When the Chief asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said, “I was thinking about that. Could we combine Christmas with our anniversary, not get each other anything, and go to this bed-and-breakfast that I’ve been dying to go to and have been watching its blog like a hawk?”
The Chief was game and I was given the go ahead to look for a sitter for the girls.
Then the Chief gave me for Christmas a pair of earrings we had scoped out at an antique shop downtown. Now I did get him to narrow down how much he spent and I don’t think that he paid too much for them. I would like them appraised to see if the stones are real but the earrings themselves are 14k gold.
So our anniversary came and went and so did some weird weather. It is fortuitous that we did not go on our actual anniversary because of the weather. (The next day was a snow day and that could have been disastrous.)
We were planning on going tomorrow. But it has been nagging at me. The cost. The cost of one night. I know, I know it is the experience of staying in a historic building, having cocktail hour, a luxury bath, gas fire-place, amazing food in the morning, time alone, just the two of us… I’m worth it. He’s worth it (though I’m not so sure he’d enjoy it as much as I would). 18 years is a pretty good accomplishment.
But we have a family cruise to Hawaii this summer. I’m going to want to do as many excursions as possible. The amount we would have spent in the accommodation, taxes and for a sitter for the night could pay for 1 or 2 excursions for a family of 4 depending on what we choose to do.
I was talking to the father of the sitter, letting him know we’d tell her tonight if we still needed her. “Yeah, we usually end up taking the kids with us because there will be a time when it’s just us.” I said, “We’re going on this trip but it’s not like we’ll have privacy.” He laughed, “Sure you will. Just send them to the beach.” T1, who will be sharing a cabin with other cousins, piped in, “Or just send T2 to our cabin!”
It is not just that. In recent days I looked around at our more than adequate home and started listing that I’d still really like–our bathroom redone and we truly need to admit we need a king size bed if we’re ever going to get decent sleep any time soon. This could mean a whole new bedroom set (ours is 18 years old now). And he has a list of his own–new kitchen floor, new front door, etc. None of this will be inexpensive. We just got a new hot water heater, new washer & dryer, and replaced the french doors. Not cheap at all. Those three were definite needs and not the wants of a new bathroom sink.
And the kicker? The Chief and I just had physicals. Our GP is an old friend–I’m talking I’ve known him since 9th grade. He went in to see the Chief and said, “Not that your wife told me to say anything to you, but you don’t seem too particularly thrilled with your employment situation. What’s it going to take for you to stop sailing?”
“For my wife and children to agree to live on half my salary.”
Don’t get me wrong, the Chief is pretty selfless and doesn’t make us feel like a burden. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that it is me that refers to myself as spoiled and blessed that I don’t have to work. I’ve struggled with that and I’ve panicked about that–I can be immobilized by the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” But the Chief has never made me feel like he resents us. He has expressed displeasure when he’s felt unappreciated but he’s right. The girls especially have had moments of thoughtless unappreciation.
I just spent the month of November being thankful and December is about serving, giving, and counting those blessings all over again. If the Chief is one of my top blessings, is it right for me to ask him to take me to what boils down to as an extravagance in light of all the home improvements I just complained about and the already planned expensive Hawaiian trip .. for “our anniversary”? Is it appreciative to ask him to spend money of something he might not enjoy as much as me?
Okay, just to be balanced, if the Chief asked me to spend our anniversary at a woodworking show, you better believed I’d roll my eyes, groan, make sure there was a nice hotel and restaurant involved before I’d agree to go with him. (And yes, I’ve spent my birthday at a woodworking show with him but it was followed by a Trace Atkins & Bill Engvall concert–seemed like a reasonable exchange!) The Chief agreed to the B-n-B idea without asking for something for him.
I wanted the Chief to step in and say, “Let’s save the money for Hawaii.” But he wouldn’t. He felt like he was in between a rock and a hard place. He listened to what I had to say. If he gave his thumbs up, I’d enjoy it–I’d have a blast. But I’d probably feel the guilt later when I had another sleepless night or complained again about or mismatched medicine cabinets. Or had even more guilt as we signed up for our excursions. Would it be worth it.
The Chief came up with the only grown-up solution. “If you’re going to feel guilty, let’s not go and go shopping for a king size bed this week.”
He’s a good guy, that Chief of mine.