Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Spam, Scams, Fiddles & Chairs

So I may be just a little bit impulsive.....maybe....sometimes....well, just a bit.

There was a time when I was so unhappy about my job that the thought of quitting and working at a Trader Joe's for the sake of my sanity was the only option.   With my grad school boyfriend still on student salary, I openly embraced my impending poverty. 

On my next trip to the grocery store I bought only items that were on sale.  I used coupons.  I bought canned food.  I bought things off the clearance rack...yup, that home-depot-style cabinet over by the bathroom where everything is marked with bright orange stickers "50% off!" because it's nearly expired and no longer suitable for human consumption.  But what drew the line for Trevor was when I came home with a can of SPAM....

"What the hell is this?!  Why would you buy this?"

"I dunno it was on sale......and, well,  I'm trying to get used to living on a budget."

"Budget or no budget, we should eat the same rich or poor. And I will not eat SPAM!"

"Ok, point taken.  No more spam."

I still keep that can of SPAM in my kitchen cupboard though... just as a reminder... to not be crazy.  Plus it makes me smile.  The day I have to eat that SPAM will be a very sad day....but that day is not today....today I'm eating turkey surprise!

Around the same time we were also looking for places to live in Montana.  Again in my must-conserve-all-finances frame of mind, I start looking for a  one bedroom in a 4-5 bedroom place.  sharing a house with 6 undergrads....living the student life... we can't afford a place of our own. 

Trevor says no.

Any who, as it turns out I could keep my job and my salary and still go to Montana.  Hooray!  We don't have to eat SPAM!!!  But we still need to find a place to live.  But now that we have the money, hey here's a 2 bedroom, furnished place!! Stand-alone house! Utilities included!  Hey, they just need $4000 up front for 2 months.  Ya know what Trev?  We should just do it!  We can afford it!  And then we don't need to worry about it!  We'll have a place... with furniture...we can just move right in!

Trev says "what are you crazy?! No we're not doing that.  That's too expensive"

And probably better off, it would have been a waste of money... mostly because it was a 100% scam!

Life in the bare bear canyon was much more worth it.  And the cabin actually existed  and we didn't have to live with a bunch 18-year-old stoners. 

Not all of my impulse-driven decisions have been a fluke though.  Recently, while in San Diego for Trevor's job market conference, I had a nice 5 hour chunk of time to myself.  So I thought "I'm going to go out and buy something really nice for Trevor.  He's worked so hard in school, and putting up with me, and the fruits of his labor are finally starting to pay off.  Wouldn't he like to come home from 6 hours of interviewing in a business suit with a brief case and uncomfortable shiny black shoes and have a nice unexpected present waiting for him?"

So I hit the town on a mission...hmm what to get him, what to get him.... A coozie?  no... t-shirt?  no.... hey there's a pawn shop!  I've never been to a pawn shop before so I head on in to see if there treasures will spark any ideas.  A guitar?  hmmmm, hey do you have a violin?  The guy behind he counter says "no, but the pawn shop a couple blocks up probably will."

Lately I have been on a violin kick.  I don't know why.  It was recently Christmas.  And last Christmas, we didn't buy each other presents, but instead bought a piano that we could both use.  I thought maybe each year we could get a new instrument?  Except this Christmas came and went and I got him the game "Pass the pigs" and he got me Stephen Colbert's book "America Again... Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't." 

I highly recommend it

So I find a violin in the second pawn shop.  It's expensive enough that I second guess myself.  I leave the shop and call a couple sisters...

"Should I do this?  Is this a good idea?"

"Well do you really want one?"


"Are you even going to play it?"

"I will! I will!"

"Does Trevor want one?"

"I don't know if he wants one, but I think he'd think it's cool...."

"Can you afford it?"


"Then just get it!"

Sold!  I go back into the pawn shop, thinking "Alright, hand it over!" But as I pass through the door, my voice of reason (yes, I have one and I can sometimes hear it) says "you cannot buy this without first making sure that it works."

So after talking prices and makes and models, I ask the guy if I can try it.  The curious bum at the stand next to me puts his elbows up on the counter and sits his chin in his hands, posting up for a show.

I take the violin from the clerk and I ask him if it's a righty or lefty (trying to sound as if I know anything about the violin,  while searching for any clue from him as to what to do).  He has no idea, and goes back to look in the book.  While he's away I give it a quick shreek-ety-do-da.  The anxious bum instantly pops up out of his stance with big exclamation of "What the hell is that?! I thought I was gonna get a free show!?"

I laugh.  The clerk comes back..

"Soooo do you even know how to play?"

"...uhh..nope...but I'd like to learn!  How much did you say it was?"

"I'll knock $35 off the price."

"I'll take it!"

And Trevor likes it!

What good is a fancy violin without a comfortable, fashionable place to strum it's strings?   No good.

With that I would like to introduce you to the grand finale of my recent impulsions...... my new chair:

Sit on me.  Take me home.  You know you want to..... I'm clean... I don't smell.

I was at the thrift store dropping off a couple bags of blankets and pillows (pillows from a previous impulse to buy Trevor 12 large bed pillows because he once said "I wish my bed was made of pillows" and I tried to make that happen).  No need for 12 pillows and excessive amounts of blankets when you can really only fit 4 people max comfortably inside the apartment at any one time and it is definitely time to down-size...clutter-free is the way to be!....Oh HELLOooooo sassy yellow chair for $29.99!!!!

Well he wasn't able to help me bring it up the stairs just yet...because after I bought it, I realized it didn't fit in the car...and the thrift store doesn't deliver...and Kevin's car's in San Francisco and none of my other 5 friends in town have a truck... and well I sort of just want it now..... and so...after about the same price of the chair paid in U-haul fees, that baby is mine!!!!!!!

You better believe it is my new favorite chair!  Come sit on it!

And now I finally have a place to sit a play our beautiful violin in my spam-free affordable housing:

BONUS: it also doubles as a blogging chair:


GoAskMatt said...

And it looks like the violin grew up to be an electric guitar. :-)

Mary Ellen said...

Very cool. I'm looking forward to trying out the yellow chair!

Colleen E. said...

you call me anytime you want to buy something random - i will give you the OK!

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