Monday, August 27, 2007

Bu Je whaa?

I love department stores. Nothing thrills me to my girly credit card charging core than the sight of freshly windexed glass cabinetry sparkling full of the latest in cosmetic and fragrance delights. Nothing soothes my materialistic soul like a new, crisp handled bag holding my latest purchase wrapped in tissue paper. The pink plush carpet and little painted red hearts and stripes lining the store perimeter of Victoria's Secret, with classical music playing softly in the background, will serve as the future motif of my posh bedroom when I'm in my eighties or so, when I'll cease to care that my bedroom remain gender nuetral for my husband.

I love pretty things, I love NEW things. Along the lines of what Elle Woods might agree with: Pretty things make you feel pretty. Feeling pretty increases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't go around killing other people.

And there you have it, my simple and effective solution to world violence: Let's all just do a little more shopping, buy a few more pretty things.

Having given you a snapshot of the musings of my problem-solving, cerebral shopping lobe, it may be of comfort to know that I do not, nor shall ever hold any viable decision making position pertaining to government/voluntary/political institutions. My realm extends to the mantle of our fireplace, and Tyler wouldn't dream of allowing my lipstick loving philosophies to settle into our children in any permanent sort of fashion.

You might also guess that when first confronted with the term "Budget" upon being married, I first asked for the English term, assuming it from a foreign language. After being given the same term, as well as the definition and its use in a sentence, I could only blubber:

Bu Je Whaaa?

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm no Paris Hilton. I have understood budgets in the sense of not getting a brand new car the moment I wanted it. I understood that we couldn't afford big fancy cruises and diamonds, etc. But what I DIDN'T understand is that the term "budget" extends into things I have always taken for granted, things like groceries, shampoo, clothing apparel, and shaving cream. A few weeks before being married Tyler and I reviewed our very first "budgeted" financial outline. He made the almost fatal mistake of saying, "Rae, you're gonna have to give up your highlight/hair cuts every six weeks for your hair- it's SO expensive!" to which I responded if he was going to ask me to live without my tried and true peroxides, he might as well give up toilet paper. Both are NON-negotiable.

Slowly, I have learned, and wiggled my way through this new budget consiousness. Miraculously, I have even managed to keep our marriage primarily debt free. Whoo hoo. Triumphantly, I stroll my way through Wal-Mart and WinCo, pinching pennies as I opt for the generic "Crispy Rice" instead of "Rice Crispies". For three years, I have managed to feel little self deprivation and a hearty amount of self sufficient satisfaction as I've stuck to "the budget".

One weekday afternoon my three years of progress came to a dead halt, as I opened the door to the newest cosmetic goddess department store ULTA. (My mom has coined it "Sephora on's so great.")
I decided to check it out one afternoon while running errands. Opening the doors, I was greeted by caseloads of the latest Redken Blonde Glam collection in front, loads of summer scented fragrances to my left, nail polishes to my right, and enough cosmetics all around to playfully peruse through for days. Atop, I could hear the glorious angels of flawless foundation and dewy complexions once again singing, "AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"

"Hello Ladies, I've missed you."

Completely speechless and starry eyed, caught up in a trance of the latest trends, I browsed the fragrance aisle, stumbling upon Issey Miyake's "Leau'Dissey". I stroked her beautiful, sand-blasted glass exterior and humbly apologized for being away too long. I preceded to the NARS lipgloss section and lovingly glanced at my long neglected friends, who once paired with the latest Benefit lipliner had so graciously given me a plumper pout. In the hair department, I even came upon a special on Redken All Soft shampoo!

After floating through the moments of this passionate reunion with my ornamental loves, I glanced at my credit card and realized that even the specials did not coincide with my monetary limits for the week. With feet once again firmly planted on the boring budgetary ground I had to mournfully say my goodbyes to all of my sparkly and smooth and silky friends.

"Goodbye," I woefully stuttered, "but not forever." I left with the only frilly friend I could take, an OPI pearl finish polish to console my heartbroken toes.

As I walked away, deprivation and sneering resentment began steaming out of my faux pearl encrusted ears....
Bu Je Whaa?
Arriving home in a pouting tizzy, I began noticing the darker shade of my once pristinely new carpet, the office room that should be a pottery barn playroom, the yellow tinged finish of my kitchen cabinetry.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I dropped complaints here and there, there and here, over just about anything and everything that didn't suit my "pretty" perfection seeking sanity. It wasn't until Tyler one evening became quiet, and almost grumpy (a rarity for him), that I stopped. After coaxing his concerns out of him, he replied, "You sometimes make me feel like I'm not making enough money for us. Like it'll never be good enough. This is the way it is right now Rae, and it's okay."
My heart felt like a 11 ton bag of cold bricks as I stepped back to remember our beautiful home, his long hard hours at work and as a student, our baby girl, our lovely yard, our paid off vehicles, our refrigerator full of groceries. And yes, even my stocked to the brim bathroom cupboards already full of endless amounts of cosmetics and lotions and fragrances.

"I'm a brat," thought I.
"You're right," agreed the glorious angels of flawless foundation and dewy complexions.

