Last night, I received an e-mail from Papa John's informing me that I had a free large one-topping pizza and a two liter of Pepsi Max coming on account of a Super Bowl promotion. I'm like, "Yeah, I can dig it!" so I hope onto their website and begin looking at things. It turns out I don't have to get the Pepsi Max; I can get any 2-liter. I picked regular Pepsi. Then I see a promo banner suggesting I add an order of chicken strips for the "special price" of $6.00. It's steeper than I'm willing to pay ordinarily, but I figure since I'm getting the pizza and Pepsi free anyway, I could justify $6.00 for the whole order.
Then I discover the website menu's actual price for said chicken strips is $5.00! See for yourself what this looks like:
At the Hallmark Gold Crown Store, I turned up a pair of Keepsake Ornaments I wanted but was not going to buy at full price...and they were on clearance for $3.00 apiece! I snagged a Green Lantern ($14.95) and a Romulan Bird-of-Prey ($32.95!). They also had several Captain Jack Sparrows, but I passed.
Then off to Target, where I found they had a promo sale on World's Best Cat Litter, which they've just started carrying. The regular price is $8.99 per 8 pound bag, but they were on sale for $7.99. I happened to find a bag that had a peel-off $2.00 instant coupon, which dropped it to $5.99 for the bag. It gets better! There's currently a promo from World's Best offering a full refund rebate by mail (up to $12.00) for the purchase of one bag. I'll get my $5.99 back in [however many] weeks! This was particularly convenient as I poured out the last of the litter I had this morning and needed a new bag. I was prepared to spend $8.00 for a new package, but this worked out better. The difference offsets one of the two ornaments out of pocket now, and the refund will offset both of them in the end!
So I got it all home, at my chicken strips and a little pizza and streamed Conan O'Brien Can't Stop. It was alright, I suppose; I would have liked to have heard from the band but what was shown was interesting. It was more enjoyable than Comedian, the tour doc about Jerry Seinfeld. I filled out my mail-in rebate and took it to the mailbox just as a couple of girls were walking past with a dog. The dog, Roxy, was quite eager and trotted my way (on her leash). I reached down and pet her and she was quite happy about the attention. We made some quick small talk. It was hardly any kind of love connection, but they didn't try to mace me, so I'm calling that a win, too.
It's brisk right now and getting colder (we have rain moving in), but I decided to go for a walk myself. The neighborhood was entirely dead. I saw no other walkers and only three cars the entire time I was out, which was nearly half an hour. My back and my hips are in a lot of pain right now, which I had anticipated, but the important thing is that I was able to complete the walk. On a good day, I can do two or three of the loops. On an ambitious day, I can do all four. Tonight I only managed the one, and I know how trivial that sounds, but in my world it's quite an accomplishment. (Remember when I discussed the incidental ways that Crohn's affects one's health and causes us to readjust our expectations and objectives?)
Addendum: Too Legit to Quit
I signed up with the Waffle House Regulars email promos and in the most recent one, they offered a coupon for a free slice of pie. So I'm sitting here still feeling good and decide I don't want it to end. I texted a friend to see if she wanted to join me for pie (it would be no problem to print off a second coupon for her since they're not unique) but she's still recovering from surgery and not able to go tonight. I therefore went anyway. I had a slice of cold, chocolate pie with a glass of water. I brought along some quarters for the jukebox but I decided I preferred the quiet. I never like to be the one to start the jukebox if there are more than a couple other people already there when I arrive.
I sat in the far back booth with a wide ruled* Norcom notebook and a black Pilot Precise V7 rolling pen and wrote. I don't want to say what I wrote just yet, but it's something I've wanted to do for quite some time.
Coda: Winning Turns to Heartache
Just as I finished writing, I overheard some of the conversation from the corner table across the restaurant from me. There were three older people there, I'm going to guess in their 50s maybe, one man and two women. The man was recounting a conversation he had had with what I'm assuming was a suitor of his daughter. "Hell no, you can't marry her!" he laughed. "How you gonna support her?" The condescension and disdain seemed even more hateful accompanied by the laughter.
It hit a very sensitive nerve with me. It seems every time I cite being self-conscious over my lack of money, someone insists to me that I'm making too much out of it. "Women don't care about money nearly as much as they care about how you treat them." "If she cares about money, she's not the right one."
But that corner table is exactly why I'm so self-conscious about such things and why I can't allow myself to ever feel comfortable about myself or optimistic about my future. There really are people who measure us by our net worth. You can dismiss them all you want, but I've lived under the scrutiny of such a person for most of the last decade and I can tell you it's demeaning and cripples one's ability to have a healthy self-image. It doesn't have to be your partner, mind you. In fact, it's usually much colder and harsher when it's someone close to your partner. Say, a family member.
There I was, feeling really good about my savings on the day and my walk. My whole day cost somewhere around $20. I was clever, frugal, pseudo-responsible and even productive. And just like that, it all came crashing down. I'm scouring the web for freebies because I have to, not because I've got a quirky habit. I can't support anyone on the occasional free pizza and pie promos.
So those of you who have tried to encourage me about my prospects, know that while I appreciate your efforts, your voices are much quieter than those coming from the corner booth.