I don’t get out much. I’m a homebody. That is my choice, my preferred way of being, and I have a list of reasons why I like to come home and stay home. I come home after work, kick off my shoes – and strip off a few other constricting pieces of clothing - settle in and enjoy. Ah, is there anything so pleasurable as elbows on the table, slouching in a chair, mussed hair, bare feet and burping out loud? At home, I let it all hang out.
Lately, though, it’s almost like home is shrinking, like it’s becoming a prison cell, because nowadays, I can’t afford to do anything but come home – to a stripped down version of home. The cupboards are barren, the refrigerator is about empty, the thermostat is down way low and there’s no cable TV to help me forget all the rest. My belt is as tight as it can get.
It all hit me yesterday when Tim and I ventured out to Walmart (crazy thing to do on a Saturday afternoon, let me tell you) to pick up a few things that we needed like coffee, butter, eggs, bread and milk. My jaw dropped and the “holy shit” that came out of my mouth was not said quietly when I saw that a can of Folgers coffee was at $8.44. That is insane! I didn’t make the second pot of coffee this morning that is my usual weekend fare.
It wasn’t that long ago, maybe a month or two, that I could put $10 worth of gas in the car on payday and I’d put another $10 in, whether it needed it or not, on the next payday two weeks later. Granted, I live a few blocks from work, drive out to see Odin once a week (he’s 8 miles away), and the little car gets great mileage, but that $10 every two weeks isn’t possible now. $20 put in the tank yesterday didn’t bring the gauge up to the half-full mark. That is crazy! Now that the days are getting longer again, I had hoped to get out to Odin more often, but I guess I’ll have to give up on that idea, along with any camera outings, road trips or Sunday drives. I’m glad I now have a postage stamp sized yard to mow now instead of the 3 acres I had last year, but I bet it’ll cost me the same in gas!
The only thing that hasn’t gone up is my paycheck. I thank my lucky stars every day that I have a paycheck, measly as it is, because many don’t. I wonder – and worry – about how those folks are making it day to day. My belt is tight, but at least I have one to tighten! Sure, I’m hanging onto a few “creature comforts” that I won’t give up ‘til the end, and selling Odin is not an option, but going to a movie, out to eat and buying meat, fresh vegetables and new clothes are all things of the past.
Ah, I do so enjoy being here at home. It’s a roof over my head, simple as it is, and I’m thankful for it. But, if the price of everything keeps going up and up, even this small, little life of mine may get too expensive to afford.
I give up.