Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Five Expensive Things Worth the Money

Ask me about my outfit, and I'll tell you what a deal I got.  My hot dress? Target. My premium denim habit (see below) is now supported by a resale shop near the TCU campus.  There are some things that I've found worth the money, however.

Dyson vaccum cleaner.  A couple of years ago I attended the wedding of dear friends in a raspberry satin dress from Banana Republic that cost me a cool $34.99 and made me look like a million bucks. It was rendered much less attractive by about fifty flea bites on my legs. That evening I arrived home and found the infestation had continued unabated, despite bombing and using my useless vaccum endlessly. I fretted all night and showed up at Target when it opened on Sunday morning.  Bought the floor model of the DC24 Multifloor for $350 and vaccumed three times a day for about 36 hours. Done. It's bagless, so you can see into the chamber and know what nasty business has come out of your carpets. Loved pitching those fleas into the bin, and it eats up dog hair. Excellent for neat/control freaks, not that I am either.  http://www.dyson.com/

My Infiniti G35.  Bought this in December of 2009, when car salesmen wondered if they would eat again. My baby had 24,000 miles on her, and between the economic squeeze and the salesman being hopped up on Percoset for upcoming back surgery, I got a great deal. The car has run like a dream and when I found a great and honest mechanic, hasn't been expensive to maintain. It's a safe car to drive my kids around in and for my commute. And it goes like stink. It's a great used car I couldn't have afforded new, and I will drive it until the wheels fall off.

A Wusthof 1.6 cm knife.  As close to all-purpose as a capable cook can find.  I paid full retail for it at Williams Sonoma, but I use it every day for damn near everything I cut up.  Keep it sharp and out of the dishwasher and it will never let you down.
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/cutlery/knives-wusthof/

Clarisonic. If you are a woman of a certain age, this is a not-so-secret weapon.  Makes your skin so clean and gorgeous you'll weep,and it helps get rid of  at least some of the damage life has done. People will tell you how great you look and you can take a break on facials. If you're in your twenties, plunk down the $150 and use it every single night, no matter how late you've been out and how many dollars drafts you've downed. Do this and wear your sunscreen, and your forty year-old self will thank me. http://clarisonic.com/

Citizens of Humanity Jeans. I was newly single five years ago and back to my fighting weight--the much-touted divorce weight loss worked the other way for me until my freedom was secure--and my friend Tammy and I hit a very expensive place catering to rich sorority girls.  She kept pulling out pairs and said not to look at the size or the price or the length but to consider only how my ass looked.  I complied and when I pulled on one pair, it was like coming home.  Incredibly soft and comfortable. Also, when I turned around and saw how my backside looked, I figured I'd give those sorority girls total hell.  These are Not Your Mom's Jeans, my friends. My Citizens cost a hundred and eight-five bucks and another twenty to hem, but I still wear them all the time. To wine bars, to work and to church.  Beat that with a stick. http://citizensofhumanity.com/

Next post: Cheap things that work really, really well.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Furry Toddler Grows Up

Even though I am left-handed, my right arm is appreciably bigger than my left.  The eccentric dog trainer I hired last winter showed me how to hold the leash in such a way that I might manage a young dog now pushing seventy-five pounds.  His technique means I hold the leash in my right hand and can leverage my entire weight against him.  On occasion it works.

Since we adopted him last January, Jack, our ebony lab mix, has gone from a skinny adolescent to a sleek young adult, with bravado to match.  Keeping him exercised means at least an hour a day at a hard walk, which is good for me if not always easy to fit in.  I've run with him on and off, but it's rather like chasing a toboggan down an icy hill, getting faster and faster until I wonder if I might end up concussed against a telephone pole. There is hell to pay if I skip that hour, meaning the next day he'll bolt across the street at warp speed--typically at dawn while I am in my nightgown and trying keep a low profile while he gets his business done-- to chase a cat, or run after the fifty-something man heading out for a morning ride on his custom-built bike. This man lives up the street and drives a nice Audi when he's not riding his bike. My dog's charms appear to largely be lost on him. 

As good-looking and athletic as Jack is, he's naturally partial to cute co-eds.  Consequently our walks, as we do our loop around the beautiful campus of Texas Christian University, have become hour-long bicep curls for my right arm. Every ponytail that swings by looks to Jack like an opportunity to be fussed over, and he is chasing those Nike shorts for all he's worth, even if some find his size and wolf-like appearance a little scary. In the neighborhood on our swing back home, small children beckon when they see him. They see his spirit and feel no fear. Most of the time, their parents ask if they can pet him, and with them he inevitably proves to be gentle and sweet.  The little ones bury their faces in his furry neck and laugh.  He nuzzles them and then looks at me, ready to go. 

Then there are squirrels, who are an entirely different story. They are Jack's fifty year-old Scotch, his hand-rolled Cuban cigars, his sirens.  The co-eds are no match for them.  I've learned to watch for them and steer him towards the nearest fire hydrant to sniff while they see us and scamper up the nearest tree.  But if I let my mind wander and one is running anywhere nearby, I'm risking a dislocated shoulder.  In the past few months, he's been allowed a little unsupervised play outside, and has deposited no less than four of these rodents, quite dead, on my deck. One was headless. My backyard is now a killing field, but the feral cats who kept stubbornly taking up residence under said deck appear to have been evicted for good. 

Jack and I spend a great deal of time together, and to say he depends on me completely is an understatement.  He watches as I back my car out of the driveway, and greets me every time I come home.  He sleeps in front of the stove while I cook so I must walk over him, lest I forget he lives here.  He sleeps outside my bedroom and wakes me in the night as he barks away potential intruders, most of which are likely possums, and patrols the back yard.  He gets on the bed when invited but doesn't stay.  Jack needs his space and lies at my feet when I read when I'm on my own.

When the children came back this summer after nearly a month at their father's, he leapt around them with utter joy.  On the Mondays when they come back and we sit on the couch to watch Castle, our favorite ritual, he sweetly wedges his not inconsequential bulk between us, jealous after having me all to himself for seven days.  She's mine, he says, but I belong to all of you.