Inflation: Prices Are Increasing From Gas to Groceries but My Income is the Same

Pandemic surging prices are hitting my pockets and everyone else’s, too.

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Photo by Tatiana Maramygina via Redshot

As we slowly climb out of the depths of over sixteen months of this pandemic, one cannot turn their cheek to the soaring prices. Everything from gas to groceries to plane tickets has sky-rocketed in pricing when compared to several months prior. I have noticed the steady increase just over two weeks ago, but it first struck me as insane when I went to have some additional work to my car at my mechanic’s shop and had been informed that my previous quote for a 4-tire balance of $39.99 had risen to $95.99.

Luckily for me, I had my estimate from the week before when I took my car in for an oil change with their quoted price of $39.99. I pulled out my estimate which was initialed and dated by me and handed it to the representative. She consulted with the store manager and charged me what my quote listed, regardless of their recent price hike. So, they lost over $60.00 in this case.

Many tire shops offer free balancing as part of tire packages that are purchased from them, but you’ll have to pay for it in other cases. On average, plan to spend between $15 and $75, depending on your vehicle, the tires, and the shop. — Chris Teague, The Drive

In just one week, the store manager stated the prices of the following had increased; oil changes, labor, tire balancing, and basic maintenance for one’s vehicle. I was not the only person hit with a surprise when I walked through the door — he said. Even he could not prepare himself for what occurred while he was away on vacation.

Imagine returning to the store you manage and bombarded with several recent changes, especially to the pricing of which you’ve been familiar for years and those have changed — drastically.

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

When I purchased, and I counted, twenty-seven items from my community Walmart in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this past Friday, I was greeted with a price tag of $78.22. Just three weeks ago, many of the same items in my cart, save a knick-knack or two, cost me $66.58. Now, you may think an increase of just under twelve dollars isn’t much, but couple that with the steady rise in gas prices, at local eateries, in various other grocery stores, and in apartment/housing markets, and one could end up in the poor-house before an eyelash bats.

As I stated, I am not the only one affected by inflation, everyone is. Based on information reported by Emma Withrow with WNCT9 in Charlotte, The Labor Department states the current prices are the highest tallied since August 2008.

A recent rise in inflation hit everyday Americans where it hurts most, the pocketbook. Some economists are saying it’s temporary, others are saying it’s a big threat, but people everywhere are being affected regardless of how long it might last. — Emma Withrow, WNCT9, Charlotte

Farmers and those working in agriculture have been hit with heavy increases in pricing as it pertains to their specialty and they can dish out a few more cents here and there, but eventually, we will have to take on the brunt of those costs and we already have.

“When you go to increase in the cost of a dozen eggs to produce by 10, 15, 20 cents, you can pretty much eliminate the profits out of it really quickly,” Simpson explained, “We can’t take it forever. We’ll take it here for a little while. But sooner or later, it’s gonna have to trickle down to the consumer.” — Alex Simpson, Simpson’s Eggs, courtesy of WNCT9, Charlotte

Several restaurants are dealing with price hikes as well and they’re not fairing well from it — which means, we see the additional cost to us as the consumer when popping in to pick up our favorite lunch or swinging by to retrieve our family’s evening dinner.

The price index is up by 5.4 percent . . . Experts blame inflated prices on high demand due to the pandemic. They expect inflation pressures to ease with time. — Colette Stein, WXII12, Winston-Salem

How long will this last is the question? As it stands, no one is truly sure.

Getting by because I have to.

With prices increasing for everything I purchase, there’s only one thing that has not increased — my income. Recently, I lost my secondary income with a part-time editing and publishing job and I am steadily looking into replacing that supplemental funding. I have been working full time with my “main” job for three years and within this current department for eight months.

From last November up to now, there has been no change in my income at my primary job. I am hopeful this will prove well in a few more months when I am due for my yearly evaluation. But until that time, my pockets are taking a hit from this most recent inflation and I fear this will not end soon.

I am searching for a new place to live and currently have three property tours set up for next Saturday, July 31, 2021. Upon researching apartment homes/condos/townhouses for rent in Winston-Salem, NC, and a few surrounding towns/cities, I have noticed an increase within this market as well. I could only shake my head and sigh heavily.

Money really makes the world go ‘round.


Originally published via NewsBreak.

New Work

An Experiment

new hire on November 09th,
transferral complete. I’m learning
so much about a market that
was not mine before. 
the difference between my
previous home and my new
one is that I’m actually at home.
stay with me, please — you’ll
understand soon.
 
I love what I do and where I
work, yet I’d forgotten
what it felt like to be safe
and now I remember — 
now, I know.

Hundreds of calls burst
through my queue — I don’t
know these names, they aren’t
familiar, but I am learning them.
each patient has their own
way of presenting themselves as
I work feverishly on the other end
of the line searching for the best
appointment times for 
their procedures. 
it’s a totally different ball game
with an entirely different 
outcome — yet being remarkable
has to stand out.

My longest call was an hour
and ten minutes and my patient
commended me for my patience
in assisting her — I thought about
my grandmother and I knew 
I would want someone to take their
time and do everything they needed
to in helping her and making 
sure she felt comfortable during the
scheduling process too.

