Friday, September 17, 2010

Financial regulation

Every time I see a price for buying a new car, my mind flashes back to when my husband and I were first married. We started out in a mobile home before deciding to undertake the impossible project of building a house. It took two years of diligent, difficult, after-hours labor, but we finally moved in two weeks after our second child was born.

One day not too long after inhabiting our new home, we meandered into a furniture store. I saw a living room suite which reminded me of a friend’s home’s decor. It seemed perfect for our new residence, and I looked pleadingly at my husband. He wisely did not burst either into raucous laughter or incredulous exclamations. Instead, he suggested we sit down and take a look at our finances.

Oh rats, no spontaneity in this relationship! After a very, very brief review of our income and outflow (we were both self-employed at the time), it was obvious that, even with the most liberal payment plan, there was no way we could fit that additional expense into our “budget.”

Sure, I was disappointed for a moment...maybe for a few moments. But now, looking back from a multi-decade perspective, I realize how wise my husband was to suggest the evaluation and how smart I was to listen to reason.

Even now, as we enter the “golden years” of retirement, the flashing “$699/mo. payment” remains out of reach. And that’s totally OK. I don’t even need to ask my sweetheart if it would be possible.

New cars, dream cruises, designer clothing—none of that speaks to me. And when my husband advises me about the spontaneous purchases which still tempt me (usually books), I have learned to pay attention (well, most of the time).

Wish we could distill my husband’s wisdom and share it with some others who have financial decisions to make on a much larger scale. The talking heads we just saw discussing the country’s monetary situation seemed to need a healthy dose!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Irreplaceable treasure

It was Labor Day probably about 1986. I’m pretty certain of the year because I think Anna was getting ready to start school. We had borrowed a video camera from a friend. The setting was the family room, complete with the yellow fold-out seat and other long-gone furniture. The kids were hopping around trying to see in the camera lens, and Johnie was fussing at them about getting in the way. When he interviewed me, his question was, “And what are you doing on Labor Day?”

My genius response was, “Laboring.” I was trying to mend a hand-me-down dress that we so desperately needed to help clothe our burgeoning brood.

I thought of that again today as I was outside laboring in the relative comfort of an early fall day. Almost a quarter of a century has passed since we made that video (which desperately needs to be transferred to a DVD!). What happened to all those years? It wasn’t that long ago in my memory. Yet all these adults around me testify otherwise.

In fact, this morning Randi came upstairs and joined us in our room while Johnie and I were still discussing getting up. That also reminded me of the typical invasion of the troops every morning back in the old days. As soon as the little ones were conscious enough to be mobile, they would wander into our room and crawl into bed with us. Randi remembered that the space at the foot of the bed was the prime spot. She also remembered feigning sleep at night so that her daddy would carry her to bed.

It kind of made me wonder what treasures of other memories are locked away in the deep recesses of all of our brains. And what makes it more intriguing is that, although we may all remember a particular event in our family, we all remember it in slightly different ways.

So the invitation is out. Share those memories with those who made them with you. Actually, if you want to, share some with this blog. Especially appreciated are the ones that make us smile.