Where was I last week (…this week even, as it is already half way)?

Okay, to be perfectly honest: cowering in shame, not sure what to write.

But now it’s the next check in and I just have to write what happened. The point of this challenge is to do it publicly for all to see, for accountability. To lie now would be to run ripshod over the point.

So…after all the talk about needing to pair back, quit my studio because of the expense and donate to worthy causes…I’ve done exactly none of those things. Oh, and it gets worse:

We bought a “new to us” used van. Yeah. Right when I thought we were just too tight…my hubs actually informed me that the reason he needed me transferring money from savings was not (as I had believed) because we were falling short this month trying to cover the mortgage, but because he saw a mini van for sale on his way to work. This was our chance to ditch the Volvo before it gets too old and starts costing waaaay too much in repairs, and pick up a more easily (read cheaply) fixable Toyota Sienna. For me, it has always been about needing more space. And when I learned that it would use no more gas than the Volvo does already, I was sold. In a whirlwind we were taking it for a test drive and then doing the deed. It was a good deal for us. When all is said and done, when we sell the Volvo, we will be out a couple thousand. But gaw…right after I reported how tight things were.

See, this is what I mean when I talk about how even as lower middle class income holders, we are seriously so privileged.

As for pairing down household expenses by cancelling my membership to my barre studio…I did some soul searching. Know thy self, right? Well, I do. In a few days I will be 36 (okay…I’m not 36 since my birthday came and went and this post hasn’t been posted)…and I kinda do know myself now. I know that I can be very motivated when I want to be…I’ve proved that to myself before. However, I know that I will not be getting up in the wee hours of the morning to self practice. I also know that I will not be able to do a self practice with the kids running in and around and over me. I need to get away and do it in a place where my kids are not, and where someone is telling my lazy, tired butt to move it. I long and yearn to return to my Bikram practice and awesome studio…but that is 20 minutes across town, not 5, and it is 90 minutes, not 60 minutes, AND gets you so sweaty you have to set aside time to shower…and no child care…also hours are not as good. So, even though it is actually more affordable ($25 less a month) it is not realistic for me right now.

So…being that it is my birthday in a few days ( it’s now passed), I thought the hubs might see it in his heart to let me have another month (he actually told me that he thinks its important to me, so I should keep going). In the mean time…I just fired off an email to the owner asking if I could do tradesies for doing some studio childcare…or some photography for her. It felt super awkward asking. I have never done anything like that before. We will see what comes of it; I am determined to not feel ashamed or embarrassed for seeing what my options are. And, it felt good to at least be exploring ways in which I might be able to pair down the financial drag of my “self care”.

(Update!: I got a job doing childcare at my studio on Fridays for a small wage and discounted membership! I am SO excited! Proving it pays to ask.)

I have not donated to any cause. Unless you count the $20 I slipped to the young kids asking for donations to the food bank outside Safeway. The previous owner of our “new” van gave me $20 back because she noticed the tail light was out. I felt like that $20 might not have been mine if not for her honesty, so I just wanted to pay it forward. I thought of my sister as I put it in the young girls hand and saw her smile of surprise. My sister is always so generous in her giving. She’s the one who always notices the homeless guy and hands him a bill or two, slips bills into collection jars, opens her purse when someone asks for help. I admire her generosity and need to emulate her more.

I have several organizations in mind to donate to, but want to run it by the hubs.

A friend of mine also suggested that, if at this time in my life I do not have the monetary thing going on, I could also offer up my time. I hadn’t thought of that as being of value..but of course it is. I should most definitely already know that. So I might look into that as well.

The thing is that the cogs and wheels turn slowly. If I were sans kids, the research part of all this would be much speedier and I might take action faster. I also would have far more time to offer up. I need to be more gentle with myself in this regard. Beating myself up over what seems to be inaction is not helping me in any way. I do, however, want to remain motivated to help, to be active.

I was invited to a Huddle ( a Women’s March initiative). A mommy huddle where we can talk about what actions we can take to be part of this democracy, while also chasing our children. Should be fun, and it is something I can do to stay active and motivated.

Some Observations on my Change of State Due to Shopping Detox:

I still get a sense of excitement when I know there is something we need that I must shop for, but it quicky fades. Somehow I have accelerated that high to low arc so that before I even purchase the item, I am already having the deterrent feeling of disgust. This is a very positive thing as I am not actually spending on anything needlessly. The other day I walked into Target needing some pull-ups for my potty training kiddo (I’d washed the bed sheets three times in 24 hours), and I was feeling excited because I was on my own and I wanted to look at several things. Well I did, I checked out their $1 deal section and found nothing I actually wanted in my house…eyed the car seats to get an idea of what the upgrade for our youngest might cost (she’s getting so big! I will miss that bucket car seat!)…looked at the kids clothing sale rack and considered a few items then realized that we were doing just fine getting by with what we have…looked at a few T-shirts for myself…but all of it lost its luster after looked at the actual products. The idea of having new items was exciting, the actuality of their existence…not so much. As I stood in-line with the one item I was purchasing (the pull ups) I looked around at all the junk everyone else was buying…and I kind of felt ill. I could see that this was the norm, this is our culture. Not to be judgy (…but I guess I’m going to go ahead and do just that), but I could tell that the folks in front of me were not of the “wealthy” set, in fact they acted a lot like what I have experienced as lower-income…probably a stereotype…but they were loud and crass and rude, their kids disrespectful…yet they all were wearing brand new items, baseball hats with the silver sticker on its bill, shoes without dirt on them, the girl was whining about having a terrible day and her parents refusal to buy her soda was the icing on the cake…she was wearing spotlessly new everything, an entire matching outfit from head to toe. They spent $200 on credit. I couldn’t help but think that not only did they all not look one bit happy (perhaps just a bad day and ordinarily they brim with joy and fulfillment) nor did it look like the items in their bags were going to bring them much joy (“Whats this?!” the angry young girl demanded of her mom pulling out shiny water bottle, glare from the mom.) more likely heartache when the bill came due.

I dunno. That could have been a figment of my overactive imagination. But as I stood in that line I just felt like most of us there were just void filling. I was happy to leave there with only my most necessary item: pull ups for my amazing potty training toddler.

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