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.

1 comment:

Alexis said...

Somehow I missed this blog - it is now February 2009!
Oh what insight we have had now about budgets now that our national economy (and particularly our local economy) has done a free fall downward. Scary times.
Dad and I are so proud of how you and Tyler started your marriage with the goal of budgeting. Your desire to budget almost 2 years before this national crisis is a tribute to both of you in looking long term at your future. You are prepared and ready for the rough times ahead and already are doing the things that so many of us are trying to adjust to now.
You both manage to have a beautiful home, a stay at home mom with our wonderful grandchildren, health insurance, yummy meals and even a date night once a week -truly a tribute to you both making sacrifices and putting the most important things first.
Usually, I like to be oh so clever in my comments - but this time the simply stated pride of a mom is all I can offer.