Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I had my first day back at work on Saturday. It was a quiet day due to the holiday weekend. We actually often get a lot of people on nice days since people like to go into the park on nice days and will then wander in to check us out. But I think a lot of people had plans, or were getting their last trip to the shore in so I was spared having to do much work.

Leaving the baby wasn't too bad. It helped that I was only gone for 6 hours and he was home with B. I'm not sure it will be as easy when I have to start leaving him at daycare when I work on Fridays. Of course, part of my feelings about daycare are currently being colored by the fact that every time I go to pick K up, crowds of children, their upper lips glistening with snot, gather around Alec and reach out to touch him. It's all way too reminiscent of the first day I dropped K off at daycare as a baby, when I saw a two-year-old with a snotty nose and thought, "Here comes our first cold." And lo and behold, by Friday night we were all drowning in baby mucus. Colds aren't a huge problem. But this is Swine Flu season and Alec isn't old enough to get vaccinated. This doesn't exactly make me thrilled to place a small baby in a daycare surrounded by two dozen walking plague carriers, even only one day a week.


However, the daycare issue may be moot, because the entire city of Philadelphia is teetering on the precipice. And I am not exaggerating in the slightest.

Last March, we found out that the city budget woes that had us biting our fingernails over B's job had gotten much, much worse, to the point that every city department would have to undergo unbelievably deep cuts if we didn't find a new revenue stream. And after the usual political wrangling, the mayor did, in the form of a sales tax increase. Crisis averted, yes? Not quite, because the tax increase has to be approved by the state legislature, something you would think wouldn't take long at all. However, here we are six months later and the state of affairs is that the House, controlled by Democrats, passed a bill that simply approved the tax increase. Then last week, the Senate, controlled by Republicans passed a bill that approved the tax increase and contained some strongly anti-union measures cutting pensions and putting collective bargaining rights in jeopardy that affected every city in the state. The House can't possibly go along with this, since they're all up for re-election next year and most of them won't make it out of the primaries if they lose union support.

Here's where we stand: the House is supposed to vote on Thursday, and they are exceedingly unlikely to vote for the Senate version. If they send make amendments and send it back to the Senate, we will hopefully get something bearable. If they send their original version back, the Senate has indicated that they won't vote for that and we will be at an impasse. Bear in mind that this is the same legislature that as of September 8 has yet to finalize the budget that was supposed to take effect July 1, so that gives you a good sense of their ability to compromise.

As for us, if nothing passes before then, 3000 city workers will receive layoff notices September 18, and their last day of work will be October 2. All of the city libraries, rec centers and parks will shut down. Six fire engine companies will be shut down and over 900 positions in the police department will be laid off. Garbage collection will go to every other week and thousands of light bulbs will be taken out of street lights. The city will essentially cease to function in any meaningful way. It goes without saying that and I will both lose our jobs, but that almost pales in the face of the big picture.

We'll be okay. I've already talked to my mother and since she hasn't sold her house yet, if the worst happens we will move in. We have no savings thanks to the goddamn cat and her goddamn string swallowing, so we'll have to borrow money to make it through October, let alone move, but thankfully we have nice parents who have yet to not support us when we needed it. B will have unemployment for at least 9 months and I was told when I left my online job that I could have it back pretty much any time I wanted so I'll start that again and we'll be decently well off financially. Part of the stimulus package was covering 65 percent of the cost of COBRA, so our health insurance will even be relatively affordable. Honestly? There's a piece of me that gets really excited about the idea of moving home and living in my lovely large childhood home, ten minutes from my mother and less than three hours from 's parents. However, it's certainly not worth unemployment and the price the entire city would have to pay.

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