Recession Mama











–by Carlawbap

Some pretty strong storms blew through the Dallas/Fort Worth area a few hours ago, and it was so reassuring to hear a trusted voice back on the air, telling us where the storms were headed and what we should expect. Meteorologist Brad Barton, who had been on the air in Dallas for more than 30 years but was shockingly laid off two months ago from another news/talk station, made his return to the DFW airwaves today on WBAP News/Talk 820AM.

Having worked with Brad for more than a decade, I can tell you that he is once again where he belongs: behind a microphone, and in front of a weather radar. And the people of North Texas once again have a place to  turn when the skies darken.

We’ll be hearing from Brad, in his own words, very soon…so stay tuned!

A BIG “Congrats!” to Brad and Brenda and to WBAP for this wonderful news.

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{September 11, 2009}   We Will Never Forget

–by Carla

sept11

Our world changed 8 years ago today. Most of us will never forget where we were on September 11, 2001 when we heard the news that America was under attack.

I was single and living in Dallas at the time and just waking up when my Dad called to tell me to turn on the TV. He said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I rushed to turn it on and still had Dad on the phone when we both watched in horror as the second plane hit. He said, “Carly, we’re being attacked! You need to get to work.” I screamed, told him I loved him, and threw the phone down. At the time, I was the editor (producer) of an afternoon radio news program and didn’t normally go into the newsroom until 10am, but today was different. It was just after 8am, I tossed on a ball cap and ran out the door, speeding as fast as I could from east Dallas all the way to Arlington, about a 25 mile drive. On the way, the anchor of the afternoon news called me on my cell…because no one could believe what was happening. He was near a TV when the Pentagon was hit. He screamed, I hit the gas even harder, barely able to breathe now as I zoomed down the highway at nearly 90 miles an hour.

That day, the newsroom was quiet and somber and bustling…all at the same time. The morning anchors were still on the air, broadcasting what they were seeing on live television…when the towers fell. The silence was deafening, both in the newsroom and on the air. It was at that moment that I knew we had to jump into action. We, as news people, had to step up and cover this story…so we started sending reporters all across Dallas/Fort Worth: federal buildings, DFW International Airport, schools, malls. Word had spread that schools were sending kids home, that offices were clearing out, that malls were closing. Our newsroom was located on the ground floor of the Ballpark in Arlington, a giant baseball stadium, and the surrounding offices were closing and sending people home.

There was no news clock that day. News came in as it happened. As editor, it was all about not letting the story get to me, just getting the facts out as quickly as possible.

It was only when I got home late that evening, after being in the newsroom for 12 hours, that it hit me. I’ve never told anyone this, but my Mom and brother stayed the night. We wanted to be together, we were all so scared.  We stayed up late,  what else, watching the news…

I had not met my husband yet at that time, but now when I think about the risks that police officers and firefighters take every day, and then I think back to the enormous sacrifices that were made that day, I cannot help but get choked up.

To first responders everywhere, not just my Don, but all of you, Thank You.

 



{August 28, 2009}   The Reinvention Continues…
–by Carla

As Heather embarks on her new, fabulash career as an interior designer and Katy gets ready to start working on her latest Hollywood hit TV show, I’m here in suburban Dallas, trying not to eff up dinner each night. And so, the reinvention of Carla the Career Radio News Anchor continues…

Yay, the stove's right behind me....mocking me...can you hear it?

Yay, the stove's right behind me....mocking me...can you hear it?

I have made a little headway in the kitchen, but not as much as I’d hoped by now. I mean, I was laid off 9 months ago. You’d think I’d have gotten the hang of being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) by now. But I was “baptized by fire” for this venture, so I try to cut myself a little slack every now and then. It’s not like I started out as a SAHM with my firstborn, then eased into baby #2. I woke up one day and was all of a sudden a SAHM of 2 baby boys…with zero experience.

