Thursday, 7 June 2012

I Tell Myself to Shut Up

I’m a li’l behind on my blogging. The brain is on overload, lol, and as a result, I couldn’t really think of anything to write about. However, this morning, as I sat pondering the state of many things from my family life to what’s going on in the world, a post finally began to form. 

There are times I bitch a lot about where I live and how we, as a family, struggle here. For such an economically depressed region, the hubby actually makes good money. The problem is that the high price of everything from gasoline to food to daily necessities defeats the pay check every time. And when he makes an exceptionally good check, it bumps him into that weird tax level where he’s taxed extra and all that overtime comes out to the same as a typical pay day. Add his health insurance payment to it…you get the picture.

I’m always thinking about getting a part-time job, but we also discuss it to death and we always come to the same answer. Since it’s so far for me to drive to a town that’s more than a mom-and-pop store, I’d just turn around and put my pay check in the gas tank. Again, it defeats the purpose. And moving is not an option.

I don’t waste money on getting my nails done and I only go get my hair cut/styled maybe twice a year. Seldom do I buy things like makeup, perfume, or nail polish; I use something until I’m shaking it out of the bottle to get the last bit or I’m using a pin to scrape the residue out of the compact. We don’t have a car payment, a mortgage, nor any large bills unless you count my student loan. However, nearly every dime that comes into our home goes to bills, groceries, gasoline, odds and ends needed to run a household, and items the kids need—and don’t even get me started about the cost of sending a child back to school every fall.

Often I wonder what people would do if there was a magnetic pulse (or worse), rendering everything useless or inaccessible from cars to refrigerators to cells, computers, and even medical records. There’s so much hype about December 21st and there are shows on television such as Doomsday Preppers that I have to wonder what people will do when there are no nail salons, no bars for that after-work drink, and no way to shop at Macy’s let alone finding anything that hasn’t been ransacked or rotting in a grocery store. City folk would be hit the hardest because they’re used to having everything at their fingertips or just a couple blocks over.

When I ponder how financially hard it was when I was growing up during the 70s Recession and I find myself bitching and moaning from time to time now when things turn to crap, I remind myself that we do have a lot more than third-world families have and more than many around the globe who work one day to the next not knowing if they’ll have a meal that night.

I grew up using a wringer washer, eating squirrel and rabbit, raising huge gardens and freezing/canning everything we could, and our water came from a rain-fed well. Probably 90% of my clothes came from yard sales, too. To this day I still use a wringer washer, hanging the clothes out during warm days and inside on a line when it’s raining or cold. I gather berries and use them for desserts and jellies. We fish and hunt. We know how to process meat, and I can skin a deer, if I have to (not one of my fave jobs). The only thing I don’t know is how to fillet fish (my dad always did that), but the hubby will remedy that this summer (uhm, yuck).

Over time I’ve learned natural remedies such as using the jewelweed plant to cure the sting of nettles and that both usually grow near one another. Flaxseed oil can cure mild to moderate hemorrhoids and give blessed relief to bad ones (hmm, wonder how many readers wrote that one down, LMAO!). Poke greens can be eaten when they’re very young and no more than 8 inches high (they taste like spinach), but they’re toxic if they’re any bigger. Cat tail roots are edible, all of a dandelion plant, including the bloom, is edible and has medicinal purposes such as boiling the roots to rid the body of toxins. If I have to, I can make lye soap, too. And often most manmade things are recyclable such as washing out a zippy bag and re-using it later.

However, how many people can get by without electric? How many people would haul water half a mile from a spring, and would they think to use the cold spring to store perishable food in a waterproof bag/container? How many would take a bath in a cow trough full of rain water?

Where there is a will, there is a way. As long as we’re all healthy and have a roof over our heads and food to eat, the other things are manageable in some manner or other.

So when I start bitching about this bill getting paid late or being stuck at home until the money to fix my Blazer is saved up, I think about how so many people have it so much harder than we do. That’s when I remind myself that things could certainly and unexpectedly get much, much worse for all of us. That’s when I tell myself to such the hell up and count my blessings.


Valerie Mann said...

You are so right, Faith. We are blessed. The "poor" people in our country live like royalty compared to even many of our neighbors just to the south of us over the border. And humans are amazingly resilient when push comes to shove. We'll make do or do without when it's necessary. And quite frankly? Not having all of the things we take for granted that you mentioned (nail salons, easy shopping, etc) can make life simpler. When my family has had the least amount of money to spend, we've probably been the happiest overall. Life can get so complicated and not having to make decisions and appointments for unnecessary things can make life easier.

Faith said...

Hi Val!

My mother always says that when she looks back on when I was a kid that she sees those as really good times. It was damn tough, but it brought us closer as a family and helped mold us into the people we are today.

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

With all the econonomic instability we have in the world, I think about the same things, Faith.

Another reason people in the country would survive easier than folks in the city is, in a disaster city folks would be scrounged together like caged animal with no way to grow food or anything else. A scary thought.

