- I often “forget” to get something from the store after I leave it. I usually do this on purpose, to save money.
- Yeah, I’ve eaten the coffee grounds that occasionally fall from the percolator into my coffee cup. And there are times I’ll re-use the cup without rinsing it. Hell yeah.
- Selective hearing continues to be a major survival technique.
- I am 100% more interested in anyone who has a dog with them at that moment. It might be personal.
- I only sometimes like Schitt’s Creek, unless I love it.
- Doom scrolling until 3:00AM? I’m there.
- Love eating at restaurants, hate ordering at them. Tip your servers, everyone.
- The person who leaves the empty toilet paper roll in the bathroom isn’t just me, it’s always me.
- I think is better to be sociable rather than agreeable and asleep rather than sociable.
- I wish I had more to confess. But not that much more. Only a bit. That would be more than enough.
Category Archives: Thrift
- A system of pneumatic tubes.
- Better snacks (healthy or otherwise).
- More dogs.
- A little less blame and a lot more slack.
- Keep it to 90 minutes or less.
- Make it optional…informed, but optional.
- Fire him already.
- Polish it.
- Yes to no.
- Unlimited dipping sauce.
- No time limits despite expiration dates.
- Your face.
- Still more dogs.
- SMOOTH LINES.
- Better coffee.
- Let it play out first.
- Just ignore it sometimes.
- Portable numbing agents.
- A cat or two. Or three.
- To the left, to the left.
- Now goes to 11!
- Prioritize those odd numbers.
They are best, in my humble opinion, when slightly spotted. But only slightly so – that, after all, is what gives them the perfect touch of sweetness to go with their inherent starchiness.
But anything more than that is too much. Too sweet, not enough starch and a rather unpleasant softness that sets in and only intensifies after that.
Buy them by the bunch, eat them too slowly (or not fast enough) and watch them all go bad at once.
My solution? Make banana bread!
(Or at least I would, if I knew how.)
My alternate solution? Store the soft, effectively useless bananas in the freezer until the day I learn how and decide to make banana bread!
Now, I admit it took a while. Realization was slow in coming, but as all things, it eventually hit. The frozen brown and black bananas (previously soft and still effectively useless) I’ve found in the freezers of a few of the places I’ve moved into over the years…they are the same bananas. They are different, but exactly the same as the ones I’m even now storing in my freezer.
They will never be bread. They were always not going to be eaten, never going to be bread.
That’s just nuts.
Just plain nuts, you hear?
There are quite a few things in my house that I literally picked off the street, things people left out for other people to take…unless no one does, and those then things become garbage.
My former neighbourhood (two neighbourhoods before this one) was great for found objects; weekly treasures that sprang up with the morning dew like mushrooms. Most of the things were gently used, some were brand new (i.e. still in the packaging); others, decidedly not.
My former neighbourhood (one neighbourhood before this one) was pretty good for found objects, though they were more seasonal in nature, appearing like the harvest moon or showering the streets like meteorites.
My current neighbourhood is OK for found objects. They appear often enough, but not always, like good (or bad) weather, seemingly blowing in with the wind itself. Timing is key here.
Then there are the random neighbourhoods I pass through with their own rhyme, reason and rhythms for found objects. Timing is everything, in these places.
My current take from the streets thus far includes (but is not limited to):
- A sturdy red (seldom used) TV tray.
- Books in varying condition (mostly good, mostly celebrity autobiographies, cookbooks and textbooks with interesting pictures, maps and diagrams).
- A detail of Michelangelo’s “Birth of Man,” in a gilded frame.
- A metal, Tiffany-esque lamp (the kind with three settings…bright, Brighter, BRIGHTEST).
- Coffee mugs (more than a few, some of them funky).
- THIS MAGNIFICENT TWIN HORSE LAMP.
- A wooden owl. Decorative?
- Big-ass sea shells!
- A working Magic 8 Ball (found by my sister-in-law and generously gifted to me). Yes – definitely.
- An ornate black resin picture frame, of the kind you’d find at your great aunt’s house, or failing that, an off-the-beaten-track Winners.
- Like, so. Many. DVDs (including the an entire season of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer).
- A kitchen mirror (non-haunted).
- Two 1,000 piece puzzles (one of doughnuts, one of shoes).
Will I ever stop finding things on the street and taking them home?
There are…other ways to live, I’m sure, that don’t entail picking things off the street to use and enjoy in your home – ways involving, I dunno, yachts and oversize vases that accent the Roman pillars holding up the front entrance of your foyer. Or not.
There are places with foyers. And places without.
There are ways, certainly, like that.
That is very, very true.
I constantly ask myself: “Is this at least $10 worth of fun?”
That seems to be the limit. Any more than that and it just doesn’t seem quite worth it.
1. Let’s Go To The Motherfu*kin’ Movies
My best friend got $50 from her parents for her birthday, which was a lot of money, especially for a fifth grader. It was the most money I’d ever seen a kid our age have. It was more money than I’d ever had.
“Shouldn’t’ you save some?” I kept asking.
“Why? We’re already here,” she kept saying back. Here was a movie theatre attached to the mall where we’d already spent a good portion of that $50 on junk food and other things I can’t even remember what.
We saw an animated film that was a bit young for us, but which was the only thing playing at the time. It had odd musical numbers that ultimately proved memorable only because they were slightly less worse than the film itself.
Movie tickets back then were under $10.
The next week and we were broke again, and would remain that way for weeks to come. For weeks on end.
It was almost worth it.
Anyway, it was the best we could do. It was everything that we, between us, could have done.
2. Wholesale $50
My dad found $50 on the ground next to the wholesaler’s where we went to every two weeks to pick up vegetables for our small grocery.
