of anger isn't going to go away anytime soon. All these people will soon begin defaulting on credit and there will be no answers or bailouts for them and then you are really going to see anger in this great land of ours.

So no, I don't see myself buying stocks or cocktail rings anytime soon.

Margaret said...

Virginia, USA

No, things do not appear to be better. My husbands job is secure as he is retired military and works for the government. Our income is fine, no problems there. I don't work. Real estate is still in bad shape, even here on the coast in a transient military area. Our house has dropped quite a bit in value (about 140K. Houses are not selling, homes are in forclosure, houses that do happen to sell are going for below assessed value. College students are finding that there is little summer employment even in a beach resort area. I think it's the beautiful spring weather and the glorious sunny days that can make us think otherwise. However, all around, things are still in the crapper economy-wise.

Margaret said...

By the way Countess, you hit the nail on the head with your comment. We were just at a Memorial Day party and the conversation was very much as you described. People are angry. Angry that they played by the rules and feel duped and responsible for the clean-up.

Anonymous said...

Countess,
I woke up this morning to my husband saying pretty much the same thing as your group of friends. He gets his economic news from the WSJ, I get mine from reading Decorno. I piped up, half asleep, "but I heard that the market did well and consumer confidence is up" and he left mumbling something about China never coming back for T-bills.

What I find amazing is the uneven nature of this recession. Not everyone is feeling it yet.

Anonymous said...

Well,damn it sounds like the "good people" the Countess speaks of are doing exactly what they so despise, living beyond their means if they are relying on plastic to make it. Everyone should recognize we all have to make sacrifices here, and since companies are downsizing and trimming the fat on all levels so the profit margin remains intact, bonuses may be a no-go. Hell, all of the so called benefits, health insurance, training programs, tuition assistance, etc. I live in MI and you want to talk about angry!! I am sorry but I don't feel for those you mention. I just really don't. These are the same people that think we are nation of whiners, well whose whining now?

tulipfrills said...

Not for me nor countless others. I am laid off, having an AWFUL time trying to find work. When you do (it is a market for those who hire)it is part time, no benefits, etc. You know, I understand that AIG was too big to let fail, but why were they ever allowed to get to that size? What I need to hear now is that no one will ever be allowed to get that big again...isn't that what they used to call a monopoly? Fed up, fed up, fed up.

Lolo said...

I feel like there's a couple of more solid dips still due, to be honest. Not catastrophe but still some big messes out there lurking. Commercial real estate and the remaining residential mess has to finish coming to light before I feel safe enough to say we're in recovery. Right now, I feel like the wind is at our backs but that the storm ain't over by a long shot. I'm mostly waiting to see more commercial paper loosen up and start flowing again before I venture back in.

tulipfrills said...

Ditto Anonymous! I live in Atlanta and the situation is awful. Funny how those who have never had to struggle feel so sorry for themselves. You might be surprised to find that people who planned, budgeted and saved all their lives are in even more dire straits.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Michigan also, and no, the worst is absolutely not over. We have the highest unemployment rate in the country, along with one of the highest foreclosure rates. There are vacant houses everywhere. In my subdivision and the next one over, starter homes that were averaging about $115K can now be had as foreclosures for $30K. Everyone I know that still has a job lives in constant fear of losing it, no matter what field or pay grade they're in.

As much as I love your blog, I have to agree with a previous poster: From what I've read, it doesn't seem like it ever hit you very hard. You spend more on one pair of shoes or one handbag than I spend on clothes in six months. I don't know what that's like. But I do know what it's like to have to sit down with your husband and talk about whether we are going to need to foreclose or declare bankruptcy and how we're going to make all our bills. And for the record, we have never lived beyond our means; this has been brought on by the economy. My husband was supposed to get a raise this year for finishing his bachelor's degree, but they took away everyone's raises at his company. Now he's even more woefully underpaid and he has $30K in student loans to pay back.

