Don't Spend It All In One Place

For my birthday, my mom gave me money. It might sound like a boring gift to you, but it turned out to be one of the most fun toys I ever got, because I got to spend it a half-dozen times in my mind before actually plunking down any of the bills. Besides, I never, ever have any money on me, and for about a month I got to be Mister High Roller.

Here's how I blew my birthday money:

Dollars 400 through 136: A megacool, rainproof, abrasion-resistant, crash-padded motorcycle jacket with mesh flow-through vents and anti-flap sleeve securing straps.

$136 - 399: Returning the jacket a couple hours later because I found it for half as much online and knew I would never like wearing it, forever remembering that I paid too much.

$400: Lost in random change from the jacket transaction. Probably in the jar on top of the kitchen cabinet.

$399 - $276: Two-hour trip to Lowe's, where I lazily wandered up every single aisle and considered every single product. It was incredible. Every other time I go to the hardware store, I'm in the middle of a project or with Penelope, so either way I can't stay long. It's a rare occasion indeed to visit such a place and actually be trying to spend money. I got new handles and knobs for the kitchen cabinets, and new light fixtures for my mom's ceiling, and a spray bottle of weed killer for the driveway and earplugs for my ears. Oh: and a couple of halogen lightbulbs, which I had always wanted but couldn't justify the expense.

$276 - $291: Returning the cabinet handles because they didn't fit because our cabinets are too old and have nonstandard hole spacings.

$291 - $289: One can of silver metallic spraypaint to redo the existing handles. They look great.

$288 - $260: Three cheapy full-length mirrors, the kind you nail to the back of your closet door, which I mounted to the back wall of our built-in china cabinet so it might look kind of like an infinitely receding hallway. It kind of does.

$259 - $232: Two pear-shaped bluish shiny lamps that Penelope had been eyeing for months.

$231 - $218: Two bowls of chili, a milkshake with hot fudge and a cherry Coke for me and my woman at Steak n Shake.

$217 - $213: Tip (I'm a heavy tipper when I'm Mister High Roller).

$212 - $208: One pair of shameless knockoff "Havana Jack" sunglasses, which are cheap and plastic but much darker than my nice expensive ones, and their relative opacity is luxuriously soothing on really sunny days.

$207 - $165: A new canvas belt to replace mine that broke, a fairly cool shirt from the 85% off rack, and two shirts and a hat for Penelope. Also, a pair of green fishnet hose for Penelope, which she may or may not ever wear, and a red hat with a big "P" on it. For Penelope.

$164 - $153: A green shirt that says "Squirt" on it for Penelope. She noticed it right after we'd checked out, and had to have it. It's fun to take the Mrs. shopping once in a while.

$152 - $136: Breakfast at Bob Evans with our friends and their 9-month-old son Calvin, who gnawed on a retired cell phone for most of the meal and made us all smile. We rode our bicycles over there, and Calvin rode in his new seat on the back of Brad's bike, so we all smiled at him the whole way there and back. That was free.

$135 - $120: A much-needed haircut from a stylist who was extremely excited about buying a new pair of clippers the following day. She said they were $100, and I realized I could have bought them for her, if I'd wanted. You can't be too careful, though, and for all I know she would have blown the money on mousse and huffing barbicide.

$119 - $116: Dog shampoo. Vince was starting to smell like Fritos.

$115 - $112: Dog treats. He's still the best dog ever.

$111 - $108: Prepackaged sushi, which is better than nothing but just barely.

$107 - $47: Allowance for Penelope and me, a feeble but well-meaning attempt to get our credit card bills under control.

$46 - $42: A collage done by a friend of ours, depicting people playing sports and instruments with their heads replaced by the heads of various birds. A solid investment.

$41: A one-dollar reward for my friend Evan, who coined the following joke regarding an event at the Indiana State Fair: "The 'Sheep To Shawl Contest' will be held in the Sheep Barn/Marsh Blue Ribbon Pavilion at 8 AM Sunday. Some of you older readers may remember sheep-to-shawl radio, which was eventually abandoned due to its fuzzy reception." I palmed that buck and slipped it to Evan in a handshake, and I'm awfully glad I did.

$40 - $36: CD copy of "3 Headed Cow," by the Punkin Holler Boys. That worked out pretty well too.

$35 and $34: 2-Liter bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper purchased inside a gas station while the car was fueling up. It was the first time I'd entered a gas station in quite some time.

$33 - $6: Who the heck knows? Money just seems to evaporate from your wallet sometimes, you know?

$5, $4 and $3: A dozen ears of corn from a family farm I passed during a motorcycle ride. There was a table of vegetables and a small wad of plastic bags, with a basket where you could make change. I put down a five, took out two ones and headed on my way. The corn I bungeed to the back of the bike.

$2: (I'm not sure what happened to my second-to-last dollar. No one knows.)

$1: A single tomato from the same roadside stand the next day, when Penelope and I went out on a ride together. It was delicious.


When I was a kid, a friend of my Mom's would occasionally hand me a five- or ten-dollar bill for no reason. "There," he'd say. "That's to keep you honest." So double thanks, Mom -- you kept me honest and let me feel rich for a few weeks.

What better birthday present could there be?


Anonymous said...

what a charming entry!

Thomas said...

And you gave back to your mom too. Even installed the lights I bet. Good boy!

Luke said...

"huffing barbicide"

I'm just not worthy of your brilliance.
I truly feel lucky to have met you.