BLOG: The Shutdown of 2019-Coping

No, this isn’t about politics. However, we are retired Coast Guard and this is hitting us. Hard. We had no warning that we wouldn’t receive our pay. None. There was no time to plan ahead or budget for it or even to make different choices. The fact that other military services were looked after and not us is hard to swallow. The fact that Congress is taking their sweet time, like we don’t matter, to take action on our behalf is also difficult to swallow. Those are personal feelings, not political.

How are we coping? We’re luckier than most retired Coasties. My husband and I both work and have alternate income. However, our mortgage is based around the retirement pay and our budget is based around the mortgage and our savings will only go just far with an expensive mortgage. Without any warning, we’re in crisis or soon will be. We’re coping by realizing that we did plan ahead somewhat for such an unforeseen crisis. We have at least a year’s worth of food in our freezer and pantry at all times. Food isn’t an issue. If we lose our house, we have an off-grid cabin that will house us. If our utilities are turned off, then again, we have the off-grid cabin that’s completely set up to function without such amenities. We also know that if the bills become too much, we have things to sell because I’m a very spoiled wife . . . being spoiled equals having toys to sell in a crisis if need be . . . that’s how I lost my Miata, its sale paid for 3 months of our mortgage during our last household financial crisis brought on by the government. This time, it will likely be my little camper. That’s okay. I have my eye on a new Lincoln or maybe a little motorhome if that happens.

I do thank the Lord for my writing career right now. To be able to escape into my creative business and close the world out in a legitimate way (I’m working, not hiding) has been a relief in proportions I can’t even articulate. That I have something so consuming to escape to counts me among the fortunate ones. I have a strong mental fortitude and a will that’s going to see my household through this. Do I feel like we’re being tested? Absolutely. But we’ll rise above it. Of that I’m certain.


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Arabelle Stevens lives in a small cabin in the woods of Maine. She lives there with her husband, their two Mastiffs, cat, and chickens. Her background, other than writing, is as a criminal paralegal. She has retired from that latter life and now when she isn’t writing, she stays busy with her husband on their mini-homestead in Maine, in the town where she grew up. She has a passion for white wine and all things chocolate.

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