It must be nice to be in a position to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Anonymous said...

what you are feeling is part "dead cat bounce" and part survivor guilt. unemployment is still rising. home prices are still falling. california has billions more to cut from social programs. we still have two unfunded wars going on and our national effort at health care reform, which has promised billions of dollars of savings, sounds like old politics, with no real savings or expanded coverage in sight.

buying stocks? yes, there are value buys now.

want a ring? i just spent a grand on a painting, as an investment, but i, like you, am still working, never lived beyond my means, and saved a lot of cash renting while building a down payment during the crazy real estate balloon inflation.

i'd like to buy a house and just lost a bidding war for one that went OVER asking here in san francisco.....but there are a lot of other homes available at falling prices. one, blocks from where i live, has dropped $400,000 in price in the last 4 months; it has another $150,000 to fall before it makes economic sense as a rental or is a tax neutral purchase versus my rent.

enjoy your summer optimism, but don't let it get to your head.

Rebecca said...

I felt that way until I lost my job yesterday. Luckily, I lived below my means and have a small amount of savings.

Anonymous said...

Like many others, I have been unemployed for some time. Luckily, I have savings, but when I start work again (and who knows when that will be) I'll likely start at zero again. Not fun when you're 50. At least I have no debt and a car paid for, but I also can't afford to contribute toward my kids' educations.

Do I feel like the worst is over? Not by a long shot.

Zelda said...

yes ... we also selling much more , suddenly , we are overloaded with work ...!! yeaaa!! ...

Jess(ica) said...

I'll let you know when I find a job.

Anonymous said...

No.

I have been out of work since November. Zero jobs on the boards to even apply for. The ones that do show up, a recruiter told me they yanked the ad in 2 hours because they had over a thousand applicants.

Erika said...

No - we are trying to sell our house (60630) and are watching the prices continue to fall. I think most of the foreclosures from people biting off more than they could chew are gone. Now it's a second wave people who actually bought houses they could afford but lost jobs.

iona said...

I've gone from being scared shitless and spending no money to being my normal anxious, overly vigilant self. Still not spending much at all. BUT I think you're right Decorno, things do feel a bit better and dare I say the worst is over.
Garden Lust Journal

Averill said...

I feel like we hit bottom sometime in Feb/March, but I think we'll be riding this plateau for months, maybe even years, to come.

Maybe it's not that things are getting better, but that we've adjusted our expectations so much that we're getting used to this.

niabassett said...

Um, I haven't been saving like everyone else out there. And I don't regret it either. I've gotten some awesome deals.

Anonymous said...

The worst may be over for some, but for people like me --unemployed for well over a year, losing our house soon, and struggling to put food on the table-- it is still very real. If you are someone that seems to be fairing the recession relatively unharmed then might I suggest paying that good fortune forward. Look around for someone close to you that is struggling and offer a helping hand of support. There are a lot of people suffering in silence right now and I promise you there are people very close to you for whom the worst is not over.

Anonymous said...

My husband is the treasurer of a university endowment fund and he thinks it will take at least four years to recover and that there will be intermittent mini ups followed by more downs. Sadly he believes that the pendulum swing that we are experiencing now will never fully return us to "what was." We are in our 60s and that is a bleak picture indeed.

lucitebox said...

On top of everything that's been said, I have to agree. I don't think things are getting better. One thing I notice is that companies seem to be feeding off of the fear that all of their employees are experiencing right now.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone worry about their job security (what security?) and then claim that they have to work over the weekend because they do not want to find themselves laid-off. These are people with jobs they've had for a decade or more--valued employees with great track records. More than ever, it seems as if people feel like they have no choice but to put every bit of blood and sweat into a company. There's a sense that, somehow, if we work harder, that's going to save us from an awful fate.

There are the younger people I know who are (at last) wise enough to say things like, "I see chicks at their desks using the cell phones--texting/talking on the phone and think, "WTF? You're doing this in *this* economy? Do you know how lucky you are to have a job?""

I'm not sure this has been the way that most people at their first "real jobs" have thought in the past. It used to seem like you could walk away if you weren't happy at work. Now, I think every single person who has a job is DEDICATED to a fault. And, on some level, I believe that corporate America is taking advantage of that fear.

And then I have two friend who just bought houses. The prices just seemed right and they'd been planning it anyway for years, but let's just say they're anxious and over worked right now--not because they don't have the money for their mortgages, but *what if* something at work changes?

leni said...

i wish this were the bottom, but i think that we still have another 6 months to a year before we see any significant improvement. one the bright side, if the cushion cut citrine ring you desire is made of some sort of precious metal (gold or platinum), it is worth investing in it ... especially considering the fact that it's highly likely we will be seeing an inflation soon.

