There are many stupid events in my life. Times when I proceeded to take actions that hindered our financial progress or caused unnecessary family strife. One of these occurred within days of my daughter’s birth.
The arrival of each of my three children are shrouded in activities and memories. For my first child, I was in California when my wife went into labor in Virginia. I performed a frantic dash across the country and arrived for the final hours of labor. (See First Birth Part 1 & Part 2).
My daughter’s birth was less hectic. The crisis leading up to her appearance revolved around finishing her bedroom in time. We had purchased a three-bedroom house a few years before. Our finances were thinned to the point we could not replace all the carpet and curtains in the bedrooms.
Shortly after moving in, we found out my wife was pregnant with our son and we scrimped and prioritized finances to get carpet and drapes in his room. We received gifts of furniture and baby items from family and friends in time for him to have a place to sleep.
Our finances continued to be tight, as they are for many young families, and the looming arrival of the baby girl increased the pressure on us to carpet the bare concrete floor in her room quickly.
Another mixed blessing was the gift of a new dishwasher from my parents. They generously bought a very nice unit that promised to be QUIET. We just needed to install it. We could have had it installed for us, but wanted to take the opportunity to change the kitchen layout a bit. The location of the old one was inconvenient for emptying and my wife preferred it to be somewhere else. (Yes ma’am)
The new location required cabinet removal that revealed tile floor irregularities. While fixing those, we discovered a sink drainpipe leak. New counters, new sink, new pipes, new tile, and new dishwasher all got installed the weekend before birth. (Whew!)
That same week, a brand new credit card arrived in the mail. Somebody out there thought I was good enough for a gold card. I was stupid enough to believe I deserved it and could afford it. Within days after my daughter’s birth, I went out and purchased a brand new computer on it.
I picked up the car keys and moved towards the front door.
“Where are you going?” my wife asked.
“To buy a computer on the new gold card.” I answered.
The look of shock and exhaustion on her face was not warning enough for me to register my stupidity. I was a MAN. (Young and stupid to the maximum possible)
“What? You got a baby. I’m getting a computer.” I proclaimed in one of the most idiotic statements of our lives.
We have pictures of me holding my daughter on my lap as I struggle to type around her. You all know how much I spent–way more than I had planned. It’s never just the machine, is it? There’s memory to upgrade, accessories to collect, software to buy, connection to the outside world (phone line, modem, router, cable,…)