a peek inside the fishbowl

13 Sep, 2006

What would you do with $100?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!

My inlaws gave me cold hard cash for my birthday. It was tucked in a pretty card with a couple of those wind-up paper butterflies in it. They FLY out at you when you’re least expecting something to fly out at you.

I shrieked. And almost dropped the cash.

(Someone could have lost an eye you know!)

I think it was last year that I used the money to buy myself a really great purse and new wallet. This year, I had no idea what I wanted.

I went to Bayshore and wandered around for two hours. I looked at shoes (all too boring), purses (too many grommets on them this year), jeans (is that really a birthday item?) and earrings (I’ve worn the same pair of sleepers for the past 5 years).

I was also seriously considering buying myself a membership to the nearby fitness centre. Gah. Boring.  

It is the biggest irony, isn’t it? When you don’t have money to spend you see LOTS of things you’d like. But when you DO have money, everything suddenly seems really cheesy and uninteresting.

So after much deliberation, this is what I bought:

1) A two-year subscription to my favourite magazine: Cloth, Paper, Scissors. It’s a multimedia art mag. I am still reading and rereading back issues.

2) Art supplies: watercolour pencils to share with Emma and Sarah, a permanent-type black ink pad, and some v.cute Laura Ashely notecards.

And I also I bought this:

click to enlarge

You know, it’s not like I walking through Westboro village thinking, tra la la, what should I buy myself for my birthday, hey, what about a BOWLING PIN!?!

I was in the Country Clover store (a mix of scented candles, potpourri, old and new stuff) and I saw it. Indeed, it was an old bowling pin. It was heavy. And beat up. It was only $15. I paid, and waited for the lady to put it in a bag for me. I think she was expecting me to take it without a bag. Like, yeah, I want to walk all the way home and to my kid’s school with a bowling pin in my hand. People think I’m weird enough already.

And I love it. It’s going in a place of honour in our living room.

Now tell me. How would you spend $100? Remember: it’s your birthday. So try not to be too practical. :)

11 Responses to "What would you do with $100?"

1 | Mark

September 13th, 2006 at 1:59 pm


I can’t believe you missed your opportunity to talk about how your DH was once a Pin setter at a Bowling Alley and was able to pontificate at length about the bowling pin. Sheesh.

2 | andrea

September 13th, 2006 at 2:02 pm


ATTENTION ATTENTION, calling all bloggers, one of my husbands first jobs was as a pin monkey in a bowling alley.

Did you know that in the olden days they had to hire very very small people to set the pins up? This was before the advent of electricity and the automatic pin setter.

3 | Kerry

September 13th, 2006 at 2:35 pm


Love the bowling pin. More to the point… LOVE the carpet and chairs in your living room. Love it. Love it. Love it.

$100 = 10 pairs of pantyhose (boring), one fantastic dinner for two, 5 intellectual-sized books, 3 hardcovers, 23 new release movie rentals, or… and I can’t believe you didn’t get this, a one year subscription to Entertainment Weekly!! :o)

Seriously though – where’d you get that rug?

4 | andrea

September 13th, 2006 at 3:08 pm


Kerry: there’s a big long backstory there. To summarize… we won a contest and got our living room redecorated. Some better pics of the finished product here: http://www.quietfish.com/notebook/?p=156

I should add that the fireplace grate and the cast iron crows in the bowling pin pic are our own recent additions.

If you’re interested, use the search box on the right side of the page and type “living room contest” to read how it all went down. :)

p.s. The carpet came from Carpet Sense & Flooring, located where Wellington becomes Somerset.

5 | Sweet Pea

September 13th, 2006 at 3:49 pm


I’ve had that “problem” before. In the past I’ve spent birthday money on a Reiki treatment, magazine subscriptions, kitchen stuff, books and yoga classes. Of course, when I get the money I always want to put it in the bank but gift money is so you can buy yourself stuff that you normally wouldn’t buy or at least not buy without some guilt. :-)
I love the bowling pin story.

6 | Mary

September 13th, 2006 at 5:58 pm


I enjoy hearing what you spent your money on and I’m so glad that you spent all the money on yourself and got something that you love.

7 | liss76

September 14th, 2006 at 12:02 pm


My parents gave me an obnoxious monetary gift for my birthday this year (a one-off in celebration of turning 30). I bought a pair of Gap jeans, a spinning wheel, Seasons 1 and 2 of Little Britain, The English Patient, and Random Passage on DVD, and a whole bunch of spinning fibre. ;o)

But it took me a long time to figure out just what to do with it, initially.

8 | Suebob

September 14th, 2006 at 6:39 pm


I always buy some expensive wines that I wouldn’t normally buy, or a really good dinner.

The bowling pin is pretty cool.

9 | BeachMama

September 14th, 2006 at 6:42 pm


That is always the way, when you don’t have it you see lots.

For the last two years, I have asked for Gap gift cards from my FIL and both times he gave me ones for $100. Each time, I took a long time to make my purchases. Carefully scoping out what was in the store, then going back and forth for sales. I cashed in last winter with three pairs of pants two sweaters a tee shirt and a pair of socks. Then this spring, same thing, tee shirts galore (3 I think), 3 tank tops, shorts and another pair of pants. It is so great. That way I was able to treat myself on more than one occaision. I can’t wait for my birthday again this year!

10 | Judi

September 20th, 2006 at 12:11 am


Have you seen what Michael de Meng does with bowling pins? He’s teaching at ArtFest …

11 | Sharon

September 20th, 2006 at 3:23 pm


I bought TRAIN TICKETS to TO… Ok they were abit more than 100.00 but it’s what I wanted. I’m going in Oct….I can’t wait…Staying at a fancy smachy hotel with my girlfriends and eating SOMEONE Elses cooking. Sigh Heaven to me… and yes Cheesy!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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