Monday, March 9, 2009

schmconomy


i’d like to cover a few things, starting with the economy, and ending with bathroom sinks.

I. i’m tired of hearing about the economy. i know things are really really tough for some people. i know everyone is stressed out, and nervous, and depressed and sad. But i strongly believe a good deal of this ‘crisis’ is perpetuated by fear, by the media and by resistance to change. think of this way - the problem started with losing money that NEVER existed. which leads me to…

II. if you can’t do everything you ‘want to’ right now (and no that does not include feeding your family, or paying your bills)-- it includes going shopping with eddie ross, or buying junk on ebay (yes, i do)– then your happiness is being dictated by money. and spending it. if you’d like to do something about this then…

III. change your lifestyle so that money is NOT the end all be all. this most likely, in my opinion, would require moving to another country. or doing this. but these aren’t that radical of ideas. why do you think people retire to mexico (current situation with drug cartels aside)? it’s because things move slower. shit doesn’t have to get ‘done’. because the $ isn’t as important. have you ever been to jamaica? anywhere in the caribbean? why do you think we vacation there? because it’s beautiful. because good weather makes people happy. because ‘chilling out’ is a way of life. because the stock market numbers aren’t announced on the radio EVERY HOUR. that's not NEWS. if that’s what you want - MOVE there. if brian and/or i were to lose our jobs, i would rather change games entirely than struggle in the american minor league of life, constantly waiting for the majors to call you up. life’s too short, so…

IV. we’re going to get a different sink for our bathroom. most overrated product of the decade: pedestal sinks. WHERE DO YOU PUT YOUR STUFF? we’re switching to the godmorgan from ikea – high gloss white, UNLESS you people tell me otherwise. anyone with any experience with ikea plumbing?

108 comments:

I *Heart* You said...

awesome advice. also, you can't go wrong with a sink that has "God" in the name. just sayin'....

Arlynn said...

Haha... I don't have any experience, but agree with I*Heart*You's comment above - very smart thinking!

And just to brighten your day, I passed along an award to you; no more thinking about the economy, yay! Check it out:

http://fleurde-licious.blogspot.com/2009/03/ooohhhh-yeahhhh.html

I Suwanee has been a favorite read since day 1 for me, and I want to thank you for all of your great finds, the beautiful bookcases & of course photos of that sweet pup! Have fun with the award!

Best,

Arlynn

Jessica Marie said...

This post is wonderful. I love how you pointed out that people are stressed over money that wasn't even there to begin with.

:D

sarasophia said...

I salute in agreement.

You have good taste in sinks
and in tirades.

<3 sarasophia

Amanda said...

here here my dear. i agree with you completely.

ps, nice sink!

Decorno said...

I am totally in love with you and everything you say.

Meg said...

Great post! Totally agree 100%! We've been living in New Zealand for the past 3 years, where people live within their means. It's refreshing. I lived without a dryer for 3 years, believe it or not, people can survive without dryers. We just moved to the US, we had been traveling for 5 months before January and now we are 'trying to make it', not really, but sort of. My husband wants to move to Bali for the next year...we have about 3 weeks until his deadline and we might go! Ek! (http://latecheckin.blogspot.com/2009/03/bali-abode.html)... First time commenter and I totally enjoy your blog ;) Meg

CJ said...

Things are bad (my husband was laid off last week from an RTP co.) but Americans need to remember the insanely high standard of living we enjoy compared to 98% of the rest of the world. We traveled to Cambodia last year and it felt so silly to come home and obsesses about paint colors and drapery!

katek said...

I take your pedestal sink and raise you a clawfoot tub. Yes, it's great for baths. I have taken three baths since moving in almost 2 years ago. Meanwhile I am surrounded by flapping shower curtains, have almost killed myself slipping while clambering in/out of the tub, and my husband and I blew gaskets trying to install puny little baskets to hold a bottle of shampoo and some soap. Great choice if you've also got a shower. NOT GOOD if it's your only bathing option.

