5 Things — Buyer’s Remorse

Dr. Tanya, over at Salted Caramel, has this prompt called “5 Things,” where she asks us to list five things about a particular topic. For this week’s topic, she’s asking about five things we’ve purchased and have suffered buyer’s remorse. In other words, purchases we regret making.

1. 1961 Jaguar XK-150. Back in my younger days I used to be into classic British roadsters. At various times I owned a Sunbeam Alpine, an MG Midget, a Triumph Spitfire, and an Austin-Healey 3000. At one point I decided I needed another classic British roadster, so I bought a Jaguar XK 150, like the one pictured below.

While 60s-era British roadsters were very sexy cars and so much fun to drive (not to mention, chick magnets), they were not known for their reliability. But my XK -150 was, far and away, the worst of the lot, spending more time in the shop than on the road. It’s a good thing it was my second car. I finally ended up selling it to the mechanic whose shop it was in most of the time I owned it.

2. Sonic mole repellent stakes. I bought these because they allegedly offered a “humane” way of ridding my yard of moles. But as I wrote here, not only did they not repel moles, they seem to attract them, as I have more mole holes in my backyard now than ever before.

3. Casual shirts with no breast pocket. I buy most of my clothing online and when I buy casual shirts, I like them to have a breast pocket where I can keep tissues in case I need to sneeze or my nose starts running. I recently bought three casual shirts online from a company called UNTUCKit, as I wrote here. I had to return my original order because the cut was too snug for my old man body. I called the company and told them I needed to return them and exchange them for the “relaxed” fit. When I spoke to the customer service rep, I said that I needed these relaxed fit shirts to have a breast pocket. When my order arrived, two of the three shirts had breast pockets and one didn’t, even though the customer service rep assured me that all of their casual shirts are made with breast pocket on the left. Now I’ve got to initiate a return of the breast pocketless shirt. Why do they make men’s casual shirts without breast pockets anyway?

I was reminded of this when I read this post from Sandman Jazz this morning.

4. A combination dining and ping pong table. Our house has an open concept layout with a kitchen, family room and dining room all open. Most of the time it’s just me and my wife here and we have a beautiful, 45-inch diameter antique oak table with exquisitely carved claw feet that is perfectly suitable for the two of us.

But we still have room in our open concept living area for a larger dining table for when family and friends come over.

I wanted to use that space to get a dual purpose table, one that we could use as a dining table when needed, but that could be used as a pool table at most other times. My wife agreed in concept, but she wanted a combo dining table and ping ping table, suggesting that our kids and grandkids would love it much more than a billiards table.

I caved, because you know, happy wife. But what we didn’t take into consideration when making this purchase decision was our pet cat and pet dog, both of whom loved to pounce on stray ping pong balls and destroy them. Our cat is now gone, and so is our dog from when we bought the combo table. But a few months ago we took home a rescue dog who is obsessed with ping pong balls. Hence, we almost never us the ping pong aspect of our large dining table.

My regret is that I didn’t stick to my guns and buy the combo dining/billiards table, which I’m sure we’d have gotten much more enjoyment from and use of.

5. A BlackBerry Storm smartphone. I’d been using BlackBerry smartphones for years before Apple introduced its first iPhone in 2007. When it was time to upgrade my smartphone, I examined the iPhone and it seemed to me to be little more than an iPod with a phone capability added on. I was also a very loyal BlackBerry customer, so I opted to upgrade to a BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry’s answer to Apple’s iPhone, rather than jumping on the iPhone bandwagon.

What a mistake. The BlackBerry Storm was a piece of shit. By 2010, when I bought my first iPhone, the iPhone 4, BlackBerry, which had been the market leader in first generation smartphones, was barely a blip on the radar. In hindsight, I should have done two things: bought the iPhone instead of the BlackBerry storm, and bought stock in Apple!

Five Things I Don’t Buy Anymore

For her 5 Things prompt this week, Dr. Tanya pointed out that “after the pandemic and during the current geopolitical situation, inflation is on an upward spiral.” So she’s asking us to list five things that we don’t buy anymore.

1. Gasoline — As I mentioned in Tanya’s 5 Things prompt last week, last August my wife and I bought an EV (electric vehicle). With the price of a gallon of gas approaching $7.00 where we live in Northern California, I no longer have to buy gasoline to fill up my car. Yay!

2. Suits and ties — Since I retired at the end of 2016, I no longer wear suits, so I no longer have to spend money on suits and ties. I still have a few in my closet just in case there’s ever an occasion where I’d have to wear a suit and tie, but I don’t even know if my suits would still fit me.

3. Aftershave lotion or cologne — I have a full (albeit neatly trimmed) beard, so I don’t have much use for aftershave lotion. Besides, being retired and rarely going out anymore due to the pandemic, what’s the point of putting on aftershave or cologne? Who am I trying to impress with my smell? My wife doesn’t wear perfume anymore, either.

