Cheap forms of entertainment

Still being unemployed (well, a “freelance writer” but it’s about the same), money is tight. And it’s Christmas. The wife and I have decided to not exchange gifts and concentrate solely on our 20 month old daughter. Times are rough for many lately…I know this. Perhaps it’s greedy to not really comprehend this when struggling as much as we currently are. (It also doesn’t help in knowing that the waste of chromosomes that is “Joe the Plumber” will soon be reaping the rewards of having a totally irrelevant book published).

Anyway, due to our lack of funds, my To be Read pile has been vacant for over two months.  A few posts back I explained that this was why I borrowed the Harry Potterseries from my mother-in-law.  Four books through and I had to take a break.  I like it just fine, but I needed something that wasn’t so YA and full of wizards and cutesy names.  So I did something I haven’t done since college.

I went to the library. 

And since I had taken such a bold step, I decided that I would check out at least one book that was non-horror…a literary book that had gotten great reviews but sounded like something I would never read.  So I checked out Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain.  Only 105 pages in and I’m very much awe struck.  To compensate for this unnatural response to the library, I also took home Ramsey Campbell’s The Darkest Part of the Woods.

So I went home with at least 10-14 days worth of reading.  Then lo and behold, my birthday came around.  I received a Barnes and Noble gift card from the in laws (perhaps the best gift a writer can receive, in my opinion).  So I spent hours in Barnes and Noble yesterday.  I ended up getting King’s Just After Sunset, Laymon’s Beast House and Vonnegut’s almost-memoir, the last thing published before he died, A Man Without a Country.  So these, in addition to the library books, means I will be leaving Hogwarts behind for at least a month or so.

Wait, it gets better (kind of).  Sunday night, we visited my parents.  They had begrudgingly adopted a cat from some friends.  It is a solid black cat, which my wife has always wanted.  (I don’t hate cats per se, but we already have one and that is more than enough for my tastes).  But after talking in private with my stepfather, I ended up taking the cat from them and giving it to my wife as a Christmas present.  A free Christmas present (no, I am not going to get technical and count the costs of the shots that it will be getting in a few days).

Then last night, to cap off my birthday, we went to the local $1.00 theater and watched City of Ember.  It was much better than I thought it would be and I enjoyed it a lot.  It actually makes me want to give the books a try.

But only if the library has them checked in.

So, all of that entertainment (and yes, kittens are quite entertaining), for $2.00 (the movie tickets).  I forgot how rewarding it is too feel thrifty.

But it isn’t difficult to translate “thrifty” into “broke”.  We know this all too well.  It is why I am seriously considering applying for a job as a plumber.  I will then ask stupid questions of blathering presidential candidates and anxiously await my book deal.

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7 comments

  1. I used to love to go to the dollar theater in Omaha, until everyone’s cars started getting robbed in the lot (my brother’s was one of them) Now I just don’t go to movies at all. (I think we have gone to 1 in the last three years) Good luck and the economy will pick up, although I don’t think it has anything to do with who is in office. It is just a business cycle.

  2. Jamie – I live in Lynchburg, VA…the theater is about 3 blocks from Liberty University (Jerry Falwell country). Crime rate is nada. Sorry about your brother’s car, though.

    Natalie – There’s an obvious joke there, but I will take the high road…

    Aaron – College kids abound so the $1 theater here does better than the normal ones. Well maybe with the exception of last weekend…Twilight and all that

    Cate – Indeed.

  3. If you wanted a cat I can ship one to anywhere, I just have to know if you want air holes in the box or not. (I’m just kidding. We had 17 at one point this year but I live on an acreage and we have no mice, or snakes. Now we ONLY have 12.)

  4. Mmm…free cat…

    My wife and I stopped exchanging gifts when we had our second kid about 9 years ago, and shortly thereafter decided to stop buying presents for all of the adults in our lives (we just do homemade greeting cards), and asked everyone to reciprocate. It was for three reasons: we were dirt poor, it was just too much of a tit-for-tat scorekeeping game with presents, and added undue stress to a time of year that was supposed to be just the opposite. Anyway, it’s worked out great, and our relatives all have followed suit–more money for gifts for the kids, and we still net less spent.

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