Jamie has taken over many of my chores since he got back from the US (in May) and is finding the budget aspect to be a challenge. After spending the thousands we did to bring Michael back, I instituted a strict budget and part of the budget is a limit of $600 a month on food. He gets another $50 a month for household items. Until recently, he figured he could just steal money from other budgeted items. That might have worked in other months, but $200+ in unexpected medicines (for ProstaQ, etc.) blew that fail-safe out of the water. It took a little “discussion” but I think he understands the idea of a budget now and how it should work. But I think he could really use some encouragement from you internets. He is coming very close to using his entire $600 allottment of food already but I think he can make it if he stays away from meat. And frankly, with the hormone, antibiotic and steriod laden meat in the US, I’m not so sure that is a bad thing. Michael, who LOVES meat is so aghast at the prospect of limited to no meat, that he is using his food stamp money to buy meat. So, if you’re so inclined, and even if you’re not, but could be pursuaded to become so inclined, drop him a little line at firstname.lastname@example.org and give him some support. I think he can make the money stretch to the end of the month but he’ll need some encouragement.
The thriftstore here in town (Ft. Davis) is a little gem. I have
purchased 6-7 pairs of shorts (good, heavy, cargo style) for the boys,
swimsuits for both of the boys, a skirt and skort for sissy, skort for
ellen, at least 5-6 shirts for the girls and am still under $20.
Yesterday I found two Corelle plates (I’m trying to get rid of all our
plastic without going to stoneware; stonewear in the trailer is simply
Not A Good Thing but it does make for good crushed stone).
The other day we headed out to Davis Mountain Resort,
which sounds like it should be a lovely, manicured lawn type of place
with tennis courts and multiple swimming pools, but is actually an
enormous ranch which has been subdivided. It is about 10-15 miles west
of Ft. Davis making it even more remote than Marfa or Alpine
or Ft. Davis (what I am now calling the “tri-cities area”, which is
something of a joke since the largest town of the three is Alpine,
weighing in with a whopping population of SIX THOUSAND). But wait,
there’s more! After driving out into lovely valleys and mountains and
through 396 acre ranch after 396-acre ranch, you’ll find the the DMR.
The plethora of mailboxes on the road are an indication. The grading
equipment along the 5-7 miles of dirt road approaching the DMR are
another. This is no typical “resort”. Many of the roads in the
“resort” are 4WD only, and while we scoffed at that designation from the
safety of our trailer in Ft. Davis, once we got to the resort and
started up some of the roads, we realized why they were designated as
such. Many of the non-4WD roads were rutted where the rains had carved
out their own pathways. Once our massive van reached the 4WD roads we
decided to keep to the “good” roads before we got terribly stuck. Jamie
wanted to check out a trailer and 7 acres of property but since the
road was 4WD only, we gave up and just decided to enjoy the ride. Jamie
has been scouting the idea of starting a bike shop in Alpine as he is
finding there might be a good market for it. I’m not so excited about
settling down, but the kids are ready for a home-base of some kind.
This really is a very lovely area of Texas, but it is still Texas, and
I’m not yet able to drop the stereotype I have of Texas, especially
after reading about some of the folk inhabiting the DMR. Shiver.
So, send Jamie some support (Michael right now is trying to get him
to take him into town to the store so he can spend money…) and love.
We’ll leave here on Monday and head up to Santa Fe. Michael wants to go
through Section 52 (Roswell) but that takes us out of our planned way
and we had planned to stop in El Paso for supplies. We’ll see. Our
destination for the immediate future is Albuquerque for Sept 6-10 and
the Live and Learn Conference .