Sunday, November 11, 2012

Marathon Man

For some reason every year around this time, when the leaves change, people start to think that it may be a good idea so run 26.2 miles.  Yes.  A marathon.  One can't just decide just to run a marathon and go out and do it the next day.  It takes many months of training.  The runner must first start SLOW, taking their time, and running just a few miles a day - or I my case, just one.  Then, week by week you build up your stamina to run with all the big wigs.  But if your don't properly train, it can be a disaster!  To all the readers out there with two legs, listen to me: training is necessary!  For me, the idea of running a marathon is just as crazy and an illegal alien working for the border patrol.  It's just wrong, and it will never happen.   MY marathon is a little different from the 26 mile grueling run, and to to some, it would be just as gruesome.  MY marathon is the marathon of shopping.  Personally, shopping is my cardio.

Preparing for the big day - marathon day!

All the new comers listen to the advice of the more experienced and seasoned runners. They give silly little tips such as rolling out your muscles with a rolling pin, taping up your nipples to reduce chaffing, eating hard boiled eggs and bananas for breakfast is a must, and be sure to fill up on carbs the night before for extra energy.  Now, you may not have to go through such extreme lengths to prepare for a marathon of shopping.  Let's face it, how many of you have needed to tape your nipples in order to shop? Except for my favorite holiday - BLACK FRIDAY!  Isn't it funny that your mother and grandmother who rarely exercises, can go hours of shopping with very few water brakes?  They pass through every store like a mile marker, not even braking a sweat, with the speed and precision of the cheetah on the hunt. How is this possible? Why do they feel the need to shop so long? I'm sure plenty of sons and husbands have asked these questions once or twice. To make matters worse, half the time they didn't even buy anything - or she comes home with a pair of socks and a hat. Why do they do this?? Is she just trying to punish us? This could be considered cruel and unusual punishment. But, I have the secret...

Us shoppers know that the "wasted" shopping trip really isn't wasted at all. I previously mentioned in the post Confessions of a Shopaholic, I was ever on the hunt - ever looking, ever hunting. Just because I didn't buy it doesn't mean it was a waste. In the marathon of shopping, these trips are the practice miles. Instead of building up stamina and endurance, I'm watching prices drop, doing my research, trying to find the best deal, and preparing to find the right price on the big ticket items. While on these shopping trips, it feels like I'm visiting an old friend, and checking in to see how they are doing, or if they had found a new home. The only bad thing with this waiting game is that some times you can finish last and miss the deal.

I had been looking for a old bird cage for what seemed to be years, and I finally found one in one of my favorite stores, Second Debut in Carytown (a boutique shopping area in Richmond).  It was the Taj Mahal of bird cages!  This beauty stood five feet tall and the price was only $25! I had found it!!! Most of the ones I found before, were anywhere from $200- $500.  Just then, the sensible side of me kicked in to reminded me that rent was due, and it was not a need.  It was a want.  Unfortunately, I had no way to justify buying this beautiful prison for birds.  Truthfully, I didn't have a bird nor was I planning on getting one.   I walked away strong and poised. 

Five minutes later, I was walking back to the store.  I had to get it!  Who was I kidding - it would be an investment!  To my horror, when I walked back through the front doors I saw a woman had my bird cage with her!  I witnessed the most painful swipe of her card and the flash of the word approved. This next part I'm not too proud of.  As soon as I saw she bought my bird cage, I yelled - yes yelled out - "NO!!!!"   Of course everyone in the store looked at me thinking the worst, but the worst had truly happened.  It was gone!  I walked over to the now very startled woman and explained that I was on my way back to buy her bird cage.  She apologized, but in this case she had won.  I said to her, and I quote, "At least I met the family that is taking it home."  

Sometimes we win the marathon, and sometimes we loose.  Still, this is truly the secret to finding my deals.  For example, here is a case where I won. We had a huge spot that needed filling in our kitchen we were mulling over the ideas of either putting in an island or a kitchen table. The first stop was to Lowe's to see how much it would actually cost to put an island in our kitchen. The cost was a whopping $750 for the custom island that we wanted. Far too much for my taste - so the shopping marathon began. It was time to get creative. What else could I do? I started to look for things that had the same feeling and shape as the overly priced kitchen island. I found a large dresser for $300, and a antique solid cherry buffet for $375. Now, I know what you are thinking; that is way too much money!  Normally I would have thought so as well, but on my previous shopping trips, I found similar buffets that were not as great of quality and had higher price tags. It was love at first sight!  I had found the missing piece to our kitchen.  This solid cherry wood buffet was just what we needed.  It was exactly the right length, width, and height. 

I'm grateful I listened to my mother who taught me how to properly prepare for the marathon so I can cross the finish line with money still in my pocket.

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