Monday, April 26, 2010

The economy via my neighborhood

You know those nights you can't sleep and your mind goes I have a perfect blog then you fall asleep again, wake up and can't remember a damn thing you wanted to post? Well I woke up and remembered.

So welcome to a snapshot of my neighborhood. 10 houses all connected. Well not connected but next to each other lol.

I live in Silicon Valley. My county has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. My city is huge. My neighborhood is like a thousand other neighborhoods. So I figured mine was a perfect example of how the economy is affecting us all.

House #1 (my side of the street)
A thirty/forty something couple moved in about 3 years ago. They just had a baby about a year and a half ago. She worked for a family business and he worked for a company going on around 6 or 7 years.
Fast forward to now. Her family business had to let her go. They couldn't stay afloat with the family as employees. She is now making jewelry and hoping that she makes enough to supplement their income.
He lost his job but was lucky enough to find another one with their competitors.
In talking the other day they are supplementing their one person income with credit cards and are afraid of the balance that just keeps going up.

House #2
My aunt lives here. She was doing just fine until my uncle passed away and she lost her job at almost the exact same time I did last year. She actually got a new job the same time I got that last job. However, after working there for a bit they took her off salary and placed her on to only commission. She is pretty sure she is not going to be able to keep renting the house. She just wants to be able to afford it until July. My uncles one year death anniversary. Then she expects to have to leave the house she has rented for almost 20 years.

House #3 My house
Right now we are a one income house. As you all know I have been out of work since July. With that one three week period of having a job they never should have hired me for. I consider us lucky right now since we are ok. We are eating out a LOT less and not buying things we don't need but we are not in danger of losing everything.
But then again I am still getting unemployment. I worry like hell what will happen when I don't.

House #4
These are the crazy neighbors. The ones who seem to do the opposite of what normal people do. They yell, cuss and act like asses. They sue every company they worked for and get money every time. I have no idea how in the hell they get away with that. They also have had crazy money troubles since I moved here 20 years ago. You know the kind where you only have $9.56 in the back and a check that is about to bounce. (I have so freaking lived that and live in mortal fear of living it again.)
They seem to be thriving right now. His sister passed away and left them a whole hell of a lot of money. The wife I believe sued her company and came away with a lot of money. They are in the process of remodelling their whole house. There are workers there 7 days a week.

House #5
The elderly lady who lived here passed away alone in the house. Her children put the house up for sale for a song and a contractor purchased it. They have gutted the entire thing and are in the process of rebuilding it with plans to flip it for a profit.

House #6
This house belonged to a family I have watched grow up for the last 20 years. I watched the little red headed boy grow from a young kid to a horrible teen to a pretty damn good adult. The family dynamic changed a bit in the house with new children being born. I have the feeling that there were actually two families in the house.
Well... not anymore. As of the first of last month their house was foreclosed on. This family who has lived here more then 20 years moved out over the last weekend. I have no idea where they went. It was incredibly sad to watch.

House #7
This house was rented by a older couple. Well not that old sheesh they are probably in their early 50's.
He lost his job around 8 months ago and hasn't found work leaving them a one income family.
This last two months their daughter and her two children and her husband moved in with them due to job and home loss. I am hoping they make it with more people in the house.

House #8
Here we have a man whose wife just passed away this year. He is left with three teenage children who want to go to college within the next few years. That has to be one hell of a scary thing for him to be the sole bread winner after all this time. Lucky for him (at least I cross my fingers that it is lucky) his wife's family own the house.

House #9
This family has lived here as long as I have too. The children (3) grew up and left the nest.. well the girls left but the boy stayed. Within the last three months the girls have returned to the nest due to job loss and the inability to afford rent on no income. They have a packed house again.

House #10
The man who lives here actually sent away for a Russian mail order bride. She came and they married and now have two children. I didn't realize that there still was mail order brides. He worked for the family business and she was a stay at home mom. A problem happened within the last 9 months that his family business went out of business leaving him without a job. I have no idea yet if he has found another one. That is four people living in a house with no income except unemployment if he was even able to get it.

So there you go. A snapshot of our economy via my neighborhood. Doesn't look great does it?