la Ketch

my life story

Sunday, August 06, 2006

the point

No more excuses. The weather is good. I have the evening to myself. Of course there’s a lot to do. I should scrub the kitchen floor. I should make these curtains I’ve been meaning to make but enough has been done that I can s...l....o....w....d....o....w....n. For a moment, I can stop. That will be okay.

I have spoken many times on this blog about my propensity for living in a state of anticipation. I found myself there today. I was really spinning my wheels in it:

Once this is done, then ..... Once I’ve finished this task, then.... Once this has happened, then.....

THEN WHAT LA KETCH!? THEN WHAT!? Then you can stop all this madness and crack a cold one? Well how about right now, huh? It’s a sunny, arid, sunday summer afternoon in Brooklyn and it doesn’t get much better than this.

I must blog! I must share my good mood with you all! No, you don’t have to thank me. Thank YOU. For heaven’s sake, you’re the one taking the time to listen to me say absolutely nothing. No, no, I have a point. I think I’ll get to it. I hope that I will.

When you move into a new place, even though you already have a bunch of stuff, it usually doesn’t completely fit into the new place exactly right. There’s too much of something and not enough of another. In our new place it’s mostly not enough. It’s not enough couch, not enough blinds, not enough closet, not enough patio furniture, not enough barbeque, not enough somewhere to put the *$#!@ microwave. So on top of shelling out all of this dough to move (first, last, deposit, broker fee, moving van), we’ve also had to BUY A BUNCH OF CRAP. Lord alive, I do love to buy me some stuff. It has been more fun than I’m willing to admit to myself but also, stressful because you know, out of money...

Dup and I are the same in many ways but also in many ways we are the complete opposite. I am a doer and he is an observer. I am a spender and he is a saver. It’s a delicate balance that works well for the most part but must always be closely monitored. I must constantly ask myself, “have I pushed him too far?” And he must constantly ask himself, “what is she up to now?”

Dup didn’t want to move. This is no secret. I have been pushing for it for over a year. I wanted a backyard. I had to have one. “If we are going to live in this city for five more minutes, then I must have a backyard,” I said. Dup hates change. He loved our little place (I did too but I was over it). He also romanticizes the past like nobody’s business. In his mind our old apartment is now a eutopic paradise to which he longs to return. It’s been a hard transition for him. I know in my heart that once this place is completely put together he is going to look around and be really glad we moved. Not quite there yet. Getting closer.

The thing I wanted to talk about is this list Dup and I make. It’s called the “Need / Want” list and it goes on the fridge. We did this when we first moved in with each other, at our last apartment and it worked really well. On one side, in order of importance, is the list of things we need and on the other... I think you can guess what’s on the other side. We’re not supposed to get anything from the want side until all of the needs are gotten. On the need side are things like: couch, microwave-stand, blinds. On the want side are things like: barbeque, get painting framed, pony.

It’s a great system except that I keep making purchases off the want side and sometimes I add things to it in an impromptu way without consulting dup or actually writing them on the list. I have this other list in my mind. For instance, I have been wanting a 1950’skitchen table and chairs for a while. This is not on the list. I mentioned this to a friend and she told me that she saw a 1950’s table and chairs at the junk store in our neighborhood for $100. I know about how much they go for and this is a good price. Now I can not stop thinking about them and how once I own them and place them in my kitchen, I can finally be truly happy. The thing is, we have a kitchen table and chairs. I hate them but they work. You can sit in the chairs and you can put food on the table but in a very non-cute way. I've always kind of hated them but now, in the new space. Ugh.

So, I’ve been basically working my voo doo on the dupster all week re: these table and chairs and last night, I finally got him to say that we could get them. I wouldn’t let up until I found a way in and now it’s mine if I want it. Whenever I get in this mode, this “I want something and if you say I can’t have it, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to get it. It means that I’m going to find another way to get you to give it to me” mode, Dup likes to compare my behavior to my mother’s. It’s true, I am EXACTLY like her in this way and there are many stories about my mother to illustrate this. All Dup has to say is, “this is just like the orange trees.” And I’m stopped dead in my tracks. The orange tree story distilled is the time my mom wanted to move the orange trees we had for years from the backyard to the front yard and my dad refused to do it because he LOVED those orange trees and he liked them in the back but one time he went on a fishing trip and she had them moved to the front and they died within a week and he never forgave her. Yes, it’s a sad story.

I was telling my mom about my dilemma with the kitchen set. I was like, “mom, we need all this stuff but I keep wanting to buy stuff we don’t need.” Then I told her about the table and chairs and how cute they are and she’s like, “Well, you just need to make him think it’s his idea to get the table and chairs.” Which is a very old trick that I know all too well but I knew it wouldn't work in this situation, “Yeah but he gets so upset. I mean he just hates to spend money.” And she started telling me how my dad was exactly the same way. I know this already but she reminded me. She told me that the way she hurt my dad the most was by spending money carelessly and then she pulled out this freaking whammy, “It took me years to realize that the best way to show your dad my love for him, was to save money.”

I can not tell you how at the exact same time that makes so much sense and yet seems like the hardest thing ever in the world to me. SAVE? MONEY?! Is that French or something? I love my husband and I am constantly trying to think of ways to show him but je ne parle francias, if you know what I mean.

I’m not getting the table and chairs. He said I could get them but I won’t. That is how giant of a person I am. I spent the money instead on some bamboo fencing that will hopefully stop the mosquito breeding, no shirt wearing, Tom Jones listening, big bellied, drunk, INSANE neighbor from screaming obscenities at my dog. The fencing went on the “need” list on Friday after an incident that you can probably imagine from my description of the guy. It’s a bit of a problem...

My point. MY POINT. I wanted the apartment. I looked for it. I found it. Now, here I am typing away at my computer from the very apartment I wanted so badly, searched for mercilessly. And so, I’ll let myself be happy. I don’t need anything. I don’t have to do anything. Ok, I’m probably going to scrub the kitchen floor and make some curtains before I go to bed but I will ENJOY doing it.

And THAT’S the real point of it all, isn’t it? Yes, I think it is.


At 11:10 AM, Blogger kww said...

Watie and I have a related money thing...
I want to spend the money,
and then he says okay, but with a sort of resigned tone,
so then I don't spend the money because I don't want to irritate him.

But then later, it isn't like there was an up side to me not spending the money. No joy for him in not taxing the credit card. But maybe that is because I pay the bills, so he has no clue about these things. I think what this translates into is I buy things under the pretense of giving Watie "a present."

Maybe Dup really wants that kitchen set as a present--it could be a Labor Day gift, for all his hard work over the years, you celebrate his labor with a cute place to come home and relax and enjoy meals with his family. Or perhaps he will read this, and give YOU a Labor Day gift for scrubbing the floor and making curtains.

(Watie might call this subversive)

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Sheila C. said...

Indeed, La Ketch.

Soph and I have a similar thing, except neither of us has any money to spend so for now it works out just fine.

Great post.

At 11:59 PM, Blogger momster said...

I admire your efforts! I'm guessing it means a lot to Dup, too.
Are there any expenses you could give up for a couple of months so you can make your purchase? Like cable or coffees or Netflix or eating out?
It will mean that much more when you get the table AND your cable back!

At 12:40 AM, Blogger Eve said...

Well, well.. lookitchoo, all grown up and mature-like! That is very big and generous of you. You've described that husband/wife money dynamic so perfectly.
I've been obsessing about this set of picture frames that were not needed. And now they are sitting on my counter, because I am very small and selfish. ech. I read your post too late...


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