Goodbye, old friend.

 

Best friend, sometimes only friend. Often ignored, occasionally despised, you never failed to meet me with nuzzle to hand & wag of tail. Your love was never ending, your trust in me complete. Today for your own good, to stop the pain & to ease the suffering, I broke that trust, & my heart. I could see in your eyes as I turned away in tears, that you did not understand why I forsake you. I am sorry. Goodbye Cheyenne!

The picture was taken two days before. She was playing in the snow like a puppy.

2009, what a year!

Wow what a year!! Left me feeling old, dirty and slow, kind of like this fellow.

Started on January 1st, 2009, with a 25% reduction in pay in from my employer. Well I actually had a choice. I could go out on a layoff from my salary job, or I could take the reduction and come back to my same job as an hourly worker. I was told at the time that it was only temporary until things picked up, and I could work a little overtime all along to make up the difference. Apparently they just had to cut down the number of salaried employees. At the time I was just glad to still be working. My 401k had already become a 201k and dropping sharply.

Well things went pretty smoothly for a couple of months, except for the fact that I was now working 50 hours a week to get the same pay I was getting previuosly for about 40 hours work. Unfortunately the economy continued its drop off the cliff, we were soon cut from all overtime. Oh well, just suck it in, tighten the budget belt and move on. Not too painful but pretty uncomfortable, especially with a family of five.

We rock on in that mode for maybe a month, month and a half, and now we are down to 32 hours a week. Not looking good for the Grogan family. For the first time I was getting worried about joining the ranks of foreclosure victims.

Throw in a couple of furlough weeks in July, and we are getting desperate. Now having to drain pretty much all our savings. But we survived. We basically just turned it over to the Lord, decided to just go with the flow. Ups and downs but by His grace we finished the year without any really major crisis.

Our oldest daughter began college in the September, and we added a new son in October. No, I am too old to be a newborn father. We adopted, or rather we are adopting, a 15 year old young man. He moved in with us as a foster care child, until all the final paper work is finished.

2009 is done and we survived. I think I ended up making about the same income in 2009 that I made in 1988. Only difference is, in 1988 it was just my wife and I to support, now we are a family of six.

Today my employer is under new ownership. We are back to 40 hours a week with some overtime available. My 401k is almost back up to a 301k. Still an hourly worker with no real hope of ever getting back to salary, but things aren’t looking too bad. The economy is expected to continue improving, but very slowly.

Battle!

Battle is one those slang baseball words. When you are down two strikes and facing a pitcher that rarely throws balls, you are battling.

I am going to ad this slang to my position in this economy. I have been battling!

Strike One!

As of January 1st of 2009, I was thrown a fast ball that I did not even see coming. In an instant, I was basically laid off from my job as a Mechanical Designer/Supervisor, then rehired as a technician, and told to just go back to work doing the same job I had already been doing. And especially, don’t tell anyone else about this as they don’t want to start a panick. Management and HR just sat there looking at me like they had done me this tremendous favor. I was being blessed by not being permanently laid off. Oh… and I almost forgot the most important part. I was also expected to continue to support my family of six on 25% less pay. Well, I was Blessed, not by my employer, but by God. Somehow we have been able to live on the reduced wages, without  alot of grief. Only a miracle of prayer could have pulled that off!

Strike Two!

The pitcher just threw an inside curveball that I just fouled off! Just got word that we are now going down to a four day work week, indefinately. Let’s see, whats that? Oh just another 20% pay cut. This one’s going to hurt! Oh, I know I am still Blessed to be working in times like these. I could be standing in that slaughter house we call the unemployment office. God truly is Good! We will survive this, through prayer… and fasting. We place our trust in Him.

Battle, Batter, Battle!

We are battling. cutting everywhere we can. Cable, land line telephone, insurance, etc. I am beating the bushes to a pulp looking for another Design job. I have several internet projects on the burners. Come on baby, boil! We are praying and fasting(saves grocery money too!). Time to get serious.

Hey, Mr. President, I know you promised change in your campaign, but don’t you think you changed a little too much!

Bailout!

Got yours yet?

The more I think about the bailouts, the angrier I get. Wake up world. They are not going to work. The companies are going keep on doing what they have been doing all along. Oh, they will try to make changes, and it might look like its working… for a while. But they will settle right back in to their comfortable old ruts.

Let them fail. They will either emerge from restructuring a stronger, leaner version of the original, our they will totally collapse and disappear. If the latter, so be it; it was going to eventually happen anyway, no matter how much cash you throw at them. If the ship is sinking, putting gold in the captain’s pocket is not going to help! There is no excuse for the grossly over paid executives, and all the glitter encrusted perks that they receive. Hey, I’m all for the the top dogs making more money than the little people at the bottom. That’s the way capitalism and the free enterprise system should work. If you are the founder or owner of the company, you treat your employees well, you pay decent salaries, you pay your dues and you do it all with your integrity intact, you should take home all you care to make. But if you are just a hired gun, Mr Executive, your salary should not be more than 20% higher than the highest paid of your direct reports. Perks? Bonuses? Sure, no problem, if your wildly successful at what you do for the corporation. Perks and bonuses should never be included in hiring contracts or golden parachute exit contracts. You have to EARN them!

If you must bailout a mismanaged company, make sure they are restructured first. Find yourself a single parent that has successfully raised a house full of kids, working on the lowest rungs of society, or a successful small business owner that has pulled him or her self up by their own bootstraps. Put them in charge of restructuring. You will see new life spring from within the dead or dieing corporate landscape. You don’t need ivy league educations to make ethical and intelligent decisions. We need a revolution in the business world.

Wake up Washington! Do any of you know just how much 700 billion dollars is. I read recently that it could be divided equally amoung all the taxpayers in this great country, and we would each get something like $200,000. Specify that it can only be spent on American made products or services. Talk about stimulating the United States’ economy!!!

Do you really want to bail out the auto industry? Here is the best idea I have heard. Give each licensed driver a voucher for a new car from any one of the big three. It can only be used on a fuel efficient model. It can only be used at your local dealerships. It would include every charge, including prepaying the property taxes for the first two years and a full five year warranty. Everyone wins. The consumer, the local governments, the local economy, the dealerships, the distributors, and ultimately the big three.

Want to see things change? Contact your representatives and let them know how you feel and that you won’t stand for waste and pork anymore.  Hey, maybe we also need a restructuring in our government, but we’ll save that for another post on another day!

Photo above courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/people/willposh/.