I think I hit upon the perfect money-saving scheme, without even intentionally trying.
During the final waning days of December, I was in Nevada, so I didn’t have time to look for a 2012 calendar as I ordinarily would have. By the time I’d returned home and gotten around to the chore, the shelves were distressingly bare, limiting my choices to calendars with pictures of cats or Civil War heroes or the cast of Twilight. Can I get a big “no, thanks!” to each of these? I have no interest in staring at pictures of fuzzy Siamese kittens or Robert E. Lee or a shirtless Taylor Lautner for thirty-day stretches at a time. I questioned whether I even needed a calendar in the first place – my days all sort of blend together seamlessly anyway, and the mobile calendar widget on my smartphone does the trick just fine – but I suppose I’m a traditionalist. Besides, I have a decorative wooden calendar frame hanging in the bedroom. Something’s gotta go in there. I’m trying to class up the joint before Tara moves in, after all.
I realized that I could probably order a calendar online, so I went to the Lang calendars website (the brand I typically buy, and yes, I have my own favorite brand of calendar – these are just the right size and shape and feature decorative folk art by the likes of Thomas Kincade, and while the male in me would be happy to settle for the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar, see “classing up the joint” and “Tara moves in” above) and was happy to see they were marked down to $6.99 from their usual price of $15.99. It pays to shop for a calendar in mid-January, I quickly surmised.
Only then I got sidetracked. There was another trip to Nevada, not to mention the minutiae of daily life, and suddenly it was February. I really need to find a calendar, I thought, and returned to the Lang website. This time, every last calendar in stock was marked down to $1.99. In other words, a savings of roughly 88%. I found one I liked and ordered it without hesitation, and while I had earlier come to the realization that it pays to shop for a calendar in mid-January, I knew now that it really pays to wait until the beginning of February to buy a calendar. I’m thinking I’m going to have to start doing this every year! I mean, is January really that important, anyway? The holidays are over. Winter is in full swing. The days are short. What are you going to be filling them with, other than resolution-inspired trips to the gym for three or four days before that lifestyle change peters out? You used to have the Super Bowl, but that’s been held in February for a decade now. There’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I suppose, but most people still have to work. We could probably get rid of the month of January and never even notice! Err…no offense, dad. I know it’s your birthday and all. But I don’t need a calendar to remember that. Besides, most calendars have a little miniature version of the preceding and next month in a box at the bottom. I can just leave December up an extra 31 days and if there’s something really important happening in January, I’ll squint.
Problem solved. Hasta la vista, January. Hello, 88% savings!
Speaking of the Super Bowl, yesterday was the Super Bowl. And while I didn’t have any real vested interest in the outcome of the game – my Broncos were defeated in the playoffs, sniff – I was sort of pulling for New England, because: A. They knocked Denver out of contention, and it’s an easier pill to swallow knowing your team was dethroned by the eventual Super Bowl champs; and 2. I made an ill-advised, last-minute bet with my dad on the outcome of the game. Granted, I only lost $5, but that negates the aforementioned calendar savings, doesn’t it? Damn! My dad hates the Patriots, so I figured I’d take advantage of his loathing and hopefully pocket an extra five bucks in the process. I should know better. The last time we bet on a Super Bowl game – two years ago, when the Saints beat the Colts – I ended up losing $20 to him, which means my dad is either some kind of football genius (who knew?) or really, really lucky. Or I suck at picking the winner.
Maybe a combination of the two.
In any case, I enjoyed the game as much as anybody watching alone can enjoy a game. The truth is, I missed Tara, and we were texting back and forth about how badly we longed to be together and how much fun next year’s Super Bowl is going to be. Which is true – it’s gonna rock! – but that did nothing to erase the fact that for one more year, I’d have to be content in watching it alone. The kids were supposed to be there, but ended up going back to their mom’s house a day early, which was kind of a bummer. Normally it’s a day custom made for snacking, but I didn’t feel like going to the trouble of preparing a bunch of snack foods just for myself, so I settled on cooking a batch of fried chicken, which – ha, I realize this now – is probably even more work than snack foods would have been. Nevertheless, it was a recipe Tara had found in Bon Apetit magazine, and despite a mishap with the salt (I doubled what the recipe called for because I didn’t read the directions all the way through in advance, oops), it turned out crispy on the outside, moist inside, and packed with flavor. So between the chicken and the bloody marys I’d been working on since 10 AM, I was pretty content. The game wasn’t bad, the half-time show felt lame in all its Material Girl lip-synced glory (can we please have some rock ‘n roll next year?!), and the commercials scored more touchdowns than either team. All in all though, a decent enough way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Bittersweet too, because this means no more football for six long months.
I’m going to have to pencil in opening day on my new 88%-off calendar, once it arrives!