Sunday, May 30, 2010

Living On The Edge (Er... Loveseat)

I'm twenty years old and I still live with my mother.

I don't have a job, and to be frank, I never have. My whole life I've been going to school and doing little volunteer jobs here and there. Oh, and babysitting. Lord, have I done a lot of babysitting in my time. (Two dollars per hour per kid, and I come an hour early for free! Wanna hire me?)

I really, really hate it.

It isn't that I hate my mother. Far from it, I love the woman. But I have no space. I sleep on the loveseat downstairs in the living room while she sleeps across the room on the big couch. This has been the arrangement since I was seventeen years old. At the time, it didn't seem like such a bad deal. I mean, I was going to be moving out soon.

But the stars in my eyes went out when the market kept crashing, and there just were no jobs. You'd have to beg, borrow, or steal a position even at the Taco Hell down the street from me. And trust me, this is not the Taco Hell that's GOOD in my town, this is the one that you only go to at one o clock in the morning when you're too drunk or too high to remember that you probably shouldn't go there.

They run out of lettuce on a regular basis.

So now I'm living on the couch, and the grand total of four square feet around it is all mine, containing my computer desk and chair, along with a couple crates and boxes of books and school papers that I'm saving.

What I'm really finding interesting is that--most of my friends are in the same predicament I am. Not the sleeping on a loveseat bit, but the living with their parents bit. The simple fact is that no one can afford to live on their own right now.

I remember it wasn't always this way. I remember a lot of kids moving out right after they finished high school. They got an apartment with a couple friends, started up at the local community college, and when they weren't studying or flipping burgers, they were partying. It was what we were all living for in middle school.

And no, nope. There's just no way it can happen. Even if you could scare up the rent, you wouldn't be able to go to school and work at the same time. Not unless you developed some kind of cloning machine, and even then you probably would be less worried about money because somebody would buy it from you. Or you'd be a mad scientist and you'd already be living in your mother's basement.

I digress.

It is just plain AWKWARD to live with our parents at this point. We're legally and, for the most part, emotionally adults. And yet we're still living under the rules of our parents (which is fair. We reside in their homes). I've seen some kids paying rent and still having to do a multitude of chores, still argue about tattoos and piercings and going out late.

It's the point where it's hard for our parents to consider us adults because we're not acting like adults, and it's hard for us to act like adults, because we're not being treated like adults. Now, I will say that you can still act like an adult while being treated like a child, and that'll get you far, blah blah blah, but there is a limit.

I know that even if I did have a job right now, I'd still be living at home. And you know what? It sucks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guide for Thrift Store Shopping

1. LOOK! Thrift stores aren't like regular shops. Not everything good will be displayed RIGHT where you can see it. You need to flip through the racks to find what you want. This type of shopping is not for the lazy/faint of heart. It's for the cheap and clever.

Thrift shopping is like treasure hunting. You've got to dig through the dirt to find the treasure. But when you find the treasure, it's soooo worth it.

2. There are certain times of year that are better to go than others. I've found that back-to-school time, right after Christmas, and right when summer starts are good times. Why? Because people are cleaning out their closests for the new things they've just bought.

3. Keep in mind that you can buy things off-season. What the fuck am I talking about? Sometimes people get rid of their old summer clothes around winter when they happen to be doing that Christmas cleaning. Chances are the off-season stuff will be priced cheaper than the in-season stuff. (Even thrift stores don't think anyone is crazy enough to buy shorts when there's three feet of snow outside. Remember what I said about being clever?)

See a pair of shorts you like? Is it twenty degrees outside? Are they two dollars? Snap those bitches up! You can stick them in a drawer with the rest of your summer clothes. Sometimes you can get all your seasonal shopping done before the season even starts!

4. There's nothing wrong with used shoes. Don't like the thought of putting your feet where someone else's feet have been? Spray them with Lysol/launder them if it bother's you so much. They're as good as new.

Often times, you'll find a pair of shoes barely worn. That's why people got rid of them. They wore them maybe twice, hated them, and gave them away. I've found eight dollar boots that were maybe worn once.

5. Okay, so clothes that other people have worn bother you? Then wash them before you wear them! It's not that big a deal. In fact, I encourage the washing-before-wearing. I've found some pretty awesome jewelry too. But I certainly disinfect the earrings before I jam them into my lobes.

7. Not all thrift stores are created equal. Some are nicer than others. Some have stricter rules about what can and cannot be donated. I've heard people complain about torn/stained clothing.

If the thrift store you are going to has crappy merchandise, don't go to that one anymore.Go find another one. I call this the Denny's Rule, after that episode of Family Guy. Like there are two Denny's so people can say; "Let's not go to THAT Denny's. Let's go to the GOOD one."

The same goes for thrift shops. "Let's not go to THAT Goodwill. Let's go to the GOOD one!" There's almost an order of niceness when it comes to thrift shopping, I've found.

1. Cosignment shops tend to be the nicest (often times privately owned, so maybe one and two are a tie).
2. Privately owned thrift shops/cosignments.
3. Goodwill/Salvation Army
4. Saint Vincent de Paul.

The Saint Vinny's I find tend to be not that great. And keep in mind that this is a LOOSE sort of chain. Sometimes the Goodwill is the nicest. Sometimes that privately owned shops are. You're going to have to look around and see what's best near you.

8. Make it a DAY of thrift shopping. I don't know why, but it seems like you find a lot more stuff when you go to a few places instead of just one. Also, the bigger the place, the more stuff, the better chance you have of finding something awesome. At a Goodwill in Ohio, I got a fourteen dollar hat for two dollars, and I got forty dollar shoes for four dollars.

9. These places do have sales/specials. Saint Vinny's is known for the Five Dollar Bag sale where you get a paper sack and can fill it for five dollars. Some Goodwill centers will sell clothes for a dollar ninety nine a pound.

The Salvation Army in Ann Arbor announces the sales on the overhead. "Five items with a green tag will be five dollars." Or "Blue tag items are two dollars off!" Try and find out what's on sale when you enter and see if you can find any treasures that way.

10. Don't be too picky. You find an awesome shirt but oh noes! There's a tiny rip under the arm. So? Sew it yourself or find someone to do it for you. For three dollars you can't really complain.

11. Be bold. If you see something on the rack you want, and someone is eyeing it, then grab it! Some of these women that shop these places will claw your eyeballs out. Trust me.