(Oh, and we have a pedestal sink, too. Thanks for the gorgeous period renovation, previous owner! We're sticklers for historic accuracy but this has taught me a lesson.)

domestikatedlife said...

Thanks for the rant,I couldn't agree more with you.

I can't feel sorry for people who are worried they might have to downsize to an apartment without granite countertops.

And while I'm on countertops - love the sink.

little miss said...

Amen!

Thank you. I think you need a re-appearance in the NYTimes. Preferably front page.

"I Suwannee Declares: Take a Chill Pill America"

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I don't get it. My capital investments have lost about 50%. That is money I earned and put in the market, so it did exist. Lots of people are in this situation. I don't want to go to the beach, I want Obama to stop talking about Stem Cells and healthcare and focus on the economy.

ita darling. said...

totally agree with sinks and i have recently banned the phrase "ITE; In This Economy...." because it sucks!

i am a financial NOBODY, but when peoplei knew were buying houses three and four years ago with 0% down (AKA cheap money) i thought that sounded like the worst idea on earth!?!?!

i just blabbed my mouth too much over at decorno, so i need to shut up now... but you rock.
thanks.

i suwannee said...

yes it did exist when you got paid it. THEN you decided to put it in the stock market, GAMBLING with it and hoping that it would go up.

nothing is guaranteed. no return is 'deserved' just because you put it there and in the past it did return. things change. they don't stay the same just b/c we want them to, or think they should.

little miss said...

Jaime, I appreciate that there are other's who are raising more than one eyebrow to those that are pissed that they lost money.

Investing is essentially called TAKING A RISK, and thus, reaping the rewards, or dealing with the loss.

I don't understand why people are so shocked that its plausible to lose so much. Classic investment advice is: it all depends how long you plan on having your money invested somewhere. My 401k is worth cents, but, it will even out over time. Those are the basics -- if you don't understand that much, then, there's one of your problems kiddo.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but conservative 401k allocations are not the same as gambling. especially since we won't have social security to fall back on, or pensions. This was sold to us as the safest most responsible way to grown our money.

Sol said...

the problem with losing the money that never existed is that we also spent that money.... Anyway, I agree with you 100% and also with Decorno :) p.s. check your mail Jamie

i suwannee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

Anon - you were SOLD then. You didn't do enough research before you invested. The safest thing to do is put it in your bank account. Now if we weret alking about bank runs, you would have a point then, but I can't feel sorry for you now.

Jamie is totally correct in her response.

i suwannee said...

any investment in the stock market, at all, be it a 401K contribution, or buying 29834903 shares of Sirius when they signed howard stern is gambling - taking a risk that someone will use your money wisely. the gov't is nothing more than a lot of white dudes, and a few black people shifting papers around. if you're counting on them to take care of you, then good luck. i'll be at the beach.

you are not guaranteed ANYTHING in life. other than death.

what makes you think that it's different?

Anonymous said...

I think some are missing the point: its not about losing money (if you haven't sold your stock share then you really haven't lost or gained yet ) its about lots of money going out to people who don't use it wisely and a stimulus plan that that people don't quite understand.

Jamie, how are you planning on retiring? I'm genuinely curious about what young people are doing to plan for their future.

Anonymous said...

I think some are missing the point: its not about losing money (if you haven't sold your stock share then you really haven't lost or gained yet ) its about lots of money going out to people who don't use it wisely and a stimulus plan that that people don't quite understand.

Jamie, how are you planning on retiring? I'm genuinely curious about what young people are doing to plan for their future.

i suwannee said...

i'm 28.

brian and i have diversified our investments. we've only been earning/contributing for a handful of years, but we've got money in the market, in the bank, in real estate and we've got plans. big plans... to create the life we want, and make sure that if it takes money to upkeep it, we have it. or if it doesn't, we go where we don't need it so much.

we also plan to have several boys and teach them all how to be a football kicker.

