Another day beset with trials from this clunky, slow, old computer, and I think this may be the day (or the weekend) that Lizzie finally gets the speedy laptop she’s been craving (and saving up for).
Here’s the problem. I care little for technological things; telling me something has 4567 RAM or 849375 BITS or whatever, these things mean nothing. Say those words to me and they translate into my feeble brain as “blahblahblahblahblah-ohlookakitty!-blahblahblah.”
My husband and I have been “looking” at laptops for me for a while, and here is our problem: my husband is increasingly indecisive as we get older – making decisions has become an interminable process around here, because he compares, he microanalyses. He acts like the engineer he is, and so there is always “something else” to consider.
Me? My feelings about my laptop are the same as my feelings about the car: I want it to be pretty, red if possible, otherwise black, and I want it to snap-to-it when I turn it on and perform to reasonable expectations. When fastness is needed, I want it to be capable of fastness. Basically, I just care that it works and won’t blow up on me.
My disinterest, coupled with my lifelong-and-incurable allergy to comparison shopping (my husband has boundless energy for this; he and his mother – God bless her – can forage through a forest to find a penny savings) means that I have left this matter for too long in his hands.
This morning I went to turn on the computer and the details are not worth getting into but note it is now noon, and I’m just writing. “This torture must now cease,” I announced to hubby. “I have saved the money for it; please pick out my laptop and put me out of my misery.”
“Alright,” he said. “But have you decided for sure that you want the big 17″ computer, and not the 10″ netbook you were carrying on about four months ago, because it was cute, and it was red?”
Okay…so maybe I’m not the most decisive of girls, either. But the netbook attraction has faded. I just want to be able to write and not be chained to this desk.
“Well, but there are still a few things to consider,” dear hubby said. “Buster is saying he needs something faster and I thought we could buy him something more powerful and you could take his old one…”
He was off and running. So much to consider; “maybe we should help Buster pay for something better with his summer earnings, and then you can take his HP. You know, we missed the Fourth of July sales, but there will be Labor Day sales…of course, there may be some good deals, since kids are looking for college purchases…”
I love this man. He is the best man I know and I credit his love, and the love of his exceptional family with saving my life, increasing my faith, teaching me about unconditional love, stewardship, sacrifice and so much more.
But when it comes to shopping, I find him to be the greatest beast in nature.
When I was pregnant with Elder Son, we decided it was time to purchase a VCR. This would be an investment of a few hundred dollars, a lot of money for us at the time (we’d closed on a small house and driven into our new driveway with about $80.00 left in our bank account just a year earlier). My geek husband made me go to about 30 different stores, in search of the perfect VCR – the one VCR to rule them all! At one point I became ill and needed to be hospitalized for about ten days (I told you I was allergic to shopping). When I was released, we were still looking until finally I pointed to a Mitsubishi machine he’d rather liked and said, “buy this one.”
“But look, the freeze frame on this one is not as good as the freeze frame on that one, it’s a little wonky.”
“It’s a freeze frame,” I said through clenched teeth. “Who gives a crap how it looks, we’re not going to be studying the Zapruder film with it! I am done looking at these damn things, just buy it.”
I think we kept that VCR for ten years, and it worked very well for us. But what a painful job of buying.
He is not cheap – not at all; my hubby is exceedingly generous with his time, his talents and his purse – he’s always off working on a church project, or a community project or someone else’s house because “the guy really needs another pair of hands…” and he’d rather spend money on family, friends and charity than be pinchpenny – and that’s all okay with me, too – I don’t care about the dilapidated and worn kitchen all that much (although I do wish he’d finish the molding on the bedroom windows, but whatever…).
The problem with my husband is not cheapness; it’s a disease called “I have to know I got the best deal I can possibly get, the best value for my money.”
For this, I blame my beloved in-laws. They grew up dirt poor, in Hells Kitchen (back when it was no one’s idea of trendy), and raised five children on workingman’s wages – so they are both thrifty people. Not at all cheap, but endearingly thrifty. Early in our relationship, my MIL was horrified to learn that I was disinclined to darning socks. “But those are perfectly good socks,” she’d say, “let me teach you how to darn them.”
Yeah, like that was going to happen! I tossed the sock into the trash, right before her shocked eyes, and rendered her speechless for about an hour. As we folded towels, my Mother-in-Law kept looking over at the trashcan with an expression of sadness, and a kind of longing.
Over 26 years, I have been a bad influence on these people. My MIL no longer darns socks; she makes dustrags out of them once they sport a hole.
But you know, if things continue to nosedive economically, I may regret my cavalier dismissal of the darning needle. My MIL – who is an exceptional and creative housekeeper – will be much better prepared to deal with a downturn than many in my generation. She can cook anything from scratch. She can make aluminum foil last beyond what NASA would dare dream. She can create a feast with a bone, some potatoes and a carrot. I suspect the skills and wisdom of our parents and grandparents – rejected in times of prosperity – are the ones we’ll miss in the coming years.
That being the case, I really can’t complain that my husband – asked today to finally do whatever must be done to get me something faster and more dependable – immediately pulled out his iTouch thingy (have you seen those things? Even a technophobe like me can fall in love…I actually crave one; I yearn, I long!) and started comparison shopping.
Whatever it takes, I am getting a new computer this weekend.
But…I will be respectful as my husband burrows into the ads.