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

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

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