Recession Mama

{April 16, 2009}   I can’t do that. It’s too hard!

vegetable-garden-tote-postersWhen I was about 14 and my sister 17, our father woke us up early one Saturday morning and made an announcement.
“Girls. We’re going to plant a garden.”
“A garden?” “What? Us?”
“Not us.” he said. “Just you girls.”

Okay. Whatever dad. I thought it wouldn’t take long. We’ll just throw a few seeds in the ground and then head to the pool by late afternoon. It was summer and super hot. Not the kind of day you want to spend planting a garden.

“So where is this garden?” We asked.

He walked us to a spot in the backyard, handed us two shovels and said “Start digging.”

“Dig!!! You’re kidding right. You actually want us to DIG a garden.”

We immediately protested, whined, complained and panicked.
“But DADDDYY it’s too hard. We can’t do it.”

His response. “Nah. Make ya tuff.”

“Make ya tuff” was just one of my dad’s classic phrases… along with “It’s a long ways from your heart.” (his reaction to injuries) and “Git “er done.” (that means get it done)

My sister and I were just off a stint of painting the house inside and out. So we knew he was serious, but even this was over-the-top for him.

After a little crying, and lots of “This is SOOO unfair.” We started digging.. and digging and digging. We were madder than hornets and we started to turn on each other.

“Stop taking bathroom breaks.” “Dig faster!”

“No you dig faster.”

The sun must have fueled our anger because we actually got into a HUGE fight over an old quarter that turned up in the ground. 

“That’s mine!”

“No! It’s mine.”

The fight ended with me whacking my sister on the head with a shovel and dad yelling from the air conditioned house.

“Long way from you’re heart.”  “Just git ‘er done girls.”

My sister and I decided that fighting wasn’t helping. So we decided to just be pissed at dad and make the best garden “live ever.”  We were sunburned, sweaty, and left with cracked and bleeding hands. But we got it done  AND we did feel a little “tougher.”

To this day I’m not sure if was trying to teach us a lesson or just really wanted a garden. But more than tomato and strawberry seeds were planted. My sister and I learned that sometimes it’s easier to accept a challenge than to fight or avoid it. If you work together, it will get done faster and better. 

I think the same applies to the recession. You don’t have to like the struggle, but there are some good lessons to be learned from it. You CAN take on a different career and cut back on spending. You CAN work WITH your partner to make it it better.   It may feel impossible, but you’ll never know how strong you are until you test yourself. 

My parents always worked hard and they taught my sister and I to work hard as well. They gave us a good work ethic and for that I’m grateful.

I’m going to need it soon. We’ve decided to renovate a property that hasn’t sold. We hope to lease it to someone. It’s going to be a BIG challenge. But I’m ready. I guarantee I won’t be digging a garden. But I WILL get my hands a little dirty so we can save money. Why not? It’ll “make me tuff!”


katy says:

“madder than hornets” — I love that phrase. Tell us more about the renovation/leasing. Are you doing that because of the recession? Has this recession affected property/housing where you live?

Heather says:

Yes! The renovation is completely related to the economy. The property is in an excellent location but it’s been on the market for months. We’ve had two builders that wanted to buy it, but they couldn’t get loans to build a speck house. So it’s just sitting there. We were planning to tear down the house and build something new… but decided to save money so we bought another home. (smart move BTW) But now we’re stuck with this place. We also have another home that didn’t sell so we leased it. It’s been a good source of income. Thankfully having our money tied up in two real estate properties saved us from losing our butts in the stock market. But we would really like to get rid of them. We’re not sure when that will happen, so we need to make them work for us. It’s a lot of work to keep up with three homes. But it’s the best option for now.

Carla says:

I love hearing stories about your Dad. And I’m with Katy, we need more dish on your projects. In an economy like this, that’s got to be a total beatdown, no? Details! Ok, I can wait until your next post..fine.

Heather says:

My sister reminded me of our dad’s other favorite saying. “Pull your head out of your a**.” He had a way with words… I can only wonder what he’d say about this.

Jennifer says:

Our father did have a way with a phrase that is for sure. I think he would be proud to know that when the “goin’ got tough” his girls got going and were able to “get ‘er done!” Those experiences, that make for some pretty humerous stories, did have a positive outcome and instilled in us the knowledge that we can do anything we set our minds to accomplish. So as the economy becomes a little rocky we can turn back to those lessons and use this as an opportunity to look at what is really important in life and if necessary dig a garden………

recessionmama says:

Yes. But if we ever dig a garden again… we better have some heavy machinery to help us get the job done. I’m too old to shovel!


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