i'm not losing sleep over how i'm going to retire. if we're up shit creek come 2050, we'll get rafting tubes, and a case of PBR. if we can afford it.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a high-net worth wealth advisor, which means he babysits quadrillions of dollars for whiny quadrillionaires. The phones have been, um, busy the last 6 months, and he tends to come home and say a couple things:
1) People forgot that the market is risky, because for ages it seemed like magic: put money in stock market, get 10-20% returns! hurray! now that they are seeing the flip side they are all offended.
2) Panicking and yanking all your money out now just means you are locking in a loss. If you have the time, sit tight, stop panicking, and eventually you will regain at least part of the lost ground.
3) If you have no tolerance for risk--if you truly cannot bear to watch your investments shrink--you should be in bond funds or high-yield savings accounts. But don't come moaning when you make 4% year after year and other people sometimes make way more.
(BTW, my old 401K was in cash after rolling it over to an IRA, and we've been slowly buying back into the market with it.)

Caroline said...

this time is one of those glass half-full versus glass half-empty moments. good to know you're staying positive and honest.

erika @ urban grace said...

Hi. Your plumbing fixture friend here.
This is getting steamy.
I'll stick to what I know: plumbing fixtures. I admit to being a plumbing snob. Don't quit reading: I am a plumbing snob who can't afford to be a plumbing snob. I have 2 Ikea vanities, enamel sinks, and FAUCETS in my office bathroom and have had absolutely no problem with them. The cabinets seem thin when you close the doors, but they look good. The faucets are not the finest, but aren't they $88? So if something happens to it, you can replace it with something better down the road.
So I say go for it.

ks said...

Greetings from Atlanta!

I loved this post. I help run a 5-store retail operation, and believe me..I understand how fear has such a huge effect on the economy. The more the media TALKS about the economy, the more SCARED consumers get, which means the LESS they buy..which means, the less I MAKE and can therefore BUY for the stores, and therefore the less they want to buy...etc. It's a vicious cycle. (and therefore have to lay people off...) All perpetuated by fear and falling consumer confidence.

BTW, I think it's interesting that Anonymous is the only one that is "Anonymous" in this comments section. We're ALL in this together...we're all people; we're all Americans. If you have something to say (which Anon. does), don't hide behind "Anon." Your opinion would probably be more respected if you had a name and a face to go with it. People can agree and disagree. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

(per KS's re. 4:08 anon., I wasn't paying attention...this is the 5:24 anon and I'm not the earlier one; I just didn't want to attach my name because I was being snotty about my husband's work!)

ks said...

No prob "5:24 Anon"! I completely understand not wanting to give away your or your husband's ID. I note the difference in comments, now. :)

dogearedit said...

i like items 1-3 :)

also, i think my next apartment will have a pedestal sink and i'm moderately concerned.. the ikea one looks amazing :)

gesikah said...

katek - I feel you.

We not only have a pedestal sink (thankfully in a guest bath so it's not quite so bad, but will probably be replaced eventually), but when we bought the house in the master bath there was not only a clawfoot tub, but the smallest one I had ever seen (probably a 4 1/2 foot one) and the finish looked like the previous owner cleaned it with sulfuric acid. It was torturous enough even for me, but it was absolutely ridiculous for my husband.

Needless to say it has been replaced.

Becky said...

Yeah, I agree that the media loves to spin out the bad news cycles forever. And when the housing market crashed, THAT was money that didn't exist. And stock market, schmock schmarket.

But now people have lost jobs in sectors of the economy that had nothing to do with the housing bubble. And while we're lucky enough to be doing fine, not everyone who is in a fix is there because of something they did. Whether that was "gambling" in the stock market, or living large, or whatever. Plenty of people didn't do any of that and are in bad shape for structural reasons.

And the sink is a big yes.

Elizabeth said...

We have a pedestal sink, and the only issue I've had with it is knocking a beer off the edge while steam cleaning the bathroom. Damn I hate to spill a beer, but at least it was before I mopped.

