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Thursday, April 16, 2009

This Could Be the Opportunity for Change That We’ve Been Waiting For!

Big Willie’s hours have been reduced - along with his pay, of course - from 40 a week to 32.

There is hope for a return to the full 40 in October.

Having recently taken a pay cut myself, this was upsetting to me. Poverty and I have issues – frankly, the little bastard owes me money.

And this both angers and frightens me.

But that was just how I felt initially. With the space of 24 hours between the bad news and today, I think all I need to do is look at it differently, don’t you?

For example…

  1. Willie has every Friday off, starting next week. Yea! Not only does this free up more time for him to, say, make me caramels, but it looks like someone’s bed is getting made on Friday! Lucky me!
  2. There will be someone home on Fridays: UPS deliveries, Seventh Day Adventists, Stephanie Face-Tattoo looking for a hand-out? Lucky Willie!
  3. Less money doesn’t have to mean less fun – different fun, maybe, but not less! Remember running through the sprinkler, drinking straight from the garden hose, and drawing your name in the dirt? This just might be an opportunity to re-live those simpler, dirtier times… Only maybe I should use the neighbor’s hose – no point in running that water bill up.
  4. Like the untapped potential of Wienie Water Soup, think of the goodies that have been under my nose and not utilized under the Two-Full-Time-Jobs regime. For example, friends’ parties. After 11:00 p.m. , odds are good that they're soused enough to not notice that I’ve lined my pockets with plastic bags and am shoveling their party snacks into my pants. (Come to think of it, doesn’t that sound like an excellent party game: Guess What’s In My Pants? Might be a subject for a different post, however…) Note to Self: After a couple excursions of this sort, I may no longer be welcomed... Must explore other options - and make more friends.
  5. In the same vein, time for a foray into the cheap meats! Would you believe I grew up with the joys of pickled pork hocks? You would? Oh. But what about the dinner possibilities of necks, tongues, lungs – ah, crap. No. I can’t do it. Seriously, I can handle the necks, but tongues and lungs? I'm going to need recipes.
  6. Reduce! Re-use! Recycle! Do we really need our own toothbrushes? Handkerchiefs versus paper tissues? How much lint do you have to gather before you can make a quilt?

There’s more, I’m sure, things that will come to me as we get further into the summer.

I think this has all the makings of a real character builder.


the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

My mom has a friend in her church that--I am not lying--will go out to dinner with the church group and in her enormous purse will be stowing tupperware so that she may keep what is not eaten on the table.

Not that she needs to save money by eating the orts left in the wake of other diners, it's just that she wants to.

Upon hearing this, my father got that far-away look of untapped possibilities rolling through his mind, accompanied by the thumb and index finger stroking of the chin that signals one is developing powerful, wonderful new ideas into the realms of cheap.

Michelle said...

Hi Pearly-Q I want to know what's in your pants AND please for the love of god do not put into your mouth any necks, tongues or lungs – PLEASE!!!!

darsden said...

damn I hate when I find a whole bunch of humor in somebody else's pain...hey that's how we roll down here ;-) (don't ever make the mistake and but fish stick in from of me with pork n beans...somebody won't be leaving the table alive) *shaking a lil up the spine)

Prayers on the serious side Pearl really pray for everybody out there having to deal with the layoffs and cut downs. Scary times.

Pearl said...

iNDefatigable, ah, I've seen that myself!
When I do serving jobs on the weekends a lot of the servers bring tupperware with them -- there are always leftovers in the kitchens, and we stock up for the week!

Michelle, what's in my pants?! I told you: it will have to be a game. :-) No, the only tongue I want in my mouth is mine, and maybe a handful of other people I can think of... Hmmm. Where was I? Oh, yes. Tongues and lungs. Yeah, I can't think of anybody's lungs I want in my mouth...

Pearl said...

darsden, fish sticks and pork and beans is just mean, and I would never do that.
Now fish and cornbread? Mmmm. Maybe some slaw? See? THAT'S a picnic, not a penalty. Ah, rats. Now I'm hungry.
And I'll take your prayers, dar. I'm still saving for my trip to India (all fives and tens!) and just hope it doesn't come to using that. That would break my heart.

Scrappy Doo said...

Pearl, sorry to hear the bad news. I think everyone is in that boat.
Good thing you can look at this situation in such a different light :-}

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...


Good for you for trying to look at the bright side, however small that might be at the moment...

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I will happily send you any/all belly button lint my family can produce so you can get that quilt made quicker.

And the wieners have agreed to share a few of their precious rawhides with you. They figure after several months of you cutting back on snack foods, you might be JONESIN' for a CHEEWEEZ!!


darsden said...

