Tag Archives: money

The soothing effect of money

A few days ago marked one year since I was shown the door at my last ‘real’ job. At the time, I went through the traditional stages of grief; anger, disgust, disdain, and fury, with a brief stop at homicidal mania. It didn’t take me long to get past all that, however, and settle into my new life as an aspiring novelist. I wasn’t particularly lonely, my days didn’t drag. I was productive and had results to show for my efforts. I probably even lowered my blood pressure. What I did miss, was having an income.

It’s been well over thirty years since I went a year without a ‘real’ job. I had my first office job the summer I was thirteen. The man who hired me could not remember how old I was and occasionally suggested I take his car to run an errand. I’d remind him that I was only thirteen and he’d look at me for a minute like we’d just met, and then shake his head and say, “Right, right,” and wave his hand, indicating no matter, he’d handle that chore himself.

I liked making money. With money came unbelievable freedom. If I wanted something my parents weren’t willing to spring for, no problem, I bought it myself. If I wanted something they wouldn’t approve of, they didn’t need to know about it. But it turned out that I wasn’t a terribly acquisitive teenager. The things most girls spent money on, clothes and makeup, didn’t interest me at all, so my bank account grew and grew.

As an adult, I took great pride in being financially self-sufficient. Single, I bought my first house right before I turned thirty, proving that ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.’ And when I met and married my husband, I insisted we keep our money separate until a few years in when a lawyer told us that, at that point in the marriage, there was no more mine vs. his. If we broke up, the state would look at our assets as one big pot to be split. I gave in and our money began mingling. Even so, I was acutely aware of my contributions to the family coffers, and the financial freedom I continued to cherish.

So here I am, ‘working’ at home, and not earning money. I hope that won’t be a permanent state of affairs. With a little luck, I’ll sell my book and look back on this year as the year I worked on spec. And if I can do it once, maybe I can do it twice, and then I’ll be contributing financially again.

Meanwhile, I’m the only one in the family having a problem with this situation. My wildly supportive husband is perfectly content to be the sole wage earner, as long as I’m happily pursuing my new career. So I’ll try to stay upbeat. After all, I have enjoyed this past year. But I now know that even if money can’t buy happiness, it sure can stave off anxiety.

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Cocktails anyone?

This morning I have buyer’s remorse because yesterday I bought a very expensive hat. Not only did I buy a hat, but to encourage me to buy a hat, my husband, Andrew, said he’d buy one too, so I’m actually having buyer’s remorse for two.

We went to a high end craft fair called Paradise City. I’m calling it a craft fair but the producers of the event call it ‘a fair of fine and functional art.’ It certainly was fine, and some of it was even functional, but I’d be hard pressed to label as functional some of the art (like the glass pieces that were so delicate we were afraid to breathe near them). There were a variety of things that fell in the ‘beautiful-but-who-are-you-kidding-about-functional?’ category. Take my hat (please!).

I tried on a lot of hats in the Denishe booth. They all looked wonderful on the round styrofoam heads they were sitting on, but once on my head they lost their appeal. I was shaken by the experience because my mother always used to tell me that I had a ‘hat head’ which I interpreted to mean that I looked good in hats. Now I’m wondering if she meant I had a head shaped like a hat. Eventually the artist, Denise, determined that we were looking at the wrong colors and indeed when I put on the red hat I was instantly struck by how cute I looked, despite the fact that I couldn’t imagine actually wearing the hat in the real world.

Denise, assured me that a hat can be worn anywhere, anytime; that I could put on my hat whenever the mood struck me and go about my business. She talked me into it. Not in a pushy way, in a soothing, ‘you can do it’ kind of way. I decided she was right. The hat was funky and playful and so am I. Later I visited her website, Denishe. She has a section for ‘funky’ and my hat isn’t in it. My hat is under the menu choice for ‘cocktail.’ She never once mentioned the word cocktail. I rarely go anywhere just for cocktails. Does that mean the hat will never get worn after all?

To understand just how unlikely it is that you’ll see me wearing my new hat in the supermarket, check out the cocktail line at Denishe’s site. The way the site is constructed I can’t get you directly to the photo. When you find the white cocktail hat that sits very tall and branches out in lots of directions picture it in red. That’s mine. Or visit this link for Paradise City; today it’s also shown there.

Denise insisted that she wouldn’t sell me the hat unless I promised to wear it at least twice. I assured her that I would. Not only am I a woman of my word, but I need to amortize the cost of this hat before I go out of my mind. Cocktails anyone?