Barefoot in the Park said...

love the rant!

ditto on ped. sinks. i think a man designed them.

lauren said...

i too am soooo tired of hearing about the economy. so tired. and most people i know are feeling like 'oh my god, it's never going to be the same and i'll end up a potato farmer afer i spent all that time getting my masters degree in finance! it's the end of the world!!!" i can't stand it. people, please. it will get better. learn to not buy everything you want, good times or bad. put some money IN SAVINGS instead of all your money in the stock market. last i heard, savings accts. had not lost 50% of their value. if people are not savvy enough to know that stocks don't go down, even WAY down, once in a while (every 20 years or so) then they should not be investing in them. we will be fine. maybe not as fearless as before, but fine. unless you are 100% invested with madoff, you will be fine!

Anonymous said...

nobody has anything to say about the so-called laid back lifestyle you mention in mexico & the caribbean? laid back? those are third world countries, dude! do you really think that just because there is no stock market that things are just peachy? hell no. those people are fighting day in and day out to stay alive. to pay for a scrap of food. people retire to those kinds of places because they have enough money to do so. how? stock market. ain't nobody gettin rich by just stuffing pennies and shit under a mattress. what we see when we go to those places is a resort. owned by american companies, run my american companies. that laid back lifestyle, on that 50-acre piece of land was bought. sure the workers might be from the area, but they are getting the shaft, i am sure. citizens in those countries aren't floating up shit creek with a pbr because they didn't play their cards right, they're up shit creek because their lives dictate it. damn.

Melissa said...

Sink schmink!
I'm hear for the venting.

Vent
To suffer to escape from confinement; to let out; to utter; to pour forth; as, to vent passion or complaint.

The queen of heaven did thus her fury vent. --Dryden.

And I am never disappointed.

The visual escapist said...

Re. IKEA sinks & sink cabinets, I have had a Höllviken sink and Vättern Lonnen cabinet, which I was really satisfied with. Re. IKEA faucets, rumour has it the latest crop has been improved and are of acceptable quality - but earlier they weren't all that great. I have had a kitchen faucet that did the job, but I wouldn't have bought it again. The same thing holds for the kitchen steel sink from IKEA, although there are now some new models that are better quality I hear.

As an economist, I have to say stock markets and the economy needs investors, and in the long run investing in funds is smart - just not invest all your money at the top of a cycle, but rather go in a little at a time or with a lot in a recession. Stock markets will fluctuate and you have to have a long horizon. If you will need the cash in five or even ten years, look for less risky investments like bonds or high interest savings accounts. NEVER invest in individual stocks, unless you can afford to loose everything!

meghann said...

I had an IKEA vanity in my last rental and the veneer got warped from water damage after 6 years of use. Maybe I am just a sloppy face-washer but I would invest in something with a solid door not a veneer.

Cheers and GO HEELS!

I love the mental image of rafting on shit creek with a case of pbr. Well played, friend.

lillie said...

hear, hear! good thoughts on the economy schmconomy situation. i agree that a lot of problems result from fear stirred up in people's heads. and about your bathroom sink, i say go for it! i never understood those pedestals either...

JJ said...

As you already know, I kinda love you. Good luck with your new bathroom. I feel like Rowdy would love the Caribbean.

Shaiya said...

THANK YOU! Someone needed to say it, and I'm glad it was you.

The only thing more aggravating than stock market obsessions are pedestal sinks. Toothbrush, bar of soap, that's it! No more storage space for you! Go back and freak out over the stock market some more!

And I really love your blog. It's one of the few things getting me through living with a pedestal sink.

tinkalicious said...

well, fer shure everyone has an opinion. Things are not great, they probably will get worse before they get better, but coming from a world that experienced this whole mess some thirty years ago, everyone will actually end up better than when they started. Witness the return to homemade goods and products, the nesting, home cooking, decorating, etc. witnessed everywhere, that has to be a good thing. It's about getting back to basics, and that can only be good. keep keeping on and making your world the best it can be!

Anonymous said...