(pssst...just betinx u & me...I think Braja will be the first to appear..vodka mom is hosting ;-) so don't give ur drinking up) hope that helps alil

Jane! said...

Personally, character is WAY overbuilt.
In my experience, reduced employment of a spouse has only resulted in extra ski days for him, more sour grapes for me and the missionaries still come ON THE WEEKENDS!
Um.... nice to meet you.

IB said...

Think of all the excellent blog material that will come from this experience! Today's post is just a preview, I'm sure. This short-term bout with poverty may blow for you and Willie, but we readers are going to benefit immensely.

Talk about yer silver-lining!

Jess said...

Ohhhhhhhhh bummer! I have found, during our poor times (aka the day after we get paid starts our poor times) we go for Keystone (30pack for $13.99) instead of our normal Miller Lite/Blue Moon/Other Expensive Beers We Like.

You can also order a bean burrito, cheese roll up and nachos for under $3.00. Taco Bell of course.

You also learn to make up your own meals from what is in your fridge. We eat alot of pasta mixed together with hotdogs. I think the most interesting thing we have eaten was called Butthole Surprise. You can guess why. I thank my friend Larkin for the "recipe".

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi Pearl,

I'm glad I have you to give me a laugh. So many American businesses are looking to cut costs and it's happened enough times that we're all aware that staff and cost cutting have become synonymous.

Too many people I know are unemployed in America. Corporate America outsources a large chunk of work to countries offering cheap labor. Sooner or later....we'll reach the point of diminishing returns because there won't be enough citizens to buy those marked up goods and services.

I'm trying to laugh Pearl...as Samuel Jackson said to Tim Roth in Pulp Fiction...."I'm trying Ringo, I'm really trying".


Eskimo Bob said...

Pearl -

I LOVE your delusions . . . er, I mean optimism. In order to get to the peaks you have to travel through the valleys. And you know some of them valleys can be quite beautiful. . . just watch out for them crevasses. Those suck - and will surely mean ultimate death.

Oh that ended badly. . .

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

hey! Sorry to hear that.. but I must say, I LOVE that you are taking it so positively!! You're right, Friday off does sound great. Now, I'm getting wistful...and I should be counting my blessings.

Paige said...

I truly enjoyed your blog! It made me laugh and I so relate to it. My husband hasn't been able to find work in over a year, and I have to take off 8 hours unpaid every pay period which makes my tiny pay checks disapear even faster. Even though it is very tough it is showing me that I don't need all this stuff I once thought I did. I remember how happy I was with the simple things in life as a child and i would love to go back to that!


jackba said...

OMG Pearl I almost had my morning cup of tea (yeah yeah yeah...had to give up coffee with the damn cancer thing...sucks) coming out my nose when I started to laugh uncontrollably. It's amazing what we refuse to give up these days...do you guys have two cars? My parents didn't. Sattelite TV? Internet...hey what about stepping back to dial up at 56k SAY IT AINT SO! I CAN'T DO IT! I am keeping my 10MB connection, my sattelite tv, my leased gameserver for Left4Dead. I am not giving up any of my supercilious lifestyle. Nope not doing it! I do want to sell one of those other damn homes I so stupidly own.....anyone out there looking for a house in North Idaho? Nice lake! Ski resort etc etc....as long as you can put up with winter....Sandpoint Idaho should look good on ya!

unfinishedrambler said...

Believe me as someone who works "part-time," while his wife works "full-time," it's not all it's cracked up to be. But PBJ sandwiches are the best, I'll tell you. Total thumbs up. :)

"Character builder": Yeah, that's the words. Keep telling yourselves that.

The Retired One said...

Now that he's off on Fridays, he will expect Thursday night sex. Be prepared!!!!

The Retirement Chronicles

ICKY said...

I admit....I was the first server in our group to bring Tupperware to gather left overs.
Its fresh, gourmet food dammit! why throw it when I can eat it !!

Not The Rockefellers said...

OMG Pearl you made me guffaw! Really, an actual guffaw sound came out of my mouth.

I laugh because how we live is actually in fashion right now.

err...not so much the plastic pockets but big Ed is known to make the food frisbee "to go" at parties. Fill a paper plate full of food and use another one as a cover so it looks like a frisbee.

He has also taught my daughter from a very young age how to scour the snack area near registers for change. It's a goldmine, Pearl!

We also play a game called King of the Mall. Whoever finds the most change "owns" the Mall.

Yeah, this is how "Not The Rockefellers" family lives it up.

Peace - Rene

The Jules said...

I like playing 'What's in my pants' as well!

Of course, in England, it's not that popular, seeing as what we call pants isn't what you call pants.

