reindeers and scorpions.

2 01 2012

once upon a time, there was a guy who drove around to all the bars in downtown portland making animals out of tin foil for all the good boys and girls (also, for money). one holiday season, i was at the free street taverna (now the dogfish) drinking my xmas booze, when the tin foil man burst through the front door bellowing “ho ho ho! merry christmas! i got your reindeers and your scorpions!” it was nothing short of an xmas miracle in my book.

but yeah, i know it’s the 2nd of january. so why the fuck am i telling you this pointless xmas related story?

well, mostly it’s because i wanted a reason to tell that story. but also, it’s because i’m about to use it as a flimsy analogy for the shitstorm that is my current life.

basically, sometimes xmas is all reindeer and jinglebells, and sometimes it’s accidental scorpions. this xmas, i got scorpions.

i have overall made it a point not to share much about my personal life with the internet. but the cliff’s notes version of this story is that come february 1st, my life is going to look a lot different. i’ll be moving out of my condo, and back into an apartment (a particularly crappy but cheap bachelor pad apartment if all goes well with the landlord next weekend). i’ll be living with my first roommate since 1996 (when my smith college roommate zoe moved out after 3 months because of her dislike of my late night online gaming habits [text based!] and predilection for menthol cigarettes). i’ll be a single dog parent.

you might also notice that instead of a hilarious picture of a tin foil scorpion in the upper left corner there, there is a MOTIVATIONAL SLOGAN. yikes. what the fuck am i trying to pull? as another rule, i try not to resort to sincere but uplifting over-sentimentality. i swear a lot. i am a cynical old crank. i want to find the person who wrote the first “chicken soup for the soul” book and light them on fire (or at least give them a stern talking to).

but for the new year, i’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time for me to toss a little sugar in the massive ocean of vinegar that is my soul. (don’t worry, not too much). as i’m careening into this utterly terrifying and uncertain new life, it occurred to me that it might be nice to have a little something to grab onto. when i broke up with my college boyfriend (and dropped heavily into a very low and confusing period), i taped a tiny scrap of paper to my front door that said “just start over” that i would have to look at every time i left my house.

but i already used that one.

so i actually did a google search for “inspirational quotes” (oh how the mighty have fallen!), and this is what i found. i think it originated on a t-shirt or something. but whatever, it very correctly sums up the reason that i’m leaving to start my whole life over at 34. my life has been very easy and comfortable for the last few years. as it turns out, easy and happy are two very different things. so i’ll just leave it at that.

i’m not entirely sure what all this biz means for broke207 (i’m focusing my energy these days on finding moving boxes and figuring out how to get a bed). but i have a feeling that we might be getting a little less coupony and more life lessony over the next few months. bear with me. if you do, maybe someday i’ll get back to my roots. or, maybe i’ll just distract you with terrible online dating stories until you forget what this blog was about in the first place.





coma time.

9 12 2011

dear lord. where the fuck have i been?

the short answer is that i’ve been down the nutcracker burlesque hole. the slightly less short answer is that my new job is hard and makes me tired. excitingly enough, it also makes me happy, but very very tired. Unfortunately, this combination of dancing 3 days a week +  job that makes my brain sweat = me asleep on my couch in front of a half finished blog post about something that happened to me 3 weeks ago EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

i’m actually kind of surprised that my computer hasn’t slid off my unconscious lap and shattered into 1,000 pieces… YET.

anyway, i haven’t given up the ship. i just need to figure out how to get myself back from the dead and into full blogging mode. probably/definitely, after nutcracker.  in the meantime, please enjoy this post i wrote for goodwill about home made xmas presents that don’t suck too much.  i will do my best to pop on and say hello as often as i can.





[black friday] balance restored.

30 11 2011

black friday when all nuts this year. some stores opened at midnight, some at 4, some at 6… all of which made it nearly impossible for me to form a workable plan for a pleasant shopping experience. what was i supposed to do, hit the old navy and the target at midnight and then hang out at the denny’s until the mall opened?

NO. my digestive system could not take such a beating (although i still really do want to try out that grilled cheese with the mozzarella stix embedded inside, even though i know it’s wrong)!

i considered just hitting the midnight store and then going back later in the morning… but that also seemed less than ideal in terms of efficiency. so i decided to do something a little different this year- SLEEP IN.

it was actually kind of awesome. and then around 7, i leisurely got up, walked the dog, and headed to the mall. considering that i don’t need any big ticket electronics, and all the cheap movie titles were complete crap, it wasn’t like i was missing anything anyway (other than shivering in the cold with a bunch of other cranky folks who are more than willing to elbow you in the throat to get the last creepy stalker barbie).

and since i had already slept through the “best” deals, i also felt little pressure to hit the big boxes and try to scrape up what was left. so i just went wherever the hell i wanted regardless of big signs yelling DOORBUSTERS! and here is what i got: Read the rest of this entry »





a long overdue apology/thanks.

14 11 2011

i’m kind of an asshole.

one time, i got married (for like a year), and i didn’t even send out thank you notes to my family. and can i just say, that even though the wedding was in 2007, i still feel guilty about it ALL THE TIME. if you’re out there wilson family relatives… i’m so sorry. i burn with shame and regret.

but here i am anyway, being a jerk again.

a few weeks ago, a reader named sue contacted me about the makeup project, because she had scored some free blush she wasn’t going to use. AWESOME. except it took me a few days to answer her, and i felt like a jerk.

AND THEN, she contacted me again… and i got busy and didn’t respond. jerk +1.

