Thursday, December 31, 2009
If you have already read my previous article entitled ‘Oh No! I’m Mmming Again’ you will understand what the “mmming” is all about. If not, or if you need a brief refresher, it’s simply a sort of moaning sound I make when life’s troubles get overwhelming. With the recession, deaths, health problems, furniture and appliances falling apart, and day-to-day stresses, you can rightly guess I’ve done more than my fair share of it this year. With our bankruptcy now behind us, a humble but sweet Christmas with my family, and hope for better things to come, I find myself posing the question: Is the mmming over… or at least almost over?
Let’s deal with the finances first. No longer are we facing a huge monthly deficit; instead we now have a budget that is barely balanced. Obviously there is room for improvement, since even a small surplus for savings would be better. But unless you’ve been where we were at the start of this year, you’ll have no idea how wonderful it feels to have a balanced budget… and NO LATE FEES on bills! At this point, I don’t foresee any further severe hardship, but one never knows what calamity the future holds, so we must stay on close guard until things get better.
As for the economy in general, it’s kinda weird: the stock market has been rebounding since about February of this year; that’s always the first thing to recover from a recession. But the unemployment rate is still on the rise, although the rate of increase is slowing somewhat. More employers plan to hire in the near future than lay off. But this is little or no consolation for those out of work, whose unemployment benefits are about to end soon. Such is the case for quite a few in our city, due to the closing of the General Motors plant earlier this year. So in general there is hope for economic recovery, but for many, especially in our city and others like it, that hope may not be realized for a while yet.
As for our health, Wendi continues to suffer, though she is doing her best to remain active and social, and I applaud her for her efforts. I myself have suffered numerous aches and pains during this past year which seem to be subsiding lately, thanks to better exercise and self-care. Diminishing financial stress is certainly helping us here also.
There is a friend who has a couch to give us, and we may be able to replace our broken love seat at minimal cost soon. Joe suggested painting the living room; Wendi has wanted to do this for years. Maybe we can do this in the spring.
A gentleman from our church wanted to help us fix our roof this past summer, along with doing some other home repairs, but it didn’t work out due to the recession. There is hope of this becoming a reality in the coming year. Also, we may be able to replace our broken clothes dryer with a newer used one, and also to have the central air serviced in the spring.
New Year’s Day has become increasingly scary for me in recent years due to the fact that each year has been progressively worse than the last. So with CAUTIOUS optimism I approach the upcoming New Year of 2010, hoping for the best but remaining braced for more garbage, in case it does happen.
There is another thing that had me “mmming” this past year, and I am already seeing great improvement in this area: as much as I love to sing, I was virtually unable to do so for much of 2008 and 2009. During church on Sunday morning, I could scarcely talk most weeks, let alone sing, because my voice would be so hoarse. Apparently a combination of acid reflux messing up the throat, and nerves, was keeping me from singing well. Since mid-autumn, my voice has returned almost to normal. I’ve been singing at Open Mic Night at Mocha Moment, a nearby coffee shop, and folks seem to love it. I’m hoping to record a new CD in 2010.
Is the mmming over? Honestly, I don’t know for sure. Will it totally end? Probably not. There will always be times when life gets overwhelming, and I will probably “mmm” at those times. But hopefully—and I’m cautiously hopeful—it won’t be constant or even all that frequent. The New Year of 2010 offers a sort of new beginning… and I’m already chomping at the bit to begin!