Like you, I grow a garden and can veggies. Always have though.

Desirée Lee said...

My dad was #10 out of 12 children. His family lived a very hard life. Part of that was homeless, everybody sleeping together in one tent (when they had a tent) next to a river.

Neither of my parents finished high school. Yet they still both went on to own their own businesses.

It's been drilled into my sister, brother and I to be thankful for what we have. What we do have is the result of hard work and ambition.

I'm renting a house and the landlords won't let me dig a garden, but they did give me some huge pots to grow a garden in. I'm planning to grow my own organic veggies this year. I'd rather know what is going into the food I eat anyway. With all the stuff in the media today about pesticides, genetic modifications, etc, it's kind of scary!

Carpe Noctem,

Author Desirée Lee
Putting the Romance back in Necromancy
des @

Faith said...

The economic crisis we're in disturbs me, too, Lisa. My folks don't plant as big of a garden now due to their ages, but they still plant one that aids them in cutting their summer grocery bill down. The hubby and I grow a lot of stuff and then give our extra to my folks and my two older kids. The oldest girl isn't allowed to have a garden where she rents, and my oldest boy doesn't have time for one with the way he works.

Hi Des! My mom and dad both came from very large families, too, so growing up the way they did help them in raising me the same way--and I'm glad they did!

Also, I totally agree with you on organic. You just never know what's in the food you buy nor what the gov keeps hidden from us.

Anthology Authors said...

I try to stay ready in case there is an emergency down here. That means, I try to have cases of water in bottles and what not. Being in the city, we are at the mercy of the big companies and local government really. Our water, our electricity, etc., can go out and we have nothing. Well, we have a pool. So, if worse came to worse, we'd have water to bathe and wash in and even drink if necessary. (We can purify it.) But we'd be screwed as far as growing food. There is no running water here any more. The creek has been paved over and turned into a canal that is highly regulated. And this area is a desert. We could feasibly catch rain water... for the few months out of the year it rains.

The mountains aren't too far away. We could catch food there, but the bad element is very close as well.

I just don't like to think about it. I prepare, but I don't think about it too much.

Faith said...

Well, Marci, if you could I guess you'd have to board a plane or train and come here. Trinity lives about 3 hours north of me in a city and she says if the worst happens to expect her and the rest of her clan on my doorstep because she says it's the only way she knows she could survive, lmao.

Decadent Publishing said...

Living in Cali (earthquakes, etc.) we actually DO have some supplies like water and extra food. My mom lives close now and we're going to try some canning this year. She did it when I was a kid, and I want to do it again if I get anything out of our container gardens!

FYI, we're going to get a Tower Garden (you can Google it). It's great for in-towners who want to grow their own produce. Initial output is high, but I figure I spend that much in veggies anyway and this way I know they are not sprayed! We live in a city, so a big garden is not going to happen, but my Gram had one until she was 90! My hero.

Faith, great post and you are a very smart lady. :)

Faith said...

Tower gardens are cool! And container gardens mixed with flowers, too, can be absolutely beautiful.

Aw, thank you for the kudos, hon! That gave me a big smile. :-D

Kelley said...

My daily mantra is "I could be a mother in Baghdad." It clarifies.

trinity said...

Yep, also looking into getting one of those battery powered CB's so if the power goes out we have something we can use. I want to get a generator one of these days that runs on gas or something that isn't diesel. We have two wells in the new house, matter of fact we had to disconnect the one gutter that fills the tank because it was over flowing into the basement the water. So if we had to all we had to do is connect it back up again. Mom and I are in the process of building a herb garden, and once into the house I'll be trying to at least get my squash and pumpkins going. We'll see. :) But I'm getting better. Oh husband does know how to clean fish and gut animals.

TK Anthony + said...

Your post reminds me of stories my Dad tells about growing up on a Depression-era farm. Dad was the oldest boy of 13 kids; had one older sister. There was no plumbing in the house; no electricity. Dad's tree house had electric light before the house did, because he set up a generator for it, powered by the stream running right under the tree. (Yeah, Dad grew up to be an electrical engineer.) When we were kids, Dad always had a garden; Mom would do some canning/jam-making. I can make jam, although I haven't done it in years. Live in the city, and my gardening consists of a pot of flowers next to the front door. I miss digging in the dirt! But I am a self-acknowledged wuss. I like air conditioning, soft beds,hot showers, and fridges--and iPads with Kindle apps. Knowing Dad's stories of his childhood, at least I have sense enough to thank God for my blessings!

Faith said...

Trin, herbs are essential in any garden. They provide the flavor we'd miss if we can't buy it anywhere.

As for iPads and apps, etc., I'd certainly miss all that stuff, but I was writing before the Internet became what it is today. It's only been in the last 10 to 12 years we became dependent on those things. I wouldn't be able to write much by longhand because it hurts my fingers too much, but I could deal with a manual typewriter if I had to.

Faith said...

Oh, and Trin, I agree on the generators too. The hubby has been talking about buying one as well, but those things are so darn expensive.

