Saturday, November 22, 2008

Corset diaries

Some of you know me in my other incarnation, the one that I don't talk about here, much. So you can understand why I've been forbearing to talk about the economic situation in the country/world etc. Too much like work really. Let me tell you, it's been hard keeping my big mouth shut, but really, as a good ****** ****** I follow instructions well, most of the time. As a result I've been belt tightening for months, trying to be prudent, only buy what was necessary, though admittedly, I can justify that $40 pint of Ben and Jerry's any day. FYI, it's cheaper than a month's worth of depression meds and tastes a whole lot better; the fat content guarantees that you immediately feel better; depression meds take a whole month to kick in.

Anyway, of late that belt has begun to feel like more a victorian whalebone corset, cutting off circulation, making it difficult to breath, harder to move freely, constricting. You know what I mean, you're doing the same. Sure in the last few days the price of a few food items went down. Rice and wheat, things that I buy only a couple of times a year, when you have only yourself and a large dog to feed on a regular basis you tend to buy things that don't require a lot of fuss, that will teach me eh. I'm not in a traditional arrangement where I come home to make dinner for the family etc, the X-man eats whatever is on hand when he's around. Like most folk, I succumb to the temptations of a muffin, doubles or eating out, though not as often as one might think. Keep in mind, most days I eat on the fly a lot averaging two meals but it usually works out to one and a half along with the requisite gallon of coffee that it takes for me to function.

Right. Like most women I live by budget, it's carefully constructed in an excel spreadsheet, after all, technology is there to be used. At a glance I can see what bills are outstanding, how much leverage I have in between the sum that hits my bank account and what goes right back out. Lately that number is getting smaller and smaller until a couple of months ago I noticed something quite alarming. There wasn't any difference. You heard me. Now you might wonder, has my lifestyle become more extravagant, have I taken to throwing the old dollar around? The sad reality is that it's quite the reverse. Whereas I used to be able to go out for the odd meal or drinks with friends, maybe a pedicure, that's been cut back to the point of non-existence.

I tend to do my laundry on a Saturday morning while attempting to whip Casa Coffeewallah back into shape, it's usually a few loads through the washer and dryer. That is until the bloody electricity bill arrived! It was bad enough when the dry cleaning bill cost more than the utilities but now I can't win either way. Hanging it out on the line is not a viable option all the time. You can't leave the washing hanging out in my neighbourhood and expect to come back and find it every time. And then there's the rain so the old dryer gets a work out even though I follow all the green rules and optimise loads, clear out the lint collector etc. Sure I make more home cooked meals, but the raw materials don't just fall from heaven and then there is a lack of a twenty pound cannister of gas, they're in short supply around here. If anyone knows where one can be had in the Diego Martin and environs I'd be hugely appreciative of the hook up.

The other day, driven the point of total exasperation by the day, traffic, people etc, heading home my car turned into Movietowne, it's like Stephen King's Christine, it sometimes has a mind of its own. Screw it, I treated myself to Quantum of Solace and something to eat. Close to a hundred dollars in one shot for a movie, hot dog and some fries. That will teach me. I'd like to do the right thing and not buy pirated movies but you know, fifiteen bucks for the movie and another four for popcorn is a lot more palatable than forty-five and thirteen. I'll absorb the electricity cost thanks. I don't begrudge business owners you know, they have to make a living too but I suspect things are going to be a little hairy for them too.

The fact is, like most people I know, Father Christmas is going to be whizzing past my house this year. Sorry friends, those home baked treats that have been known to come out of my kitchen as presents, enjoy the memory, some day they will make a return. Ditto for the Christmas calls, cards and visits. Don't worry, I have no expectations either, we're all tightening up those belts. Of course I also believe in leading by example, so it's my hope that all those people advocating the tightened belt, are doing the same. We'll all be watching.


Annie Paul said...

yes, 2009 is going to be a squeeze, a tight one, we're all going to have to let go of various things, criminals are breathing down our necks, its not a good feeling being a target...but hopefully the result will be significant change and change for the you pointed out earlier Obama's election is a symbolic start...

Gabriela said...

Here in Peru the crisis strikes too... but I see why you had to think about going to the movies more then twice. I'd have done it myself.
Anyway, I agree that 2009 comes full of hopes.
I'm crossing my fingers already.

Anonymous said...

Try changing your light bulbs to fluorescent.
Also, get power strips and make sure to turn off all your appliances and unplug them (flip the switch) when not in use.

Also, try going vegetarian. Seriously.

That should help some.

Bottled water? Do you have an inside room that is suitable for drying?

HPD said...

A tough one. At least we have something hey? I draw the line on the idea of going vegetarian. There is a limit. It's like saying coffee is a luxury.

What do I give you for Christmas? My warmest wishes and hope that we get a chance to share a cuppa one day in 2009.

(And I'm still hoping for a guitar.)

Angry African