Jennifer said...

I don't know if the recession is over, but I am SO OVER the recession.

Sue said...

Ditto, Jennifer.

Anonymous said...

I love reading about all the people that are angry and feel duped. Have you ever thought of picking up a newspaper, watching the news or following what's going on in the world?? What is happening shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE, be smart, be informed and stop blaming politics. We are in this mess together because of our stupid spending habits.

How about looking at our grandparents/parents who went through the Great Depression and learn some better spending habits. Do you really need the ring, the car, the big house?

Grab some perspective, stop worrying about the past and lets figure out how not to let this happen again.

And the best part? Reading Decorno is FREE.

severedgrrl said...

I think that, at least from my vantage, things aren't getting worse, which by default means things are getting better. Per my previous comments, I want to say first that, about a month after buying my dreamhome together, my BF was laid off, so its been a fun six months figuring out how to make our much higher mortage payment with one income. He is now contracting, which means that we are not totally without his income, but things have been hard. I recently did get a new job that makes significantly more money, and I do see things in my industry (pharmaceuticals) loosening up a bit-people are starting to post jobs again. I am not happy about the bailout, but would be less happy dealing w/ letting the markets do what they may have done without intervention. My concern is not so much about the "bailing out" as what happened prior to the bailing out with this rampant de-regulation of our financial industry. And to the original point of the post, yes, I am making some frivilous purchases...but doing so w/ caution.

Anonymous said...

For better of for worse, I think what's happened with the economy will forever change many of us and the way we look at money. My mother's business has been deeply effected by this recession and she's now considering bankruptcy. She's retired and should be enjoying herself at this point in her life, not counting pennies, worrying about whether she should pay the electric bill or buy groceries. It's heartbreaking.

We live in DC, where government presence is strong, jobs seem relatively stable. It's still scary for us with a young family to support and college tuition looming in the future.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone foolish enough to think that the credit card situation is being fixed? When you see people putting everyday expenses on credit cards....something's not right. Those things add up (as they have been doing), and we end up with debt people can't pay back. And, as for the recession...it's not something I think we can or even should spring back from. It's a change that we need to accept and grow from in a new and better direction. I mean, who wants to see things like hedge funds return? It's time to purge (and regulate) the greed.

Iheartfashion said...

I WANT to feel it, but I don't. Yet.

Cristina said...

I don't feel like the worst is over - just the initial shock. After that, people were simply downtrodden by the way businesses and consequently the government handled our money.

However, being financially responsible isn't a choice anymore. Unfortunately, for some it's too late. When you have a next egg/back up but you can't find work for six months, what are your options?

We've tried to keep adding to our back up plan and have made a few purchases but it still sucks waiting and hoping that what you have is enough just in case the water climbs the wick.

Joey Brill said...

For those in trouble, I'd like to -once again-shill

http://www.modestneeds.org/

They help people who do not meet the usual poverty level.

My good deed done, the worst is not over. I'm bored of this shit. I will most likely be broke within the next three years and I don't really care anymore.

I have wasted more money, time and energy economizing than if I continued on course.

Example 1: monthly flea preventative / heart worm for two dogs and two cats is usually $85. I went with an OTC brand that reviewed well for $40 (two month supply for each monster). I now have flea bites on my arms. Wearing white socks on the rugs is spooky.

Example 2: I stopped watching cable tv because it interfered with my internet addiction. I cut it off last year and bought Apple TV. My iTunes purchases for the box exceed my previous cable bill.

jenny said...

decorno,

you obviously are way more insulated from the recession than most. over the past 6 months while others have been losing jobs and houses, you've remodeled your kitchen, spent a weekend in carmel, planned a month long trip to italy, and are now planning a 'book binge' and buying a cushion cut citrine ring. give us a break!

i'm curious...are you volunteering anywhere, or doing any community service activities whatsoever? my guess is NO, otherwise you'd be in touch with the community around you in seattle that is struggling.

Anonymous said...

Hell no. I've been looking for work for 6 months now, and I'm just tired. Very very tired. Since I am not a US citizen, it's been even harder, since every place I've interviewed has preferred to fill the position with an American(understandably).

To rub salt into the unemployment wound, I then had an accident which required surgery and 2 months of recuperation. If not for insurance through my husband's work, we'd be in deep financial trouble now.