So!...With a new resolution beginning 8/27/2007 (forget the New Year's thing), I Rachel Haack solemnly promise to be a better "Bu Je Whaater" and stop complaining about the lists of things I don't have, and remember more the lists of things I DO have. Both lists can be endless, it's just about which list you choose to focus on.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Top 3 Reasons why celebrating at Chili’s on a 3rd anniversary with a total package of a man is 3 million times better than eating at the finest steakhouse married to some TwirPy JeRkY pErV….

Sitting with a friend at my husband’s softball game a few weeks ago, we were graced with the delightfully enlightened conversation of 3 ever so honorable gentlemen whose conversation went something like this…

“F_____ Bleep bleep bleep beer. F______ Bleep Pu___ bleep bleep C_____ bleep bleep bleep mother F______ bleep bleep yeah dude.”

I actually know each of the above mentioned gentlemen, and they were fully aware of the presence of women in their company. I turned to my friend and thankfully uttered, “Aren’t you so glad you have an Austin? And I have a Tyler….we are so lucky.”

Anne of Green Gables was once asked by her astute adoptive mother Marilla, “Why Anne, would you want to marry a wicked man?”
To which Anne replied, “Not a man that is really wicked, but I would like it if he could be wicked.

And hence describes the ever present quandary of the female psyche. We love a bad boy, but one that is tame. We drool at a rough exterior, and sigh at a gentle touch. We complain we want compassion and understanding, but occasionally a little standoffish macho-ism really gets our blood boiling (in a good way). Mel Gibson in a smelly and suggestive kilt sends us into a lustful tizzy as he brutally hacks his way through crowds of soldiers for the woman he loves. We adore the scent of our ridiculously expensive perfumes, and yet equally pleasure in the stench of a dirty construction workin’ babe or football player. OOo La lA, the Mars and Venus thing doesn’t even begin to explain the ironic churnings of our highlighted, deeply conditioned heads.

However, where in the course of this dilemma did we begin giving off the signal that behaving and speaking like an uneducated, perverted little moron was acceptable, attractive, or a sign of worthy manhood? Why and how is it that these nasty mouthed boys actually HAVE girlfriends, and devoted ones at that? Girlfriends that linger despite commitment ….Has the selection really dwindled so? Somewhere in the midst of waiting for Ben Affleck to arrive in his chivalrous Pearl Harbor-esque army uniform, or Richard Gere on his Camelot bound stallion, did they throw up their hands and say, “Okay….I guess perverted little moron will have to do.”

And was it at this surrendering moment for womankind that young men realized that to dwarf into beer bonging, potty mouthed, wanna hook up at a party but wouldn’t dream of asking you to dinner, X-box obsessed frat boys acting like 13 year olds was easier than donning a kilt laced with a scrap of maturity and just hint of valor?

I fear that so many of us girls have succumbed to this epidemic, simply sitting back and waiting for our prospects, our boyfriends, our men to grow up a little before taking the marital dive. When they hit their mid 30’s, these boys may finally grow to men, and take us to the finest steakhouses in town while planning the nursery for children they are finally ready for. I obviously don’t speak for all women, or all men, when I say these things. I am clearly being caught in a flustered dither after angrily pondering the wholesome conversation of the aforementioned boys. It’s just that after these such experiences I no longer wonder why people my age look at marriage, turn the other way and bolt. Who is out there to marry? And is it a better prospect to live single and content until glorious maturity and stable financial times arrive? Why not wait till midlife to begin building life with someone else?

When Tyler and I were driving to Chili’s, the only restaurant within limited budgetary constraints for the week- regardless of marital anniversary status- I suggested a little game. Just to highlight my complete hypocrisy when it comes to the topic of maturity, I confess that I am that girl that plays those games, those games that a male would be safer to light a 3 ton stick of dynamite in front of his face rather than engage in …
The “If you absolutely could never ever ever ever ever have me as a girlfriend, who would you pick?” game, or the “If you absolutely HHHHAAAADD to pick someone BESIDES me, who would you say is the prettiest girl you’ve ever seen?” game.
Tyler has once, and only once, naively fallen prey to these game traps, as a 16 year-old when we were dating and mistakenly mentioned such a female. Shamefully, I will admit that even to this day I wouldn’t consider it a complete tragedy if the girl whosenameIshallneverspeak were to be involved in a freakish dye disaster causing dramatic hair loss. Tyler will also never watch a movie with Brad Pitt without sulking..
Having moved on from such trivial patter, I very smoothly suggested we play “Top 3 things on our 3rd anniversary that we want for our marriage in the future.”

To which Tyler answered,

1. That the future will be as blissful and fun as these past three years have been.
2. That we will have a happy and successful family.
3. More sex.

Completely satisfied, I sat back and savored the pure manliness of my man.. Honorable, sweet as pie….and yes, a man.

I turned to him and said thank you. Thank you for going against everyone else’s good judgement and advice and asking me to marry you. Thank you for taking this risk with me. Thank you for enjoying the responsibility and the depth that comes with marriage and children. Thank you for having fun at Chili’s with Con Queso dip and Chocolate Molten Cake instead of swearing up a storm with your mouth spewing tobacco juice at late night softball games. And thank you for not being ashamed of our life.

On a major budget, completely out of range with societal norms, expecting our second child, working long hours, always striving for a better life, running triathlons, playing basketball, getting all sweaty and dare I say sexy… I’m so lucky to have found this real man.
I’ve come up with the top 3 reasons I am confident in our marriage both now and in the future:

1. You
2. You
3. You

I love you…..