Dec 9, 2008

An I-TOLD-YOU-SO in the making

Mainly because we instituted a "handmade gifts only" policy for Christmas this year (see the rules and regulations missive here), I've been laying off the shopping for the past few months. For me, this is HIGHLY unusual. Generally, I start hitting Amazon and Babycenter a few weeks before we're scheduled to arrive in the states, so that I have a nice pile of boxes and packages to go through during the first few nights of jetlag at my mom's house. If my parents somehow neglect to tell the neighbors that Bella and I are coming for a visit, they nevertheless know that we're on our way when the big brown UPS truck starts stopping in front of the house a few times a day. About half the stuff gets returned eventually, but for me, it's sort of a miniature shopping experience that I can enjoy in my pajamas while Bella has a chicken nugget snack at 3 in the morning. I find it soothing.
But yes, this year is different. We went to a nearby hotel for brunch the other day, and at noon on a weekend, when this particular restaurant would normally be full, it was eerily empty except for one or two other tables (see pic of Bella "swimming" on the floor at the restaurant. Uuuugh). Sometimes it's fun to aggravate Mik just a tiny bit, so I put on a puzzled face and said, "Hm. That's weird. Why is it so empty? What's going on?" purely to give him the opportunity to glare at me and say, "EMPI. We're in a RECESSION."
Oddly enough, because I've been so busy with what I think of as "work-work" (as in, the kind I get paid for), I have inadvertently been personally in the black for a few months. This, also, is not usual for me. In Empi world, busy = lots of hours = more income; and busy = no time to shop = fewer expenses. And this would still be the case if I hadn't discovered the fascinating and entertaining timesuck that is (drumroll please) I actually recommended it to the rest of the family as a great place to get ideas for handmade presents, but I also found that it's a great source for supplies, particularly fabric. Sweet, girly, adorable fabrics.

And therein is the downfall of my high-earn-low-spend Christmas. While fabric is generally inexpensive, it's the combined hours, maybe DAYS by now, that I've spent poring over the site, finding sets of coordinating fabrics, and fantasizing what I'll eventually make with them, that generates the greatest opportunity cost. I've still spent less than what I would normally have spent on one cute outfit at Banana Republic, but if I'd spent that time doing my "work-work" instead, I'd probably have made enough money to buy that Macbook Air I've been drooling over for months now. Though, of course, Mik would've still raised an eyebrow if I was foolish enough to let him know that I bought another computer in this economy. EMPI. We're in a RECESSION.

So it's probably just as well that I've bought, instead, enough fabric to make half a dozen dresses for Bella, plus 2 or 3 quilts. Mind you, I've never made a quilt before, and have no idea how to even start making one, but making a quilt seems to be an appropriate activity during an economic downturn, right? Never mind that I'll have to get on Amazon now and pick up a few how-to books on quilting, and then I'll spend the rest of the winter learning and working on this new hobby. It'll keep me from doing work-work, and one day in March I'll look up, all bleary-eyed and hands cramping from quilting (?) and say DUDE, HONEY, I know it's a RECESSION but I gotta say: this could've all been nipped IN THE BUD if I had just stayed true to form and GOTTEN THE MAC last Christmas.