This week, I did manage to cook a few dishes that didn’t end up crossed out on my “Can Cook This Again” list. I whipped up a chicken and rice casserole Sunday that was inspired by the one and only Campbell’s soup can. Yup, I got me some inspiration at the grocery store last week. I thought, “This looks pretty easy…even *I* can’t screw this one up”. And it was pretty ok. My next bit of inspiration came at the checkout line and one of those little books about “fun cooking for kids” or something. You know the ones…food that looks cute and fun and MAYbe, just maybe, your picky, doesn’t-want-to- ever-eat-anything-at-all, toddler will actually want to eat this stuff. So I then cooked up some chicken strips breaded in crushed corn chips and some other stuff. The breading didn’t even smell appealing to me, but whatever, if Toddler Boy eats it…then fine. I also made some Italian breading-coated chicken strips to go with the giant batch of pasta and sauce I’d made earlier (bc I’m up to HERE with chicken most days). If you’re following along (and I am not), that’s roughly 4 semi-successful meals in about 3 days. I also whipped up my always enjoyable Mexican Casserole which is a lot like what ya get at Chipotle…and even *I* can’t screw up that dish. I’ve made baby Dean several home-cooked meals in the Magic Bullet (bless you, PopPop and Granny for THAT Christmas gift)..and last night I cranked out perhaps the greatest banana bread I have ever cranked out. (For the record, baking does not freak me out like cooking does, for some weird reason)

Success!

…Not really. See, my palate is accustomed to a certain level of yum that my current culinary skills simply cannot deliver. That is a terrible feeling. Talk about champagne taste on a beer budget. It stinks when you’ve eaten at some of the tastiest places on earth, yet you are serving up stuff that a 3rd grader could cook.

It is nice, though, to cook things that my family will actually eat. My very favorite morning this week was when Donald ate my banana bread for breakfast and Dean had a few bites as well, along with his standard baby grub. My heart was huge with joy. Still is.

And lastly this week, in an attempt to save a little money …since I was accidentally poking the boys with my crazy, out of control nails…I hacked them off myself. A good old-fashioned “Recession Manicure”…

Wow, practical AND sexy

Wow, practical AND sexy

…and the tips of my fingers are STILL numb. TOO SHORT. Plus I sliced open the ring finger on my right hand the other day opening the knife drawer. In all, I had 1 bum thumb and 2 bum fingers on the same hand…all while trying to do all of this cooking …just this week. Not to mention the vacuuming, dusting, laundry, laundry, laundry, baby care (all of it), play dates, time-outs, and the who-knows-whats.

Most days I feel like all the other moms are doing a waaaay better job than me…and that I should be waaaay better in the kitchen that I am, that my house should be cleaner, that I should get out more often and host play dates more often and try to meet other moms more often and lose more of this baby weight …and so on, but I also know that I am doing the absolute best that I possibly can.

I also know that I am having the time of my life. A lot of people really don’t understand that, though. I mean, how can you be happy about having lost your nearly six figure income? Easy…

1624a

…I feel like pinching myself because I am living my dream. So what if my cooking stinks right now and money is tight. I’ll learn to cook. In fact, one of my awesome girlfriends …who is very awesome in the kitchen…is organizing cooking classes at her  home coming up soon. I can’t WAIT! (I’m sure I’m not alone on that one…)

…and yes, I do know that there are about 14 different fonts on here. My eyeballs are glazing over. I need a font czar.



–by Carla Marion

It’s been a few days now, but word continues to spread about Brad Barton’s shocking layoff from Dallas/Fort Worth News/Talk CBS radio station KRLD (1080AM).

brad

The longtime meteorologist/news anchor/morning news host is among the most trusted names in Dallas/Fort Worth media and his unceremonious termination is still sending shock waves across North Texas, as you can read in the comment section of the previous post. Brad and I have been in touch quite a bit these past few days. I worry about him and Brenda more than he knows and having just been through the “your position has been eliminated” axing myself, I can bet I know exactly what he’s going through right now. But he is a man of extraordinarily strong faith with a family equally as strong and those two things matter more to him than any job could have ever mattered.

Here, once again, Brad gives us an update on what life has been like the past few days, seeing all of the comments on not only this blog, but the various others in the area:

“Wow.  I feel like Jimmy Stewart at the end of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ “the richest man in town.” 
I can’t thank Carla enough for setting a match to this little firestorm as only she can.  I never realized I had so many friends and not just listeners, of course, with friends like Carla and Don, you don’t need many others. ;}
 
The public comments here and in the media blogs have been kind beyond measure and almost all positive.  One negative was a former radio announcer who liked “my predecessor” better.  My most recent predecessor (several years ago) was Mark Watkins who co-anchored mornings with none other than Carla Marion.  As a former radio announcer myself, I can say Mark’s combination of voice, script delivery and recall puts him among the elite talents in broadcasting.  If I were in charge of finding network talent for a new national network, Mark Watkins would be the first one I called.  Compare him to any of the current radio network anchors and he’s already in the top ten percent.  I’ve been Mark’s supervisor, trainer and co-worker but I’m happiest just to be his friend.  I hope we can get together next week.   If the former radio announcer was referring to “my predecessor” in the KRLD Weather Center, there was none.  I started it from scratch on a borrowed desk with an HP 386 in the “wire room” of KRLD.  Maybe I’ll write a book. 
 
