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Been There, Done That

By Laura Nethken Published: July 9, 2017 4:00 AM

Dave and I way overspent at the dollar store the other day. But, I'm working on justifying all that in my head. Nothing like a little rationalizing to keep the budget flowing.

It's not like we went "spent the rent money" overboard, but I really had no intention of spending $66. In fact, I really only went there to get one thing. We needed garlic to make our bug juice -- juice to keep bugs off the plants in the garden.

The first year we made it, we ripped right through a whole gallon of concentrate in no time and had to make more. That's because it rained so much that year. We sprayed, it rained and washed it off and we had to spray some more.

It does seem to help keep the bugs from chewing up the plant leaves. Evidently even bugs don't like the taste of jalapeo/garlic juice. Last year, we mixed up a fresh batch of bug juice and hardly used it at all. I thought we were good to go for this year.

Yeah, not so much. I took the cap off the jug and the stench nearly knocked me down. I'm not spraying that mess on our plants.

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So, I got the garlic and I picked up a package of our Beagle Boy Cletus' favorite chew sticks. And I thought I'd just get an idea of how much an alarm clock is. I'm tired of getting up late because I refuse to relinquish the 30-plus-year-old clock we have.

I don't even know how old it really is. I know we've had it since the late '80s, but I'm pretty sure we didn't buy it new. The phone part of it died years ago, like that matters. Who has a land-line anymore anyway?

What does matter is that all the words have been rubbed off over the years. I just set it by force of habit or sense of smell, I guess.

OK, $8 isn't bad for a new clock and peace of mind on getting to work on time for once.

It's going to be a nightmare getting it plugged in though. I'll have to crawl behind the headboard of the bed and pull the wire down through the hole.

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My claustrophobia will kick in, I'll freak out and coming flying out of there like the Boogeyman is chasing me. At least I'm not afraid of spiders -- good thing too -- because there's a whole web-city going on back there.

While we were at the dollar store, I thought I'd take a peek at the cost of a new curling iron. I'm pretty sure $10 is a much better way to play it this time. I cheaped out and bought a couple of used ones at a rummage sale last year.

One of them blew up in my hand and tripped the GFI plug (I mean receptacle) in the bathroom. So I pushed the reset button, but it didn't reset. So we checked the breakers -- in both boxes. I don't even know what the second one goes to. No breakers were tripped in either one.

So we thought the GFI receptacle was bad and bought a new one. When our son came to install it, he discovered there was no power to it. All I knew was that the hall light didn't work and we had to plug in the fridge in the kitchen using an extension cord.

And he knew he was way past his pay grade. We needed an electrician. Our new insurance company sent us two, and both were a little flabbergasted that few, if any, of our breakers are labeled.

Yeah well, we tried that when we first moved in 20+ years ago, but it was a moot point. How do you write down "the downstairs hallway and half the bathroom" on that little sticker? The bathroom light still worked, so it was only the receptacle and the hallway that were out.

Or how about if I vacuum the living room with the heater plugged in (downstairs, front half of house), then I blow a breaker and have to reset my alarm clock with the words rubbed off (upstairs, back half of house). Write that on a breaker box sticker. I don't even know what I just said and I live there.

Five hours later, our new insurance company got a bill for $2,000 and I got a brand new curling iron. That one pretty much justified itself.

The $30 DVD player I'm having a harder time rationalizing. We bought one of those "free TV" antennas, but you need the TV remote to hook it up.

Our little $25 10-inch TV we bought at the junk store didn't come with a remote. So, at the camper we watch DVDs and VCR tapes.

Our current and third DVD player didn't do anything but say "loading" on the screen. Our third VCR just ate our "Liar, Liar" tape.

It won't play it and it won't give it back either.

I'm wondering if our little TV isn't to blame for the systematic demise of six appliances, only one of which we purchased new.

It swears it's innocent, so were sending in this new $30 DVD as the sacrificial lamb or "crash dummy."

Maybe it's more of a scientific experiment than an out-and-out sacrifice. That fits better into my rationalizations. Yeah, we'll go with that.

° 2017 Laura Nethken


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