Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Poor Is As Poor Does

When our yard looks like this, is it any wonder I worry about flushing the toilet?

 It has been officially a year since we have had to go on water rationing due to septic issues.  Of course, we've been in a drought, so that's a no brainer.

Anyway, the last time we had our septic pumped (before we realized the futility in pumping a septic when the ground is saturated, as the water sitting on the laterals would literally be pouring into it like a fire hose AS THEY PUMPED IT OUT) the guy commented that we had been backed up for a while.  I responded that we had issues with our ground becoming saturated and filling the septic.  I also made the mistake of bragging about my husband's revolutionary solution to bathing when one's septic is full.

Simply attach a sump pump to a car battery, and run the water out of the tub to the yard with a garden hose!  Genius!

I was horrified to hear his response:  Poor is as poor does.

What?  How rude!  While the stupid federal government classifies us as below poverty level, we are not poor.  That just proves how clueless the men in Washington are about real people!  And we certainly don't do as poor people do...

I have a pool (that was here when we moved.)

 Poor is as poor does.

 I own a camper!  Granted it's from the 1960s.  Yes, we salvaged it from my the barn on my husband's family farm...But we own it!  Free and clear....Poor is as poor does.

Someday I will have to remember to post pictures of the inside, because it really is snazzy.  I promise you!

We own a boat!  A boat that we bought with our very own money and paid real cash for!  Poor people don't own boats, right?

But then, if one were to stop and look around, or perhaps contemplate the repairs and decorations and such we do around here, one may be suspicious....

These "decorations" were salvaged from various family members.  I love those old thermoses and the brightly colored mixing bowls!

My daughter asked for a doll house a few years ago, and before I knew it my mother in love gave me a kit that had been collecting dust at her house...This is the picture before I got the shingles on it.  So, yes I got my daughter's Christmas present for free, if one does not count the hours spent assembling the darn thing on my bathroom floor at night while she was in bed!

I got a new camera recently.  Studmuffin "put away" the battery charger to my old one, and it hasn't been seen since.  I ran into Walmart on a Friday to buy a new one, as Popcorn had her first ever track meet the next day.  The friendly service lady said, "Are you just looking, or do you plan to buy today?"

"Oh, I'm buying.  I need a camera by 8am tomorrow morning.  I really like  the CoolPix.  Ashton Kutcher has totally convinced me that all the cool people have one..."  You see, Gentle Reader, I feel compelled to share meaningless details to everyone I encounter.

"I think I may have one in the back left over from Mother's Day."  And she walked off.  I was confused.  There was a whole case of them right in front of me.

Glory be!  That wonderful lady brought me out a special Mother's Day version for only $147 that included a 4G memory card and carrying case...The regular camera without case or card was over $170!  I left Walmart in a money saving euphoria!

Granted, it's a plum color, a color I  normally wouldn't have chosen.   

Poor is as poor does. 

I seem to encounter plum or eggplant color everywhere I go.  I now have four purple shirts, (Purple looks good with my fair skin and freckles if I do say so myself.)  I drive a purple (yes, purple) car, and now a purple camera!  Purple used to be my favorite color, until I was a cheerleader in high school and had to wear it several times a week.  My fondness seems to be returning...

Or my cheapness.  My car is eggplant color, and I bought it because it was way cheaper than anything we had looked at simply because of the color.  Knowing we drive every car until it is on the verge of death, I figured resale value is a non issue.

Wait, did I just say I bought a car because it was cheap?  

Poor is as poor does.

We are in the process of building a new, bigger fence on our property.  We are using some of the old fence on the back part to help save money, and really that fence would just be thrown away if we didnt' use it!  We are digging up posts and breaking off the concrete to use those also.  I consider that smart and thrifty...And green!  We are not wasting the resources we have!

Poor is as poor does.

I am planning to rip out our carpet in the living room and dining room, and the tile in the front and back entry and the kitchen.  I am hoping to convince my husband to learn how to stain floors in our house.  We can do that at a fraction of the cost of wood, laminate, tile, or anything else!  And he will have a new skill that is totally marketable! Why pay someone to do something in a day when we can complete the job in a mere six months?

Poor is as poor does.

Please disregard the mess in this picture.  I could not be bothered to clean up before I snapped a picture.

Studmuffin took a break from building fence and built me some raised flower beds.  They look really nice.  I planted tomatoes in one and will put peppers (as soon as we get the dirt) in the other. We were able to build the beds for relatively free using railroad ties that the previous owners of our house had around the old fence line.
Poor is as poor does.

We had a moment of relaxation Saturday evening.  I tried to focus only on the fire and not look at the dozen incomplete projects we've started.
Oh, and just in case you're wondering the bricks for the fire pit were free too.  We dug them up from around the pool and repurposed them to a fire pit!

Just in case you didn't notice the green grass and fire, the burn ban is lifted!  We had rain last week!  And just in time for perfect marshmallow roasting weather!

I have visions of planting a bunch of irises in the old garden with gravel paths in it...As soon as I figure out how to get a ton of pea gravel cheap/free.  I can get irises from my neighbor who needs to thin hers out.  They are an older retired couple with a gorgeous yard.  I am stealing the iris garden/gravel path from her.  She is always bringing me a little flower or plant that started growing where it wasn't supposed to and telling me to use it.  It makes me happy every time she knocks on my door...

Poor is as poor does.

So, upon reflection maybe that septic sewer pump dude was wiser than I realized.  Dang. Who knew a guy who spends his life dealing with other people's poo had so much insight?

Now, I'm off to mow my entire yard with a push mower as our riding mower's belt broke.  Again.  Some say it's time for a new mower.  Some say I can burn many calories using a push mower, especially when the self propelled function is off.  Some say that we are saving money to finish building the fence...

Poor is as poor does.



Freckled Hen said...

You are so creative! Sometimes it's not about saving money, you know? It's about life and looking at it through your eyes is really inspiring!

Dawn said...

I think you are thrifty, not poor or cheap and that is why you can buy a boat! And a camera on the spur of the moment. without using a credit card. Loving your fire pit and your raised beds! By the way, you could get on of those little mowers that are definitely green--You know the kind that Beaver and Wally used to mow with? Definite calorie burners, no noise or nasty exhaust! I saw a man using one yesterday!

Megan said...

There is nothing wrong with saving money! Nothing! My grandparents were master re-users. In fact, they hardly ever threw away jars (mayonnaise jars, baby food jars, and so on), coffee and grapefruit cans, and those huge plastic ice cream containers with the handles. They would find some way to make them functional.

Emily Sue said...

I don't know that I'd call anyone "poor" who owns their own home. It's certainly something I'll never be able to do. And I happily reuse, repurpose, recycle, go to op shops, make it myself and go without, if I really don't need it (or don't want to go into debt to get it). I think that makes me smart and non-wasteful. Yes, it's come out of poverty but I think I'd do it even if I had money. There's far more joy in pouncing on some funky skirt at an op shop than in spending $100 to buy one that everyone else is wearing anyway.

Marilyn said...

Aren't we happy that we can be creative and who needs a gardener, or to hire someone when they can do it themselves. This is not to say that I would give someone a job, but there is a great satisfaction in doing your own thing. I am just getting old and tired. Do you think rich people are any happier??? NOT!!!