I come from frugal stock.
My mother raised four kids on her own and we pretty much had squat, so she learned, and learned quick, how to stretch a meal or find the best bargains or come into a lawn-bag-full of outdated ill-fitting hideous clothes with plenty of good life left in 'em. She could feed seven people on one can of tuna and a loaf of generic white bread, as long as there were large quantities of mayonnaise on hand. And some celery.
And my grandmother, bless her soul. I curse her! Living through the depression. Has she any idea what that has done to me? I don't believe the woman ever threw a solitary thing out in her life. Oh there were trash cans in her house, to be sure. For others to use. But she would usually fish out whatever you had thrown in to her recycled paper bag/plastic bag can liners. And she would wear a puzzled and hurt look on her face while she tried to think what could have possessed you to throw away a perfectly good toilet paper tube. Why, she could use that to make....
And I inherited their frugality gene. I inherited it, alright. And again, I say, I curse them! I hate frugality.
I hate sitting on the floor the week before school begins, drowning in last year's notebooks, going through each and every one and ripping out the used pages to give the notebooks new life. I CAN GET COMPOSITION BOOKS ON SALE FOR A QUARTER AT STAPLES IF I WATCH THE SALE CIRCULARS! A QUARTER! So what if they only used 15 pages last year and it looks like new. Throw it out, throw it out!
But I can't. I can't do it.
I hold the comp book aloft over the trash can (well, the recycling bin), poised to toss it callously in. But my grandmother's little angel is perched on my shoulder and whispering in my ear
"Don't do it, it's a sin, look at all the life it still has in it. If you don't want to use it for your child's notebook, then maybe you could start a journal. Or you could write down some favorite recipes, you could paste clippings from magazines."
I even talked my girls into getting all crafty with their old notebooks a couple years ago by covering them with scraps of construction paper and scrapbook papers (not whole sheets mind you, I was saving them, just the scraps) and stickers and what-not. See how cute these are, I said to them. You'll be the only ones in the school with notebooks like these.
I tried the same approach this year but they were not having it.
Couple weeks ago I brought my vacuum in to the repair shop.
The man told me there was nothing wrong with it except for a clog deep in its innards and it needed a filter changed.
Great, how much will it be?
And I stood there, mouth agape is dismay, for a solid two minutes.
Big Mama was whispering in my ear.
I thanked the man kindly, bought the requisite filter and some new belts, took my vacuum and I left.
When I got home I hoisted the behemoth onto my table and I got me a wire coat hanger and I went fishin' deep in the bowels of the vacuum and I retrieved a wad of hair and fur and old Easter grass and carpet threads and buttons all wound around the dismembered arm of a little soldier. Then I reattached hoses, changed air filters, and cut the hair out of the beater bar with the hedge clippers.
When I was done I was coated from top to tail in vacuum dust. I looked like a chimney sweep.
BUT I SAVED 93 DOLLARS!
ARE YOU HAPPY BIG MAMA, ARE YOU HAPPY?
I hate frugailty.....