Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Work Smarter and Harder


      I think most of us have heard the expression "Work Smarter, Not Harder".  I have lived by that for most of my life, however I now believe that we all must be working harder as well.  Everyone I know is facing some kind of financial hardship or uncertainty.  For Jeff and I, we were hit with some unexpected costs including medical bills, higher taxes owed, car repairs, and of course, inflation causing the costs of everything we buy to go up in price.  Here are some examples of why we need to work smarter and harder that Jeff and I have been dealing with and doing for a few days now...


   Well, our weekend was eye opening, busy, and not at all frugal. UGH! 😟  Jeff's car is proving to be a huge pain in the tushy, a major time sucker and a money pit.  He was not able to get things fixed like he wanted after two weeks of trying, bought new tools to work on it, broke tools while he was trying and hurt himself numerous times.  The skills and tools needed to fix that thing are not in his "wheelhouse".  That thing is a money pit and I finally had enough of it and told him so. He reluctantly jerry rigged the thing back together and told me he would just drive it until it dies.  (He was able to return the new parts he bought back to the store, so we did get that amount refunded to our debit card at least.)

   After the car debacle and me finally losing it, he got busy in the gardens finishing some projects that he had on his list of things to get done.  The fruit trees are now fully pruned and that was a huge job.  We have 2 pear trees, a huge of cherry tree, a very old apple tree, and 3 newer plum trees.  He also cleared out the raspberry patch of the old canes and worked on the raised beds.  We are trying to grow more this year to preserve, eat fresh and to share with others.

  Sunday we worked on the taxes. 😧  We got a very unwelcome surprise in how much we owed the Federal Government. The only "bright point" is that we are getting back $22 from Idaho.  That will not even make a dent in what we owe to the Federal government.

   With all of the added expenses it is time to buckle down even more.  While Jeff has been tackling getting the garden ready for this coming growing season, I have been doing my part as well.

   I decided that despite the fickle Spring weather, I would start hanging out the laundry on the line again.  Lugging the heavy laundry baskets full of wet items though is really painful for my back and neck.  Jeff suggested that I use the heavy duty garden wagon to haul the laundry baskets.  Wow, not only does it help to not have to carry them myself, but it also puts them up higher so that I do not have to bend over as far to get the items to hang on the line.  Yes, I do freeze my fingers off in the morning hanging things out, but I get to take them back down later in the day when they are all dried. I do love the smell of line dried clothing, sheets and bath rugs.

   I went through the big chest freezer and found a gallon sized bag of cook pork taco meat.  I used 1/3 of it to make a thick and hearty taco soup.  It is a favorite of ours.  Jeff and I were able to get 3 meals out of it and still freeze some for a future meal.  Next, I went through our refrigerator, got it organized and prioritized what needed to be used up ASAP.  Lastly, while in the pantry, I made a list of the items that we needed to restock.  I am amazed at how quickly we are going through canned veggies, but at this time of year, I guess that is to be expected. Now to menu plan based on what we have and what needs to be used up.

   The free food grade buckets that we have been getting from Safeway were all washed and dried.  I emptied some packages of sugar and a big bag of flour into them so that they would not get "buggy".  Flour is something that we go through rather quickly since I make most of our bread and I will be needed lots of sugar for jams, jellies, syrups and pickles come this Summer.  I don't want to have to run out to get some or pay the ever-increasing prices that I am seeing each time I am at the grocery store.

   My project for this afternoon is going to be planning out the garden beds and making a list of what seeds I need to get started in the green house at what time and which will just need to be directly sown into the garden beds when the weather is warmer.  I know I want to get those tomatoes started in the green house soon so that I can have larger plants that will yield fruit sooner and longer.  Later in the week, if the weather allows, I will be washing out all of my pots and hanging baskets so they are ready to be planted up. 

   I am realizing more and more that with my increasing pain levels and limitations due to all the health issues that I have, I still have to work smarter and harder.  I cannot and will not let this stop me from doing what is needed.  Jeff is also dealing with increasing pain from his own health issues.  He feels the same way that I do about getting things done.  We need to find work arounds and ask for help when needed IF we cannot do it ourselves.  I told our kids flat out that we are getting older and are going to be needing their help getting some projects done around here.  Luckily for us, they are all amazing people and are willing to help with just about anything.  Our oldest 3 grandkids also pitch in and help where they can.  We are so very blessed!










  1. Using the wagon is a great idea!!!!! I have been going through and sorting and arranging canning jars today.

    1. That is on my list to do also. I found more in the shed today that I had forgotten that Jeff put out there last year.

  2. Don't forget the vinegar if you're planning on making pickles.

    I'm going to try and make sauerkraut. That's within my wheelhouse and something I enjoy eating but haven't tried making yet.

    Working harder is a hard balance with ME/CFS and I've heard for Fibro. The hospital program I was in really encouraged us to stay within our 'energy envelope'. And wow is that ever hard. Some people used Fitbits to take a break when their heart rate reached a certain level. I found for me that to use the timer and work in 15 minute increments was the best approach for me. Fifteen on and then fifteen rest with a water break. And a full on rest -- sitting on my back side. It was the only way I managed to pack for my move. Didn't do it perfectly, but did it well enough to get things done.

    Sending hugs and prayers as you work through all these challenges. Asking for help is a skill set I'm only now learning. And with my move, I now have people who can help me.I'm so glad you have your kids and grands there for you.
    SJ now in California

    1. Oh thank you for that reminder about the vinegar! I have some here but I wonder if it looses it's acidity over time. I will have to look that up!

      I want to make sauerkraut also. I really enjoy it but Jeff, not so much. ;)

      I'm glad you have people surrounding you who can help you now too. :)

  3. Sorry to hear you will need to work harder as well as smarter, Debbie, but, please remember to not overdo things as you work harder. Using the garden wagon to pull the wet laundry is a very good example of working smarter! Sorry to hear about the car being beyond repair, but, maybe you can donate it and get a tax write off? I hope you will ask your family and friends for help as needed and it all works out well for you.

    1. Thank you Bless. I am beyond grateful that I do have family and friends that I can ask for help. :)


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