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Showing posts from June, 2008

Day 52 - The Plan

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We're going to paint really, really slowly.

We think we have enough tape for at least 3 walls, and this way we can work on it over the long holiday weekend. The perk: we can see how the paint will look AND Andy has a project that involves air conditioning. I did offer to teach him how to knit, but I'm interpreting "hell, no" as "I'd like to seek other challenges." Sometimes a successful marriage needs a little interpretation.....

Day 51 - Bonus!

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Tonight we tried our new Indian food packages
which weren't nearly as good as the butter chicken, but certainly not bad.

The lentil dish not only is ready to go & just needs to be reheated, they come with their own dinner music:
You can collect all 4.

They're of classical Indian music (as if we would really know the difference between "classical" and "tuning exercises") and I think it takes top honors in the "prize inside" food contests. Beats the daylights out of those temporary tattoos from Cracker Jacks at any rate.

As we didn't actually know that we were getting bonus CDs, it doesn't really count as cheating, but it was REALLY exciting to have new CDs.

New perk to the "can't buy anything new" experiment: Anything new will be very, very exciting.

Day 50 - Rats!

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I remembered to buy the paint for the guest room before the spending ban started. However, we forgot to buy more masking tape, and I don't think this
is going to finish the entire room.

Blast. With temperatures hitting in the 100s this week, projects that can be done inside with the air conditioning are good.

Any thoughts on a replacement for masking tape?

Day 48 - 90 Days Is SUCH A Long Time!

Andy (after having planted 2 more tomato plants): We're out of the wood I've been using for tomato cages

Toni (being a total smartass): But we have each other, my love.

Andy: That's wonderful, but I don't think it's going to help the tomatoes any.


42 days to go.....

Day 47 - A Legacy

Today started badly. Not that I ever really enjoy getting up at 5:00 to go to the gym, but we finally turned on the air conditioning and it responded by dropping the house into the nippy 60's overnight (note to self: double-check the thermostat every summer and winter as it obviously has its own opinion on things), then the guy who is the SOLE reason I don't swim on Tuesdays was at the gym. I realize he may be new to working out, but I think it should be fairly obvious that you have directional issues if you are running over other swimmers in 3 different lanes.

Then I somehow forgot to eat breakfast (an easy mistake since I've only been feeding myself for what...30-some-odd years), so I stopped for a stale bagel and coffee, where I ran into another salesperson. We had a rather depressing discussion about the economy, then on that cheerful note I went to my next appointment, where I proceeded to totally baffle my prospect with telecom jargon--which I am generally really c…

Day 46 - We Have Mail

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Look what arrived today!Just seeing Amazon.com printed on cardboard makes my heart beat faster.

In fact, I got such an emotional "rush" out of my little retail fix here that we have decided we shouldn't place an order during the remainder of the experiment--whether or not ordering food really is "cheating." It might technically be allowed, but it feels like we're using it as a replacement for shopping and that really would be cheating.
I might make up totally arbitrary rules, but once I make them, I am obsessed about sticking to them!

And speaking of obsessed, here's the obligatory ex-wife repellent:

Day 45 - HALFWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Forgive me for the short post. We're half done and I am salivating over catalogs tonight!!!!! Did you know trolls were available through mail order??? I used to wonder who bought such things. 45 days without being able to buy anything and I'm wondering if they drop ship. It's all relative I guess......................

Day 44 - I Want To Look Like a Total Goober

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When this spending ban is over, I am going to buy earplugs for swimming, which will finally complete my Total Goober swimming ensemble.

I wear big dopey goggles like these because my eyelashes get caught in the small, socially acceptable goggles.
I wear a swim cap to keep my hair out of my eyes and because I think dressing like an eraser just makes me sexy.

Earplugs will just MAKE the outfit!

And not having water in my right ear all day every-other day will make it all worth while!!!

Day 43 - Almost Halfway

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Oh my heavens--we're not quite halfway.

I miss shopping.

Never thought I'd say that. In general, I hate shopping. I do all my Christmas shopping early because I will not go near a store from just before Thanksgiving until 2 days after Christmas. I run to stores on my lunch hour so I can be in & out. I have been known to grocery shop at 6:30 in the morning just so I can get it done quickly and get out of the store. I won't even go within 2 miles of the mall on a Saturday because of the traffic. And yet, if I had been able to buy something today, I would have been tempted.

What I miss most is online shopping. I love ordering things & having packages arrive on my doorstep. When we found out today that our Indian spices order has been delayed--somehow going to Salt Lake instead of Boise--I was crushed. Andy offered to go out and leave a box on the front step for me, but it just isn't the same. By day 75 on the other hand, we might have to resort to that.

