Am I Really As Crazy as I THINK I Am?

Day Six in the Guided Journal can be seen here. And yes, I know I skipped 5; it was a stupid question and one that had I answered would have been too long.

The weather forecast calls for a chance of rain and snow beginning tomorrow night and through the weekend. Snow. It was only 40 degrees when I got to work this morning, my breath visible in the clear morning light. It looks like we need to cover the tomatoes tonight, as well as get the air conditioner out of the front window. We needed it last weekend, but the nights have been getting progressively cooler and it now takes the better part of the day to warm back up again. I have a very strict rule that we can’t turn on the heat until the middle of October-so there is a week yet before I will cave.

I love this time of year, when it starts getting dark early and the nights are cold. There is something very comforting about pulling in to the house after work to see the windows lit up, and walking in to the smell of something I have been cooking in the crockpot all day long. Soon we will go get pumpkins to carve for Halloween, and I will also get some to can. We used the last of our jars over the weekend to make pumpkin bread, and it is time to fill more. Apples, too, and there is something so reassuring about looking into the cupboard and seeing the fresh, clean jars of applesauce and pie filling and the beautiful orange pumpkin. I look at them and think, “I have done that. I have physically provided sustenance for my family.” Maybe I don’t think it as clearly as that, but that is the feeling that comes from row upon row of those beautiful jars.

I have food issues, which any fairly regular reader knows. I am not going to go into the gritty details, other than to say that it was literally feast or famine growing up. As the result of this-never really knowing for sure whether there was going to be food to eat-I have the tendency to stockpile when I can, and like now, when it is time to start canning things, I will literally fill the cupboards with the things we eat a lot of-like pumpkin and applesauce. I think last year I ended up with about 45 quarts of applesauce. Overkill? Yeah, probably. But there is this underlying fear that we0more the kids than myself-are going to go hungry. I obsess about it; I look in the fridge and when I see the shelves looking empty, I panic a little. Most people? “Yeah, looks like I need to go to the store after work.” Even when I HAVE the money to buy groceries, I see we are out of bread and milk and whatever, and I panic. And then I go overboard and buy like three 18 packs of eggs at a time, and four gallons of milk…

I don’t know why I am suddenly thinking of all of this, or why it even matters. It should be enough that I am at least aware that I have these issues, and can identify where they are coming from. I don’t think that the kids have ever thought much about it one way or another unless we really HAVE been totally out of groceries AND money-which I am embarrassed to say HAS happened before, but not regularly. Even then, we ALWAYS have Ramen, we ALWAYS have stuff to make pancakes or scrambled eggs, so it isn’t as if they are ever hungry. I try to keep my irrationality when it comes to food under wraps, because I don’t want the kids to grow up with the same kinds of food issues that I continue to struggle with. They all have a pretty good body image (although Sam overheard me talking to someone about his doc starting to get concerned about his lack of weight gain and is obsessing a little about that; I just told him that it isn’t about weight so much as it is about feeling better, and if he eats more, and more regularly, he will FEEL a lot better)(yeah-he has an extremely high energy level, so he burns off food almost as fast as he eats it-and he DOESN’T eat enough), all of them eat good things (I am totally not exxaggerating when I say they love oatmeal and Malt-o-Meal and scrambled eggs for breakfast; how lucky am I?), we don’t as a rule have a lot of candy or junk in the house…I just want to try to KEEP it that way. And I don’t want to let them know how panicky I feel sometimes, because I know it isn’t normal or healthy.

I don’t know if this feeling is instinct or simply a by-product of having gone without so much. Maybe it DOES have something about the cold weather coming in, I guess, triggering my billions of years old hunting/gathering/stockpiling instincts. I am like the cave woman who looks in the cache and the baskets in the corners and thinks, “Guh. Not enough.” Anyone else have this instinct this time of year? Or am I simply a basket case?
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16 thoughts on “Am I Really As Crazy as I THINK I Am?

  1. Seriously, we are totally the same fucking person. You’re wigging me out with this post, dude.I have days when suddenly, I look in the fridge, and there are 4 blocks of CHEESE and 3 pounds of butter. Who needs four blocks of cheese and three pounds of butter? At least it would be a creamy suicide.I grew up, well, just famine. We almost never had feast. But I have the same neurosis from it.PS: Can you teach me how to can pumpkin and applesauce? I’d love to learn.PPS: Currently, right now, as I type; no food in the pantry, no money in the wallet. I think that happens to almost everyone at some point.

