Thursday ToadBits

Eastern Redbud

Hampshire County Treasure

According to the Hampshire Review, the local newspaper that serves the area around our WV place, the stand of Eastern Redbud trees along Route 50 I spoke of the other day is a national treasure. The reporter, who actually did some fact-checking with the WV Department of Highways (WVDOH), says the trees were not planted for a purpose. They occur there naturally. Which makes it even more special in my book.

The blooms don’t last long. If you’re up for a drive this weekend, head for Hanging Rock, West Virginia. It’s on US 50 just West of Capon Bridge. At any other time of year, if you blink while driving on US 50 you just might miss Hanging Rock. But there’s no chance of that when the Redbuds are in bloom.

While you’re there, be sure to stop for fine eats at El Puente, our absolute favorite restaurant in Hampshire County. Or, even better, let us know you’ll be in the area and you can stop in for a visit. We’d love to see you!

No Fly Zone Across the UK

Did you know there was a complete closure of British airspace yesterday? A COMPLETE closure from noon to 6:00 PM. That’s huge. Check out this aerial view of Heathrow. Did you see all of the planes? Not only are there a lot of them, they are BIG planes. I have never seen so many 777s and 747s in my life as I did at Heathrow. Now look at the aerial view of Dulles Airport in Virginia. That should give you some idea as to how much traffic goes through Heathrow. And that’s just one of the UK’s major airports.

Talk About Embarrassing Husbands

And now for the Psycho Dog Man. My favorite CNN reporter, Jeanne Moos, did a story on the Psycho Dog Man that’s pretty funny. Not LMAO funny, or even LOL funny. Just odd. Apparently, he’s an Internet sensation. I’ve never heard of him. But this guy is now famous for his “absolutely spur-of-the-moment” impression of a ferocious dog. I bet his wife wishes she had a dog house to hide in…

I Live for Tight Corners

Frugal or Just Plain Stingy?

Amy and I had a discussion recently about this exact thing. She’d read this interesting article about it and asked me what I thought. She works hard and is very good at saving money to make her family’s income go further. But she wonders if she’s wrong, maybe even (gasp!) stingy. Or even a tightwad.

My answer? “Nope. You’re smart. You are working hard to stretch your finite amount of cash. Besides, you’re saving money. You’re not being stingy or refusing to share.”

I will never be rich. Being frugal (a good thing!) like Amy takes a lot of work.

No one will ever call me a tightwad or accuse me of being stingy (a bad thing!) that’s for sure. I’m not an irresponsible “loose spender,” mind you. I’m just the kind of person that has no problem sharing.

Hmmm, SHARING. It has sort of a nice ring to it. Two sweet syllables… shar-ing.

What’s that mean really? Hubby and I had a treadmill we probably paid a few hundred bucks for several years back. We’d talked in the past about selling it on Craigslist or eBay. Recently, one of Amy’s friends saw it in our basement and offered to BUY it from us. Jess is a very sweet girl. She’s been Amy’s friend for years. She’s not poor or destitute. We could probably have gotten something out of her for the treadmill, but the thought didn’t even cross our minds. It was a thing we didn’t need any more. Jess could use it, so we gave it to her. Free. No strings attached.

It really isn’t that remarkable a thing to have done. Any NORMAL person would have done the same. I wouldn’t even be mentioning it here if it weren’t the first example of sharing that came to mind.

There’s that word again. Sharing.

Oh no! Don't let it go!

Taking money from someone for an inexpensive thing you are no longer using is just wrong. It’s very self-centered. It’s the perfect example of selfishness. Of putting ones wants/needs/comforts above those of everyone else. Would it have been different if we needed the money? Say, if we were out of work and struggling to pay our bills. Maybe. But we don’t need the money. What if it were a higher-ticket item? Then it might have been different. It would be okay in that case to expect something in return, just nowhere near the original cost.

There are just some folks who seem to think hanging on to things and every sad, stinking penny, being miserly, selfish, and a tightwad is an acceptable way to be. But you know what? It isn’t acceptable. It’s sad, pathetic and just wrong.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you bought a blender a couple years ago for $30. It’s serviceable, but on the small side. You want a larger-capacity blender. They’ve come way down in price in recent years so you buy yourself a brand-spanking-new, bigger blender for half or even one-third the cost of the first one. Good deal!

Then someone comes along with a blender even smaller than your first one. Let’s say it’s your uncle. Uncle needs a bigger blender, too. The thing is, Uncle is older, somewhat technologically challenged, and doesn’t know much about blenders. He doesn’t know he could easily get a new blender that’s four times the size of your old one for about $15. Since he’s on a fixed income, he can’t afford to spend money blindly. So he asks you for advice.

What kind of person would say, “Hey, I just got a new blender myself. It’s probably a little bit bigger than you need. But my old blender is bigger and holds lots more than the one you have. It still works just fine, too. So I’ll sell it to you for $10.” (Making the net cost of the new blender $5, by the way.)

A cheap, stingy, thoughtless person. That’s what kind.

The right thing to do would have been to say… “Uncle, I just bought a new blender myself. It’s four times the size of my old blender. And it only cost $15. It might be way bigger than you’ll ever need, though, so you can HAVE my old blender if you like. It should be plenty big enough. Of course, if you’d rather have a new blender, which might have too much space but is really better in the long run, I’ll show you where you can get the same one I got for only $15.”

You know what I would have done? (Tight corner here I come!) It’s $15 we’re talking about. That’s about what I’d spend on a nice lunch (if I ever got out of the house).

I would’ve said, “Uncle, I just bought a great new blender that would be perfect for you. It was only $15. I’d like to buy one for you, too.”

Uncle, knowing I can easily afford that second blender would be thrilled. I’d be $15 poorer and have nothing tangible to show for my expenditure. The stingy tightwad would be $10 richer.

This is all hypothetical of course.

I just REALLY felt an overwhelming urge to say I would so much rather be poorer than CHEAP.

2 Replies to “Thursday ToadBits”

  1. Hmmm. What can I say. Knowing the circumstances behind this post – the identity of the “hypothetical uncle” and what the “blender” really is – I can only say that it is sad that the “uncle” was taken advantage of by another family member. With that selfish transaction the seller lost what little respect I had for them.

    It’s also sad that the seller is oblivious to two facts:
    Being a cheapskate is not a desirable virtue.
    Feeling good about giving something away feels much better than having money that you don’t need in your pocket.

    Henceforth and forevermore I will refer to a particular poor-sported individual as “cheapskate”. Yes, with a lower case c. Unless of course someone would like to sell cheapskate a capital c?

  2. I’m so outta the loop. I wish I knew what the frugal/stingy bit was in reference to, although I could probably make some guesses.

    I love that you link to a bunch of stuff, I just wish I had more time to check them all out. 🙂 At home I always do, but time is limited in expensive internet cafes.

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