Maybe it's because my family is one of those with little to no monthly cushion, but we've been scared.  It hasn't just been the last 2-3 weeks, but the last several months.  The mortgage made us tighten the belt anyway, but then gas continued to rise…  And so did our general energy expenses to cool our home, etc.  It cost more to put the exact same amount of food on the table.  Where I could once afford to take the boys to a park 3 days out of the week, we were now confined to the house and the backyard.  Where driving to a client's home twice during her pregnancy was a part of my routine care, now you get one, and phone and E-mail contact.  If I know I've got to drive out to the base (about 21 miles one way) for something, I try to make it all-day event and get everything I need done in the next two weeks knocked out.  I am more dilligent about coupons and sales.  Eating out is a thing of the past.  While I feel for the families hit by stock losses, I also just think, "It must have been nice to afford them in the first place."  You knew it was a risk…  Surely you calculated what it would have meant to lose it all, and you found the risk acceptable, or you wouldn't have done it…  But there are plenty of families who can't afford to lose anything…  And like us, they've been hurting for quite some time.

I can't help but wonder what will happen if things get even a tiny bit worse…  Will our bank be the next to go under?  Will our mortgage be sold to someone else who we will then have to re-negotiate with?  Will the bank that holds our car loan do the same?  If grain continues to rise because of ethanol fuel production, will I be able to put cereal, pasta, and bread on the table for my kids?  What about milk and eggs?  How the hell can we continue to send Mega Man to pre-K if gas goes up again?  It might feel like a Depression is coming for some…  But for others, it's already here.

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