Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Your Questions Answered

I thought I would address some of the questions I have been getting from people.

Did you ever end up dyeing your hair?
Yes, I finally did. I did not die of anaphylactic shock, either. I used two boxes of Preference Dark Blond, with help from Renee, who only reads this blog when her name is mentioned.

Once it was dry, I felt it looked a trifle orange. Renee, who would tell me I looked good even if I won a Miss-Jane-on-the-Beverly-Hillbillies-lookalike contest, who actually took time out from being IN LABOR to say, "Wow, you look good! I like your outfit!" assured me that my hair was not remotely orange. However, when I emerged from the bathroom, her daughter Charlotte looked at me, patted her head and said, "Orange?"

However, now that I have washed it a few times, and used this Artec purple shampoo, it is a nice color. I am fine with it.

What do you miss the most about not spending?
McDonald's. Hands down. However, I also find that I am starting to get a little sad on the weekends, cause I have really nothing to do. I think I'm going to have to make it a point to plan some free get-together activity with a friend once each weekend.

So what DO you do on weekends now?
I clean. I got this book for Christmas, this Martha Stewart book on how to do everything, and she has this whole section on cleaning the house. She tells you what you should do each week, each month, and then what to do for spring cleaning.

So far, each weekend in January, I have done what that heifer has told me to do. I have dusted light fixtures, scrubbed the top of the fridge, you name it.

Tonight my pal Rosie Papaya came over (okay, that's actually her porn star name. It's a good one, isn't it? You all know how to do your porn star name, right? You take your childhood pet for your first name and the street you were born on for your last name). Anyway, Rosie Papaya came over, and she was standing in my kitchen as I was blathering on and she said, "Is your house always this clean?"

My mother just fainted when she read that last sentence.

Anyway, I am fairly bored on weekends, but I have a clean dwelling, and I plan to change the bored on weekends thing.

Do you feel like you are denying yourself at all? What about self-care, like manicures and stuff?
So far, and this may change, I feel like there is no greater self-care than having financial security. I know I totally sound like Suze Orman right now.

Does anyone have any other questions? I will happily answer them if they are not stupid.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

How Did I Spend All That Money? And Why Am I So Self-Indulgent?

The questions on everyone's lips seem to be (a) can I borrow the $2300 you have already saved (Answer: No) and (b) what on earth did you once spend twenty-three hundred dollars a month on?

Funny you should ask. Back in November, I saved all my receipts because our friend Dan was going to do this budget for us that he and his wife Renee are on (they are the parents of the lambie-obsessed Charlotte from a few weekends ago). They live SO CAREFULLY.

Renee had an allowance of like 20 bucks a week or something, and that included extras for her AND for her child. We were at Old Navy once and Renee wanted to get something for Charlotte that was like $25, so she couldn't get it. I remember thinking I'd commit suicide if I had to live that carefully, and I broached the subject in a tasteful, constructive way, something like, "Holy bees, I'd fucking kill myself if I had to live like that." And Renee said something I'll never forget. She said, "I felt that way at first, but when you watch those dollars add up, you really start to get into it."

Well, she is certainly right. I am now starting to think of ways we can save even MORE each month, like perhaps we can cheap out on groceries even more.

But anyway, Dan was going to put us on the Dan and Renee super-strict budget, and he told us to save all our receipts for a month, which I did but Marvin Gardens didn't, so as a result we have no budget and 1,500 tiny pieces of paper in my Trapp Private Gardens candle box (the guava/mango candle is to die for).

So this afternoon I added up those old receipts just to see what I spent on back in the day. And guess what? It wasn't food I spent so much on! Which may explain why I haven't lost ONE. SINGLE. POUND. since starting this endeavor.

Here's what it came down to: in November of 2006, I spent
$354.47 on gifts for other people (Marvin Gardens and my mother have November birthdays);
I spent $349.34 on groceries;
I spent a shockingly low $73.06 on eating out (I was trying eDiets, so that sort of explains it);
$106.63 on gas and parking;
$6.48 on the cats (Francis needed a new collar); and
$592.59 on personal stuff for me! $592.59! I sent flowers to myself, I had my eyebrows done at Damone (really the best eyebrow guy -- he is on all the makeover shows), I bought clothes, shoes...GEEZ!

