December 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
I drink the 2-buck-chuck. I’m down with Frugalmas and Econukkah. Every month without fail I take my 20% coupon to Bed Bath and Beyond and by one useful for the house. Just slowly chipping away at the list I keep on my phone: Things I put off until I can get a deal. Seriously, I can’t wait until March when I can finally buy a much needed toilet brush.
So I’m cheap. I take my shoes to a cobbler and I maintain my girlish figure primarily because I cannot afford to buy new jeans. I picked these habits up somewhere, but I never considered it to be from my parents.
Growing up I wanted for nothing and every 6 months or so my mother and I would find ourselves at the mall and we’d have one of those, “don’t tell your father” days. I’m not talking super spending sprees, but my ma is a brilliant seamstress so I could always find something that she could not make for the price tag. She’s the best person to shop with, if she approves you know you’re getting your money’s worth. She’d check the stitching, consider the quality of fabric and if it fit great I’d be wearing it to school the next day. “You look just darling,” she’d say. As a result, I ended up with a good portion of my wardrobe stuff she bought because she thought it looked “darling” on me. My tailored brown leather pants weren’t exactly the Abercrombie cargo flares I hoped for. I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth if she wanted to buy the pink pleated chiffon dress with princess seams and matching slip that I was going to wear once for my confirmation, sure I wasn’t going to tell my father. I’ll be her dress up doll forever, but I didn’t always like it.
Like I said, brilliant seamstress. When I was younger, what I assume was to save money and exercise her creativity, my mother made all my clothes. The Christmas dress in particular was a big to-do in my elementary school years. One year when I was about 6, she got a great price on some deep crimson velvet. Before she put on the finishing touches on said christmas dress, I tried it on, approved it, loved it. The next day I come home from school to find my dress dripping with appliqués, like I had doilies trapezeing from my shoulders, swinging around my neck, crawling up from the bottom they were everywhere. It must have taken her forever, hand stitched with beaded detailing. I hated it. I took on look at it and burst into tears. I’m pretty sure I was heavily bribed with the whole Santa’s watching thing and put it on 3 times that year: Christmas eve, Christmas Day, and Christmas Daddy/Daughter Dance. The outfit was complete with tam (it had feathers around the band), shawl, and muff. Yes, that’s right and it was my favorite part of the ensemble. I was possibly the only 6 year old in existence in 1989 who even knew what a muff was. Perhaps she got carried away with the feathered muff, but as perviously stated, I wanted for nothing.
It wasn’t until this year, when mister red and I set out to spend our first christmas together in the new place did I realize where I get my penny pinchers from. We do try to stretch each dollar as far as we can, so I didn’t think twice when my mother offered to send us a fake christmas tree. I was thinking she must have gotten a new one and she was going to hand-me-down their old one. Great, free tree! She even said she was going to send some ornaments. Sweet.
As a girl I danced with a competitive company through high school. Every year we’d exchange ornaments at christmas, so you can imagine how many little ceramic ballerinas I had coming to me. Through this dance company, we had a yearly garage sale as a fundraiser. One year my mom got a little 4ft fake Christmas Tree for a dollar. This is a tree she sends me this year. My very own Charlie brown.
Let’s recap, my generous mother sends me and my boyfriend a 4ft Christmas tree she bought for a dollar from garage sale a decade and a half ago with a missing leg on it’s stand and a couple of key branches. She probably paid at least $20-something putting it through the mail to get the package from Michigan to California that included 30 little pink dancers and one new ornament to add masculinity for Mister Red.
For about that much she could have just sent me a check and we could have put that toward a brand new 6 footer. But we’re being frugal, so I ponied up and made a tree topper from toy princess crown I found and we called it good. Guess I know where I get it now.