photogoot arrived safely and contacted me at the conclusion of his first day. I drove to his hotel in order to hit the town for an evening of fun!
Saint Louis has recently made news by being identified as the "Most Dangerous U.S. City." While this concerned me after relocating my wife and children here from Texas, galinda822, a native of this area, has always assured me that the violent crime occurs only in Saint Louis proper - the downtown area and not the suburbs in which we reside. photogoot's hotel was smack-dab in the middle of Saint Louis proper - downtown, and it was dark. Thus began our search for food...
We initially attempted to leave via the front entrance. We were accosted almost immediately. We decided to go the opposite direction, but were stopped again by someone else. I looked past this person and could see every last one of them; lined up all the way down the street at 25 foot intervals. There was no way we were going to make it through the gauntlet unmolested. We re-entered the hotel, and slipped out the back entrance...only to be stopped again. With no other exits, and no other options, we ended up the sole diners in the very fancy Bistro restaurant within the hotel. After we placed our order, photogoot and I each had a single glass of Macallan 18-year scotch...more on this below.
I used to have the big house and the nice car...and six-figure debt. These days, I strive for something I've always heard about (but honestly never really understood) living beneath my means. It took my wife and I awhile, but with hard work, discipline, and some deft maneuvering, we managed to become debt-free. We no longer live paycheck-to-paycheck, but it takes a lot of effort and planning and most of this burden falls on my wife's shoulders. We rarely deny ourselves anything - the difference is, we wait for it. We plan for it. We save for it. Once you're free of debt, you look at the world through different eyes. You no longer care about how low a payment is, you want to know its cost. Cash is king and a very powerful tool in negotiations. I negotiate everything. I wait. And I mean to tell you, I'm a very patient man.
I'll admit to being somewhat of a snob where some things are concerned. Clothing, for example. Years ago I discovered that a $75 shirt will last me approximately 8 years, whereas one from Wal-Mart will last me about 8 months. The trick is to wait until that $75 shirt is on sale for about the cost of the Wal-Mart shirt. Its a win-win. Let's take my scotch - I always compare price vs. performance with everything, and my scotch is no different. Recently, you all have read how I managed to find a bottle suggested by lehah for a mere $25 (pictured above). He confirmed with me today that that same bottle normally sells for $42. By Grapthar's Hammer...what a savings.
Disclosure: "If you know my wife, please refrain from passing this next part on to her. Thank you."
So with all I've said about how and when I choose to spend money, and making the careful decisions, while my wife wouldn't bat an eye at me bringing home a $50 bottle of scotch, I shudder to think of her reaction were she ever to find out that the hotel...
charged me $50 for that single glass!