The grand total of extraneous spending was $1482.77, which means that if we really have $2300 a month in disposable income, that Marvin G. spent a little over $800.

Okay, somebody out there needs to keep their receipts for the month of February for me and tell me if I am the most self-indulgent nincompoop in the world. I mean, doesn't that seem like a LOT to spend on one's self?

And in my defense, I do not often send flowers to myself. I was having a bad day that day. One other time I won an order of free flowers and I must admit I sent myself a dozen lavender roses with a card that read, "Keep being you." ONCE! One time!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oh, and I forgot...

After I went to Fatburger the other day, Marvin Gardins asked me, "Did you really go?" When I said yes, he said, "Oh, good, now we're even, cause I went to Arby's a week ago."

GEEZ! He wasn't even gonna TELL me!

Anyway, despite our cheaty-pants ways, we are putting another $1300 in savings this week! For those of you playing at home, that means that after one month of not spending (much) we have saved $2300. Is that ridiculous or what?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cheatin' and Chewin' the Fat

I cheated. I ate at Fatburger. And man, was it good.

To explain why I cheated, let me tell you about how annoying my city is. (Also, let me tell you how tired I am. Our cat Winston got out last night, and was out till 3 in the morning. As a result, I woke up every hour or so all night, worrying about his stupid cat ass. When he finally DID meow at the door, I must have slept through it, because I woke up at 4 and there he was, asleep on the bed. Marvin Gardens had let him him. Stripy bastard [the cat, not my spouse]. So I really want to be in R.E.M. right now, but no, I stayed up to tell you, dear reader, about my big cheat.)

Okay, so I live in an annoying city. It is big. And not big in the way that Manhattan is, where it is a tiny space crammed with 8 million people. No, in my case there are millions of us SPREAD OUT across mile after mile. This makes traffic charming. I live 16 miles from my work, and it takes an hour or more each way to commute.

So, if you're in a small town somewhere and you're bored and you think, "Oh, I'll bet it's fun to live in a big city," picture this scenario. Just now I had to pop into the bulk health food store to get me some organic french roast coffee and some nutritional yeast. Okay, yes, I live in a city where those are staple items. So that's nice. But it was 8:15 p.m. on a Wednesday. And the PARKING LOT WAS COMPLETELY FULL. It wasn't just full, it was crammed with people parked every which way, illegally. So then, I had to pull out of the parking lot, wait forever to turn left just to get onto the street, and drive around trying to find parking. Which of course there was none. I finally found parking in the world's darkest, scariest street and ran in heels to get my ding-dang coffee and yeast. So, an errand that would take five minutes in a normal place (assuming a normal place has nutritional yeast in bulk) took me 30 minutes and shin splints. Then I had to drive home. In traffic.

So, anyway, there I was Monday night after work on the other side of town from where I live. (Basically, there is the affordable side of town -- if you can consider $1,600 a month rent affordable -- and the side of town everybody works on. Which again makes traffic charming.) I hadn't eaten in five hours, and I wasn't going to get home for at least three more hours. This was bad. I had tried to prepare for this: I asked Marvin Gardens, who met me after work, to bring me food from home. Somehow he took this to mean Reese's Pieces. I was thinking more along the lines of a turkey sandwich.

I mean, I was that kind of hungry where Marvin Gardens was looking like a delicious duck dinner. Remember when Daffy Duck was shipwrecked with someone (Elmer Fudd? Bugs? Why can't I recall?) and suddenly through the eyes of Elmer (or whoever) Daffy was a roasted duck dinner? That's where I was on the hunger scale.

So I have to tell you, I took that dang $20 that keeps hanging on in my wallet and I went to Fatburger. Oh, but Fatburger is good. I had a Baby Fatburger (a really small version of the huge hamburger) and a vanilla shake. I think I spent $6 or so.

Did I feel guilty? No. I was as happy as a clam. A well-fed clam.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

On Death and Dyeing

As I have said before, haircare is a big issue for me in this year of not spending. I have -- let's face it -- bad hair. It is big, for one thing. The first time my mother ever saw me, I already had a bunch of pink ribbons in my hair. I was like AN HOUR OLD. Bald I was not.