“Don’t tell mom.” That was the first thing he said. “Let’s go for pho!” was the second.
We ordered pho dac biet, the special. It came with everything. Usually, we’d get fast food or something else, something cheaper, but a wholesale $50 is a wholesale $50.
“Here, you can have what’s left,” said my dad. He gave me the change from the bill. But the difference between what he gave me and the cost of the meal did not add up and I told him so, thinking perhaps we’d been shortchanged by the server.
“I took $5 for lottery tickets,” he said.
Was it a confession? To this day, I’m still not sure.
3. Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls
Stephen and I once found a crisp $50 bill at the foot of a frozen waterfall during a hike in the snow. It shone red against the white of the forest floor; a beacon on a cold winter’s day. A sign, if there ever was one.
$50? Think of the possibilities. An easy $50, free and clear!
But. We were living a new life in a new city and were still in the process of settling in. Extra money therefore meant extra responsibility, or at least the sinking feeling that we should act extra responsibly with it.
We used the $50 to buy groceries. Also, toilet paper. The good kind.
No lie. It was everything.
Double ply, double happiness.
Yesterday (March 15th, 2018) was the first day of the Friends of Toronto Public Library Clearance Book Sale over at the Toronto Reference Library. All items, library discards and (here’s the important thing, the key) donated books, most of which are in good, gently used condition: $.10-$.50.
Cents to the dollar.
Best deal in town. Can’t be beat!
See the impetus? Sense the urgency?
- Wake up early.
- Eat pre-breakfast (boiled eggs prepared from the night before).
- Make sure phone fully charged (again, ensure this is done the night before).
- Grab extra bags (for books).
- Bring cash, bring pockets full with change (Correct change matters; correct change = ADVANTAGE).
- Take out dog.
- Leave home.
- Arrive early: no later than 9:00AM, a half hour before the book sale (in recent years, word has gotten out and people, lots of them, come for the sale even before the doors to the library open at 9:00AM…these are serious people).
I am a serious person…when it comes to books and massive book sales (when it comes to this massive book sale). This is a serious book sale.
Things. Did. Not. Go. As. Planned.
Woke up on time, but hit snooze and spent way too much time in the bathroom, forgot to boil eggs, grabbed breakfast bars only after the absurd amount of time it took to remember we had them in the first place and the panic that ensued thinking I’d have to go into this, one of the biggest book sales of the year, hangry, took out the dog, bolted from home only to find transit delayed, trains so slow, so slow and lumbering, arrived at library just before 9:30AM and found myself forming part of a very long line that went through the building, out the door, and around the block.
Evidently, I am not the only serious person serious about this most serious sale.
Serpentine line, like at amusement parks, or celebrity wakes. Too many people, so many bodies blocking the doors it was a fire hazard. There was some confusion as people shuffled, and were shuffled, to and fro:
“Whomever believes the are at the end of the line, put your hand up,” said the burly library security guard. Many hands, scattered here and there, scattered all around, came up. Shot up into the air.
Libraries have burly security guards? This one does. Seriously.
The line was broken up; people waiting after a certain point (this was, roughly, underneath the stairwell inside the main foyer) were asked to line up outside, against the building and down the block. They politely obliged, so wiling they were to get into this sale that waiting in line was an accepted exchange, a hardship readily borne.
People from all walks of life were there, but I could see clusters that mirrored each other: kids off from March break (serious ones, of course, who waited patiently for their turn at the books), retirees, university students (more than a few reading textbooks as the lined lurched forward at irregular intervals), obvious hoarders. Many brought backpacks and tote bags and suitcases, the kind with the wheels on the bottom and an extendable handle, for ease.
(Kind of wish I had thought of that, extra baggage in this case would have served as an extra advantage. For serious.)
I spent my time in the line chatting amiably with a woman named Fran,* who told her work she had an important “appointment” that morning which could not be rescheduled. Not a lie. Good on you Fran!
Fran has some very interesting theories regarding a library thief at her local branch (“Not the hoity toity library in the neighbourhood, the working-class library”): someone’s ripping recipes out of the new magazines that come on Fridays and Saturdays and Fran is on it. Together, we came up with some more interesting theories about who this person could be, and how to catch them.
Fran and I separated once we were finally ushered into the sale, way back towards the back of the big, reliable building by a volunteer who, one hour into the sale, at 10:30AM, was already losing her voice wrangling so many book-hungry people, poor woman.
“Bye, Fran! Good luck!”
Mayhem inside, but of a managed sort. Totally doable, and worth it for the books. Rows and rows and tables full of them, ten cent paperbacks, fifty cent hardcovers, although a lot of what was on offer seemed already picked over.
Some people grabbed boxes which had been emptied of books for the sale and filled them with the books from the sale. Some people went from table to table, methodically running their hands over spines and covers, picking up titles that intrigued them. Others grabbed at the books, regardless of title, condition or type, and threw them into bags and boxes.
Takes all kinds.
I spent two hours at the book sale, jostling about, snatching books were I could. For all that trouble, I good a good haul: 14 books for just over $4.50.
You can’t beat that, and hard to dismiss it.
The sale goes on until tomorrow (March 17th, 2018, 9:00AM-4:00PM). So many people, so many books: the volunteers, mostly older people wanting to do good by the books, are heroes.
One, overheard on my way out: “Once we started posting about on Facebook and places, the sale has become so popular. It’s like we can’t keep up. We just keep refilling the tables and they just keep buying.”
12:30PM. There was still a line that went through the building, out the door, and around the block. More people outside waiting to get at the books inside.
The best laid plans indeed.
* Not real name. I got you, Fran!