On…

Day 42

Andy: You know, the water filter in the refrigerator hasn't been changed since we bought the fridge two years ago.

Toni: How often is it supposed to be changed?

Andy: Every 6 months.

Toni: Ah. We should probably change it then.

Andy: (sounding hopeful) So is that an exception on the spending ban?

Toni: We're 18 months overdue--I doubt another 48 days is going to be an issue.

Andy: Oh...

I think someone is needing a little "retail fix."

Day 41 - Slight Cheating

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OK, my cell phone was just not going to make it for 60 more days, and it started interfering with my job, but I was not about to give Motorola a dime for making a battery that couldn't even last as long as my contract, so I checked Ebay "just in case."

$4.95 INCLUDING shipping got me a new battery, and my phone can actually make calls again. It's amazing.

So, does that make it less cheating?

I'd feel really guilty about this if I weren't so darned happy that I have a working phone.

And, it's time again for some obsessed ex wife repellent:

An amazingly fun trip to Seattle, and yes, we really are that happy. (YAY!) Wait until you see the second anniversary pictures--coming in September!

Day 40 - That Sounds Like a Milestone!!!!

It's not actually halfway on the Can't-Buy-Anything-New experiment, but it sounds REALLY good.

Ha! Some of the people who know the intimate details of our trials and struggles with the blight on mankind known as the Ex Wife have asked if a hitman would qualify as a "thing" or a "service." That would qualify as "tempting, but illegal," which is a category we're just staying away from in general. We are choosing to be philosophical at this point: The worst she can do to us is cost us money. She still has to wake up every day as a horribly bitter & unpleasant person who will be alone her entire life because of her hateful behavior. We are fine. And our attorney can get that boat.

On day 99 (I have those 8 extra days thanks to the mohair episode) , I am buying a pair of flip-flops. I actually despise the things in general and that flopping sound they make, but floors in the shower of our gym are a tad sketchy, and I'm thinking $1.99…

Dealing With a Hostile Ex Wife, Part 4

I have regularly written entries on my ideas for dealing with a bitter ex wife in order to help others in the same situation, but it is fundamentally wrong that anyone should be persecuted by a bitter ex wife. The realities of dealing with a hostile ex wife are often overwhelming. An example of what people in this situation go through:

* Receiving regular verbal and written abuse from the ex, which no court of law will do anything about.
* Paying your abuser child support, which she can freely spend on herself while doing everything she can to make your life miserable. No one should have to pay their abuser.
* The ex telling the child that the noncustodial parent's rules are stupid, silly, or that they don't have to follow them
* No matter how vicious and troublesome the ex wife has been, there is always an attorney who will represent the "poor ex wife" for free.
* Child support is not actually about the child's best interests--it is basically a punishment for …

Day 39 - More Things We Would Have Bought By Now

* Size D batteries for our silly doorbell that broke on Day 7, causing us to leave guests standing outside our door until some very charming friends made an executive decision that swapping some dehydrated curried chickpeas for some extra batteries that they already had should be legal. They are wise and generous people.

* A new cell phone that doesn't have to be plugged into the walls to last through conversations over 2.5 minutes.

* Several magazines - Andy's list. I am far too cheap to buy them off the newsstand for $6.95 so for about $20 I subscribe to the things that interest me. Or that I think might interest me. Even if it does take me 3 magazines to break even, I think it's worth an occasional $20 here and there just to get something in the mail that isn't addressed to "Occupant."

* A DVD. Not any particular DVD, but I bet under normal circumstances, one of us would have come home with a movie we thought was a Must Own. A couple months ago we did…

Day 38 - If You Can't Buy Anything, Throw a Party

38 days without buying anything new--heaven help me!!!

I read a report today that said it was better for the economy long term if people would learn to save more because savings increases the money supply (M1, M2, or M3--I remember the discussion in Economics, but I think we covered it when I was still wrestling with the concept that Economics is considered a "science" when 15 economists in an elevator probably wouldn't be able to even reach a consensus on "up" or "down") So, we are good for the economy. That helps a little, but somehow I still want to buy yarn.

Over the last few week, it has seemed that the doom & gloom crowd has taken over and predictions of economic collapse, famine, 4 more years of a Bush as president, and recession are everywhere. In the last 2 weeks, the world has been a scarier place than I have ever known it.

BUT....

Maybe this will finally change our outlook as a society. Maybe if we have a couple lean years we will learn…

Day 36 - Are We Good For The Economy?

Today we were at a barbecue with some of my relatives, and one of them was commending our spending experiment and had told all her kids that they should try it. To be fair, I wouldn't actually suggest it to anyone as bizarre experiments aren't for everyone, but I will say that it has been a great learning experience for us--both the one-month version and this extended one. But that brings up an interesting point--what would happen if Americans were better with their money? Would our economy be better or worse? Do we actually depend on our need to spend?

