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Holly Lake Effect

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There's more than one way to budget...
Hasn't anyone ever told you that you should make a budget? A budget? I asked that member of the hordes who so haughtily addressed me-as if I didn't know what a budget was-and now stood waiting for my response. Budget-let's see-just how does one go about...in other words what is a budget exactly? Oh I know: It's a list of those things you have to spend money on every month. It's a record you keep so you know how much money you have. At this point my reply surprised her. But she went on-patiently-"you have to take it seriously. A budget should always be capitalized (BUDGET) to remind yourself that it is serious business." Seriously, I know how much money I have. I gave her my quick and easy answer. None. But as soon as she left I began actually taking it seriously. Budget. Money I spend every month. Water. Lights (that's what we called it in the early days of electricity) Car (that would be gasoline,etc., a very big (sometimes) etc. depending on whether I had run into a tree or my garage door that month. Food? That looked to me like a combination of necessities and non-necessities like okra, pork chops,Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and chocolate chip cookies. At this point I thought why should a budget be just for necessities? Why not a budget for amusements, so you can always be certain you'll have money for fun? I started instantly making up my fun budget: 1.eating out (but wait shouldn't that be put under food? Another question for the experts. 2. paint to re-do my livingroom; 3. painter to do the painting of my livingroom (did you think I was going to do it?); 4. matching toothbrush holder and soap dish for the bathroom (a Mason jar top is no longer considered eclectic); 5. pleasingly scented bath salts-not the cheap kind; 6.a train ticket to Dallas so I can take in the big city sights-oh, and maybe a motel room as well so I don't have to bed down in city park; 7. why stop at Dallas, why not a train ticket all the way to San Francisco so I can stay at the Mark Hopkins (if it's still there) plus some change so I can buy doo-dads in Chinatown; 8. a fountain (I've always wanted a fountain for my front yard. The newest ones have lights and play music so I'll budget for one of those-why not?; 9. some koi to go in the fountain-I have a friend who has koi - they all have names and come when you call them to lunch so why shouldn't I have koi?; 10. a new chair for my family room (I never could figure out why this is called a family room since the family never does anything but walk through it to the kitchen or the bathroom). Anyway the chair I have now is of a style that was popular during the Roosevelt administration (Teddy, that is) and it's time I had one people aren't afraid to sit on; 11. a really nice set of coffee mugs that I don't have to go apologizing for every time someone stops by for coffee (all my current mugs seem to be advertisements for car washes or churches); and finally, a flagpole-I've always wanted to be able to express my patriotism but I've never had the nerve to go out and buy a flag on a pole. I think it's time. Since I'm the only one on my block who doesn't display a flag during patriotic holidays, I think I need to make a statement that will upgrade my popularity. (These days it pays to be one of the gang, that is if you don't want people whispering about you and maybe sending you emails to correct your bad habits).
These twelve items should be in my budget. In fact they should BE my budget-forget lights, water, septic tank pump-outs, etc. A budget should after all-if it's done right-bring a smile to your face. Mine has been so carefully compiled that it's making me laugh.