Monday, May 27, 2013

There's More Where That Came From

I'm just gonna come right out and say it- I love money.
   I love the way it smells. I love the way it looks.
   I love the crinkle sound it makes when I jam it into my pocket.

This is something we should never be ashamed of, we all love money. Especially when we have it.
     It pays the bills, right? Keeps our bellies full. It buys gifts, gear, gadgets. 
 We love it so much until we run out. 
  This happens so much up here in the mountains. All of my friends have some sort of money issue. It seems to go in one pocket and out the other. Some blow it on books, when the library is right down the road. Some have a serious dining out habit. Expensive. Some gals I know seldom wear the same outfit twice. I know someone that frequents thrift stores and yard sales very frequently. We all love our local coffee shop, but is twice a day for the double chai-fu necessary? (I get it, you gotta live a little.)
  Forget the obvious stuff. What about car payments, rent, student loans, cell phone bills, cable, internet, storage space, electricity? So often I witness people getting a nice tax return and immediately spending every cent on all sorts of "justified" sprees. Still seems obvious, but is there more to it? Many of my friends are having a hard time making payments on the basics. I can't stand it.
  Let's not leave me out of this. On most days, the less I spend, the happier I am. One issue is that I tend to hoard money. I get a big chunk of paper from a crazy night of bartending, and then I stash it in the freezer with the rest until the end of the week when I make a deposit. The problem with this is that I can't spend it once it's in there, even if I need it. I have been late on credit card payments before, and two months ago my internet got switched off because I put too much into savings and didn't pay my bill on time. What?
  I used to think this was healthy, a nice way to hold on to the product of my efforts. After all, why would I hustle, sweat, skip meals, run around deprived of physical necessaries for hours at a time with a smile on my face, and come home covered in vodka, beer, and salad dressing? I love my job, but I am there for the cash, bottom line. So are my friends. I work hard, mostly pay the bills, and lock the rest away never to be crinkled again. Others work hard, mostly pay the bills, and hand the rest out all over town as if they don't have creditors calling them at work, as if they can afford a measly six hundred on rent, as if there's more where that came from. I am looking for some middle ground.
  Seems like we are all a little confused. I don't blame us. I grew up in a stash your cash family which I am thankful for. My dad and grandparents put hours of energy into making sure my siblings and I left home as responsible money handlers. Others were sent out into the world with nothing but a paycheck in their pocket, student loans, and a bunch of credit card solicitations. We all did our best.
  I want to help all of us small fries, working hard to bring in under $25k a year to take care of ourselves and our families. There is a way to save for the future, pay the bills, cozy into a new book at a cafe, and meet friends out for dinner. Let's figure this out.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Self- Inflicted Situations....

This morning I decided to give my NutriBullet another try. I thought I burnt it out the other night mixing squash brownies in it, trying to save time. Apparently squash brownies are too thick. Digging around for the warranty info, (I just bought the thing two months ago) I remembered an important point.   I tossed the warranty into the trash because I was sick of looking at it on my desk, and figured the chances of me breaking my new appliance were pretty slim.

Later on I jumped into my car, putting off the run I had planned. There were errands that needed attention more than my brownie gut did. Pay the internet bill, pop some paperwork into the mail, pick up a new battery for my cell phone, and maybe find a few moments to sip a latte and do some writing.

Slipping into the drivers seat, I stretched the seatbelt across my chest, clicking the buckle into place as my car revved to life. Off to get stuff done. "I really have it together," I think proudly to myself.

As my car crept backward toward the end of my driveway, my smile fell to the floor. I forgot to get gas on my way home last night again. This is the third time since Sunday it slipped my mind. Well maybe the first, (between you and me) the other two times I put it off.

The needle on the gage sits comfortably over the official empty line... if I look at it straight on. If I lean to the left of the steering wheel for a second opinion, it looks like I might make it to the end of the road. My road is 8 miles long. I could pull back in and siphon from the lawnmower, but instead I go for it.

This situation is one I have been involved with many times before. It's called a "self- inflicted" situation. It sounds much more serious and irresponsible than "procrastination", which is too socially accepted.  Putting a task off for later in hopes of preserving the quality of now. Straight- up laziness if you ask me. An example of this would be, "I should stop for gas on the way home, but it's raining and I'm chilly- plus the dog had been in the car for a while and the kids are hungry. I'll do it in the morning." Any excuse will do.

The atmosphere in my car is less than relaxed, especially when I catch up to a huge farm tractor hauling a loaded manure spreader up the road, driving a little faster than I would have been running had I not chose to skip that part of my day. Can't he tell by the way I am tailgating that I have a situation here? Anyway, I snuck past him and made it. I love a happy ending.

*If I my NutriBullet was broken and I actually ran out of gas, the lesson would be this:
If we end up receiving the consequences of our self- inflicted situations, we will be much more motivated in the future to plan ahead so that we truly have it together, right?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mowing the Lawn

   Lawn mowing season has arrived in the Mount Washington Valley. 

Time to push. Time to sweat. Time to swat blood- sucking flies like it's your hobby. I love hearing the steady buzz of a lawnmower in the distance.
  When I catch the subtle whiff of my neighbor's freshly trimmed lawn riding by on the breeze, it's like we made a connection without ever saying "hello"... But then we do say "hello" as I walk by with the dog, our eyes meeting just for a smile before he makes a u-turn on his riding mower and heads back up a seemingly endless stretch of grass in a very impressive straight line.
                                                                                                            I prefer a push mower. 
  I picked up a gas powered mower my second summer as a homeowner when I put off mowing for too long- and then it rained. The place looked deserted, and my reel mower couldn't cut it. However, the reel mower is my baby.
  I can really get into some deep thoughts when I push that thing.  It gives off this soothing pulse of metal brushing metal that sends me into a walking meditation. 
The mowing season for me began at 7 am Monday morning. (I was excited!) I greased up my quiet reel and set off down my first row. Not long after I started I was in the zone, thinking about stuff. It was a new feeling this time. I was thinking I might put the house on the market. This was my maiden voyage across the yard and I had to go getting all heavy. This is not like me.