After a somewhat traumatic week (thank you, house sellers), Tanner and I spent a relaxing weekend filled with pleasing little adventures: a Sunday morning trip to the art museum to check out spring flower displays, a Saturday evening visit with a friend, a delicious new pasta dish (with a wonderful sourdough bread recipe), a trip to the library, and (for me) four relaxing books.
Two of those books were from the Shopaholic book series, which I first stumbled upon in high school. Let me start by saying that these are not good books. They’re not even that entertaining or funny. But for some reason, I find them addictive. Every few years or so, I’ll catch up on the series and read the latest ones. This was just such a catching-up-with-the-series weekend.
Every Shopaholic story follows the same plot line, which revolves around the main character coping with her problems by shopping for ridiculously expensive clothing and accessories (the main character is a Shopaholic, after all). Of course, there are times when she wants to stop. Pages are filled with her attempts to cut back; climaxes are built around her declarations that she’s through with shopping. But then! A new Gucci purse or a pair of Dolce and Gabana shoes goes on sale, and her firm resolutions die a quick death. In the end, there are no problems that cannot be solved by shopping.
Part of my fascination with these books, I think, is my own aversion to shopping. It makes me squeamish. I’ll go into a store or a mall and be presented with all of these things that, as a 26-year-old house-buying, career-starting, young professional woman, I simply have to have,and I start to feel a little sick. Normally, I end up leaving without buying anything because it’s all just too much. Aside from my wedding dress, I can’t remember the last time I really bought something new or as a present to myself. (Ok, that’s not entirely true. Last fall, we had to buy a lot of kitchen supplies, a lamp shade, a picture frame, some bathroom things, and a few other odds and ends. We also bought many used books from Amazon, but those don’t count because we used wedding gift cards.)
That all changed last week. And it’s going to happen again over Memorial Day. I couldn’t be more excited.
You see, last week I bought myself an old-fashioned transistor radio (it arrived Monday night). As I sit here typing, it is playing Marian Anderson’s concert performances, and Anderson’s beautiful voice is wafting through my office. Earlier, I listened to NPR, and learned more about the situation in Ukraine than I had ever known. Yesterday afternoon, I listened to the Orioles destroy the Yankees, 14-5, in an afternoon ballgame. (If you can’t get to the game, is there any better way to experience it than by transistor radio? Next time the Phils play the Nationals, I’ll be raring to go, thanks to my transistor radio.)
Not only is the programming excellent, but I’m starting to get the hang of the radio, itself. It’s an art, I’m discovering, to fiddle with the antenna, the knob, to move the radio all around my office, searching for the best signal, trying to figure out just where, exactly, 99.2 FM is on a spectrum that does not come close to including such small increments. In short, although it’s only Wednesday, it has so far been the best work week of my 7-month-long career.
As I mentioned, things will get even better over Memorial Day, when I purchase an item I’ve been looking forward to buying for years.
You see, Tanner and I try to save money and time by buying in bulk at Costco, making huge crockpot meals and freezing them for future meals, buying fresh produce over the summer and freezing it for the winter; stocking up on sales at the grocery store, and other things of that nature. All of this, you’ll note, requires an extra big freezer. In our current apartment, the freezer is a pathetic little energy-inefficient thing that requires us to constantly organize and re-organize in a sad, and sometimes failing, attempt to cram it all in. Too often, opening the freezer door results in countless rock-hard items careening out onto our heads, the floor, or both.
You can see where this is going. For the longest time, I’ve promised myself that when we move into a new house, we’re going to upgrade to one of those beautiful deep-freeze chest freezers! And with the move almost upon us, so too is the new freezer!
Every time I think about our new freezer, I get excited. With a big, heavy duty freezer, we can go to the Amish produce stands this summer, buy pounds upon pounds of fresh blueberries, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries (at a miniscule fraction of the grocery store cost), freeze it all, and have fresh-frozen fruit and veggies all winter long. We can bake multiple loaves of bread, freeze them, and always have homemade bread in stock. Better yet, whenever Breyer’s Mint Chocolate-Chip goes on sale, we can buy out the grocery store, stocking up for the months to come. The same goes for meat and countless other food items. (Better still, the top-ranked Consumer Reports deep freeze chest only costs $30 a year in electricity.)
I still believe that buying things will not, ultimately, result in my happiness. I am not a Shopaholic. But it’s hard to deny that life will be a little bit more pleasant because of a few little items (or large items, in the case of the freezer). It’s hard to argue with that.