Dr. Ruby Payne teaches about the hidden rules of social class, and according to her work, poverty is composed of some very solution-oriented and creative minds. People who appear not to fare well in the game of life are simply playing a different game than the observer. The game of life in poverty is not naturally visible to group outsiders. An entirely different value system is in place within underserved communities, and that system developed to meet challenges of the environment.

From my address in Povertyville, USA, this conversation surrounding the subject sits well with me. Years of living the HOA life create a fleeting anxiety as I walk around the micro-barrio that I now thoroughly enjoy calling home. Adjusting to the freedom irked me a bit, like scrubbing a pan with a rusty Brillo. The expectation of appearance in middle class subdivisions can be limiting for outside-the-box-thinkers, and conforming is obligatory. My current neighbors have no such expectations of my curb appeal, and that gives me the opportunity to face this insanely-cold-for-Texas weather any way I see fit, in spite of appearance. Our friends to the north face these temperatures yearly and have a world of precautions and protections from the cold within their grasp, along with the passed-down wisdom of generations of snow dwellers. Generational southerners are at a disadvantage for the record-setting cold forecast. I remind myself that desperate times call for desperate measures:

  • Covering windows with bubble wrap on the inside of the home provides a measure of affordable temporary insulation.
  • Ebay-azon packaging repurposes to fill gaps under doors in a pinch. Use what is on hand to taco under the bottom of the door and keep drafts out.
  • Freezing temperatures for extended periods of time can potentially kill many undesirables in bedding and pillows. Placing items in a trash bag and leaving them in a safe yet cold place could offer a free boost in the battle with head lice and the like, though this should not o replace other measures of treating infection or infestation.
  • Wearing latex gloves over winter gloves improves cold tolerance. Any gloves that provide a moisture barrier will do.

It is not trashy, it is simply creative and solution-oriented to have bubble wrap on my windows, padded envelopes hanging out from under my doors, trash bags in the yard for the next four days, and bright yellow gloves on that belong under the kitchen sink.