The economy is in the crapper. Food is expensive, vacations are outrageous and job lay-offs are through the roof. It's not good news. But as one reporter pointed out on CNN this morning, it is forcing a return to family values, in a sort of way. No one can afford to eat out, so we're cooking at home. No one can afford a vacation, so we're playing Wii with the kids and going to the park. Home is the new mall. I can see this happening at our little cottage on Meadowcrest, too. Ever since taking a MASSIVE paycut to strike it out on my own, I've had the ever-present thought that because my paycheck has dwindled, I must make cut back on the "luxuries." Less dinners out, less time at the movies, less shopping...WHOA let's not get too crazy. I still allow myself the occasional cute sweater or pretty little play things, but generally they have to be sporting a big, red Clearance sticker. So, in celebration of all the wonderful things I now do because I can't afford to peruse Garden Ridge everyday, here (like a true Virgo), is a LIST. Feel free to add your own. I would love to know how the rest of the world is coping in their own stylish and fantastic way:
1. I am FINALLY teaching myself Excel data analysis and Italian. Not at the same time and preferably not one after the other unless a nap is written into the agenda, as well. But I'm finally putting the Rosetta Stone to good use.
2. We have learned how to make our own beef jerky. We can dry other things as well - but this was the most interesting. Who says you have to spend $4.00/package on the Mingua Brothers??
3. Everyday is a new recipe. I obviously have the time to pick painstakingly through book after book, website after website to find the right recipe where we already have all of the ingredients. It's just one of the perks to only working like 5 hours/week.
4. Plants are actually growing and thriving because they get daily attention. They get talked to, stroked, massaged, and oh yeah, watered.
5. I think Poppy may have lost 1/2 of a 1/2 of a pound this week. We play "catch-the-laser-pin-dot" every morning. This takes a little while because there has to be rest time built in to the routine.
6. Suddenly doing things like sewing curtains or embroidering a tie doesn't seem so daunting because I have many hours to figure it out.
7. I have learned a great deal about the stock market from watching CNN ad nauseum and having long, meandering conversations with my stock broker.
8. Neal gets to have clean clothes, a made bed, and a dusted house pretty much every day of the week.
9. There is never a "new message" in my inbox for more than about 20 minutes. Definitely not new messages in there for more than a day.
10. I get to blog about how I fill my days, what I think the world is coming to, and I get to post comments on other peoples' blogs.
Basically, "gourmet" is not so daunting to me anymore and everything is really, really clean and organized. That is the upside to this downturn. Now I must find a recipe for chocolate hazelnut biscotti...