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Archive for March, 2008

Drive-by update

March 14th, 2008 at 05:50 pm

I received a cheque for $84.81. $35 went toward refilling the car's gas tank, and I saved twenty-nine cents at the pump. Woo woo challenge money. $30 went for my medication. Now I have a two-month supply.

I'm considering giving up some out-and-about time for baking bread, and soaking/cooking large amounts of legumes to freeze in small containers. Yes, friends, I'm rereading More with Less. Some of the introduction, originally written by Doris Janzen Longacre, was penned at a time of grain and fuel shortages and high inflation.

I gotta stop blaming myself for everything. "Oh inflation is here, this is my fault--if I had a vegetable garden up already I wouldn't be paying so much for Community supported Agriculture boxes. I am rotten because I drive a car that gets 28-35 mpg and we haven't yet forsaken our scooters and gas-powered lawnmower. The US dollar is tumbling and I better put my money in gold or else I won't afford to see my brother get married in Japan and then I win the award of World's Biggest Loser. I suck because my 60-year-old house still has a while to go before it can be energy-efficient and I was distracted by child-care and retirement. If only I did a mega Mortgage Equity Withdrawal, remodeling the house to dozens of thousands of dollars, anticipating energy shortages and spikes, I'd be okay today." I require so much reassurance, and when I don't get it I believe it's because everyone else has managed these achievements. Because these ideas don't just come to me from the aether -- I read about Americans doing these energy conservation things. I feel especially ashamed as my goals don't seem all that frivolous: we don't NEED all this stuff, but I sure am attracted to the idea of saving 10-30% off my energy and food bills. I should take the Joe Stalin route and develop a five-year-plan.

Joan.of.the.Arch, I didn't get through much of When All Hell Breaks Loose before returning it to the library, but the first chapter is all about not panicking and keeping a cool head and wits about one. Preparation goes a long way, but so do self-directedness (believing one is entirely and directly responsible for one's life) and confidence.

What I'm reading now is Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life which is entertaining. My kid sees it on the table and says "Jim Cramer yells all the time." I think Jim's editors should have named the book Stay Livid. So far I'm only on the second chapter -- first chapter is very basic for beginners: get out of credit card debt, plan ahead, make a budget and stick by it, reassess when you miss budget targets.

With some preparation and luck, I may Freecycle or junk some large items downstairs. I've got to remain upbeat and positive about our survival chances.