January 6, 2012

Flight Booked

I’m feeling very broke today having just purchased a $275 ticket to New Orleans. I leave on the 19th, which doesn’t give me much time to get my stuff together. My interview isn’t until that weekend but for some reason it was cheaper to fly there on Thursday and stay until Sunday instead of a quick there and back trip. It’s ok with me though. I haven’t been down there in ten years and it will be nice to bum around the city for a day and get my bearings before the teachNOLA people start grilling me.

There are a bunch of things I need to do before I leave. Register for the Praxis teaching tests, write a short lesson plan to present in my interview, magically conjure up another three hundred bucks so I can eat at some point in the next month... That was melodramatic and I’ll probably be getting a phone call from my father now (I know he’s reading this post). That fact is, ladies and gents, that I live in my car and therefore have very few costs. I live in my car so that I have the money available for things like this and, lo and behold, the plan worked! Money is going to be tight for a bit, but it’s still within my range and no one can shuffle funds like I can. Well, I’m sure someone can. My mom was the master back when a check took three days to post and the bank would call you if they saw an overdraft coming. She could feed a family of four on almost nothing; pasta, potatoes and vegetables from the garden. Here’s a little antidote that I enjoy and goes a long way towards explaining my lifestyle.

When I was growing up the grocery store was this huge adventure. There were two reasons for this and the first reason was that getting to the grocery was such a production. We usually had a car, but they didn’t necessarily work all the time and until I was nine I thought cars, like horses, had to be stopped every few miles and given water. If the car broke down along the way or refused to start after we had shopped we would walk home, my mother and two little kids carrying groceries down the road. I remember mum getting really upset because neighbors would drive by and wave, thinking we were out for a stroll. The nearest grocery was 12 miles away in the next town, so I’m not sure if they thought we were really fit or super crazy to be walking that far from home. Either way, someone would usually stop and give us a lift before the groceries melted. Once we sat on a hill and ate a gallon of ice cream because mum said it was melting too fast. The solution to this car trouble was to get a different car. It was a blue Volvo that we called the mouse mobile because mum said it looked like something Mickey would have driven. There was no clutch and all four of us, mum, dad, my little sister Sara and I, would have to go to the grocery together so that we could all push start it after shopping.

The second reason we thought the grocery store was an adventure was because of my mother’s shopping habits. According to her, not everything in the grocery was for sale and there was food that people bought and ate and then there was food that was “for display purposes only.” Most deli meat went into this category as well as cakes and candy so we were always confused why the Flanagan’s up the street got fruit roll ups. Maybe they shopped at another grocery store. Mum also was a master haggler and knew each department manager by name. She didn’t get a box of mac and cheese; she would talk to the manager and get a deal on a whole case. Turkey is on sale? We’ll take 12. You don’t have 12? We’ll take a rain check so the price will apply when you get more in stock. This was a time consuming process and normally took the whole day, but she managed to feed four people on $100 a week tops with no assistance. 

So the belt is tightened and I'm heading to New Orleans in 13 days. Cross your fingers and keep on truckin.

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