Monday, March 30, 2009

Being frugal is expensive

In preparation for David's last day of paid employment at the end of last month, we took stock and battened down the financial hatches. This somehow cost us about $1,600.

(Once again, we're all shocked that the two of us haven't managed to save an apartment downpayment yet, right?)

It started with us doing an overview of the disorganized house. "If we're going to be staying in more, we should neaten this place up," I said.

That required finding ways to relocate some of our Vast Debris Stacks collections onto shelves. I'd long thought we were at max shelf/wall space capacity, but David wrangled another two feet or so out of the wall closest to the door. So off we went to Gothic Cabinet Craft to procure a shelf to fill the exciting wall vacuum. $189 later and one very creative deployment of a rolling laundry cart later, we had a new shelf dragged home and three less piles of DVDs and CDs.

Then we decided that since we're going to be cooking more, we should do a full stockup run at the Red Hook Fairway. $211 got us enough staples to keep your average militia fed for a few seasons. (And 2 squab. "Because it's good for us to experiment a bit when we find unusual stuff at the store," I insisted. Verdict on experiment? I am fine with regarding squab as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.)

I thought we were financially clear. Then Elder Cat started having Intestinal Distress. All over our bed. Three times in one week. "Well, it's been a while since cat checkups, and we should get all this stuff sorted while we're wrapping up bills ..." I thought. $348 later, Elder Cat was sent home with antibiotics, which turned out to be unnecessary because the prospect of continued medical intervention immediately cured kitty of all ills.

And finally, a vicious round of fights with the bathroom scale convinced me that I am tragically not immune to the metabolic effects of aging, and can no longer remain in denial about this "exercise" thing I hear rumours about. However, past attempts at physical fitness have taught me that unless it's tennis, my natural slothful instincts will overrule all attempts at physical activity for its own boring, painful sake. The only way I was going to conquer my own self-sabotage was bribery. IE: Join the fancy gym right in the basement of my office and be able to exercise without even leaving the building. (Seriously, two blocks away and I wouldn't go. I know my limits, and in combination with my vast powers of procrastination, they are formidable.)

Like many companies, mine offers nice subsidies for using the nearby gym. However, thanks to bureaucratic wrinkles that keep my employment situation only slightly less complex than 2010 federal budget negotiations, the office I actually work out of each day isn't considered my "home" office -- that's 10 blocks away. So to use my basement gym, I have to pony up for a special all-access pass, which incurred a one-time payment of OhDearGod$.

After trying for two weeks to bargain, then moving on to the acceptance phase and grudgingly deciding to cough up the gym-access key money, I signed up. (Beginner Yoga left me almost immobilized for four days. Clearly, this fitness thing will be a gradual endeavor.)

Add in a handful of other odds-and-ends, and getting set up to run on a "scaled down" budget cost us almost as much as a month's rent. But, er, now, we're done with the expenses, I swear ...

And I've warned the other cat that if he starts coughing or showing signs of needing a pricey vet trip, he's being auctioned off on eBay.