Sunday, November 16, 2008

Of Spoon Thieves and Gas Incentives

When I left my mother's house to go to college, I took three mismatched spoons. I still have them.

The spoons from the silverware set we bought when we first set up an apartment 17 years ago? Gone. I think we have one left.

Then there are the 10 or 12 spoons I bought by themselves a few years ago. Three of those left.

Luckily (for me and other frugal shoppers), our local Linens N Things is going out of business (I am very sad for those employees). I got a set of 10 spoons for $6.99.

I have no idea where those old spoons went. I thought they'd gotten dropped below the silverware tray in the drawer, but Number One and I cleaned it out a couple of weeks ago, and they weren't there. So I thought they'd fallen out the back of the drawer down in the pan cupboard, but I dug that out, and found only one of the two grapefruit spoons we used to have (no idea where the other one went, as we have almost never used them.

I remember being a kid and my mother saying my brother must be smuggling spoons outside to dig in the dirt or something, because they'd all disappeared. So either I generate a teaspoon black hole in my house, or this is a universal phenomenon, like socks in the washing machine/dryer.

How about you? Do you lose spoons inexplicably?


One of our local grocery store chains has gas stations in their lots, and one of their incentive programs is that you earn a point for every dollar you spend (pretax) and for every 100 points, you get ten cents off per gallon of gasoline. They also occasionally have extra incentives, where if you buy 6 of 8 particular products, you get an additional 20 cents off per gallon.

In the past, I've gotten up to 40 cents off at a time. But thanks to Vicki, I became aware of last week's promo, which was 40 cents off if you bought three bulk meat items. So I got snow crab legs (which were muy yummy) and boneless pork chops and skinless boneless breasts (that were MAMMOTH and stuffed nicely with the crab meat). AND I got up to 90 cents off a gallon. Not nearly as good as Vicki got, but still pretty damned good--$1.09 per gallon!

But I'd counseled J to run his tank down as low as he could, because he has a bigger tank than I do, and I wanted to get the most of this savings. He took me at my word. But when we got in the car to go to dinner last night, and he hit the fancy button that gives us a rotating display that includes how many more miles you can go on the gas you have left... said 0.

Thank God the local station is only a mile from the house, and half that is downhill, so we could drive without using the gas motor, but then we have to go UP hill, and I was very afraid we'd be pushing. In the rain. That wouldn't have been good. Needless to say, we made it, and that damned car lies, because it only took 14.6 gallons and it's a 17.1-gallon tank.


I'm feeling a bit down tonight. I really don't know why.

--Maybe from watching The Lake House today, but probably not, because as much as it made me cry (even the third time watching it!), it's a lovely, happen-ending movie.

--Maybe from the whole NaNo thing. I'm a Capricorn, and live up to the sign description when it comes to competitiveness. Just ask Misty. :) I'm just as driven when competing against myself as against other people. So even though I'm (usually, but not every day) leading my Buddies on NaNo (Mary's way ahead of me, now), and even though I will have absolutely no trouble winning NaNo, I probably won't make my goal and beat my previous record, which beat the one before it.

It shouldn't be a big deal. There's no concrete reason why I need to do it, just personal challenge. But I haven't written all weekend (a NaNo double-first) and so I let that personal goal go. Which makes me feel bad about myself and my discipline and focus and blah blah blah, so I get determined to do it anyway, but then I feel despair because at this point, it will be so hard to do. So why bother?

Such is the circle of my mind.

--Or maybe from realization and acknowledgment. When you got to a conference, there is usually a small group (or several) of professionals at a particular level of success who are really, really close friends. Like BFFs to the Nth degree. And they all started being successful at about the same time, growing their careers on similar (though often quite disparate) tracks. And you look at them, and hug your own BFFs to the Mth degree close, and know that you'll be just like them someday. And then something happens, and those other friends start getting successful, and you don't, and you watch them flying, and are so happy for them, but the dream has broken down. The time has come when you can no longer fool yourself into thinking that you'll catch up. Can the friendships be sustained when you no longer commiserate on the same things? Will they start looking at you differently because you're just not at their level? Even if things don't change at all from their perspective, can you keep your own from changing? Admitting that maybe not can be a mood dampener.

ETA: Or MAYBE it's the fact that we haven't had any SUNSHINE for, like, a WEEK, and it's been dreary and drizzly and downright rainy and windy, not to mention dark REALLY REALLY EARLY. Thank God for Teresa! I feel inexplicably better. (And thank you to Cindy for linking to Teresa about Cats in Sinks and therefore exposing me to the most reasonable explanation for my kinda sad mood. Sheesh. And I'm supposed to be smart and self-insightful.


So. That's kind of a bummer of a note to end a Sunday night post on. Let's end with this, instead.



Victoria said...

Spoons: Definitely a black hole in this house. Several years ago, we were down to 4 spoons. My m-i-l gave us a shoe box full of the teaspoons she'd collected over the years, and the supply is getting low again. We found 2 spoons and 2 knifes while raking, so I know we have spoon smugglers here.
Gas: That's always heart-stopping madness when you don't think you'll make it to the store. But congrats on your savings!
Am totally with you on your last point. But I think it's way, way too early for us to give up hope. Way too early. We'll get there. I'm sure of it.
And SQUEE on the spoilers!!! I wonder what Anna knows...I can't wait!!!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Okay, glad to hear I'm not a spoon aberration. :) What the heck are your smugglers doing with the knives out there?!

You're right, it's too early--it's always too early to give up, right up until the moment you're dead. Things might be different from how we envisioned, but different is rarely bad.

I want to know why Castiel said Anna is far from innocent!

Victoria said...

They're using the knives to shave chalk. And it's really just one of them. Who does know taking knives outside is not allowed. They are butter knives, but still...

All we can do is keep on swimming. When we stop we drown, so we don't have much choice.

Also, I want to know why Sam asked Anna if she knows how to kill an angel. Part of me thinks he asked her because of what she might have heard on 'angel radio', but then I wonder if she really does know more and isn't quite who we think she is.
I don't know, but I can't wait to find out.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Shave chalk. Heee!

Ditto on the Sam question. I can't wait! Only three days...

MaryF said...

I never keep track of my spoons. I had something else to add but completely spaced. Don't be beating yourself up! You'll make the 50000, and if it takes you a bit longer to reach the end, don't worry. You've inspired your kids to join you!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Thanks, Mary. :)

Ava Quinn said...

Hey Natalie! I hear ya on the getting down. I don't have any glib turn that frown upside-down advice for you. Not my schtick. Just know that I've thought the same things- that I'll never even get off the ground with the writing, let alone close to the level of my friends. Hopefully that doesn't make me too pathetic! Just remember, there's a lot of people you're ahead of. That should soothe the competitive nature!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Me = hypocrite

I don't sound like it, but I really don't believe in comparing yourself to anyone else. And I try really hard not to do that. It doesn't make me feel better, no, that people I care about are "behind" me. :)

And gosh, no, that doesn't make you pathetic! You know, you're at about the same point I was about five years after I started writing--which was 10 years ago. I don't think it will take you 10 years to pass me. :)

Shuttle Service in Atlanta said...

Yes! I always lose spoons at home. I thought it was just pure carelessness or a weird habit until I read this post of yours. By the way, your header is very very nice:) Kudos for the efforts you put into it:)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

It's nice to not feel alone, isn't it? :)

Thanks, but I can't take credit for the header. Some talented person made this template available for Blogger and I am grateful! :)