New Motto: Don’t Buy the Hermit Crab

I’ve decided that my motto for 2016 is: Don’t buy the hermit crab. Let me explain… A few weeks ago I got the bright idea to take my kids to Picture People for Christmas pics. Maybe this isn’t a big deal for the average family, maybe it’s just a blip on their otherwise normal day. I wouldn’t know, because for us getting pictures made is an exercise in insanity. I say that because we all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. And while I vow to never take my kids to Picture People ever, ever again — usually around December I find myself right back in the studio.

A wiser woman would know that dress clothes, bright flashes and many people in an unfamiliar environment is a recipe for an Autism Armageddon but I suffer from a sort of amnesia that leads to irrational optimism. Suffice to say that after about an hour of the teenage photographer and I doing everything we could think of to get my two kids to look at the camera at the same time and smile, I was done. (We did get two really cute pictures out of it, which look adorable in their frames. Which is why I will probably find myself back in the studio in approximately twelve months from now.)

I was super-grouchy and my three-year-old daughter was in tears as we walked down the mall hallway towards the parking lot. (Did I mention we had an hour drive home? The nearest studio that had same-day appointments open was on the other side of the city. I am also a certified Christmas-picture procrastinator.) My little girl wanted to look at a kiosk selling hermit crab kits and I felt the ravages of latent mommy-guilt, so I said “Sure.” That was mistake #1. Or twenty, depending on your point of view.

I honestly don’t remember ever saying yes to the smiling, turbaned man at the kiosk. I was so worn out that I’m sure I looked like the easy sell that I am. I have this thing where I feel really guilty not making the purchase if I’ve spent time talking to the salesperson. Time is money, right? And I know that it’s really hard to sell stuff (My first job as a high-schooler was hawking JC Penny credit cards as a telemarketer. Seriously.) So I say yes much more often than I should. But like I said, I don’t remember saying yes. But here we are, proud owners of a hermit crab.



Meet Batman. He’s a little shy.

The final tally: Twenty-five dollars for the mall-kit. Another fifty late that night when I walk into PetCo and the manager tells me what I actually need to keep this little guy alive. I was really kicking myself at that point. We are going to call this a budget fail. But he (or she?) is really cute.

And since it’s New Years Day and I am like most Americans, my resolutions are to lose weight and budget better. My Motto: Don’t Buy the Hermit Crab. It’s a start.