Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More Pounds, Less Dollars

Regular readers know that I have a small issue with overdue library books and late fines; nothing I can't handle, just a bad habit that costs me 10-15 dollars a month. I'm okay with that.

And I knew I was facing a hefty fine today, as Christmas and New Year's had both landed on my regular library day this year (are they always exactly a week apart?).  I expected to pay as much as 30 or even 35 dollars, like I did the year we were all sick and couldn't make it to the library for a month.

But folks, today's fine was in the triple digits. I thought I'd die. To make matters worse, I hadn't gone to my usual branch (where someone may have pitied me and erased half of it).  No! I went elsewhere and got the strict German-lady librarian, who looked as if she wanted to fingerprint me. And then take my children away, so that they wouldn't have to be raised by a criminal.

It was a lot of money.

I didn't even have the comfort of coming home and treating myself to some chocolate, because I had finally dragged myself back to Weight Watchers today. Some of you may recall my boasting about reaching my goal weight, way back in April of 2006. Yup, I was pretty proud of myself.

Well, let's not live in the past, okay? I walked up to the receptionist and said, "I haven't been here in a year and you have to promise not to say anything critical when I step on that scale." Because if she did, I knew I would cry. Fortunately, she was a nice person who had apparently dealt with similar situations. And who took 40 dollars from me, because I was over my goal weight. Just add that to my tab today. I'm trying to spend money faster than Larry can earn it, is all.

The good news was that my weight, while way up, was still 5 pounds less than what I had thought it would be - so I feel as though I lost 5 pounds today (after only one day of dieting! Cool!) Isn't Weight Watchers great?

In other news, we managed to get rid of our gingerbread house village today, despite David's best efforts to hang on to his little creation forever. I had to stuff it in an opaque garbage bag when he wasn't looking, and then I ran out to the garbage cans and threw it in. I felt like a murderer, disposing of a dismembered corpse.

Oh, and I seem to have struck a nerve with my last post - apparently, many women out there hate dinnertime with kids. I'm all for starting a new cultural trend to feed the kids early and put them to bed, much as they did in Victorian-era England. Larry and I never have been able to understand all those experts who claim that eating dinner together is a healthy family activity. We strongly suspect that they don't have any children.

Okay, I need to get back to dealing with a bunch of small people suffering candy-cane hangovers. It's not a pretty sight.

[Librarian image: Fragile What?]

[Scale image: First Aid Warehouse

[Family dinner image: Arya M. Sharma, MD]


  1. Did they really have a due date of 12/25? My library always bumps it up a day if they're going to be closed on the due date. And can you renew online? That has saved me many times, especially when we've all been sick. If all else fails, do they have a fine clemency period? I can't remember when our library does that, but if you bring the overdue books back during that week, they forgive the fines.

    Your library sounds a little mean, is what I'm thinking.

  2. When I found that I was spending upwards of $25 a month on library fines, I set the amount aside and spent it on used books. We basically quit going to the library, since I was buying the books anyway but not getting to keep them! Ended up with a very fine library ourselves, which I like having.

  3. To answer your question: NO! I didn't start teaching until two years ago, and then only by accident (see http://phdwithninekids.blogspot.com/2007/12/how-philosopher-mom-got-her.html).

    We don't do library books anymore. I know: what kind of professor doesn't let her kids check out library books?! The kind that has three full rooms of books already. So what if half of them are written by stodgy, verbose (not to mention dead) European dudes with names like Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein? Suck it up, kiddos. These guys build character!

    Seriously, one year I took the amount of money we'd spent the previous year in library fines and bought used children's books at library sales and on eBay. Now we have our own juvenile library. If the kids insist on borrowing school library books, they have to keep them there.

    I know I don't need to introduce you to the concept of the Domestic Bermuda Triangle! What's even worse than library books is clothes my daughters borrow from friends. I'd always assume unrecognized items coming through the laundry were things people gave us. (I'll bet you get that too: Yard bags full of "Take whatever you want and pass the rest on to Goodwill.") My kids would take, all right, without my supervision, and I'd never know where the things came from. Now that the four oldest girls actually buy some of their own clothes, it's hopeless. I've given up bringing a laundry basket full of unidentified items to every play date or carpool rendezvous, asking like the Lost and Found Lady, "Does anything in here belong to you?"

    The only aphorism more reliably true than, "If it's on the floor, it's in the trash," it's "If it's in our laundry, it's ours."

    I'm so very glad you stopped by, and you're right: we speak the same language, you and I. Mind if I blogroll you?

  4. Please, let's not talk about library fines. It's sore subject at my house. I even calculate the late fees into my homeschooling budget. I justify it by reminding Mr. G. that it is cheaper than buying all the books.

  5. Hmmm....2 people telling me to buy more books instead? Satan, get thee behind me!

    And, mrs. g, great minds think alike - I was contemplating sneaking that fine money out of the homeschooling budget.

