Category Archives: Relationships

Taking a Paycut

It’s almost become a cliché: getting layed off, taking a pay cut, being out of work. Sadly, it is touching every person either directly, or indirectly through someone they know.

This week it touched my family.

My husband went to work on Friday morning and was told that in a few months, his salary will be cut 25%. Thankfully, it’s not 50% or even a complete lay-off. But it will still affect our budget substantially.  We will rely on my income even more, and I carry our health insurance. But after crunching numbers and considering the lower cost of daycare (reduced pay = reduced time, so we can take another day off from paying daycare each week), we think we will break even.

One of my best friends works for the same business and was also advised of paycut. However, they are not sure that they will fare as well. Barely making it each month, they are afraid they will need to sell one of their cars (public transit in our area is practically non-existent and both she and her husband work out of the home), and if cutting all other costs doesn’t work, they may have to sell their house.

My husband and I, after a short conversation, invited this family to move into our house with us, should it come to selling their house. Suddenly, every bit of “extra” in our house really doesn’t mean much. We are willing to sell nearly every item in our bedroom and our children’s bedroom, plus our office, to make room for our friends.  We decided the only thing we would put into “storage” in our garage would be the dresser and cribs from kids’ room, because they were an heirloom item.

Our house isn’t large. In fact it is a 3-level townhouse with a garage/laundry room/storage on the ground level, dining/living room & kitchen on the main level, and bedrooms upstairs.  But it is still cluttered with useless items as I gradually attack each living space.  And watching my friend frozen with shock and terrified of having to sell every thing she owns… put it in perspective.

Why do we own all of these unnecessary things?  I watch the news reports of the tornadoes in Alabama where people just lost everything and think – what would I want to save from a storm? I look at the one-too-many tablecloths, extra t-shirts-from-some-event, and even the fleece blanket my sister-in-law has given us for Christmas (for the 3rd year in a row!) and think: If a tornado was coming, would I grab this? If there was a fire, would I be upset if this was lost?  More often than not, the answer is no.

So, as I sit and start collecting items to sell on Craiglist (my first venture in this! Help me!) or put up on Freecycle, it’s getting easier to let the Stuff go. It’s just Stuff. And most Stuff can be replaced.

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Some days I really do hate Everett Bogue

When I first started reading about the lifestyle revolution that is minimalism, I happened upon Everett Bogue (or as he is more “fashionably” known now: Ev Bogue)’s blog Far Beyond the Stars. Don’t bother looking for it, because it is gone now.  His story was inspiring: he flew New York to Portland, OR with only $3000 in the bank and a backpack. Here was my hero, my Yoda, my – oh-please-tell-me-how-to-do-this guy.

And his blog was educational, entertaining, and sometimes just a little crazy. But that made it fun.  He is a very gifted writer and photographer.

Lately, he has evolved into a new Ev Bogue and his style seems to have changed as well. Or maybe I am just realizing it more.  His latest writing is basically telling everyone why their blog sucks and his is awesome.

I do not really care if I ever have 10,000+ readers. I write to write; to get whatever is in my head “out there”. If only 5 people read this blog, I will feel that I have at least entertained and educated those 5 people for the lifespan of this blog.  Do I think it will be published and read forever? Not in the slightest.  I am not delusional.

But right now, I am focusing on taking my life back from the chains that have been tying it down.  And yes, I have the 2 kids, live in the suburbs, and have 2 cars (all of which I hate! OK, maybe not the kids :)). I do not have the freedom at the moment to just do exactly as I please. But I am getting there.  And the act of writing a weekly post helps focus my mind.

The goal is strip away all of the distractions in life to get back to what is important. And for me, that’s family. For you, maybe it’s your dog. Or traveling. Or biking from Alaska to Peru.  Whatever it is, that’s your heart.

I choose to write. I choose to photograph. I choose to love. I choose to live. And while I may not have an A-list blog, I have a sweet blog that will talk about refocusing lives. And I will write it as long as I think even 1 person may be reading it.

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