Cheapness is not necessarily terminal

At the core of my being is an 87-year-old woman who can’t bear to part with money. I am notoriously cheap and even the smallest purchases bring about severe indecision and regret. Here is a perfect example.

Three years ago, when I moved to Washington, I made it my first duty to visit Snoqualmie Falls. I am a huge David Lynch fan and the falls is featured heavily in the Twin Peaks series. The Salish Lodge above the falls is the site of the Great Northern Hotel (if you’ve seen the show, you know how big a deal this is).

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

Though not featured in the show (thank goodness), there is also a fantastic gift shop that is full of the sort of crap I would happily buy if my cheapness weren’t so crippling. There are weird, rustic ornaments, creepy wooden slugs and owls, tacky t-shirts, and tons of kitsch. My favorite thing was a horribly overpriced, stuffed sockeye salmon. I wanted it. Badly.

The salmon.

The salmon.

Of course, I didn’t buy it. Instead, I obsessed about it for three years. At least annually, I’d go back to visit the falls gift shop, only to decide again that $28 for a stuffed salmon toy with no utilitarian purpose was obscene. After all, that’s 20 pounds of dog food, an electric bill, or nearly three co-pays for doctor visits. How could I possibly spend $28 on a stuffed salmon toy? I’m a grown woman! I have grownup responsibilities!

So, for three years, I’d casually lament not buying the salmon…until a month ago, when I drove all the way out to Snoqualmie Falls and bought that salmon! Three cheers for me! I absolutely love it. It’s on my fireplace, which has never really held an actual fire since I’m a neat-freak and don’t want the mess. It’s fiery red and fantastic, and it’s inspired me to be less of a weirdo about money. I know I’ll never be one of those loosey-goosey women who drop a few hundred bucks on flashy shoes they’ll wear once. But, I could be the sort of woman who drops a cool $30 on an unnecessary, but wholly beloved, item at least once a year without fear of financial collapse.

After all, a stuffed sockeye salmon is just too awesome to pass up. Now, if I could only convince myself to buy the wacky owl tote bag I saw online…Sigh, baby steps. That bag is $65! I may need four years to ease into that. Okay, five. Six, tops.

Mid-point contest update

A few weeks back, I mentioned I was doing a 12-week healthy living contest with a buddy of mine in Oregon. Well, we’re in week six and he’s either dropped out of the contest or he’s been abducted by aliens or organ thieves. In other words, he’s completely disappeared.

Normally, I would look at this as a huge disappointment…and an excuse to freebase Ding Dongs. But, I’m still keeping up my end of the contest. I’m still maintaining my food and exercise logs, and logging my points every day. I’m still committed to this goal of a healthy lifestyle, even if I don’t have the outside motivation of the contest.

I admit that’s it’s harder going all Hans Solo on this thing, but the contest got me through that first really difficult month and some of my new habits are feeling natural. I feel better, healthier. Plus, a creepy old guy at the gym approached me and said, “You’re looking really toned, really toned.” He then repeated it after everything I said, which I suspect may be grounds for the Creepy Old Guy Watch List. Still, it felt good that someone noticed my hard work.

In short, the contest may be over and I may be the victor by default, but I’m still going strong. My next goal will be finding more reliable friends.

A Bumpit away from self-acceptance

I don’t usually do product reviews on my blog, but this one is too delicious not to share.

Last week, I wore Bumpits on my head.

For those who don’t know, Bumpits are plastic trusses women wear in their hair to give the impression of the weird head bulge so popular among teens and 20-somethings. To those of us older than, say 25, it looks a little ridiculous. It’s essentially prom hair gone bad, but it’s very popular, apparently.

Let me preface this by pointing out that I am hair-challenged. I have baby fine, wackadoo hair that is curly on top and stick straight on the bottom. It rarely looks even remotely presentable and it’s been the bane of my existence since I was 13. I always hope I’m a good haircut away from Marilyn Monroe, though usually the best I can muster is Moe from the Three Stooges.

Needless to say, when the commercials for Bumpits began airing, I was intrigued and horrified, and secretly hopeful that my thin hair problems were over. Of course, I was much too proud to actually buy one. I mean, really, I’m not one of THOSE women. I don’t want an alien bubble-head supported by plastic trusses. (Clearly, this lady doth protest too much. I really wanted a bubble-head!)

So, when my coworker Amy found a set of Bumpits on clearance, we had to give it a try. For nearly an entire day, I had two of the spiky, plastic trusses on top of my head, giving my hair some obvious new oomph. It looked like I ratted and teased for hours. However, the effect wasn’t exactly natural for my fine hair. In fact, I could feel the trusses poking through the top of my hair. I lived in fear of some thoughtful woman leaning in and whispering, “Pardon me, miss, your Bumpit is showing.” It’s the hair equivalent of toilet paper hanging from your shoe.

The higher the hair, the closer to God.

The higher the hair, the closer to God.

Plus, my newly acquired height did pose some safety risks. I cracked my noggin getting into my car, causing the spiky Bumpits to dig painfully into my scalp. (Note: Bumpits are not for the weak.) I simply could not judge my head’s size while wearing the Bumpits, and that was somewhat problematic.

Will I continue to wear the Bumpits? Sadly, shamefully, the answer is still subject to debate. Even though I looked like a waitress from the ‘70s and was told my new beehive hair was very aging, I may get a set and practice at home. Always the pathetic hair optimist, perhaps I just need to get the technique down. Oh good grief, who am I kidding? These things are wretched…and hilarious.