By Suzanne Sparrow Watson
I think it’s fairly safe to assume we all like to spend money. Come on, admit it, when you think about things to buy you rarely think about a new vacuum cleaner or getting that pesky crown replaced on your back molar. Nope, in general we all fantasize about how we can spend money on “fun” stuff. Last fall on our long car trip home from our summer travels my husband and I dreamed about some of the fun things we’d like to purchase over the winter. My husband mentioned some ridiculous items – among them a Shelby Cobra. I’ve heard him ask for that car so often that I’m now like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon – his lips move but all I hear is “wonk,wonk, wonk”. I, on the other hand, came up with some practical items – new furniture, season tickets to the theater, perhaps even a trip to Tahiti where I could ensconce myself in one of those swim-up bars and spend weeks writing a travel blog through the lens of too many Pina Coladas. Then reality set in and the spending of “un-fun” money began.
First up was a new washer and dryer. We had noticed over the summer that our clothes came out a lot less wrinkled when we were using someone else’s appliances. I hate it when my off-hand attitude toward domesticity rears up. How could I not have noticed that our washer and dryer were so obviously sub-par? Clearly there is some “housework gene” that I am missing. But since I’ve never liked being on the working end of an iron, I was all for buying a new “laundry suite”. That’s a term I learned at the appliance store, where I was faced with an overwhelming array of choices. It is astounding to learn the tasks these hunks of metal can perform – remove spots, steam clean, sanitize! I kept looking for a dryer that would fold and put the clothes away but I guess that’s a bit down the road. In any event, a couple thousand dollars later we were the proud parents of a new washer and dryer. Sad to say…I’m not sure that our clothes are any less wrinkled but I’m pretending that they are so I don’t feel like we wasted our money.
The next month my husband was doing a walk-around of the house and determined that we really couldn’t go one more winter without painting it. So we got a couple of estimates from painters. Clearly they assumed we wanted to paint the whole neighborhood. Wow – I know they have to caulk and power wash before they slap some paint on, but really, you could feed a small nation for what they charge. Four days and several thousand dollars later, more “un-fun” money had been spent. Unfortunately, once the house looked so snappy it became evident that much of our landscaping had given up the ghost during the blazing hot summer so more “un-fun” money was forked over to the landscapers.
In January one of my front tires mysteriously had a rather large piece of rubber torn out (I’m taking the Fifth). A trip down to those friendly people at Discount Tire resulted in an inspection that necessitated purchasing FOUR new tires. Tires, or generally anything having to do with car maintenance, is the height of “un-fun” money.
Finally, this week our dishwasher decided that nine years was long enough to do dishes. Jeez – I was “the dishwasher” growing up and I lasted 18 years. (Isn’t it funny how our parents “suddenly” decided to get dishwashers when we moved out?). Anyway, we found ourselves on another trip down to the appliance store – I’m thinking we may have to put their address in the “Frequently Visited” category on our nav system. I asked the salesman if that super-duper washing machine he sold us four months ago might also be put into service doing dishes. He was not amused. Thirty minutes later we were separated from more of our hard-earned “un-fun” money.
So, to summarize, we have a new washer, dryer, paint job, landscaping, tires and a dishwasher. Not a pina colada in sight. Oh well, my brother is better at writing about tropical bars anyway. I’ll just sit home and wait for the next thing to break down. Hopefully it won’t be me.