Friday, May 23, 2008

The Good News about Gas Prices

Wow! I just passed the corner gas station and saw the they have bumped up the price by 20 cents since this morning. Twenty cents a gallon! Lots of angry, frustrated people out there, aren't there? Are you one of them? Not me. (Well, not much, anyway.)

I've actually found a Silver Lining to this whole Hostage at the Gas Pump scenario. When the prices topped $3.00 a gallon, my wife and I started car pooling. Yeah, we could have done it before - she's in a clinic all day while I'm out and about at meetings, sessions, and the local coffee shop (doing this!). But we just didn't think of it. Except for the rare occasion when one of our cars was in the shop, and we had to share, we just toddled off in our separate cars, blithely ignorant of our solitude.

But, with prices up, we said why not share a ride? And guess what? We're talking more. I get to talk to her about what I have on the agenda for the day and she gets to bounce her plans off me. Then, on the way home, we find out how each others' day went while it's still fresh. Talking about the day on the way home together makes for a nice way to unwind and review. I find that when I can do this, it sort of closes all my files on the day's tasks and I can let them go at home.

Plus, since my wife doesn't have time to go out for lunch, she takes a lunch to work and eats in the break room at the clinic. Driving to work together has even encouraged us to share lunch more often. I toss a sandwich (grilled tofu and olive tapenade on rye) or a bowl of home made soup (there are so many!!!) into a bag and she takes it up with her. Then we meet in the break room. If the weather is good, we walk a few blocks around the hospital and clinic together, if it's rainy, we sit and do puzzles together just to break up the day.

I can't tell you how much closer it has made us feel to do this. We have a close relationship anyway, but after a few weeks of this, we seem to be more in tune with what's going on in each others worlds. Weekends aren't a cram session of catching up on the week, we just relax.

And just think, we'd have never done this if the gas had stayed down! Plus there's all that exercise from walking two or three times a week!

Now, don't get me wrong. I hope the prices come back down (don't hold your breath!). But until they do, finding creative ways to cope together will make it much more acceptable.

What about you? You're not wasting all these opportunities just fussing and fretting, are you? What are some ways you and your sweetheart are making the best of a tight situation? Write me at coach@stepcarefully.com and share your brilliant ideas with everyone.

Meanwhile, here are some ideas to get your brain cranking:
* candlelit dinners
* more salads (less meat!)
* storybook time for the kids at home instead of going out so much
* walk the dog around the block - meet your neighbors
* bicycles!
* go to bed early (when the kids aren't home) ; )
* put in a family garden (mega-benefits: exercise, family activity, fresh air, and free food!)
* what else???

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