Saturday, February 20, 2016

Nice sheets, luxury towels, and no Disney plates!

A couple of weeks ago, I bought two luxury bath sheets from Amazon.  The new towels are made of organic cotton, and covered with little "knobs" on them that give sort of a massage effect as you dry off.  I got one in rose pink for me and a dark grey one for Bill.  I washed them for the first time yesterday and this morning, Bill tried his for the first time.  He came into our bedroom with a smile on his face and said, "Wow... that is a nice towel!"

I laughed because a couple of months ago, I bought us new sheets from Comphy.  They were pricey, but totally worth it.  I thought I loved our cotton sheets from Italy, but the Comphy sheets are super soft and comfortable.  The only thing I don't like about them is that they're made for a pillow top mattress and I don't have one of those yet.  The sheets are a little large for our current mattress, which I hope to replace at some time in the near future.

Here's Bill, a guy who grew up with not a lot of money and was pretty destitute when we met.  Now he sleeps on nice sheets and uses luxury cotton towels that I buy for him.  I asked him if he was glad I'd introduced him to luxury.  He said he was.  I like to invest in quality... things that are useful and will make our lives nicer.  I might spend a little more, but the stuff I buy tends to last longer and actually has uses other than collecting dust.

When Bill and I met, he was deeply in debt and having serious financial problems.  He wore ill fitting clothes his ex wife bought him at yard sales.  He slept on a futon and had approximately one bowl, one plate, and a few odd pieces of silverware.  He lived in a tiny efficiency apartment in a large, soulless apartment building.  I distinctly remember demanding that we go to Target and pick up some dishes and basic cookware.  We found some that wasn't too expensive.  Though we long ago got rid of that initial set of dishes (it had metal on it so it couldn't be microwaved), we still have a few little bowls that came with the set.  They're perfect for Saturday morning grits, which are the kind that need to be boiled in salty water for a half an hour.

One of the reasons Bill was so deeply in debt when we met was because his ex wife had a problem with excessive shopping.  She had a need for instant gratification.  Unfortunately, Bill went along with her demands because he thought it was easier to give in than say no to her.  Saying no to the ex usually brought on epic tantrums and meltdowns.  When I say that the Ex had a shopping problem, I mean she really had a shopping problem.  She would spend mortgage money on trips to the nearest Mormon temple, where she assumed Heavenly Father would bless her with some miracle that would get the house note paid on time.  She'd spend wads on money on worthless things while important bills would go unpaid.  Her habit of overspending wreaked havoc on their personal finances.  It kept Bill in a constant state of stress and worry, yet he couldn't bring himself to put a stop to her financial abuse.

Ex bought a house when Bill was underemployed, using Bill's Army pay stubs from a temporary school he was enrolled in at the time.  One time, she bought two cars, one of which was a Miata convertible.  She gave Bill the convertible (which, of course, he was paying for) and she drove the VW Euro van.  She bought landscaping and furniture when Bill was job hunting.  She also bought Disney plates, Franklin Mint figurines, Precious Moments statues, and Star Wars action figures.  At Christmas, she'd buy tables full of food... food that wasn't even necessarily kid friendly stuff.  She had a Swiss Colony account and would buy stuff like baklava and fancy adult oriented snacks that would invariably end up going to waste.

Bill says Ex used to go to Wal Mart and buy several Star Wars action figures, four or five each.  She'd give one each to her eldest son, and "file" the rest of them.  She'd buy greeting cards and keep them on file.  When they'd run short of money, Ex would return some of the stuff she'd bought.  It never seemed to occur to her not to buy the stuff in the first place.  Investing and saving money isn't fun for someone who spends like a drunken sailor.  It doesn't offer instant gratification like something tangible, shiny, and new does.

I have noticed that a lot of people who seem to have issues with narcissism or other personality disorders, also seem to have a problem with excessive shopping.  Ex would buy expensive but worthless crap for the house, yet troll the yard sales for clothes she'd buy for Bill...  with HIS money. I don't know if Ex still has this problem with blowing money, but it was a huge problem back when she was married to Bill.  My guess is that it's still an issue.

