Making Our Way Back to the Proletariat

So you remember that whole New Years Resolution thing? The rant I went on about organic food, and how it is just SO RIGHT for us to eat organic, and that we are going to prioritize in order to do so, and every time you spend a dollar you’re casting a vote, and bla bla bla?

This week, Mitch opened up a letter from the people who manage his student loans, expecting to see another boring statement that gets tossed in our file cabinet– and I do mean tossed– until the drawer gets so full that we can’t shut it, and so we hide it behind Mount Laundry for awhile, until finally I get an opportunity to organize it. Usually about once every two years.

But this ‘statement’ was a little different. Maybe because next to that scary phrase “Amount Due”  there was a dollar sign, followed by WHOLE NUMBERS. No zeroes, friends.

That’s right. We have just gone through the next rite of passage for our generation: Student loans are now in repayment.

We knew this day was coming. Mitch decided to postpone his culinary studies while I finished school way back in July, so we knew it was only a matter of time. But I’ll admit, we were living in a little bit of a dream world in the meantime. We’re on a super strict, tight budget while we save for student teaching and pay down debt– and you know, try to raise a baby– but one of the things that we’ve always put our foot down on and agreed to was organic food for Maren. Insert all those studies I cited last time.

But when we got this bill…. well. The only wiggle room we have in our budget is groceries, so there was really no argument. We subtracted the “Amount Due” from grocery money and bundled Maren up for a trip to our local HyVee.

Guys– parenting is tricky. Because as we’re putting stuff in the cart, one half of me is picturing Maren becoming a little poissonerie for all the chemicals that are in this food. Mitch and I were discussing which foods were MOST important to go organic on– meat? milk? fruit?– and whether or not we should try to do both. We argued the merits of planning separate meals– the chemically stuff for us, organic for Maren.

And then the other half of us was getting so excited at the prices we were seeing. We’ve been shopping at Whole Foods for about three months now, and its as if we had completely forgotten what a normal grocery store was like. SALES that actually look like SALES! We argued WITH OURSELVES– What does ‘organic’ really MEAN, anyway?  After all, neither of us were raised on organic food. And look at us! PILLARS OF INDUSTRY! MODEL CITIZENS! AND DAMN GOOD LOOKING, TO BOOT!

(Actually, I just really like to find ways to make Mitch say ‘boot’ in his Minnesotan accent)

Mitch has said several times that 2011, for us, will be a Year of Purgatory. We’re hoping that in 2012, things won’t be so tight, after I’m all graduated and everything. We’re hoping that at that point, we could maybe make the switch back to organic food…. and that by that time, Maren won’t have sprouted a third eye or something. One of my parenting mottoes is: Do Your Best. Sometimes your ‘best’ is different at 2 AM then it is at 2 PM. Sometimes, such as during finals week– your best doesn’t look like your best looks in the middle of the summer when you have all the time in the world, stress-free, no worries. But I always try to do my best, every moment that I’m with Maren.

And right now, our best is chicken at 99 cents a pound. And it looks exactly like it sounds.



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2 responses to “Making Our Way Back to the Proletariat

  1. lindsay heard

    Adrienne…these are things of life that are just plain hard. I remember when Eryka was born deciding if we could buy milk today or if we had to wait until payday. And…if I didn’t drink enough milk, would her milk be nutritious enough. I like your Do Your Best motto. We were committed to digging out of debt and we did our best then and now we can budget organics in, although it was a learning curve; however, we’re facing a crossroads to determine how we’d do it with 5 or 6 or even 7 mouths to feed. Your post is encouraging, friend…thank you for sharing your heart.

    • You know what we’ve done that has really helped? We researched CSA programs in the area until we found one that had a reasonable price and organic methods. We paid $300 for 15 weeks of organic vegetables and eggs, AND we’re keeping our dollars localized (which you know an old hippie like me is all over). I’ll bet there are tons in your area also. 🙂 It only goes through the summer, but at least we know that this summer our produce and eggs will be on the up and up! 🙂

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