So … today is officially my first day of Professional Housewiffery (until now I have been on sick leave/public holidays). This means I don’t have to fret about having my lunch packed for work or forgetting my security pass until January next year … but it also means from now on my pay deposit will be looking rather light-on.
I’ve been preparing for this eventuality by getting stuck into reading some of the ‘frugal lifestyle’ blogs that lurk around the interwebs. Now that is a group of people I can get into admiring. We’re talking families of four who can get by on $150 per week. That is seriously impressive but it also involves stuff like making all your own soap and using loo paper as tissues (and also rationing loo paper, which I actually think is a little too far on the barbaric scale for my comfort, so we won’t be doing that. If you’re coming over to our house, you can relax now).
But I have picked up quite a few ideas that I am happy to explore in the next few months.
Today I tried to start as I mean to go on. Okay, I got up a bit later than intended, but that was because of last night’s storm, which woke us all, and freaked out Darling Dog (who runs fruitlessly around, barking and growling at the thunder, poor sausage). The Captain was too hot, I was unable to rest from arthritis pain (storms always make it flare up), and we were generally a bit dopey this morning.
But it was a lovely morning so I took Darling Dog out for a longish walk, then did some light gardening, some sorting and tidying, a bit of housework, some stretching and a bit of yoga stuff, and then because it’s Tuesday I girded my loins to go to The Bad Place.
We have been using Aussie Farmers deliveries for our fresh groceries for a while now. It is convenient and we like not supporting the Big Bad Guys * and knowing that we’re getting our produce from Australian farmers, just like it says on the box.
However, Aussie Dramas is a bit more expensive – as indeed it should be – but we can’t be affording this sort of luxury at the moment, which leaves me as the Home Housewiff Hunter and Gatherer.
As you may have gathered, I am no fan of the places one has to go in order to do this. Too many people, and Shopping Trolleys of Doom, and I never know until I get there if my Invisibility Field is operating. **
But I have been in the habit of planning all the week’s meals in advance lately, and have become so good at it that, come Tuesday, I tend to have precisely enough fresh food left in the house to get me through lunchtime, and no more.
One of the (many) problems with being on AIP is the sheer volume of the food one has to eat. Fruit, veg and meat is bulky, especially the veg, and that is the main thing I’m eating at the moment. Things like rice are nutritious and long-lasting and take up relatively little room in the pantry. Things like cheese are compact yet pack a decent load of nutrition. Bloody vegetables … you have to eat your way through a veritable garden’s-worth to get a decent bang for your buck. ****
We are not exactly swimming in storage space. We have a bog-standard fridge-freezer and no room for a chest freezer. And our ‘pantry’ is a cupboard. I have discovered that, if I plan well and get very creative indeed with the packing, I can juuuust fit a week’s worth of food (under normal, non-AIP circumstances).
I can only carry so many groceries, so I must take the car to do a week’s worth. Walking would be easier on petrol, car running costs and the environment, but on the other hand, a) walking takes longer so the cold stuff stays out of the fridge for longer, and b) it is fairly well-known that the more often you shop, the more money you spend. On balance, I have decided to do as much as I can on Tuesdays via car, and fill in any edges during the week on my hooves.
Before I could head out today, I had to make sure I was sartorially appropriate. After all, I am a fashionista (FATshionista, if you prefer).
This is my very special Going To The Bad Place look:
I call this look: ‘Target Practice’.
Feast your eyes on the makeup-free visage, the hair that has not been cut for … ooh, I forget, the highly visible greys *****. And yes, those are pigtails.
And my stylish, stylish footwear:
These shoes have literally never been polished. Oh, and I can’t be bothered hemming the jeans.
Yes, those are sensible lace-up Homy Peds. Also known as ‘Nana shoes’.
How the mighty have fallen.
Suitably clad, I headed carwards. My target, a nearby shopping centre that includes a branch of a place called Choku Bai Jo.
CBJ is sort of like Aussie Dramas, but they don’t deliver. You can get locally grown and organic stuff there, plus rather a lot of Crunchy Worthy Grocery items like, er, I don’t know: almond milk and stuff.
Given the choice I’d rather buy as much as possible of our fresh stuff there rather than the Bad Guys, although we have to turn to the Baddies to get things like loo paper. (Other people tell me they go to Costco for their loo paper and stuff. I would literally rather die. I’m not joking. That place is terrifying. I can guarantee you that when the Zombie Invasion starts, the first people to cop it will be right. there. And I know Aldi is supposed to be good but the two times I ventured in there with a shopping list, I didn’t find most of what I wanted. Too hard!)
(By the way, I know that I should be going to the fresh food markets to do my shopping. Can I say that, by myself, those places scare me almost as much as Costco does? My Invisibility Field always kicks in when I’m at the markets by myself. I have literally been bowled over by a shopping trolley there in the past. I’m only willing to go if I have a friend to protect me. If you’re available, call me!)
Being Tuesday early arvo, I managed to find a car park without more difficulty than was reasonable, and took my sharply-dressed self into the maelstrom of stressed, shovey humanity.
This was my car boot before I started. All those bags are empty.
You know what? Today it wasn’t too bad. I managed to get a fair bit of my stuff from CBJ, and some of the organic stuff was pretty reasonably priced too.
I dropped my three heavy bags of fresh groceries back off to the car. As I was unloading them in the boot, somebody in another car stopped to indicate for my parking space. I shook my head and mouthed ‘Not leaving’ at her about three times, and eventually she worked it out and roared away shaking her fist at me.
Then into the Very Bad Place for the rest of the stuff. I timed it well to avoid the post-school, post-work rampage. I filled the trolley and tried very hard to push the rotten, heavy thing in a way that wouldn’t result in nasty back pain (engage your core, ladies). Never works. Especially when you have to dodge people. As I always do, courtesy of my Invisibility Field.
This time I looked more closely at prices than usual – in the past I have very much been a brand-fidelity person. There are some brands (hemhem, Bad Guys Own Brand) that I refuse to buy for ethical reasons. But under the circumstances it probably doesn’t hurt, when selecting two non-evil brands, to go for the one that is on special.
No more to report, except the lovely chap at the checkout asking me if I have a Celiac Card, on the basis that he noticed I am buying lots of non-processed food and no grains. Observant!
Here is my boot post-shop:
See? AIP is not a compact car-friendly diet.
And then the worst part by far of any shopping trip: getting the stuff inside.
Bag at a time.
Pick up a bag, take it to the front door, put it down. Take the next bag, repeat. When all bags are at front door, open front door.
Fend off hysterical dog who was certain that she had been abandoned forever. Carry one bag into house. Put it down. Repeat.
Carry one bag into kitchen. Put it down. Repeat.
Realise part way through whole ridiculous process that this is another reason to get the as much of the week’s shopping done in one go as possible. It is interminable.
Anyway, the worst is over and I am going to relax for a while with a pot of tea, praying that I haven’t managed to stuff up my back/exacerbate my arthritis/inadvertently set off a pain flare. All done for this week!
* We all know who I mean …
** One day I may learn to control it. And you can bet I won’t be using my powers for good. ***
*** Oh come on, as if you would.
**** And, speaking of bucks, AIP is not the world’s cheapest diet either. I won’t miss it.
***** ‘Natural Highlights’, if you will.