Thoughts?

New lesson learned: One becomes very philosophical by day 36 of retail deprivation.

Day 35 - New Way To Not Spend Money

Spend an insane amount of time here taking strange quizzes.

And I thought television sucked up time quickly!

Day 34 - Triumph!

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We have squash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not that I have even the slightest idea what to do with butternut squash, but I cannot cope with being thwarted by a vegetable--especially one related to zucchini. As children, my sister and I used to sneak out into the garden to try to kill the zucchini plant before it invaded our summer meals. The zucchini bread was fine, and the zucchini brownies looked weird but were actually pretty tasty, but I thought the zucchini boats were a bit over the top. That surfaced when the zucchinis had become the size of a small child, and our mother would cut one in half, scoop out the mushy insides, mix the mushy insides with ground beef and onion, then load it all back into the zucchini shell and cover it all with cheddar cheese. I was well into my late 20s before I was willing to try zucchini in any form after that one.

I have long suspected that the reason most people grow zucchini is that it is easy to grow in very prolific amounts. And as an added bonus, …

Day 33 - Legal, But It Feels Like Cheating

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In the last year, we have become totally addicted to this:
A mix for butter chicken curry--with no preservatives. A coworker found it at Cost Plus. Since then, she, Andy, and I have literally stalked the two Cost Plus stores in the valley, hoping for days when they restock. Cost Plus, in a free-thinking sort of way, does not actually restock their shelves by what they sell out of quickest at each store, depending instead upon some arbitrary ordering method--perhaps a blindfolded monkey throwing darts at a chart. At any rate, Cost Plus has been failing us completely as a supplier, so like everyone my age, I resorted to Google.

Voila!

Amazon sells it.

Amazon sells everything. I struggled for months to find coffee tables that would work in our living room. Found them on Amazon. Books/movies/cds - Amazon has them all, even if they are out of print. Need food? Amazon has it covered. It even provides free shipping.

Pooling our resources and need for Indian food (they sell in cases,…

Day 32 - This Just Got So Much Harder

We have learned that we can do almost anything for a month--not buying anything, not eating processed foods--but this is our first 90 day attempt at anything. Today everything got SO MUCH HARDER. Day 32--We haven't been here before.

I am doing what my prospects at work are doing--not buying anything. When I do it, it's a good learning experience that will make me a better person in the long run. When my prospects do it, they are overreacting to a few over-hyped bad economic reports. Obviously, the difference is whether or not you blog about it.

We have gotten into the mindset that possessions make us happy, and while I am happier than a cat in a creamery when a box of new yarn arrives, not buying anything new for 32 days hasn't made me any LESS happy. Work still has its ups and downs, getting up at 5:00 AM to go to the gym is just as unpleasant as it always was, I still have dead-animal-gift wake-up calls in the middle of the night--in the big picture, nothing has rea…

Day 31 - The Toughest Day So Far

It's the 31st day of not being able to buy anything new--and it won't all be over tomorrow. Waaaah!

Not that there's anything I really, really, really want to buy--well, except the cell phone battery since I am dragging my power cord around with me everywhere because the current battery goes dead after 3.25 minutes of "talk time" and I apparently don't know anyone who talks fast enough. Which would really boggle your imagination if you knew some of my friends.

The latest "Possession Casualty" is Andy's iPod Nano, which lasted about 3 years. My cell phone is about 18 months old. My last cell phone barely made it 2 years. And I didn't expect it to last any longer. Why don't we expect more from products that we buy? I have a blender that I inherited from a great-uncle when I was in college. I have had the thing 18 years and it can still crush up ice for margaritas faster than any cocktail blender--er, not that I did that when I first …

Day 30 - Tomato Cages are "Things"

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The good news is that the garden is overall doing pretty well, and the tomatoes are going strong (finally). The bad news is, we were going to get new tomato cages this year, as all the wire varieties we've tried have only worked while the tomato plant could support itself, which makes them totally useless.

No problem--I married MacGyver and MacGyver has a woodshop. Andy set out to build a set of condos for the tomatoes.

Problem: we don't have enough wood to build frames.

But, I married a man who can fix sprinklers with hula hoop bits. A little while later:

We have wooden frames holding UP the wire cages. It isn't exactly pretty, but it fixes the problem. Who knew the spending ban would be such a stimulus for creativity?

Most of the garden is doing well. We are about to have a green bell pepper:And soon we'll have a yellow bell pepper

which I think looks suspiciously like a green bell pepper, but we're willing to pretend. I should have kept the tag--maybe it said …

Day 29 - Some Updates

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* An exterminator is a person, not a thing, and can be hired to deal with whatever is underneath the house. We prefer to think of this as "helping a slumping economy" rather than "being cowards."

