Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics


Posted by shannonclark on August 4, 2002

The deterioration of normal life?

Last night bits and pieces of my life began showing the wear and tear of years of not really being an active shopper.

First, I noticed that one of my favorite “nice” pants, perhaps my dressiest pair of black pants – has a series of small, barely noticable, but highly annoying HOLES. Not sure is there is a fix for this one, though I will ask my dry cleaner this week to see if she can work some magic repair on them.

Second, my VCR just decided to completely and totally stop. It won’t eject a tape I had left in it, it will not even POWER ON! I suspect the only “fix” here is to buy a new VCR.

Yes, I should also get a DVD player probably, but I do have a collection of old tapes and movies (though a small one) that are all on VHS tapes – so I should really have a VCR in the house.

My problem is first, I did not really plan on shopping for electronics anytime soon. Second, it is a fairly stress inducing activity for me.

I have to explain. Other than investments into my company, I have barely been a consumer of anything for the past three plus years. I don’t buy many new clothes, I don’t buy many cds, I certainly don’t even shop for electronics all that often.

Heck, I was the first person in my immediate family to buy a TV in the past 20+ years when I bought my current tv set six years ago.

Since then, my sister has bought one set as well.

Other than that – the only other TV bought by my immediate family was a set my parents bought USED before I was born, by the time I was born it had failed.

The one set in my house growing up (which we did not get until I was in the 8th grade), was a gift to us from a relative of my grandmother’s boyfriend at the time.

My family, as I just alluded to, are really not very good consumers by typical American standards, we tend to buy items very rarely, and tend to use them past the point they have failed (often just going without them when they do inevitably fail). Whether it is computers, vacumns, stereos, or other electronic items – we very rarely buy them.

In large part it is because my family essentially always pays cash for items – again with the exception of my company, I almost never have carried debts of any kind – which has tended to keep my purchases of big (and small) ticket items to a minimum.

That said, I am certainly at the point of no return in terms of how long I have put off “shopping”.

I actually do enjoy shopping – though more when I have someone to shop with than shopping on my own – on my own it quickly gets boring, with someone else it is an event and enjoyable.

At the moment I now need to shop for: a replacement VCR (or get this one fixed), a dvd player (seems inevitable that I get one), at least one or possibly two new suits, a handful of new ties, about four or five pairs of new slacks (at least two khakis, at least a couple black, and some other dress/casual slacks suitable for going out, a couple of pairs of jeans (all of my current have seen far far better days), at least one new pair of gym shoes, a couple of sets of “activewear” (sweatpants etc – basically have nothing like that at the moment, one pair of sweats that have seen better days), many pairs of new t-shirts to replace my main that need to be tossed (stained and/or holes in them), a set of new white socks, multiple sets of new dress socks, more other essential men’s clothing, probably a couple of new jackets (at least a raincoat, but also a couple of other weights of jackets), a pair of gloves, two new pairs of glasses (one sunglasses preferably), a wristwatch (or at least fix my favorite that has a broken glass), at least one new pair of business shoes (very difficult, I wear narrow and need major arch support – very very hard for me to shop for), a few new dress shirts, many new short sleeved button down shirts (i.e. for going out in the spring, summer, fall), lights for my house (at least three or four sets of floor lamps), a can opener (my current is broken), a real kitchen table, a real couch (or two), a rug for my living room, a stand for my electronics, cables to move my TV to the other wall, light bulbs to replace the many burned out throughout my house, a monitor for my home PC system which has a broken screen (and really should just be tossed but it has data I need to recover), and probably countless other items that I need (like a new toilet seat and some other minor hardware items for my house).

To prepare for all of that above, I first really should do a MASSIVE cleaning of my house (and my life).

This means, I should donate all the many shirts, pants, etc that I will never again wear (don’t fit, have holes, have stains, hate how they look etc) – this will free up about half of my closet space (perhaps more).

Then I need to expunge all of the accumulated misc. “stuff” in my living room and bedroom – this means piles of unread magazines, desk that I am not using (have not in 6+ years), futon which is compressed to 1/4th the original height and futon frame that does not open, kitchen table that wobbles so much that it is useless for anything etc.

This will free up most of my living quarters.

Then I need to fix my bookshelves (first trip to the hardware store – anchors to keep my shelves from falling to the ground!) – and then actually put all my books back onto them (which will then require many many days of sorting and ordering – but that can wait).

Then I need to be brutal in my kitchen – removing all dishes, pots, pans, and utentils which I will never use (a large number), as well as any storage containers where the lids do not fit, food items long past their expieration date, spices from three apartments ago and the like (this will create a long list of other items to go buy).

I then need to call a plumber to fix my kitchen sink which is acting up – and an appliance repair person to look at my stove and dishwasher (which I suspect really just need to be completely replaced).

My cabinets, the kitchen wallpaper, walls, and floor are a project probably for another year.

My closet needs to be attacked – with the books on their shelves this is doable.

First all items that I will never use need to be donated or tossed.

My bike needs to be repaired (new seat, two flat tires, who knows what else).

Organizers and more organizers need to be purchased and USED to create order out of the chaos which is my closets – first the walkin hall closet, then my coat closet/suit, dressware, and pile-o-shoes closet, then my linen closet (linens that do not fit my bed need to go away!), then my bedroom closet.

With the second desk out of my bedroom (the one I have not used in 6+ years) I will have space to put, for the first time in my life since college, a “comfy chair” back into my life – a place to lounge, read books, and listen to music (what a concept!) – this of course needs to be bought.

My desk needs to be cleaned, organized, finished (I have a drawer for it which has never been installed) – and then made useable for regular work at home (which I cannot do at the moment).

Also in my bedroom, a new set of laundry baskets, and carrying cases should be purchased (replacing the current which are partially broken) and various random items need to be organized and/or throuwn out.

My living room needs, besides the couch(es) and electronics stand, various small tables, coffee table, side chairs, and other items to finish my room.

Art should be displayed (not stored in silly boxes hidden in the closet) – but also protected from sunlight and dust.

In otherwords I have months of cleaning, sorting, shopping, and buying ahead of me – and little time or money to do it with (but it has been put off for far, far, far too long.


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