Wednesday, October 24, 2012


A.'s last day of work was just over a week ago. He's gone hunting twice, and we have some elk in the freezer. He is so much more relaxed and I don't feel like crying every Sunday evening, knowing he is about to start another miserable week at a job he loathes.

Things are good.

A. has set up a schedule for himself, similar to what is recommended for freelancers who work from home. Instead of work, though, he is job hunting, tweaking resumes, and writing cover letters. I am glad that he is only dedicating a few hours a day to this, because otherwise I think he'll get depressed and frustrated. I think having a schedule and treating it like a job will help him focus and keep things in perspective. I hope.

A. has been spending his afternoons working on household projects, decluttering, (WAHOO!!), chopping firewood and cooking me dinner. 

He has dinner ready for me when I get home from work. To a clean house. I could totally get used to this lifestyle. (He is so sweet - he tries to make dinners that won't cost me a gazillion Points. He is so awesome, you guys.)

So far the budget seems to be working out. I discontinued my (rather generous, if I do say) monthly donation to our local NPR station and gave up my locker rental at the gym. I am still making a donation to our state-wide food bank. That will be the last of any charity gifts to go. I've considered giving up my work parking pass, but finding parking nearby anytime after 7:15 a.m. is nearly impossible. Eh. We will eat out much less, maybe once or twice a month as a treat. That is ok. Why not have things in life that feel like treats, rather than entitlements?

If I find enough workout DVDs that I like, I may cancel my gym membership as well. It isn't very expensive, but it would be a few more dollars in the budget cushion.

Do you have any fitness DVDs that you like? I am waiting for a copy of "The Bar Method" to arrive. It is based on the foundations of ballet, and supposedly can tone you up like a mofo. But slender-like and not Hulk-like. I also have the "30 Day Shred" and it kicks my ass. I am nowhere near in shape enough to even attempt something like "Insanity." One of my sisters has already burned her way through that program. She is looking for something else to do - that is harder. She is my hero.

I have a few yoga DVDs that I like quite a bit, and feel covered on that front. Once/if we get some snowpack I hope to do plenty of cross country skiing, too. We can get to free trails withing a 15-minute drive from our house, so it is a pretty inexpensive and awesome workout in the winter.

Do you have any workout or money-saving tips? We do a lot of things already. We don't have a fancypants coffee daily, we cook at home, etc. I've been unplugging everything at night. EVERYTHING. It is awesome - you'd be amazed at the background noise everything makes with plugged in.

I kind of like this - it feels like a competition to see how inexpensively we can live and still be happy. Tips, please!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I believe I've mentioned here that A. is very unhappy in his current job. It is in a field he detests and his workplace is positively toxic. His health has suffered; he doesn’t sleep well, he has frequent headaches and his acid reflux is nearly constant. Not to mention he is very, very unhappy.

He put in his notice a month ago. Next Friday is his last day!

I am so relieved! I’ve been recommending this for months and months, but he finally saw for himself that it was a good and necessary move.

It is scary, for sure. He does not have another job lined up yet. I hope that he will find ways to stay active and remember his self worth, even if he is not earning money. I, personally, think he will contribute to our family in a wonderful way, regardless of income. Money isn’t everything. But happiness is.

I’ve been ruminating on happiness for some time. I’ve been freaking out about the role money plays in structuring our lives, and effectively stamping out happiness. Of all the distractions that cost us money, time, and happiness. Really, is an iPad or iPhone necessary? And not only that, is it necessary to improve upon models annually and for consumers to updgrade? What is upgrading, after all? The smartphones and super gadgets are all cool, and truly feats of engineering genius. I appreciate that, and don’t think innovation in and of itself is a bad thing. But most innovation just creates products we’ve been trained we need. We automatically value innovation and equal it to “progress.” Do we really even need cell phones, let alone smartphones? Not really.

It is a spiraling train of thought, and I often find it overwhelming and frightening. But I really, really want to find a way for A. and I to define our lives the way we need to in order to be happy and not to meet some standard forced upon on us and approved by the current capitalist system. It is not working, this mainstream idea of the good life. (I don’t think we are any “better” or whatnot than the mainstream, and am not interested in being contrarian just for the sake of it. I just don’t know if we can find happiness this way.)

We are going to be a one-income family for a while. For how long, we do not know. I’ve been considering things to cut back on or even eliminate entirely both to help bring some breathing room into our budget, but also to remove unnecessary distractions. I want to chuck the TV altogether, but A. really enjoys watching baseball and hockey. Of course, with the hockey players on strike that argument is currently moot. Unfortunately, I am a simpleton that cannot keep myself from getting sucked into the TV. If it is on, I am a zombie.)

I have an iPhone, and I do use it quite a bit. I will readily admit that it is fun to do all the stuff you can with it. I love having a live calendar and adore Instagram. But otherwise? I wonder if it is just a harmful distraction. I ignore A. more than I think I do, I am sure. I do not need Words with Friends or the Rachel Maddow app. (Though I looooove having access to her show - I have such a huge crush on her.)

Should I unplug? Suck it up and pay the early termination fee from Gigantic Cell Phone Company and get a pre-paid, less sexy phone? I would save $540 a year. And would hopefully quit ignoring A. Why am I so hesitant?