The Harsh Reality of Grown Up Expenses
Some days, it just doesn’t pay to be a grown up. I remember, back when I was a child, “expenses” was a fancy word which my dad might use to tell me why they couldn’t afford to buy me that new toy that I wanted (after I had gotten tired of the other once-new toys I had). Money was a boring subject which only got interesting when you found some on the sidewalk. As an added bonus, the perspective of monetary value was all skewed. That’s a fancy way of saying that I thought I was rich when I found $10 on the ground.
As I got older, I began to understand more and more what money was and how important it could be. To some degree, I was still protected from the harsh realities. My parents paid the bulk of my tuition and other assorted costs. The rest were paid by loans. Oh sure, I’d need to pay those back, but to a college student, paying by loan (which wouldn’t need to even start being repaid until you graduated) was essentially the same as free.
Once I graduated, I decided to get a job. This wasn’t so much because I needed the money, mind you, as because I wanted to accomplish something. I had decided against graduate school because that seemed like more theoretical work and I wanted to make stuff. Meanwhile, having left the college dorms behind, I moved back in with my parents. Yes, I bought a car and thus had payments to make, but the lack of rent, repair costs and more kept me from feeling the harsh sting of reality.
Still later, I got married and B and I lived in an apartment. I was finally in The Real World. We made rent payments, paid our phone and cable bills and made sure all the other expenses were taken care of. I saw that splurging on something for me made a dent in our saving account balance and so I tried to rein in my urge to splurge.
When we had NHL, of course, the expenses multiplied. Suddenly, there was this little guy who almost literally ate money. We needed money for clothes for him (which he went through all too quickly), money for diapers for him (which he’d fill up for us), and, once he began eating solid foods, money for food for him.
Next, we moved into a house. This was the American Dream, right? Own your own house? Well, at times the Dream seemed more like a Nightmare. Some days, it felt like everything in the house gathered in a great big conga-line waiting for its turn to break. It felt like money went out for repair costs as fast as it came in. Add in a second child and I often felt like I was running on a monetary treadmill. One that someone turned up to level 20. Jane! Stop this crazy thing!
Why the sudden interest in money? Well, as you know, we booked a trip to Disney World for just the two of us. This is a splurge for us as our usual “time to ourselves” is a meal out (preferably someplace we have a coupon for) while B’s parents watch the kids. Still, it’s our 10th anniversary so we figured we’d do something special. Considering that our honeymoon was also in Disney World, this will, in some ways, be a second honeymoon for us.
Still, once the trip was booked, that conga-line marched on. First, our bedroom TV went dead. This was an old, CRT, non-HD television so it was bound to die eventually. I lugged it downstairs and brought in a spare TV we had. (Also, an old CRT, non-HD set.) Except, that set was dead too. So we had to buy a new TV.
Then, last night as I was shutting down and preparing to go to sleep, I tried to close my laptop. I felt something odd, like it was snapping in two. Alarmed, I opened it up and saw that it was coming apart. Panicked, I booted it back up. Luckily, it still worked. I just couldn’t close the lid. So I backed up my laptop, shut it down, and carefully put it to the side. Now, I need to find a place to repair it and hope it doesn’t cost too much. If it does, it might be cheaper to just buy a new laptop. Either way, it’s another expense that we really didn’t need.
Some days, being an adult is overrated. Can I go back to being a kid again? Maybe just for a day?