* After 2 1/2 months and 600 miles, Bananas retired from the Appalachian Trail hike, LONG before we had to tell her that dehydrating more bacon was beyond the limits of even the closest friendships.

* I can finally understand the appeal of lawns. Not here, of course, because we live in High Desert and lawns are a foolish waste of water, but we're having an unseasonably cool & wet summer so far this year, and the lawns in our neighborhood are just beautiful. I took these pictures from our upstairs bathroom window (proving to the world how filthy our windows are) just to prove that there was a time that everyone's lawns looked nice. Look for the brown water-starved lawn pictures in August.

* It's easier to be consistent about trying a new recipe every wee…

Day 28 - Theo Is Right

Something is living in the heating ducts.

And it sounds like a bigger-than-a-mouse something.

This is like a real-life version of that nightmare everyone has as a child--the monster living under the bed. You think you hear strange noises, some strange footfalls, maybe a little scuffling...You can't see it, but you know it's there waiting to get you. Sort of like a Republican Congress.

Andy has been away on business, and though at one point I would have scoffed at the very thought of needing a man to rescue me, but this might involve THE CRAWL SPACE, which inevitably involves SPIDERS. Not to mention, the creature living in the heating ducts.

Let's face it--it's Priority H: Leave for the husband to deal with!

Day 27 - The Pressure May be Getting To Me

Theo and I just spent some quality time laying on the floor of the kitchen. There's a NOISE. Theo, being a cat, is convinced it is a mouse or other equivalent vermin in need of some quality "play time." I, on the other hand, know that there are two months left in the spending ban, so I suspect it's a kitchen appliance trying to be cute--possibly the refrigerator.

I'm going to go give it the washing machine treatment.

DON'T MESS WITH ALPHA APPLIANCE!!!!!

Sounds like a third-rate comic book character, doesn't it??

Day 26 - Some Possessions Are Good

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As we approach the end of the first month, I keep reminding myself why we are doing this. We want to be more conscious of how we spend money & only buy things that are important to us. Some possessions are well worth buying. Like this:

It's our engagement picture, and before the wedding, we had it matted & framed and AT THE WEDDING, guests wrote notes & thoughts for us during the reception. It cost quite a bit between the picture and the framing, but I see it every single day & it always makes me happy. THAT is money well worth spending. It is the focal point of our living room:

I don't expect everything we buy from now on to give me the same level of satisfaction (the day I feel like that about a kitchen appliance, Andy is free to have me committed), but the things we choose to purchase should matter.

Side note: Not that I wouldn't jump at the chance for a couple hours alone with the credit card & a couple yarn catalogs, but I am striving for a li…

Day 25 - Thought I Had it Covered

Today is June 3 and I'm wearing flannel pajamas.

Part of it is my fault as I refuse to turn the heat on in the house in June, previously known as a summer month in this hemisphere. I don't care if it IS going to be in the 40s tonight--it's the principle of the thing. (If Andy does end up with pneumonia over this, I'm sure he'll be glad that I stuck to my principles)

Quite unreasonably (I think), flannel pajamas are rather frowned upon at work, and I actually don't own WARM summer clothes, so I'm having a little trouble dressing myself these days. If I wear something "seasonally" appropriate, I freeze all day, and the remotely warm clothes that did NOT get packed away for winter look drab & out of place for "spring." I realize this is completely a female issue, but I actually don't have a single thing to wear. This coming from a woman with an overflowing walk-in closet.

Before starting the spending ban, I actually made a list of…

Day 24 - August is SUCH a Long Way Off!!!!!

I'm having retail withdrawals.

I really, really, REALLY want to buy
1. a book
2. a DVD
3. yarn
4. fabric

Nope, not any particular book, movie, yarn, or fabric--I just want to come home with something new. Anything. I want to spend money.

Several people have asked--ok, basically everyone we know--why on earth we would do this a second time and for LONGER than a month? (And tonight I'm actually with them--I think my Visa is getting dusty.....) One month showed us our spending habits--we hope 90 days will break them.

I used to think I had good spending habits--I buy things on sale, I've driven the same car since 1994, I don't buy "fad" clothes that will be out of style in 3 months, I generally won't buy a new gadget until I've learned to work the last one (which can be years, to be honest), and I save up for big purchases--but I have realized that I am an emotional spender. Bad day--I want to buy something to "cheer myself up." …

Day 23 - A New Lesson Learned

If your husband sees you smacking appliances around, he may become just a bit quicker at helping with dishes & other housework. Not that I advocate such behavior in general.....I'm just saying it might happen....