When looking for meaning in the story of my life,--and by meaning I mean the answers to “You did WHAT? WHY?”-- it often boils down to one of two phrases: “It seemed like the thing to do at the time,” or “One thing just led to another.”
(We’ll go into “ It seemed like the thing to do at the time” another day—it rates right up there with the famous redneck death cry of “Hold my beer.”)
Let’s look at how things unfold at casa PC…
~cue flashback harp music~
I buy DG a Wii for his birthday. Within a week, it’s decided that in order to fully enjoy the Wii, we need a larger TV. (And by "we" I mean DG.) DG goes and buys an enormous flat screen HD TV. Well, our satellite provider doesn’t really do HD channels, so we’re wasting the HD capability, but hey, the local cable folks are running a special that will bundle cable and HD channels with our phone and internet. But the cable in-box is on the wrong side of the house, so it takes three weeks for them to dig a trench under our porch and drill through the siding so set it up properly—until then, I’m tripping over cables. So, HD is way cool, but the old DVD player just doesn’t have the goods any more, so we have to purchase a new DVD player with HD. Now the piece of furniture the new TV is sitting on won’t work because of all the attached crap, and we have to go looking for a new entertainment center… Can I mention here that none of this matches anything else in my living room and now the room looks all weird and out of proportion?
The $250 Wii has cost me a fortune and many headaches because “One thing led to another."
I’m sure you all feel my pain. We’ve all been there. Someday, I’ll tell you the stories from my teenage years that put my mom and Counselor Shelley’s mom into therapy.
But my family has an interesting twist on this phenomenon. We can run it backwards…
I’ll use my mom as an illustration (You’re welcome, Mom.). Years ago, I bought my mom a jar of lovely bath salts in the expensive fragrance she loved. Months pass, and she still hadn’t cracked the seal. I ask why, and she informs me, “It’s just not worth the trouble.” Now, my mom believes in good personal hygiene, so bathing wasn’t the issue—I had to push on to get to the bottom of the issue. So, here’s my mom’s rationale:
If she’s going to enjoy a long soak in the tub, she needs to clean it. (Okay, that’s understandable.)
If she’s going to clean the tub anyway, she should bathe the dog first. (A 90 lb long haired Lab.)
If she’s going to bathe the dog, she should go ahead and bathe the cat too. (A 28 lb cat who’s too fat to care for her own hygiene properly.)
If she’s going to bathe both animals, she should wash and air out their bedding first...
See where this is heading? It just wasn’t worth it.
DG got out of buying a coffee table that way. (Soon after we got married and were buying furniture, I found a great coffee table on sale for $50. DG said that the coffee table didn’t “work” with the couch we’d just purchased. We’d need a different style of couch, and that style of couch wouldn’t fit in our current shoebox apartment. We’d have to move, which would mean breaking our lease in addition to moving costs. My $50 coffee table would end up costing us thousands that we couldn't afford. Yeah, right. I think he just hated the coffee table.)
Maybe it’s because my life is an on-going chorus of “and one thing just led to another” that we’ve learned to catastrophize and look for the possible ways things can snowball out of hand. Sadly, it’s the things I think won’t get out of hand that do. Trust me, I did not foresee that the purchase of a Wii would lead to me cringing every time I walk in to my living room. On the up side, though, DG is really starting to see the need for entirely new living room furniture.
But if we’re going to buy new furniture, we should move first so we know the new stuff will work in the new place. And if we’re going to move, we’ll have to put this house on the market, and that means we’ll have to paint the living room and replace the upstairs carpet. And if we’re going to replace the carpet…