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It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

Gen Plus has relocated to www.GenPlusUSA.com

Saturday, October 11, 2008

$717.66...Just Pour the Salt STRAIGHT into the Wound.

Let me tell you about this financial month in my family. $1300 for new car struts and new tires. Yesterday, I received my house tax bills. "Camera" red light ticket ($380.00), my medical insurance bill and additional coverages (won't tell you how much THAT is...), the car's back tires went (better...only $147.00), car fuel ($400.00) and then...the kicker. My electric and water bill floated in...for $717.66.

I can deal with the other financial outrages...the tires needed replacing, everyone gets a ticket now and then and I need my medical coverage (although I'm eagerly waiting for SOME sort of federal plan to help with this sick, sick medical system)...but I have never, ever gotten a water and electric bill this high. Ever.

I live in a teeny, tiny house (1650 sq ft) on a 6,000 sq. ft lot with double pane windows, good insulation and limited grass watering. Don't run the air conditioning at an excessive rate, don't take super-long showers or even keep the water running when I brush my teeth! I have low flow toilets, keep my shades drawn to keep out the hot Encino sun and didn't do much different this summer than last. I've just lost (like the rest of you) a hulking big amount of my retirement income, I can barely afford to fill up my tank with gas (although I'm finding myself relieved to be paying $3.45 for a gallon of gas), or buy a single bag of groceries for under $25 - $30. My heart is cut wide open with the turmoil that is going on in the US and the City of Los Angeles Municipal Services basically just poured a full 8 oz. of salt (my preference would be Kosher salt, but that's another story) on my bleeding wound.

Gotta pay it. Need my lights, my computer and my water. Can't just decide not to pay it. Not even in protest. But this IS what I'm going to do. I'm only going to shower every 4th day. And only wash my clothes after I wear them 4 times. Oh yes, I'm aware that I'll smell. I'm counting on it! And maybe I'll be able to cut my electric and water bill down to $650.00! I'll turn off all my electrical appliances and only plug them in when I absolutely need them. Except for the fridge. And the computer. And the phone charger.

And when people wrinkle their nose in disgust, I'll tell them to blame LA Municipal Services and the deregulated economy. OK...maybe I'll shower every 3rd day...but I'm telling you, I'm gonna stink. Now I understand why people in Europe save their water. I get it. At least this is still in American dollars and not Euros.

If you start to notice a lot more smelly people coming from Los Angeles, you'll know that I started a silent protest and that it may be working. We can call the movement something like "Smelling Together for a Newly Clean America" (STINCA) or something like that. I know the politicians really aren't hearing the American people...but maybe they'll notice us if they start smelling us.


Anne Holmes said...

Interesting concept! Too bad they haven't perfected "smellovision" yet!

I'm sure a few nationally televised images of hordes of smelly people taking their message to the candidates would be extremely effective...

Sorry you've had to experience all those expenses at once. I can identify. My utility bills also keep growing, and I got really depressed the other day when the "service engine soon" light popped on in my car as I drove home...

Suddenly, all the enjoyment I'd been taking in the beautiful fall foliage along the highway wasn't quite so strong; though the leaves hadn't stopped being beautiful...

But today my attitude is better again: The car challenge turned out to be nothing, and I decided to take that as a sign. My new mantra: "Have hope: Things are NOT really as dire as they may at first appear."

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Along with taking action to defy the economy. Why not join me!


Janet Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Love it. Thanks, Anne! One of my readers was upset with my attitude and gave me some great suggestions for cutting out costs. If I really have to tighten the belt, there are still a lot of areas I can cut, but I will say that my monthly medical insurance, plus my daughter's, plus my mother's (who lives with me) are GREATER than the cost of my mortgage. AND living in Encino, where it has been well over 100 for many, many days over the past 4 months, air conditioning is necessary, so not much I can cut there. I know I COULD move to Winnipeg or quieter, less expensive communities in Canada, but I'd like to see what happens after Barack gets in.