(Apparently back in 1712, when I was born, they knocked you out to give birth. So when my mother woke up and got to see me I had already had a blow-out by some neonatal hairdresser.) (And by the way, why on earth did they stop knocking you out? Doesn't it sound way better to go to sleep, wake up and there's a gorilla baby, like my mother had? I would much prefer that to having to breathe and push and having 17 people in the room.)

Once we had to measure our hair in science class, and I had the fattest individual strand in the room. When I stick my hand through my hair, you can barely see my fingers sticking out. Trust me, the hair is big. And curly. And coarse.

Also, it is now, I assume, completely gray. My father was totally gray when he was like 25. So was my grandmother. Since I slap dye on it every six weeks, I am not so sure just HOW gray it is, but those roots are pretty darn white.

So, when Marvin Gardens and I made up our no-spending rules (one of which he flagrantly ignored, by the way: I just found some salad-in-a-bag in the fridge), I said, "Maybe I should let my hair go gray." Marvin said, "Dyeing your hair is a medical necessity." I guess he wants to hold on to the illusion that I am still the hot 20-year-old he first dated. Poor Marvin.

So I knew I would have to buy dye out of a box. It was a compromise -- I usually have my hairdresser, Donna Hairdresser, come over to my house and give me highlights, lowlights, headlights, When the Lights Go Down in the City, you name it. I have not dyed my hair out of a box since my friend Cindy and I got on the plastic gloves in her kitchen, circa 1988.

Well, today I found myself talking to a complete stranger who turned out to be a hairdresser! I told her about my not spending, and asked her if dye out of a box would harm my various lights. She told me to get Preference, "None of that Feria," she said. She told me to get two boxes, as she recognized the big hair situation.

So off I went to CVS, and I am excited to report I used that $25 gift card I got at Christmas, so I didn't even spend, really.

When I got home and opened the box, there was a huge warning about doing a patch test to make sure you are not allergic. Now, I know I am the only woman in America to be concerned about this warning. But I am afraid of allergic reactions. One time I took penicillin and my tongue blew up, and it was scary.

So, I actually did what they told me, and put some of the dye on my arm. I waited a few minutes, and the spot WAS PURPLE! Ohmygod, did I panic. I went online and read about how women have DIED of ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK from HAIR DYE! I had NO IDEA!

I considered calling an ambulance right then and there, but I had on a really stupid outfit. I thought about just driving to the ER and waiting outside, so if I started going into anaphylactic shock, I could run in. Finally, I decided to wash my arm. Do you know the purple came right off?

And here's the saddest part. I swear to you I have a 127 IQ. It took me TWENTY MINUTES to realize the reason my arm turned PURPLE was because I put DYE ON MY ARM. It's DYE. It DYES you.

So, I got more of it out and put it back on my arm. And so far I am not dead from the patch test. Wouldn't it be dramatic if this was the last time I blogged in here, cause I FELL OVER DEAD from vanity?

How I am Losing Friends and Badly Influencing People

There is a woman at work who just started reading my blog. I will call her, ummmm, Mrs. Jack Sprat. And by that I do not mean that she can eat no lean. She is actually quite lean.

Anyway, after reading about me being electronically mugged (see my previous blog), she decided to go online and view her OWN checking account. (She could have looked at my checking account. Everybody else apparently is.)

She was horrified. There was a MCDONALD'S charge on her account! Now, I mentioned she is lean. She does not frequent McDonald's (and for those of you who can freely spend, I implore you, go eat at McDonald's for me. Please. I am craving it so badly that I am thinking of moving to McDonaldland and working on the "Re-elect Mayor McCheese" campaign).

So, she called her husband, Mr. Jack Sprat, even though she knew perfectly well he is a staunchly healthy eater and a bit of a food snob. In a million years he would not eat at McDonald's. (And again, can I express to you enough how much I am craving the McDonald's? I mean, I am starting to think the Hamburglar was widely misunderstood. Which could get in the way of my career over at the Mayor's headquarters.)

Anyway, Jack Sprat said, no, of course he hadn't used their debit card to charge $8.55 at McDonald's. Panicked, the Sprats cut up their ATM card, called the bank, and got their account renewed.

It was only later in the day that Jack remembered he had had no choice but to eat McDonald's at a hockey game recently. Apparently sports arenas, like airports, seriously jack up the price of their fast food.

