The other day, as Dan was helping me carry my hanging clothes into my new apartment I was regaling him with tales of my yard saling adventures.
“Oh, and beside all the housewares I got at the estate sale for five bucks, wait till you see the sweet-ass garbage can I found! It was only a dollar!”
I was grinning from ear to ear. My grin slowly faded though, as Dan jolted me back to reality.
“Sweet-ass garbage can? Pam, seriously.”
I tried to hold my ground.
“No, it it is a great garbage can! Because the thing of it is, I would have had to pay like 11.99 for it at Target, but I got a great garbage can, you know, a tall one, for the kitchen? For just a dollar!”
Even I was having trouble convincing myself.
When did I become so cheap, anyway?

There is a fine line between cheap and frugal and I believe I am straddling it ever so precariously. At best. The garbage can exchange took place only about 15 minutes after The Great Bookshelf Find. Driving back from my old place, my car was loaded with the final load of clothes, a random assortment of foodstuffs, and our bikes on the roof rack. After a 50 mile bike ride and one final schlep of my stuff, we were ready to get clean and get fed. First however, I had to make a U-Turn to fully inspect the Great Bookshelf. It was sitting on the curb next to a matching desk in all its fake birch veneer glory. The matching desk I could do without, but the shelf was perfect for the spot right next to the fireplace! It was wobbly but it had five good shelves. And as Dan pointed out, it was nothing a few nails couldn’t fix. I had a hammer! I had nails! Perfect!!
“Dan, can you believe this! This is the perfect Bookshelf!”
Enter Reality, stage right.
“Pam, you’re 30. You’re engaged. The Bookshelf is not that great.”
“Ok but when we unload the car, lets come right back for The Bookshelf!”

Try as I might, it is hard to ignore the facts. I am afraid my standard of living has taken a nose dive of late. If you were to put my housing situations on a line graph you would see a gradual increase from 2000-2006, then a plateau to 2008, and then a sharp decline from 2008 to present, where it is again at a plateau. My carpet has stains. My freezer has no shelf. The sliding screen door to the patio does not slide. You can only access my parking spot via a long alley that has 2 potholes the size of California. The laundry is outside my unit. This would be grand if I was living in Manhattan. Which I’m not.

Boulder is no big city but I will say, I have everything I need within walking distance. Within 10 minutes I can walk to Dan’s, the Brewing Market, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Performance Bicycle, LiquorMart, US Bank, the Boulder Public Library and even Triathlete dentist. My neighborhood is rife with lazy college students who leave all their stuff around the dumpster instead of packing it up or taking it to the Salvation Army before they move. I ought to send them a thank you note. This weekend, within mere steps of my parking spot, I found 2 Stephen King Books (I might read them when I am done with every magazine, catalog, and article of junk mail in my apartment if the library is inaccessible and goes under), 1 Paul Coehlo book (I truly might read this one), yet another perfect garbage can (designated for my paper recycling), and a plastic bin (perfect on top of the fridge).

Sadly, I never was able to add The Bookshelf to my collection of Cheap or Free Stuff I Found on the Street. Eventually Dan came back, but he was empty handed. Although we had “hid” The Bookshelf behind a fence so no one else could claim my treasure before we came back to retrieve it, the plan backfired. We left The Bookshelf dangerously close to the dumpster, which made someone think it was… trash. So it was a little wobbly and it was probably from Target ca. 1999 but why do people have to go around playing God, like they get to decide what’s trash and what isn’t? People need to mind their own business. Anyway, Dan said he saw The Bookshelf peeking out of the dumpster and he didn’t think it was worth diving in for it. Which I totally understood. I do have standards after all. Like, when I saw massive rolls of dirty old used carpeting by the dumpster on Friday, I totally did not take them.

4 thoughts on “Regressing

  1. Anonymous says:

    I would like the record to show that I am at least as cheap, err, frugal?, as Pam is.1. I was the one who noticed the bookshelf. 10 years in Boulder have given me eagle eyes for this stuff.2. I have t-shirts (that I wear!) that are older than junior high school students.3. My dishes speak for themselves (see for Pam’s opinion)Pammie also didn’t mention the creek that runs by her apartment complex, her new bed, or her extensive free time. Personally, I’d term it progression, but that’s just me.Dan

  2. Nat says:

    Love how peeps have to ‘mind their own business’ when it comes to your shelf, but you are the little nibbler that goes through the boxes you find near the dumpster! 🙂 Great post, I can’t wait to see your place, you make every place you live in so freakin’ cute!!! Like you!

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