And to hear from David Conner and remember his great family was an extraordinary treat.  I hope we can meet again soon.  I finally broke down and put up a Facebook page to keep from sponging off Carla, but I warn you, I’m just a neophyte.”

Keep those comments coming, I know it means the world to Brad and Brenda.



{August 7, 2009}   Sad News

–by Carla Marion

My heart is heavy with worry and sadness for two very good men. 

Two of my former co-workers were laid off from my old station. One had been there 31 years and is known by name more than just about anyone else in this market. He is a giant in this business. He is also practically family. He calls himself my “Dutch Uncle”. We are close. His daughter is a dear friend of mine and her daughter is around my toddler son’s age and they play together. His wife shares her incredible recipes with me and I attempt to recreate them, but with no luck most of the time because there is no better cook. I had the honor of anchoring alongside him for a few years…the best years of my news career. We are connected. And now, sadly, we have yet another thing in common. Here, Brad Barton tells us what happened and says goodbye as only he can:

“Shortly after my shift ended at 10, I was called to Brian Purdy’s office where Kurt Johnson and the new H-R director met me.  I had been out of contract since April and was on notice to expect a salary reduction of up to one-third.  I thought they might be informing me the new lower rate was about to begin.  Instead, I was told my position was being eliminated.  Since I did weather for KRLD, TSN and KVIL, had several endorsement clients and anchored a 5-hour AM drive shift, it was not exactly clear which “position” they were eliminating.  The fact is, everyone knew it was my salary that was being eliminated. 
 
I believe Brian and Kurt were sincerely sorry about what they had to do (to everyone) Thursday and I have no reason to think otherwise.  My high opinion of both has not changed.  They were very clear about the fact that it was strictly a financial restructuring and nothing punitive. 

I was told no one in the newsroom knew what was going on yet.  When Paul sent me upstairs, I asked him if I should finish my afternoon weather feeds before going up.  He said no.  Again, I have no reason to believe that he was aware.  Because of that, I promised Brian and Kurt that I would finish my TSN and KRLD midday weather feeds and slip out without anyone knowing what had just happened.  As my brain was descending into a kind of crisis-fog, it didn’t occur to me that I was only the first “whackee”.  It was a little more of a struggle but I recorded the last 5 pieces and logged off.   
 
I almost kept that promise to slip out without anyone knowing, but I told Chris Schneider privately because I needed someone I could trust to look after my personal property in the Weather Center before it would be packed up for me.  I have books, large maps, office supplies and mementos, along with 2 TVs I was donating to the station so we could replace some of the inop units we had been missing for months.  As he is a Christian brother, he and I had a brief word of prayer there in my office right before I walked out for the last time.  We both know this life is only a vapor and my career at KRLD is not the most important thing in my life.  I have a great wife who has stuck with me 32 years, two great kids I’m extremely proud of, my health and an unbelievably supportive church family, plus the prettiest 2-year old girl in Collin County.  My problems are few and small. 
    
Kurt and I agreed on the phone that I will continue to do spots for the clients who’ve committed to annual rates until their contracts run out and I’ve fulfilled my obligations.  I have no interest in burning any bridges at KRLD or CBS or causing any collateral damage, but you knew that already.   
 
Brenda was not going to be home all day, having lunch with the girls in Allen, and I didn’t want you to find out second-hand, so I called her from the road first, then I called you.  I talked with Mike last night on the Big Island. 
 
I wish I could express my gratitude to the listeners publicly but we know that’s not how our business works.  Bob Hathaway is the unretired champion and Neil Sperry takes my place as the second longest beard at KRLD.    
 
For the record, my broadcasting career at KRLD lasted 31 years, 4 months and 3 days for which I am extremely grateful.”
   