So, thanks to me and my alarming blog, I caused a couple serious drama. I doubt they will be bringing me a Happy Meal anytime soon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I've been electronically mugged

I am so irritated I could spit. Yesterday I was at work, and right before lunchtime I thought, "I'm gonna go online and see how much is in my checking account." I was going to gloat a bit about how much I still have in there right now.

Well, I noticed a $40 charge that had occurred the night before. I can tell you with certainty that if I were spending right now, I'd have blown off that $40 charge (and two $1 handling charges). I probably would have passed them off to being something I had recently bought and it was just showing up in my account. (Handling charges. How phony is that? Ooo, it costs money for us to handle this! Yeah, right.)

So, next to my $40 charge and the two $1 phony handling charges was an 800 number to someplace called like chargecom. net or something. So I called the number and found out someone got ahold of my real name, my ATM card, AND the three-digit number on the BACK of my ATM card and then helped themselves to $40 worth of adult entertainment. (Plus two $1 handling fees.) (So to speak.)

Well, THIS adult certainly isn't entertained. I cannot fathom how this happened. And for the SECOND TIME in less than two years.

What is the POINT of saving a bunch of money if someone is going to STEAL all of it?

Anyway, I called the bank and filed a police report and everything. I wondered if someone got my identity from this blog, but how? At any rate, if you actually know me and make a comment on this thing, please do not leak any info on me (my name, my city, my work) cause at this point I am completely paranoid. And for good reason!

But the good news is it got found out right away, and it is absolutely because I am spending no money and I know every cent I have. Which is kind of exciting.

So, sorry this was such an angry blog. Fortunately, I have to dye my hair out of a box soon and I think I will scan photos of my 1988 spiral perm next time I write. Maybe I will do a before and after picture of whatever color I use to ruin my hair. If anyone is out there and knows what will happen if I use dye to cover highlights and lowlights, please let me know.

Monday, January 15, 2007

My Roommate is So Not Punk

In 1984, when I thought I was cool, I went away to college. My roommate and I bought two huge white sheets from Kmart, we grafitti'd them in neon-colored spray paint, and hung the sheets across our dorm walls.

Soon after, my mother -- my poor, poor I-got-married-in-a-field-in-front-of-a-peace-sign mother -- came to our room, took one look at our orange and green florescent graffiti, and asked me, "Honey! Is your roommate PUNK!?"

She was so excited for me. I think if anything, my roommate was sort of fashionably new wave. But whatever.

(Can I digress for a minute further regarding those sheets? Cause they were rockin'. When people came to our room, we made them write something on the sheets, or alternatively, they had to tape a memento up there: bar napkins, matches, old toothpaste tubes, senior pictures. Really, that was one cool decorating-on-a-budget idea. When Marvin Gardens comes home tonight I'll see if I can scan my dorm room picture to this blog.)

Anyway. This weekend Marvin Gardens joined a Clash cover band. For those of you who don't know -- like for example my mother -- The Clash were an English rock band active from 1976 to 1986. They were one of the most successful and iconic bands from the original wave of punk rock in the late 1970s. (I didn't just cut and paste that from Wikipedia or anything.)

Marvin Gardens getting a call from this cover band is very exciting. (Oh, and for my mother, a cover band is a band that doesn't play original music, rather they COVER -- get it? -- another band's songs.) It would only have been more exciting had he gotten a call from the actual Clash to be in their band, which I don't think is possible cause one of the members is dead.

So, now Marvin, who will be the bass player in said Clash cover band, is going around insisting that he needs new clothes. Clothes that look like whatever the bass player in The Clash looked like.

Now, seriously, does that sound very punk rock to you? Did Sid Vicious head out to Fred Segal for a new wardrobe when he started his band? No! He just put a safety pin in his nose, a needle in his arm, and headed out the door. New clothes seem like the LEAST punk reaction one could have to being asked to be in a punk rock band.

In response to my "you can't shop" command, Marvin G is going around the house with his hair spiked up, wearing polo shirts with the sleeves cut off and the collar turned up. He looks -- and I mean this in the most supportive way -- like a complete tool.

Should he stay or should he go (shopping) now? If he goes there will be trouble. If he stays with his turned-up collar there will be double.

(Yes, mother, those are words to a Clash song.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

There is such a thing as a free lunch

Today Marvin Gardens and I let two different people buy us lunch, a habit I do not wish to continue. This year is about going a year without spending, not a year of mooching.

