Sunday, June 07, 2009

A call & more cause for concern

Had a nice long chat with my mom last night, and while she sounded sharp and healthy and happy, still I hung up feeling more than a little rattled.

Her gray cat, Ethel, has been peeing outside of the box. I talked my mom into taking her to the vet. Ethel's getting older, and if she has a painful bladder infection, it's easier, cheaper and kinder if it's caught early on. Turns out my mom was right -- Ethie's issues are "behavioral." She thinks it's funny that her long-haired girl has suddenly become such a diva in her old age. Then she told me she had to cash in some savings bonds I gave her last year to pay Ethel's $700 vet bill.

I gave her the bonds just in case of emergency. We're pet people, so to us this was an emergency. No sweat.

Then she told me that she's down to $40,000. For the rest of her life. She has a little money coming in from Social Security, but that's it. Especially since her most recent illness, she really shouldn't go back to work (she made about $200/month during the school year as a lunch mom).

Her house is paid for. In fact, that $40,000 is all that's left in her reverse mortgage. But she still has to maintain the house and yard and pay the property taxes. Then there's food and utilities.

She knows this isn't good, but she doesn't seem to be stressing about it. She's known how bad things are for a while and has become used to it.

I've known things were tough for her -- that's why I pay for Medicare Supplemental Insurance and snow removal -- but I didn't know it was this dire. And so I'm not "used to it" yet and am, indeed, stressing.

I simply have to work harder at belt tightening. My niece needs help paying for her special culinary summer school classes. My mom will undoubtedly need more help, and soon. And what if I lose my job? I'm over 50! I simply have to keep contributing to my retirement funds or I'll just be following in my mother's financial footsteps.

As I posted Friday, this Recession is with me all the time now. I know I'm not the only one -- probably everyone who reads this has money concerns of some sort. I have to let it go. I have to try to take it in stride, to change what I can and accept what I can't, to trust God and work off my stress with exercise (or housework, this place is a sty again).

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