The Second-Best Things in Life

“The best things in life are free; the second best are very expensive.” — Allegedly said by Coco Chanel, but Wikiquote doesn’t bear this out.

Still a good quote, whoever said it. (Thanks to my cousin D., who posted it on Facebook.)

My birthday celebration was a combination of the two categories. The best stuff was all free. Hanging out with my BFF for hours and hours, catching up, watching ridiculous movies and old Friends episodes on TV. Meeting up with another friend that I hadn’t seen in years and years, whom I associate with some of the best times of my life. Dancing nonstop from 11 pm til 1 am.

We were paralyzed the next day.

We were paralyzed the next day.

The second-best stuff included a massage and pedicure, and a really fancy dinner out, surprises from my husband. Actually the whole thing was planned by and paid for by him. Every year I get a teensy bit irritated when he plans a birthday surprise for me. Part of me grumbles that I want to just do my own thing, plan it myself. But he always gets the jump on me and plans something before I do. It’s all good — I certainly needed a night away, probably more than I realized, and I love having a thoughtful husband. Do I think it was a little excessive? Yep. Next year, maybe me and the BFF can spend the day thrift store hunting or going on a hike or taking a cooking class. 🙂

One thing I tried to do “my way” was take the train to Atlantic City for the festivities, rather than drive. It saves on gas, it’s environmentally friendly, I can read or daydream or write lists, and then my spatially/directionally challenged brain doesn’t have to deal with parking/driving when I’m down there. My BFF picks me up at the station and away we go. Alas, I waited a half-hour past the scheduled departure and the train was a no-show. I didn’t want to miss my massage, so I ended up walking back to my car and driving (while the rest of the people on the platform wondered, “what kind of moron takes the train if she doesn’t have to?”).


Back to reality now. I downloaded some new apps to my phone: the Wawa app, so I can get some rewards for all those coffees, and the Wegmans app, which lets you search the store and add items to a shopping list, and organizes the list by aisle. I just got back from Wegmans, and it really was helpful. Yesterday, I printed coupons, wrote a menu, and tried to make the list as correct and targeted as possible, which also helped. I stopped in Acme yesterday to get a few things that were on sale there, like butter for $2.50/lb (ok, and to get more Monopoly game cards, ’cause now I’m obsessed with that. I blame the ghost of my grandfather).

Prior to Acme, my daughter and I visited the Habitat ReStore, in search of a bookshelf for her room, but no luck. I did find this sofa that I love, but have no reason to buy:


We had lunch at a cart parked outside of the store. It was delicious! I had a cheeseburger. Nice and fresh. Aaand the friendly cart lady told me I should go to the other ReStore, a few miles away, because it has better stuff, and she also clued me in to another thrift store that just opened.


For the rest of today I’ll be working on the garden. I got some stuff that’s supposed to protect against critters, and I have one raised bed almost ready for seeds. Tonight my oldest has a baseball game, and tomorrow he has an allergist appointment. Otherwise it’s a quiet week.

Budget update: For April, I went about $200 over. Each category was just a little high. I’m going to try to do better in May — really! One thing I am definitely doing is cutting up my last remaining major credit card. I’ve been using it for certain things throughout the month — usually, when I’m not sure if my husband has put money in my account, and I’m afraid of bouncing items — and then paying off those charges as part of next month’s budget. It doesn’t usually amount to a lot, but some months it does (ahem Christmas), and then it’s an unpleasant surprise when I get the statement. There’s simply no reason to use it — I should only be paying for stuff with real money and need to plan accordingly. (I cut up my Kohl’s card, but if I want to buy something there and get the discount that comes with using the card, they will happily look up the card for me, so sometimes I do that. Same with Macy’s. Those are my only store cards. I think.)

Finally… spring is pretty. That is all.


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