 

My other “work husband”, Mark Watkins, spent the last 7 and 1/2 years at the station. We have history and most of it includes laughing so hard that stuff came out our noses. He is a walking thesaurus/encyclopedia/dictionary. I loved working alongside him because of his brain, and because we just cracked each other up so easily. (It makes bringing you bad news every day a little easier) He and I shared the anchor desk for years.

And today they are both out of work.

Out of work + in this recession + in the radio business = not a good combination.

But they are both supremely talented men who will undoubtedly find work very soon.



{June 12, 2009}   It’s Been HOW Long?

—by Carla

Six months ago today, I was laid off from my job as a Dallas radio news anchor.

I may have actually looked a little cuter and way more pissed when I was let go.

I may have actually looked a little cuter and way more pissed when I was let go.

No “Debbie Downer” drama here. Just a few thoughts about how my life has changed in that time. 

The new catchphrase these days seems to be “New Normal”. “What’s your new normal? How are you living your life now since the economy went south?” In fact, ABC News is hitting this theme pretty hard right now and Recession Mama has been talking “New Normal” since we got our cute, little feet off the ground. 

I can say with 100% certainty that being laid off was the absolute best thing that could have ever happened to me. I’m not saying that to snub my former employer or anyone else in the world, I really mean it. I had two smiling faces here at home who needed me. At the time of my layoff, my oldest son was 20 months old and the baby was just 5 weeks old. And although I had never wanted to be a working mom, I had resigned myself to the fact that it was the way it had to be. In fact, I had started writing a book about my experiences, entitled, “…But I Don’t WANT It All: Confessions of a Reluctant Career Woman Who JUST Wanted to be a Mom.”

Here, I describe the moment when everything changed three years ago…

“When I found out we were pregnant (with son #1), I was so SO happy and so nervous and so everything…just like any first-time mom-to-be. And I knew one thing for sure: I’d be quitting my job and stepping back from my career for a few years until the little one(s) went off to school, then I’d make my way back into the workforce. I had it all planned out in my head, how it would go down with the husband, when I told him about my plans. We were on a “babymoon” cruise…I was 3 months pregnant…we were in our stateroom, looking out the porthole when I started talking. I told him that since my contract was almost up, it would make sense to tell the bosses that I would not be coming back because I was going to stay home to raise my child. But things didn’t go as I had imagined in my head all this time. See, in my head, we’d embrace and he’d have tears in his eyes, and I’d wipe them away, and he’d tell me that he couldn’t be luckier than to be with a woman who was willing to give up her successful career…one she has worked so hard for…for so many years, to raise his child…and we’d embrace more, and cry together, then we’d hit the buffet. What ACTUALLY happened was much, much different.” 

I’ll stop there. Needless to say, I became a working mom.

(And for the record, I would never dream of passing judgement on working moms. Remember, I was one. These are my personal thoughts I’m sharing with you now.)

As much as I had tormented myself about going back to work with baby #1, I had completely reprogrammed my brain to BE that working mom with baby #2. Then the universe said, “Naaaaaah…change of plans again” on December 12, 2008.

In the last 6 months, I’ve gone from being a working mom (who was home at 11:30 every morning to spend the rest of the day with her baby boy) to being a stay-at-home mom with 2 kids. BAM…just like that. Talk about on the job training. I went from having a twice-a-month housekeeper…to doing it myself. I went from ordering out and bringing in food and eating out…to learning to cook (and I mean learning everything). No more buying whatever I wanted to buy because I could buy it (not that we racked up credit card debt..it was all cash, but that meant no savings). 

This transition has not been all about money, either. It’s been a deeper life lesson.

bitch-slap

I was basically bitch-slapped back into reality. And you know what? I have loved every minute of it. That is not to say I’ve been running around screaming, “Yippee, I was laid off! This doesn’t suck at all!” But there is something about this “new normal” that I have been able to accept rather easily. I am glad this happened. It has put everything back into perspective for me…and it feels great.

Happy Friday !



{June 9, 2009}   Look Out World Here I Come!

By: Heather

graduation

My niece graduated from high school last week! Now it’s time for her to take on the world.  Or more realistically, it’s time for her to say goodbye to old friends and move on to college.

She’s a smart young lady who’s fortunate to be going to a good school. But will that be enough to make her successful in life? That’s the big question.