I know people can afford it, and they want to do it, blah blah blah. But for me, it's hard enough not buying gifts for people, much less letting them feed me. (I have already had two birthdays in which a notecard from my stationery and some roses from my garden had to be gift enough. This is killing me. But people have been very gracious thus far.)

Anyway, Marvin is having lunch with his friend/old roommate/brother-in-law, who I will cleverly refer to as Bill. Bill and Marvin Gardens went to college together and then they both moved to our current town and shared an apartment for like seven years, until I came and tore up their happy home. (Marvin G. and I moved to the apartment next door.)

Eventually, Bill met my stepsister, who I will call Una (which will make her really happy), and he married her. So now one of Marvin's oldest friends is also a relative, which is kind of cool.

As for me, I had lunch with two old friends from our last neighborhood. For six years, Marvin Gardens and I lived in this great duplex in a cool neighborhood, which I will cleverly refer to as Silverlake. During the time we lived in Silverlake, I worked from home, and as a result got all up in my neighbors' business and made many good friends. So I traipsed back there today to have lunch with Alicia and Georgia, who both don't care if I use their real names.

Georgia is one of those older people who everyone wants to be like. She has this really hip cap of short gray hair, she wears magenta lipstick and she is as fit as a fiddle. She refuses to say how old she is, and I figure she is at least 60 and not 90, but other than that I cannot tell. She works out, she has a million friends, she dresses all trendy -- she is hot. And most important, Georgia is a great audience.

There are many traits I like in people: I love other animal lovers; people who are working to improve themselves; those who are open-minded, who realize that just because they live one way, it doesn't mean those who don't follow suit are weird or wrong. But really, the trait that will always make me like you is, let's face it, the good audience member. The person who laughs uproariously at every thing I say, even the tasteless stuff. Really, what is better?

Well, Georgia is surely that person. And because she insisted, I let her buy me lunch.

But I am telling you now that Marvin and I really have to curtail this behavior. It is unseemly.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today I Spent

Crap. Crap crap crap.

I forgot my lunch today. I forgot it once last week as well, but I actually turned the car around and got it. This time I was too far away from home by the time I remembered it.

I have GOT to keep putting my purse in front of the refrigerator at night; it is the perfect way to remember my stupid-ass lunch.

I went to Try-Not-Ta, the restaurant in my building at work, and asked them if they would take the American Express gift card that I had. They would not. I considered not eating all day, but I knew I'd get a migraine if I did that.

Then I thought about going to the grocery store and trying to buy something legitimate (like what? I didn't have a clue. A whole loaf of bread and peanut butter or something? And a bag of plastic knives?), but I really wanted to go to yoga at lunchtime (it's free at work), so I couldn't do yoga AND go to the store.

Finally I gave in and went back down to Try-Not-Ta, and I got the cheapest thing on the menu: a baked potato. It was four dollars. I used four of the six dollars in my wallet.

Oh, I was upset with myself. It did not help that two coworkers saw me, pointed and yelled, "Failure! You failed after only 10 days!" Thanks. Thanks for the support.

I finally decided to get over myself. Sometimes I will screw this up, and all I can do is my best. I am going to buy a bunch of those dry soups that you add hot water, and a bunch of Odwalla bars and such, so that if I ever forget my lunch again, I will have backup in my desk.

On the bright side, we are putting (are you ready?) A THOUSAND DOLLARS into savings this Friday. A THOUSAND BUCKS between the two of us. Is that ridiculous or what? Usually I am able to put maybe $100 in savings, and sometimes nothing at all. It is the same for Marvin Gardens. (We have separate savings and checking accounts, cause on my 40th birthday we had like 3,000 bucks stolen from our account. And I know exactly how it happened, too. Do NOT go to a mom-and-pop gas station and use the ATM INSIDE the gas station. If you use your ATM at the pump and it says, "Go inside and give your card to the cashier," FORGET IT. Also, when you use your ATM at any store, look up. You will be astonished at how often there is a camera right above you. So the camera can see you enter your PIN. You should see me contort myself when I have to use the ATM, covering up the number. Anyway, to make an achingly long story longer, we have separate accounts so everything is sort of spread out, so if anyone gets into one of our accounts, they can't take so much.)

