1 Day, 4 Lessons

1 Day, 4 Lessons.

I’m a serious fan of saving money. I skip straight to the sale rack, shop a ton of clothes secondhand at Crossroads Trading Co, and sign up for every email service in the book just so I don’t ever miss a special. Now this isn’t to say I don’t enjoy the occasional splurge – I indulge when I feel good about it, but other than that, I’m a money-saving machine. That being said, I also cut a looooooot of corners and try to do the majority of life’s hassles by myself. Recently, I learned the hard way that this is probably not one of my best qualities.

The past few months, I’ve just been dying for a headboard. I have a perfectly good frame, but I really want a nice headboard that screams “I’m an adult!!!” Just my luck (or so I thought): while perusing Wallapop (a Craigslist-type app that I love) last weekend, I found a gorgeous tufted headboard for the right price. It was located in the Loop, and the owner was available the next day! Hollaaaaaa.

Lesson #1: Always double check the address in your Google Maps. And charge your phone before you go anywhere.

The next day, I went to pick up the headboard – I was on my way there when the owner texted me saying she was going to be an hour late. Back home I went. Then, when I finally got there, my phone died just as I was looking for the place. I knew the address, and the grid system in Chicago is pretty easy to figure out, but I just COULD NOT find this place. With a dead phone, I asked people for directions and even stopped in Dairy Queen only to figure out that this building simply did not exist. When my phone warmed up a bit and came back to life, I called the owner – I had put the address in wrong on my Maps app, and the address was on NORTH Wabash, not South. Turns out that Wabash was almost completely closed for construction, so I was unable to hail a cab. Enter me sweatily walking 10 blocks in my heeled booties. Cute.

When I finally got to the owner’s apartment, I was in such a rush that I barely even looked at the thing. I hurriedly handed over the cash and got outta there – I was already an hour late in the schedule of my day, and my type A self was not going to have that.

Lesson #2: Ask a friend to help instead of trying to do it all yourself.

I called an Uber XL (which was surging, btw. Don’t you just hate that?) to help me haul the headboard home. The driver couldn’t find the building for a solid 10 minutes, and then when we finally were on our way back to my apartment, the entrance to Lake Shore Drive was completely blocked by a huge accident. We made our way around the Gold Coast, through Old Town and Lincoln Park, and finally arrived at my apartment. Now, I live in a 4th floor walkup, so I had to make two trips to get everything up. Then I booked it back to the Red Line to go up to Evanston for dinner with my family.

Lesson #3: If you’re severely allergic to cats, don’t buy anything from anyone else without asking if they have a damn cat. Or, ask more questions.

When I returned from dinner, I put together the headboard (which I did wrong the first time, so had to completely redo at one point. This took several hours.). Then, my eyes started itching. My eyes only itch when I’m around cats, which I am severely allergic to. Uh oh. I checked the headboard with a finer eye, and sure enough, there were plenty of long white hairs all over it. Shit.

As much as I loved the headboard, there was absolutely no way I could keep it. Pet dander sticks on upholstery forever, and I literally couldn’t breathe in my own bedroom. Luckily, a friend wanted the same headboard, so she took it off my hands. The transaction was bittersweet– I absolutely loved that headboard, but was so happy to get it the hell out of my apartment. When it was gone, I could breathe a little better. Literally.

Here’s the overall lesson I learned from this whole debacle: sometimes, shortcuts and doing things myself are just. not. worth. it.

I could have bought a headboard brand new and delivered to my door for maybe $75 more. The amount of stress I endured during that day was well worth the extra money, and it would have also saved me a whole Sunday (I savor the hell out of my weekends). Most of the stress was totally my fault – I put the address in Google Maps wrong, I wasn’t patient enough to ask a friend for help, and I was so frazzled that I didn’t look at the headboard longer than a glance. But none of this would have happened if I wasn’t trying to take a shortcut in the first place. Consider yourself schooled, self.