AND THEN, she showed up at the swap drop off with makeup… and i wasn’t there to meet her.

AND THEN, she showed up at the swap with a beautiful bounty of makeup bags, and i finally got to say thank you, and  made a jackass out of myself. i believe my exact words were: “i so want to hug you, but i’m worried about invading your personal space”. she excused herself swiftly.

AND THEN, she emailed me again, and i decided that i wanted to thank her by writing a blog post about how awesome she is… and it took me 2 weeks to do it.

so sue… I’M SORRY! i know i’m kind of a jerkwagon, but i didn’t want to let another day go by without thanking you for your incredible gift. sorry i’m so spastic, but it is in no way a reflection on my gratefulness for your generosity. Read the rest of this entry »





the plastic files.

3 02 2011

first and foremost, i would like to apologize for not posting yesterday. i am still getting the hang of the daily posting gig, and also drank one too many bourbons after a particularly rough day and ended up face down on the couch at 8:30 instead of  writing my post. i repent. also, i am hungover as hell today- so my body is repenting too. but on to the promised content!

so i am very proud to say that a year has come and gone, and i have not used my credit cards even once. i did have to borrow money from the boyfriend on a couple of occasions, and i did certainly have more than a few months of barely scraping by (including and especially this one), but it still feels like progress to me. am i delusional? is learning to control my finances a gradual evolution, or should i have figured my shit out by now? i worry that it’s like being an alcoholic, where i either need to quit cold turkey or never get better…

as usual, i still have dreams and hopes of getting a tighter grip on my money and finally making a bigger dent in my debt this year. i’m still way behind from xmas and more other random unexpected shit (burst pipe!), but i’ve started a new habit to help defray at least a little of any future emergency money madness: i have become a gift card hoarder.

usually after xmas, i take any gift cards i might have and rush my little ass to the mall and spend spend spend…  but this year i promised myself that i would hold on to them for a bit and see what happened.  i have also amassed a few more from rebates and online surveys (i’ve had great luck with these guys), and my cache is looking quite tidy (see above). here’s my master plan: Read the rest of this entry »





shit, i forgot the coupons.

14 01 2011

for xmas, i gifted myself with a subscription to the sunday paper. it’s minimally cheaper than buying it at the store, and conveniently delivered to my front door before 7 am. thus, i can stay in my sweatpants and be lazy and not brave the cold cold walk down to the sketchy sketchy 7-11. or so i had hoped! first sunday, NO PAPER. i figured maybe it just took them a minute to get the party started. last sunday, NO PAPER AGAIN (later resolved with an agitated call to the circulation department- i hope)!  thanks to a 7 hour a chorus line rehearsal on sunday, i didn’t have the time or energy to go get one on my own. i hit the grocery store on tuesday, but sadly, there were none left. a couponless week! what’s a girl to do!?

when i first started my coupon clipping adventures over a year ago, a moment like this would have sent me into a panic spiral. to think of all the deals that i would miss, the freebies loaded into the carts of strangers that wouldn’t be available to me without those magic slips of paper… i don’t remember if i ever cried over such a situation, but i also don’t remember not crying. when i first started out, i would get a crazy high off my deal mongering and would hit multiple drugstores multiple times per week- often spending hours in the aisles trying to cobble the perfect deal (poor boyfriend left to languish in the car).

but then, i kind of got over it.

i don’t have any idea how extreme couponers keep the ball rolling… it’s so much pre-planning and work! after a while, my coupon energy ramped down and my desire to have every single deal faded away (my stockpiles grew too large… i ended up with items i couldn’t use or donate…i was fucking tired…). if i missed a newspaper, so what? if i forgot to bring my coupons to the grocery store, meh!

i still go through peaks and valleys of coupon focus/mania, but in terms of the emotional highs and lows that i used to hit, i have figured out a few things along the way that are guaranteed to always talk me off the ledge: Read the rest of this entry »





resolved.

2 01 2011

i was lucky enough to come into a bit of an xmas windfall this year. nothing earth shattering (most of it went to bills and to my saving’s account), BUT i decided to give myself a small allowance to spend on whatever i wanted. DANGEROUS. it could have been anything, or everything… i have a bad habit of burning through cash without really paying attention to where it goes, or really caring too much when it’s gone. i’m all like “oh, that’s was fun”, instead of feeling the intense sense of guilt and shame that keeps most people from getting in financial trouble.

the last year has overall been a good one for my financial evolution. this was the first year in over a decade that i didn’t use my credit cards even once. i also managed to have a savings account with actual money in it for more than 15 minutes. on the other hand, i didn’t pay off my credit cards as much as i would have liked, i didn’t manage to keep the majority of the money in my savings account, and i still didn’t start an HSA.

so for 2011, i have only one resolution. it isn’t to save more, or spend less, pay off the credit cards, or even open an HSA… (although all of those things are certainly worth keeping in mind). my resolution this year is just to PAY ATTENTION. wherever my money travels should take me this year, i would like to be watchful and be thoughtful about every dollar i spend. i’m thinking about leaving my debit card at home, giving myself a cash allowance, being more careful about monitoring my mint account… but it doesn’t really matter what i do, as long as i’m being vigilant.

i decided to lube up my resolution and get started a little early with the aforementioned windfalll. instead of just throwing the money into my checking account and going apeshit on whatever i happened to find first, i sat down and really thought about things that i wanted, needed, and would generally be too cheap or too broke to afford the rest of the year. here is what i came up with: Read the rest of this entry »