The answer is often tongue, by the way.

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

Cheap meats are totally the way to go. Once you know what to do with chuck steak, pork butt, and chicken legs.... You are totally home free! Well, not "free," but like $1.69/lb.!!! And start shopping at those little Mexican Mercados or asian grocery stores-- the produce is extra cheap (but you have to use it that night!).

No problem. :) You definitely do not have to start eating "organs" *shudder* no wait *gag* you just don't have to go there.

a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

hey...we are having weiner water soup for dinner at my house tonight.


the "made bed" thing is the real bonus sister!

SweetPeaSurry said...

Ahhh ... to laugh in the face of adversity, that shows a woman of TRUE character. I'm sure things will work out!!!

blessings girl!

Joanie M said...

Can you find a use for all the cat hair I have around this house? Spin it into yard, make socks. The possibilities are endless!

troutay said...

Be careful. It is probable that food was what THEY stole from the last party THEY went to.

Don't let em' kid you, they are just as worried and broke.

Please don't invite me to a party, I don't like second hand food or maybe third hand food.

Beth said...

Damn economy.

At least you've kept your sense of humor.

ICKY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pearl said...

Scrappy Doo, the options are limited! I will always choose to have a good time…

Mary, believe me, I’m no Pollyanna, but I’ve been picking up side jobs for so long that I know I can get jobs here and there (and I’ve got plenty of projects to keep Ol’ Will busy).

Hallie, MMm! Rawhide chews! (And I can use them to patch my shoes when things get all Charles-Dickens over here.)

Darsden, thanks for the heads-up!

Jane! Nice to meet you, too. Will stop by shortly.

IB, I do it for the people.

Jess, oddly, you are not the first person to mention Butthole Surprise.
Good God, Jess. I just typed the words “Butthole Surprise”. Everything the high school counselor said has just come true…

U, I always enjoy a Pulp Fiction reference.
And I pretty much agree with your assessment. I certainly wish we manufactured more…

Eskimo Bob, my delusions keep me warm!
Digging your analogy, though, Bob. You weirdo.

Roshni, as I mentioned to Will last night: no one is dying, we all still have jobs (including The Boy), the cats are entertaining, we have friends and family, we have humor. Really, we want for nothing. And if necessary, I’ll just have to write a book. :-D

Paige, oh, yikes, Paige, I’m so sorry. Out of work for a year – man, that’s tough. Give your husband a hug for me. Will and I are pretty working class, not very fancy, and not accustomed to a lot to begin with, but we can get by as long as nothing unforeseen happens. I hope things pick up for your husband soon – and you’re absolutely right that we don’t truly need as much as we’ve become used to…

Jackba, we’ve only got the one car, so nothing there…
I could cut my haircuts down to four or five a year, but not color…
Cable is tied in with the wi-fi, but we provide that for free to our renters (we own the duplex we live in)…
I could give up yoga, but what would my yoga instructors do once they lost my business?!
On the upside, the cats have taken on work as motivational squeakers…

Unfinished, what? You can afford peanut butter?!
No, I do not envy the position of not working full-time when you want/need to. I was once out of work after being laid off for almost four months, and it was stressful.

Retired One, I wish!

Icky, your frugality is well-documented. :-D

Rene, King of the Mall? I am so doing that in the future.
I wonder – do you think there’s a book in this?! Chicken Soup for the Broke-Ass Soul?

Jules, I keep forgetting the “pants” bit. It’s your word for underwear, which actually makes things so much funnier.
The answer was tongue – would you believe I had to go back to look at the question?!

Amy, Minneapolis has a number of lovely Hmong grocery stores, and “cheap” is right! Yes, you need to use the produce quickly of course but I’ve been really impressed with the greens, especially during winter.
Nah, no organ meats. I hate to think of how tough things would have to get…

Mouthy Irish, you know, frozen Wienie Water Soup with a stick stuck in the center makes a lovely treat!

SweetPea, thank you! Let’s see how long I can keep it up, huh?

Joanie, see? That’s what I like to see: a fellow entrepreneur. Cat hair? Hmm. Throw pillow stuffing? Maybe twisting it together to make rope or kindling? Attic insulation?

Troutay, I never thought of that…

Beth, it’s all going to be okay. The options are not attractive.

ladyfi said...

LOL! But sorry to hear about the cutback...

Other money-saving tips: forget the meat. Eat vegetarian - much cheaper than tongues, lungs etc.. and tastier too!

Get Willie to start cooking you dinner on Fridays. Ooh - and he can clean the house and do all those handy jobs too.

Also, if you run a cable off the neighbours' house, then you'll get free electricity too!