She certainly has some advantages. She’s a smart cookie, who has a supportive family, so I have no doubt she’ll do well. But she’ll have to buckle down and work hard to stand out from the rest. 

I wish somebody would’ve slapped some common sense into me about the “real world” when I graduated from high school and college.

My mom tried to warn me. But I wasn’t listening.  I was so naive about what was going to happen next.

I had a “look out world here I come attitude” but was shocked to learn that the world didn’t really give two hoots about my arrival on the “grown up” scene.

Ouch.

I was even more devastated to learn that I wasn’t the only girl who wanted to be the next Diane Sawyer or Murphy Brown.

Murphybrown_1[1]

“Whaaat? But I’m unique right? I’ve got a “can-do” attitude.”

“Whatever honey. Now get in line behind the other chick who has a better resume, more experience and actually knows someone in the business.”

“Experience? Contacts? But I have a degree. Isn’t that enough?”

“Hardly.”

I was slightly delusional in thinking that employers would want to hire me immediately if I just sent them a resume. Not so.

graduate

 

“Wow! This is so much harder than I thought.”

I had just about given up when I finally met the cousin of a college friend. She worked at a radio station and knew about an entry level news job. She told me when I could find the operations manager roaming the halls.

I literally backed him into a corner and refused to move until he agreed to a specific time and date for an interview.  

He looked slightly afraid and finally agreed.

“I’ll work for cheap and take whatever hours you can give me.” I told him during the interview.

Now you’re talking honey!

That was basically my start in the world of news. Not quite the “big splash” I had anticipated.

It took years of working overnights, early mornings, working for free, working for little pay and working two and three jobs just to get the experience I needed.

I’m still no Diane Sawyer. Never will be. And Murphy Brown doesn’t actually exist. But I can honestly say I feel pretty good about what I have accomplished.

Would I do it all again? I’m not sure I would’ve taken the same path had I known how hard it was going to be. Maybe. But it’s really hard to say.

The world taught me a big lesson as a young adult. It takes more than a can-do attitude and a good work ethic to get ahead. Sure they help tremendously. But going to the right school, landing a good internship and networking are just as important.

caps

My best advice to my niece and other graduates: get prepared to fail and succeed. You’ll experience both.

A degree isn’t a ticket for stability and success. It’s a jumping off point to an even longer journey. You have to be prepared to suceed, fail and accept many challenges. Your character will be defined by how you handle them.

“Look out world here we come!” It’s a good mantra. 

But a more realistic one would read: “Hello world. I’m going to do the best that I can.”

42-16875340



{April 22, 2009}   Old Dog, Meet New Trick

By Carla

dogdrawingage4When you’ve done the same thing over and over for nearly a dozen years, you get comfy. You get used to things being a certain way. You’re set. Or so you think.

Just like millions of other hard working, dedicated Americans, I am having to reprogram myself and learn new tricks…and you know what? I LOVE it!

I started at my previous place of employment (a radio station with a news/talk format in Dallas) when I was 24 years old. I started working part time hours and working any shift available. I was a nobody. For the next (almost) 12 years, I worked my way up the ladder doing everything there was to do on the news side of the operation. Learning new aspects of the business was thrilling to me. I loved being associate editor, even though it meant no one respected me because I was the new kid on the block. But I was learning and I loved it. I also loved street reporting because it was a huge challenge and it forced me to think on my feet at all times. I won several awards as a reporter, in fact. I then became editor of a drive-time news program and thrived in that position…winning awards in that capacity as well. And finally, having made it to the anchor chair in the 5th largest market in the U-S at the age of 29…well I felt that the dues I had paid all those years…had finally paid off for me. I anchored for the next six glorious years. (My dear friends who are good at math, there’s your bone) I was set. I had a contract. I was there to stay. Then the layoff four months ago.

I realized right away that I wasn’t trained to do anything other than news…and more specifically, radio news. Sure I could edit (produce) newscasts, I could report and I could anchor, but my business is hurting and no one is hiring right now. Then this wonderful opportunity came along. Be a back-up anchor at what used to be “the competition”, anchoring whenever they need someone to fill-in. It doesn’t pay much and I probably won’t be there very often, but it keeps my name out there and it keeps my brain from fizzling. Not to mention the fact that it’s a wonderful opportunity to work with some extraordinary people.

