Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Glass is Half Empty

I’ve had neither time nor inclination to write lately, although my thoughts wander to various and sundry topics, and sometimes I think, “That would make good blog fodder.” But if I don’t immediately write the thought down (and I seldom do), I’ll forget it before I have time to pontificate further.

I’m feeling oppressed lately. This drought is oppressing. My job is oppressing. My concern over irresponsible loved ones is oppressing. The state of our nation is oppressing. It puts me on edge, makes me touchy.  Sometimes I wish I was still oblivious. I wish I was still young and invincible, and didn’t yet realize it’s a dog-eat-dog world.

I finished reading Alas, Babylon the other night. It seemed mild compared to One Second After. Had TEOTWAWKI happened back in the late 50s, more people might have survived. With today’s population, it would be a lot tougher for the survivors of such an apocalypse.

Something has to happen eventually, though. This planet simply can’t support the growing human population much longer. We need more land and more water, and there will never be more of either. Well, without space colonization. A massive human die-off is probably more likely.

The hubster and I decided to check out Sam's Club today. It's tax free weekend here, and Sam's was having an "open to the public" day, which means you can shop there without having a membership. We went with stocking up in mind. I've always heard good things about the prices at Sam's, but unfortunately, we were disappointed. It seemed like most of the stuff was more expensive than what we pay at the commissary. It was just bigger packages. We put a few things in our cart, but when it came time to check out, the lines were so long that we just put the stuff back and left. Oh well. It makes me more thankful for the commissary.

I have been an avid couponer for about a year now, and I really think it makes a big difference in our budget. I'm nowhere near as efficient as the people they show on that Extreme Couponing show. But I do try to combine coupons with sales. I've also learned to make good use of Homeland, a grocery store here that doubles coupons. Before I got into couponing I would never shop there because their prices are too high. But now I don't get pasta anywhere else, because I can frequently get it for free there with double coupons and a sale. In fact, we just put up a bunch of spaghetti noodles in mylar bags because I had more than we could eat. I've also learned to play the drugstore game at both CVS and Walgreens. It allows me to get brand name shampoos for cheap or even free occasionally, and I find other good deals there, too. It's kind of fun to see how small I can whittle down the payout to. There are lots of good couponing web sites, too. Two of my favorites are Simple Saving Savvy and The Consumer Queen. Both are mainly geared toward Oklahoma, but they show some good national deals as well. They would be a good starting point until you find some sites dedicated to your area.

Odessa vining squash
The garden struggles on. About the only thing I'm getting on a steady basis now are cucumbers and squash, and a few cherry tomatoes. But sometimes the cucumbers taste very bitter; I don't know if it's because of the heat or something else. Sometimes they're good and sometimes they're inedible. I'm losing the bug war, though I admit I haven't really gotten serious about it. I need to pick up some neem oil or something similar so that I can eat my chard, instead of just feeding the bugs with it.

The hubster made another roast in the sun oven yesterday. It was quite tasty and I've been munching on leftovers today. I made a cheesy potato casserole in the sun oven not too long ago. I'm getting better with angling it correctly, etc. Next I think I will try to make some bread.

We did get a little break from the heat today. Actually it started yesterday evening. We got some passing showers; the first rain we've seen in I don't know how long. We probably only got a quarter-inch or so, but I'm thankful for it. It also dropped the temperature about 20 degrees. Then this morning when I woke up it was overcast, and hasn't really cleared up all day. The rain has been limited to sprinkles, but again I'm glad for every drop. The temp has been hovering around 87 degrees with a breeze and it feels cool after 40-something straight days of temps in the 100s.

The hubster and I did something else today that we rarely do: we went to see a movie. We caught "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" at a matinee showing. It's a treat for us because we rarely spend money on theaters, opting instead to wait for the video to come out and rent it then.  We were shocked that the cheapest matinee in town is now $6.50 per ticket! I think the last time we saw a matinee, it was $4.50 and we thought that was high. The movie was pretty good. I wanted to see it in the theater because I thought the special effects would be more impressive that way, but it probably would have been fine to watch it at home on the TV.


  1. I share your sentiment in a lot of ways. Things can seem pretty gloomy these days if you look close. I remember seeing a bumper sticker years ago that read "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!" I get it now.

    I just relieved my dayshift guy here at work and our parting conversation was about how we wished we didn't have to work 12 hour shifts just to get by. We laughed about the multilevel marketing, get rich quick schemes that have come and gone which attract so many people hoping to escape the rat race.

    I, personally, am afraid to leave my secure job and move to a small town where I know our family would be happier. Not knowing where our income would come from is not something I wish to gamble. I'm starting to think that the trick for me is to move further out of town but stay within an hour or so of commuting distance. I would love to drive into town three days a week to work my 12 hour shifts if I knew I'd have four days a week to enjoy my own little slice of heaven.

    So, now that I've totally hijacked your post about you and the hubster and turned it into a me me me fest, I'll stop blabbering.


  2. OJD, I know what you mean. When we moved to our current house, I complained because it increased my commute time by about 15 minutes, and put me driving in heavier traffic. Now I wish we had moved a little farther out, where we could have had more land and more privacy. I'd love to move somewhere totally off-grid and live off the land, but I think that's a pipe dream these days.

  3. Well, things are a little depressing right now, so don't feel like it's anything wrong with you. There's nothing wrong with a little escapism, either, so the movie was a good idea even if it was expensive. We recently went to see "Cowboys and Aliens" for exactly the same reason, a little downtime from reality. You just do the best you can do , day by day, and hope things don't go completely to Hades. That's all I know to do, anyway.

  4. It's true about things being depressing right now, Arsenius. The movie did help.

  5. Hope you are feeling better. Sounds like you have had a lot to deal with lately. Maybe a nice weekend away, find some place with a lake and spend just one night at a nice hotel. My wife and I do that when we get stressed. It doesn't cost much and makes a lot of difference.

  6. Thanks Arsenius. I'm feeling better today. The (relatively) cooler weather is helping. I think I just got in a funk there for a few days!

  7. I know exactly what you mean (the name of my blog is The Glass Half Empty lol). Of course, pessimism has been a way of life for me for all my life... even as an idealist youth (contradiction, but true).

    Speaking metaphorically, my glass seems to get emptier and emptier all the time. I fear the doom and gloom experts predict may well be on it's way... or already begun.