Miss Moneybags

Spending Money Left, Right and Center

Wow, wasn’t the inaugeration great? What an exciting end to a historic election! I’m so proud that I live in a country where it’s possible for a black man, a woman and an angry hamster to run for president. 

Other than the inauguration, yesterday really sucked.

I thought I was doing great with the challenge. I’m selling a book a day on half.com, I’ve been eating all my meals at home, and I’ve been batching all my errands in an effort to save time and gas. On Saturday, I gave blood, got a haircut, dropped off a final check to the painting crew that is working on my house, donated 100 books to the library book drive, and recycled my laser printer’s toner cartridge. 

Yesterday, I realized that, in my zealousness, I’d not only recycled my old toner cartridge but the drum unit of my printer too.

The cost of a replacement drum unit: $119.

Can I just say that spending that money was so painful? It was like getting a paper cut on your tongue or trying to bite off a hangnail but accidentally ripping it down to your knuckle instead. Excruciating and annoying in equal measure. My exciting $100 half.com earnings for January were wiped out in one flick of my wrist and the super-speedy recycling pick-up schedule at Staples. I was SO angry at myself for this stupid waste of money, gas and time. 

But, my anger was short lived. It lasted exactly eleven minutes.

I wish I could tell you that years of yoga and meditation allowed me to work through my frustration with tremendous efficiency, but that’s not what happened. What happened eleven minutes after I discovered that I’d thrown away a key part to an important piece of office equipment was this: Mr Foxypants came into my office and told me that Evelyn, who is my favorite koi, had been killed by raccoons that morning. 

What I learned yesterday is that it’s very hard to stay angry about a broken printer when you are on your hands and knees collecting the loose scales and bones of your pet, wrapping her half-eaten remains in a cloth, and tearfully digging a hole under the lemon tree for her grave. And while she was one of our most expensive fish, I felt no sadness about her purchase price, I only felt the loss of her life. While a drum unit costs more than a hunk of molded plastic really should, it’s replaceable. Evelyn is not. None of our other fish have her soft expression or her regal swimming style. The pond feels empty without her.

People who think that money cannot buy happiness have never purchased a pet.


  1. Rae
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Oh Noooooooo, that is SUCH a horrible day. I cried buckets when my first goldfish died. What a bummer for you, but I do love how you moved from the anger – grief thing and how these moments in our lives give way for great clarity of thinking. They do help us to gather a time of perception :/

    Eeek; hope today is a better day

  2. Laura
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Poor Evelyn. Pets are priceless.

  3. editrix
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I’m so sorry about your koi. How hateful. Raccoons are vexing, to say the least. I’m trying not to hate, but they do make me angry. I’ll put them in the same category as exhusbands; the Ex, in a fit of senseless pique, sent me a box with our wedding stuff, old love letters and photos, and his wedding ring. I sold the ring yesterday for $61. I’m that much closer to my goal already.

  4. Susan
    Posted January 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    So sorry about your fish. I know how even the skunks and groundhogs add to my life here, so I can imagine how much your Evelyn meant to you.

  5. slugmama
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Max, I’m sorry to hear of your loss of your beloved Evelyn. Pets, be they the furred or scaled or feathered variety fill a need in our souls and leave a hole in our hearts when they die.

  6. grkanga
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    I am so very sorry about Evelyn.
    It is a reminder about what is important in life and how we get into bemoaning minor things as if they are major and perspective is lost.
    Odd how sometimes it is hard to remember to appreciate the tiny wonders in our worlds…and yet how important they really are.

    Max:Thank you for the reminder.

    Is anyone here looking at a one dollar bill or all spare change as source for big savings plan?

  7. LisaPie
    Posted January 23, 2009 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Oh Max, I am so sorry for your loss and your setbacks. I hope today is a better day.

  8. LindaLinda
    Posted January 25, 2009 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Max, So sorry about the fish. It is not as if pets just die and it’s over, but knowing one was killed is what really hurts.
    If it is any consolation, someone at work threw away the drum once. Luckily, she figured it out when the new cartridge did not fit right. I threw out the little piece in a tape dispenser that the tape fits onto. Slogging through the trash can saved that tiny cheap bit of plastic.
    I really deplore days that seem to move me backwards. Good luck with the savings account.
    Grkanga, I just counted my change.

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