4. Cable TV — I cut the cord about a year and a half ago when I dumped my cable provider, Xfinity/Comcast, in favor of steaming. I bought a Roku Streaming Stick and subscribed to a handful of streaming services plus local broadcast TV stations. And I essentially get everything that I had been watching on cable TV for less than half the cost.

5. Cat food and kitty litter — This past January we had to say goodbye to our sweet little cat. Hence, we no longer spend money on cat food or kitty litter. A few months later, however, we adopted a rescue dog. Now we more than make up for what we used to spend on cat food and kitty litter buying dog food, dog treats, frozen bones, and chew toys. What were we thinking?

Five Happy Purchases

For her 5 Things prompt this week, Dr. Tanya pointed out that “after the pandemic and during the current geopolitical situation, inflation is on an upward spiral.” So she’s asking us to list five things we’re glad we bought.

I am glad I bought…

1. An electric car — Last August my wife and I decided to trade in our gasoline-powered car for an EV (electric vehicle). It’s not a plug-in hybrid, but a fully electric car. With the price of a gallon of gas approaching $7.00 where we live in Northern California, I couldn’t be happier about that decision.

2. A Level 2 electric car home charging station — Charging an electric car using a standard 120 volt, 20 amp household outlet is excruciatingly slow. It would take 65 hours to fully charge my electric vehicle. But using a 240 volt, 40 amp outlet takes only five hours to fully charge the car. No brainer, right? If you’re interested, you can read about my Level 2 charger here.

3. ebikes — We live in a very hilly area in the East Bay suburbs of San Francisco. As senior citizens, my wife and I didn’t get in a whole lot of bicycle riding because of that hilly terrain. Our Trek bikes were essentially collecting dust in our garage. So we decided to sell our traditional bicycles and replace them with ebikes. Now we can use the electric pedal assist feature and, when needed for an extra boost, the throttle, so that we can easily manage the steepest of hills, yet still get some great exercise and a good workout.

4. Hearing aids — I was a little reluctant about getting hearing aids. First, I heard a lot of people express dissatisfaction or frustration with them. Second, needing to wear hearing aids made me feel old. (I am old, but I don’t feel old). But as I wrote here, in early April I took the plunge. And it was a good decision. It’s been almost two months and I can hear a whole lot better now than I could two months ago.

5. A whole house natural gas generator — Here in Northern California we are experiencing a severe drought, and with our long, hot, dry summers, our area is prone to wildfires and to rolling electrical blackouts and/or unplanned power outages. So we decided to install a whole-house natural gas generator. In the two years since we installed it, it has automatically engaged each time the electricity went out, which has occurred around a half a dozen times. As a result, the food in our refrigerator didn’t spoil, the lights in our house at night stayed on, and on those 100°+ days, our air conditioning kept running.

5 Things — Annoyances

Dr. Tanya noted that for her 5 Things prompt, she most often ask us for our five favorite things related to whatever topic she gives us. But this week, she decided to go to the dark side and has asked us to share five things that can cause a lot of irritation or that annoy us. What? Only five things?

I am annoyed by…

  1. People, often tradespeople or service providers, who tell you they are going to show up at your home on a certain day or time, or commit to getting back to you with an answer or a quote by a specific day, and then never show up or even call or text.
  2. Dog owners who don’t bother picking up their dog’s poop when walking their dogs around the neighborhood or wherever they might be walking it.
  3. People who refuse, in the name of “personal freedom,” to get COVID-19 vaccinations and to wear face masks in public.
  4. Most television commercials, which is why I rarely watch live TV. Almost all the things I watch on TV are shows that I’ve recorded on my DVR so that I can zip past the commercials when I view the recordings. And these days, much of what I watch on TV is on subscription streaming channels, like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, and Discovery+, which have no commercials.
  5. Republicans.

5 Things — Lost Skills

Dr. Tanya says that, “Life as we knew it changed a great deal with the pandemic. We humans, being an adaptable species, changed with it. Certain behaviours were reinforced while others were lost.” With that in mind, she has asked us, in this week’s 5 Things, to enumerate some of the things we no longer do or do less frequently.

  1. I no loner shower daily. Every other day will do. And I used to trim my beard and mustache weekly. But now I probably only do that monthly.
  2. I no longer eat out at restaurants or shop at stores, other than occasional trips to the grocery store or drug store. Instead I leverage meal delivery services like DoorDash, grocery delivery services, and, of course, Amazon.
  3. I don’t drive my car as much. Other than two or three trips a week (30 miles round trip) to see my grandkids, I rarely get in the car. No going out for a long drive or heading into town to a restaurant or to a movie or go to the ocean.
  4. I don’t get dressed up. I’m retired and don’t have to dress for work. And unless I’m going out somewhere, which is rare, I usually end up all day wearing a t-shirt, sweatpants, and slippers. If it’s a cool day, I may put on a sweatshirt over my t-shirt. I do put on jeans and sneakers when I go to my son’s place to see my grandkids.
  5. I rarely interact face-to-face with other people, including my neighbors, as most, like us, stay inside their own homes.