Monday, October 19, 2009

Money Monday: October 19, 2009

OK. I can do this. Here we go. Ahem. {clap! clap!} ‘kay, Announcement! I finally got some of the handkerchiefs and yarn that has been waiting to be listed and/or relisted up into my Etsy shop.

There. I promoted. OUT LOUD!

I’m so proud of me. Yay, me!!

(Somehow, I am not thinking I am going to be making the top 100,000 Etsy seller list any time soon. Lord, how I stink at self-promotion.)

ANYWAY. These last few weeks, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about my little project around here. And by “thinking” I mean “wishing I’d never gotten into this mess, what was I thinking this is crazy, even for ME and furthermore…well…Normal People™ do not DO these things to themselves!”

I went to Costco last week and was stunned to find myself still doing this bizarre kind of shopping cart square dancing routine around the store. Doe-si-doe, around the aisles we go…pickin’ ‘em up and lettin’ ‘em go…I grabbed a box of Chez-Its.

Hang on, you’re going off-project! my Puritanical side barked.

Shut up! It’s just a lousy box of crackers! It’s only six bucks! Besides, who’s gonna know, huh? It’s not like we’re on TV and there’s a camera following us around…! I retorted.

It’s SEVEN bucks, more like seven FIFTY after tax. And WE will know. Put it back.

Meanwhile, the cart has pushed onward and picked up (all by itself, I swear!) bars of cheap soap, bags of cheap spaghetti, jars of (not so) cheap spaghetti sauce, a flat of boxed mac-n-chez…and then the cart circles back around and each thing goes back on the shelf…

I was exhausted, mostly from all the inner arguing. (And the fifty pound sacks of flour and sugar. Those’ll take it out of you, too.)

Then I got home and swept into the whirlwind of Denizen Pickup and then all four of them were jumping at me like cocker spaniels yapping, “Snack! Snack! Snack! Snack! Snack!” and I looked around the kitchen I had…absolutely nothing.

Not a darned thing that could be simply dropped on a plate and shoved under their quivering little noses. I had eggs, milk, and flour, sure – the basis for all kinds of snacks.

But in terms of ‘take off the lid, produce the food’ – I had bumpkus.

So I made pancakes, which are some of the fastest from-scratch snacks in my arsenal. I made a double batch, packing away enough in the freezer for a quick breakfast later. (They microwave beautifully.) (Homemade waffles are better if you microwave them just a bit to defrost, then finish them in a toaster or toaster oven.) (This has been “how to feed your children frozen breakfasts without buying them [the breakfasts, not the children] that way,” another fine Chaos Production.)

And then I sat down and tried not to weep because guess what? It’s 4:30 in the evening, and the fact that I have bumpkus for snack right now means that I will also have bumpkus for lunches tomorrow…unless I get off my backside right immediately now and get busy making stuff.

These are the times when I can envision every last detail on a box of Ritz or Chez-It crackers, my friends. My powers of meditative recall rival that of the finest guru in India. The image of that box will hover before me like a mirage, gleaming and oh-so-real looking…and yet, when I stretch out my quivering hand…nothingness…

I know. So the drama. But see, I also had to produce dinner from scratch? And it was going to involve stomping through a very muddy backyard to pluck out some carrots and bok choy, which then had to be washed and I’d probably notice something that needed to be re-staked or thinned or whatever while I was out there because hello, Delta Breeze, and by Breeze I mean Whoa Nelly What A Wind! Plus we were out of bread as well, which is like being out of oxygen around here.

Meanwhile, soap wasn’t getting melted and poured. I wasn’t plotting out what blanks I need to get to stuff the Etsy shop and craft booth with Thanksgiving-ish goods, followed by Christmas-y stuff. I’m also not getting the invoice put out to the client (oh yeah, that whole arm of the Enterprises, the one that makes the kind of money that keeps you out of foreclosure).

Now, on the one hand…this is the point where saner people say, quietly, “Honey. Sweetie. Go and buy a box of Ritz crackers, for heaven’s sake! One person cannot possibly manage all this all by herself, and furthermore may I just point out that Ritz crackers are definitely cheaper than antidepressants, which is where I think you’re going to be headed in a minute here?”

But on the other hand, I feel more as though I’m in a transitional period – at a point where I’m either going to break through and start finding this thing is easier all around, or where I’m going to give up and backslide into former habits, either for a while or permanently.

Whenever you change something about your lifestyle (and with bonus points if it’s giving up something “fun” or “pleasurable” for something {ugh!} healthy), there’s a period of time when your psyche seriously resists that change. It wants to snap back into the way things were before. Everything from before is “easy,” everything from now is “hard.” Too much bother. Too much work. Not fair. Everybody else gets-ta, and nobody else has-ta.

You know that part of the diet where you say, “This is STUPD!! I’m hungry, and dammit, I wanna burger!!”…and then there is an exquisitely painful moment where will to succeed at what you truly want does battle with the easy pleasure of a Giant Wallop Burger, large fries, deep-fried apple pie (maybe two, since they’re always two for a buck) and a coke, conveniently available not two blocks from here which will make all that pain in your stomach (and heart) disappear like magic…?

I’m in that moment. I’m torn between the vision of what I could have, someday, and what I’d like to have right this second.

Right this second, I’d like to be able to open a box and dump a bunch of food-like-substance onto a plate for the Denizens. Just like that. :pop!: - shake - eat. Done.

When I look forward through the next year, though, I really want to get us back to much more stable ground. I’m hating this unstable period, the up-and-down income, the way we make some headway on the bills OOPS, no wait, some fool thing or other happened and now we’re back where we started…with a little extra on the platter for our trouble…we’re fine, we’re fine, we’re fine OOOOOOOOOOH! Client says nix on the new project! OK, 35% of our income just went down the crapper and now we have just enough to pay the bills which means that if we want to eat…helllllooooooo, credit card!!

Getting out of that kind of situation, into one where we have cash in the bank and extremely low needs overall…that’s really, really important to me. I’d give up a lot of stuff to have that stability back.

Even Chez-Its.


Unknown said...

Hang in there! Would some time-saving-without-spending-money food ideas help? Just say the word!

Louiz said...

Hang on, I hope it will get easier. I really do, because you're an inspiration and possibly behind my crazy idea to save up enough to buy a house.

Steph B said...

Hang in there! You've made such tremendous progress already, you really have. I truly wish I could follow your example, but I also truly don't think I have it in me. (sigh) Keep on keeping on!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you need some help with these processes. Is there any way you can break down these long chores, pick the food, make the bread, do the laundry, that the MAN or the older denizens could do?

Seems like back in the day the whole family had to do. Momma can't do it all. No wonder you are going crazy.

(Love your blog by the way. Hope you find your balance.)

Rena said...

I'm with anonymous. I think you are doing amazing work. You have tons of fortitude and imagination, but are still one person doing it all for her entire family. Finding the balance point in this venture is just as important as getting through the transition phase. Yeah, I know... it's easy for me to say because I'm not living in your shoes. I think you're doing great, though!