As it is, we're living within our means (i.e., no plastic) but that is not easy in SF, and we're not able to put anything away.

The home foreclosure and financial crisis may *seem* like it's winding down, but the credit crisis is just around the corner.

Anonymous said...

I'm lucky that I have barely been touched the bad economy personally; I mean, my house is worth a great deal less than I paid for it, but I don't plan to sell in the next decade so it doesn't worry me much. But, I do see many people who are having a tough time so I am giving a lot more to charity these days than in the past.

Barely did any buying during the boom times so now have lots of cash that I am spending on well-priced shares, discounted travel and fun treats that both make me happy and support the economy.

Do I think we're on the upswing? Hell no. The stock market will rebound soon, with a few major hiccups - a big one will hit the bond market in the fall, I'm guessing - but the overall economy will take a long time to claw its way back.

All this spending that Western governments are doing is going to cost us seriously in the long run. Taxes throughout the first world will sky rocket, baby boomers are getting old and will need health care that they cannot afford, consumers don't care if the goods they buy are made locally or in Chinese sweatshops... Even if things start to feel better superficially, there's a rot in our core that is slowly but surely eating away at our foundations.

And, do I believe that, as a result of this this recession, we have fundamentally learned our lessons and become smarter, more responsible and less conspicuous consumers? Hell no.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you felt the recession as much as other americans Decorno but either way THANK YOU for not posting about it too much...isn't that what bloomberg is for?

I would imagine that much of your life you keep to yourself and its retarded for people to judge your finances based on your posts here. I'm glad you spent money on your house, this is a good time to do it if you have the free cash. You work hard and you deserve that ring.

Back to your question, I don't think the recession is over. We still haven't seen the full fallout of the auto industry and related manufacturing. Right now we are seeing more people defaulting on their credit cards and people who had 'okay' credit going into for closure because of job losses and such.

s. said...

Thank goodness for people like you spending on travel, jewellery and renovations, Decorno. If no one were spending, businesses would be suffering even more.

And you seem like a good egg, so I'm willing to bet that you do plenty of volunteer work and donate at least 10% of your income to help the sick, the poor and the environment. Commenters need to stop with the personal attacks.

Decorina said...

I don't think it is anywhere near the end. This bump right now is temporary; I believe that in the fall things will tank even further than they did last year.

My husband's seniority number is getting close to his job being lost. We will be on the street at that point. Our house is worth less than the mortgage amount. And with his job goes our health care.

Tough times for almost everyone I think. I wonder who companies like GM who want to make 50,000 cars in China thinks will buy their crap?

I've worked twice this year - and made just under $1000 in 5 months. Husbands income has been cut 30%.

Anonymous said...

God, I hate the Countess and all her "friends." I'm sure the week before they were all at the Tea Parties - the whole whiney lot of them. We're in trouble because of greedy money people who found a way to make a fortune off people desperate for a house - a basic human need. Greenspan said he never understood that market - if HE didn't understand it - who would? Every single one of those bank owners who greedily played in that market should go to prison. It was a scam, a racket, a way to put them all in a new mac mansion and they brought the world to its knees with their games that no one even understood.

there is a bank owner I know who is doing great - why? he never made a sub prime loan - ever. refused to play those crooks' game. his bank is healthy today.

I wonder how many of the "countess" friends financed their own house this way - those who are whining now?

Anonymous said...

Lucite box,
I'm angry, and it's not because of a big ring or house or car. It's because I'm a young teacher who lost her job and I live so totally below my means and I STILL got screwed. I'm not angry at politicians, I'm angry at the same people you've targeted -- but no, I'm not one of them. I'm one of those kids who recently graduated from college and is wondering if I'll be unemployed and homeless a year out of an ivy league institution.

Anonymous said...

No...it's not over...not even close. Teachers are being excessed in just about every school district on Long Island. That's going to add to next months jobless numbers. The car dealers will close at the end of the year. What will happen to the local businesses next door to the empty car lots? The deli, drycleaner, etc. etc.???

Anonymous said...

