Last time we talked, I had just found a leak in the bathroom and cat barf on the couch. That afternoon, the air conditioning stopped working.
I called a place and left a message, and after 24 hours of misery I still hadn’t heard back from them, so then I called a second place. They said oooh, unfortunately they didn’t have any regular appointments until next week: I could either wait 8 days and pay the regular appointment price, or I could pay over twice as much and get an overtime appointment for that afternoon/evening. Reader, I paused for about 4 seconds and then I booked it for that afternoon/evening. Then I felt like a dumb spoiled princess all day because, what, I can’t go a single week without AIR CONDITIONING? It’s worth THAT MUCH extra money not to have to be a little too WARM for a few days? Was I not remembering we have FIVE CHILDREN to help through college?? But then it got to 93 muggy degrees in the house and I was holding a dishtowel-wrapped ice pack to my neck and feeling so glad I’d booked the expensive appointment. It reminded me of the time I didn’t buy a seat on the plane for my baby because it seemed so spoiled to get him a seat when he could ride on my lap for free, but afterwards I was thinking it would have been worth TWICE the price to get him his own seat.
The a/c guy arrived around 4:30 and Paul went outside with him to stand near him in a manly way and speak of tools and motors, and about ten minutes later Paul came inside and said, “Go ahead and turn the a/c on,” and I did, and cold air started coming into the house. And then Paul said, “Oh, and he said it was a quick fix and not very long after 4:00, so he just charged us for a regular appointment.”
SO HAPPY. SO, SO HAPPY. The a/c was back on, AND we got it that day instead of 8 days later, AND we paid the same price as if I’d martyred it for 8 days?? Right away I wanted to tell you about it: I do so much complaining, and so when a good thing happens I want to make sure that gets into the playlist. But I couldn’t think of a way to tell the story without also telling you I was someone who would pay more than double to get the air-conditioning fixed sooner.
It is one of those very unpleasant tangles where if I act as if it’s no big deal and you are in the financial situation where you would not be ABLE to make the decision to pay double, or able to have a/c at all, then it’s like I’m saying “Oh, I’m so BAD but I just HAD to have that diamond! I mean, I feel guilty about it when other people don’t have enough food or whatever, but you’ve got to TREAT yourself sometimes!” We were in a pretty grim financial place when I read a blog post saying how gross it was that so many people didn’t bother to get pedicures in the summer, and I remember the nauseating, incredulous indignation I felt on encountering that level of careless, scornful obliviousness. But if on the other hand I make a big deal about spending the money and feeling bad about it, and if you would absolutely have spent the money too, then it’s like I’m criticizing your spending and saying you should feel bad about it too.
Money and the spending of it can be tricky to talk about. But here it is two days later and I still wanted to tell you the happy thing about getting a same-day overtime appointment for regular price, so I am telling you and trusting that we all know about how money/spending can be tricky to talk about.