Those of you so tired of hearing about the economy must still have your jobs. My mother, about to retire from a lifetime as a public school teacher, now has to keep working for several more years. My father, who retired last year after a lifetime as a librarian, lost a significant amount of his retirement savings and is trying not to worry or at least is trying not to worry his three daughters. My husband, a freelancer, has had about 10% of his usual workload since November. I'm taking in as much work as I can find while I worry about losing our apartment with an infant son. The thing is, we know that if we have to we can leave the city that's been our home for almost 15 years and live with family members, but there are a lot of people in this country who don't have the family or community network to fall back on. So I'm sorry you're all *so* bored hearing the rest of us complain. Believe me, I wish I were in your boat.

kassy said...

You rock!! I totally agree with all of your points with extra emphasis on pedestal sinks. Every time I see someone going ga-ga over those things on HGTV I want to scream at them. Storage!! Its an absolute necessity.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad all of you can be so calm.

I'm scared and I believe rightfully so because my industry (hospitality interior design) is at a stand still and I may lose my job any day now.

I'm 26 and support myself (no help or available help from family) so I'm screwed without a job.

Oh but please go back to talking about sinks.. I'm sorry to be a buzz kill.

cats said...

i can see this from both sides - as someone with a great job, and as someone unemployed. i got laid off a week and a half ago, and luckily found something new pretty quickly. during the time i was unemployed i had this bone chilling panic when i thought about how bad things could get.... and that was usually while i was watching the news. the stories were so depressing, and so not helpful, and made me feel like they were actually intended for people who were doing well so they could either 1) feel smug, or 2) remember that their life could suck in an instant too. i mean, why would the local news do a story on how to survive unemployment? what could they possibly tell me that i might find useful? it's clearly an excuse for them to use the term "unemployment" as many times in a half hour as possible! this is why dancing with the starts did so well. people don't want to be reminded of this shit nonstop!

Suzy said...

Amen sister.

Anonymous said...

I said "no pedestal sinks" when I renovated my bathroom. Thing is, though, that they work really well in narrow bathrooms. I tried sink after sink with cabinets beneath, but ended up having to go with the pedestal because of the shape of the room.

And about the economy: my stocks are down, my house value is down, but I most of my savings in cash and so now I'm buying lots of things. Practically the whole country is on sale, not just stocks and real estate.

For those of us who are still doing okay, could we at least try to keep in mind: 1) charities need more help than ever 2) buy American
3) our friends and family can be proud. If you have a loved one who needs help, don't assume it's rude to offer a hand even if they don't ask for it.

Emmy said...

Really interesting to see how opinions are shaping up economy wise in the US. I get see things first hand in the UK and the Netherlands and I would say that the UK seems to be just as media frenzied as the US, if not more so. It is lower key in the Netherlands but definitely present.

However - the Godmorgon. We have it in our current rental property and it has probably been there 5 or 6 years since the landlord re did the bathroom. Like the previous commenter (Meghann), the veneer on the top of the draw has split and is peeling back. It annoys me every time I look at it. I think it is worth getting something of slightly higher quality if you can if you want it to last for more than a few years.

pve design said...

So, what is wrong with my pedestal sink. I love it, if I had a vanity, I would just feel the need to buy more stuff which is really all part of the darn problem.
We have too much. Each of us, no matter what, needs to pick up, chin up, and stop whining. C'mon people.
Keep a stiff upper lip and a fuzzy brow.
Humor helps.

meg said...

the world certainly isn't perfect right now, but running around scared half to death isn't going to help anything. i am lucky to be working, but certainly know people who aren't, who have lost a lot of their retirement, and who don't know how things will shake out for their businesses this year. but man, you can't let it get you down all - ALL - the time, which is what it would appear the news media is trying to do. chin up people.

as for the sink quandry. agreed. pedestal sinks = pretty useless. i lived in a loft with ikea bathroom fixtures and they did seem to warp/peel a little as time went on (and they weren't but a couple of years old). we found a great looking (and brand new in box)sink and vanity at the habitat for humanity restore in atlanta - you can buy what's been donated to habitat but they can't use for whatever reason at a fraction of what it would cost at a home improvement store. and your purchase supports habitat. makes more sense than putting your money under your mattress, right?

