Sunday, December 07, 2008

At the end of the week…

…I have $16 still in my wallet. Not too bad, all things considered. And I suppose this is a lot like casino gambling: If you don’t lose more than you intended to lose when you left the house, you’ve won.

This week was light on groceries ($12) and gasoline ($0 – no fill-ups this week!), but heavy on clothing needs. Two days after I’d done the laundry and put it away, my girls were all running around barefoot claiming they had no clean socks or tights. A drawer inspection concluded that my gut feeling that I had thrown away “an awful lot” of toeless tights and unraveling socks was correct – they were down to about two pairs of socks apiece, and no decent tights.

So I spent $12 on food, and $83 on clothes – but get this. The first almost $60 was on nothing but socks and tights (twelve pairs of the former, nine pairs of the latter). The second $23 got twelve long-sleeved shirt or sweaters for the girls, plus two for me – one of them a dark brown cashmere, hello!, courtesy of the local thrift stores.

One of the shirts I got for the girls is currently sold at Target, right this very minute, for $6.99. New with tags, for $2.50 $1.25, because it had a green tag and on Wednesday, everything with a green tag is 50% off! Which is also why the $5.00 cashmere! sweater cost me $2.50 at the register.

I simply adore green tag Wednesday, don’t you?! (Soft warm milk-chocolate-colored cashmere-ness…I haz it…)

We got our Christmas tree ($65) and went to see a dress rehearsal performance of The Nutcracker ($0). We also half froze to death enjoyed watching our hometown Christmas parade last night (but $0, again) and I just got back a little bit ago from the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea Party, the tickets to which I bought a couple months ago (sunk cost).

Apart from the tree and the foot-coverings at Target, the biggest ticket items this week were actually from the charity auctions and like that. The tickets to The Nutcracker were free, but we did end up putting $20 into the donation box, and another $10 went to stuff from the fundraising table. Pretty good value in exchange for six tickets to the production…even if it was technically a dress rehearsal. It was the perfect venue for our Denizens, who are fidgety and otherwise not exactly cultured.

Captain Adventure was entranced…for the first twenty minutes. Then he wanted to sit on my lap. Then he wanted to chat about Things. Then he wanted to get down, and also he was DONE…which I know, because he turned to me and bellowed, “MOMMY? I DUUUUUUUN!!!” at the top of his little lungs.

Ah, these are the moments in parenthood that you just treasure always. But the girls really enjoyed the performance (in spite of their brother being DUN! DUN! DUN!) and were blissfully unaware of the little things that marked it as a dress rehearsal environment – like the performers’ siblings running up and down the aisles, the ‘interesting’ sound handling and the occasional long…awkward…pause on stage, smiles glued desperately to their faces, arms held stiffly upward…waiting…for the music…to…start…again…aaaaaaaaaaaaany time now…

At the parade, the Red Cross had a silent auction running. I put in a ridiculously low bid on a lot with three handmade bracelets, a bottle of wine and a pair of wine glasses, fully expecting that I’d be outbid within moments.

Instead, well, apparently nobody knew they were there or something. I felt a bit like a thief, but since I was down to my last two twenties and still hadn’t gotten the kids any of the promised hot cocoa or snacks, sheepishly handed over my crummy $20 and took my ill-gotten goods prizes.

$14 in cocoa and hot snacks later, I loaded up the Denizens (and the extra young friend who had come along), came home and counted up my remaining cash. Sixteen bucks and a little change. Not too shabby…granted, I was hoping I’d have a bit more leftover, but hey.

Lots going on. I’m just glad it wasn’t worse – I had the opportunity for a fair bit of madness that I took a long, deep breath and said, “No thanks!” to over the course of the week, from buying new video games to a severely tempting sale at Webs.

The best cheap thing of the week has got to be the cashmere sweater I got for $2.50. WOOT!

The thing that makes me say, “Oh, man!” the most would be the Christmas tree…but frankly, it isn’t that big a groaner. I prefer to support community efforts where I can, and the supermarket conglomerate is not what I would normally consider a Worthy Cause. Their trees stank, the boy scouts had gorgeous ones, and while I really wish my husband had noticed the Douglas firs were less than half the cost and gotten me one (because they are, in fact, my favorite Christmas tree)…oh well.

It is a beautiful tree. It fills our home with that wonderful pine scent, and its trunk will make a nice Yule log for the rest of the year.

It was a good week.

Here’s hoping next week will be better, though, because we have travelin’ to do around Christmas!


Rena said...

I wish we could have a real tree, but I'm allergic to the pine needles. (Argh!) So we have a 4 foot plastic tree we pull from a box and straighten out the limbs and tada... a tree. It even comes prelit. Covered in ornaments you can't tell it's fake, as long you as you stand on the other side of the room. We paid $20.00 at Big Lots three years ago. Not bad.

Dysd Housewife said...

Oh now see, you are a much better parent than I. *I* would have bought socks and tights as a Christmas present, and made them WAIT until Christmas to open them. Sure, they'd be sockless for a couple weeks, but whats a little frostbite when you could kill two birds with one stone? LOL ::teehee::

patrice said...

The January 1, 2009 issue of Woman's Day has an essay on Nutcracker moments that I think you would appreciate right now :) Good luck on this week's cash budget.