If anyone were to analyze the purchases my husband has made over the last 6 months and compared it to our prior decade long history they would probably jump to the conclusion that my husband must be cheating on me. Only guilty men who have something to hide do what he does.
Let me present the evidence:
- He works long and erratic hours.
- He travels for work conferences and meetings requiring over night stays.
- He uses a pager and a work issued blackberry that is password protected.
- He disappears in the middle of the night.
- He doesn't answer his phone (unless of course he does).
- He has made several expensive purchases as gifts.
Sounds suspicious, doesn't it?
Luckily, I know him better than that. And most of the above has been a part of our life style for as long as we have had a life together. That is except the last one.
We aren't a gift giving couple. Our finances have always necessitated creativity over price. Or in lieu of gifts we'd go out to dinner and get a babysitter.
I knew my husband had the potential to be a gift giver, because even when we would set the budgets for gifts (when we allowed our selves to give them) he would always go over. Or he would ask that I not give him anything and allow him to use the full amount. Or he would always tell me about the things that he wanted to give me. Always so selfless.
Here is where I need to come clean. I have been holding out on you. I started this blog so that I could have a place to be completely honest and work out the "stuff" I deal with. But, I haven't told you everything. I think I felt self-conscious and didn't want to draw attention to the fact that life is getting really good right now. Maybe too good. I am much more comfortable sharing the truth about all the bad stuff, but hold back on the good. So, here it is.
I wasn't prepared for was the unleashing of his giving. Apparently the repression has been severe and now the pendulum has swung the other way. At the first available opportunity he started buying and hasn't been able to stop. We are talking spending worthy of an intervention, and that's kind of what he is about to get.
For the record I was pleased with all of his gifts. However, I didn't expect them all so soon. I was thinking over time... lots of time. Like years. Now what is there left to buy?
First there was a new van. He has known that I wanted a new van for the last 4 or 5 years. The one we had was picked out by someone else and given as a gift, which I am very grateful for. Let this be a lesson, if you start looking at something you will buy it. If you don't want to buy it don't look at it.
This first purchase made me very nervous. Yes the contract had been signed, but it was still in the mail when he went to the dealership. I should have known this purchase was coming because he had been spending a lot of his free time on the Internet shopping around. But he has always done this for as long as I have known him. Build cars online and dream. Dream. I thought I had successfully convinced him of the merits of waiting 6 months or even until we moved. We didn't need a new van, the one we had worked just fine as long as we didn't need to transport anyone other than our children to and fro.
Perhaps it was my fault for complaining about the car pick-up line at school and how the attendants didn't hardly know how to open or close our van door which required me to pull over, get out and re-close the door before heading out into traffic. Or maybe he felt like a neurosurgeon's wife should be driving something made in this decade.
I forgave him for the van. It is gorgeous, spacious, much nicer than anything I could have dreamed of. I am keeping it.
Then a week later he bought himself a foreign, super horse power, sporty vehicle. I cringed a little bit, because we (he) had just bought a new van and I thought we had agreed to wait a little bit. But, I know that he is a car guy and that he has hated everything he has driven for the last 8 years. And he has worked so hard, doesn't he deserve the one thing that he wants? I know he thought he did.
He had been eyeing this particular model for a few months. It was a special edition and there was only one left in town. The year was coming to an end so there wouldn't be any others. I am sure the salesman used urgency to his advantage. Maybe he bought me the van to soften me up for his car. It worked.
I forgave him for the car. He loves it, it is gorgeous and I am starting to feel less uncomfortable driving in it. It has taken some time.
Thankfully the stipend starting coming before the payments did.
Then while on a conference trip he came home with a diamond necklace from Tiffany's. That's right. Diamonds from Tiffany. Why? Well this he said was my "thanks for putting up with med school and residency and fellowship" present. He said I had earned it and more.
I forgave him for the diamonds. I love the necklace. It is gorgeous and I wear it 24/7 even in the shower. At this point he tells me they also had matching earrings but he decided not to buy them. I can't decide if I am disappointed that he didn't, or proud of him for showing some restraint. Mostly proud, my fake diamond earrings I couldn't part with.
Then there was a family vacation after Christmas. Western Caribbean 6 night Disney Cruise for the family, complete with grandparents flown in to join us. We had been planning on this celebratory purchase so I couldn't get upset, but I was beginning to get very uncomfortable with the fact that our bank account should be growing but it looked about the same as it did before.
It was an amazing trip and our first family vacation that didn't involve staying with our family and visiting relatives. Our kids had been anticipating this trip for months and were so excited, it was priceless.
We weren't planning on buying anything in the Caribbean, but apparently they have some amazing shopping and no sales tax. So we left with a high-end watch for me. Not Rolex, but not far from it. Why? Well, my husband is also a watch guy. For his wedding present I purchased him the same brand watch and he has always wanted to get me one. So now I have one.
It was the Caribbean, the sun, the water, feeling like a million bucks.. had it been on US soil I probably would have put up more of a defense, but I stood there and let him buy it for me. I am wearing it right now, and I even sleep with it on. I love it, he is forgiven.
Oh, yes, there is more.
For Valentine's day he bought a purse for me. Mind you I have never owned a purse that cost more than $50. I like purses, don't get me wrong, but I never felt the need to have anything nicer than I did. Until I touched it. Is that what leather is supposed to feel like? Amazing. And now I get why people are obsessed about purses. I should use it more, but I am afraid to get it dirty or scratched, and I still feel a little weird wearing it. I am sure it will grow on me. In time.
I know that these purchases aren't every day purchases. I know that they were one time purchases being made in quick succession. But there are the million other little expenses that all add up. Eating out more often, buying whatever we want at the grocery store, our attitudes about money and spending are changing... and they have changed faster than I want them too. You would be amazed at how quickly you can adapt.
I think that is what I meant in my previous post about wanting to freeze time. I want things to stop for just a moment so I can wrap my head around what we have now and get it under some semblance of control before we jump into yet another round of wheel of fortune.
I am not a materialistic person, or I never thought I was, and now I feel like I might come off that way to the people around me - but I don't want to be. See the problem?
A universal truth has been made perfectly clear to me: your expenses will always rise to meet your income unless you are a diligent task master over your budget AND budgets have to be worked out together not alone.
I have always known that, but I let myself take a little break after he started getting his stipend because I felt that we deserved the respite and now I am feeling the effects. Even when I had worked out a budget it was too stringent and he wasn't on board with it. It was his (our) money so he had a right to decide how it was going to be spent too. And it was the first time in our married life where we actually had the room to make decisions about "extra" money. What is there to talk about when you only have enough to keep a roof over your head, food on the table, and clothes on your back?
Even so, I have put him on a spending fast. I think he has worked everything out of his system so it might not be too painful. He isn't allowed to make any other purchases until our savings account reaches a specific number. Our anniversary is today and I have asked that under no circumstances he buy my anything. What I want is to see our savings account grow between now and the time we move. And for that matter, every day thereafter.
I have always had a high need for financial security. I think that is one of the reasons I have fought so hard to keep us out of consumer debt. Remember the life/disability insurance we got for Christmas? It is an expensive gift that keeps on giving every month, but it has been the best present he could give me.
This was a long post! Thanks for sticking around and listening to my ramblings:-) Hope to see you back here Monday morning for another great edition of Medical Mondays!