Thursday, September 8, 2011

Journey toward minimalist/simple living, part 2

As you may remember, I was telling you a very long and drawn out story of how we came to desire to own less stuff.

As you may remember from last time, we got to Washington with little more than a car full of stuff and a few small boxes waiting at my brothers house (these were things like my wedding dress, a few really cute baby girl clothes since we knew that our family wasn't complete, and some picture albums).  Once we moved into our apartment in Washington I was amazed.  Do you know why?  In Idaho our house was pretty much always messy.  We cleaned frequently, but then it went right back to crazy in a matter of minutes (and we only had one child!) and I was constantly overwhelmed.  But in Washington Our house was almost always clean and orderly!  Was there something in the water than made me suddenly a super homemaker?  No, there just wasn't very much to clean!  After we got there we used some of the money we'd made selling our stuff to get a few pots and pans (the cheap-o set from Walmart, which we still have) a simple vacuum, and some basic dishes (before we left Idaho we got rid of ALL our dishes and started fresh).  We still didn't have a TV until my parents let us use a little black and white one they had.  So I would make dinner (from scratch), we would eat, then I would clean up our little girl and the table and floor around the table.  Give the little one a bath, family scriptures, read a book, sing a song, and then she was down for the night.  So I would do all of the dishes (easy since we hardly had any) wipe down the counters and the table (also easy since we had nothing on them) then I'd sweep and vacuum and maybe dust if I could find any dust and sit down to read, write in my journal, or maybe sew (my hubby was usually gone working in the evenings) .  It was a very peaceful time and I enjoyed the simplicity, as well as having a clean house with little investment in time.  Our meals were also simple and we had a lot of leftovers.  A lot of this was because this was 2008, if you remember that year, and the economy went south really quickly.  Add that to the fact that more than half of the salesmen for that area quit and went to a different company right as the season began.  So that meant each installer was lucky to get one install a day, Monday through Saturday.   Thankfully we didn't have to pay rent or utilities, but hubby did have to have a higher quality cell phone for the job so that cut into expenses for that high bill.  Plus we'd made the mistake of having credit cards for emergencies and then using them, but of course if we had money to pay the credit card bill we could have saved up to avoid an emergency, so we had big credit card bills too.  If you remember 2008, gas prices were enormously high, even higher than now if that's possible, and hubby had to drive to each install and traffic was horrible.  So the majority of our money went toward gas.  This left about $25-$30 a week for food, for one toddler with a healthy appetite an enormously pregnant lady, and a grown man.  It was interesting to say the least.  My parents helped by feeding us dinner on Sundays, plus a group called Gleaners would bring bread and sometimes bakery items that had reached their expiration date to church so we could get a few things each week that way if we got in line quickly enough.  We kept a happy attitude, reassuring ourselves that this was temporary and business would pick up soon.
Business didn't pick up.
Our beautiful baby boy was 10 days overdue, but worth the wait.  When he was a day shy of two weeks old, the manager of the installers called my hard working husband into the office and told him that they had to cut more people (they had already laid off several people) and laid him off.  Then he informed my husband that since they were paying for the apartment, we had up to a week to move out.  Yes, you read that right: two week old baby, one week to move, no money, no job.  So we moved in with my parents.  The four of us stayed in their guest room (used to be a kids room when we were growing up) and constantly tried to get enough money to move our on our own.  In the midst of more layoffs we managed to make a dent in our debt, but not get out of their house.  My husband got a better job and we started earning more money and then my parents house got flooded.  There was about 3 feet of water in the room we were staying in.  We had put stuff up on our bed, but it wasn't high enough.  You'd think I wouldn't be upset about losing stuff after what we'd been through, but seeing my baby boys cute little clothes all drenched in nasty water really got to me.  So, despite getting more stuff that made our lives a little "easier" for the previous few months, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff AGAIN!  After staying at a friends for a while, we knew we couldn't stay there any more and my parents house had to undergo serious renovations, including taking out parts of the floor and having exposed wiring to replace the electrical sockets that had been fried by flood water.  We determined that wouldn't be a very good place to take a toddler and baby back to, and we couldn't afford an apartment there on one income, so we knew it was time to make the move we'd planned on before.  In case you haven't guessed, the job in Arizona completely fell through.  We prayed and prayed and researched and got the answer that we needed to move to Texas.  We had received a lot of great baby stuff and good Christmas presents right before this, but we couldn't afford any kind of U-haul or anything.  So more stuff got donated, a few boxed mailed to my aunt and uncle down here, and we packed the car again for another long move in just our little car.  We literally had only a few days after deciding this before we moved.  It was crazy and stressful, but we did it!

Tomorrow I'll talk about how minimal we had to live after we got down to Texas.

Part 1
Part 3

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