Remember back when you were broke?
Maybe it wasn't that long ago. Maybe it's today. Of course, "Broke" is a relative term. For the purposes of this post, broke means you have enough to eat but don't really have extra money for a new car, or fancy vacations, or dinners out.
Basically, it was how I was raised. Being the youngest of 10 children, I never considered myself broke. We always had toys for Christmas. Not super expensive toys, but back then my friends didn't get super expensive toys either. We took our plastic army men and lego outside and built fortresses. When it got dark we played flashlight tag. What we did have growing up was an abundance of love.
When I got older, I had junky clunker cars. But I was really happy to have one. Back before I upgraded to a fancy schmancy Dodge Dart, I drove a Suburu FF1.
Never heard of it? Not to worry, most people haven't. It was an air cooled, front wheel drive little blue bubble. It didn't even come with seatbelts. So when they passed the seatbelt laws, I had to actually find seat belts from a junked car and install them to pass inspection.
I loved "The Bubble". It handled great in the snow. On the downside, it would overheat when I had to drive into Queens to pick up my brother at his fancy Telephone Company job. After a while, the starter went bye bye and I had to park it on a hill to get a running start and "pop the clutch" by myself. But I usually had friends in the car and we took turns as to who would push it. After "The Bubble" went to car Heaven we got a Ford Fiesta, which if you place a Mets cap on top, looked a little like the bullpen cart at Shea Stadium.
I would push and my wife would steer and pop the clutch. We didn't feel weird about it. Didn't care what the neighbors thought. I remember her laughing every time I'd be huffing and puffing and she had to pop the clutch. It was the same kind of laugh she would have when we would go garbage picking on Sunday nights. (don't judge me, our first fish tank stand came from someone's trash!) We just did what we had to do and were happy. We look back fondly on those days...not that we're rolling in the dough now. It's kind of hard to roll in dough with 5 kids.
When Hurricane Irene blew through we were without power for four days. No lights. No XBox. No Wii. No iPad. No internet. No phone. No TV. What we did have was a bunch of nice evening conversations, stories & noc hockey games. We were unplugged from "the grid" and plugged into the kids and each other. If you lost power, I hope you're plugged into your kids and to each other. Either way, it's okay to go out and pop the clutch once in a while.