I hate sausages. There, I said it. The food item is what I am talking about. I buy a sausage roll to eat the pastry and discard the meat, I buy a sausage in a roll (a different thing to sausage roll) just so that I can have a warm bun and ketchup and throw the sausages away. To be fair, the cheaper the sausage the better it taste but the less you want to think about the contents. I eat sausages at home because it is cheap food and we are still of the pile it high sell it cheap variety right now at this phase of our lives. I could never enjoy living in Germany or Poland, purely because of the culinary choices. But I surely hate sausages.
A wasted Saturday is a rare and glorious gift to ourself.
It seems that I am good in company at the moment, feeling genuinely cheerful and happy to be in social situations just chatting or dancing or listening to buddies, but am plunging in to worry and anxiety when alone when there is nowhere else to run from myself. Feeling emotionally breathless is absolutely rubbish and I recommend it to nobody at all, not even my worst enemies. So, Saturday my daughter and I took a day off of everything, absolutely everything.
When I’d awoken before dawn I realised that I could afford to get a bad day out of my system as I wasn’t required to be anywhere particular this weekend apart from Sunday Services. I had a two A4 page of Honey-Do’s I’d written for myself, each line being a tiresome project which needed completing in the house preferably before winter falls. And I couldn’t face it. I was close to tears, on a Saturday! What a waste of tears. I determined I was not going to cry on my own time! Instead, I was going to be still. I was going to ignore the day as long as I could.
My teen padded in to my untidy room around midday and flopped on the bed. We conspired together that we deserved a complete day off having run ourselves ragged for years. It was exciting to be in this together. We chatted a while about books we were reading on Audio because we’re both a little dyslexic and I’d rather listen to a book than struggle with text and so would she. We’re both perfectly capable of reading but sometimes for recreation we just have someone read the darned book to us. It feels like cheating but what is the point of technology if you can’t use it to enhance your experience of literature and make available that which you wouldn’t have tackled without the electronic intercedent.
After a while she padded off again and I settled in for more breathing. Breathing is something I’ve taken for granted all these years but of late my glorious mind keeps trying to trick me that there is insufficient oxygen in the atmosphere. Stupid glorious mind…
So, I lay there in my unmade bed and breathed. Then when I’d done that for an hour or so I took a nap, then listened to a show and then breathed again.
I was roused only by the offspring’s enquiry as to what was for dinner. Without said offspring I would gladly have spent all the hours until the next day in my room, but I’m contracted to care for the kid so up we got and a dinner of beef burgers and pasta was rustled. Then, relocated to the living room, I sat and breathed some more until I realised it was now 2am and I really should go to my untidy room to breathe. Brushed my teeth and toddled off to my chamber for some more breathing.
Is it me, or did somebody really turn down the oxygen supply in the atmosphere? Asking for a friend.
If all your peace of mind is gone, and is replaced by hypothetical money worries, you need to speak with your friends.
Don’t you love friends who talk you down from the emotional ledge? (The correct answer is yes, yes we do love those friends). I’ve been using much of my spare time to ponder next steps now that we are in the privileged position of being in credit for the first time in almost ever, and for the first time since becoming a fully fledged adult taking care of adult responsibilities. For clarity, it’s not much in credit but there is a plus sign not minus on the ol’ bank account and that’s a good enough start for me.
When I was working toward bringing credit agreements down to a zero balance, there was a definite goal, a specific figure had to be reached for that to be successful, there was a stopping point. While the task was immensely difficult, the actual ability to quantify the required outcome was simple. Keep paying for stuff until there is no more to pay. Reducing to a nought. Simple to keep straight, eh. If there was more than a nought on the balance of the credit agreement, I wasn’t there yet and had to keep going. Simple.
What has had me vexed is the next step. The next baby step. It has kept my mind occupied while I pondered, cogitated, and strategized.
Now that the little number is increasing there is no ceiling, no natural end goal. Numbers go up to infinity plus one as any clued up 8 year old will tell you. It vexes me because there is no way to know how much is enough. How much will we need to have set aside to get by in the next month, year, few years, decade, until retirement or until the end of my natural life. There is no figure. It will always be too little. It will always be more than we had.
With no natural end result my mind has been in a spin. It has in actuality been quite a little more difficult than dealing with paying down credit. At least if we had almost nothing we knew what we could do with our little porridge pot. At least if the money ran out we knew or at least hoped that we had food storage and petrol in the car and the bills were paid. Although awfully difficult, there were specifics and I am a lady who loves specifics. I need to know the end from the beginning and if I don’t then all merry emotional hell breaks loose. Uncertainty does not sit well with me, never has, likely never will.