I went in for training this week. It was the first time in nearly 12 years that I had trained at any place other than my previous employer. I’m laughing at myself now, but here I was….a grown woman…married mother of two…nervously chugging my mocha and shaking and giggling in the car on the way to the new station. “What if I don’t understand their computer system?”, “What if I get lost?”, “Did I pick the right outfit?!” (I’m a girl…what do you expect) All of those questions and a million others were racing through my head on the drive in. After all, I hadn’t worked in SEVEN MONTHS. I couldn’t believe it myself, but it’s true. I went on maternity leave last September and was laid off while still on leave….so I haven’t actually worked in seven months. That’s a first for me. So having to go in for training was a very scary prospect for this old dog. I mean, I wasn’t supposed to be learning new tricks at this point in my career, right? I was supposed to be set…and moving up, up, up, right?

Naaaaah.

Training was exhilarating and I loved every minute of it. I’m serious. I loved it. I was “getting it”. It wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.

Not only did it go far better than I expected, it was a huge boost to this mama’s self esteem. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but hey…it is a little tough on the feelings when you get laid off…and knowing that you’re “wanted” somewhere else, even in a fill-in capacity, well it just plain feels good. And those good feelings seemed to spill over into the rest of my day. This stinky economy needs more good feeling spillage, don’t you think? I’ve made up my mind, I’m hiring my housekeeper back so she can feel good again. KIDDING. It’s a joke. Those are free.  

I go back for more torture training today and a I’ll go back a few more times in the coming weeks to make sure I “get it” and am ready for when they do need me to come in and do the “real deal”.

Whew…! Just another challenge. I love those…but y’all know that.

Move over ego. There’s no room for you here. It’s a new day.



By Katy

Recently, a comment on a recent post was misinterpreted, and when I started to explain what I had meant, I ended up with writing almost an entire blog post. So I thought I’d share my discussion:

In a comment to Carla’s recent post, I wrote: “The recession is helping us all slow down!” And here’s what a reader wrote: Can’t say I agree with you on this. This is from my own person observation with friends and family: People who have lost jobs or had their salary cut back back up to 30% are now working TWO jobs to make ends meet. They have done away with conveniences such as the cleaning lady, yard guy, etc. and are doing that themselves, too, in additional to large number of additional hours worked. People that still have jobs are working long and harder than ever. Salaried folk are getting to work earlier, staying later, etc. all in hopes of keeping their job. Hourly people are working “off the clock” trying to keep their jobs. With layoffs, the people left at companies have had their duties increased beyond what they can physically do in one day and are totally stressed trying to get it all done. I know I haven’t slowed down. I’ve gone from a job that was manageable at 8-9 hours a day, to working 10-11 hrs a day and working at home after that and on weekends to boot.

Let me, first, digress for just a moment. I am not trying to “defend” what I said, or argue. We, Recession Mamas, love our readers! I am personally humbled when I meet friends or hear from total strangers that they’re reading this blog every day and that they can relate and are glad we’re trying to help each other out and tell our stories. I’m happy to hear a friend, recently, tell me that instead of being depressed or wallowing in this recession, this blog feels very “hopeful” to her. So this post is in no way going against what a reader wrote. I just want to make sure I’m conveying the idea that I believe that what this recession has taught ME, personally, is that love is important and that work should not define who I am.

So here’s what I started telling this dear reader (shortened and altered slightly):

I didn’t mean “slowing down” in terms of work. Believe me! I always seem to have two jobs, and even before this recession I’ve always worked long days. When I’m not working, I volunteer. In college, I had three jobs. For a long period in my younger life, I worked 7 days a week — Monday through Friday at a local TV station, and weekends, I worked at a local radio station. So, I would never be the one to say that we’re slowing down, in terms of work. What I really meant was slowing down and seeing our lives in a real way…that it isn’t all about money…that what really matters is love (or as the Beatles say)…”all we need is love.” In fact, my fiance and I thought we might fight MORE because of the pressures of not having two incomes, at certain times this year, but instead…we’ve gotten even closer. So, although I’m a practical girl who grew up with a Grandma that told me…Love doesn’t buy the bread…I slowed down just enough to see that love and support help get you through the tough times.

