Friday, November 14, 2008

Let It Slide

The other day I was in the checkout aisle with three kids who had reached their limit. Fred was cranky and climbing out of his safety strap. Stella was crying because I wouldn’t let her have candy. Chloe kept whining for all the little knick-knacks in the shelves in the aisle. Despite all the chaos I noticed that the lady in front of me didn’t have enough money for her groceries. Her card had been declined. As she was looking through her cart, trying to decide what to put back, I asked the cashier how much she owed. “About ten dollars.” (It turned out to be $18 but, still, not a big deal.) “I’ll pay it.” “Really?” Yeah, really. And not because I was anxious to get my kids out of public so I could lay into them but because I have been given much I, too, must give. The lady quietly thanked me and went on her way. The cashier thanked me over and over. I asked, “Her cart wasn’t full of beer was it?” “Oh no, it was food stamps.”

Food Stamps? In a card form?! That is brilliant! That would have saved me a lot of embarrassment when I was a teen. Like the time I was with my mom when she had to get groceries after picking me up from practice. We went to Harmon’s on 700 south—the far, opposite direction of Santa Clara. I waited in the car and kept a look out for anyone that might know us. My mom came out of the store the same time as popular Sarah, the surgeon’s daughter. I think friendly-little-future-student-body-president was even saying hello to my mom. What if they had been in the same line? So humiliating. Because it is shameful to be poor, you know. But a barcode would have saved me all that anxiety. I could have pretended we were using a credit card to earn flyer miles for our summer vacation.

Back to my first story. So I’m feeling pretty good for helping someone. Which helps me to strap three grumpy, tired, hungry kids in car seats without swearing (out loud) or beating them. Then I start unloading the groceries and notice something for which I didn’t pay. I was NOT going to get my kids out of their seats and back in that store. We would not have survived. I have often asked someone heading into the store to return an unpaid for item but there was nobody around, and remember, the kids are crying and fighting and I think I needed/wanted the item. So I left. Yeah, basically I stole. I had intentions of righting the wrong but now I don’t remember what it was but it was only worth about $3. I figure karma still owes me about $15. So, I’m good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Can It

The scouts had their can drive this weekend. I didn't donate. I thought about it for a second then thought about how I hardly have any cans in the pantry and then my thoughts moved on to other things. But I donate to good causes all the time, so I don't feel too guilty. Have you ever wondered about where those cans end up?

When I was in middle school my dad declared bankruptcy. We moved in with my grandma while my dad went back to school to get a degree. My grandma had a room, my parents had a room and my sister and I shared a room. Everyone else slept on couches for a few years until my dad got his teaching degree, then it was beds for everyone! During those years we were pretty poor. Food stamp poor. And once we were the recipients of a box of cans from the scouts. I learned a valuable lesson from this experience:

Nobody wants canned water chestnuts.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Devil's Haircut

Have you ever been ready to purchase something and then when you see the total you really don’t want to purchase it but usually (not always) are too embarrassed to say, “whoa—way too much money. Never mind.” (I guess that was a question but I’m not sure how to punctuate it correctly. Here is a ? for those who care.) Like that time I had a makeover at the MAC counter and then said, “I’ll take it all.” Do you know how much that stuff costs? I was planning on it being expensive and it was for my golden birthday (31 on the 31st) but, still. Anyway, my story...

I told Dan I needed a haircut. He said, “You should use my stylist, she’s really good.” That is my current favorite quote from Dan. I asked how much she charges. He said around $25. I thought I would give it a try. Usually, I don’t like to pay much for haircuts. I’d rather pay $15 for a bad haircut than $35. But I decide to give it a try.

So I go to her and I like her even though she keeps calling me ‘my dear’ and telling me how cute and funny I am. Or maybe that is exactly why I like her. She seems to know what she is doing—and cares. She is one of those that always loved doing hair. She is not one of those dime-a-dozen beauticians. This is her passion.

My haircut is fine, nothing too special since I’m trying to grow it out to ponytail length again. But I’m satisfied. Actually, she is really good and you should go to her (then I'll get $5 off my next cut). And since I’ve hated every conditioner for the past year I thought I would go ahead and buy the professional stuff. And I might as well get shampoo too. Oh what, they are out of conditioner? I guess I’ll just take the shampoo and that leave-in conditioner she offered me. (Wait, that wasn’t my plan!) She has to ring the products up separate from the haircut. “Ok, your total for the hair products is $55.” What!!!? It isn’t even one of those big bottles. It is only 10 ounces. It is smaller than normal. But it was developed using nano technology and it is %100 vegan. The haircut was $40. And there was hardly any hair on the floor. I know this is normal for lots of people. But not me, I am a cheapskate. Then she says she wants to go ahead and schedule my next appointment. In four weeks. I go months in between haircuts. So she said we could compromise at five weeks. (But I’m totally planning on calling and moving it back more.) I really don’t want to spend $480 a year on haircuts. Why can’t my hair just be strait and easy like it was in my youth?

Yeah, so I didn’t dare tell her that this was all super outrageous for me. But when I was in a store right after, a girl peered into my bag and asked where I got my Pureology stuff. She told me it was sooo good. I said, it better be, it’s not cheap. I had no problem telling her how cheap I am. Or anyone that might read this.

Want more? I overeat at restaurants because I hate wasting food. You get to that point where if you continue to eat then it won’t be enough to warrant a doggy bag and if you take another bite then you have to finish the rest. Thank goodness I have pretty good metabolism. When I blow my nose in a tissue I fold it over, blow, fold it over twice more, blow again, repeat until all used up. If my nose is cleaned out after one blow I have a hard time throwing out the tissue. I’ll just set it by the box for next time. If my blob of shaving cream slips out of my hand I try to scrape as much as I can off the shower floor. I don’t cut crust off bread or skin off apples for my kids. I hate paying for water. And when I got home after my haircut and saw that my shampoo had leaked I wanted to jump in the shower and rub that plastic bag in my hair. It was probably 50 cents worth. But I didn’t. Because I hate to shower. But that is another topic.

p.s. Dan, you are supposed to pick up my conditioner when they get a new shipment. Take the credit card, it will almost earn us a plane ticket.