4 MRIs of four separate body parts,
2 appointment dates and arrival times,
prep instructions, address for the facility,
and a transfer to the billing department
for a complete estimate of the costs . . .
if I make it to my 70s, I hope someone
will be my Job
I hope someone will understand 
I move slower than I once did.

Training is rigorous — 
we’re not simply thrown out
to an ocean of open mouths, however
we’ll sink or swim. 
I aim to swim like I always do
and three weeks in, I haven’t
drowned. I am still treading
water at a pace comfortable 
for me, however, excelling — 
hitting all cylinders according
to plan.

Working from home provides
a sense of peace I recalled
years ago in my introductions 
to various workplaces. 
everything I want and need
is here — I know where 
things are, I don’t have to
go searching for them.

My dog gets multiple short
walks every day and 
my mind, body, and soul feels
refreshed. 
it’s still early — but I would
be willing to stake several
claims on this quote: 
“Home is where the heart is.”

It is. mine has stopped aching
since my first day of 
new work.


Originally published on Medium.

Are We Ready for the Change We Need in America?

Or will we mask our ugliness again and place it back in hiding?

Photo by Vlada Karpovich via Pexels

The United States of America has a new President-Elect and Vice President-Elect. The news was announced by way of several prestigious media outlets on Saturday, November 07, 2020, after a grueling week of counting ballots and watching electoral votes. If you have been as anxious and fear-ridden as I have, then that moment created an emotional sigh of relief for you. But what does this mean for America?

The last four years revealed who we really are as a nation. America’s previous president, who currently feels there has been voter fraud, falsely and boldly claimed he had been re-elected and has filed lawsuits in several states demanding recounts, has no intention of conceding professionally. His brutally inflated ego is losing its air, and we all get to watch an epic meltdown during a time of collective exasperation.

We are tired. We are worn thin. We have had enough of the evil that exists in the White House for the last four years. We all just want to move on with no further trauma caused by a man who holds the highest seat in the land.

There are those devoted to him — many are heartbroken. For them, their brief coming out and reveal of deep-seated hatred while given the floor to flaunt it has ended. Who will give them the green light to be who they are? Will they go back to being subtle in their actions or will the removal of their king give them the ammunition they crave to act on their core beliefs and continue their lawless behavior?

We are tired. We are worn thin. We have had enough of the evil that exists in the White House for the last four years.


Let’s get ready to do the work, America.

There is so much work that needs to be done in this country before anyone who is marginalized, oppressed, and at an incredible disadvantage can feel safe again. A list of important key factors were my concerns when I went to my local Board of Elections to drop off my ballot. They are: eradicating the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, implementing plans to end police brutality, recognizing that Black lives matter, climate control, and addressing the ever-present and undying elephant-in-the-room, systemic racism.

The shoes of the American president will be too big to fill this term. President-elect Joseph R. Biden will have to step up, stand tall, and prepare himself for a rocky and tumultuous ride in the face of a completely divided nation. Both he and Madame Vice President-elect Kamala Harris must be firm in their presence and forthcoming on their promises.

This will not be easy.

We are drenched in the scent of racism and cultural hierarchies, and the potency of the smell is getting stronger. What we have seen these last four years, and it is unfortunate to say, is the depth of what America looks like in her naked state. She has revealed herself to the world, and centuries of buried lies boiled to the top. The foam of our past will need much more than a spoon to scoop it from the pot. We need a complete overhaul and that will take more than the allotted four-year term.

Both he and Madame Vice President-elect Kamala Harris must be firm in their presence and forthcoming on their promises.

The damage is done.

The world watched us as we shook off our façade and they stood in total disbelief. But we knew — many of us have known for generations based on our ancestry and the history of this nation who America really is. So what will we do now to rectify this damage?


The optimist in me knows we will have to come together as one to make change happen. It should not be an US versus WE thing, it needs to be an ALL-IN approach and sadly, all of us will not agree with this. What will that do? It will keep America painted in its finest makeup for her public appearances while we continue to rot from the inside out.

Are we able to shift the hearts of our fellow inhabitants who have nothing but disdain and hatred for those different from them or will this wound deep within our hearts fester? The work necessary to bond a nation that has been torn in two will have to come from the core of every human being, and many will not be open to losing who they have been for decades to embrace who they should be for the greater good.

Are we ready for this kind of change?

The challenges that lie ahead for our newly appointed White House duo are many. How they operate to flesh out the parasites eating away at their hosts will be the determining factor of what and who we will be four years from now.

The optimist in me knows we will have to come together as one to make change happen.

Can America put aside its blatant arrogance, create long-lasting & authentic allyship, and move forward as one? Or will the vast majority of its children wear their masks until it’s safe for them to come out again?

We’ll just have to see. Won’t we?


Originally published via Medium.

Hello, Happiness. Hello, Sadness. Which of You Will I Feel Today?

On: moving through these two emotions as best as I can.

