Sunday, August 15, 2010

When You're Out of Work, Make Lemonade

This was not a good time to buy an RV, which is exactly what we did before my husband got laid off from work.

He’s in the construction field—electrician—but building is down, money is tight, and even our relatives are taping together their loose wires rather than calling an electrician.

So he’s been hanging around the house, reading the newspaper until noon, peeking over my shoulder to ask me what I’m writing, and generally driving me nuts.

If this is a sign of his retirement days, we’re in big trouble.

When he was first laid off, I gave him plenty of honey-do tasks to complete, like fix all the broken stuff and change a light bulb or two. But he still managed to find plenty of time to read my emails, critique my shopping receipts, and tell me what I should write.

Then, when I saw one of the neighborhood kids setting up a lemonade stand, I had a brilliant idea. You know the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, I have a new one: “When life lays you off, make a lemonade stand.”

Lemonade stands seem to be the one reliable business in these unreliable economic times. I figured all we needed to do was cut open a large cardboard box, hang a correctly spelled sign, whip up some lemonade, and start making money.

As CFO, I’d finance the business with all my column-writing money. As CEO, he’d manage it.

I could just picture him, out there on the sidewalk behind that cardboard booth, hawking tasty lemonade to thirsty neighbors for a hefty profit. Maybe the kids who already had their stands wouldn’t like it, but hey, this is America. It was time they learned an important lesson about healthy corporate competition.

Unfortunately, my husband didn’t even apply for the job. He was sure he’d be hanging up a “Closed due to the economy” sign on the stand by the end of the first business day. His motto had become, “When life gives you lemons, you just have to suck it up.”

So now we’re thinking about ways we can cut back. Sell the RV comes to mind immediately. But it may end up being our future home if things don’t get better. I offered to give up HBO, salon haircuts, extra cups of Starbucks lattes, and new clothes to wear when I write my columns.

He’s going to cut down on driving the SUV, barbecuing steaks, buying beer, and wearing underpants. And we’re both going to eat out less, turn off more lights, clean the house ourselves, and skip the dream vacation for an overnight in the RV parked in front of our house.

Or, we could take the RV on the road and bring that fresh lemonade straight to the people in the Valley, much like the ever-popular ice-cream truck. We could blast cool music from our radio speakers, like Lady Gaga or the National Anthem, and offer a variety of lemonade drinks, like Pina Lemonada and Lemonade Latte. It’s sure to be a hit.

Because sometimes, when you’re out of work, you just have to give that lemon a twist.


Blogger vicki18 said...

My 5 year old grandson Eitan had a lemonade stand not long ago and I think he made about $5. Want me to see if he'd take in a partner???
All kidding aside, this happened to us before we moved up here. Not fun.
Let's all make lemonade.
Penny: do you write a column besides your blog?
Marilyn Diamond

August 18, 2010 at 6:55 PM  

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