Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mixed (or mixed up) Thoughts

My wife and I have been making more of an effort to pinch pennies lately, as we continue to enjoy the “expanding economy” and current personal unemployment under the president of hope (deferred) and change (for the worse). For one thing, my wife has had to give up her favorite thing in life—dining out, and we’ve regretfully curtailed our frequent drives in the country. We’ve decided that our charity of choice is now ourselves, and give only a token amount to help others. We hate that, but what can you do under such circumstances? We try to eat cheaper foods but, of course, that tends to add a lot of starch to our meals. We continue to spoil our dog with a double cheeseburger (plain) from Burger King on days when we’re in town. I used to tell them to hold the bun. These days, I get the bun and use it to make a bologna sandwich later. You’d be surprised how the residual flavor of the “flame broiled” burger in the bun perks up the flavor of the sandwich. Little things make a difference!

 I started to check into getting a little help through our state’s DHHR, but soon figured out that they want WAY too much information for what will probably turn out to be no help at all. Let’s face it, just because you’ve spent your entire life paying taxes to take care of other people, doesn’t mean the system will help YOU when times get tough. If things get tougher, I guess we could always check with the local food pantry. Private charities seem to be less intrusive than the government. I’ve lived my whole life without any help from the government; I guess I’ll continue to do so, until Obamacare can kill me off with the rest of the slaves who are getting too old to contribute to the welfare state. I wonder if I’ll still be alive to see the socialists in this country run out of other people’s money? I think it’s getting close.

With the extra time on my hands from not working, I AM finally sorting through some of my stuff and selling things that I no longer want, if they have even the slightest value. Things that I don’t choose to sell or keep are either given to relatives, neighbors or the Salvation Army. A few things are so worthless as to be simply thrown away. I think I’ve mentioned before that I inherited a lot of junk from relatives over the years. I have no desire to leave such a mess for my wife, my stepson or my daughter-in-law to have to dispose of when I’m gone. One thing I’m parting with is my fishing stuff. A few pieces of tackle I’m selling, but some things I’m giving to my “grandson” by my stepson’s recent marriage. If I ever fish again, it will probably amount to drowning worms with a hook, short line and a willow branch. In my old age, I’ve learned that simple is best. The only gun hanging on my wall these days is an old muzzle-loading Thompson Center Renegade that I had drilled out to a .54 smoothbore, so it will take either shot or round ball. I won’t be starting any insurrections at my age, and it will handle anything in the hunting line.

I tried my best to get some extra cash to take my wife out for her birthday. I had several small things listed for sale, but nothing came through in time except for one thing a neighbor got and he paid by check (after the bank closed on Saturday)! So, I decided to put it on the credit card and took her anyway. Just after we ate, I got a message that her son and daughter-in-law wanted to take us to lunch. Too late! The next day, some of the money came through. It’s not just the LACK of money that can be a pain, some days it’s the TIMING that makes things difficult. Of course, having been self-employed much of my life, I’m all too familiar with a feast and famine cash flow.

I mentioned a few posts back about cutting up a dead tree in my yard into firewood. Despite the fact that living expenses have sky-rocketed over the years, I can still only get the same price out of the wood that I got 30 years ago. Oh well, it gives me a little gas money.

For years, here in my part of West Virginia, we’ve had coyotes, a few mountain lions (which the state refuses to admit to) and an occasional bear passing through. It’s not like when I was a kid, and you felt safe taking a nap if the squirrel hunting got a little slow. I wouldn’t DARE let myself fall asleep in the woods these days! In fact, I don’t go out of the yard anymore without a weapon of some kind. The neighbor told me the other day that once, last year, he was sitting on his front porch and watched a mountain lion walk right through the center of our yard. Still, I believe that it’s safer here than in town!

I just checked with my mom about parting with a little rocking chair that was her father’s when he was a kid. I may give it to my youngest granddaughter while she’s still little enough to use it. If she and I were blood, that would make it her great-great grandfather’s. It will have to stay in her dad and stepmom’s house, so I’ll have to check with my daughter-in-law and see if she has room for it. That will be one more thing out of my bedroom!

I will say one thing, except for the poverty, I’m sort of enjoying the time available with unemployment! © 2013


Chickenmom said...

We've all had to tighten our belts a lot, Gorges. Just had the oil tank filled half way. That should last us for a year. It's only used for hot water, not heat. All the wood we have keeps us warm. A lot of us are going to have to make adjustments to our lifestyles just to break even. Never thought it would be his way, but it could be a lot worse! Hang in there - we know how to make do with what we already have!

Humble wife said...

I will tell you I understand, and shared why my family is on this path in a two part post. Here is the first part which links to part two. http://doublenickelfarm.blogspot.com/2012/09/before-president-obama-part-1.html

I had no idea about the mountain lions there...we have them here as well as the coyote, javalina and bobcat. In a blue moon a bear makes it down~but the cats are our biggest worry.

Take care and I am praying for you...and remember, in spite of the times, we can remain who we are in content and character!


Gorges Smythe said...

Old geezers like me know how to get by, Cm, but I worry about so many of the younger folks who've neither lived it before, or been taught anything by their parents.

Thanks for your kind words, Hw.

Mamahen said...

We too live month to month and on a wing and a prayer. I know what you mean about the younger generation, tho I have to say, not to be bragging, but my daughter can stretch a dollar pretty well. She and her husband have been through some tough times.and had some loses in their lives, so they do well.It also helpes that they both are born again Christians, and lean on the Lord.

Gorges Smythe said...

That last sentence is the most important part, Mh.

Mamahen said...


Kathy Felsted Usher said...

We too have almost stopped eating out unless it's very inexpensive and rarely a fast food joint except I do get 2 tacos for $1, love those tacos. We look for bargains like the library book sale where we got books for around $0.70 per book. I'm not a fast reader, I typically have time to read only before bed, so hard to make library due dates. I look for thrift store finds too because some of those are in great shape. I quilt so if there is a close out sale, I but the fabric for under $4 per yard or less (fabric ranges from $8-13 here). If we make it a challenge, it's fun to see how much we can save!

Gorges Smythe said...

Kathy, folks can do a LOT to cut back if they choose. Some folks stay in denial, unfortunately. Two tacos for $1? Wow!

Ralph Goff said...

Gorges, I am sorry to hear of the hard times you and a lot of good folks seem to be living through in your country. Although I guess it happens in Canada too. Growing up poor (and not knowing it) does help prepare a person for hard times.

Gorges Smythe said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly on that last sentence, Ralph. As I told someone else, we aren't destitute, just aggravatingly inconvenienced.