Bill had told me about the Disney plates a lot of times.  It's become sort of a metaphor for the craziness that was their marriage.  They were drowning in debt.  Ex had medical problems that required stays in the hospital.  They had three kids who required day care.  Ex had pressured Bill to get out of the Army because she didn't want the Army dictating where they would be living.  Bill's career wasn't so great in those days anyway, so he acquiesced.  He got out of the Army; they moved to Arkansas; she decided to buy a house that reminded her of one she saw in a snow globe.  The house had serious problems that required immediate repair.

Job opportunities where they were living were not very plentiful.  Bill worked in boring factory positions... jobs that didn't pay enough and weren't a good use of his skills, talents, or interests.  Here was Bill, a career military officer with a bachelor's degree in International Relations from American University making plastic toys and refrigerator doors for peanuts.  And Ex would spend the peanuts he made on stupid crap like Disney plates.  When I think of how stressful and needlessly difficult that time was, it just amazes me.   Bill and Ex spent almost ten years together and most of the time they were married was miserable.

After four years of civilian life in Arkansas, Bill decided to go back into the Army full time.  It was a decision that set his life back on the right path, even though it infuriated his ex wife.  Army life meant she'd have less say... less control.  You'd think all of her decisions had been excellent, the way she reacted to Bill's decision to join the Army.  But Ex didn't make good decisions; and if Bill continued to allow her to continue to run his life, he'd soon run out of options.  He decided to save himself.

After Bill took his life back into his own hands, Ex went on a smear campaign and told the young women she was teaching at the Mormon church about Bill's so-called perversions.  She did her best to assassinate his character and paint herself in the best light.  She even tried to sway his parents into her camp.  Fortunately, that tactic failed, though not without some initial damage.

Bill's re-entry into the Army was the beginning of the end of their marriage and the beginning of the beginning of our marriage.  I met Bill online just a few weeks after he went back on active duty and we chatted online for 18 months before we met in person.  When I met him, I never had any thought that we'd end up married.  If I'd had any sense back in those days, I might have steered clear.  I'm so glad I didn't.

Today, by their choice, Bill has no relationship with his daughters.  But he lives comfortably and within his means.  He has a wife who loves him for who he is and he has a job that interests him and is well suited to him.  He doesn't have to worry about not being able to pay his bills.  He can dry off with nice towels and sleep on comfortable sheets on furniture that is paid for.  He can travel the world, eat good food, drink whatever he wants, and spend his Sundays resting instead of stressing over church and his reputation.  

Some people would blame Bill for escaping his first marriage and building a better life.  They'd think he should have stuck around for the kids... or maybe divorce and try to get custody of them.  But I'll tell you, back in the early days of our relationship, Bill had nothing.  He barely got out of that marriage with the clothes on his back.  A lot of people think that a real man should suffer and tolerate whatever abuse dished out by the woman.  Yet we'd never advise a woman to stick around under those conditions.  We cheer when a woman recovers from abuse and makes a better life for herself.  When a man suffers abuse and leaves, a lot of people think he's a dirtbag or a wimp.

Bill's time with his ex wife has had ripple effects that have reached far and wide.  They go beyond him and his immediate family.  They have touched me and my family and will affect the people who eventually become involved with his daughters and the children they may someday have.  Not a day passes that I don't think about what may happen in the future.  I have a feeling that eventually someone in that band of miscreants will go rogue and try to pull us back into the cyclone of craziness.  I dread it.  At the same time, I feel so incredibly lucky to have Bill in my life.  I'm glad we're together and have been able to make a good life.  And I'm very glad I never developed an affinity for Disney plates or anything of that nature.

By the way, if you're looking for a nice bath towel, I can vouch for the one linked below.  :D

5 comments:

  1. No matter how poor I may find myself, I will always probably invest in nice towels and sheets.

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    1. They're worth the money. Especially if your choice is between nice linens and Disney plates.

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  2. Function-less collectibles of mot kinds are a poor use of resources in my opinion.

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    1. I think Ex thought maybe she'd eventually sell them on eBay for a profit. She was always coming up with big get rich quick plans.

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    2. Oh, and any profit she would have made, you can bet she would not have shared with Bill...

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