Save more. Drink less. You’re going to find at least one of those bullets on any of your friends’ New Year’s Resolution list. (Both if you happen to be friends with me.) And each declaration seems simple, especially when one begets the other, provided you have the discipline to take the $30 that you would have spent at the bar and put it into your 401(k)…provided you have a 401(k) to begin with. But we all know simple is light years from easy.

There are many potholes along the road to success. There are alleged friends who incessantly bombard you with après ski/work/gym invitations to the pub. Your financial acumen is such that you think a 401(K) is a freeway in California. Then there is the possibility that you were drunk when you made your resolutions giving you an out on based on grounds of diminished mental capacity. But there are some things you just never see coming, hazards cloaked in a veil of innocence. Take a ping pong table and a Labrador Retriever for example.

One is simply a piece of painted plywood bolted to four metal legs with some mesh netting stretched across it. The other the most loyal animal in the world, one whose genetic programming is such that it will put itself between you and the mountain lion that appears on your television in the latest commercial for a “wild” cat food. But as the saying goes, things aren’t always what they seem.

That simple piece of plywood your neighbor gave you might actually be some type of time-shifting amulet that causes your husband to flash back to 1992 when he was a champion beer pong “player.” Not wanting to be left behind, you travel back in time with him, breaking out old mix tapes and flannel shirts you find stuffed in a box in the basement. And as it is beer pong (because one just can’t play ping pong) you are now averaging two cases of Long Trail IPA a week.

And that Labrador retriever, the one who so fearlessly defends you against the mountain lion leaping out of your television set like that creepy girl in the movie the Ring?? Well it turns out that Labrador Retrievers really do like to retrieve things, even things as small as ping pong balls, which he does every time you miss a ball and it lands on the floor, something that happens with greater frequency as the games progress and you empty those cans Long Trail. Of course hollow plastic balls are no match for canine fangs and now you’re averaging two four packs a week of ping pong balls in addition to your two cases of beer. (NOTE: One can buy beer and ping pong balls in the same store in Vermont; a convenience you begin to regard as one of the greatest since Google.)

So to add it all up, only 14 days after proclaiming your desire to be rich and semi sober, not only have you gained five pounds, you’ve put back about two dozen IPAs and dropped over a $100 on beer and ping pong balls. This sum of money doesn’t strike you as terribly extravagant, but it’s one that your financial-planner friend tells you would have turned into something like a million dollars in just 15 years had it only been put into that 401(K) she’s been urging you to open.

Two weeks into the new year and I’ve already carried my resolutions to the curb in a recycling bin…twice. But, as I have reasoned, resolutions are courses of action, not ultimatums one imposes upon one’s self, at least not in my word. And as with any course, corrections often have to be made. So let the corrections begin. This week’s will include going from two cases down to one and a half, leaving the hound upstairs to bark every time he hears a ball hit the cement, and not going to the Ping Pong Ball Beer Mart any more. (It’s just too dangerous to have both those things in one store.) And if I can do that for a month, I might have just enough money to get on the 401 freeway.