I’m a city girl by ny ature despite the fact that I live in Maine, hell I was born in Chicago and spent almost 30 years there. However after 7 years in Maine, I will admit that some “Maine” ways have crept in..Mainers by nature are a frugal lot. Folks in Maine will freely sit used shit on the side of the road so it can be recycled and no one and I am talking folks I know with millions here have any shame in hitting a thrift store. In fact rich folks here seem to go out of their way to not seem rich, generally the only outward signs is that they may have an oceanfront house which even in Maine still costs a lot.
Nope, Maine folks take pride in being frugal and its something I have come to appreciate. That said, as I have been connecting more and more with old friends and associates from back home, I am a lot more conscious on just how wasteful I used to be granted I still am wasteful by Maine standards. I have also come to appreciate that its just wasteful to spend money on shit you can do yourself which is one reason I have become interested in learning to sew and knit. It looks relaxing but also over the years I have become a sucker for buying anything handmade that in theory I could make myself for a fraction of the costs.
Look, we all would like to believe that we are always going to be financially comfortable but the truth is that for many of us that is no longer reality. When I met the Spousal Unit he was a college grad pulling in a solid salary, now his field and career are in flux and the cash flow we used to have simply doesn’t exist. Now, I am not going to toss his ass out but I have had to have a paradigm shift in how I view the world. Weekend getaways just for the hell of it simply don’t exist any longer and while I could be bitter about that, what would be the point?
Instead I focus on what we have (good health, great kids and love) and look at our new financial reality as a time to make changes and seek the fun in those changes. I know some folks I know wonder why I seem to put such effort in home cooked meals, well they are tastier than most outside meals, cooking can be fun and in most cases it also saves money.
I also think that as adults we owe it to ourselves to know simple shit like how to cook (opening cans doesn’t count) do simple home improvements , and even know how to sew our buttons back on our clothes. See, my Mom and Granny had the full array of domestic skills yet I chose not to learn them as a kid and they didn’t pressure me. So now I am hitting close to 40 and barely can sew a button back on which really is stupid. I taught myself to cook early in my first marriage when after months of eating out of a can, I was getting sick as a dog.
Yeah, one could count on earning a lot of cash or marrying into money but shit happens and its best to be prepared. Also 5 years of home ownership has taught me that hiring folks for every small problem gets costly as hell so I now hit the library and google to try and assess problems before I start calling folks. Just yesterday I asked my neighbor for help in the garden.
Living in such precarious times, its not about trying to live like the Amish but just as many of us prepare ourselves by going to college for our professional lives we also need to well rounded in other areas too. The ability to take care of the home and hearth are actually pretty useful skills to have and you can never go wrong knowing how to cook a meal.