Kate Richards said...

We are very lucky to have the things we need. Valerie Mann and i went to the Freedom Center in Cincinnati and they have a section on the slavery and cruelty in our world NOW...
I'm sitting in the yard of our tiny cabin in the Sierras with my family, we just had a nice meal...going to my nephew's graduation...we're darn lucky.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Faith,

I'd say that you're pretty well set for a major disaster, given your skills.

I live in a third world country. My husband and I make an income that would be poverty level in the U.S., but here we can survive in relative comfort. Let me put it this way - in comparison to many of the locals, we're considered rich.

Moving here totally changed my attitude toward material things. We had so many of them in our house in the U.S.! (Not that we were wealthy, but we'd lived in the house for more than 20 years.) And it was such a pain figuring out what to keep, what to get rid of. We ended up discarding about 75% of everything. Now I wish we'd dumped even more.

Every time I consider buying something now, I ask myself whether I really want more "stuff".

It hurts to see the way folks are struggling in the U.S. these days, though. I don't want to get all political, but many people are suffering because of the greed and stupidity of a few.

Faith said...

Kate, Cinci has a lot of interesting, thought-provoking places to visit. I haven't been to that museum, tho.

Lisabet, I ask myself the same thing when my mom wants to give me stuff. I'm not much of a decorator when it comes to the interior of a home, and I hate having tons of clothes, so I keep my stuff to a minimum, even shoes. The only thing I'm a packrat about is probably books, lol.

Paul McDermott said...

Faith,This particular train of thought is behind one of my current WiPs,as it happens (I went past the 50K mark last night, maybe the halfway point of the story...)

I my misspent "yoof" out in the wilderness as often as possible(though even "wilderness" is a bit of an exaggeration in the densely populated UK! LOL).

The Scout Association have always had a 'Merit Badge' called "Backwoodsman". To gain it,you had to demonstrate an ability to survive in the wild for a number of days with very limited resources - I was allowed a penknife, a fishhook on a length of line, and a small number of matches and had to survive on my wits!
During the "Winter of Discontent" when I was in my first year at Uni and the UK was held to ransom by wildcat strikes, power cuts, and other problems, I was the only student in my apartment block who had a HOT meal each night, and coffee whenever I wanted.There was a small woods at the end of the garden, and I simply built a small fire to cok on ... most people nowadays wouldn't even know how to build a fire let alone how to cook on it without contracting food poisoning!

Faith said...

Afternoon, Paul. It's nice to see you here again. :-)

I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that particular survival program--fish hook, line, etc--is the same as what is done with the older Boy Scouts here in the States. Either that or it's another organization that does it, but I've heard of it many times.

There is a show here that I love to watch that teaches extreme survival techniques. It's called Dual Survival.

One of the toughest things to do, and I know this from experience is to build a fire, so you are very savvy, indeed!

We also own a special coffee pot that can be put on an open fire. Hot water is poured in the top of it and it trickles to the bottom brewing a great cup of coffee, lol.

Oh, and if one is stuck in an urban area trying to survive, pigeons are a food source, plus a good way to avoid eyeing yucky rats out of deserpation. Ew!

Janice Seagraves said...

I was just watching a show that stated that the poorer people in the middle east live much as they did a thousand years ago.

I agree with you, if we lost all our electrical and fuel, a lot of people would be desperate.

We live in a dry aired area with major droughts that last years. However, we have a river and canal within two blocks of my house. If the water is still flowing, we'd be okay.

I can garden, and if hubby could get his hands on a gun, he could hunt jack rabbits (arid country). And we could fish in the river and canal. My hubby is clueless about fish, but I do know how to gut and clean fish (dad taught me).

Honestly, Faith, it's not hard. If you can skin a deer then a fish is a piece of cake.


Faith said...

LOL, Janice! What gets me about fish is how they feel. I don't even like taking them off the hook. I'll put gloves on because the slimy, wet feeling of them as they flex their muscles...yuck! I'm weird. I admit it, lolol.

Maddie James said...

Nice post, Faith. There are truly times I think about living off the grid, but the reality is probably about as close to getting there for me would be some gardening in the back yard, looking into some alternative heating/cooling, and the like... I can make do. I've done it when the kids were little. Big garden, canned and froze food, etc... I can heat the main part of the house with wood if need be and there are days I'd long to be rid of the computer. Of course, I couldn't do the jobs I do without technology... Still, we can do with less if we want. Many of us would make it. Some, I fear, would not.

cherylnorman said...

It took battling breast cancer a couple years ago to convert me to my gratitude attitude. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I told myself to shut up! I gave thanks every day for my supportive and loving family, my skilled doctors, my insurance coverage, and my health.

Focusing on what's good in your life draws more of the positive to you. I firmly believe that.

Excellent post!

Faith said...

Maddie, technology does make many thing difficult now, doesn't it?

Cheryl, that is a good point. I never thought about the positive drawing more positive.