I am deep in a shame spiral right now. A shame spiral, true, trimmed with felt, glittered pumpkins, ersatz tree boughs — in fall colors — foam stickers, and decorative stones. But a shame spiral nonetheless. And yes, you guessed it. It’s Michael’s-related. I can barely bring myself to speak of it.
But I will try.
I went there with MJ today to make a return. We ended up not using all of the stuff we bought for crafting at the birthday party. I wanted to get it back quickly. Before, that is, I waited too long and wound up stuck with eight fall-themed rubber stamps, two packs of blank greeting cards, and two non-washable ink pads I would never use. Because that, folks, is forty bucks right there. Forty! You heard me right. Madness.
So I did the return. But then I made my fatal error. I had a picture — a large drainage map of the USA — that Mike just bought, and I wanted to see how much they would charge to frame it. Why not? I was there, right? The map was with me. They do framing, after all. So I proceeded on into the store, MJ in tow. We went back to the framing section. MJ had a lollipop she’d gotten for her birthday. We had time. The guy showed me some things. They were having a 55% off sale. I agonized. I called Mike. He suggested I get a second quote. I said he was right.
And then I ordered a frame. A really expensive one! One I don’t even know if we’ll like. And I paid up front for it. At Michael’s!
What am I, on crack? Whatever small amount of aesthetic credibility I ever had — which is, let’s face it, about a nano-speck — has just been sucked into a credit card machine in a strip mall in Glendale and spat out in the mega-parking lot outside. I ran over it on my way out. Whatever shred of it remains is now packed into the treads of my tires, mixed with old chewing gum and warm asphalt. I will never get it out again. Unless I use a toothpick. Which will break. And give me a splinter.
Nor will I ever get that $560 — yes! Agh! — back again. Holy shit. I can’t believe it.
I should’ve kept the party leftovers. I could’ve made a frame for the map out of pumpkin heads, acorns, and ladybugs stamped onto brown-paper envelopes. I’d be $560 richer. $560! That’s a dishwasher. Not a Kitchen Aid, but something better than our currently-owned antique. It’s a stove. Not a Wolf. An eighth of a Wolf. Still. It’s a month — part time — at a fancy school for MJ. It’s a plane ticket to New York for Christmas! A replaced window! Several rugs! Nine parking tickets! Five Trader Joe’s runs! God knows how much dry cleaning for Mike’s shirts!
Most importantly, I’d have my self-esteem back. For now? Look for it in the returns bin at Michael’s. It’s on sale, cheap. As is.