Good lordy. I just looked at my blog and realized I haven’t written anything new in weeks. And it’s not because nothing has been happening to me, because plenty has. Believe me. I’ve been one busy, busy girl.

For one thing, we bought a new guest bed. I’m sure this sounds like something that would take all of one afternoon to accomplish, but when you are, as I sometimes refer to myself, “technically unemployed,” everything is more time-consuming and more complicated, because you have to find ways to save money doing it.

It was my husband’s idea to buy a new guest bed. He didn’t think the futon sofa-bed we bought merely two years ago had turned out to be nearly comfortable enough for a normal-sized grown person to nap upon.  It was comfortable enough for me, but then I weigh a hundred pounds less than a normal-sized grown person. (That person would be him.)  He thought it would be nice to have a twin bed in there. Something that wouldn’t take up too much room, and as a bonus, wouldn’t encourage us to have undue numbers of overnight guests.

I pointed out that a twin bed would not be long enough for a normal-sized grown person, and what we really needed was an extra-long twin bed — the kind most often used by college students. Those mattresses are five inches longer than a standard twin bed, and thus  they accommodate nappers who are bigger than your average eighth-grader.

Since he is the one who still has a paycheck, I decided he knew whether we could afford this purchase. We could, he said, as long as we didn’t spend too much on it. So I began the search for bedding bargains.

I found a name-brand Twin XL mattress and box spring on a half-price sale at Sears, for $310. I found a steel bed frame at Wal-mart for $40. I found a heavy, solid-wood twin headboard being sold for $40 on Craigslist. I found a Twin XL waterproof mattress protector, a dust ruffle and a vintage Bates of Maine jacquard bedspread on eBay. I bought  a microfleece blanket for $15, and white Twin XL sheets on sale at Bed Bath & Beyond — $10 for a set of two fitted sheets and two pillowcases;  I already had a Twin XL white flat sheet stashed away.  It took me several weeks to get all of this rounded up, and it only cost us about $600, which we easily could have spent for the mattress set alone, were I not the queen of bargain shoppers.  Granted, it cost me hours and hours of my time, but as long as I’m not charging my freelance rates as a personal shopper, time is no big deal.  

My husband, the one who knows whether we can afford things, also decided we could afford a vacation. I suspect this was mostly because he was going stir-crazy after six months of being cooped up in Dallas. Southwest was offering great airfares, so I did all the trip-planning, and we went to San Diego for a seven-night vacay. I found us a wonderful place to stay on Coronado, with a package deal that included a daily gourmet breakfast for two.  We had a lovely time, even if I did manage to lose my favorite Ray-Bans, which vanished and were subsequently found squished, presumably by the wheels of a car. Probably our own car, actually.

Oh, and I’ve begun freelancing, though I’m still waiting for the actual paychecks to begin rolling in. My first “special contributor” byline appeared in the DMN three and a half months after I left its employ. It was an extremely odd sensation to see my name there again.  It’s nearly as strange as realizing that I’m always seeing old stories of mine re-posted on the DMN website, complete with “Staff Writer” and my old DMN e-mail address.

It is even more peculiar to realize that all these months later, my old office phone number has not been disconnected. I’m not kidding — my DMN voicemail still worked when I called it yesterday. Call 214-977-8710 and leave a message; maybe I’ll call back. Or not.  After all, I’m a busy girl with places to go, people to interview and write about, and 500-page books to read and review. Not to mention cooking, laundry, shopping and errands to do.

I never knew it could be this time-consuming to be a technically unemployed housewife. But truthfully? I kind of like it. I think I’m happier and more relaxed than I have been in years. Our house is paid off; our health is good; the grandkids are thriving. Right now, that’s all I can ask for.

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