Who else totally freaks out, feels like their head is going to explode, and is certain their financial future will be forever bleak if they ever have to purchase a big ticket item?
I can’t see you, but I’m guessing a lot of hands just went up across the internet.
I was raised by my stepmother to be very frugal with money. When something broke, went on the fritz, or simply vanished in our house, the first option was never to run out to buy something shiny and new to replace it.
That was like option #37 on the list. More often than not, we figured out how to live without the item in question. If that didn’t work, we tried to fix it, replace it with a very cheap knock off, or said prayers that somehow the item would return to its original state.
Since God didn’t seem to be listening when I asked him for really important things, I doubted he was really going to jump to the task of repairing my calculator.
I wasn’t very handy, and looking for lost things never panned out, so I became skilled at adapting to life without the item in question.
However, if the cost hit a certain threshold, the cold sweats kicked in, and pulling the trigger on a purchase became a whole new problem to conquer.
Remember, I drove Zombie Car for years because the idea of buying a new car stressed me out to the point that I’d lose time, coming to days later, often in a different state, with absolutely no memory of what had happened.
I’m typing this on a laptop with a broken space bar, a “J” key that only works when you hit it at least five times, and a battery that lasts for about thirty minutes. There’s no way I’m ever going to be able to get past the stress of a cost of a new laptop, so I guess I’m stuck writing short stories, and never using characters whose names contain a J.
Three weeks ago, I noticed that my clothes were still wet no matter how long I put them in the dryer. It took me awhile to accept, but I finally came to terms with the fact that the dryer was broken and needed to be replaced.
I mean, wearing wet clothes is not a major problem this time of year when the sun is shining and the temperature is rising. But once October hits, I’ll be wearing a frozen wardrobe should I leave The House on the Hill dressed like that.
I also developed an odd anxiety about waking up to find the cats scurrying around The House on the Hill in my wet clothes.
When I realized that J & I had bought this washer and dryer fifteen years ago when we first moved to Maine, I figured it was probably okay to replace the broken dryer. After all, it had survived much longer than my marriage.
I did some online research, found a place near me that had the best prices on dryers, and asked a friend to accompany me to the store.
The friend was there to drive me home should I pass out from the stress of making a big ticket purchase. Even though I had justified the need for the expense, that didn’t mean my body wouldn’t shut down to prevent me from handing over my debit card.
Then I took my emergency ride to lunch to both thank her for being on standby, and to also have the opportunity to vent about having to spend so much money.
I knew that if I didn’t get it all out of my head, and send it off into the world, it would bounce around in my head for probably the rest of my life and slowly kill me.
Cause of death? Stress caused by that dryer he bought thirty years ago…
It’s a classic, one of my all-time faves, and Bill Murray cracks me up.
As I was watching today, I realized that Murray’s quest to kill the gopher was a metaphor for my trying to deal with the stress of making a big ticket item purchase. The quest was slowly driving me mad, and I was going to blow up everything if I didn’t find a solution.
My new dryer arrives on Thursday. Hopefully by then, I’ve flushed the stress of this stiff blow to the finances from my system.
If not, I guess I could always try to relax with a round of golf…
How do you handle the stress of making big ticket item purchases?