Sunday, June 3, 2012

I can do this

What, you ask? Live on my social security, that's what. And I can't tell you how good it feels to finally be certain of that fact. Particularly since I received word yesterday that my unemployment claim had been denied. I wasn't surprised at that -- always thought it was a longshot anyway. Still, the finality of it necessitated another serious look at my costs vs. income.  Working with my actual expenses on Quicken for the month of May, deducting certain one-time expenses, averaging other expenses, it pretty much breaks even. And that's all I can ask. I have savings to cover things that might pop up -- such as more plumbing that has to be done before I can comfortably go to California without worrying about an expensive water leak.

I've been living cheaply for the past few weeks, and haven't found it particularly onerous. Yes, I've cut down on my food costs, but that can't help but be good for me and may even help me to lose the excess fat on my body. I bought many things that fell into the 'want' category, rather than the 'need' category -- chocolate, other munchies, Peet's Coffee (twice the price of Seattle's Best, which is also a fine coffee). Simplify is the key word. And it hasn't bothered me in the least. I haven't felt hungry or deprived. How can I feel deprived when it costs so little to produce a delicious pasta, for example, right out of the garden and cupboard?

Gasoline cost was an estimate that I believe is too high -- because I haven't yet spent a full month that didn't entail commuting to Rome. I walk almost everywhere. The car sits most of the time.

Yes, I'll have some extra costs coming with the trip to California -- mostly parking the car in Atlanta and transportation to/from Sonoma/Napa and the San Francisco Airport. Everything else will be cost-free.

As a side benefit that also will save $$, I've signed up for a 10-day retreat at the Goenka Buddhist retreat center in south Georgia for late August. I began my meditation at the same retreat in Washington state over 7 years ago. After this retreat, I may opt to spend extended periods down there, depending upon their needs, functioning as a server/kitchen help during retreats. Cost-free, satisfying, a good way to spend time and beneficial in a Buddhist sense. I've been wanting to do another 10-day since my retreat at Bhavana in December, where I finally began to 'get' what Goenka is teaching. I think that I might benefit greatly, now that I understand more about the subject. As a rank beginner at the first one, I understood none of the terminology, hated every last day I was there until the last couple (because it's unbelievable difficult the first time), and basically forced myself to live with the suffering and stay until it was over. A mind/body torture that was, in the end, worth all the suffering.

So -- peace is upon me. I can relax, and enjoy this forced retirement. And there's nothing bad about that.


  1. I am getting the feeling that all your house plumbing is exposed under the house in crawl space... ? It that is the case, it can easily and cheaply be replaced with schedule 40 PVC. Pipe, PVC cement, a cutter and tape measure and some sandpaper is all the tools needed... I would pop in a couple of valves for good measure and it would last a lot longer that you and I lady...

    1. That'd be great if I had plumbing ability. What's not cheap is the labor to do it. You forget that there's literally only crawl space under this house. Slithering along on elbows and knees, maybe 18 inches of clearance at the most. More like 12 to 15 inches. Not someplace I can go and learn to be a plumber.