Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. โ€•Edmund Burke

Out, About, and the Frugality of DIY

Only noon, and this has already been a busy day.

After returning from an early breakfast out with some dear friends, I took it into my hot little head to wash the car, before it actually does get really hot outside. Parked the annoying little tank in the shade, penned up the dogs, and dragged the hose out to the driveway.

Night before last, I’d vacuumed the dog hair out of the driver’s-side carpeting. Cassie and Ruby’s hair forms a film over the tile floors. Even when the floor looks clean, in fact a skiff of dog hair coats it. The loose hairs stick to the bottom of my shoes and shake off onto the car’s fake carpeting every time I get into the vehicle. The stuff is kind of brushy in texture: it grabs every hair and clings tight to it.

You can’t just brush it out. You have to vacuum it, and an ordinary household vac doesn’t work much better than a cleaning brush or a dog-hair removing gadget. You have to wrestle it out with a shop vac. And I can assure you: that is a job.

Also the day before yesterday, I’d gone down to the Target at Bum Central…, uhm, Christown Spectral Spectrum Mall after filling up with gas at the Costco in the same garden shopping center. Target: because I’d learned that lidded plastic kitchen trash bins of the sort I intend to use in the plan to repel garbage-scavenging identity thieves are now so out of style that supermarkets no longer carry them. Costco no longer carries them. And…yeah, Target had one…they wanted 60 bucks for it!!!!

Give. Me. A. Proverbial. BREAK!

Do I really have to order this thing from Amazon? Seriously???

I decide to travel abroad: it occurs to me that The Container Store at Town & Country Mall would be likely to have one of these antiquated designs. They have everything else, after all. And so, it was off to traipse across the city in search of an ordinary plastic trash basket, that rarest of all commodities.

On the way I passed a Bed Bath & Beyond and thought they surely would have the things, probably cheaper. But parking in that mall’s lot is a freaking nightmare, especially around the lunch hour — which, by then, it was. So proceeded on a quarter-mile to the Container Store.

Good thing: Lookit this!!! Twenty-five bucks at BB&B for a fine red trash can, a piddling 7 gallons. And no lid!

A regular 15- or 20-gallon plastic trash can — also without a lid, the sort of thing you used to see around an office: not available at BB&B unless you also buy a slide-under-the-counter apparatus, to the tune ofย  $32 to $68:
They’re kidding, right?

At The Container Store, I found lidded trash cans for around $13, which was inflation-adjusted OK. I guess. They only had one model, cheesily designed. Prices for most ranged from $35 to upwards of $200.


So I got the cheapest lidded thing I could find. It will do the job, but for how long?… Not very, I expect.

What the hell is going on in this country that you can’t even buy an ordinary kitchen waste basket!???

Meanwhile, the car really needed to be washed. Normally I’d park it outside in a rainstorm, let the shower wash it, then pull it back into the garage and dry it off. But we haven’t had a decent rain in many, many months. The car was filthy and the windshield so dirty I couldn’t get it clean enough to see through, even with squirt window cleaner.

There’s a car wash across the street from Town & Country, one of the few remaining car washes that do a halfway decent job. So decided to cruise through there, rather than having to (ugh!) actually work to do the long-overdo job myself.

Not so much.

The car wash is mobbed, as usual, because it’s the only actual full-service operation for miles around. But on approach, I find they’ve revamped their entry lanes, adding a lane labeled “Express Wash.” This takes you straight into the car wash, without making you stop at gas pumps, where they hope to sell you not only gas but windshield repair and tire polish and any number of other fine emoluments. There’s no one in it, so naturally I dart in.

Then I realize there’s a reason no one is in this entry lane: it’s for people who have bought a “membership”!

Heh. Evidently there’s not much demand for car wash memberships. ๐Ÿ˜€

Luckily. With no one behind me, I back out. And see that all the other lanes are jam-packed. And wonder…why am I doing this? My hose works, no? Do I not have a whole bottle of automotive window wash stuff? Do I not have a sprayer? Do I not have a giant stack of microfiber rags?

So wove around the dozens of waiting patrons and headed on my merry way.

That saved about $15, approximately the cost of the prized plastic waste bin.