So, all merry emotional hell has been breaking loose as a consequence of feeling somewhat untethered. Which is ridiculous. How can success make a person uneasy? It’s daft. I felt like a fool. I’d met a target, a stretch target as we like to say at work, and yet I was managing feelings larger than before I started.
Anyway, with a sky’s the limit, no end in sight, don’t know how much is enough mind-set I wasn’t feeling very settled. Until in walks a buddy called Sinead, who herself was hot on the heels of a friend called Mel.
When I was in a tailspin and worrying out loud “what if the roof falls off?”, Mel had quizzically looked at me and said “you have house insurance”. I slapped my forehead, of course I have insurance, of course if there is a disaster at the home not of my doing and that I cannot fix myself I can rest well knowing we are covered. It soothed my troubled heart. That worked for a few days.
Then I went on to fretting on the topic of “how much is enough to have set aside and when do I need to have it by?” because bills have due dates, don’t you know! I was and still am in a due date mentality.
After confiding in Sinead in the corridor at Church between classes (sorry, missus!) who had only congratulated us on getting to where we were, she came up with the plan of having an account with a specific goal or figure in mind, like £500 for example, and when that is achieved, that is full. I’ll have done it, it would be completed. Then open another goal with a slightly increased figure in mind, work toward that and when that reaches the pre-determined figure, I’ve succeeded in that too, and it is done. Then do it again and so on. Effectively, we cannot determine the future but we can set goals and work toward them and tick them off when they are completed. Is this making any sense? Add a finite factor to an infinite problem.
It had the immediate impact of settling my troubled heart. How simple. How insightful of her to realise I wasn’t faux-probleming and that this really was a big deal to my family. To both these ladies I doff my hat and say thank you in writing as well as in person. Complex worries had simple solutions, these ladies comprehended the worries and helped by suggesting ways through. How beautifully hearted of them. Aren’t they lovely?
I was told a few years ago that someone perceived me to be a Solution Oriented Optimist. Someone who could see the genuine problem, review, decide, act and stay positive when possible and even stay positive when highly improbable but never deluded. Their opinion of my was a surprise because I knew what went round in my head at pace to get to the Solution they saw in front of them. I think this experience over the past couple of weeks has fallen in to this category, without my friends I couldn’t see the solution. They helped me peep through the fog of worry. A fog which was of my own making but real to me none the less. A solution has been formatted and we are making great headway. Thanks for listening while I got this out of my head and on to electronic paper so to speak.
I have a slippery landlord. Very slippery. Right now, with a cracked cistern in a 1 bath house and no water he is holding us hostage with the invoice to replace a poorly fitted, old and broken WC before they’ll replace and fix and turn the water back on.
For clarity, we officially have no piped water for sanitation, food prep or drinking.
We are impeccable tenants, we maintain the home, we hire window cleaners, we garden, we take in parcels for the neighbours, we pay the inflated rent on time every time. In the dictionary where it lists “Model Perfect Tenant” there is a picture of me.
The idea that somebody could hold me hostage for water is shocking and despicable. I have discovered that it takes more than 30 litres a day to wash your body and to flush and to get one drink each. 30 LITRES!
What the landlord may or may not have been ready for is water storage. We’re rationing like crazy but Mormons got the water storage thing going on a strong game.
So, who blinks first? This is about to get interesting.
5PM UPDATE: We won!!! (so far, anyway)… without continuing to make a fuss the landlord replaced the equipment and turned the water back on while we were at work. We discovered the great news upon returning home today. I could hear the office maintenance guy rolling his eyes on the phone yesterday evening (eye rolling and “whatever” attitude is so loud) but all’s well that ends well and the showers and taps are now operational. They apparently viewed my video this morning chatting about how the plumber had mentioned the cistern was not attached to the wall correctly and there was too much give and play which caused the crack and leak and were a little easier to deal with once their hostility subsided. Me to them “In the nicest possible terms, we have no sanitation, could you confirm when we will have access to sanitation please?” was apparently a reason to become terse. We won!!!
Time to inventory what we have and plan for what we need for a one month supply. Just payday to payday.
I wrote recently about how a water outage inspired me to get back on the preparedness horse. It’s been a week or so since I last did anything that would count as productive in this arena so tonight is the night.
