So this is what our thermometer said when I got around to taking a picture of it this morning. The news people said that at our current wind chill (at 6:50 a.m.), exposed skin would be frostbitten in 5 minutes or less. Finally, school was not just delayed, but canceled. I know I'm going on about the cold an awful lot, so I'll stop now (although I hear that we're national news--probably more International Falls than us, but still, pretty close). Cody's friend came over and now those 3 boys are terrorizing the rest of the household (which would be Caleb and me). Don't worry about us, though. Evidently Caleb has laser vision, so we're protected.
. . . . . . . .
So I was watching the news last night, and something set me off again. The city of Minneapolis called a snow emergency on Tuesday, I think it was, meaning that people can't park on the streets, or certain streets at certain times, so the plows can come through. It all sounds pretty complicated to me, but I'm sure if I lived or worked on a street in Minneapolis, I would take the time to figure out where and when I can park during a snow emergency. Anyway, every time there's a snow emergency, hundreds of vehicles end up being towed, and last night, on the news, they showed people waiting in line to retrieve their vehicles. And one of the guys (who was not dressed for the weather, by the way) complained, "they have no business towing cars with the economy the way it is. Nobody has $200 lying around to spend on getting their car back."
I am just a little bit tired of people using the economy as an excuse for anything and everything. The economy's bad, so the cable company shouldn't increase their rates. The economy's bad, so I shouldn't have to move my car so that the road can be plowed curb to curb. The economy's bad, so I am a victim when I have to drop my home phone service and only have a cell phone. The economy's bad, so how dare the grocery store raise their prices. The economy's bad, so how come no one is coming to my house and offering to give me everything I want for free, and on a silver platter to boot? Yes, folks, it's the welfare state rearing its ugly head. We have become a nation that expects to be prosperous without working for it.
As I listen to and read the coverage of this recession, I have to wonder how much of what's going on is self-fulfilling prophecy. I know that people are hurting. We know people who have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced, and it's not that I don't care about what's happening, but honestly, when people hear that the U.S. economy is in shambles, it makes them want to spend less, which is not necessarily a bad thing--I think people should have been spending less all along--but when people spend less, the economic situation gets worse, and the media reports that it's worse, which makes people spend even less. It's a country-wide mass panic, but at a slower rate than one usually equates with panic.
I also start to wonder about our collective memory as a country. I've heard that the last time there was a recession "this bad" was in 1983. Actually, I believe it was the unemployment rate, which doesn't necessarily equate to a recession, but anyway...that's not that long ago. I was 10 at the time, so I don't remember, but anyone who is currently about 45 or older should remember, and they should also remember that we always come through these things, and we're always stronger on the other side.
Our nation's economy is a cyclical thing. We know that there are going to be good times and we know that there are going to be bad times. This is exactly why during the prosperous times, we need to be storing up our grain (a la Joseph in Egypt), so that we can weather the rougher times.
So back to the "they've got no business" guy: don't you think that paying $200 to get your car out of the city's lot is a bargain, compared to what you would have to pay to fix your car if the plow driver decided to just plow through it? And don't you think that having streets that are passable is a good thing for the economy? So people can get to work and all, you know.
. . . . . . .
And now that I've been raving for several minutes, I'll just tack this on. Don't worry--it'll be over soon. I'm sure you've heard that Mr. Obama is calling for an extension of the deadline for television stations to switch to digital transmissions because people aren't ready for it. Well, Mr. Obama, if the past year, during which there have been ads, increasingly frequently, on the air, warning people of the impending switch, was not enough time for people to prepare, another however long you're planning to give them isn't going to be enough time either. There are people in this world who will not act until forced to do so. I still don't quite understand why our federal government feels the need to make us all watch digital TV, but after all this hype and preparation and money spent, they darn well better go through with it. Especially in this economy...
P.S. Only one misspelling in that entire post!