Washing the car is really very easy. And it provides some nice exercise. By the time I got home from this a.m.’s crack-of-dawn breakfast, it was still fairly cool outside, and the yellow oleander was casting a large patch of shade across the driveway. I’ve found that those 3-M sponge blocks made for cleaning your walls work handsomely to rub off smashed bugs and road tar — and they do not seem to damage the finish. Soaking a clean microfiber rag with windshield wiper fluid (it comes in 1.5-gallon bottles) and wiping down the windows with that works much better to clean the windows than Windex and paper towels.

Whilst thrashing the bush in search of a waste basket, I happened into a Costco (which would be why I happen to know Costco doesn’t carry them). IMPULSE BUY: grab one of their wonderful roasted chickens for lunch (and future meals).


Make that “formerly wonderful.”

Stash everything away and sit down to what I think will be a great meal of roast chicken, fried potatoes, and salady stuff.

Not so much…

The chicken was SO OVERSALTED it would make your mouth pucker up!


Of course, Costco’s chicken has always been salty. It is, after all, a processed food — it comes from the slaughterhouse injected with brine and then has various “flavorings” (mostly salt) added. But it was never intolerable before. This one was, in a word, inedible.

So I peeled all the rest of the meat off the carcass — meat I’d planned to use for at least two or three more meals — bagged it up to use for future dog food, and put the bones in the freezer for a future pot of chicken broth. Which I won’t have to salt…

Is it too salty to give to the dogs? No doubt. However, I’d also bought a giant slab of pork tenderloin there. This morning I cooked up a quarter of it, which I’ll grind up in the food processor with the chicken. and of course, the dogs’ meat is mixed with veggies and oatmeal or rice. “Diluting” it in that way, I hope, will make it more or less edible for canids. Just remember to put out extra water…

So that’s the last time I’ll buy roasted chicken at Costco. Too bad.

Wash your own car. Roast your own chicken. Get better service. Save a lotta money.

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Author: funny

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  1. We use Wal Mart for any garbage cans, toilet brushes, and general random bathroom and kitchen stuff like that.

    • The nearest Walmart is one of their markets (basically a grocery store). Looked there: couldn’t find a plain old-fashioned kitchen trash bin. The nearest full-out WalMart in a safe area is a LONG drive up the freeway…not even a consideration. Did think about it…but then decided I’d druther order from Amazon than traipse halfway to Anthem to shop in yet another gigantic local business-killer.

  2. Once a week usually, I fill my car with gas and then pay $5 to go through the gas station automatic car wash …. no frills or thrills, takes 5 minutes.

    • Far as I know, we don’t have any of those left in the reasonably immediate vicinity. Wait…there’s one (count it, 1) — at 15th and Camelback. That’s smack in the middle of the highest-crime area of the city. Nope: not gettin’ out of my car in that place. Besides, part of the challenge is getting the dog hair out. My shop vac works as well as theirs, and mine is free. ๐Ÿ˜€

      And the other part of the project is getting the INSIDE of the windshield clean. Because of the outgassing from the plastic junk inside the vehicle, a foggy film soon develops on there. It’s not easy to get that stuff off. What I found is that really soaking a rag with windshield wiper solution works to lift the haze off without leaving a smeary mess. Again: why pay anything for the privilege of doing work you can do in your own driveway?

    • Postscript: Looks like I lucked out when I got to the car wash and decided against standing in one of the non-“Express” lines. The place has changed hands since the last time I went there — after the previous owner was busted for hiring illegal immigrants. Yelp can be hilarious, but this is AMAZING:

      Man! “If you want something done right, do it yourself…”

  3. Coincidentally, I’m about to roast my own chickens this afternoon. ๐Ÿ™‚ Two, because leftovers are a good thing. Not, so far as I know, injected with that saline gunk that makes chickens watery and inedible. They won’t be as pretty as the store-bought rotisseries, but they’ll be a darn sight cheaper and healthier.

    I’m a little startled sometimes by how many people think it’s scary or complicated to do basic things themselves. It’s almost as if our system has taught them to wait for permission or instructions from the teacher before they begin. Or maybe it’s lack of time, or induced by the sheer volume of information available. But in addition to being cheaper and better, doing stuff yourself is so darn satisfying.