How is the money diet going, you ask? Pretty good... I don't know. I guess I've fallen off the wagon, if that means not spending more than $10 a day, forever.
Yesterday, Josh and I went shopping. He needed sneakers and pajamas. We bought sneakers and pajamas. I bought nothing for myself, a detail which did not escape my notice.
We had some time to kill before picking up his dad, so we went to the Dollar Store.
I have to confess, I did get a little euphoric, idly perusing the aisles.
I bought butterfly stickers, autocollants geants, in French (it's right here on the package). You stick them on your walls.
I bought doggy waste bags (50 count), and automatic night lights, (you can never have enough of those).
Ah!, the piece de resistance! Les petit ordures sacs (it's on the label, it's all French). Translation? Vanilla-scented plastic bags for kitty poop. Genius! They smell so good!
I can't say I harbor any regrets about that $28 shopping spree. It was indulgent, but it passed the time in a pleasant way, and my office smells like vanilla instead of cat poop. I look forward to passing more time putting butterfly stickers on my walls one day.
Last weekend, I took my foodie friends from the West Coast to a fancy cheese shop in Madison, Fromagination.
I'm pretty sure they sprinkle crack cocaine on their cheese samples. You've never tasted such drop-dead delicious cheese in all your life. And it's priced along the same lines as crack cocaine, too, or so I've read.
One has to be careful in this town, so let me be perfectly clear on this point: I do not now smoke, nor have I ever smoked, crack cocaine.
I spent $20 on cheese, though. As I walked off with my little, very light-weight package, I thought about what it meant to have spent so much on so little cheese.
I told myself, it was a rare treat.
But I have to admit, I don't really care about cheese nearly as much my friends from California do. I wasn't quite as thrilled about possessing this cheese as they were. My friends talked about the cheese with the cheese scholars behind the counter for twenty minutes before making their purchases.
Once I got home with my cheese, I had to remind myself that it was there, in the fridge, demanding to be savored.
I knew I should eat it without distractions, preferably on water crackers, so as not to interfere with the integrity of the fancy-cheese flavor.
Ultimately, I concluded, this was a bit burdensome.
I had enjoyed the cheese more when it was served up in tiny little pieces as a tantalizing sample sprinkled with contraband in the heady and redolent store that is Fromagination.
My husband spends indulgently on good beer. Really good beer, usually IPA. He also brews beer at home sometimes, and people who know beer say that his beer is as good as any micro-brew they've ever tasted. He brings passion to beer making and to beer tasting.
That's not a bad way to spend time and money, in my opinion. It enriches his life, and, who knows?, maybe some day he'll brew and market his beer and that will mark a whole new chapter in our life together.
I spend money and time on my horse, as anybody who has a horse does. I have no regrets about that. (Don't worry! I won't turn this into a horse essay. I know those aren't as good for you as they are for me.)
I saw a woman coming out of the department store yesterday who had a familiar look on her face.
It was the look of disappointment, probably because shopping hadn't made her feel better, and maybe it had even made her feel a little bit worse.
Maybe nothing flattered her figure quite enough to compensate for a lack of fresh air and exercise.
Maybe now she had even less time to get home and make dinner, and maybe she was feeling a little bit ashamed that she wasn't spending more time with a child or a loved one.
Maybe she was ashamed that she wouldn't be spending her evening with anybody.
That look, when we discover that what we thought was an oasis turned out to be a mirage, and that the thirst that is so intense is now even less bearable than before.
Oh, that was a happy ending, wasn't it! Neigh.