Emily said...

Wow - great post! I feel for the people who are losing their jobs in this economy - but it definitely seems like most of the noise is coming from people who are just upset that they won't be able to upgrade to the bigger house or take a fancy vacation for a while.

*moggit girls said...

My gawd, you are brilliant and we love you!

J&J
xox

Brilliant Asylum said...

Don't even get me started on f@#%ing pedistal sinks! I think they make me more mad than the economy. Storage issues aside, why do people want to look at the gross plumbing?

modernemama said...

You articulated the feelings I've been having since last September. I'm chilling, doing the stuff renovation-wise that I want to and leaving the rest until well, whenever basically.
And I hate pedestal sinks, where do you put all the bathroom stuff? Hope you have a "Good Morning" with the Godmorgan sink. It's lovely.

jenny b harris said...

I'm still trying to figure out how to pronounce schmconomy.

nikinikinine said...

The hubs and I are both in really secure industries, we've put away a solid e-fund and we only buy what we want (i.e. pedestal sinks and junk on ebay) in cash. We're actually buying into the market and hoping to cash out on this economy in 20 or so years. Being just 30 and DINKs we have that luxury.

That said, I had about the same persepective on the economy as the majority of you until I went home to New Jersey last weekend. Every single one of my family members (aunts, uncles, parents) are in danger of losing their jobs. My mom thinks she'll be cut in the next few weeks; her job loss also means she will lose her pension. They are all in their mid-50's and have never dabbled in stocks outside of a 401K, and none of them will be able to retire any time soon.

It's easy to be cavalier and lackadaisical about the situation when you, like me, are so unaffected by this shitstorm. But the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.

Erin said...

I do believe that continuing life as we know it (for as long as we can) is the appropriate thing to do. However, my dad lost his job after 20 years there (at an OIL company, no less) and now my parents are having to wonder if they can keep their house, or if they can even sell it. I have little pity for the uber-rich who now find themselves of average wealth, but what about people like my parents, who have few investments outside retirement, but are still feeling the pressure after a lifetime of hard work?

As to the sinks, this is a fascinating discussion. I recently started considering a pedestal sink to make more room in my bathroom. Definitely something to think on.

amandromeda said...

Why do we think we HAVE to retire?

i suwannee said...

EXACTLY AMANDA!

we're not entitled to anything! nothing is guaranteed. we're just weird creatures that evolved further/differently than others, think we can take over the world, and that the systems we've set up should work until the end of time -providing us with our entitlements.

bleck.

Anonymous said...

good idea:
pedestal in power room

bad idea:
pedestal in any other kind of bathroom.

Sulking.. said...

I agree with you until the stupid (yes, stupid) part about the Caribbean. Money is not important there? Chilling out is the way of life? Being from there and having lived on mutiple islands, I can tell you that is not true. Try leaving your resort on your next visit. Most islands whole economy are based on tourism so they are hurting right now as well. I don't know the last time my mother or father "chilled". On most islands, many necessitates are very expensive. Try to depend on rude, cheap tourists for your livelihood and paying six dollars for the (cheap) bread at the grocery store. The reason most locals are smiling is not because they are so relaxed and happy. It's to perpetrate the myth of an all the time chill-out fest for tourists so that they can get your MONEY.

alexis said...

Anonymous 3/10 9:56 PM: What on EARTH were your parents doing in the stock market so close to retirement?! It's just common knowledge that the closer you get to retirement, the less risk you should have in your portfolio. If you're in your 60s or older and still invested heavily in stocks, you're either stupid, greedy, or both.

That said, my husband's LLC may declare bankruptcy. It sucks for him, but he's married to someone who's used to living close to the bone. I was a new homeowner when the tech bubble burst in 2000/2001, and was able to pay my mortgage with my unemployment insurance because I'd taken a third of the loan I'd been offered.

