Fits, chocolate, the Dear Hubby, and composting

A couple of days ago, my hubby very greatly surprised me with an envelope inscribed in his all-caps, neat, architect-style printing:

FOR:  MY DEAREST
KAREN JOY
(OPEN WHEN I’M @ SMALL GROUP)

I was expecting a kind and encouraging note.  We seem to oftentimes communicate best through the written word.  The envelope, however, did not contain a note.

Mmmmm....

I will also mention that my receipt of this surprise came on the heels of me pitching a fit that he wanted a few squares of my horded (in the freezer) chocolate bar, to which I’d been treating myself THREE SAVORED SQUARES, nightly.  I should have just said, “Yes, Dear.”  In fact, I did say something like that, but it it required a Herculean effort to share, and I guess my body language reflected my internal dilemma — not really wanting to share, yet knowing that HE’S MY HUSBAND and he should be able to have any bit of “my” chocolate that he wants.

We ended up having an argument, and I really didn’t think he understood, that, at times, I find it difficult to deal with “all I have is yours”, especially since I have no stipend/allowance/spending/pocket money to spend as I’d like, and instead, have to carve a bit — in this case, $1.50, on sale — out of some section of our budget — in this case, groceries — in order to have a little something nice for myself.

I still don’t know where the right spot is on this topic.  God made humans with the innate desire to earn and own (which is why Communism doesn’t work).  However, the American culture takes that whole concept of earning and owning WAY TOO FAR over the top, to the point of materialism being the defining “god” of our country, and perhaps — Dear Lord, let it not be so! — that has permeated my heart.  I absolutely don’t want to be selfish — my husband and I do have everything in common, and I believe that is Biblical.  But, it would be lovely to have some discretionary funds, to purchase, willy-nilly (or carefully considered), things like chocolate or earrings or a pair of shoes I don’t really need or an additional long-sleeved shirt or two or on a fancy coffee or something decorative for our family room wall or a pretty little candle.  Or something.  Anything.  Without having to make a down-to-the-penny accounting for its necessity.

I don’t regret not being employed, which means, by default, that we have to be careful — very careful — with our funds.

All of this came to the fore, when it felt like I was required to share what I had hoped would be mine.

And, I guess that is a fit.

~sigh~

I didn’t handle it well.  I’m not even sure if I apologized, because, at the time, I felt justified.  NOT in not sharing — I was willing, though unwilling (if that makes sense) — to share.  I felt justified in feeling (and expressing) that it would be lovely to have some freedom to purchase something just because it made my own heart happy, and stymied, because that’s just not in the budget.

Like I said, I’m not sure I have an entirely Godly attitude about this.  I’m not sure what is the right and Godly attitude.  Give all of my chocolate away with no regrets, I guess, and never feel wistful for a cute and entirely impractical pair of shoes.

One way or another, even if I’m not walking in complete supernatural maturity on the issue of sharing, I just wanted my hubby to understand my heart, my thoughts, even my sadness.

In the end, though I felt like he completely did not understand where I was coming from, perhaps he did.

To my shock, inside the envelope was a hundred dollar bill.

I believe it’s from the money he unexpectedly earned for playing guitar at a friend’s wedding.  Every time he is asked to do music for a wedding, which is usually 3-4 times yearly, he assumes it’s for free, and that way, we’re pleasantly surprised if there’s payment involved.  Occasionally, he gives the money back.  He didn’t, this last time.

I remember, early in our marriage, when I was more prone to argue over just about everything, I’d cut into him up one side and down the other, and eventually, he’d capitulate.  I learned very early on that:

a.  This made for very hollow victories
b.  Getting “my way” really didn’t matter much if

  • I had a husband who was wounded, and
  • who didn’t trust me to be kind, and
  • there was no peace in our home.

So, I’m very careful now, over what I’ll argue.  My husband is, himself, so kind that, even if I’m wrong — either in what I’m saying, or how I’m saying it — he’ll cover me with his mercy, and choose to give me (or agree to, or whatever) that on which I was insisting.  That can be much more humbling than losing, lemme tell you.

