Regarding money, I’ve always considered myself to be ‘frugally frugal.’ Meaning that generally speaking, I like to save money. But that also means that when I see a need, such as the furniture getting old, or the carpet getting raggedy, then I am more than willing to spend the money on updates. CareerMom and I often speak amongst ourselves about how her dad and, generally speaking, her brothers, are not like this. Her dad for instance, is of the mind that if it ain’t broke, then don’t buy a new one. The same goes for painted walls, outdated fixtures, etc. So, I consider CareerMom lucky for having found someone so frugally frugal as myself.
CareerMom and I usually collude on big decisions regarding decorating and fixer-upper things around the house, such as paint colors, furniture, and things like that. But when it comes to the details, she is the accessorist. And so, as each season passes, one can mark the change in our home by noting when CareerMom removes the red Christmas pillows and replaces them with the cheerful spring pillows. In the fall, it goes from greens and yellows to warm oranges and reds.
Before we had children, we were able to re-use the same pillows from year to year, often keeping the same ones two or three years in a row, but kids are nothing if not hard on the furniture. Rather than putting the pillows in plastic bins and storing them in the basement until next year, now we usually end up having to throw them out thanks to stains that won’t come out with simple ‘spot-cleaning.’
Recently, I’d heard CareerMom remark that she’d looked for some nice spring-like pillows at the usual good places: Pier One, Tarz-yay, and Kohl’s. So while I was out with MLE the other day, I stopped in at Stein-Mart to check out the deals on summer shirts. While there, I happened to wander around to the home decor section and actually found some really nice pillows with warm browns (to match our accent wall) and some light greens and tans. So, I grabbed them. I admit that I did look at the price, and wasn’t too happy with it, but I figured I’d get them and if CareerMom liked them and they made her happy, then it was worth it.
Turns out, CareerMom does like them, or at least she’s pretending to really well. But after looking at them the other day and remarking on what a good job I’d done picking them out, she asked, “Did you get a good deal on them?”
This seemingly innocuous question might be perfectly within the realm of expectation coming from someone else, or maybe even coming from CareerMom if she were talking about a major purchase. But for her to ask that question regarding something that clearly was NOT going to break the bank…caused me to pause for a moment.
And then my overly-analytical mind kicked in:
“What did she mean by that?”
“Is she trying to say that she’s surprised I bought them if they weren’t on sale?”
“Is she calling me a cheapskate?”
“When did this happen?”
“Have I started squashing her purchasing decisions recently?”
“What the hell!”
But, I let the whole comment go. Pick your battles right?
And then, the next weekend, in what was retrospectively CLEARLY a decision influenced by this one perfectly innocent comment, I let her buy a lovely set of deck furniture.