Guest blogger Marilyn Kentz: The recession has had the oddest effect on me. It's made me happier. I know how strange that sounds, especially in light of the fact that we are losing our house, our earning power has dwindled and last week the IRS wiped out our checking and savings accounts. The bank charged us extra for the privilege of accommodating the government, so we were minus $100. After the initial shock, my husband and I started brainstorming ways to pull ourselves out of the quagmire.
Remember the show "Boston Legal"? At the end of each episode Denny Crane and Allan Shore would sit outside on the balcony with their scotch and cigars and talk to each other, eventually professing their love. One evening my husband called me "Allan" and asked me to have a "Denny Crane moment." He led me to our little backyard. There he had a fire going in the outdoor pit and on the patio table were two tablets with pens perched on top next to two glasses of wine. We began to write down all the possible resources to get money. And like Davis E. Kelly might have written, we professed our love to each other. Then we talked about all the wealth we do have -- wonderful kids, loving friends, our sense of humor, talents, dreams and goals (do you know how easy it is to fall into depression without those two things?) great furniture that will look fabulous in a tiny apartment, happy, healthy pets. I could go on. And we did.
Last week for Valentine's Day he brought me a bouquet of rosemary from our front yard and told me to pretend they were flowers. I didn't have to. I was deeply touched. Before our financial downfall we were on autopilot. He was doing his thing and I was doing mine. On a recent "Oprah" Gary Neuman recently said that the average couple talks around twelve minutes a day. I think we were average. Now we are facing our challenge as a team and our relationship is so much stronger.
Our friends and family are trying to find us work, our daughter decided it was time to pay her own rent and our son told me that he wanted to give us his whole paycheck. I was looking through my appointment book the other day and found five twenties secretly stuffed in there by a dear girlfriend. That was the perfect amount to give the bank for letting the IRS clean us out. We're now at zero.
Rather than talking about our huge financial loss, we are using different language -- calling it a fresh start. I'm looking forward to moving even if it means giving this house to the bank. My husband and I are on a mission TOGETHER and we have been shown more love and appreciation than ever. And every night we sit outside and plan our future and profess our love.
|Marilyn Kentz is the brunette half of the '90s comedy duo "The Mommies" and author of A Ten-Step Guide to Fearless Aging.|