Saturday, March 27, 2010
Do you ever experience those cringe moments when you look back into your past and remember some of the crazy things you did, say at nineteen, before you learned better? Oh I do. If you look up the word “stalker” in the dictionary, definition number 6 merely reads Deanne in college…, but that’s another story. Today I’d like to share a few cringe moments from my first years of marriage.
My husband and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in a few days (and for those of you doing the math, I was married at twelve and a half). It’s hard to imagine that our little family of two has since grown into a family of ten with possibly two more joining in before the end of the year.
One of the things that still makes me cringe as I look back over the past quarter century is how many stupid things my husband and I spent our money on. We were an easy mark for salesmen, and if I had a nickel for all the dumb purchases we made, I’d probably have enough too…. Well buy something else.
With a mother and a sister in his family, one would have thought my husband would be a little more prepared for the expenses associated with a woman when we got married. But I remember his unhappy shock during our first major shopping trip together after we’d tied the knot. Shampoo, conditioner, razors, tampons AND pads, nylons, nail polish remover, mascara, moisturizer, lotion, body soup and face soap. He’d never guessed how much money went into achieving the look he’d fallen in love with.
What we also didn’t realize at the time was how much the price to maintain that look would go up the older I got.
Another memory is of a summer afternoon, when a guy with his car trunk full of frozen meat cruised through our neighborhood. The price per pound of the beef was too good to resist and since it happened to be a pay-day we thought this would be a great deal.
Unfortunately once we brought our new purchases into the house, we realized that our little refrigerator freezer just wasn’t big enough to store all the meat, so we opened the newspaper’s classified section and found a great price on a used upright freezer. A few days later we discovered that the reason the freeze had been so cheap was because it had a broken seal and wouldn’t stay cold long enough to keep the meat frozen. In the end we had to throw away most of the meat and the seal-less freezer. Talk about a deal.
Then there was the two thousand dollar set of leather bound Encyclopedia Britannica that every family with children was required to have. By the time our kids were old enough to read, the internet was in full swing, and we ended up using the expensive volumes to support one corner of our family room couch.
According to the salesman, the Silver King Vacuum had a body made out of the same metal as fighter jets, and a motor that could power a large go-cart. It cost twelve hundred dollars but it was an investment because it was the last vacuum we’d ever need. Turns out expensive vacuums don’t last any longer than the seventy dollar cheap-os from Wal-Mart even if they can withstand the air pressure at 40,000 feet.
And how could I forget the free dinner at Denny’s if we would listen to the sales pitch of the wonder high-chair salesman. Yes I said high-chair, but this was no ordinary child’s seat. It could be converted to a small table or a booster seat and used for eating, crafts and time out. It was a large square contraption with adjustable legs and wheels so that you could easily move it around the kitchen or take it out back onto the patio and hose down when needed.
Unfortunately what it was not designed to do was support the weight of three children who were using it to race down the sidewalk. In the process they hit an uneven patch of concrete that threw them all, including the wonder high-chair into the neighbor’s evergreen bushes. The kids were scratched up, crying and I hope a little wiser… but the high-chair didn’t fare as well and would not, as promised, last us until we had grandchildren.
At least our marriage has withstood the test of time, and perhaps the lesson here is that money will come and go… mostly go, but finding the right guy who loves you last forever.