We haven't had a good Christmas in years, economically-speaking.
Of course, we always have a nice Christmas with the children and their significant others. There's always lots of food and drink, though fewer and much cheaper presents as the years go by.
These are challenging times for many of us and it seems the only ones benefitting are The Cash Store and Money Mart, as people try to keep up with Hydro and Rogers' bills that are the size of mortgage payments.
We got behind about two months ago, thanks to God's mystical sense of humor. My husband Scott sells Subarus and, this season, Subaru sightings are as rare as Pandas in the wild. The tsunami and earthquake that devastated Japan have resulted in terrible collateral damage in the car industry, and commissions for people like my poor Scott have plummeted.
His last pay cheque barely covered food let alone the utilities.
Of course, it doesn't help that Scott is married to a blogger who doesn't make enough money as a freelance writer to pay income tax. It's not for lack of trying, just an always tight market. I'm like the singer Ron Sexsmith who may be one of Canada's most famous songwriters but couldn't afford a piano to write his songs.
We artsies are destined to be inspired but poor, modern versions of Vincent Van Gogh. No where did I put my ear clippers?
A month or so ago, I foolishly set about to become a companion for seniors, you know, to help them out by taking them places and doing their errands. But I discovered quickly that all they want is to pay someone nothing to drive them around and stick the driver with the gas bill.
And nobody told me that I needed liability insurance.
The Loser sign on my forehead is growing more neon by the day.
So Christmas was staring us down, ominously, once again this year -- daring us to fail.
But then something happened and it changed everything. We got a call on our nearly silent telephone line from a group that needed a video produced for their web page. And they needed it immediately.
We don't get many calls like these anymore. They are so rare that I hardly ever look at the phone.
But it was a geniune call for work in our field.
Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem! Joy to the World! We're going to have a Holly Jolly Christmas after all.
So we're working this weekend to pull off the impossible and deliver a video by mid-next week. And get paid -- just before Christmas.
This isn't the first time we've found ourselves in the middle of It's a Wonderful Life.
It seems to happen every year. We always get a little job that will pay for Christmas. Not Christmas in Whistler, just a nice home style Christmas with no burgeoning VISA bills at the end of it.
Christmas with the Hydro and heat still on.
Christmas with a working phone.
Just when Christmas appears to be dead to us, somehow we pull it out.
It's a funny way to live, but, ironically, it makes us grateful for the kindness we receive each and every year. We never take our miracle of Christmas for granted.
However it comes, we'll take it.