I work in the fashion industry in NYC and it has been picking up a little bit in the last few weeks. But I feel this is only temporary since companies still have to try to sell somehow, e.g hiring models for showrooms etc.
But many clients cannot afford to buy, so they are staying away, where there were 3 models for 2 weeks, now it is 1 model for 4 days. Competition is super hard. The Summer is likely to be really bad...nobody seems to know where next seasons, let alone next years budget will come from.
It sucks, but I feel that somehow this will hopefully lead to America cleaning up this INSANE credit mess, being an enabler to it's citizens to spend like that.
I am German and people there own on average 1 or 2 credit cards that hardly ever get used, education about how to save money starts at a younger age, universal healthcare, umemployment benfits.... This government should try and learn how to run things better and to make its citizens life better.
I am really thinking that I spend so many years here working hard, having to wait years and years for my green card that never seems to come ( I just want to be able to work like an american citizen), paid tons of taxes... what for?
I am moving back, I have suffered enough. I am sorry for everyone that is stuck here and cannot just pack their bags and leave.

Anonymous said...

Too bad everyone can't battle recession fatigue by going out and buying a ring. Your posts lately are really lame.

Anonymous said...

Well, Anon 2:20, no doubt the Countess and her friends (whom you place between quotation marks) hate you, too. I certainly do!

Anonymous said...

I, like Olie, live north of Seattle. I'm happy to report that in a month of shopping for a new house, we bought and sold, and saw MANY that also had been recently sold (in fact, the first three I fell in love with). And yes, there is financial devistation all around us, but there ARE glimmers of hope. I've been hearing about a few people finding jobs; my husband's company that has been cut by 65% (and the survivors have taken 30% paycuts) is now talking about hopefully soon taking on a few more employees; and there are some shoppers out there. I don't believe it's over in the least bit, but I enjoy seeing a few things that counter the media's constant gloom and doom mentality that can be disproportionate at times--thus inspiring more problems.

I'm fascinated that so many readers come here for exactly what they are making snarky comments about! So many people love hearing about the remodel, the fashion, the books etc. (why else would you be coming back repeatedly?), but seem so resentful in the comments on this topic. If you want to live vicariously through someone, you can't bitch at them for giving you that opportunity. I for one appreciate that you've spent your hard earned money revitalizing our WA economy through hiring local craftspeople Decorno.

lucitebox said...

Anon at 2:28 says:
"I'm not angry at politicians, I'm angry at the same people you've targeted -- but no, I'm not one of them."

I'm not sure who it is that you think I'm "targeting." I'm merely talking about my friends who people my age--in our 40s, and people I hang with who are 24-28 years old.

They are scared shitless about losing their jobs and working like dogs to make sure they don't get laid-off or fired or made obsolete. I can't help but wonder if it's not de rigeur for companies to take advantage of this fear. I don't believe every single one of them is being shafted (or will be shafted) by their employers, but surely there's something to it when so many competent and qualified people feel nervous and on the edge.

I don't care if someone who has the money buys a cocktail ring or anything they want to buy. I haven't got that kind of money myself, but it's good to know someone does. I learned years ago that my own little road to misery was paved by my own disfavorable comparisons to others. I'm glad Decorno has a new kitchen. She needed it! That old pre-remodel kitchen of hers was scary.
In fact, I think we need to see more of that kitchen. I've been wondering how it's shaping up lately.

Anonymous said...

No. My Husband finished Phase 1 of a data migration project that will eventually close his subsidary and move his job and company out of state at year's end. Not such a smart move because his subsidary is the only one in the large corporation that's in the black due to the staff (who built the subsidary up before it was sold last year), it's moving from a low overhead state to a much higher one, and the new location doesn't employ anyone who is familier with the technology being moved in (meaning they'll have to hire new poeple eventually.) Oh and they gave everyone companywide a 10% pay cut to "save the company" including the people who won't have a job come January 1st.

So no, the worst is not over. Not here.

Ivy Lane said...

I am feelin' it for sure! I am a Realtor and the market in my area is definitely hoppin' again! Feels so good to be busy helping people realize the American Dream! I too have been buying more stocks, and feeling less preeesssuureee!

Anonymous said...

okay, slow down people. i don't think anyone is mad at decorno here. i think the rub is that it's easy to say 'don't you feel like the worst is over?' when you personally have not experience any real effects of the recession. if that's not the case, then great - but the appearance of 'look at my new kitchen, and my new ring, and my new books, and my trip to italy, and my trip to carmel...' sort of gives the idea that decorno is OUT OF TOUCH with the reality around her.

muranogirl said...

