Then two nights ago I was again fast asleep in the land of Nod when I was woken by a "ping" at 4 a.m. When I looked at my phone it was my "Words with Friends" buddy in New York who must have just thought of a joke he had to send me right now! So, 10 p.m.-ish in New York and 4 a.m. my time!!!!! And it wasn't even that funny! He's the only person I actually chat back and forth with while playing and I think he's nice so I don't really mind when he gets it wrong occasionally. So I sent him a message to say that I'd got the joke "ha, ha" - and did he realize I was reading it at 4 a.m. my time because we're six hours ahead of New York? And God love 'im but he wrote back and asked what on earth I was doing awake at four in the morning!!! So I wrote back and said "reading lousy jokes that some old guy in New York sends me because he doesn't realize it's four in the morning my time"! He did apologize (not that it matters really in the grand scheme of things), but vengeance turned out to be mine when I got my biggest ever single word score of 207 points! That'll teach him!
Anyway, this morning it was still pouring rain and trying to snow at the same time so I decided against attempting to walk to yoga again. I had checked out an alternative route to the forestry road (too much mud) and this route would have added 1.5 km to my trip, for a total walk of 8 km, but given that I had already seen a FB post about fallen tree branches/limbs on that particular route I decided to give walking to yoga a miss this week. Yesterday's yoga lesson was quite something though I have to say, as in addition to doing our usual floor exercises she told us that she was going to be working on relaxing "the rhomboid muscles" also. Yeah, that's what I thought too - what the hell are the rhomboid muscles? Well it turns out it is the set of muscles between your shoulder blades (which we now call the scapula apparently - gosh I'm becoming a walking encyclopaedia aren't I), but since this is the region where I feel the most tension, probably due to poor posture, I was all for it!
So she had us lie on our backs and then came around and placed two very soft balls under us between our shoulder blades and we did the rest of our exercises with this added instrument of torture! To say it was very uncomfortable would be an understatement, even though she told us not to force anything, but later that afternoon I felt just wonderful. It really is quite amazing (well to me anyway) how these yoga exercises can target specific muscles and they darn well work! Whoever invented yoga should be canonised!!!! In fact, Sylvie - who goes to both the Monday and Tuesday classes with me - came over this afternoon and asked how I felt after yesterday's lesson as she felt amazing - so you see, it really does work!
As the rain had eased up somewhat after my lesson I decided I really must get out and walk while I still could so I took off to a small town just up the road called Bonneville and headed out on a new-to-me riverside trail along the river Arve - and it was lovely! Perfect walking weather and a lovely trail to get an hour's walk in!
So while I'm not managing to get a walk in every day I'm still getting a few km in as and when and you know what, I'm actually really enjoying it!
Then later I was curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good book when I heard the rain start to bucket down again. So I sent a text message to my friend saying "isn't it wonderful when it's cold and wet outside and you don't have to be anywhere!" And he came back with just one word - "miserable". To which I wrote back ????? and he said "I'm miserable because the weather is miserable"! So way to burst my bubble there, my little ray of sunshine! Such a joy to chat with him as ever!
Anyway, jumping from the rooster to the donkey again, One Family One Income was writing yesterday about an acquaintance of theirs who was embarrassingly cheap, so of course I got to reflecting on some of the "cheapskate" stories/people I have come across in the past. I suspect we all have a few stories we could tell don't we! Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being thrifty, but some people are just so cheap it makes your hair curl. God knows my ex had his faults but "cheap" was definitely never one of 'em, thank goodness!
