Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thrifty, or Just Plain Nuts?

I love my Hillbilly Mama. I really do. She helps out with my spoiled
children all the time. But there are some habits she has that are a bit
odd. She doesn't think so. I don't want to hurt her feelings. I don't
think she reads my blog. I will find out if I get the cold shoulder.

My HM is a saver. She has about 30 rolls of paper towels in her
downstairs closet under the stairs. One time, she said, "Oh, you
like ranch dressing. I know I've got some." She fetched it from
the closet. It looked a bit runny, even after I shook it. I checked
the expiration date. Yes, it had expired. FOUR YEARS AGO.
She swore she was not trying to poison me.

I went to her house for lunch the day after Thanksgiving. There
were some plastic plates on her dining room table. I said, "Can
I just use one of these, or did you set them out for something?"
And she replied, "Oh, I washed those. They were the kids' plates."
I thought the purpose of plastic plates was that you can throw
them away. I didn't mention it.

At my HM's house, you get one paper plate. Not Chinet. The
cheap, limp ones. If you wheedle, sometimes you can get two...
IF you promise to put back the bottom one when you're done.

She buys the select-a-size paper towels. And tears them in half.
I needed to blow my nose on one, so I tore off half of a half.
That's a fourth, for all you I-hate-math people. A fourth of a
select-a-size paper towel. She washes out the gallon-size zip-
lock bags, sometimes, too. You notice I didn't say "Baggies."
That's a brand name. It costs a few cents more.

She's not as bad as the guy I saw on Oprah years ago, who
bought 2% milk, poured half in another jug, and added water
to make two gallons of 1% milk. He also made his kids separate
the two-ply toilet paper, and make two rolls.

My HM is a child of the Great Depression. She is thrifty. If I
ask her to pick up something for me, she knows how much it
cost, down to the penny. For example, if it was $9.37, that's
what she wants. I would give her $10.00. But if I pick it up for
her, she gives me the exact amount. She can't help it. When she
was a kid, one of her 3 brothers threw her shoe out of the car
window. They went back and looked, but couldn't find it. She
had to wear one shoe until they could afford another pair.

I admit to using margarine tubs as Hillbilly Tupperware. I use
Wal-mart sacks for trash bags. That's normal, of course. But
today I saw a new habit my HM has picked up. If she doesn't
drink a full can of soda, she stuffs a scrap of paper towel in
the hole. (!) OK, first of all that doesn't work. Secondly, that
is a waste of her select-a-sizes!

My Hillbilly Mama. I think I'll keep her. I wonder if she is


Blogger Huggies said...

I think your Mama isn't the only one to be this and most folks who had to rashion food during the Great Depression and World War II.

It is a pain in the ass I know because my Grandparents are this way however not as bad as your mama.

I think things like margarine tubs as Hillbilly Tupperware aren't too bad. I use Cardboard Boxes from work to store model train supplies. They are free and do the job perfectly and they won't be out of date in four years time.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Hi Hillbilly Mom,
We can all learn a bit from Hillbilly Mama. She is looking after the environment after all. Mind you, four year old salad dressing is a health hazard.

8:45 PM  
Blogger MrsCoach2U said...

My Grandma still has a fruitcake in the fridge she got in 1994, she just can't toss it. I never eat anything without first checking the expiration date and always ask how long the can of generic Coke has been on the fridge shelf with the scrap of aluminum foil rubber-banded around the top has been sitting there.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Redneck Diva said...

I guess I am just a big Wastey McWasterpants or something. I use ziploc bags for EVERYTHING, including the one poptart left out of a package that I know will probably be eaten in a matter of minutes. I use paper towels - full size ones - with wild abandon, too.

I used to wash Solo cups, but after Mr Diva made fun of me once, I quit.

Snaps to Hillbilly Mom for being frugal! Although, the washing of the plastic plates is kinda gross.

11:15 AM  
Blogger jules said...

Aw, you know you GOTTA keep her.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

We fight over those boxes from the copy machine paper at school. They are strong, and have a lid.

Well, I only took one bite.

I SO hope my Hillbilly Mama doesn't read this. Aluminum foil and a rubber band, indeed! Of course, the aluminum foil is more valuable than the 15-cent generic Coke.

Oh, the HORROR! Full-size paper towels!!! I bet you're the kind of person who will only use a 55-gallon barrel once, too.

Yeah. I think there are laws about that kind of thing.

8:23 PM  

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