So, there was good news and bad today. And the bad wasn't so bad. And I ate my lunch for dinner, so that was convenient!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Cars, pizza, parking and lambs

I had a fine weekend of not spending. I have had the same twenty dollars in my purse for a week. I mean, some of it is spent, but there is still $6 left after -- wow -- I think nine days. (I think the $14 went to dry cleaning and times I couldn't avoid paying for parking.)

This weekend I went to my friend Renee's to hang out. I went over there in my pajamas and robe, since Renee didn't want to get dressed. I was a little nervous driving 16 miles on the freeway in my robe, but you know, no one noticed me.

Renee has a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter who is very well-behaved. She kept to herself most of the time, but the fact that I had sheep on my slippers obsessed her. "Lambie?" she would ask me, pointing at my slippers. Yes, I would tell her, there are lambs on my slippers. Around, oh, every seven minutes, she would revisit the issue. "Lambie?" she'd query, as though we hadn't conversed about the matter previously. Obviously my slipper wear was of vast interest to this child. Eventually she fed raisins to my lambs.

I'll bet if you asked her today, the lambs, Clarice, would still be of great importance to her.

Anyway, Renee fed me leftover pizza that she had made the night before. It was delicious, and after I had had three pieces she told me it was all totally healthy. The cheese was soy, the pepperoni was turkey. Who knew? It was great.

After that, I went home to wash my own car. It was the first time since 1983 that I had washed a car. The last time was in senior year of high school. There was some stupid fund raiser, and you could auction yourself off to the highest bidder; they 'owned' you for a week.

I think this would no longer fly in the public school system today.

Anyway, seven idiot boys from my class bought me (they had neglected to make a rule against this), and for a week they made me do hideous things like run to 7-Eleven between classes for them. Anyway Steve Feit made me wash his car. And he took pictures.

I think washing the car, if it's not for Steve Feit, is sort of fun! I had my iPod on, it was sunny out. And I feel terrible about making complete strangers clean up the 14 pounds of hair I shed in the car. I know one time Marvin Gardens took my car to be cleaned, and the guy cleaning it said, "You have dog?" and held up all this blond hair. Marvin Gardens said, "No, that's my wife." Nice. But really, why should anyone have to deal with me and my huge sheddy hair but me?

Finally, the only other money-related thing to happen was that I went grocery shopping last night and I was staring at the yogurt. The young kid working there asked if he could help me, and I said, "No, I am comparing prices for the first time ever."

"Really?!" He was incredulous.

I said, "Yeah, I just bought whatever yogurt looked good before this." He huffed, actually HUFFED and said, "Must be nice."

Now, okay, I did not say I just buy buildings on Park Avenue without comparing prices. It's YOGURT. But he made me feel like Mrs. Irresponsible Big Bucks. Geez.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

My first bout of hysteria

Today, five days into my no-spending year, I had my first hissy fit.

I don't mean my first hissy fit ever; certainly my friend Cindy will recall my "I want to be an au pair" hissy fit, and my friend Renee will remember the you-forgot-my-birthday-even-though-it's-not-actually-my-birthday debacle.

My mother will recall the knocking-off-all-the-purses-hanging-on-the-back-of-my-door explosion at age 3, and my Uncle Leo will dredge up the "I forgot my memory" episode. Oh, and how about Paula, who will be able to give us perfect details on the "You forgot to tape Hart to Hart" tantrum.

So, no, I do not mean that this is a first in the hissying department.

However, here's what happened. As I said in my last blog, I had a dentist appointment today. I did not drink coffee before the appointment, as I am afraid of the dentist and did not want to add to the jittery effects.

So, at ELEVEN, when I finally got to work, I was ready for the coffee. I went into the coffee room, and the MACHINE. WAS. BROKEN.

Now, there are a few things you do not mess with. Do not joke with me about harming cats. Do not tell me that "first annual" is correct because you are planning to have the event every year. And DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, keep me from my coffee. ESPECIALLY five hours after my normal having-coffee time.

It just so happens that in the coffee room, along with decaffeinated me and the broken machine, was a co-worker -- the nicest co-worker you could ever ask to have -- who wants me to say his name is Proton, which it isn't. (Isn't a proton something scientific, like a molecule or something?) Well, anyway, poor Proton was standing there, hapless.

