Two years in a row now I have done a little social experiment on my own self. This highly scientific experiment is called the spending hiatus, or spending freeze, or let's-watch-Miriam-melt-down-without-money. We know very well I can melt down with money, so this was a new twist on my generalized anxiety disorder (no disrespect intended) as it pertains to spending money.
In 2007 I had company in the spending freeze experiment. At the time, my good friend KL from Katie's Calamities lived a half mile down our country road. We were, shall we say, not good for each other's budgets. It was all the fault of her nine-passenger Suburban. Mine seats the normal eight, but hers is the supersub and could hold all of our combined seven children and the two of us for a junquing run to the city. Ah, the treasures we found whilst drinking Dutch Brothers mochas. I fondly remember our frequent tug-of-war over vintage linens and antique books. Or, even better, we frequented the feed store. Her barn was so well outfitted with beautiful galvanized metal necessities, otherwise known as farmbling, that it just about blinded the chickens.
In 2008 I was alone in my 10-day quest for monklike frugality. Alas, KL moved to greener pastures 12 miles away. I had another baby, and my only friend who possesses a 15-passenger van has nine children... and I have four children now, and there are two adults, and carseats to install, and the math of that just, frankly, confuses me. Plus, my husband has had it up to here with the use of his shop bay as storage for my crap. And, our cute detached garage I'd hoped to transform into a guest cottage ala MaryJane's farm -- it too is piled high. (To be fair, there's a vintage BMW in there that I did not pick up on any junquing expedition.)
I may be getting to a point here someday.
After two separate deliberate attempts at "making do" and tightening the proverbial belt, I am here to declare a new farm order. Instead of limiting my spending, since that can be done for me by changes in income, changes in interest rates, IRS interest in our changes in income, etc., I declare a time freeze.
It no longer freaks me out to go a few days without spending a dime. Well, okay, I still can represent. I chronicled a few representative freak-outs during my latest spending freeze. But that was because I was unprepared. Plus, I was giving up stuff I really care about: spendy lattes, Diet Coke, books, store-bought play dough.
For this time freeze I am completely and utterly prepared. I don't want to alarm anyone, but if we stopped right here, I'd be okay. The lawn is mowed, the pantry is full, the garden is in, the girls are all 9 and under.
Ah, there's the rub.
This very year, Madeleine will turn double digits. Laura will move from infancy to toddlerhood faster than her chubby legs will take her. Our sweet Sarah will likely graduate from Shetland pony to full-size horse, and Grace is already FREAKING READING and she just turned 4. So give me a break, just a little break, to look at all my babies and say, that's enough now.
Time doesn't have to actually stop. Slowing down would be enough for me. I just want to stop spending it so fast already. All of my neighbors, real and cyber, are welcome to keep me company in this time freeze. There's plenty of room in this Suburban. Clark Kent can be summoned if necessary to fly backwards around the world. Alice can drink a special potion, Kafka can stop with the bug analogy already, and we can stop. right. here. Peter Pan is on our side, so what can be wrong with this idea?
I want to hoard the little minutes in my purse, every moment of this crazy life, because I'm afraid it's being squandered.