from Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs
"I had the window seat this time, watched as Costa Rica disappeared beneath us.
When I could stand the silence no longer, "wonder what the weather's like in Charlotte"
" Continued dark overnight, widely scattered light by morning.'"
from a Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher
(Harry-rescuing a runaway child)
(child)"I see all these Disney shows about how much parents love their kids. How there's some sort of magical bond of love. But it's a lie." She laid her head on my shoulder and I could feel the exhaustion in her body as she sagged against me. "There's no magic."
(Harry)I fell silent for several paces as I carried her. It was hard to hear that from a kid. A ten-year-old girl's world should be full of music and giggling and notes and dolls and dreams- not harsh, barren, jaded reality. If there was no light in the heart of a child, a little girl like this, then what hope did any of us have?"
My thoughts today:
I was watching Today Tonight recently, and there was a segment with a man who had quit his job (or got fired or something) over problems with the company and the wife spoke up saying "we're living on the bread line. We're living on Cup-a-Soup and Two-Minute Noodles".
Perhaps I misunderstood her, but I'm also living on the breadline and I certainly can afford more than packet soup and instant noodles.
Possibly she has circumstances I am unaware of.
Mortgage, car payments, kids in school.
Maybe she is simply feeling a little panicked now that his wage is no longer coming in.
(I hope it isn't a case of living above their means and now not being able to pay the bills).
Maybe my first thoughts on hearing her were too unkind.
But even when I was working, with kids at home, my wages low, (I'm an unskilled labourer), I had rent to pay, kids in school or doing their own job searching, no husband to help out, (he left us) and we sure as heck didn't live on instant noodles etc.
We bought cheaper food, things on special, went to the market for fruit and veg; and we cooked.
Real food, sometimes in large enough amounts to freeze for later meals and leftovers were used the next day.
We even had desserts - cakes, puddings, brownies, yum.
Rice pudding, custards, mmm.
We ate well, no one was ever hungry. In praise of my kids, no one ever complained either.
We budgeted every dollar and set aside small amounts towards electricity and gas bills.
Lights were turned off when not needed.
(I'd done that all my married life, so was used to it.)
I had no credit cards either, things were bought on the lay-by system.
I know many people who live on very little and do it very well.
People just need to reassess their priorities.
Buying cheaper cuts of meat and slow cooking a casserole isn't as much fun as eating out, and washing the dishes isn't as much fun as seeing them whisked away by a waiter, but it can be done and there is no shame in it.
Home made soups are often nicer than canned soups - and don't have preservatives or other unwanted ingredients.
Buy a smaller, cheaper-to-run car, or use public transport, join your local library instead of buying brand new books for a while.
Wear your clothes and shoes for more than one season, brand new each year simply isn't necessary.
You won't be fashionable, but you won't have those credit card bills either.
Perhaps you could plant your own seasonal vegetables.
Readjustment may be hard, but can also be worthwhile.
When circumstances improve, you may find you continue to live cheaply and save the extra money for something fabulous. A holiday abroad perhaps.