I have discovered the secret to joy last night and it is this - a foot bath in the chair by the stove once a week with sea salt and essential oils, tea kept perfectly warm on a brick on the stove, and crackers with sweetened condensed milk. After a day of the usual - 8 long and boring hours of work, cooking, shoveling snow, dishes, bringing wood in, and, if I'm lucky, some time on the couch with the cat - it is the perfect sliver of luxury. It is such luxury, that is makes me forget entirely about those boots I've been coveting that are $80 out of my price range. The $.03 foot bath is better than the boots anyway.
I finished the sweetened condensed milk two days ago, so last night I settled for a jar of my admittedly mediocre apricot jam, honey, and butter. It's not perfect, but at least I can afford sweetened condensed milk - now a staple of my diet above and beyond peanut m&m's which come in a now-distant second for top guilty pleasures. I'd give up a lot before I'd give up that little Carnation can. Definitely chocolate (gasp! I know! but seriously, s.c.m. is THAT good), sliced bread, and any $120 pair of boots. My favorite way to eat it is slathered on a very thin cracker that doesn't get in the way. It's also very good over nutella (but really, how could that not be?) I also like dipping my finger into it when it's cold in the the fridge and will stick - ah, the pleasures of living alone!
So in case you too have just discovered that you're not really making all the ends meet and will therefore need to find a roommate or move out, if all your muscles hurt from shoveling the driveway with a very heavy and old snow shovel, if you really can't stand the thought of cleaning, cleaning, cleaning after working, working working all day, and just want to live your own life, even though that's basically impossible - go dip your feet in some hot water and let yourself sit for a half hour. Listen to some music, or the radio, or watch a movie, or write, or read. I promise, you'll feel better. I do.