It only takes money

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Charlie and Joe

If you talk about buying something in front of Rob’s Dad, don’t be surprised if you hear him say, “It only takes money.” Apparently, Rob heard that statement numerous times as a kid and young adult. During our weekend getaway, Rob and I romanticized about buying this thing or that thing, spending another weekend here or going there, etc. Suddenly, I heard myself say, “It only takes money.” We laughed.

The two of us had a fantastic weekend, living a life that wasn’t familiar to us. We are home, now, and our life is all too familiar. Within days of getting home, I received a bill from a health care provider, letting me know what portion of the charges I would have to pay out of pocket. The amount I owed was much larger than I was anticipating, but I knew we’d manage. Then I went to pick up the boys from day care.

See the picture? Cute kids, eh? Notice the one on the right has glasses. Well, the glasses he is wearing were broken recently, and we have been putting off getting the glasses fixed. Fortunately, we keep a spare pair of glasses. Unfortunately, when I picked up the boys, Joe’s spare pair of glasses were handed to me in a plastic bag by Suzann. Apparently, Joe was seeing how much his glasses could bend. Well, his spare pair of glasses didn’t bend – they broke.

Yesterday, when I returned home from getting my boobs squished and squashed (ie Mammogram), my husband mentioned he had news for me. He suggested I sit down. Hmmm . . . this didn’t sound good to me. “Well,” he starts. “I am just about finished with our taxes. And, it looks like we owe.” We owed last year, which floored me, because we don’t make much money. I always attributed owing taxes with a tax bracket higher than ours – much higher than ours. “How much?” I asked. My eyes grew wide when he told me. It’s under $1,000, which is nice, eh? Still, I started adding these bills up in my head – glasses, taxes and health care – Oh my!

I failed to mention that I had gotten quite mad the night Joe broke his glasses. As a Mom, I hated seeing his eyes cross. And, as the payer of bills, I hated thinking of the unexpected expense. As these things kept swirling around in my mind, my anger grew and I started yelling at Rob. He was a trooper. He kept asking, “Ok. But, why are you yelling at me?” And, as he asked, I said to myself quietly, ‘I know. I shouldn’t be yelling at you. It isn’t your fault. But I am mad, and I don’t know what else to do about it.’ Honestly, I kept saying that silently in my head, while Rob continued to ask, “But, why are you yelling at me?” I knew I was in the wrong, but my external voice and my frustration were more powerful. Yelling was the easiest thing to do. I’m telling you, in my opinion, that proverbial high road is a hard road to take. Especially, when you are caught in the heat of the moment.

For the record, I did apologize to Rob for getting out of line. I made it clear, none of this was his fault. I made it clear that I goofed. And you know what? Apologizing never gets any easier. Humble pie tastes icky, though it needs to be eaten.

Anyway, so Rob had just shared the news about the taxes, and I felt the rage growing again inside of me. I remained in control this time, though. I stood up and I told him I needed time to process all of this information. I went upstairs, and I started craving food instantly. UGH. I swear, if I was a smoker, I would have lit up a cigarette. And, if I was a heavy drinker, I would have had at least three beers. Instead of smokes or booze, I feel the tug of food. Ice cream is usually the first thing that pops into my head. And, once ice cream is in my head and on my mind, it is hard for me to quiet the urge without submitting. Do I sound like I am exaggerating? I assure you, I am not.

I went to my computers – work and personal. I tried to busy myself with work, and I tried to busy myself with surfing. I was still frustrated. Then, after one of several Facebook refreshes, I saw a note from Angela. She is my Facebook friend who is active with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Team in Training. You can click on their website to find out more about the awesome organization. Briefly, Team in Training raises awareness of blood cancer by running marathons, half marathons, etc. And, my friend Angela is one of many runners running with a purpose. If you want to learn more, you can check out my post about Angela’s efforts and how you can help by clicking here.

Angela sent me a note, letting me know her web page had been activated. And, as I clicked on her website, my outlook on my financial frustrations seemed to subside. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like dollars just manifested into our bank account and our financial problems were gone with the wind. That would be silly. Quite cool, for certain; but, it would be silly. And, let me be clear, I was still frustrated. However, my perspective changed. Rob and I will figure out a way to pay what needs to be paid. It’s not as if we don’t have money. And, I know there are many people who are in boats similar to ours, as well as people in bigger boats and people in smaller boats.  And, there are people that have no boats. So, I get it could be worse. And, being reminded of people who face life-threatening battles each day, really keeps things in perspective.

I blogged once about how Corey Haim’s death didn’t have a direct impact on my life. Tragic? Yes. Impacting my life? No. Yet, sometimes it is nice to be reminded that even when you are battling your own challenges, others are battling, too. I don’t wish large battles on folks, but I certainly gain a greater perspective on the size of my battles, when I am reminded of the bigger struggles. The fact that Angela let me know her website was up and running, reminded me that things could be so much worse.

Rob and I are fine. Some months are more costly than other months. But, we always find a way to have ‘enough’. And, I am thankful for the fact that we have ‘enough’. In fact, I took the time to donate to Team in Training, because I want to do what I can to make sure others have ‘enough’, too. I also want to work on my temper and self-control. Apparently, it takes more than money to do some things.

P.S. I did not submit to my ice cream craving, while in the midst of my frustration. That was a battle I won. Yeah me!

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