Thursday, February 05, 2009

Recession Ponderings - Confessions of a recovering Yuppie

I awoke this morning to find we had no water. Having someone come in and check the well pump is on the Priority List... fixing the Buick caused it and a few other items to drop in their priority. It has now gone to the top of the list.

Thankfully, my husband had people he could call for advice and we did a few things we had done in the past when it didn't start. About an hour later the water suddenly started up again and we're still not sure what the problem was or how it was "fixed". However, it was good to have people in place we could go to for plumbing advice.

As I've said before, hubby and I are recovering Yuppies. My original goal may have been moving to North Carolina and living off the land but once I entered the corporate world (where my husband already worked), I fell for the Yuppie world hook, line, and the proverbial sinker. It took years of financial trials to bring us back to reality. We were educated to be consumers and pay other people to do things like fix well pumps.

Suddenly the skills we gained through the years were not those that would help us when our financial world fell apart. We were better off than some people since hubby worked building houses and refinishing furniture while he was in college. However, we didn't have a lot of basic skills necessary for survival in economic downturns... and the skills are completely different than finding the best plumber to do the job.

We each entered this learning process according to our personality. Hubby has annoyed more repairmen through the years by getting in their face and seeing how they did their job (when someone had to be called). Most were nice about it, though... the guy who put in a new thermostat and checked our furnace in October was a natural born teacher who took the time to show my husband to do both. He even went slow enough for my husband to write down everything he was doing while checking (and fixing a little gas leak) in the furnace. Hubby now has many files and 3-ring binders full of information.

As for me... being a book person and all... I have spent many years now developing a reference library all about emergency preparedness, cooking, decorating, canning, gardening, living off the land (even though we don't, the books still have great info), and homeschooling. We both are always needing to learn something new to be able to live life with little money.

Just this afternoon I spent an hour choosing new inexpensive recipes to try from my More With Less cookbook and perusing (for the hundredth time it seems) one of Emilie Barne's budget decorating books.

When we were in the middle of our homeschooling years, I would head directly to the kid's nonfiction books at library sales... then to history and biography... making my way eventually to cooking and gardening. In the past few years, the cooking, decorating, and gardening section has been my first stop.

I also use the Amazon credit I receive for such books (this month I had two months worth built up so I bought a book about gardening, another a recipe book about showing hospitality, as well as my granddaughter's birthday book... all from used book dealers).

We are both at different stages of learning. He's better at building things and house repairs than he is at plumbing. I don't let him near the electrical wires, even if his dad was an electrician (some skills are not inherited). I am good at cooking and decorating but a newcomer at gardening.

The other important aspect of living in difficult times... we need each other. Neither of us have many family members left and none who could help in an emergency. However, through a network of people we know at our church and in our old neighborhood, we have people who are usually available to help and to teach. Perhaps not immediately but in the long run.

We grew up expecting a world like The Jetson's... it turns out what we need is more like Little House on the Prairie or The Walton's.


freetobeme - Anita said...

Very interesting. We never know what may come next in our lives, do we? You've done well to adjust and then readjust. God bless you.

Kimberly said...

Not having been taught to much that was truly useful in all our education, Sweetheart and I are now learning as much as we can. Gardening,canning, scratch cooking, crafting, sewing, etc. are my lot. He's learning and doing wiring projects, sprinklers, woodworking, and metal working. We're both learning right now how to make cheese and soap with him planning on brewing fermented drinks. *ahem* Those LHOTP books are actually filled with quite a bit of useful information!!!

scrappy quilter said...

This could almost have been our post. We learnt from mistakes too, in fact many of them. Thankfully through those mistakes we learnt many lessons God wanted to teach us. Now I hope I can teach others through our mistakes.
Libraries have so many wonderful books to help us learn so many skills. I'm so thankful for them. On our fixed income we'd never be able to afford all the books we read to learn new skills.

Kelly said...

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful posts you share on how to deepen the pantry and save money. We are not on a fixed income; but in 2008 my husband lost his job. He got another one after three months, but took a very large paycut, and I am a stay-at-home homeschool mom. We have become very frugal and your posts are very helpful.

Carol said...

I too am trying to learn more about gardening. I am finding http://www.carletongarden. very helpful, especially the winter sowing links. (MD)

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Brenda, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your posts about being frugal. My mother and I had to live on very little when my daddy passed away and I witnessed first hand how a woman could stretch food and we got most of our clothes from Goodwill or people gave us hand-me-downs. I didn't mind. I always felt like they were new to me. I still enjoy finding a great bargain in thrift shops. I love yard sales and I always think it's neat to find a treasure that will now live at my house. God has been good to us. Oh I pray He comes back to get us before the Tribulation, but if we do we still must stay committed to Him. We have been a country of spoiled kids and now our world seems to have turned upside down. He is still on the throne!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Thankful y'all got the water problem corrected. We've let our water drip, and I mean Really Drip as in a small stream, in the kitchen and the bathroom for several nights this past month and this week. Our water bill went up, but it was cheaper than a plumber. (And off topic here....I am praying for your son and his health issues.)

Maggie Ann said...

I love that last paragraph of your post! Thats clever I like it....

Lallee said...

I'm glad you were able to get your water going again. I've always been thankful for the things my husband is able to fix. I was often the one standing over HIS shoulder learning. It was helpful knowledge to me for the times that he had to travel away frequently.

I left your blog open for a while this morning. Your music selections really ministered to my heart this morning. Thank you!

Amanda said...

I also wanted to thank you for the recession ponderings and frugal living posts. This line of thinking is right up my alley, especially these days. And as another commenter mentioned, I loved your clever last paragraph!