My lifestyle hit a major pothole when I and two others were called into a supervisor's office and handed our pink slips.
For the first time in many years, I went to bed without setting my alarm. I had become so accustomed to getting up at the same time every day that I usually woke up three to five minutes ahead of my alarm. The next morning, I awoke as usual, but now there was no reason to get out of bed.
After a discussion with my wife, we decided that it would not be necessary for me to look for a job real fast. It was decided that I could be helpful in two areas if I stayed home. The first was financial. If I were able to put together a daily lunch and dinner, then my wife would not have to eat out, as she did nearly every day. When we totaled up the costs of her eating out twice a day, vs. what it would cost me to cook those two meals, it was a staggering amount of money that we would save.
Another benefit would be the increased amount of time that we would have together. With my wife's career, that has become a treasured item.
So now when I get up my first job is getting a breakfast on the table. When that meal has been cleaned up I start looking at lunch and dinner. The one thing that I have had to learn is to get meat out of the freezer before I go to bed at night and leave it in the refrigerator to start thawing out.
My wife wanted to lose weight, another reason to stop eating out. This meant that I had to learn how to make a salad to her specifications. It also meant that I had to learn to cook some form of meat to add to the salad. Fortunately we have a gas fired grill. Now I have a couple recipes that deal with chicken as well as beef and pork.
Recipes were another problem. I now have a file on my laptop that I can go to and come up with something to cook. I can then print off that page, take it into the kitchen, pin it up over the exhaust hood and mark off the ingredients as I add them to the mix. A few of the recipes that I use often I have placed in a sheet protector so I can reuse them.
I still have the outside work in the yard, no matter what season it is. There is mowing of the grass in the summer, raking of the leaves in the fall, shoveling the snow in the winter and then replanting all that I want to in the spring.
I now know, in a small way, what my great-grandparents went through when they first came to this area from Europe. There is something a little more fulfilling in watching a seed grow into a grown plant than standing in a factory doing the same thing over and over, again and again.
There is now a real sense of completion when I walk out of the kitchen at night. I turn off the lights, knowing that I have accomplished something not only for myself but for someone else as well.
Stephen Cheesebrow, St. Paul, is a homemaker.