Call it life, call it no longer being able to stand your lover’s habit of clipping his/her toenails anywhere he/she wants, but unless you live a fairytale life, there comes a time when some relationships just have to end. Whether it was bound to happen, the stress of living “in this economy” probably did not help the relationship last, especially if the dynamic consisted of one person working and secretly hating their unemployed significant other for getting to sleep in. When it’s time to finally call it quits, the former couple is left to make the tough decision of who has to move out in order to move on.

Normally, a break up involving a live-in couple would involve someone throwing all their ex’s belonging out the window while yelling, “And stay out!” because that’s how normal is portrayed in movies. However, in these “difficult economic times”, a move like that could prove drastic for both parties. If the person staying put is unemployed or fearful of losing their job, chances are being left with the task of paying full rent or the mortgage would result in eviction or foreclosure. For the person who would typically be thrown out, finding a new place without a job or signing a new lease knowing a current job could very well end the next day, could ultimately result in living in a storage unit with their scattered belongings, slumming it with friends, or worse: moving back home with the parents where mom won’t stop speculating about what went wrong.

In the end, more and more ex-couples are finding themselves financially dependent on one another – at least in terms of their living situation. Clothes might be tossed out the window, but then hurriedly reclaimed when the tosser realizes homelessness or other alternatives might be worse off than awkwardly learning to live with an ex. There are plenty of things to discuss such as who is going to sleep where, or if there’s only one bed – whether it can still be shared, how nagging rights are out the window since such investments are no longer relevant, and how they can explain to friends and family about how living together after breaking up is not as crazy as it seems even though secretly they know it is. Sucking it up and taking one for the money team is about all the unemployed can do in such a situation – but the minute either party starts dating, it’s time to turn up the sugar daddy/mama search up a notch and find someone new to hole up with, which everyone knows is the best way to heal.

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admin on August 7, 2009

Remember the good ol’ days of childhood when we were giant brats and refused to eat anything that wasn’t on the kids menu? Vegetables were a big no no, meats were refused unless in nugget form, and peanut butter and jelly went together better than the adults’ wine and cheese. There were those phases were we would only eat things based on a particular color. For example, red day meant spaghetti with marinara sauce and orange meant mac n’ cheese. The simpler the food, the easier it was to eat.

Well, at some point along the way we lost the desire to live off peanut butter jelly sandwiches, got tired of making cheese sauce out of powder, and steered clear of processed, unrecognizable meats. Some think this happened post-college when jobs equaled money, and money equaled having to expand horizon until a refined palate was developed. This time around, simple meant organic, local ingredients, with freshness being of great concern. Cost meant nothing if it meant the earth and health were put first – until that pink slip of unemployment doom was handed out.

Call it nostalgia or call it being broke, but the combination of having very little money and a lot of time to think about the past, present, and future oftentimes results in the unemployed binge eating foods they probably shouldn’t be eating but are too filling and cheap to resist. Those days of eating organic and preservative free get thrown out the window along with fresh foods. If the vegetables and fruits aren’t jarred, frozen, or pureed into sauce, they’re non-existent in the unemployed’s diet.

Shopping in bulk at Costco in an effort to save money by spending way too much upfront is also one of the contributors to a poor unemployment diet and subsequent weight gain. How can one resist/avoid making pb&j sandwiches all day every day when they have eight loaves of bread and gallons of peanut butter and jelly to finish? Chicken nuggets are so cheap and delicious with all that stolen ketchup, and provide plenty of protein and beak pieces. And boy do kids (and parents) have it easy these days when they can enjoy easy Mac by just adding water and popping it in the microwave. It’s an unemployed person’s dream to be able to fix a meal without perishable goods like milk and butter. Overcooked pasta and somewhat spoiled ketchup is a great way to emulate the taste of another childhood favorite – canned Spagetti-O’s which are just way too expensive to buy without a job.

Basically, the unemployed will go through a phase where they will eat all things carbohydrate-y and fatty until their stomachs scream, “No more!” At that point, it’s time to finish up the giant can of beans and huge jar of nacho cheese, and call it a day for cheap classics that will inevitably lead to an early death. Then, it’s time to use those food stampsto class it up at Whole Foods.

Going on vacation, as rewarding as it may be, can also be exhausting. Just ask anyone who has ever tried to make the most of their vacation days by working up to the last minute before taking off, and then immediately returning to work with not even a weekend or an extra day off to recover. It is not uncommon for said vacationers to come back declaring they need a vacation to recover from their vacation.

The unemployed, as ridiculous as it may be, have it even worse when it comes to taking time off for a vacation. For starters, many unemployed people from this recession are basically already on a paid vacation – courtesy of the government. They are essentially paid to do nothing with the expectation that they continuously job hunt in order to receive unemployment benefits. While they might be struggling to make ends meet while desperately pretending to look for a job, at least they’re able to do it from the comforts of their own home, in front of the TV, wearing the same pajamas for days. That alone draws envy from scores of employed people who would kill for a couple of days off to meander like the unemployed.

So when the unemployed actually decide they need a break from being paid to do nothing and head out on a vacation, they end up being surprised by the toll it might take. After getting accustomed to not leaving the house for days at a time and pathetically trying to make up for inactivity by killing themselves to complete backed up errands, having to balance time with leisure, relaxation, and fruitful activity can be somewhat incomprehensible for the unemployed. A real vacation is very different from a forced-time-off vacation.

Days of eating out, visiting friends, site seeing, and experiencing sun for the first time in ages can leave the unemployed feeling invigorated. A few days into the vacation and the unemployed might even appear to radiate positivity and a newfound optimism for finding a new job so that the next time they travel, they can actually afford it. “This is exactly what I needed” is a thought that runs through a vacationing unemployed soul’s mind, finally ready to return to the grind.

And then the unemployed face the daunting return home – a seemingly endless road journey, multiple layover flights, overbooked Greyhound buses – whatever was the cheapest option to get away no longer seems as grand getting back. When they finally get back to find their email inbox empty, answering machine blank save for automated telemarketers, gone is that optimism. “Forget it, I’m hiding out in bed for a few more days,” is the thought that runs through their defeated and exhausted minds. “I need a vacation for this vacation from my vacation.”