My bib overall-wearing buddy has reached a new level of cheapskate…err, frugality. I call my dear husband The Bibbed Wonder because he wears Carhartt bib overalls Every. Single. Day. Occasionally, he dons dress pants or his suit, but 99.9% of the time, my handsome little farmer is wearing his bibbies.
One might question his reasoning for wearing the pants often preferred by toddlers. He has a variety of answers depending on the day and his level of smart-ass, err, mood. The most honest answer is they are comfortable. He never has to worry about plumber’s crack, his zipper being down, or needing to unbutton his top button if he has overeaten. They offer him comfort, convenience, and flexibility. Some of his more creative reasons are “You’re never going to get rich wearing jeans to work” or “there are two kinds of people in this world: those who wear bibs and those who are jealous.” Sigh.
Although he is twisted and frustrating, I mean creative and humorous, he is genuine. With The Bibbed Wonder, what you see is what you get. There will never be any pretense, no showboating, no boasting, and no ego-driven need to impress. He takes the words of the much-loved Fred Rogers and uses them for his own nefarious purposes. His mantra for his constant uniform of “buddy pants” is, “Those that matter, don’t mind. Those that mind, don’t matter.” He doesn’t wear bibs for attention or to “dress the part” of the farmer. He prefers bib overalls to real pants.
As with everything else, the cost of bib overalls has sky-rocketed. My bib overall wearing wonder buns now takes the term reduce, reuse, and recycle to the next level. He has no genuine interest in jumping on the propaganda bandwagon of millennials. He isn’t campaigning to save the whales, sea turtles, or honey bees. He’s cheap. This buzz term, reduce, reuse, and recycle, is just his excuse to take his cheapness to the next level.
My little buddy averages two years of wear from his bibs. Usually, the wear and tear begin to show on the straps, the crotch, and the fabric around the front pocket. The seams will start to fray, the denim will become soft and worn, and the buckles will twist or fall off entirely. When this happens, I covertly tuck them into a black garbage bag kept in the laundry room for the secret disposal of worn-out bibs. I then topped said bag with lint from the dryer and garbage from around the house. The worn-out bibs then go to the end of the lane on Tuesdays, and my little buddy is none the wiser. I then replace the worn-out pair of bibs with a new, crisp, dark-dyed pair that has been hemmed. You see, my handsome little husband has a 28-inch inseam but orders a 32-inch inseam because a 30-inch inseam “gives him a constant wedgie and strangles ‘his boys.’” Sigh. This means that every time he gets a new pair of bibs, they have to be hemmed by GramBarb, me, or Karen, the rude seamstress, who told me upon meeting me for the first time I wasn’t old, but I am fat. Sigh. I have not forgiven Karen for her Karen-ness, but I digress. New bibs are a bit of an event here at the farm.
When The Bibbed Wonder sees a new pair of bibs hanging in his closet, he knows I have disposed of an old pair. This usually leads to a lot of fussing, lamenting, and idle threats to throw away my stuff. I used to get defensive about these little tantrums. Now, I see it as part of the grieving process my bib overall wearing cheapskate must go through over the loss of his buddy pants…or used to come to terms with the fact that I spent almost $100 on new pants for him.
So, what has he done to up the ante on frugality, you ask? He is on to my little garbage bag trick in the laundry room. He scavenges through the trash like a big, bald, cheap bear and pulls his worn-out bibs from the garbage. He hoards his worn-out bibs in a secret location until he has a stack of them, then he takes them to the Amishman, Abe or maybe it’s now Abe’s son, and has the Amish replace the straps, orders new buckles, patches the holes, and sew the crotch. Sigh.
He brings home his trophies like a victorious warrior, holding the garbage bag high over his head and declaring victory over my “wasteful, vanity-driven plot to destroy his happiness.” If dear reader, I did have a drinking problem, I’m sure many of you would understand why. He then parades around the farm in bib overalls with overly dyed denim patches, straps that don’t match in color or texture, and buckles that are shiny on one side and mangled on the other. Almost all his patched bibs have super dark denim patches in perfectly round circles in the crotch region. He really is something. Sigh. When I look at him and shake my head in wonderment, he tells me I will be the reason he can never retire with all my “fancy bib buying.” I then have to hear for the millionth time, “Those that matter, don’t mind. Those that mind, don’t matter.”
A few weeks ago, he took yet another round of bibs to Abe, or Abe’s son, to be repaired. Now, mind, dear reader, some of these bibs are on visit number two or three to the magical Amish sewing wizard. However, this time was different. Not even Abe or Abe’s son could work their frugal magic and fix the threadbare, worn-out bibs my bib-wearing cheapskate salvaged. Instead of crudely patched bib overalls, The Bibbed Wonder was given a note that said, “Sorry, I only did 2, as the rest were too worn out.” There is not enough salvageable material to connect the new fabric with the old one without falling apart.
Rather than be, I don’t know, perhaps embarrassed at the state of his pants or his level of cheapskate-ness (is that even a word?) The Bibbed Wonder was outraged by Abe or Abe’s son’s honesty about the state of his bibs. He declared Abe or Abe’s son to be an embarrassment to all penny-pinching Amish men everywhere. Sigh. This, dear reader, is my life. I can’t make up this sh**.
Rather than have any humility, he shared the note with me, his mom, Jenna, and I’m not sure who else. He finds it humorous and is now on a mission to prove Abe or Abe’s son wrong. He WILL have those bibs repaired, and he WILL get at least another six months of wear from them. Well, dear reader, not if this “fancy pants-wearing wife” has anything to say about it. Said bibs may make it to the burn pile with cardboard boxes. There’s no way he can piece together ashes. Insert wicked laugh here.
I’m all about tightening one’s belt, wearing things until they have exceeded their lifespan, and helping the environment, but my handsome little hubby running around in rags is my breaking point. I can embrace his quirkiness, lack of fashion sense, and frugality, but this is too much for even the most accepting and adoring of wives. Break out that wallet and get yourself some respectable pants, mister! If he doesn’t buy himself pants, the holidays are coming, and Santa will surely deliver some respectable britches to my bib-wearing cheapskate.
On this lovely November day, stay safe, be smart, be frugal but not cheap, don’t twist Mr. Roger’s words to fit your cheapskate agenda, and of course, keep washing your hands.