The $20 Project: Hair Cut, Coffee and Rubbers

Michael's Barber Shop 13-08-07_1136

I can’t really afford to go out for lunch here in Bethesda because I don’t make nearly as much money as almost anyone else in town. Instead, I eat at my desk while working and reserve my actual lunch break for doing errands. Yesterday was no different. My first stop was to Michael’s Barber Shop on St. Elmo Ave., where I got my mop chopped to an appropriate length. The barbers there are very nice folks, always happy to chat or allow customers to be quiet, taking their cues appropriately and thus guaranteeing a good tip. Haircut: $14, including a $2 tip.

Coffee - hell yeah!

Next I got a cup of coffee at the convenience store at the corner of Norfolk and Woodmont. You know the place, where the construction workers from nearby building projects spend their lunch hours betting on horses and playing the numbers. The cute Philippine lady at the counter always gives me a nice smile and wishes me a nice day. So much better than Starbucks next door, where all you are likely to get is fed through the cattle chute and spit out a door to again mix with society. 20 ounce coffee: $1.40.


My last stop on the lunch break express was to the CVS to pick up some unlubricated rubbers. Not for any sort of traditional use, mind you, but to use as airlocks for the hard cider I am making. I don’t have a fancy recipe like Derek Terrell probably does but will share it with you anyway. You take a jug of apple cider from the store (no preservatives, mind you – just straight juice), sprinkle in a teaspoon of bread yeast and attach a jimmy hat to keep bacteria-laden air from coming in. After the woody wrap is unrolled and affixed, simply wait until it stops inflating. Then you have some good, old-fashioned hard cider. Rubbers: $4.19

Total cost of my lunch break: $19.59

9 Comments so far

  1. Don (unregistered) on November 6th, 2007 @ 4:15 pm

    Costco currently has organic preservative-free cider at a pretty reasonable price. I noticed it the other day when shopping for something else – I didn’t realize I could turn it into booze so easily!

  2. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on November 6th, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

    Don, I grew up half redneck and have carried those traditions into my current life. Improvise, adapt, overcome. Then make wine.

  3. Megan (unregistered) on November 6th, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

    I’ve found that leaving a jug of cider (preservatives or not, your choice) in your refridgerator until December also works. But your way is probably better.

  4. Liz (unregistered) on November 7th, 2007 @ 9:43 am

    Aren’t you worried about droplets of spermicide in your cider?

  5. Don (unregistered) on November 7th, 2007 @ 9:45 am

    That’s why he said unlubricated, Liz. The worst he has to worry about is a little bit of talc.

  6. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on November 7th, 2007 @ 9:45 am

    Liz – exactly why I prefer the unlubricated dry ones. At least for cider.

  7. Liz (unregistered) on November 7th, 2007 @ 9:48 am

    Oops. Guess I skipped over that part. :)

  8. crankella (unregistered) on November 7th, 2007 @ 10:46 pm

    gee maybe you should try using the condoms for their intended purpose. cider?? hellooo? i thought my life was pathetic.

  9. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on November 7th, 2007 @ 11:41 pm

    Crankella – don’t be too hasty in your over-commenting about my pathetic life. I haven’t had the chance yet to ferment the cider and make myself leave the same comment that many times!

    This isn’t about me not getting any and certainly isn’t a commentary on how pathetic your life is, although I trust you on that score. It is about improvisation. Improvise, adapt, overcome. See beyond that functional fixation many folks have and find alternate uses for everyday objects.

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