Friday, January 19, 2007

Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today.

Today's blog title isn't a Bible verse (that would be "The love of money is the root of all evil.") but a lyric from Pink Floyd's "Money." As I've written in previous entries, money's pretty tight right now. We're not alone, I'm sure. I'm no budget tightening guru. Actually, that's the problem. We HAVEN'T been good about sticking to the budget. Now I'm paying for it. It's been a tense week.

Randy & I are from different planets where money's concerned.

I grew up in a family where money was always tight. Now that the statute of limitations has expired on this story, I can share a memory. We owned 3 or 4 vehicles at any given time. If we'd put all 4 of them up for sale, we might've had enough to make a down payment on a new vehicle - but we couldn't afford car payments. Anyway, my parents only had two of the vehicles registered. In 7th grade, we lived off the bus route. So, before leaving for school, I'd go downstairs to the driveway & determine which car would start, or had the most gas - whichever one was the best choice for driving that day - and make sure it had a current license plate on it. Then Mom would take us to school.

At the time, I didn't think that made us poor. I thought that made us smart! I can't imagine my kids being proud of such a thing now.

We never went without food, though we sometimes had to sell stuff (vehicles, for instance) to have grocery money. My mom was a really good cook, & we liked what she fixed most of the time. We learned to make do with what we had. If we ran out of dishwashing liquid, we'd use laundry detergent, and vice versa. Some of my schoolmates got new cars for graduation. I knew better than that. I was just glad to get to drive my mom's station wagon with the bondo'd front end. If you can go cruising in your mom's station wagon with a bondo'd front end, your self-esteem is fine. My mom was really good at decorating on a tight budget, and she always made sure we had nice clothes, even if we didn't have a whole lot of them.

I don't remember feeling like I didn't have enough clothes, but I know I didn't have nearly as many as my daughter has. Or as many as I do now.

The hubby, on the other hand, did not grow up in such an environment. Not that his parents spent money lavishly, because really they didn't. They were fairly thrifty, but he thought if you ran out of dishwashing liquid you had to wait to do the dishes. If he wanted a $300 bass guitar, they'd help him get it, because they didn't waste money on a stylish pair of glasses. He wore the old-man horn-rim style when those big plastic frames were in style. I've never, ever heard him complain about it either. (But I didn't know him when he wore those!)

His parents worked in jobs they often didn't like to keep the bills paid and benefits like health insurance going. I didn't know health insurance was a necessity. My dad worked - a lot! - but he was self-employed and money was sporadic at times. We depended on the weather. Randy didn't know people really did that. His mom worked most of the time when he was growing up. Mine worked some of the time - and usually not in a steady job, but on an as needed basis for my self-employed aunt, or housecleaning, or cutting hair. She told me once that if she could've made enough money to pay for babysitting, she would've worked more than she did.

I think the hardest thing for me is that when we are "broke," Randy gets angry & depressed. He gets mad at me for "ruining" us by giving up my "second" job. He knows if he bugs me too much, I'll point the fingers back at him for his money mistakes. I really don't like to do that, but if he hurts me bad enough, it just comes out. So he won't say much, & he'll let his anger fester up and then the least little thing will make it pop. He feels bad just knowing he can't go out & waste money if he wants to. I get down too, mainly because his bad mood and the kids' acting as though we're about to hit the street wear me down.

So I am trying to make do with what I have. I have LOTS of stuff for baking. Today I've baked biscuits, & I have more stuff to bake later. I'm going to freeze some of them for later in the week. This is one of our problems & it was one of my parents' problems too. By mid-week, we've run out of all the "good stuff" we got over the weekend, & all we've got is frozen stuff that'll take a long time to thaw out, much less cook. So I'm thinking ahead. I'm going to make stuff today, then freeze it so that all I have to do mid-week is warm that up in the microwave.

On that note, I need to go bake.

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