I was not asking for money.  I was asking to be understood that I struggle with having to say, “Everything belongs to you.  I own nothing.”

I’m not sure if the gift in the envelope was him capitulating (which would be a rather unsatisfactory outcome), or if, upon thoughtful consideration and prayer, he thought maybe I should have some pocket money, every once in a while.  He’s humble like that, and willing to bend, when I am usually not.  ~sigh~  I do so have a lot to learn.

In any case, for the last two days, I’ve been carrying the envelope and its contents around in my pocket, dreamily considering how I might spend it.  His only stipulation was that I not spend it on anything for the kids.

I haven’t entirely decided, but it would fit in with another of my goals — to get my raised-bed garden to grow something other than weeds — if I spent some of the money on a composter.  Every time I send a carrot peeling or the heel of a stalk of celery into the trash, I regret not having a system for composting, and a flourishing garden into which I can put the compost.

I spent some time, this morning, looking into composters.  I’d really like a tumbling one.  But, the composters of any variety which I can afford are flimsy, and seem like a huge waste of fifty or a hundred bucks.  Even used, on Craigslist, most of the good ones are going for $150 and up.  Then, I discovered that the City of Phoenix has a program, in which they re-purpose damaged trash bins, turning them into compost bins — really, just trash bins with big holes drilled in the side.  The city sells them for $5.  I was worried, though, about being able to properly aerate the bin, and mix up its contents.  Then, I stumbled upon this contraption, called The Compost Crank, which, by all accounts is a very effective, nearly effortless way to turn over the compost pile.  I’m still looking for one locally.  I found one shop that normally carries them, but is currently out of stock.  I’ve found several online retailers, but with shipping (it’s an 8 lb, 45″ long, one-piece stainless steel tool), it would run me about $50.

So.  If I went this route, It would cost me $55, tops, to have an mega-environmentally-friendly composting system.  Not just because I’m composting, but because the bin is repurposed — not another piece of newly-minted plastic junk — and the Compost Crank is made from post-consumer recycled stainless steel.  Voila!

I feel very good about this.

It’s something I’ve wanted to do, but hasn’t been in the budget.  It’s for me, but it serves my family, as well.

Seems like a win-win.

(And, if I do some very careful shopping, I’ll still have money left for a cute pair of shoes, and a top, and some nice little trinket or two for our home!)

 

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About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 4, 2010, in Budget, Character Development, Christian Living, Clothes, Desert Gardening, Family, Marriage, Political Thought, Shoes, Shopping, The Dear Hubby, Whining. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Woohoo! yay for cute shoes! I think you would look cute in these (If I’m reading your style right): http://www.overstock.com/Clothing-Shoes/MIA-Womens-Toledo-Wedge-Ankle-Boots/5116542/product.html

  2. This puts me in mind of a time when I was in my very early teens. My little brother (he was about 5) I) had refused to share his gum drops with me. I had stormed off into the bathroom, slamming the door and locking it. After about 5 minutes I heard his little voice whisper through the crack under the door, “Kathy, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. You can have some of my gum drops. You can have them all.” In my just-into-my-teens-brattiness (and sooo superior) I barked “Forget it – go away and leave me alone.” He remained there, on the floor by the crack in the door. I knew this because I could hear him breathing. Time went by, and neither of us relented. Not me in haughty anger, nor little brother in his soft-hearted need for forgiveness from Big Sister. He needed me. I was, after all, babysitting him, and we were alone in the house. After enough time had elasped, he gave up. I heard a little shuffle at the door, and then, silence. I decided to see what he was up to, and stepped quietly to the door. No sound. I squeeked the door open, and as I stepped into the hallway, my foot landed on something soft and squishy. There lay a small pile of smashed, gooey gumdrops. He had pressed them, one by one, under the door: his gift.

    I was a jerk.

    But, he forgave me…and I have never, ever forgotten the look and feel of those sweet, smashed gumdrops. Some lessons come hard, but they remain with you forever. Bless the dear, sweet, tender male hearts that teach us far beyond what they intend. Love…it covers a multitude of sins. Thank God.

  1. Pingback: Mad money! « Only Sometimes Clever

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