Saturday, November 3, 2007

A tangent about my brother.

By the way, nobody got a deer yet...DH really didn't do a lot of hunting, he kept coming in to take a nap and watch TV...but even Jason, who is pretty dedicated and will sit out in the stand all day didn't get one yet. But the season's still young....Last year he got two and so we got a deer and a half from him--he lives in a small apartment and only had room for a little meat....

My brother was up visiting my mom (she's now in the rehab unit of the nursing home here in town) and he said he just could not understand why people eat venison when they work so hard to make it not taste "wild" or "gamey". I tried to explain to him that beef can cost $2 or $3 a pound unless you find a sale and stock up, and venison is almost free, although you do pay for the hunting license and the freezer paper and such...it's very comforting to know that we have a freezer full of meat, even if I have to be a little more creative in how I use it.

My brother has lived a very very "sheltered" life, where everything has gone right for him, and he has never had a reason to struggle. That is changing, though, because while he and his wife make over $140,000 (not a typo) a year, they are currently spending over $2000 a month (again not a typo) on daycare for their two little boys. That in itself has been an adjustment, because it pretty much eats up my sister in law's entire income. (I know you're saying, if that's the case, wouldn't it be better to stay home with the kids? But with them that's not how it works, apparently--at least yet) My brother has complained about suddenly not having all the "fun money" they used to have. And my brother, who is an IT professional, is probably going to lose his job in the next month or two, the writing is on the wall. His company has been bought out, and all of the people he supports and works with have already received their pink slips and the new company is discontinuing the system that he is the expert on. And you can't just walk down to WalMart and fill out an application for a $100,000 a year job.....there aren't too many of them, and I can imagine the competition is very high!

I did find him a job via the Internet that sounded exactly like what he told me he did. He opted not to send them a resume because the job was 40 miles away. He doesn't want to drive that far. (Keep in mind that my commute to a job I hate is 90 miles one way!). I am very different from my brother in that way. I learned early the things that he won't be learning until probably next year. Today I made a pot of chili, it fed 6 people, including 4 hungry men, there was a little left over. And the total cost was about $4.00 for the whole meal (yes I used venison and a little ground beef, too), including corn bread. That is not something my brother or his wife has learned to do yet (challenge themselves to see how cheaply they can still eat well). And it will be painful, because he has farther to fall....after all, if I lost both of my jobs and had to work for $10 an hour, well, I could probably make up the difference in the gas I spend on my commute. But if he ends up having to work for $10 an hour, it's going to be a major lifestyle change. Not just an adjustment, but a complete change.

I do like my brother. I also like his wife, for the most part, although sometimes she acts like she's "all that", deep down, she's pretty nice. I'm finding out more every day how alike we (my brother and I) really are in a lot of ways. Sometimes it seems like we think the same thoughts even. But he got the "easy road" for the years out of school, and I didn't quite turn on the right street. That's not a complaint, just the way things happened. Sometimes I hear him talk and I just think to myself "boy, have you got a lot to learn!". It feels kind of weird to me, because he's done so much better than me by all standards that society looks at, but when it comes to dealing with troubles, it's been pretty easy for him so far. But that is what life's all about, right? We all have different things to learn.

(I probably would have a lot to learn about living on $140,000 a year, too!) (I'd sure like to find out!) You know, for all the struggles, I am grateful for them because I am much wiser -- I had to be. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say....? Brokeness is the mother of frugality!!!!