Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lies My Red Cup Told Me...

I'm in green...obviously thrilled to have my picture taken.
Japan circa 1972
Living on the road has certainly brought some much needed perspective to my life. I grew up in what I felt was a middle class dad was in the Air Force and my mom often worked as a florist where ever we happened to be stationed at the time. At some point during my childhood my dad went to Officer Training School and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant which seemed to bring in a little extra money (we got a second car shortly after). But there were always money struggles...and arguments between my parents and fights that ended up with credit cards being cut into tiny pieces. Of course, I also remember standing next to my mom a few days later at the register at JC Penney while she rattled off the credit card number {from memory} to the sales clerk.

We didn't have fancy things...not like my friend Heidi whose mom didn't have to work. They had a formal living room and granola cereal in those skinny little boxes (aka expensive). Obviously I loved to go to Heidi's to spend the night so I could get a taste of the good life. In retrospect I don't think they were much better off than we were...they just had different priorities.

And that's what I'm finding out in this RV on a retirees income, it's about priorities. I've always worked, often times being the bread-winner or having no other income to supplement my own. So this is a new (and uncomfortable) situation for me. I feel guilty about the expensive of some of my necessities {good God, my contact lens solution is how much?!} even though the hubs has no issue with it.

We spent several weeks living/camping in places that were fairly remote with only a small local general store or gas station in which to stock the fridge. I've had to suffer through instant coffee (and struggled with my french press for a week) since these stores tend to not carry K-cups which was, quite possibly, worse than being without Internet and cell phone service for 2 weeks straight! Now, when we are back in 'civilization' we hardly have any restraint when it comes to stocking up in the good stuff {K-cups, goat cheese rolled in exotic spices we've never heard of, handmade crackers, fancy fruits I've never eaten and probably won't like, etc.}.

And Starbucks.

The Holy Grail!
I got a Starbucks Gingerbread Soy Latte yesterday because I had to have it...and I deserved it...and it's delicousness is only available for a limited time only! It's in a red cup for criminy sake and I haven't had a Starbucks in weeks (come on, some people get one every day...or twice a day...don't judge). That first sip was like heaven...the 7th sip was okay...and by the time we got done grocery shopping my lukewarm nectar from the gods was just something else I had to carry (I couldn't throw it away after the big production I made about getting to have a Starbucks, finally).

I did eventually throw it away later that day, dumping the remaining 3/4 of it down the drain and tossing that damned red cup into the trash. Such a waste...a waste of money, time, non-recyclables. But still, a lesson learned. I don't need Starbucks. And I don't need handmade fancy crackers. It's all really a mind and marketing game. Going without for so long we feel like we deserve that stuff. But so far, none of it has really done anything for us that has been so spectacular that we could never live without it again. Of all of the beauty and peace and comfort and happiness that life can bring, especially when out in nature (at least for me), paying for over-priced coffee has proven to be something I can live without {I think}.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to enjoy this day...sans Starbucks. Wish me luck!


  1. We drink the cheapest Columbian coffee in the's so cheap it has initials instead of a name (MJB). I don't even know what MJB stands for or where it comes from, but I do know this, it is the BEST coffee in the world.

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  4. When I lost my job and our income went down to one, I panicked. I'd never been without a job before (working since I was 16) and even though my husband had planned for this shift, still, I couldn't get over it. Now, with this new business I'm more frugal than ever, only spending money on necessities - - and it doesn't bother me. I have everything that I need. Would other things be nice? Sure. I wouldn't mind a massage once in a while but I can certainly live without feeling like I'm being deprived.
    You and I are about the same age, and I think it's around this time in people's lives (especially those without kids) that priorities start to shift. Experiences are much more important than things. My husband and I always say that when we get old we're not going to sit around and talk about the shirt he bought that he loved so much, or the boots I couldn't live without. We'll be talking about the things we did; and I'm sure you'll be doing the same thing - and will be the most interesting woman in the room :)


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