Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Look Out, Fort Knox!

I'm a rebel! A scofflaw!!

Yes, yes I am. I am guilty of hoarding currency. Lots of it. Jealous? Yeah, don't be.

I'm not hoarding it any more. I just spent the last hour rolling coins.

C'mon, it's a Great American Pastime, right?

We have one of those big jugs that seem to nestle in the corners of middle class homes and slowly fill with an assortment of coins, including the occasional foreign visitor that gets buried in the American dream and only resurfaces when the feds (or broke people) seize the coins, fling them to the floor, and contain them in segregated groups; coin gangs roam around looking for new additions while a few lone oddballs huddle in a little pile, wondering where it all went wrong and if there's any sort of currency diplomat who will get them out of this mess.

This evening, we realized that despite T's change in jobs a couple of months ago and the corresponding increase in pay, we were a little short in the bank department. This realization was precipitated by an embarrassing discovery - we used the wrong credit card to pay a bill earlier this week. Not our credit card. Our roommate's. How did we manage that? I'm so glad you asked!

T asked me to pay a bill online by logging on with his name and password and clicking on the already established credit card payment thingie. I did. Now, we don't have credit cards, we have debit cards, and while our cards draw from the same account, they have different numbers on them. I don't know T's number. Hey, give me a break - my poor beleaguered brain can only hold so many digits, and right now it's awash with social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, passwords, weights, measures, and the odd recipe or two-hundred, so there's no room for debit card numbers that I never use. So I went through the steps to pay the bill and clicked "OK" and felt it a job well done.

That was two days ago. Tonight T logged on and made an "Oh, shit" kind of proclamation, and explained that I'd put the payment through on our roommate's card. Don't ask me why his card was the card of record for our bill...I have no idea. Well, oops. I exclaimed right back "But you told me to! You said I should use the card listed and not worry about typing in mine! You said to!" A touch defensive, me.

He explained to the roommate what we'd done (insert Mencia-like "deet-de-deeeee here) and told him that I would go to the bank and sort it all out with the appropriate shuffling of funds from our account to his. Whee, high finance. Then T looked at our bank account and realized that we'd be short on fund ourselves, when I did that. Aww, dang - we are so close to not being overdrawn at the end of every pay period!

So I offered to dump out the ubiquitous jug-o-coinage and get to rolling. I like rolling coins. Truly. I'll even drive to a friend's house and help them wrap. I find it therapeutic, although why I would is beyond me, since rolling coins usually means one is broke and pillaging the First Bank of Sofa for rogue change to make rent, or the power bill, or a late-night taco run.

The jug is supposed to be one of the ways we're saving for a cruise to Alaska. Yeah, I figure at the rate we're going, our cruise will be sometime in 3026, give or take a month. Oh, well, at least we had the coins to roll - some folks don't even have that.

T feels bad about this, but it happens...and I'd rather roll a few coins (780 to be exact)(yes, I counted)(hello? OCD??) than have to pay overdraft fees every two weeks. Good grief, our overdraft fees are probably paying for some bank president's third ex-wife's botox every month! Well, this month she'll just have to sag, bag, or pucker the way nature intended, because we rolled coins.

I remember helping Mum roll pennies when I was a kid. At the time, I didn't know about bills, rent, and little things like groceries costing money. I thought we were having fun. At least, I was. Mum would let me stack the pennies and she would count them, make that cool little coin roll in her hand, and slide them neatly into the paper wrapper. I got to help fold up the ends and stack the rolls, too. I liked playing with the pennies. I thought they meant we were rich - all those coins scattered across the coffee table sure did look impressive to me. I would build little penny walls, penny pyramids, make penny flowers and penny patterns. Mum would roll and roll. We always sat on the floor, and once in a while I got to chase a feral penny across the floor and bring it back to the fold. We listened to records or reel-to-reel tapes while we worked. My mouth always tasted coppery after the first little while, and the taste lingered for hours after.

Tonight, my son saw me rolling coins and thought it looked fun. He was supposed to be in bed, so I didn't let him help, but it made me think of those long ago days. Is there anyone who hasn't had to roll a few coins at least once in their life? Is there a house that doesn't have a bowl, jug, box, or pickle jar full of change saved for a rainy day? I bet even Bill Gates had to roll dimes once in a while when he was first starting out.

My mouth tastes metallic, like those days. Metallic like someone made pasta sauce or pad Thai in a cast iron pan. Metallic like I rolled 780 coins and then sorted the sad little remains from the jug and segregated them - pennies into Bird's piggy bank, nickels into a Tupperware until I can wash a pickle jar or milk jug for them, dimes into a pickle jar, and quarters back into the jug. The odd dollar, half-dollar, or foreign coins went into a secret stash. Isn't that how one becomes a wealthy miser?

Our coin jug has suffered privations of late because we are able to use debit cards in so many places that once took only cash. I've decided to try and go back to using cash to pay for things - I am much more aware of my spending, that way, and the jug gets fed. Win-win.

So do you have a coin holder? Where do you keep it (no, I'm not planning on pilfering your stash!)? Are you saving for anything in particular, or just in case? Do you sort, or let them mingle?

I have one more thing to do with the wrapped coins . Thanks to jack-assery of the highest order - namely, unscrupulous people's shorting of the rolls by a coin or two - my bank requires me to write my account number on every roll. Eighteen rolls requiring all those digits, written in black ink thank you very much. I'm waiting until morning to do that, though, because right now I really want to brush my teeth and be rid of this funky taste in my mouth. Hmm...there's a Starbucks near the bank...maybe I'll roll a few extra dimes in the morning and get rid of the funk with a mocha frappucinno. It may be the only way. Probably. Absolutely. Right??


Simplicity Girl said...

We had a coin collection up until a month ago. We too found ourselves short and decided to roll coins. Our coin collection was in a water bottle. You know, like those that go in water coolers in offices? Uh-huh, we had that much to roll. Took us two days to roll it!! Thing was, we ended up several hundred dollars poorer than we started (does money spend itself?).

Aunt Becky said...

We used to have one until my husband started to need change to throw into the parking meters. Then *poof* it's gone.