the new frugality

Toe news: vast improvement.

We had a very ordinary, in other words perfect, weekend. Wushu for Claire and Spanish class for Julia on Saturday morning, after which Jules and I walked through sunny autumnal Noe Valley all fragrant with jasmine down to the Mission Library to meet Jeremy and Claire and Salome and Milo. Tacos for lunch and then home for naps. Sunday morning was Claire’s piano class so we walked up the hill in bright sun but against an icy wind, the first glimmer of winter. This may be my favourite time of year in San Francisco, with the wind’s raw edge promising cognac-laced pumpkin soup and Halloween and Oz apples and Lemos Farm and Thanksgiving turkey and pie and everyone’s birthday and Christmas. Harvest food is the best.

Jeremy and I went over our position with respect to, you know, the global collapse of capitalism and the impending apocalypse and so forth. We’re about as okay as a middle-class techie nuclear family could hope to be; we have savings and a reasonable fixed-rate mortgage and no other debt. We’re especially lucky that our green cards just came through, so if the company or companies tank, which merciful Zeus forfend, we can get jobs elsewhere. We’ve already been eating out less and buying clothes second hand and going to the library, see above. I could afford to knock it off with the Internet shopping, but the number one flashing red light of a way to cut our costs is to get rid of my beloved car Hedwig and her $50-a-tank dead dinosaur habit. And I think we were both half-investigating the possibility by spending the weekend on foot or on public transport.

May I point out here, though, how royally it pisses me off that we are having to economize? I am so tired of selfish people running the country that I have given into the temptation to brainwash my daughters. “John McCain has thirteen houses, which means there are twelve houses other people can’t live in,” I tell Claire. “That’s because John McCain’s momma never taught him to share his toys. Do you know how many houses Barack Obama has?” “Just one,” says Claire.

“And Barack Obama will end the war,” Claire adds. “Which is good, momma, because then you won’t have to cry about it any more.”

This must have become a fairly routine conversation around our place, because when Julia overhears what we are saying she cries: “Barack Obama? NOT AGAIN.”

ETA: Right now in the bath, Claire pretending to be on the phone.

“What? McCain’s winning? YUCK, YUCK, YUCK!”

“No he’s not!”

“Now the war will go on forever.”

“Oh no!”

“Obama’s got the mumps.”

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