Certainly it's stressful, and I have awful dreams about getting laid off. But because we saved almost a year's worth of expenses when times were good, we're still able to maintain our modest, yet comfortable, standard of living. I'm also making sure that what money I do spend goes into the pockets of small, local business people.

alexis said...

Oh, and regarding the actual topic (heh), I put the Ikea Udden kitchen console with cabinets in the bathroom of my last house and the metal top wore well but was a little loud. I've been absolutely thrilled with the vanity in our current main bath, which was a scratch-and-dent buffet customized into a double-sink vanity. Yes, it was rather a PITA to get the glass cut and all the plumbing installed, but it was so worth it to have a furniture-grade piece in the bathroom. If I had it to do over again, I'd hold out for a vintage MCM credenza.

thebubbreport said...

I agree that the media is making it even worse. If I had any spare money right now, I'd be buying stocks at a big fat bargain.

Now, more importantly, pedestal sinks. They are great for a tight first floor 1/2 bath - throw a basket or cool box for the stuff you want to hide underneath and you're all set.

For sinks that provide storage, I like to find a weird antique and have it turned into a sink cabinet. My downstairs sink is an antique icebox:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/71696744@N00/423410743/in/set-72157600003567764/

Hope it was ok to post a link.

Love your blog, BTW!
Becky

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~a of SkanksForNothing said...

Jamie...oh Jamie...68 comments i can't even believe you are so popular! who knew sinks & the economy could get a crowd going.
as for me, Im all for you putting in the new sink. our bathroom is the size of a large port-a-jon and we went with the pedistal and i hate it.
so next time you are coming thru ws to clemmons, give a girl a shout.
-abby

Anonymous said...

It may be interesting for Jamie to note (or remember) that a financier famous for fraud and money laundering who has been in the news as of late -- Alan Stanford -- called Antigua and Barbados home. The economic issues so many are concerned about can't necessarily be ignored or avoided in the Caribbean or Mexico.

Additionally, I agree with other posters that your comments about "chilling" are offensive. I spent my childhood in Jamaica and went to the beach only 4 times. While living there and I mostly only saw white tourists when I was at the beach. If I saw any Jamaicans it was tour guides or vendors trying to make some money off the rich white tourists. And, from the mountain top I lived on, it took me 4-5 hours to get to the beach and I had to hitch hike the whole way because I knew almost no one rich enough to own a car (don't get me started on running water or a phone). My family made chicken foot soup because buying some kind of animal product implied wealth and nutrition, despite the fact that all we ended up doing was sucking on cartilage.

So please, enjoy your American beer, a part of me hopes you sink on your way up shit creek.

i suwannee said...

Paul there was no need to delete. I can dish it - I can take it. I think I'm envisioning 'retiring' to the islands as something you do before you hit rock bottom. It's a simpler way of life , requires less money and therefore I would assume less stress and in my opinion life is exponentially better when you're by the ocean with good weather and laid back people. In my experience, every American I have met who is living on an island is noticably happier more at ease and humbled by their surroundings. They have hobbies that don't require spending money to collect more things you don't really need.

I hear that some of you have had experiences otherwise. Point well taken.

And that icebox sink is pretty rad.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I normally love your blog, but I'd like to point out that your blog is dedicated to BUYING STUFF. So, maybe think that through before your next economy post.

a print a day said...

i have a pedestal sink, a claw foot tub, and I've lived on an island, a country far far away. and I will tell you now that my pedestal sink is tiny and impractical, i feel like i'm taking a shower in a plastic baggie everytime i'm in my cast iron claw foot tub, and living in a third world island is no easy feat.

