Refusing to buy all this news about the economy being in the ol' litter box? Well, believe it. It's true! And how does your pal Jean know this? Because I'm being forced to—get this—take a second job! What more crystal-clear indicator do you need that our country isn't doing so hot?

That royal grouch Hubby Rick absolutely insisted I go back into the workforce "for real" this time. Rick has always had a problem with my laid-back, inspired career, but now he's claiming I have no choice in the matter, because the tire center isn't giving anyone a raise for at least a year and is forcing the employees to pay higher health insurance premiums. So now I'm back out peddling the ol' resume. (Of course, you don't see Rick looking for another job, or cutting back on his paintball weekends and nightly excursions to Tacky's Tavern! He says that he's earning enough money; it's me who isn't holding up her end of the bargain. I suppose he thinks the $100 I earn every week selling old paperbacks, VHS tapes, and crocheted bathroom tissue covers at the indoor flea market is just chump change?) And despite my many years of part-time job experience, I'm finding work a lot tougher to find these days. Not even Orange Julius is hiring, and they were always desperate. I mean, for ages it seemed like every time I went to the mall food court a "Help Wanted" sign hung above those churning-juice things!

There's another reason why Rick's insisting I get another job—my minimum monthly credit card payments have nearly doubled! Like, slap me with a cold fish, why don't you? Isn't that a fine how-do-you-do to a loyal shopaholic? Sorry to be a Cindy Cynic, but I think those of us who buy lots of stuff, including many things we don't need, are the unsung heroes that kept the wheels of prosperity rolling for so long, and we deserve to be treated accordingly! (If you're a commerce secretary, consider diverting some of that federal bailout money to 1567 Blossom Meadows Drive, Apartment 48B. Rick and I would only need a few hundred bucks a month for a few years—a relative bargain compared to what some broke investment bank needs!)

But as you Jeanketeers know, I always look on the bright side, and the silver lining here is that Rick isn't on the unemployment line. Actually, we Teasdales are really the lucky ones in all this. We rent, so we don't have some crazy subprime mortgage to pay off. We never got beyond high school, so we don't have enough education to have jobs in those various smart-person trades, which have undergone tons of layoffs, from what I hear. So you see, our lack of ambition really is an asset.

And, unlike a lot of people, we have something very crucial to fall back on in case things get even worse: our collectibles! Up until recently, I've always considered Rick's die-cast NASCAR miniatures and my doll collection our retirement fund. I still do, but now I realize our little golden nest egg could also come in quite handy for extra cash, should we need it. Sure, it would be hard to part with my Totally Hair Barbie doll, but after 15 years she has to be worth quite a lot now. After all, she was the most popular Barbie in history! (And my mom always likes to complain about all the "worthless crap" I collect!)

Anyhow, I'm willing to bite the bullet and take a job I might not be altogether happy with, at least until this economic depression thing blows over. After all, we all have to make sacrifices in life. Where I draw the line at, though, is doing naughty no-no things for money, so please don't ask. (I'm not addressing you, Jeanketeers, I mean that Dirty Dan who keeps sending me e-mails telling me he'd like to "quaff from [my] big dripping mug of melted butter.")