MAKING ENDS MEET…with less guilty pleasure


After writing more than 300 readers writes topics (and never been published), I still enjoy the adventure that springs back memories I have not thought of for decades. Like how my dear daddy instructed me to write down every cent I spent while in college.

I didn’t feel burdened by this as I knew money was tight as could be while raising three children, a one paycheck family. While in nursing school, I did indulge in mint chocolate chip ice cream cones even in the dead of winter, at least once a week, from what my chums and I named  “Dirty Harry’s,” because his hands were always charcoal gray rubbed off from the newspapers he stacked high which made it very difficult to squeeze by the next customer.

One day, while eating the second to last bite of my sugar cone, in my dorm room which is only a block from Harry’s slim store, my tooth sounds a hard crunch, as if I’d hit metal. I look inside the cone, and smile as I retrieve a penny, feeling how lucky I am to have enough babysitting money to afford the luxury of MINTy ice cream cones.




It’s a bitter cold  February 2015 when I walk into the Cobbler’s Village to have an extra hole punched into the straps of my ballroom shoes; a higher end shoe store. While the salesgirl readily takes on my request, I walk past the high priced shoes to find and peruse the shoes on sale…more likely to fit the price range suited to my budget.

When I walk back to the counter to fetch my newly-holed shoes, a pair of black shiny open-toed heels painted with red polka dots catch my eye. Before I can catch myself, I am asking, “How much are those, and do you have them in size 8?” They are $89 dollars and on sale with 20% off. I tell her that I don’t need anymore shoes and add, “I’ll think about it,” with an off-handed-laugh.

The next day, I have an unexpected extra hour break due to a client cancellation. While doing some errands I find myself driving to the shoe store, guffawing, as I ask to try on those unforgotten-red-polka-dotted shoes, and of course they fit perfectly, and I must meander through my guilt in order to pull out my Discover credit card. As I am paying, I tell the same salesgirl, “You know, half my wardrobe is from Trader K’s, the second hand shop. Like this jacket I have on and my up-to-my-knee winter boots.”

She asks, “How much did you pay for your (dark rich purple down) jacket?” “I think I paid $28 for it, and it probably cost $100 new.” She nods in agreement. (You can tell it is a high-end brand.)

I walk out of the store with my new shoes, and with a little bit less old guilt.