Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Just charge it"

When DH's mom first sold her land earlier this fall, and got her $150,000 for it, she had announced that she wanted to take us "all" (DH, me, DD and DH's two brothers) on a trip to Las Vegas. I didn't want to go, because I hate to fly, and also because I didn't want to take all that time off of work, and also, nobody would be around to take care of the animals--we usually have DH's brother housesit for us when we've gone on trips, but if he is going to Las Vegas, then we would have to board a bunch of them, resulting in lots of stress for all involved. DH didn't want to go either, because he is terrified of flying, and I think he was starting to realize how much trouble it would be to go on a trip with the entire family...

Anyhow, when she realized we really didn't want to go to Las Vegas, DH's mom decided that she was going to buy us hardwood laminate flooring for our living room, instead. She was hell bent on it, pointing out that our carpeting in the living room was at least 25 years old, and in places, it was held together by duct tape and we used rugs to cover the holes and the duct tape. So we agreed to the new flooring. DH and Jason installed it. I had shown DH a color that I was hoping to use for paint for the living room, to go with the new floor. My plan was to put a little money aside every payday until I had enough to buy the paint. The next day DH came home with two gallons of it, already mixed. "I charged it. I know I'm bad, but I wanted to surprise you." I was upset, but I couldn't do much about it, because the paint had already been mixed together, and I knew the small hardware store would lose out if I made DH bring back the already mixed paint. DH assured me that the next time his mom sent him money, he would pay for the paint. I know that didn't happen.

So....cut to today....DH and DD were scrubbing the white wainscoating in our kitchen. DH pointed out to me how much better it looked now that it had been cleaned, and I said, jokingly, but still kind of seriously, "Now don't you run out and charge paint to paint that." DD said, "Uh-oh, dad."
And really quietly, DH said, "I already did." And I was furious. I told him I'd talk to him later, because I was leaving for work.

I fumed all the way to work, about how DH is still spending money with absolutely no way to pay it back except to hit me up with the bill. And the fact that he kept on doing it, made me feel like I was being taken advantage of big time. Basically, he's forcing me to come up with money, and when he does that with little regard for my budget or feelings about something, to me, that qualifies in my mind as stealing. I was in a foul mood when I got to work.

When DH called, he told me he had given a lot of thought to the situation, and did I want to hear what he thought? I said yes. He said, "It's pretty hateful--towards me, I mean." I said, "that's what I was afraid of."

Then he said, "I have no job. I have no money. But I keep charging stuff. And I have no way of paying it back. So you end up with the bill. And that's stealing."

And I said, "That's the exact same conclusion I came to."

He said, "This paint is white. It's not mixed up yet, they can put it back on the shelf. I'm going to bring it back."

I said, "Good." "Since it's clear that you have the same thoughts as I do regarding this, I'm not going to say anything more about it right now. You know what my thoughts are."

"I was going to surprise you and paint the kitchen for you."

Me: "If you wanted to surprise me, charging stuff is not a good way to do it." "I can come up with a list about three miles long of things you can do around the house that would involve no money and would surprise me and make me very happy." (I'm thinking, like maybe fix DD's bathroom light that has been out of commission for over two years....fix the chicken house.....fold the laundry....a zillion things)

DH: "Maybe you'd better make that list, then." "I'm going to go for a walk now. I feel so small."

Me: "Are you going to hurt yourself?"

DH: "No. But I've got to go now."


Ann said...

The odd, well, okay, irrisponsible spending habits have long been a hallmark of bipolar disorder. After I was diagnosed I was heck bent on believing that I did not have that particular symptom and I didn't quite understand how someone could really make such a bad decision when on some level they knew it was wrong.

And one day my younger sister told me she noticed the same irresponsible spending patterns in me. It's nothing major (not like the $10,000 I racked up when I was married), but I'm impulsive, such as I go to Walmart for lotion and leave with bags of make-up and beauty products because I grabbed anything that seemed neat-o from the shelves. Or going to the gas station at midnight for a Dr. pepper and leaving wit a bag full of candy and junk (despite the fact I am on a healthy eating kick) or I'll go to the mall for a pair of jeans and leave with whole outfits. This may not sound like a lot to some people but when you're a college student on a limited income... it's a large proportion of my money.

I just spent over $100.00 on iTunes (songs) from the internet. The self control part of me knows this is wrong and I don't have the cash to do that and my time would be better spent trying to study or something instead of searching for the latest 80s remixed songs, etc. The fact I cannot stop myself is annoying and makes me feel so bad about myself... but even the guilt of knowing I am doing something wrong and my self monitoring "self" really wants to study for school instead... I still can't most of the time. I hate it.

And now I just realized I went on a *really* long rant :) sorry! The point I was going for was that I think it's a good sign he can recognize that he did something wrong by charging the paint. I think having a list is a good idea too. I know for me, I need the structure. I need almost everything to be listed out and set up in front of me in order for me to function best. I have one a those fancy pants phones that are like mini-computers and have school sched applications on it, daily planner, etc. because it's the only way I can function. The therapist I had in the hospital specialized in bipolar disorder and she said the need for structure and planning is a common bipolar trait. It made me feel better and less OCD !! I hope with time DH will be able to control his impulsive buying and take that energy and put it in a more beneficial way.

I'm going to try to find some articles about the sleep/bipolar issues... the article I posted about SSRIs and sleep and mania was info from my own knowledge bank without the research... so I will poke around the journals on campus and see what I can find!! :)


perphila said...

You had great restraint in not rubbing it in and repeating yourself to him. He really said it all and letting it go was tough. It took me a long time to figure out and accept the spending problems didn't have to be on huge big ticket stuff. You hear about people who blow huge amounts if money all at once or on 5 cars or something that really seems obvious manic behavior. Nobody talks about the smaller stuff as often at least as I've seen. Sean used to buy shoes once a week and then resell them after only looking at them or trying them on once. He said he was reselling them so what was the big deal? How about the fact he spent money that wasn't his to begin with for something he didn't need? Sometimes he gave them away. Stuff like that happened all the time. If shoes were it maybe it wouldn't seem so bad. However, he had dozens of "little" things like that going on that just sank him deeper and deeper. I am still figuring all this stuff out and asking myself the question...why the heck didn't I say something? You are doing great at pointing stuff out and being mindful of the effects of what and how you say things. How you do it without having a therapist of your own is amazing...:)

Nathan Hawks said...

This post strikes me as a really well resolved situation on both your parts. I don't know ya, but I'm proud of you both.

@ann -- I had never heard that spending was a bipolar problem, but now I'm glad to be aware of it. I struggle paycheck to paycheck. I'm neither rich nor poor, but it's hard to stay mindful. Many weeks go by that I have unpaid bills and haven't been tracking my budget... and then I'll go out every night for a week, or spend a few hundred on whatever, and suddenly problem.

Anyway, hello from a new reader and yet another bipolar.