Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Disorientation in the city

I have just spent the last two days in the city. It's about a 4 hour drive each way and the errands build up so by the time we go and come back, and overnight stay is necessary.

Ni-chan is registered to finish high school there as the only high school in the (large) county here doesn't offer advanced classes. I thank Mr. Bush and No Child Left behind that my high school senior is leaving for the city. She could have graduated high school early and gone to college but she is socially not ready for that move. We are grateful that she is going to a wonderful family of academics and musicians. We stayed with them and I had always thought of them as green, but I get there and the home made bread comes from a machine and even their garbage can lid is battery operated - I'd never seen such a thing.

Ni-chan was selected to go to girl's state from her current high school. She gets college political science credit for going and it's a trip out, and the costs of the trip are covered, but I had no idea all the fru-fraw that went with this. This very practical child of mine suddenly has to have a prom dress and business clothes for a week. As a parent I didn't want to deny her this at the end of high school. She is just the greatest kid with a fantastic head on her shoulders. So off we went - between paychecks where I've been stocking up - to buy a gown that could be worn on the red carpet and costs over $100. (It is after prom and dresses were 1/2 off). She will wear it to any senior things next year. AND she looks like a million bucks in it. But it is disturbing.

It is disorienting because shopping is so much a part of my old life. I clearly don't have this non-consuming thing down yet. And by the looks of the packed malls (shoppers with bags) on a rainy Memorial Day Monday other folks are a ways from "getting it" too. In the midst of the fervor, I stop by my old favorite shop and get a pair of Capris and a shirt where they told me sales were down all weekend until it rained and folks went to the mall.

I've raised the girls on developmental toys, limited TV, home cooking, music and interaction. They are growing in a way that makes me proud and suddenly I worry about their not being prepared for a life of shortages, for staying home and gardening. The whole Peak Oil thing feeds into my desire for my kids to be close to me always and I'm also saddened that the world is likely to be be a different place than I'd always envisioned for them.

Back to the trip, however. Chibi had been left at home caring for animals and gardens. She needs clothes because she is growing still, a pant and a shirt are all she gets and a new title in the silly manga series she reads. Again a foolish purchase but gawd I love these kids and they don't get overly much and...then there was the new metronome and sheet music.

OK I'm about out of money but I want to get to COSTCO for stock ups. I get TP for now, oil, sugar, dog food, tinned tuna, soup stock, rice, brick cheese .... And while I know that in a future time they are not all going to look like such necessities, they are for now a move toward all home made items. One day we might have to produce even the basics for ourselves but for now making for scratch means picking up ingredients from the store. When get to the register, I realize I've spent too much because I'm not accustomed to the higher prices. Neither Ni or I even looked at the books or prepackaged foods or gadgets that have in the past run up the bill. We get to the car and discover the keys dropped out of my purse into the car as I was geting out and we are now locked out. The folks at COSTCO are not helpful in the least, but I remember Mr. Greenjeans had wanted us to have AAA. I had balked then, but now I'm appreciating it.

I'm now at home again feeling sick. I feel I've just taken two giant steps backward. Carefully saved money has been spent and there are purchases on my credit card. I'll really have to tighten down to get over this and every bit of savings will be spent just trying to re-gain ground. I feel as if we are in this transition life with one foot in one world and a food in another. The disconnect between the worlds means we are pulled and stretched and it *hurts*. I am sick to my stomach am and am hurting in my psyche.


Lewru said...

It seems like adapting to this new life is sort-of a cultural transition...I do quite a bit of work with cultural diversity, and the idea of "walking in two worlds" is a common theme, as well as the disorientation you mention, the disconnect, and "code-switching" that goes with it. It is hard and I wish you all the best. Your post was moving.

Robj98168 said...

LOL I pray for the ability to adapt all the time "god grant the serenity" Hooray for AAA my roomate is a dispatcher for them I think your daugheter is going to be fine- You have raides her to ask questions and that is half the battle!

Robj98168 said...

PS that should be Raised not raides

And Daughter LOL Dexlexic typing is my thing today

Verde said...

Thank you Rob and Lewru for your kind words. I'll get over it..

Ruby said...

Oh, it is hard, but you are such an inspiration.

Melissa said...

Isn't it amazing how so much careful financial planning and saving can be destroyed by one stocking up shopping? I think it's good that you're finding a balance between living the life you want for yourself and letting your kids live theirs too - it must be a tough balance to strike sometimes.