Today’s Woot & Grumble comes to you from the vacationing Frugalwoods! We’re in North Carolina this week celebrating Mr. FW’s younger sister’s high school graduation and visiting with his family. Frugal Hound, meanwhile, is relishing her time at our friends’ house out in the suburbs–complete with a huge fenced yard, other greyhounds to frolic with, lots of treats, and tons of different toys to sniff. Basically, it’s greyhound summer camp.
Traveling to visit family is wonderfully frugal–all we had to pay for were our plane tickets! Food and ground transportation is generously provided by Mr. FW’s family and Frugal Hound stays for free thanks to our cooperative greyhound baby-sitting agreement. I use the word “agreement” loosely–basically we just dog-sit when other people need us to and they return the favor. No money exchanges hands and the hounds are happy to hang out together.
Speaking of food (near and dear to my pregnant heart these days), I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my mother-in-law is the most fantastic cook I’ve ever met in person and who wasn’t in the kitchen of a five-star restaurant.
I’m not exaggerating when I say she makes some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Every meal is a delicacy at my in-laws’ and she takes home cooking to new heights. Luckily she passed along her trade to Mr. FW, which accounts for his similarly delectable prowess in the kitchen. He’s already planning to teach Babywoods the family business.
Spending time with family is one of those things that’s absolutely worth the expense–we’d never miss a gathering like this just to save money. There’d be no point in having money at all! That said, we of course frugalized every aspect of our trip—from using free Uber credits for our ride to the airport to bringing our own snacks and water for the plane to not checking any bags.
It’s shocking how ridiculously expensive those seemingly small aspects of a vacation can become. You can check out my calculations on how much these frugal travel actions save us here. Best to plan ahead, use creativity when packing your used threads, and avoid the siren call of the airport Cinnabon (I think Babywoods is trying to lure me into eating all the sugar on earth right now. Don’t worry, I’m staying strong… at least until the graduation cake arrives tomorrow).
Our preparation for this trip was of an equally frugal nature. I gave Mr. Frugalwoods a haircut, he gave me a haircut, we trimmed Frugal Hound claws (not wise to have long claws when heading off to romp with other hounds), I gave myself a manicure and pedicure, and–of course–we packed our second-hand duds.
While we’re here in NC, we’ve been prepping for my sister-in-law’s graduation party, which promises to be quite the shindig. There’s pulled pork slow-roasting in the oven, homemade pimiento cheese on the prowl, handmade bon-bons chilling in the fridge, and myriad other southern delicacies floating about. Since we all know I’m a subpar cook, Mr. FW, his mother and brother (the three chefs) are heading up the culinary efforts while my father-in-law, sister-in-law, and I are in charge of general cleaning, organizing, and decorating. My specialities!
Being away from home for a few days is a refreshing reset for the brain and its been nice to break out of our regular routine (of course it doesn’t hurt that we’re not at work either… ). Setting aside time for relaxation isn’t a forte of mine–I tend to hop from project to project when I’m at home, leaving little opportunity for doing the proverbial “nothing.” I think part of that stems from how truncated my free time is courtesy of my full-time job, but I also think it has to do with my relentless desire for productivity. It’s prudent for me to take some time off from being me every once in awhile.
Unfortunately, I do bring you a Grumble in the truest sense this week. Mr. Frugalwoods was in a bike accident late last week. He’s fine, though still extremely sore. He was biking home from work (as he does every weekday of the year) when a car in the travel lane opened their passenger door into him as he biked past. Not good.
The thrust of the door battered and flung him into a parked car, which he bounced off of, thanks to his judicious use of a helmet every time he rides. Fortunately, the driver of the car didn’t try to flee and waited for the police to show up and file a report. Hence, we have their insurance information and they’ll hopefully cover the costs of a new helmet, a doctor’s visit, a prescription, and repairs to his bike. The doctor confirmed Mr. FW is free of concussion, broken bones, and kidney damage, but that he’s very, very bruised. I’ve actually never seen a bruise as bad as the one he’s sporting on his upper arm right now.
Traumatic as this incident was, we’re very fortunate it wasn’t far worse. The fact that he was able to walk away from the scene is incredible and I can’t tell you how thankful we are.
People have asked if he’ll continue biking to work everyday and the answer is, of course he will! In eight years of bike commuting, this is his first serious accident and, we don’t let fear dictate our lives. Plus, he’s probably just as safe biking as he would be driving–Boston drivers are notoriously wretched to other Boston drivers.
That being said, this certainly does make us reflect on the unexpected nature of life and the importance of finding a purpose and working towards it. Slogging through each day without a true destination doesn’t make for a fulfilling existence. And this accident further reinforces our desire to retire early and live our dreams now, as opposed to when we’re 65.
I honestly can’t imagine that anyone on their deathbed has ever wished they’d bought more stuff, owned a bigger house, gotten a newer car, or spent more money on frivolities. I bet they wish they’d pursued their passions and found a way to live the life they were meant to live.