All You Need Is Love

"All You Need Is Love"

Let me now expound on that. Before this recession, I truly saw a lot of my relationship with my fiance, financially. I don’t think I really realized this, until the recession hit. I was always thinking about equality in our relationship, also in terms of how much we made, how much we contributed to paying for needs and wants, and thinking that whoever made more money should get the right to have more say in the relationship. It took this recession before I realized that this was all crazy! Oprah’s show, “Recession Proofing a Marriage,” started a provocative and stimulating discussion for us. Would a marriage survive if one person lost his or her job? For one couple on the show, it didn’t seem to be good news. After the husband lost his job, the wife moved out and took their child and her parents took her in. They also wanted her to get a divorce from the now “loser” husband who couldn’t provide for his family. The wife admitted that she expected her husband to be in the driver’s seat and always saw her role as passenger. Using this analogy, one blog reader asked if they were in a car and her husband had a serious injury or couldn’t drive anymore, would the wife just sit there and let the car crash and risk their lives? Or would she step up, take over the wheel, so that both of them could live? (I think this is worth mentioning because it’s how I feel about a good relationship.) So, after watching the show, my fiance and I were appalled at the woman and her parents! What?! Just because the husband lost his job, he also has to lose his wife and no longer be a father to his own child anymore? How and why does money define us so much?

When my fiance and I first started dating, he told me that his biggest fear was not being able to provide for his family. I think this is a big fear for a lot of men, but no one had ever said it out loud to me. While dating, money was never much of an issue. But when we decided to get married, we started talking about finances since it’s the #1 thing people argue about. We soon discovered, to my dismay, that we have extremely different financial situations and very different ways of handling our personal finances. We started to argue quite a bit over this “new” discovery because although I have never dreamt about the fairytale wedding, I HAVE dreamt about a better financial picture. Well, after the recession hit, and my “steady” gig of almost a year and a half ended (really long for television, I may add), I started to “slow down” and see my fiance in a radically different way. No longer did I see our relationship in terms of how much money we made. (And yes, it was partly because I was no longer bringing in any money besides unemployment.) He was the one who went to work every day, and I was very unproductive (for about two weeks, then before I got another gig, I decided to start volunteering.) But while I was out of work and unproductive, my fiance never once said to me…”Hey, sweetie…since you’re not working right now, do you think you could do more around the house?” Instead, when he came home after a very long day at work (usually 10-12 hour days), if I hadn’t made dinner, he would just roll up his sleeves and do it! He was supportive (told me everyday that I deserved a vacation after working so much in the last year or so), kind, uncomplaining (Well, he never really complains about much. I just had not noticed before.) All of a sudden, he turned into the man of my dreams, and I didn’t even know what those dreams were made of before! And although I used to be super cynical and agreed with my Grandmother that “Love doesn’t buy the bread.” I, now, see that Love may not buy the bread, but it definitely helps you to get through the hard times together. It also helps that I slowed down and really saw what I am grateful for…my health, my supportive family and friends and their good health, my loft (a roof over my head), nice and fun neighbors, no debt and a year’s worth of expenses saved so I can eat and sleep at night, and most importantly, a partner in life who makes me laugh and gives me love and support. I think he will make a wonderful provider for his future family, and I am so lucky he found me.



{April 6, 2009}   Meet Carla

Picture 6

I was supposed to have my hair done at my fancy Dallas salon just before Christmas, 2008. In fact, my appointment was for 10:30 the morning of December 12, 2008. Cut, color, style, the whole mess. I would drop about $200 including tip that morning. But the universe had other plans for me that day. I was called into the office (a major radio chain) for a 10:00am meeting on the last day of my maternity leave with Dean, my 2nd son. My highlights would have to wait. My “position had been eliminated”. I had just been laid off. And just like that, in the snap of a finger, my life was sent spinning. Everything was up in the air. And since no one is exactly handing out radio news anchor jobs right now, for the first time in my life, I’ve joined the ranks of the unemployed, just like millions of other hard-working Americans.

I’m Carla Marion, wife and mom to 2 super cool baby boys. I’ve never had to budget or save money a day in my life. Until now, that is. And boy what a learning experience this has been so far! (Coupons, seriously…? And I have to cook my own meals now? Lovely)

I will, at times, be brutally honest about this new journey … but most times I try to laugh about it all. So join me on my penny pinching adventure as my family and I learn how to make do with the money we do have.



et cetera