Decorno is not out of touch. I can imagine she was/is responsible and perhaps lucky too. While it might burn some of us that we cannot go to Italy - (I have been every year for the last 23 years and will not be going this summer), redo our kitchens and so on, someone has to be out stimulating the economy.
We have an Italian restaurant in San Francisco's financial dist. Now, it's in a beautiful little European alley but guess what folks, the traders, brokers, managers, accountants, assistants have lost their jobs and we have in turn lost a big part of our customer base: we are down 30%. Yeah there are other locals, and we have seen our share of celebrities and tourists too but heck those that are able to spend please continue to do so. Our waiters depend on it too. Decorno, if you don't buy that beautiful bobble, then come to SF for a weekend, the hotels need your business, the cabbies will treat you well and we'll gladly take your greenbacks in exchange for a delicious dinner.

Anonymous said...

I am a lot older than most of you and lived through the recessions of the 70's and believe me there is more to come. When the soldiers come home from the middle east there will be a downturn and there will be a downturn later on when they RIF people out of the military, and there will be a downturn when all of us have depleted our savings. I think since everything looks so good with computers and cable tv that some will be lulled into thinking things are just the same and will spend their savings and go under even deeper and never get out. The banks and credit card companies have bled the middle class dry and it will take at least a decade to build that wealth back up.

Decorno said...

I do write about material things on this blog... my house, the kitchen remodel, my love of shoes. That what the blog has always been about and why people read it. We're here to fantasize about the kinds of rooms and houses that dreams are made of, right?

But before I had this blog I had many years of putting myself through college. I didn't go the college I wanted, I went to the ones I could afford to attend (not my preferred method of getting an education, but certainly a responsible one if you are footing the bill yourself). It took me a long time. The most memorable thing my mother said to me as I was about to leave for college was, "You know... nobody owes you anything." She was right, and that nasty bit of truth was pretty formative for me in so many ways.

I've never taken more than 1 week off at a time since I was 18, so you can imagine how much I might be looking forward to the few weeks in Italy that I have been dreaming and saving for for some time. I'd actually never traveled until I was 30, because that sort of thing was totally out of reach for me and certainly something my single mother could never afford for us, and something I could never afford while going to school or during my early career.

As for the remodel, we lived with our truly disgusting kitchen for 4 years so that we could save to pay cash for our remodel. It's not a lavish remodel, but anyone who saw the before pictures knows that it was really necessary. When the economy blew up, we figured we may as well go on as planned because if disaster struck, we wouldn't have been able to sell our house with that disgusting kitchen anyway. It was both something we wanted, but was also really necessary in case, you know, we needed to try to sell quick-like (god willing).

I know you say that "the appearance of 'look at my new kitchen, and my new ring, and my new books, and my trip to italy, and my trip to carmel...' sort of gives the idea that decorno is OUT OF TOUCH with the reality around her," but I shouldn't be surprised that for all the years when I was not traveling, and not buying new cars, and not spending money I didn't have, no one was scolding me then saying, "Come on, D, everyone is doing it... everyone is living beyond their means, you are so out of touch." Of course not. It just happens that the things I have been planning & saving for (remodel, travel, treating my mom to a weekend in Carmel, whatever) happen to coincide with a very bad economic time. But I wasn't doing or spending on any of these things 4, 7, or 10 years ago because I simply couldn't. I wouldn't have been financially prudent at that time.

I know that it's a very rough time out there for people and this is why I post about this topic and check in with people who read and comment here. I appreciate that people are honest about their situations and it's clear that for most people commenting today that the worst isn't over. I hope for everyone's sake that my (maybe ridiculous) optimism is justified. I am going to cross my fingers.

eep! said...

i wish i had the foresight to go to a school that i could afford instead of the school i wanted to go to. twice (once for undergrad, then again for grad) then i wouldn't be stuck with this massive wad of student loans that's preventing me from buying a house.

i've been noticing even more empty storefronts lately. yes, people are back in stores but there's still little or no line to pay. people are still scared, and they should be. we were very reckless for a long time and if our habits don't change, then the next time will be much worse.

Anonymous said...

Awww, Decorno. And here I was about to tell all the Snarkers to find a new blog when you weighed in with your comments.