re: the latter, we barely had electricity, pumped water from a neighborhood well and were just a hair away from technically being in the poverty level--which a BIG chunk of the country's population comprises of. and when i say poverty, this is the kind of poverty that you see in those save the children commercials. yes our beaches are beautiful, our forests are amazing, but are, as expected, overrun by tourists who unintentionally contribute to their destruction...but hey, this is coming from a native. i live in the usa now. my family came here with barely anything. i was young, brought a backpack with my clothes, pens and old comic books. our pesos were worth pennies here--not that we had that much to begin with. we lived in a motel in a gang-stricken part of san diego. zero credit. no money. we were dirt poor. but we somehow managed to get out of it because as hard and fickle as america can be, it is very generous and accommodating. the design industry has been generous and accommodating, despite the snooty facade. my mom is an interior designer and animator. my father is an architect. i'm a designer and illustrator. the creative industries have been good to us and i'm eternally grateful for this.

but i do understand where you are coming from. american dollars go a long way in less "developed" countries. i've known people to retire in costa rica, thailand and such, and have stretched their pensions and ss to where they've benefited greatly. this is a smart move, especially to those who can't afford the american way of life, as well as basic necessities such as health care, shelter and such.

i've just about felt the bottom of the barrel and at the time, i didn't know it was. having lived in a few poor countries, and having lived in a few wealthier ones, i've realized, from that from this point of view, i WAS at the bottom. the usa is NOWHERE near that. when we first moved to that motel 6, i was like, "free crusty patries in the morning?! awesome!" at the time, i thought denny's was fine american-style dining. seriously.

i mean, could america get there? sure. if people forget, become uninspired and continually allow our institutions to be overrun with graft and corruption. i know times are bleak. but i am very optimistic. it can be hard at times when the media is constantly brainwashing you into believing that life is poop. but it's not. it's what you make it, no matter what the news agencies say, no matter what wall street says, no matter what your friends and family say.

i love your blog by the way :)

i suwannee said...

well said print a day. i think you nailed what i was trying to get at: that american $ can be stretched in a less developed country and life enjoyed possibly more.

Anonymous said...

Alexis - this is Anonymous 9:56. Whoever said my parents were heavily invested in the stock market?? Sure, they have a little in stocks, but that's not the only way people are losing money right now. My parents both live modest lives and are the kindest, smartest people I know - not stupid, greedy or both as you accuse. You sound like a real peach.

alexis said...

Okay, "Anonymous", I'll bite. I didn't call your parents stupid and/or greedy. I wrote that people who were significantly invested in the stock market close to retirement were. And since your parents apparently weren't, my assessment doesn't apply to them.

What I got out of Jamie's post, that we shouldn't take entitlements for granted, still applies. Expecting to be able to kick back in leisure for the last fifth of your life is a relatively modern notion, and one not bourne out by historical trends. I just got back from lunch with my former boss, a 60 year old double cancer survivor (breast, and chronic myeloid leukemia). She's a freelancer, a mother of a college freshman, and one of the most down-to-earth, zen people I know. She knows she's not going to be able to "retire", and she's okay with it. Why? Because she's happy to be alive and have a wonderful, healthy daughter, work she enjoys, and lots of friends.

Expectations are for the privileged. Hopefully one of the silver linings of this shitty economic cloud will be that those of us who aren't accustomed to living within our means, planning for a rainy day, and valuing what we have over what we don't will learn to do so.

And yeah, my family's from Georgia, so I guess I am a peach :)

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes, island living. The perfect solution.

Because we all know that the islands are where you'll find the most ethical governments, and the most advanced health care, and the lowest rates of poverty and violence, and the best education systems in the world...

Kate@ Kids and Cocktails said...

I can't remember who exactly said this, but I agree with the retirement thing...who said you "have to retire"? My grandfather didn't retire until he was almost 70. My husband is a lawyer at a firm, where they just raised the mandatory retirement age to 70...and he figures he'll want to teach after that. So, we have a retirement plan, but it doesn't really kick in for about 50 yrs. ;) I also agree that part of the issue with the economy is that people keep talking and complaining and FREAKING OUT. Relax!!!

oh...and why are most of the complaints written by people who don't seem to be able to share their real names? Chickens!

Always lived w/in my means said...

Ah the smug, ignorant rants of 20-somethings.

Don't worry honeyz, your turn is coming.

I can guarantee that someday you'll have to eat a big steaming bowl of the brown stuff.

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