Monday, December 19, 2011

On Being Tacky

This is my design. I haven't come up with a cute name for it. Perhaps The Dog Walking Purse.  Most of my clothes do not have any pockets at all. I don't own any belts or pants with belt loops to hook things onto.  I like to walk the dog, sometimes I need to carry things with me, but where to put them without carrying a purse each time?

The Dog Walking Purse

My regular purse has many things stashed in it, that I certainly don't need on a walk, so it seems a bit silly to go trotting down the road with a purse full of stuff, when I want only 5% of it with me. 

I do have a cute small shoulder bag that is like a giant pocket. I do use it for certain long walks when I prefer to have a cell phone and emergency meds with me. In my last workamping assignment, I needed to carry papers and pen with me, so the small purse was super handy for this. But for short walks to exercise  while we look for photo ops, I designed the carabiner purse. 

It started when  I bought this jumbo 8 inch carabiner  with a padded handle. I thought I would use it to help hold the coiled RV water hoses stored neatly. But I liked the padded handle. At the time, the dog leash (in red above) was so tiny as to be painful to hold. It was designed for a child's hand.   By clipping the leash to the carabiner,  it feels so much better for walking the dog, whether I am using a flexi-leash or a regular leash. Then I discovered I can add other accouterments as I see fit. 

Above, I have the dog leash,  keys,  flashlight, camera and the slender black bag is holding doggy poop bags. When my friend was visiting, we would lock up the RV then go for a walk with the puppy. He liked to walk the dog. We used to joke "Don't lose the dog, because he has the keys to the RV!"

Not all these items are on there when I walk. If it's daylight, I don't need the flashlight. I don't always carry the camera.  

In this other picture, I am using a bigger dog leash, plus I have attached my zippered wallet, as I was walking to the RV park office to pay rent with a credit card. Also I have attached the cell phone (in a black bag)  and the ubitquitous doggy poop bags in a zippered black bag. 

The little soft black cases (as shown) were found at Dollar Tree for $1 and have belt loops on the back. This allows them to slide over the carabiner.  Since I walk the garbage out daily, and I recycle the thousand and one little grocery bags for garbage bags, I am able to slip the loops of the garbage bags over the carabiner for walking to the dumpster. 

I also have a little orange change purse with a zipper, sometimes while in an RV park, I want to walk to their little convenience store. The change purse has coins and small bills. I slipped a round keychain type loop through the zipper.  This way it slips right over the carabiner. 

The really nice thing about the carabiner, is that is can also slide right over my hand onto my wrist. This frees up both hands, yet puppy dog and my stuff,  is still attached to me. Often I need both hands to steady the camera for a picture, or I am trying to unlock the RV door while puppy is flitting about like a butterfly on a string. 

Sometimes I have to park the dog outside a store for a few minutes. In that case, I remove my wallet, then use the carabiner and dog leash to make a loop around a bike rack or post or tree. Then I tell Harley dog to "stay" while I shop. He generally stays quiet, but flirts outrageously with anyone that dares to walk near him. Often I come back out of the store, to discover he has several adoring fans fawning over him. He loves this attention, pretending to be an abandoned waif interviewing for new pet parents. 

Oh the things we do for a puppy dog!  He will be two years old this Sunday.  He is still in puppy mode though. While he looks a bit more grown up, he still has that wonderful puppy enthusiasm. 

Yesterday Harley was patiently waiting in the wheel estate while I was grocery shopping. I felt more like the store's janitor. My grocery cart contained the discounted battered produce, the almost past-dated reduced meat, the dented cans and retaped boxes that had price reductions. The cashier was having to take time to enter each new discount code or some such foolishness to make sure I received the lowered prices. I finally spoke up and said "This is probably the last time you have to do this today, I think I pretty much cleaned out the discounted items."  When all was said and done, she proudly announced "You saved $21.43!"  I didn't spend much more than that, so it was all good!  

Indeed, I was a tad impressed at my thriftiness. Being on a tiny erratic income was at first depressing and frustrating. But now, I see it as an adventure and a challenge. I no longer pre-plan a menu or a shopping list other than for some of the staples I love to have around. Instead I wait to see what bargains I can find, then plan a meal around them. It makes the brain work overtime, getting those creative juices flowing. Sometimes Harley gets to enjoy the fruits of my bargains. Especially when I find reduced cold-cuts or meat that is selling far cheaper than dog food. As a result, Harley has gained a wide taste for assorted foods. Sure he gobbles down his dry kibble every day, but he eagerly waits to see if I found any discounted hot dogs or cheese he can nibble on.  

