No Shopping Experiment: Its Getting Dark Now (1 Month In)

I once licked hand sanitizer off my own palm. Its not like I thought it through first. It was just visceral. I smelled the alcohol, and I wanted the relief I knew alcohol gave me. I regretted it immediately, and felt certifiably insane. Funny enough, my then-boyfriend’s beer was right in front of me on the table, he’d gone to the restroom. So, alone, having decided to de-germ my hands, I opted to clean myself like a cat rather than take a swig of beer. That’s how much I wanted to feel the effect of alcohol, and how hard I was trying not to drink.

As I neared the one month marker of the challenge this week, I felt myself acting out in a similar way. Of course I didn’t realize this at the time. Perspective is only gained in hindsight.

I told you I could “shop” for birthday gifts for the children. My son’s birthday is in April which is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, so while I was at the school bookfair this week I bought him $50 worth of Star Wars encyclopedias that he really wanted. As birthday gifts. But why? Why now? What does that do for me? I could Amazon those 3 months from now. And while I’d like to say, “But its for the children…” and attribute the purchase to my desire to benefit the bookfair, I’m not sure I’m that altruistic.

Wednesday night my husband looked over at my while I was reading my tablet in bed and asked why I had one of my eyes closed. “Its how I read when I’m tired,” I told him. “Kinda like how when you drive drunk you close one eye so you can see the road better.” He laughed before saying, “That’s not a thing, babe.” Its totally a thing I told him over and over, I dodged 421 DUI’s with that strategy (and a whole lot of luck, and grace, mostly probably luck.) “Not a thing. Get your eyes checked,” he said again before rolling over to his side. I just said, “ARRRR” because my left eye was still closed.

There really is something wrong with my eyes, I’ll spare you the details of my  optometrist visit, but it ended in my needing prescription reading glasses because I need a special thing called prism put inside (huh. I guess I won’t spare you the details.) Now, to those of you who have argued I should allow myself and the kids thing we “need” watch what happens here:

I went to the Kaiser Permanente optical shop, that’s our insurance and provider. After trying on several frames ranging from $79 dollars to $220, I remembered what a friend had told me about Costco’s frames being really inexpensive. I brushed that rational thought off like a crumb on the counter because I’d already discovered the Swarvoski crystal bedazzled glasses. I read primarily to my kids, and in bed to myself in the dark. Also, sometimes on planes, and in parking lots while waiting for my kids. So, a whole lot of no one sees will see these glasses.

But what if on a flight I am seated next to Cheryl Strayed, Alice Anderson, or Mary Karr sometime? I definitely want to look like I take my reading as seriously as I do and committing to crystals, really conveys I’m all in.  In case we got talking about my manuscripts, and Mary Karr thought I was so funny she wanted to see mine.

Also, In my mind, since I’d be wearing them for the foreseeable future, I deserved to love them. (My sponsor’s ears always perk up when I start a sentence with “I deserve…”) And because I heart all things that sparkle I–of all people–should have Swarvoski bedazzled reading glasses (I deserve, I should have, I am entitled.)

So I called the person I knew would push me over the top and allow me to swipe the card: my enabling mommy. “Of course you should get them. They’re fabulous,” she said after receiving a text picture. “Its a necessity and you can afford them. Get them.”

And that’s how I spent $ 360 dollars of our family’s money reserved for medical expenses (We have one of those Health Savings Accounts for all things medical, and bedazzled eyeglasses counted!)  on reading glasses, for myself.

I ended up at Costco later that day anyway because: toilet paper, craisins, coffee, paper towel, Nicorette gum, and paper towels. That’s all. I didn’t even peek at the reading glasses. I don’t think I could stomach the guilt. There was this cute-enough sales guy doing a demo with his little microphone and all, so I did that wide arch you do around anyone selling something. You know, don’t make eye contact, seem busy, hurried, or like you are looking for something very specific. But that pans he was plugging actually looked pretty cool, so I paused nearby with my back to him, and then another guy stopped and started asking him questions, and I turned around to creep on the demonstration. And within 5 minutes, I had to have these 4 HexClad (link to site) pans for the amazing Costco-only price of $349.00. Normal retail would be $449.

As a housewares, I would need my husband to agree on the need for the pans, but I didn’t think that would be too hard because the HexClad pan is a hybrid nonstick/stainless and it cannot be scratched. My husband is always giving me a hard time as I scramble eggs in our current nonstick with a fork accusing me of giving him Alzheimers, and I’m like, the good news is, if I do, you won’t remember me doing this.

I tried calling him from inside the store, just feet away from the Hexclad display. I couldn’t reach him by phone which is probably for the best because it turns out he was frying bigger fish (I guess in the lousy pans we already own), and it also meant that later that night I could plead my case in person. Eight minutes into my spiel, he cried mercy and asked if I would be quiet if he agreed we needed the pans. I said I would and so he did. Then he looked at me and said, “So are you going to go buy them?”

He essentially called my bluff, because I really don’t like spending hundreds (especially nearly $400) of my OWN money on boring things like pots and pans, because… boots, purses, and fancy pants.   So, pan win = #HollowVictory. Also, sad to say, I don’t have enough money in my spending to buy them on my own, and still be able to feed everyone before the HexClad show hits the road. I could put them on a credit card though? (Blah ha ha!)

I fired off a Facebook message to my dealer– I mean, Lipsense Independent Distributor– asking if she had a color I tried on of my friend’s car. I don’t actually have any Lipsense currently because I left my collection of five in a plastic bag in a hot car and well, murdered them. #UserError. So, technically, it wouldn’t be a challenge cheat. Except, I have other lipsticks. Though really, I don’t think any that work with my current shade of red hair. I put the purchase on ice asking consultant if I could come try some on this week when I was less hot and bothered about the whole thing. Really, when I start thinking a lipstick is the difference between feeling okay in my skin and crippling anxiety and irritability, its time for a few breaths.

In the cooling off period since the eyeglass purchase, my obsessive need for the Hexclad 7-piece-set has waned, can we call that progress? (Now watch, I’ll get it for Valentine’s day because I made such a big deal out of it.)

I can’t believe I signed up for a full six months of this. It reminds of giving up alcohol in that when I think ahead of the “events” I will need to get through (changing of seasons, another few trips, my parents visiting–shopping is our love language–, and countless quiet Tuesdays) I can get myself in a tizzy and all but throw in the towel on the spot. It sounds so lame, but really truly, the only way through all that, is simply to put my head down and take the days one at a time. And that used to drive me nuts and it seemed like it was for simpletons, because I knew the trick! You just kept “day at a timing it” FOREVER. Duh. I don’t know when I got on board and started drinking the Kool-Aid, but its better this way. It’s easier. I’ve finally put some years of sobriety together. I listen to newly sober women stress out about not being able to drink at their kids weddings, and I chuckle nostalgically, because I don’t even think about going champagne-free on Valentines. It just comes, and I just won’t and that is how it goes.





6 thoughts on “No Shopping Experiment: Its Getting Dark Now (1 Month In)”

  1. You can do this. You know how hard the first month (or 12) can be! It will get easier and you will be better for it. The glasses are totally fine in my book. If you have to wear glasses, they should be awesome. Now, if you started buying multiple pairs of glasses, you might want to take a step back and reevaluate. So there, you have my blessing. That should be enough.

  2. I’m with Cindy! You will have them for a long time. As your compadre in this venture, my fuzzy line and negotiable place is around functional necessities (is that a thing?) They bear serious consideration in the whole mix because , after all, austerity is a dangerous edge. And yes, I hear my own justification and rationalization.

    Love to read every single word you write, amazing woman!

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