There is nothing wrong with optimism. And certainly nothing wrong with going ahead with remodels. If everyone just squirrels away their money—instead of going ahead when they can—there will be a lot of plumbers and carpenters and painters a whole lot worse off than some of the people posting here.

Anyone who grew up in the 80s with a father in the trade knows EXACTLY what I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

No, the recession is not over. And frankly if I'm hurting now, it's partly my own damned fault. I should have started a nest egg when I was 20, not decades later. I should have husbanded my salaries over the years a bit better. I should have done lots of things that would have helped me financially now. That way, what's happening right now wouldn't be quite so onerous personally. I believe a lot of people are thinking this way now. Luckily my house has a very low mortgage (it wasn't worth much when I bought it anyway). And my family's expenses are pretty low, considering. Maybe I'll learn a lesson from the recession. Maybe more than one. I hope we all do. And that those lessons carry through even when things get better.

Robin said...

I live and work in Hartford CT, America's Insurance Capital, and I see both sides of the coin. On one side I have friends who are being laid off, surrounded by rumors of mergers, buyouts, redundancies, etc. My BF is a teacher and their budget was cut to the point where a bunch of full-time teachers are going to have to become part-time, lose their benefits, retirement, etc. On the other side of the proverbial coin: two headline concerts with tix at $50-$200 were sold out last week, and good luck getting a table at any of the better restaurants on Thurs, Fri or Sat night.

In the meantime, I have been saving like mad to redo my kitchen floors, counters and appliances this summer, and you can bet I will be going forward with the project. Because, like Anon 6:31, I grew up with a father in the trades in the 80s too, and when it was good, it was very, very good, but when it was bad, it was awful. Plus, the floor is linoleum from 1979 and it is HIDEOUS.

compulsively compiled said...

I'd love to say yes but my self employed, civil engineer husband hasn't had a bit of work in 6 months. I don't bring in an income. I want to spend money. There just isn't any to do so with yet.

Anonymous said...

You are crazy and I do not know what planet you are living on. The banks are still holding people's money and the number one industry in the country, second only to the auto industry, construction is simply on hold until further notice. I would like to string up Timothy G by the curly little hairs on his head. My husband has had at least a half a dozen projects simply vanish off the radar. He is having to get his pipeline up and running again from a dead stop. We are toast; thank God we don't have a mortgage as we are in a new city and are still renting. Don't know if we will ever be able to buy - may have to build our own house - getting credit on land is easier than a home loan.

My husband is on Unemployment and I am in graduate school and I was cut out of receiving foodstamps because I am a graduate student which is a recent new ruling. Our income is over the limit for foodstamps at $1289 per month. Yes, you read it right $1289 per month! So, we have been eating a lot of potatoes in every way you can make them. I even made a potato soufle the other day. I have not had a hamburger, or steak in months and months. I am terrified personally, but my husband says we have to just wait it out.

I wrote this response before reading any others, because I know there are plenty of people who have no idea what it is like to suffer financial pain and are not suffering now either. If you are in the right job with the right skill set or are doing jobs that no one else wants to do, you can sometimes weather these things through without any problem.

Anonymous said...

I think it's weird when Decorno says she wants to buy something and people ask, "Are you giving to charity? Are you volunteering?" She can buy whatever-t-f she wants. Maybe she should not buy a ring, or anything, and just give it all away. Go ahead Decorno, give all of your money away and everyone will feel much better.

Sacheverelle said...

Good for you Decorno but HELL no,
not even close to being over.
Just because the crash & burn ebbs & flows a bit occasionally does not mean it is not crashing.
Those who are affected by it know what I'm talking about..Those who are mere bystanders to the epic calamity have no idea what it's like to be in it.

Anonymous said...

But, wait. Obama's here- it'll all better soon.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:10PM - Hahaha. Yeah, he'll solve everything...

Anon 3:27AM - Why is it weird that people want to know that those who have the money for luxury purchases also give to those who are in need in such difficult times?

I don't think any of us begrudge those who were smart/ lucky enough to avoid financial troubles. But it shows compassion and a sense of balance to spend a bit on helping others achieve basic needs as well as treating oneself to goodies.

Anonymous said...

My husband just got laid off today, so no. No I don't. We have a long way to go. Just because the sun is shining doesn't mean anything is better. Look at where we were in May of 2008, or 2007, 2006 2005. We are in a bad, bad place people.

