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Pumpkin Pied and Roofing It

Fried BrainsFried brains are so much fun.


No work for me today thanks to a lovery one-two punch of migraine (definitely stress induced) and arthritis flare-up (probably also exacerbated by stress).  Bleargh.  The headache’s backed off to a dull thud but it always leaves me too shaky for words for several hours after it starts to ooze away.  I hate to miss work, particularly now, when I really want to claim a few prizes or three.  Not to mention the whole “need the money” thing

I didn’t rip into G this morning but what I did tell him was to stop and think about what he had next time he had the urge to bitch and moan.  He has a roof over his head, good food to eat (vs. the slop he got at the Addams’ Family trailer in Tucson.)  He has decent clothes, a spoiled-rotten and loving dog, cable TV and Internet, a couple of TVs to choose from; and basically anything he wants that’s within my power to provide.  I told him I get that he’s frustrated with the daughter’s boyfriend – so am I – but that’s a situation resolving itself within just a few more days when the boyfriend moves out.  G came back with a hug to say he does appreciate what he has and he is indeed thankful.  I told him not to thank me personally; it was just meant to nudge his attitude over to the gratitude side for the very real blessings we’ve been given.

For my own gratitude I consider our overall picture.  While it will be nice to have all the bills paid off, I can now both eat AND pay bills.  More times than I can count in my life I’ve had to choose between paying rent or eating.  Now, as I described to Dangerspouse, we’re below the national median income as a household, but I’m waaaay above the median in terms of personal income.  I think for the first time in my adult life I am middle class.  Yay!  Considering how many people have lost everything and have no prospects in the current economic climate, it’s a fool who’s not grateful for that.

Modern Day CavemanIt’s intriguing to me that there are people who literally live free; as in NO money.  The man pictured at left opted to live in a cave.

Some people think he’s crazy.  He thinks he’s free of debt and wouldn’t have it any other way.  He lives off things people throw away, including food that’s thrown out (wasted, frankly) by restaurants and the like.  And while his is the most commonly referenced such scenario on the Internet (his name is Mark Boyle – look him up) he’s not alone.  I found a few other, similar stories online.

I’m not talking about people who are homeless because they can’t find or keep a job, I’m talking about people who made a conscious choice to opt out of the rat race and found a way to flourish along the way.  There are people whose homes are in tunnels below cities; people whose lives are in tents; and I have personally known people who lived on their own land but in areas so remote that there was no television, no electricity and no running water.  They used a wood stove to heat their home, their only nod to modern life a generator that kept a small refrigerator running.  They had to carry water in, which they considered just a minor bump on their way of life.

That’s a nice theory but I wouldn’t want to live there.  I like my bed and my washer and dryer, like the ability to go in and turn on the water to take a shower whenever I want one.  I like going to the fridge and using an electric or gas stove to cook, a heating and AC system and a door I can close when the mood strikes.  I like having a computer and TV and like the option of going to the grocery store when I’m out of milk and buying the milk I want.

Yes, a job and a mortgage mean you’re tied down and there’s stress involved.  Sadly the homestead program, where people could receive free land in open areas and their descendants could make use of it – gone.  The homestead program was established in a very different America, one in which land was seemingly endless.  Very, very different world.

My stove is busy today; the oven is in use for two – count ’em, two – pumpkin pies.  I’d bought the pumpkin around Thanksgiving but never used it.  Daughter and I made a quick trip to the grocery store this afternoon and I spent my last cash to get a loaf of bread, some lunch meat and refrigerated pie crusts that were on sale.

Thousand Dollar HouseThe house at right is my idea of free living. Not exactly free, admitted, though if it sells for its starting bid of a thousand bucks it would be a cash deal – no house payments, anyway. Yes, that’s ONE thousand dollars.  (Click the image to go to the page about it.)  Of course it probably won’t sell that low, but you never really know when it comes to auctions.  It’s pretty far on the east side of town and probably needs repairs.  For that kind of money you can afford to do some hefty repairs without breaking the bank.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to own a home outright in this day and age?

There are a few places in the valley starting the range of $5K-$15K and this isn’t the only $1K listing.  When the time comes to buy I’ll definitely be watching to see which way the wind blows.  I will hopefully be able to go see one of their auctions live in the meantime and get a real sense of what final prices really look like.

Dinner is spaghetti with marinara, asparagus, and maybe a small tossed salad to balance it out.  Easy stuff, if not the low carb I should probably be doing.  I can’t help believing the carbs aren’t a tenth the issue the stress is, anyway.  My daughter’s cooking dinner (the spaghetti part and the asparagus part anyway – just took the pies out of the oven) and it’s starting to smell heavenly in here.  Yum!

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