Moving Forward

I haven’t written for a while…this is the first time I have been able to sit down with time for myself.

There have been some very interesting and exciting things going on at our house.  my 18 year old grand daughter who lives with us has decided to join the Navy.  I am excited for her.  Unfortunately she has to wait six to nine months to actually head to boot camp because she has a GED.  I am just glad she finished school!  However, the navy expects more of their people so they only allow a few slots for those with GED’s.  And, the test that the navy gives has to have higher scores than that of the army–About twice as high to just get in.  So, I am pleased that she did well on her test because it will open doors for her.

In the mean time, she has had to find a job to get her through until she is actually called up.  We live in a small town hit by factory closings.  Our jobless rate is 20% compared to the national rate of 10% now.  So, getting a job can be difficult to impossible.  However, her bubbly morning personality has seen her through.  The local Bojangles is excited to make her one of their family.  She still has a final interview to pass, but I am confident she will get the job.

I guess I should share some things I have learned from this experience:

1.  Let the interviewer know that you are willing to do anything they ask you to do, even clean the restrooms!  Evidently, there are a lot of people who come into an interview with limitations on what they are willing to do.  It’s kind of like the, “I don’t do Windows”, attitude.  If you really want a job, be willing to do it all.

2.  In any restaurant, Cleanliness is next to Godliness.  If you want to get that job, let them know that you will clean, clean, clean.  Then make sure you follow through.  Evidently keeping the place clean is one area where employees fall short.

3. Turn your weaknesses into a asset.  If you are asked to explain to the interviewer what your weaknesses are it is time to think outside the box.  My grand daughter explained her weaknesses like this:  “I tend to be a workaholic and a clean freak.  I can’t stand to stand around and do nothing so I find things to do, like clean, if I have a spare moment. I hate working in a dirty environment and tend to have to keep my work station clean and tidy.”  Then when asked what her strengths are she said:  ” I can work unsupervised, am a self starter, am a good morning person, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and done right.  I am also a people person.  I can get along with most everyone and can work in a group situation.”   Needless to say, they thought she would be perfect for that 5:00 AM shift when their customers are on their way to work and may not be in the best mood.  They saw her potential to brighten up the day for their customers with her perky, bubbly personality.  Besides, the 5:00 AM shift is a tough one to fill.  Most people don’t want to get up that early.

OK, the economy stinks!  What now?

I don’t think that there is one person in this country who doesn’t know at least one person who is effected by this economy crisis.  Whether it is a grad student who doesn’t know if they can go back to school next semester because they can’t afford it, or the person who has worked 15 or 20 years for a company and finds themselves unemployed.    I hope the following ideas will help some of you.

1.  00Ps paint— The paint stores sell oops paint for a fraction of the cost of a customized paint choice.  Sometimes you can get them for as little as $5 per can as compared to the $28 cans of paint.  Check them out and if you find a color you like, take it home and paint something!  Even one wall in your house, that is painted a new color, can boost your spirits.  It is a minor change with a big affect on your life.

2.  Don’t sell unless you have no choice.  Choose to fix up as if you are going to live there the rest of your life.  Now is not the time to move if you don’t have to.  Small remodeling projects not only improve your surroundings, but they increase your equity.  Keep the projects small.  Don’t try to gut that kitchen.  Try new paint, perhaps ceramic tile back splashes, a new deck, or creating outdoor rooms to create the illusion of more space.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a saturday morning than at a small bistro table out in my garden with a hot cup of herb tea and a magazine.

3. Wild birds are a great way to bring peace and enjoyment to your yard.  Put out bird feeders and bird houses.  You can build them yourself or buy inexpensive ones and put them all over your yard.  You can make bird baths out of terracotta plant trays that you sit on cinder blocks.  It is so fun to watch the birds and see how many different ones are in your area.  We have everything from woodpeckers to purple finches, cardinals, blue jays, mockingbirds, golden finches, tit mouse… the list is endless.   It is important to have diversions from the stress of the times.  Simple bird watching can provide that–and you never have to leave the yard!  Oh, and grow sunflowers to help defray the cost of feeding them!