  6. Personally I think of library fines as charity. I am working hard to add to their coffers so they can buy more books and expand the building. Charity. Really.

    I just went to the see the AF nutritionist yesterday, wailing about my fatness and asking her for advice to deal with the fact that I have little time for meal prep and need to make a caloric bang for four long distance runners and then I eat it myself....oh, plus I end up eating a huge snack at five because I am starving and then eating that caloric bang dinner at 7:30 when everyone finally gets home, so we can have A Proper Family Meal Together. You know what she said? Screw your family. Get over it. Eat your dinner at five when you are hungry and they can eat when they get home. Get over the family dinner. Do the family meal Sunday when everyone is home, be grateful for it and do your own thing the rest of the week. Huummm. I am still thinking about that.

  7. I always end up with ridiulous late fees too, I once had to pay $127! But I recently moved and the library here is unprecedented. No late fees! None! As long as you bring the books back at some point you're good to go.

  8. I so love the way you express yourself. I've fried so many neurons I can't remember all the things I want to comment about by the time I get here. So, the studies on eating dinner together thing: Are they less likely to get involved in drugs if they are the personality type that is not allergic to tables and sitting still long enough to eat while in the company of 6 other people doing the same on a regular basis, or are they less likely to get involved in drugs and stuff if you have bonded with food at a structured piece of furniture built to eat off of? Either way, I'm screwed. Oh, sorry, I think I got an answer just now. What if I manage to bond 1 on 1 without the other 5 around? It's not time efficient or anything, but I just spent 400 hours while on your site waiting to write the rest of this comment listening to my 16 yo go on and on about her Sam and Diane relationship with flaky boy who has potential. So if we can bond while I'm doing 2 things at once, and I actually remember to just put you on hold and rehash a thing to death (I can't believe I wish they would get it over with and just kiss (don't tell her that)), maybe neither of us will do drugs. Maybe 7 people eating together is not the only way. I just made the average time on your site go way, way up, too. Good night!

  9. Yes, I had a library send me to collections once. COLLECTIONS. Jerks. (I'm not allowed to use the Las Vegas Library District libraries anymore. Good thing I don't live there.)

    I can NEVER remember to take my stuff back, so we just buy books. It's better that way.

    Congratulations on the five pounds, tee hee

  10. Yikes! Three digits? That's rough....it probably doesn't make you feel any better, lol, but reading about your fines made me feel better about the one I just paid ($75)!

    It's the kids' videos available for borrowing that always create my problem--books 3 weeks--videos 1 week. I think the library knows what it's doing and is deliberately setting people up for late video return!

  11. ACK, those library fines are outrageous! They couldn't have any pity on you whatsoever?

    I'm iwth you on the weight thing. I, too, dieted down to great weights last spring, but am back to where I shouldn't be. Oh, those holidays. Good luck with things!

  12. shellie - just give up. It's hopeless.

    sue - you made me feel better (as usual).

    mary alice - I know, we use that charity line on ourselves, too. Larry says he expects the library to build an entire new wing with our name on it.

    marie - maybe I should move to where you are....

  13. That is one strict library! What are you checking out?! We only have 10 cents a day fines, and those are forgiven half the time. Do you have computer access so that you can re-check the books online and not have them be late?

    And the gingerbread village thing killed me - same here!

  14. Librarys drive me nuts, they have the hutzpah to charge 11.95 to buy a new book for the one I lost that I could drive to the book store and puchase for $3.99!

    As for weight watchers, hang in there girl. I'm on Adkins and the funny thing is, I lost three pounds the first day, but when I only lost one the second day, I felt robbed. If I had lost two each day, I would have been estatic!

  15. Ouch. That's a lot of money. This is why I go to bookstores. It's cheaper.

    To steal the books, I mean.

  16. I used to rack up overdue movie fines all the time.
    Imagine my surprise when after we moved to our new town, the library here DOESN'T CHARGE FINES. EVER.

    Seriously. I about fell over when they told me that.

    I'm never leaving this town. The savings will fund my retirement.

  17. Wow what a mean library lady. Wenevrt go to the library. We go to the park. I gained 7 pounds this holiday. I need to join weight watchers.

  18. From one overdue library patron to another. . .I feel your pain. but oh, the shame! (Have you seen the Seinfeld "Library Cop" episode--hilarious!)
    Fun stopping by your part of blog-land.

  19. "are they always exactly a week apart?" LOL This totally has me cracking up. I have resigned to just going out and buying new books for my children. I think I spend less money that way and actually have the books to keep rather than paying a hefty fine and having to give the books back.

  20. I ADORE my library. The fee maxes out at $5.00--you can never go over that amount. Triple digits? I'd be right there with you if our library was that severe.

  21. I'm so glad I'm not the only dork who has financed a new wing at the local library! Thank you!