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Photo by DEVN via Unsplash

I am seated at my kitchen table in my breakfast nook — laptop propped up, my therapist’s voice in the background . . . We are meeting, but virtually. This has become — dare I say it, Our New Normal. I have adjusted my life in such a way that allows me an evening once per month with my therapist so I may stay on track in managing my emotions, dealing with personal breakdowns, and understanding the many changes happening in my life that have affected me more than I thought they would. For now, this plan is proving to be helpful and as soon as I transition to my new position, we will find a better time of day to conduct our sessions.

For those of you unaware, I will switch jobs soon. On November 06, 2020, I will say goodbye to the facility where I work and transfer to another department within our organization for a remote position. This will be good for me — it will keep me out of some intense situations with people who have proven to be more selfish than selfless. Screening for COVID-19 symptoms during what is now “Flu Season” is taxing. It was already a strenuous task hard on my body, but the level of exhaustion has increased in recent weeks.

I am open and honest when I say I would rather be at home during a global pandemic and I am overjoyed about this change, however, happiness is not the only emotion I feel as I count down to my last day.

I am leaving people I love

Although I will still work for the same organization, I will be in a different department — handling mostly different tasks. This moves me from a group of people I love — cherish as a family. My team is outstanding and walking away from them will leave me gutted in a way I had not prepared for.

I can already feel sadness settling in intermittently. It overwhelms me. It stifles me and drains my energy. It keeps me from being my best self at work.

When you learn and grow with an amazing group of people who go above and beyond in doing their jobs and have a mindset of providing remarkable care to patients, this is hard to forget or dismiss.

My team will be one person short until there is a replacement. I think about how that will impact them — how they will have to work doubly hard to keep up with our facility’s pace, and what that might do to them both mentally and physically. Ours is a fast-paced facility servicing a demographic that isn’t always responsive or respectful, so trying times come more often than not.

I can already feel sadness settling in intermittently. It overwhelms me. It stifles me and drains my energy. It keeps me from being my best self at work.

Making this decision to step down and away from my current position was hard because I am not leaving a place I hate . . . I am leaving a place I love — one filled with people who care, are concerned, and want to help others.

It was time I “chose” me first

I decided to do this for me — to put me first, and I will not back down from it. When I look at how what I do warps my emotions, pulls me away from others, and makes me want to retreat more than invite or welcome anyone in (be it virtually or while social-distancing), a work-from-home position could be the peace and safety I need to regain some semblance of my former self.

We are all quarantining or distancing ourselves from those we love — we’re all feeling the brunt of this global pandemic. My question to myself was, “How can you change one thing to make what you do better?” Given what I do, there is no way to change it to make it better. It’s a hands-on job with involvement and physical interaction with people who are seeing us for the care they wish to get. So, I then said to myself, “You can still be in the medical field, but be hands-off.” And therefore, I applied to remote positions within our organization.

I know where my heart is, and it’s in helping others — it always has been there. I feel strongly about this purpose. Moving towards this position to schedule invasive procedures and imaging scans for our patients while still being able to communicate with them (over-the-phone or via our chat/email options) relieves me. I will still do what I love doing.

What day will this be? A happy or sad one?

As I work down the last two weeks of my resignation, I am moving through two emotions rather wildly. My sense of self feels off-kilter and unbalanced. One day, I’m happy to count down to my last day. The next, I am sad. I am moved to tears. The hurt cuts deeply. I know what I am doing. I know why I am leaving. I want to feel as though it validates my reasons for doing so without the added baggage of enhanced emotions.

I am open and honest when I say I would rather be at home during a global pandemic and I am overjoyed about this change, however, happiness is not the only emotion I feel as I count down to my last day.

My therapist to me during our last session: “You will move through those emotions as they come, Tre. What did we discuss during our last session about feeling all of them?”

“Feel them, then move on from them.”

Moving on is the hard part. I feel them just fine. They welcome themselves into my daily routine unannounced, and I have to reassure myself that what I am feeling is sound — it is normal. I have a right to be both happy and sad about choosing to leave my job and the people I love, but why can’t I understand this?

Quietly, I belittle myself for moving from one emotion to the next as the days pass. I have to learn to be kinder — to acknowledge that this is monumental for me and to give myself a little more love. It took me months to crack down on a job hunt and a few more weeks after that, to pursue the jobs for which I had applied. This was a process — a well thought out process. I did not make the decision in haste.

It all boils down to my reluctance to adapt to change — this, I know. I am aware of this. It crushes me to shift a routine, to uproot my habitual status, to move with the wind . . . I am happier planted — a tree should be my spirit object. I made a mental note of this to discuss with my therapist during our next session. Perhaps this is another reason both happiness and sadness have become my bedfellows.

The time is nearing and my team members and some patients who are knowledgeable are telling me how much they will miss me and sending me my roses while I am still alive. I appreciate them. I look forward to them. I am blessed to be a person so loved and accepted. I am happy they are allowing me to smell them before I leave — to embrace their compassion before I say “Goodbye.”

It crushes me to shift a routine, to uproot my habitual status, to move with the wind . . . I am happier planted — a tree should be my spirit object.

And as the days continue to dwindle down to the final one, I will continue to acknowledge what I am feeling and why.

Regardless of when happiness or sadness greets me, I will be ready to stare each down fearlessly.


Originally published on Medium.