  2. No, you’re not crazy. Honestly, I can’t relate, but I don’t think you’re crazy. I can relate to freaking about having no money or food, though. I’ve been there, too. Sometimes I don’t know how I continue breathing during those times. But I’m thankful that it hasn’t happened in a while now.

  3. This time of year makes me start thinking of comfort food and baking and filling the house with yummy smells.Currently my fridge is looking pretty empty and payday is 2 days away. I hear ya!!

  4. You’re making me homesick for the land where there is autumn . . . :)I think stockpiling food is a trademark of our generation, sadly. I do the same thing – and if something is on sale, I can’t get enough of it.What works for me is to have a no-shopping week every once in a while, and to only eat out of the pantry. It gets me searching out all the stuff that I’d forgotten I had. Milk, bread, and eggs might be a problem, but usually I have enough to substitute that I can get by without it, like bread mixes I forgot I had, powdered milk, etc.

  5. Ugh the heater clicked on last night, and I’ve already been scraping frost from my windshield for the last three mornings.*sigh* Gotta love living in the Rocky Mountains.

  6. Okay, I am with mr lady; I want to know how to can pumpkin…I looked on line, but found some info stating that it is not recommended to can it pureed or mashed?…do you have a pressure cooker, or how do you seal your cans – both for the applesause and the pumpkin? I make jelly, and for that I just put the top on the jar hot and let it sit overnight and keep it in the freezer to the fridge…okay, I am rambling, do you have any suggestions on reading material for canning?? Thanks!!

  7. I don’t have that instinct, but I have no doubt that’s what it is…an instict. You are just looking out for you and yours!

  8. I think you’re right on as far as instincts. I notice that the colder it gets, the more fatty foods I crave. I think, honestly, it has a direct correlation to my body wanting to put on weight for the cold months.

  9. I can relate to this post so well, it ws feast/famine in our household growing up too and still to this day I stockpile like a squirrel with nuts. I also get very uncomfortable if there’s only three rolls fo toilet paper left too! LOL! We are who we are!Love,G

  10. I tend to always want to feed my kids…even the grand kids… But I didn’t have any issues about food from growing up! My parents were good…but I do always worry about mine having enough! I always make these huge meals at holidays…I mean way too much food! I don’t know where it comes from?

  11. You are the first person I’ve ever known that buys and likes Malt-O-Meal. Seriously. I always felt like I was the only person in the world that even knew what it was.

  12. My family is huge on canning, anyone of the will have 10 million jars at any given time. Sadly, no one ever taught me how to do that, just like they never taught me how to cook. They taught me how to sew, but I learned how to cook by giving my oldest food poisoning at least 8 times a month. The food thing though? I think it’s more then just an obsession. I can’t stand being out of food, it’s something I find very threatening. I’ve never been starved, but for some reason, when I’m broke and have to figure out how to do what, food is the major winner in any situation. And I’ve been there many times, it’s a facet of single motherhood, that is never advertised when you’re holding that little bundle of joy for the first time. It’s always a juggling act, but amazingly, it usually works out in one way or another.

  13. I always thought canning looked like fun and envisioned the satisfaction it would bring to eat something in the winter that I had prepared that summer. Until I spent the day canning with my grammy. Dole, Libby, and America’s Choice are my new best friends. Yes, I can. Canned food, that is.

  14. Well, I guess I don’t have those instincts about food–but I would love to learn how to can stuff! We have about 10 million apples that we picked last w/e and I want to make apple butter so I’m looking into the canning thing.I’m the same way about the heat though! I simply won’t turn it on until (at least!) mid-Oct.!

  15. We are going apple picking this weekend and so will be doing a large batch of apple butter (apple sauce doesn’t get eaten around here), but the season was so bizarre here this year that I didn’t get enough tomatoes for canning. You are right about the satisfaction garnered from it – it makes you feel like you could survive the apocalypse.I’m guessing you have a pressure canner – as you can can just about anything with one of those – and knowing me I would.

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