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the small game

Mags: "GET OFF YOUR PHONE!"
Me: Margaret! Do not yell at people in their cars. You never know who's crazy.
Mags: Oh please. He was 16.
Me: 16 year olds are crazy.
Mags: I just want to get his number. That way I can call him and tell him to GET OFF YOUR PHONE!"

To be honest? January. There's always a little too much month at the end of the money. But Mags and me? Were the masters of the small game. The purveyors of the simple. The champions of cheapskate.

Mags: It's like this.
Me: I can't do it!
Mags: One-two, three-four...
Me: But you're putting in an extra beat and I can't do it! This is a terrible song to dance to!
Mags: It is the best song to dance to! It has maracas in it!
Me: "On the Road Again" does NOT have maracas.

We love a small victory. A trip up Highway K that feels like cheating on a test.

Two Starbucks card car finds. One with $3.77, the other with 62 cents. One becomes a treat. The change becomes the property of the lucky dame behind us in line.

A $10 Target card becomes the coffee beans we are almost out of. And ice cream and caramel. Obviously.

A newly minted $10 Imo's gift card? Dinner, baby. Two toppings is a total of $9.62 with tax. The other 38 cents? Keep the change for whoever comes next, I say. What, honestly, do we need with change on a card? And, then. Home.

Home to drive Maggie to get the mail and the trash can of our neighbor three doors down.
Trashcan.
Mail key.
Get the mail.
Drop it back off on her porch.

"That was too much!" She says as she dives in the waiting car. "Too much cold!" And we brrrrr all the way home to our own front door.

Mags: "Mom, turn on the movie."
Me: "Hold on. This dance move is the most fun thing I've ever done."

And I can't help it, it was, something about it was an utter delight. The snow pants I still had on. The cha-cha-cha of the song I had in my head. How is it that such a cold day had us all so warm in spirit?

But I will tell you this. Nights like these. Days like today. Memories tripping over memories and not a dime spent.

The small game. I tell you it's as big a success as any out there.


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