The Countess of Nassau County said...

To Anonymous 2:20 -

Go ahead and hate me, but me and millions of taxpayers like me are what's standing between the prospect of homelessness for millions of people.

The simple fact this this, my kids don't walk around in Ugg boots and Ed Hardy, my family of four has one car that is six years old, and I don't even bother looking twice at a Viking stove BECAUSE IT IS BEYOND OUR MEANS!!! I've never borrowed against my home or re-fied and then pulled $$ out of it so I could look richer than I am. So you wanna be pissed off at me and others who shake our heads at the idea of bailing out people who plain old new better yet didn't want to party to end? Bring it on.

The Countess of Nassau County said...

Clearly the economy has robbed my of my ability to spell or write proper English. My apologies.

Anonymous said...

In Virginia, the state agency I work for plans to lay off about 1,500 people between now and next June -- I survived the first purge, but the fear never goes away. So no, the worst is still with us. Though lower paying than the private sector, state govt jobs were most always considered more insulated from such woes until this recession. The trickle-down to other firms who depend on business from the government is that no state agency here can print anything, we can't order anything -- including lunch for meetings -- and any travel is out of the question. To those bemoaning the loss of bonuses, there are those of us who haven't seen even a raise in years. And remember, we had one of the largest federal surpluses in history at the start of 2001.

Anonymous said...

A foreclosure on my street that was listed back in January just sold for $100,000 over the bank's original asking price. Renovation has already begun on it. I think that is a good sign.

On the other hand, a good friend just lost her job (in ad sales) and is having a really hard time finding another one. 2 years ago she was being headhunted right and left.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely not. GM just filed for bankruptcy which was necessary but will lead to substantial job loss. When unemployment begins to lower and housing depreciation levels off we'll see the true signs of the end of the recession. Until then yes, we're all tired of it but that's no indication that it's going away.

Anonymous said...

Sing it, everyone... "In-flaaaaaaaay-shun!"

Anonymous said...

Get some perspective, people. If you haven't lost your job, if you haven't lost your house, if you're still able to shop, then your far ahead of literally millions and millions and millions of others in this country alone (lets not even get started on the rest of the globe). So, yeah, if you're doing okay financially and you're not a total asshole, you definitely should be giving to charity and volunteering.

Anonymous said...

Is the commenter Decs the same as Decorno? I'm confused...

Anonymous said...

We are in the process of 'short selling' our home of 6 years. We planned and had savings, but last year my husband lost one of his businesses. Besides losing 1/3 of our annual income, we also had to shell out 60k to walk away from the lease and avoid legal action.Before we closed we tried to negotiate a new lease with the landlord, but they were unwilling (the business they released to is already gone).We have restaurants and are in an area that depends on seasonal tourists. Business is down across the board. Traditionally, bars are supposed to be one of the few businesses unaffected by recession. Not this time. Oops, there goes another chunk of our income. My husband has been doing this his entire career (25+ years) so he knows what he is doing and has weathered 'recessions' before. This is different. And for those talking about how they are paying for our mistakes. We tried to modify our mortgage for a house that is worth less now than when we bought is 6 years ago. The bank said NO.They would rather sell it at auction for a fraction of it's value then to see the family that has renovated and maintained it for 6 years (without re-fi or credit card debt) retain it.
There was no 'bail out' for my husband for his businesses. We are lucky that he still has an income and wasn't one of the unfortunate ones that was laid off.
I don't think it is over. Nor do I begrudge anyone that is in the position to feel that it might be. I NEED people to spend money, because those that do have disposable income need to spend it to keep our businesses and so many others open. So, enjoy your vacation, buy the ring...I'm glad somebody can.

Penelope Bianchi said...

NO THE WORST IS NOT OVER......

.I HAVE BEEN A DECORATOR FOR 40 YEARS.........NOTHING HAS BEEN LIKE THIS,

IT IS SAD,,, GROW AND OWN VEGGIES,,AND FRUIT.....I MEAN IT....MY GUESS US 10 YEARS,,,,,IF YOU HAVE PROPERTY PLANT FRUIT TREES AND VEGETABLES....

HONESTLY,,,,,,,,,SEARCH SERVICE JOBS!
LEARN HOW TO SEW!

THESE ARE TRADES THAT CAN SUPPLY AN INCOME!

PENELOPE