Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How this all began....

My dear Oma, that means grandmother in German, used to have many old sayings, poems and rhymes that pop into my consciousness regularly, as she left an indelible mark on my development. The reason for this blog is one particular quote, one of my favorites, that went something like this, “Wer den Pfenning nicht ehrt, ist den Thaler nicht wert.” In other words, if you don’t honor a penny, you aren’t worth the dollar. For me, that began a lifelong legacy of guilt if I do not pick up a penny when I see it on the sidewalk or in the gutter grate. However, that also left me a stalwart saver and penny pincher.

That leads me to why in the world this blog even exists…..

On July 12, 2009, my sweet husband, who does not allow money to burn a hole in his pocket and is most certainly not the miserly sort, on his 44th birthday camping trip at Baker Lake, announced with a gleeful little boy grin that he had found some money at a neighboring campsite, and that he was going to go for a walk to find more. He proceeded to wrangle the whole family into money searching missions, quickly making a competitive game of it. Over the next several days, and then weeks, he continued to search for coins wherever he went. Even to the point of walking far out of his way, parking on the outer edges of parking lots, and traipsing beyond the beaten path to find at least one penny each day. The fun was contagious, and we both began to hunt for pfennigs as we went about our everyday chores, calling one another excitedly if we found something.

Thus, an idea was born from our mutual ruminations, and mostly due to Steve’s cleverness – let’s blog about it. Alas, we are busy people and find that blogging every time we find something might be a bit much, but it could be fun to track how much money we found….

In the first weeks we found a smattering of change almost every time we went somewhere, whether that was to the store, post office, or on the job.

On special day trips, we try to find something to remember the trip by. On our way to my 20th class reunion in Bellingham just last week, we found our first foreign coin, which was merely a Canadian dime, but it was a memorable and humorous first.

My favorite coins are those that we find on hikes to mark our day…such as two cents at Lake 22, which is an amazingly beautiful hike that I highly recommend. Another fun day finding a lonely dime at the Heather Meadows on Mt. Baker. If we are lucky, it’s a nickel, dime or even quarter per day, other times just a mottled, dirty and dented Lincoln.

Recently, while driving through a grocery store parking lot, both Steve and I spotted a conspicuously rolled-up piece of paper that we were positively certain was a five dollar bill….with car still moving, I eagerly hopped out of the car and snatched up the our monstrous prize…only to discover disappointedly that it was a racy advertisement clipped from the local fringe newspaper for something altogether distasteful which I won’t discuss here! Yucky – but funny!

In the month following, we have accumulated four quarters, thirteen dimes, six nickels, forty-three pennies and one Canadian dime. The grand total…… imagine a drum-roll here…..$3.03!

This leads me to several questions:

How much have we overlooked?

How much have I lost over time?

How much can we accumulate over a longer period of time?

However, in conclusion, it’s not so much about the money though….it’s the story behind the money.