We Did Without

Ok. So I know I posted I wasn’t going to post for awhile. That was before the alarm clock went off in the wee hours of the early morning. My husband said it wasn’t actually the alarm on his phone, but the timer. They sound exactly, remarkably alike at 3:30 a.m. I was trying to go back to sleep, and my thoughts hopscotched as they often do.

I went from ‘OMG! Next year my son will be old enough to go to the Homecoming Dance!’ to ‘The Great Depression’ in about 10 seconds. It’s true that random idea generation is a favorite pastime when I am trying to reclaim a state of unconsciousness. Usually I spend my lottery winnings; counting my purchases like sheep puts me right back to sleep. Not tonight. The realization that this time next year I will have a kid in high school is the stuff of nightmares. It pretty much woke me all the way up and then some.

Because at 14 he won’t be old enough to drive, Someone
will have to stay up and fetch him and his date from the gym. We chaperoned the dance once when we were younger. It’s not over ’til midnight, which is way, way, WAAAY past my bedtime. I don’t like driving in the dark, and OMG I sound like my parents. How did they do this? What secret vitamins were they swilling that kept them alive and mostly sane while we were growing up?

So, 4 seconds have gone by—my brain works much faster than I can type, and I notice that I am thirsty. When I get out of bed for a drink, I am so stiff I can barely move. WTH? Oh, yeah. We spent 5 hours today cleaning out the toy room… an hour for each year that we have lived here. It seems that we had approximately half of China’s GDP for the past 5 years stored in one room. As fast as I could fill up a trash bag or donation box, Mark hauled it out of there. I now know where all the glue sticks went. Every other sock and the nail clippers are still MIA.

Drink some water and get back in bed solemnly vowing no more stuff. None. I think about the Wilder family from the Little House on the Prairie. The only decorative item they hauled across the country in a wagon was a Dresden doll. That’s it. They took food, clothes, ammo, the kids and that one pretty thing. Once they got to the middle of nowhere, there wasn’t a WalMart Supercenter, either. They had to make or grow darn near everything they had. It was that or wait for peddler or the cobbler to make a round and hope he was taking chickens, eggs, butter, or some method of payment in addition to cash. No VISA. Hmmn, cobbler, yummy. No the shoemaker. Right, DIY Shoes. No shoes?

What do you do for shoes when you are out in the middle of nowhere and all of your efforts are focused on survival? My grandma says, “We did without. We had to.” ‘Doing without’ is a concept that is utterly and totally foreign to me and my kids. We might have to go a day or week without something, but that’s about it. Can you imagine what the Ingalls would think about Amazon, PayPal, 24 hour grocery stores, or endless hot water from a tap? What would they think about us with our rooms full of toys and pretty things? This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. I wonder how we got here, what’s going to happen next, and where I am going to find size 15 dress shoes next fall? What about you? What keeps you up at night (besides wives who get up and start writing in the middle of the night)?

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About oldhwysixwest

I'm currently pursuing a PhD in accounting at LSU. I also write fiction when I can (usually 4 am).
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4 Responses to We Did Without

  1. Doc says:

    Laura,
    Loved the piece.

  2. Last night it was my (still) sick kid away at college. It’s been a week now and each night I’ve lain awake imagining he’s contracted every disease known to man–and some from Star Trek as well. Then it was my daughter’s messy bedroom which then led me to think about switching over all the summer clothes to winter ones, and then it was Halloween decorations. My husband just wished I’d think about sex.

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