I tried to fix the coffee machine. I tried again. Then I pretty much acted like Glenn Close when she popped back out of the bathtub in Fatal Attraction, all screaming and waving my butcher knife. "THERE IS NO COFFEE!" I screamed at Proton. "THERE IS NO COFFEE AND I HAVEN'T HAD COFFEE YET AND I CAN'T GO BUY COFFEE CAUSE I AM NOT SPENDING ANY MONEY THIS YEAR!"

Somehow, Proton talked me down and we got the machine fixed. It just needed its something emptied. And all was well. Until I got an email from someone saying, "Hey, nice spazz-out in the coffee room!" Turns out like 78 co-workers could hear every word. Nice. Nice way to climb the corporate ladder.

And by the way, I had a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks in my purse the whole time.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Oh no...

I had a SHOPPING DREAM last night! Sad.

About five years ago, I gave up drinking, and every once in awhile I will dream I am holding a big glass of wine or something. If I got rid of my cats, would I dream I have cats?!

I don't even think I miss shopping yet. Maybe it's because a co-worker asked me to go shopping at lunch yesterday. I don't know.

Anyway, in other news, we made meat loaf last night, which turned out well. I got home at 5:45 and it was ready by 7:00, and while it was cooking I walked on the treadmill. Marvin Gardens and I were talking about how we enjoy eating real food that we've actually cooked, and we are eating together more often, as well.

I have a dentist appointment today -- x-rays and cleaning. Marvin G. said to tell the dentist to find nothing wrong, as we are on a non-spending kick.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Marvin Gardens Accidentally Spends

Well. Poor Marvin Gardens. I came home from work today, and he was decidedly sheepish.

He had gone to get a haircut (which for him is acceptable, since he has a job and the '80s are over), and when he was done, the hairdresser said, "How about some gel?" and he said, "Sure! I'm out of gel!" Then on the way home he thought crap, I just spent money.

Now, really, I think gel is pretty okay. We have to maintain SOME self-care, right? So I don't think it's such a mistake. But it is scary how you just spend without thinking.

...I have had a lot of people at work asking me specifics about our year of not spending. So, to reiterate, no restaurants and no pre-made food. This means no already-cooked chickens at the grocery store, no bakery items, stuff like that. I say potato chips and rice cakes (sue me. I really like rice cakes) are acceptable, as I would never in a million years try to make a rice cake.

Anyway, so far I have done well, as has poor Marvin, despite the gel debacle.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

2007 is here! I have spent nothing!

Well, we started cooking for ourselves, no more going out to eat or ordering in. We started on New Year's Eve, and we have already learned a valuable lesson: Marvin Gardens should not be sent to the store.

I should have known this, and had I thought back to the Christmas Eve tomato disaster of 2002, I would have averted this crisis. As it was, I had somewhere to be in the early hours of New Year's Eve, so before I left, Marvin Gardens and I sat down and made a list of all the food we actually knew how to make. We came up with 11 things.

So, I made a grocery list for the week, a very detailed one, and sent him to the store. The plan was that when I returned, I would make corned beef and cabbage (not something I already knew how to make, but I had a recipe and it looked easy).

When I got home, old Marvin had gotten $189 worth of groceries. He told me he had only bought one pound of corned beef, even tho the recipe had called for 3-5 pounds. (He also told me he had failed to buy vegetable stock and white vinegar, which were both on the grocery list.)

Exasperated, I ran to the store. Now, mind you, this corned beef and cabbage takes THREE HOURS to cook, and it was already 7:30. I got the stuff, ran home and started cooking. I soon found myself searching for the ENTIRE HEAD of garlic called for in the recipe, and Marvin told me, "Oh, I just figured we had some." Now WHY, WHYYYYYYY, I ask you, would I have PUT GARLIC ON THE SHOPPING LIST if we ALREADY HAD SOME?

So Marvin had to go back to the store.

Oh, and one more thing. When you want to make corned beef and cabbage, make sure the store gives you a BRISKET of corned beef, not sliced lunch meat. BOTH Marvin G. and I we given the sliced stuff!


Anyway, so we have eaten in, brought our lunches to work and stuck to our plan thus far. And we know that I will be doing the shopping. So, so far, all is well.