Anyway, probably number one on my "cheapskate" charts was my ex-BIL - damn that man was both miserable and cheap, he was unbelievable! He made decent money as a translator and my sister also worked but they never had any money. He never maintained his cars and I think the last time he opened his wallet two thousand bugs flew out and Denmark thought they'd been hit with a plague of locusts! I was over there one time and he was going to lend us his car for us to take a day trip to Sweden with the kids. My sister couldn't drive so it was up to me to do the driving and in order to hand the car over to me he pulled in to a petrol station and insisted on showing me how to put petrol in his car - like I had never put petrol in a car before right! The cheap bastard handed that car over on fumes and thought he could get me to pay for his petrol by taking his time insisting that I understood how to put petrol in a car "over here in Denmark". My family had already figured out he was tighter than a duck's bum at this point so I didn't rise to the bait and I let him pay for his own petrol. Shit, we probably only used about $5 worth of petrol that day and that was just driving a couple of km to get the ferry over to Sweden, but that a**hole tried his best to get me to pay for it! Didn't work though, even if I did hand it back to him with a full tank! Then I remember he was leaving the house one day and my sister said she needed to go shopping for dinner so could he leave her some money (she didn't have access to any money????) and he threw on the table what I calculated was the equivalent of about $1.50 to buy groceries for dinner for six of us! Yeah, he really was that cheap - not with other people's money of course - then he was very generous - it was just when it was his own money you practically had to break his fingers to get a dollar out of him! (I should note that I forever had my hand in my wallet every time I went over there and my family did the same both in Denmark and in England, so it's not like I was expecting much of him to fill his own car with petrol or buy a few groceries was it)! Well it turns out that the reason he had to be so cheap was because he had "lady friends" in several different countries and I guess "lady friends" when you're married can be expensive can't they. But even they weren't as expensive as the 20-year-younger Russian whore who fell madly in love with him over the internet without ever meeting him. Long story short - and do let me know if you can guess the ending to this story - he managed to sponsor her and get her in to Denmark even though he was still married to my sister and the whore had a husband in Russia, my sister divorced him, he buggered off with the whore who eventually brought her two bratty kids and her mother over, and then proceeded to fleece him out of every penny he had! I love a story with a happy ending though don't you! And to think I received a "friend request" on FB from him a couple of years ago! Yeah right, I just can't wait to get together with you again! Ah well you know what they say, there's only enough blood in a man's body to keep one head functioning at a time - and the one above the neck rarely wins!
Then there was lovely Janet who I shared an office with in 1989. We were in an annex with no access to the cafeteria, so we took it in turns bringing in milk for tea and coffee every so often. A litre would probably last two days, so someone else would bring another litre in on day three and so on. Except Janet! When it was her turn she would bring in just enough milk for herself in a tupperware container because she was "afraid it would go off over the weekend"!!!! Sadly she was your typically English horsey stereotype - a kinda Joyce Grenfell type with a "jolly hockey sticks" accent and buck teeth! And damn was she cheap!
She managed to get other people to drive her round Switzerland at the weekends on "day trips", which inevitably ended up at the town where her brother was living further up the lake and which meant she never had to put petrol in her own car! But my overriding memory of her was around Easter one year. She came in rattling a huge bag of crisps and asking if anyone wanted any. That packet must have been an already opened packet left over from a Christmas party which she found in a locker and she was still eating them! When she uttered the immortal words "well you can't let good food go to waste" I thought I was going to die, I didn't dare look at my colleague, whose jaw had already hit the floor with a loud clang!
And talking of not chipping in, my dad worked with his half brother as a welder at the Rover car factory for quite some time. All the men used to put 50 pence into a kitty to buy tea, sugar and milk every week - except my dad's brother Alfie. He used to do a "Janet" and bring his own milk in a tupperware and it made my dad so mad. Mad that Alfie was his brother and too damn cheap to throw 50p in the kitty! So one time dad had to weld a metal bar onto a work bench and asked Alfie to jump up on the bench and stand on the bar to hold it down while he, dad, welded it. I guess the temptation was too great because my dad actually welded Alfie's steel toe-caps to the work bench and walked off and left him. Dad said Alfie nearly broke his neck when he went to jump down! Ah, I miss my dad!
And then there was Welsh M - who was slightly odd but nowhere near as cheap as Janet. Until, that is, she was leaving to go back to Wales and decided that rather than take all her clothes back with her (the organization would have paid for her shipment) she would sell them off to her colleagues for five Swiss francs a pop - "but not the dressing gown, mind you, I can't let that go for less than 10"! I remember my colleague again looking at me with that "WTF!!!!!" look in her eyes. You see, while M was okay looking she dressed like Amy Farrah Fowler from the Big Bang Theory, so as you can imagine there wasn't a huge stampede to get the best pickins' from her wardrobe!!
|Amy Farrah Fowler|
And then there was my nephew's mate who, according to Darren, when they had a night out at the pub, always managed to be the first out the taxi but the last one at the bar! That's what you call having "cheap" down to a fine art isn't it!
And finally, I couldn't write about "cheap" without mentioning Crazy K. Trouble is, Crazy K was such a study in lunacy that even 20 years later she still gives me the heeby jeebies. Maybe I'll save that tome for another day when I feel up to climbing that particular Everest!