Monday, July 15, 2013

The Simple Life

My dreams are lengthy, in color, and frequently involve overgrown talking rodents. I'm sure a professional dream analyst (that's a thing, right?) would tell me there are some deep-seeded issues involved, which is exactly why I haven't bothered to ask. I prefer to go with the theory that I am subconsciously terrified of my daughter's pet guinea pig. It has beady eyes and rattles the cage whenever I walk in the room. Disturbing.

This weekend my husband and I spent a lot of time discussing budgets and retirement planning and college savings and other topics that make me feel like we should have a medical professional standing by to monitor our blood pressure spikes. Being a grown-up sucks sometimes.

Last night, instead of dreaming about mouthy field mice, I dreamed about when we were first married. The period of time we were only pretending to be grown-ups. The time when careers and 401k's and kids and houses and nice cars were far away dreams. We were young and clueless and broke. Really broke. Little did I know, that time in our lives would hold some of my most cherished memories.

We got married the summer after our junior year in college. Life was very simple. But we didn't realize it at the time.

We lived in a yellow(ish) 2 bedroom duplex. (He says cream, I say yellow. Potato, Yukon gold potato. Whatever.) It had flaky green trim - that much we agree on. Our rent was less than our current monthly grocery budget (and remember - I don't like to cook). It was a real fancy place, let me tell you.

Every square foot of our home was furnished in hand-me-downs. Our dog chewed a hole in the back cushions of our best piece of furniture - a 25 year old pastel floral couch. She also chewed a hole right through the sheetrock in the hallway and the entire right side of the plastic mini-blinds that hung in the window of our 2nd bedroom. Shockingly, we did NOT get our deposit back.

Our backyard was the size our living room. Charming "mowed" with a weedeater. We had a real nice 3'x3' patio - perfect for standing shoulder to shoulder. The hole our dog dug right at the edge turned out to be just right for collecting rainwater or twisting your ankle. 

I strategically placed our first Christmas tree where only one side was visible, as I had just enough ornaments to fill 1/3 of it. I boldly I declared the theme to be "teddy bears". I obviously had a real eye for home decor. Any holes were filled with random knick knacks I found around the house. I was also very resourceful.

Our air conditioner was a giant floor-to-ceiling metal contraption. When it turned on during the summer months, it sounded like we lived on a launchpad.

We had part-time jobs that paid our rent and electric bill.  Sometimes we'd have a few bucks left over at the end of the week to make a trip to the all-you-can-eat-pizza buffet.

Our weekly grocery budget bought us little more than a loaf of bread, some sandwich meat, a jar of peanut butter, 5 boxes of Hamburger Helper, and the ground beef to accompany them. Sometimes we splurged and made actual burgers - on a teeny tiny charcoal grill that had legs so short it literally sat on the ground. How we never lit the yard on fire I have no idea.

For extra money, I babysat for a family with 3 children. That gig also proved to be an excellent form of birth control, which was a bonus.

We jammed to mixed tapes played in the cassette players in our cars, and we watched movies at home on our VCR.

We used that newfangled dial-up internet thing every chance we could. Until one of us needed to use the phone.

Between being newlyweds, finishing our degrees and making ends meet on tiny budget, things often seemed terribly complicated. Riiiiiight.

While I wouldn't change a thing about my life, the path it has taken, and especially the blessings it has given me, it was kind of nice to revisit that previous life. The simple one. Even if for only one night.


  1. I miss those days too. When it was us against the world and all we did was have sex and love each other.
    p.s all our furniture is still hand me downs. We'll grow up soon.

  2. It's so true. The other day I reminded my husband how we used to share one computer, now we both have our own - not to mention our phones - and he was like, "did we really? I can't even imagine living like that!"

  3. Awww... we call those "The Ramen Noodle Days." xoxo

  4. Oh, I LOVE this post! It brings back so many memories and emotions for me. Cassette players and VCRs, living on Hamburger Helper...all of it. And you wrote it so perfectly. I'm also laughing over here because of your rodent dreams. I love rodents---at one time had 7 chinchillas, 2 albino rats, hamsters, a hedge hog, rabbit and a flying squirrel. Now I'm just down to 5 chinchillas, the rabbit and 3 dogs. Guess you wouldn't consider visiting me any time soon, huh?

  5. I was this way too when I was younger and I think it humbles me to remember those days when all I wanted was apple juice but I couldn't buy it because it was too expensive. I'm glad you see that is part of what makes you who you are.

    It's fun to go down memory lane, but I don't want to stay there too long!

  6. You are so funny. Thanks for always giving me the snorty laughs. I'm 36 and I still feel like I'm pretending to be a grown-up. We have ditched the floral hand-me-down couch, though.


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