4.  Emergency preparedness… Now is the time to start!  Start small, but start.  Purchase toilet tissue when it is on sale and stock up!  Purchase food basics like powdered milk and dehydrated potatoes for tough times.  Stock up on canned meats and vegetables and soups.  Figure out what your family eats and start building up an emergency supply.  Dried beans, rice, pasta, lentils, split peas, bullion cubes or granules are good basics for storage.  Don’t forget storage bags, foil,  plastic wrap, latex gloves, masks, medical supplies, etc.  They are all important in an emergency.  Besides, if you already have food storage, you can use your grocery budget for other more important things, like utilities, car payments, and mortgage.

5.  Perhaps you can cut back on things now so you don’t have to do it in the future.  We decided to use Netflix rather than take the family to first run movies.  Not only can we order them as we want by mail, they now have an online download service of about 2,000 movies that we can use our Tivo to see on the TV.   We also just canceled our Sirius account.  It was nice while it lasted, but I can do without having to listen to Fox News while I am driving the kids to school.

6.  Canning– a viable option       —        It came to my attention that we waste a lot of food in the form of leftovers that go into the fridge and don’t come back out unless there is mold growing on them.  So, I have decided to save all the leftovers in the freezer.  When I accumulate enough I can them in canning jars.  I also take vegetables and gravy and make them into soups which I also can.  You’d be surprised how much we save by utilizing our leftovers this way.  It helps build up our food storage supplies and there is no waste.  I also cook in large quantities and then freeze the left over spagehetti sauce, cheese sauce, alfrado, or other cream sauces that I make.  Making a large batch of chili is also economical when we can it immediately after dinner.   I thought about left over night but it just didn’t work.  So, canning is a viable option.

7.  Coupons– Fortunately, my husband is now into coupons.  He likes to shop for bargains.  So, we do purchase the one day’s  newspaper with the coupons in it and he does the shopping for those items.  Many of the grocery stores such as Bi-lo and Harris Teeter, etc. as well as pharmacies like CVS will have their specials listed on their website.  My husband goes to them to see what is on sale and what he can use his coupons on for added discounts.  Don’t forget department stores.  They also list their specials on their websites. Happy hunting!

8.  Here’s a simple way to cut your electricity bill– Turn off your computer and other electronics when not in use.  You can save approximately $200.00 per year by doing this.  This is quite a savings.

9.  Line your drapes to keep out the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter.  Use a heavy canvas or other type material to line your drapes.  Also, if you have rooms you don’t use, keep the door shut and close your vents.  Keep the windows covered in summer and if the windows are drafty, use those lined drapes in the winter.   My grandmother made quilted pieces the size of the window and used velcro to attach the quilt to the window frame on the inside.  If you want the sun to shine in just role up the quilt piece and attach it to the top of the window somehow.  Then, when you want it down again, role it down and attach with the velcro.  I saw this in a magazine once.  It looked quite nice as a part of the decor.  Just make the piece in a fabric that goes with your colorscheme.

10.  Grow a Garden / container garden for city dwellers  — It is so easy to grow that patio tomato or the hanging strawberries that no one should go without fresh fruit regardless of your location.  Even apartment dwellers can grow a container garden.  IT can be herbs for cooking or tomatoes and strawberries.  Oh, and don’t forget the ginger.  Just purchase it at the store in the produce department, break off the nodules, plant them in pots and watch them grow.  When you want a fresh piece of ginger, just grab it from the pot.  The plant grows tall so you will need to put them in a container that can go against a wall for support.  They look a little like sickly bamboo… but having fresh ginger to cook with is wonderful.  How about those natural remedies?  Grow the plants in your house in a window.  Aloe is great for cuts, bruises and burns, and it looks nice too.  If you have room for a cactus, the prickly pear is great because you can burn the spines off and cut the plant as well as the fruit up to use in most anything.  Don’t forget the edible flowers.  They make nice garnish besides tasting good in salads.  Mint is good for tea as well as for looks.

11.  Finally, landscape with trees and fruits.  Whether it is pears, peaches, apples, cherries, grapes, cherry bushes, currants, etc., Plant fruit baring plants to spruce up your landscape while providing permenent  sources of fresh fruit.

I hope these ideas will help you become a survivor, not a victim.  Be proactive and do what you can to protect yourself by planning and carrying out those plans so you will be safe financially as well as well as self sufficient in the future.  Fruit trees add to the value of your property.

Chris

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~ by womenstudycenter on March 14, 2009.

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