The New Normal

So every life has a defining moment.  A personal 9/11, if you will – the moment when the world changed.  Like any moment, there is a ton of stuff leading up to it, but it is the moment itself that really changes everything.  Mine was the day I lost my job.  It was the suckiest  job I had ever had, but still, I had never been fired before.  I was grateful to be out of there, don’t get me wrong.  It was all I could do not to giggle through the exit interview.  I was glad to be free of the place.  But sometimes freedom has a cost you didn’t count on.

At first I was exuberant in my freedom.  I was so thrilled to be able to be with my kids, to have lunch with my spouse, to actually do my own grocery shopping.  In the early days, I was like, “Great, now I have to grow a mustache!”, as I jokingly lamented the loss of luxuries like waxing (which by this time I wasn’t doing anyway, since my spouse had lost his job 15 months earlier).  Then I quickly realized that we weren’t going to be buying a new car in a few months like we had discussed and would have to make due with the older minivan that we had (we only have the one car).  It was clear that the remodeling project we had planned would be postponed until there was an income to cover it.  And slowly over the days and weeks that followed “the moment”, the shallow consumerism wore off and life got more serious. 

Six months later, the focus is on how do we keep the house, how will we pay for food, and can we afford to go the doctor.  It is amazing to me how quickly this change took place.  I lie awake at night doing the math; trying to figure out a way to make it all better.  I look at my kids and wonder what they will think when we come out on the other side of this.  Perhaps the moment wasn’t THE moment after all.  Perhaps the moment is still coming and all of this is the real build up to that.  Only time will tell. 

In the meantime, I have made some drastic changes.  Being that I worked approximately 70+ hours a week at that job, we ate out a lot.  Now we cook all meals at home.  For the first two months I was unemployed, I would still spring out of bed super early, be dressed and ready to go.  I would take the kids to school and then hit Starbucks.  This is how I lived.  I didn’t know any other way.  I didn’t even know how to do breakfast at home.  I had been eating on the run or at my desk for years.  The idea of a real breakfast was so foreign to me.  I have to laugh now at how crazy it really was.  I love to cook and have been having a good time experimenting and even canning again.  I will get into detail about my life with food more in future posts.

I also spend a ton of time gardening.  Not like “the little old lady pruning her prize roses” kind of gardening, mind you.  I mean like growing potatoes, corn, tomatoes and pumpkins kind of gardening.  We have a small orchard and a couple of mature grapes as well.  This is serious urban farming.  We are hoping that this will help supplement our food needs somewhat.  Not just nourish my soul.  Right now, not enough is coming on to make a big dent in the food budget.  As you will learn, I am big into the urban farm and the farm-to-table movements.  I always have been.  I feel like I allowed myself to get so derailed by my job over the course of time, that I forgot what really mattered to me.  Again, I will talk more about getting back to my roots soon.

So with a little history, we begin the tale…!”

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