Ms. Caviedes, 42, a furloughed bilingual loan processor in the Agriculture Department’s rural development program, spent the week visiting her church’s food pantry, applying for unemployment insurance and job hunting at Walmart and Walgreens.
“It has been terrible,” said Ms. Caviedes, a single mother whose 10-year-old son is partially blind and autistic. “My rent bill is due, my electric bill is due, my water bill is due, and I have medical expenses.”
For Ms. Gumpel, 46, whose husband works at a chemical company, the shutdown is no more than a recurring segment on the nightly news. She feels for her friend, but “it hasn’t affected me at all,” she said. “You kind of push it aside and figure it will pass, that it’s just political bickering.”
After all, the schools are still open, the mail is still being delivered, the trash is still being picked up, the buses are still running and, most important, her family’s income is uninterrupted.