In the past few weeks I’ve seen the new TV show “2 Broke Girls” on CBS. As I was watching it last week, I thought to myself, why do I need to watch this? I live this. My friend KT and I met while working in an antique and what-not shop in our small town. The owner of the shop became seriously ill, and passed away six months later. After the sadness and shock subsided, we helped her family liquidate the stock in the store. Aware of what was ahead, we saved every penny that we earned. And then our jobs were gone. I’d been there for eleven years, and KT a few less than that.
Working in a small, low-tech(actually no-tech) shop does not exactly help to keep one’s skills up to date. We became the two broke girls. Except that we don’t exactly fit the strict definition of “girls.” We are baby boomers, so you can do the math. The busy summer season had just ended as we lost our jobs, and the recession was creeping in.
We were introduced to the new world of applying for jobs on Craigslist. After a while I stopped spending the money to copy and fax resumes—-I felt like I was sending them to some big black hole. We sold some of our possessions on ebay. I started writing some online content. We found a new consignment shop and took in some of our clothes and attic furniture. We won swagbucks to pay for Christmas presents. Winter passed, and we did a little gardening for locals who didn’t have the time to do it for themselves. It was hard work, but fun at the same time. The biggest problem was cobbling together enough funds for health insurance. We found a bare bones plan for about $300 a month, but I sometimes refer to it as death insurance. If you are sick enough to die, they might pay the tab.
The broke girls on the TV show waitress, and have a fledgling cupcake business. There are already an overabundance of cupcake businesses in our area, and none that get $7 for one cupcake. As I watched the show I wondered how the health department would let anyone run a baking business in an apartment like the one seen there. Anything is possible on TV.
As the weather turned cold and garden jobs dried up, we posted flyers to clean houses. I had to laugh when I turned on the TV and there were the “two girls” cleaning apartments to make money for their cupcake business website.
I am even more limited by the fact that I must have work that fits around the hours that I spend as a family caregiver. Wow—-finding a job with flexible hours when you have outdated tech skills and you have to find ways to hide your true age on a resume and hope that if you get an interview that there is dim lighting. Yikes. Ever a challenge.
Some day I will look back at this and laugh. In fact, when I think of the past, I often had the most fun at times when I was broke (not that I recommend it!) I have a wonderful family, and a great boyfriend. I have good friends like KT who always make me laugh. There’s a roof over my head. I may not eat like a gourmand, but there is always enough bean soup. I’m no longer really a “girl,” but I guess I’m not truly broke either.
Sources: “2 Broke Girls” on CBS