Life Is a Highway

I’ve been thinking a lot about either getting rid of my car completely, or downsizing to something smaller with a smaller payment, or none at all.

The reason we have a minivan now is that at one point, one kid was in a booster seat and the other two were in 5-point harness-type car seats, and they didn’t really fit across the backseat of our CR-V. Seemed like we had to get a third row.

But now we just have two kids in booster seats. They still would be a little squished in one row, but they would survive. (I did. Chevy Cavalier. Mercury Topaz. Ford Escort Wagon.)

I would love to go all the way and just get rid of the car. So radical! Such a total change in mindset would be required. Batching errands. Having things delivered. Possibly changing physicians. Walking, walking, walking. Umbrellas and rain boots. Biking? I could use my husband’s car, but only when he’s not, and his schedule is wacky.

You know the one thing holding me up? The pool. The dang pool. How would we get there in the summer? It’s too far to walk. How would we leave when a thunderstorm pops up, or when someone’s behavior veers from questionable to practically criminal? Motherhood is all about quick exits. I guess we could bike, but then we’d be all hot and sweaty again by the time we got home.

There’s certainly a psychological value to having a car. The aforementioned quick exit. Having a place to compose oneself before getting out and being social, or a place to ream out a child without others hearing. Having a place to belt out “WE CAN’T GO ONNNNNN, JUST A-RUNNIN’ AWAY! IF WE WAIT ANY LONGER, WE WILL SURELY NE-VAH GET AWAY!”

Or what have you.

I posted this dilemma on the Nonconsumer Advocate Facebook page and received a lot of thoughtful responses. A lot of them suggested doing some kind of trial period in which I park the car somewhere else and pretend I don’t have one, that type of thing.

The more I think about it, the more I think downsizing is the way to go: still have a car, but with a smaller payment and better gas mileage. And maybe I can continue to find ways to work walking in. God knows I don’t love driving that much. The day I posted in the NCA group, I got rear-ended in stop-and-go traffic on the way to Target– a trip that was not really necessary. I could look into switching to the pediatrician that is three blocks away, the OB-GYN that is in town instead of 30 minutes away.

I do love my van though. I love its power. Great pickup. It gives me confidence that I didn’t have in smaller cars. I brody. Cause I know you see me, and I know you will let me in. I’m in a GIANT VAN.

***

When will the first frost come? The average date for it is October 26th, for this zone, I’m pretty sure. It’s Nov. 7th and there have been some close calls but all the plants are still alive. I’m not complaining, I’m just wondering.

The garlic that I planted has sent up green shoots. I’m not sure if that is normal or if it’s a response to the weather being sort of warm. Need to look it up.

I noticed that I have little cilantro plants popping up in some planters. I didn’t realize that cilantro self seeds. I should harvest some before the frost and make another guacamole starter. I also should try to harvest the seeds, since they are the spice known as coriander and I’ve been meaning to get my hands on some for a recipe I want to try. Read about cilantro here.

I’ve been studying my plan for next year’s garden and trying to assess the impact of the root systems of the silver maples at the back of our yard. When I ran into their roots when I was putting in Raised Bed #3, I just cut them out and didn’t think much about it. But now I’m realizing that silver maples are quite notorious for their destructive roots, and I would do best to keep my garden at least 50 ft away from them (or else use raised beds with a metal bottom, or something). In researching the tree, I got to wondering: can you get sap from a silver maple, like a sugar maple? Why yes, yes you can! People do it. On one site, I read that silver maples are not the best choice because the sugar content of their sap is not as high, so it takes more sap to make syrup. They also have a shorter window for tapping. But, you can do it. I totally might have to try this in February here at “Little House on Cattell Avenue.”

Yesterday (Sunday), I was able to spend some time outside pruning the rosebush and bundling up the cut branches. I also rescued the mum I bought a few weeks ago from near-death. Going to try to get that in the ground this week, or maybe just into a big pot. And every other day I’m out there harvesting more tomatoes.

***

Last week’s dinners were not too impressive except for Wednesday. I made chicken gyros and two out of three kids ate the chicken. Everybody ate the pita bread. No one would eat the tzatziki sauce. I call it a win! It was fun to have something totally different. Next time I could try making the tzatziki sauce myself rather than buying it at Wegmans. I made the marinade before soccer practice and let the chicken marinate while we were gone, then grilled it on the stove when we got back.

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***

This weekend was nice. Gemma and Sebastian had their final soccer games. Sebastian scored his second goal of the season. 🙂

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After the games, Gemma and I hit the farmers’ market. We stayed for quite a bit, sitting down and enjoying the live music.

I wanted to go apple-picking, but apparently that is an October thing. No longer being offered anywhere.

Gemma and I did go to nearby Springdale Farm later that day. I wanted to get some produce I missed at the farmers’ market because I ran out of cash. We ended up doing the corn maze at the farm. It was fun in the beginning — weather was nice, we were getting some exercise — but I seriously started to get panicky after a while. It is a huge, convoluted maze. Through the grace of God and some helpful fellow participants, we found our way back to the entrance. That’s a frugal fail, at $20 for the two of us.

It was nice to poke around Springdale’s market and not feel under any obligation to hurry back. I intended to buy Jersey stuff only, but Gemma begged for bananas (I haven’t bought them in a while), I had a hankering for the corn (was not labeled with origin), and I want to make potato soup (those are from Idaho). The peaches are from Ohio, or at least were canned there. (Everything from the morning market was local.)

***

Last week I had the chance to pop in a few thrift stores. I’ve been toying with the idea of reselling thrift store finds. It was daunting, however, looking at the shelves and shelves of stuff there. It must take a while to get to know what you’re doing. I did buy two collectible plates that I will try to resell. And a big bottle of conditioner for $1. I also sold a kids’ jacket of our own for $15, and I have some other kids’ stuff lined up to sell.

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Yesterday I gave Aidan a haircut. Tried to convince Sebastian to let me cut his too, but he wasn’t having it. Guess we’ll be visiting Great Clips this week.

Also on the agenda for this week: potato soup, preserving some of the veggies bought this weekend, making something with my frozen zucchini and squash, PTA meeting, and a birthday party.

 

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