Friday, May 4, 2012

Participating in Our Life

When my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease everthing changed in our life.  The first really noticable part was finances.  My husband was unable to work.  We had hospital bills, doctor bills, medication costs coming in.  Even with insurance we were being crushed.  Then, when the monthly bills started coming in, I figured out that my husband had not been able to take care of things for a long time.  At that time I started scrambling to take cover.

First I started reading frugal blogs and digging out my old cost-saving recipes trying to figure out what to do.  I pulled out the bills from the stack and put a plan in place to start taking care of them.  The big thing I learned from the blogs was pay off my bills and credit cards as fast as I could and then put that money towards other bills. 

The key, I understood from my reading was to get more money.  Ha, I wondered, should I wave my magic wand and get a little more money.  The thing to do, I gathered was get another job or spend less than I were earning.  Since my life was in an upheaval, I worked on the part that I felt like I had more control over, the spending less part.  I cut grocery costs, house cooling and heating costs, and every extra that I could cut out and paid towards bills.  A budget was my best friend.

I felt that getting an extra job, since I work full time, was not an option for me.  My family needs were and continue to be too time consuming for an outside job.

I, with my husband's help, started turning the backyard into garden strips.  We read everything we could on home gardening.  We added 1 strip or space a year and planted more each year.  Most years we have good results.  We have had an  amazing time  discovering the wonders of growing our own food.

Our backyard had the poles for hanging laundry, but the lines were gone.  We strung wire between the poles and by the next year we added the second line, since we were hanging all of our laundry, most of the time.

I cook most of our food from scratch.  I make our bread.  I use a white sauce instead of cream soups.  I spend time searching for new ways to use beans in our menus and other cost saving recipes.  Just recently I started making yogurt and granola again.  I make most of my cleaners and laundry soap.  

These changes have been gradual over the last few year.  This has certainly added more work.  I work full-time and am worn out when I come home, but our budget depends on these acts.

I read once that a long time ago, when  people were involved in their lives they were more apt to be more satisfied in their lives.  Their hard work contributed to their survival.  According to the article Daily amount of food waste in America enough to fill a football stadium, since 1974 there has been a 50 percent jump in food waste, with the average American producing around 5 pounds of trash a day with about 12 percent of this waste being food-based waste.  There are several theories  to explain this increase.  One is that there is a transition from those that lived though the Great Depression and tough times.  The other is that Americans are separated from the food they grow and this separation affects there perception about food.  

When my husband got sick and the whirl changed from career busy to healing my husband and now to maintaining his illness, I have discovered that I have that part time job that the frugal articles discussed.   I don't get a paycheck, but am payed back by our involvement in our lives.   I am making an investment in our life.  For me, the work makes a difference, I am more connected to my life.  I can't change my husbands disease or slow down the continual lose of his memory and functioning, but together, we continue to work together as best we can.  I feel that I am more satisfied with my life and am proud of our participation.

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