Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Story of Stuff

I just watched The Story of Stuff. I have been thinking a lot about "stuff" lately because I am waiting for my "stuff" to arrive in shipments from Erie, Egypt, several mail orders, my car from Baltimore and my stuff that is in storage in Texas that needs to be shipped to Georgia after we close on the house.

Since our stuff is split all over the world, we don't even remember what we have. In some cases we have duplicates or triplicates, in other cases we don't have anything, like livingroom furniture. It is hard to get a handle on spending and acquiring when you are traveling and moving, especially with Curt and I in separate countries for so much of the past few years. We have never worked from a budget. It is our goal, now that we are back living together and in the process of reassembling our stuff, to create a budget and stick to it and to be more conscious of our purchases.

Right now, "stuff" and "consumption" is comfort. It is something we can control, unlike the international bureaucracy we have to deal with trying to buy the house in Macon, GA, trying to get the goods in storage transferred to Macon, trying to in-process at Yongsan, trying to set up house, trying to navigate in a new country. It is so satisfying to go to Starbucks on post and get a Tall Caramel Macchiato or go to the PX or online and buy things for the house or go out to dinner in the neighborhood. Money solves some problems quickly, like paying for a cab because you are running late and don't really know where you are going by metro, yet and don't want to deal with the stroller on the metro. The apartment is huge with bare floors and lots of sliding glass doors and windows, the thought of cleaning it is overwhelming. Hiring a maid once a week seems like a better idea. More spending. I am getting my hair done tomorrow. My hair is a mess. I need to start wearing make-up regularly because I look tired. I need new clothes. I feel blah in my clothes, especially since Korean women are so fashion-conscious. Thinking about waxing and pedicure as well. More spending. We need a vacuum cleaner that works well on bare floors. Should I buy an expensive machine designed to last or whatever they have at the PX which will probably not do well on bare floors or last more than a year. Or, improve my skills with the broom, dust pan and mop.

I never thought I would be a stay-at-home mom and Curt and I haven't been in one place long enough to establish a routine that involves cooking and cleaning. I balk at routine and feel that it is restricting and suffocating, but the truth is that you have a routine of bad habits and inefficiency naturally, even if you don't think you do.

I am going to two international women's group coffee mornings next week to get some information about living in Seoul. I need to get my driver's license next week and try the yoga on the base. Do more exploring and prioritizing. Slowly experiment with the schedule to get something workable, flexible and fun for Ian and I. Add in some sort of creative outlet for myself. Get a budget together. Maybe I will get myself ready for something like Crunchy Chicken's Buy Nothing Challenge. Not likely to happen soon, but it is all about progress. I think if I have a good schedule and a realistic budget, I will spend less and be more efficient. I still love stuff, but need to make better choices and waste less.

1 comment:

Connie said...


Ok. That needed to be said ;-D Did it help??!! I am not a new arrival, but I am seeing you eye-to-eye anyway, re. the adaptation to stay-at-home-mom'ing, consolidating households, new schedules, etc.

It's BIG!