I walk into the Castro Grocery and ask for batteries.
“What kind do you need?”
“How many?” he asks and pulls out a cardboard box with batteries of different sizes rolling back and forth inside. I walk the block back home with a single battery. Which has to be so illegal, but I love it that there is somewhere that I can buy only exactly what I need. Like a single battery. Or, when we wanted to make white sauce, a single stick of butter.
The AAA battery goes in the indoor-outdoor thermometer that I bought for $16.04 at Radio Shack. Radio Shack was having a sale on batteries—four packs for $7 but you have to buy all four packs to get the sale price. I feel like this one battery will last the entire winter, but I’d end up having to move two years from now with at least three unopened packs of AAA batteries had I let the clerk lure me with his savings. Savings in bulk—a hidden kind of waste.
Once installed—a push pin into the peeling dry wood of the back door frame—the thermometer indicates 39.4 degrees outdoors, 57 degrees indoors. I think that means it’s ok to turn the heat on. Though that delivery of heating oil still hasn’t charged to my credit card—$252 for 82 gallons, about 1/3 of the tank—which means I have an inflated sense of how little in the hole I am. Better call those people.
I downloaded this program to keep track of my finances. Working a job where I bill by the hour, I’ve become a little obsessed with the quantification of time and money. The great thing about this is that not only I can see my net worth at a glance—and what a worth that is—but it lets me categorize purchases. So with a calculator and a little masochism, I can choose a category—groceries, clothes, etc—and tell you that, for example, I’ve spent $120.80 at the liquor store since August, assuming I never paid in cash.
That number’s not nearly as bad as I expected it to be.