January 16, 2014

WILLIAMS: Making some changes


---- — My worst char-acter flaw is self-indulgence. That is why by the time you read this I will probably have already broken my 2014 New Year’s resolutions.

I did away with my perpetual Numero Uno several years ago – losing weight. I’m 67 years old now and I’ve been a size 16 for about four of those decades. Self-indulgence plays a part in that because instead of eating two pieces of fudge and walking away until later, I eat four pieces and sneak back for a fifth. The difference is that I’ve aged out of yearning to be thin.

No. 2 (now One) resolution is the same as it has been for 30 years – quit smoking. I have tried pills, patches, hypnosis (twice) and will power (ha!ha!) and none of them have worked for even 24 hours. The Village Pantry is two blocks from my house. When the craving hits, I barely even think about what I’m doing before I throw on a coat and run down to buy a pack of cigarettes.

I want to quit because it is unhealthy and dirty, not to mention, extremely expensive. And that’s more important than ever now that Mom’s income will no longer contribute to paying the household expenses.

So that is resolution No. 2 – be more frugal.

I have been on a tear to change the house around because the decor (such as it is) has always reflected Mom’s tastes more than mine. She was offended by a bare piece of countertop or floor or wall. Wide windowsills were meant for filling with dolls and teapots and candles. Her mantra was: never put a single clock on a shelf when you can add candlesticks and a vase of flowers.

I never complained when she was alive. She loved her stuff and got tons of pleasure from arranging and rearranging it and it didn’t bother me that much. But now, I long for some empty space.

Mom bought our oak pedestal kitchen table. It is beautiful but too big for the room. You have to scroonch to get past it to the sink. You have to move a chair to open the refrigerator door. So I wanted to get rid of the dining room table and move that table to the dining room, which meant getting a new, small table for the kitchen.

I really tried the frugal thing. I went on Facebook’s “Buy Here, Sell Here” site to try to find a relatively cheap table and chairs. I went to Smith’s Used Furniture in Huntington. They didn’t have anything I liked. The clerk suggested I visit the new store, just down the block. “They have several smaller sets.”

I knew I shouldn’t do it but I went anyway. The minute I walked through the door, I saw exactly what I wanted. “It’s perfect,” I said longingly, “but I hadn’t planned on paying that much.”

“We can write up the contract in 15 minutes and deliver it tomorrow,” the sales gal said encouragingly.

I thought about my new need to be financially prudent for about 30 seconds before I nodded, “Let’s do it.”

“Oh, Geesh,” I told my friend, Glenda, regretfully, on the way home, “I shouldn’t have done that.”

“Well, look at it this way,” she said, “if you quit smoking, you’ll recoup the cost of the table in about a month.”

Another upside - thankfully, I took losing weight off my resolution list because I couldn’t afford to buy a whole new size 6 wardrobe now.

And, then, of course, it wasn’t 2014 yet so technically, my resolutions hadn’t kicked in. I lit another cigarette in celebration of how it all worked out.

And that is how the mind of a self-indulgent person thinks.

Vicki Williams is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached through the newspaper at