Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday's Words for November 17, 2010

I may have given you all the impression, through various essays over the last year or so, that my beloved tends to be…shall we say, parsimonious? He is on the frugal side, there’s no doubt about that. Mr. Asbury works too hard to let his money go without a good fight.

There was a running joke in the family, years ago when our kids were mostly grown but still at home. When I still worked at a job, we each got paid biweekly on alternating Fridays. Mr. Ashbury thought it would be a good idea, in those days, if we “ate out”, just the two of us, on Fridays, with the person whose pay day it was footing the bill. The joke, of course, was that when it was his turn to pay, we looked up at the menu. When it was my turn to pay, we looked down.

When our eldest son got married my beloved and I entered into negotiations to determine “how much” of a monetary gift we would be giving as a wedding present. During this period, our daughter dropped by one evening. She asked the inevitable – how much was our gift to her brother going to be – not knowing that the mysterious unknown number had become quite the bone of contention between us. I told her that her father and I hadn’t decided yet, because one of us was generous by nature and the other was not—at which point she raised her hand and said, “oh, I know, I know, let me guess!”

This quality of Mr. Ashbury’s is even known by his co-workers, although, strangely, they have another, five-letter word to describe it.

Granted, there has been the odd occasion where my beloved has acted out of character—such as when I needed a new dresser and ended up with an entire bedroom suite, including bedside tables (special note, my bedside table is still across the room, under the window as there is no room in our room for it beside my bed).

My beloved is fond of saying that he is guilty of “investing” money on big ticket items while I am guilty of frittering it away on the little things (you know, like milk, bread, gas for the car).

The reason I bring all this up is a couple of weeks ago, we bought a new sofa for the living room, and poor Mr. Ashbury wasn’t even aware that it was happening until it was a done deal.

The sofa sitting in our living room at the time was the last piece of the garage-sale, fifteen dollar living room suite in plush, dark umber that we’ve had for a few years. If you recall, we had dispensed with the loveseat from that set a couple of months back, in favor of new bookcases.

The fact is, that sofa simply no longer fit in with the new bookcases, recliners, carpet and flooring.

In addition, the thing sat so low to the floor that both of us had a great deal of difficulty getting off of it.

Clearly, something had to be done. Fortunately the furniture store where we got those recliners was having their first anniversary sale. I’d scanned the flyer, and while I wasn’t certain which one I would choose, I had a pretty good idea of what it was I wanted.

Mr. Ashbury agreed to come with me and have a “look around” just to see “what was out there”.

We entered the store—the former location, by the way, of the town’s last remaining bingo hall—and began to peruse their stock. As we have a dog and two (and sometimes three) cats, having a sofa in leather or faux leather was out of the question. Mr. Ashbury, as he has always done, was immediately drawn to and admired the sectionals. Alas, we have no room for a sectional.

I saw a sofa that looked like just what I needed. I sat on it, and was able to rise from it without even using my cane. It turned out to be a sofa bed—an additional bargain, in my opinion—and was on sale for more than two hundred dollars off its regular price.

Yes, I bought it.

I did concede the color to my beloved’s preferences, although the forest green would have gone well with the brown, gold, and russet already in place. Instead, we chose another earth tone, “cocoa”.

As we left the shop, I tried to ease my beloved’s frown by pointing out that we really were past due for a new sofa. He admitted that indeed we were. I told him the price had been exceptional and again, he agreed. Finally, when pressed, he explained what had him worried.

The new sofa is a bit shorter than the one it’s replacing. And he’s not certain he “tiled” far enough beneath the old sofa so that no bare floor will show when the new one arrives next week.

I do understand his dilemma. It’s a problem that only spending more money—to purchase more tiles—will solve.


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