Saturday, February 21, 2009

Suze Orman, forgive me!

I'm a bit of a tightwad. Or so I like to think.

Okay, I spend a lot on little things. Daily lunches. Comic books. Art supplies every few months. Online courses. (Ooh! I'm taking 3 really great ones right now, one from Yosemite Romance Writers, one from San Diego RW, and one from good ol' Heart of Carolina RW. The first two are PR for writers, and the last is screenwriting.)

On rare occasion I get the urge to spend on Something of Consequence. Even more rarely I am overcome by the desperate need to Get Things Done.

This past week I've succumbed to much of both of these conditions. I bought a new TV. I'd been planning to, partially because of the digital conversion (now postponed) and partially because my TV hasn't given me a really good picture in about three years.

In addition, I went ahead and upgraded my DirecTV plan to include local and neighboring (ie, Triangle and Triad) channels, though I just got a converter for the tiny TV in the guest bedroom/Brad Pitt shrine/comics library/mailing room/etc/etc/etc. In order to do this I had to upgrade my DTV service (no longer offered) to the next higher $$ level. Ouch.

My home is what they call a "manufactured home," meaning a double-wide. My particular model was billed as the "Home Theatre" edition because a corner of the family room had TV, tuner, multi-CD player, sensu-round sound (rarely used) and VCR built into it. So that meant that if I ever wanted to upgrade it would be a major operation since things have to be pried out of this box they built behind a bunch of trimwork.

Plus if a new TV were larger than the old... say, if TVs went to a wide-screen format and lots of people were getting 37" screens and larger... it would have to come out of the corner entirely, get its own TV/entertainment table, and require an electrician to rewire everything.

So that's one of the people who came out this week. Unfortunately my electrician didn't quite know what he was doing, but thank goodness DirecTV got a guy out 2 days later who went zip, zip, RRRUUUNNNGGG (that's a drill), zip, RRRUUUNNNGGG (he found out I had a second connection in the back), zip, and everything's fairly much set up. Unless I want HD, in which case I have to get 1 1/2 trees cut down, plus $100 in a new service call to get me a new dish & etc.

Faced with a hole in the living room where the entertainment center used to be, I called in a carpenter who says he can do a temporary plug job until May, when I want to do some serious work on the family room. In the meantime he'll also be Getting Things Done: pressure-washing the house and painting the porches and pergola, plus waterproofing a large mural I have in the back yard. (I was in a strange mood back in '05.) (But oh! does it look good!)

And since things were finally getting painted, it was time to Get Things Done in the yard by moving a few trees that weren't doing so well in the front yard to the back yard, where they'll have root room and sunlight. This has to be done before the sap rises. We're kind of pushing our luck on this, as some trees have begun coming out already. Two weeks ago the pink-blossomed trees at Cameron Village Shopping Center in Raleigh were in full bloom, but they're always the first guys out. Still, there's a haze of new red in the woods, and I spotted some light-yellow blossoms on a handful of trees in Mebane yesterday.

Ca-ching! Suze Orman, forgive me! I'm spending money when I don't have my safety savings net and still have lots of credit card debt! But I'm paying in cash (out of my treasured, "don't touch this otherwise" Travel Savings). So does that make me fiscally irresponsible? Out of control? Evil?

Now, if I bought that Neuton electric lawnmower whose brochure is even now lying open next to me, advertising their pre-season sale... Definitely evil? How about those books from North Light Book Club that I have circled in the brochure under it?

I mean, so what if I bought two plant collections from QVC this weekend? They're perennials. They'll increase the value of my property, if I can ever get out there and work on it at any length.

These things seem to come in cycles. Once a year -- maybe twice if the planets align correctly -- I spend. I Get Things of Consequence Done and/or (too rarely) Go On a Cool Vacation. The rest of the time I clasp my wallet tightly to my bosom and snarl at those who want me to dispense my hard-earned cash in their direction for whatever reason.

Sigh. Maybe tomorrow I'll buy two lottery tickets. It's definitely time to put a bunch of paintings up on eBay, though that doesn't seem to be the greatest place to sell paintings, at least if you want to get a reasonable price for them. Give me a day to post a few and check 'em out. On eBay I'm Lina Strick, I think.

Contributions are always welcomed!

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