I’ve just been paid. I have to do a grocery shop this weekend. Now would be a good time to find out what I have vs. what I need to be ready for a month – excluding Fresh Fruit and Vegetables. In case of Emergency, I figure we can deal with Scurvy as a secondary concern!
So tonight I shall INVENTORY our foodstuffs.
Then I shall knock up a quick meals plan and see if we would have the required ingredients to meet that.
Whatever I don’t have which could be bought in one shop is what I need immediately.
If they have BOGOF (buy one, get one free) sales on the products I’ve identified as being a requirement, I shall pick up the spare and put it in the “storage” section.
I’ll also pick up a few bottles of water and set them to the side. I have water purification tablets now, but if you have no water it’s difficult to purify anything! 🙂
I have a tiny kitchen with only two small cupboards for storing food and cooking implements. I’ve been keeping an eye on “dead spaces” as I’ve been walking around our house and I have found a lot of places that with minor and reversible tweaks, because it’s a rental, we can have places to put and easily rotate our provisions while keeping them out of sight.
I’m getting excited. Can you tell?
The first step in my preparedness and food storage journey has been a breeze, so easy, since I figured a little something out…
Recently we were talking about how when my water supply stopped unexpectedly last week, I was reminded to undertake a personal preparedness plan of action.
The first step it turned out was so easy, sofa comfy, armchair stuff easy.
I have an email address to which I send all my important papers. It is a very old email address and hardly supported at all. Forwarding emails to a newer address is cumbersome and time consuming and quite a grind.
Last night I learned how to use the AirDrop facility on my iPad to print off the important documents and it was so easy. In truth, my daughter showed me that it was possible as she printed school applications from her device and it piqued my interest.
I went in to settings on the iPad and allowed permission to use the AirDrop facility.
I switched on my Epson WiFi enabled printer/scanner which looks quite like this…
I went in to the document I was interested in and clicked the icon on the top right hand side of the screen and it gave me some options of what I wanted to do next.
I swished right, hit the print icon, chose the name of the printer in question (Epson blah blah), chose 1 copy, and the printer started whirring.
Out came the urgent document 🙂
No faffing with laptops and Ethernet cables that are plugged in to the printer and which in turn is plugged in to the router.
Just icon, printer name, quantity, enter.
I am sooooo happy.
So then I started making a file copy of insurance documents and so forth.
Feeling like I’ve made a start is empowering and a great motivator to continue sorting stuff out. I said I’d do it, and I am doing it. Using technology which is at my fingertips but I just hadn’t figured it out yet was a great sense of achievement. I’m likely never going to win awards for coding or network management, but I figured out enough to get started meeting my own needs and that feels good.
There are shows on telly dedicated to preppers. They are talented in their skill sets and I wish I could start a fire with only two sticks and a cotton ball but alas, I find it tricky with the matches and lighters and prepared fuels because I am a novice.
Last week our water went out. There was no pressure in the pipes. We were waterless.
I have been told a hundred times to have water storage on hand but I didn’t have any. I used to but we drank it when we were camping a while back.
People I know have water butts, others have Evian or store bought bottles. Others have stored tap water and have purification methods on hand. We had nothing to hand but we did have wet wipes for hygiene.
Mormons are strongly advised to have a quantity of food storage, a quantity of water, a quantity of financial saving, a comfortable level of self-reliance (camping or cooking outdoors) and to have suitable kit and copies of documents for if you had to leave your home in a hurry for a day or so.
This is mainly so that if you were to fall upon hard times with a job loss or big bills, or your water goes out, or there is a gas leak or forest fire near your home or something similar and you were evacuated for a while, or if your neighbour falls upon hard times you’ll have something to share or something to sustain you and your family.
I have had food storage several times, and in the past 4 years there have been times of scarcity and I had to rely upon it frequently rather than going to the grocery store/shop and at the moment it is at a nearly all time low of a weeks supply – unless I want us to eat plain rice for months in which case we are set.
Luckily I was advised by the water board that the problem was at the pumping station and being seen to as we spoke and water would be back on by the morning, and they were true to their word.
But it has got me thinking about how half hooved I am in readiness terms. Our house is tiny, it is a rental so I cannot make changes, we are pretty strapped for cash while I undertake this divorce proceeding so whatever we do is going to have to be frugally undertaken.
However, with a couple of wake up calls I have had recently, I am hereby committing to figuring this out and getting back up to speed with whatever I can do to follow the advice so well prepared for me.
From nearly zero, let’s see what we can get organised over the next few months.