I was pushing my cart out to the parking lot. Since I was driving my wheel estate, I was parked in nearly the last row. I didn't want to be in anybody's way.  Suddenly I felt very weak and tired. I began to slow down. I realized I  had forgotten to eat. My puppy heard me walking, pushing the little buggy. He leaped up onto the pillows on the bed, so he could look out the window. His tail wagged furiously, he began jumping up and down like his legs were spring loaded. I smiled and pushed myself onward.  It felt great that this little 6 pounds of fluff was ecstatic to see me. Or was it my groceries. 

When he met me at the door, I grabbed him up and hugged him. He tried to slobber doggy kisses on me while I tried to dodge them. It just felt oh so wonderful to have this little creature so happy to have me back again. 

Life is wonderful!  

Except Santa Claus is coming to town, and I've been a very bad girl. I've been naughty!

How do you budget for Christmas gifts when the budget is so tiny?  I should have preplanned for this, I sure knew Christmas was coming, but here it is a few days away and I am still fretting over what to do about it. 

Maybe I just never believed Christmas would arrive right on schedule and here I would be, alive, kicking and taking names. 

I can either divvy up my budget and spend about 23 cents per person on Christmas gifts or I can pick ONE person and do something nice for them. I have an old friend who is in dire straights, so I am thinking of sending them my meager Christmas budget in its entirety so they can do whatever they want to with the surprise funding. Then send everyone else a sheepish "I love you but no gifts this year, I used the little bit of money to help someone who is having it rough..."

That sounds really tacky doesn't it?  

It sounds so awful!  But I just think this certain person in need, could use a little cheer in their life. I also think they are the type who can stretch my modest little money giftie a very long ways towards helping their own circumstances. In spite of their own mess, they've held their head high and often bolstered my spirits when I was very ill or very down or both. 

I've been VERY lucky the past two years. The docs all thought I would be dead by now, but I sure fooled them!  Tee hee hee. I think it's my spirit. Sure the body may be failing, but I like to think my spirit is strong and can't be put to rest so easily. 

So Merry Christmas to all!  
No gifts from me this year!  
Bah humbug!  
I've decided to help someone in need and not buy any gifts. 

I've decided to be tacky. 


  1. Those clips have many purposes. We use them lots. Good luck with your Christmas shopping. Helping someone makes us all feel better.

    Merry Christmas to you.

  2. I think you gift plan is very good. It makes sense when a choice must be made that a friend in need is the logical choice.

    Have a very Merry Christmas!

  3. I think your decision to help a friend is a great Christmas gift and the others will be fine. I sent a gift to my Dad and I will get something for my daughter and her husband, but that's about it for gifts.

  4. Nothing tacky at ALL about helping a friend in need for C'mas!! I think it's a very generous gift & the others should feel the same way too.

  5. It seems to me that many MANY people are not buying Christmas presents this year. Instead they are opting to either give the money to charities or just keep the purse strings closed and spend TIME with those they love instead. We (my kids and I) are not buying gifts this year as my son is getting married in May so they need to save their money for the wedding, my daughter and her husband are expecting their first child at Christmas so they need to spend their money elsewhere this year and she is on maternity leave so won't be working, and my youngest just got out of debt and was stressing about getting back into a bit of debt on her credit card in order to buy everyone gifts. So I suggested we just forget the gifts this year and they were all very happy to do so. I have bought each of them a small gift but nothing like I would normally spend. I too have a lot of other places to be using my dollars - I bought a glider and stool for my daughter so she can rock her new baby, and I have promised to help my son pay for his wedding. And I still have to go back to Mexico and get the bottom teeth all capped so that my bite will line up properly with my recently capped top teeth - not sure when I will be able to afford that but it needs to be sooner than later as I can't chew properly.

    I have 5 friends and we have been getting together two or three times a month for 22 years. We always buy each other a Christmas gift and end up spending about $20 each. So last year we decided to stop doing that and pool the money and give it to a charity a friend of mine started in Haiti. Last year we had enough money to put two kids through school for a year. This year we put enough money together to put four kids through school for the year AND two goats for the village. SO MUCH better than buying each other crap we don't need.

    So take heart... you're not the only one not spending much money this year. And I am sure your friend will be so appreciative.


Life is goof!