Monday, March 26, 2007

Weekend Spending

Did I mention that my mom is still staying with me? (Insert slightly manic "they're coming to take me away, ha ha!" style laugh here.) Talk about weird reasons for spending money. Of course there are the obvious things like buying a lot more groceries-- over $100 for each weekly trip, plus a few dollars tip for having it delivered, plus a few more purchases of meats, etc., during the week to supplement the staples. Then this weekend we also did a trip to the drugstore-- Mom paid for this one herself, as that bill came to over $100! I got a couple packs of dental floss and decided to treat myself to the CVS-brand knockoff of the Olay Regenerist eye lotion mentioned in this post-- $14.99 vs. $18.99 for the real Olay stuff. So I accounted for $20, I guess, but then with all her various gums, lipsticks, soaps, decongestants, and stomach-settling products, it's no wonder my mom has money problems.
But aside from all that, I have been spending money because my mother does not seem to want to leave until my apartment is totally decorated! She got it into her head that I have to have a set of charcoal grey towels for my bathroom. Ok, I could see that that might look nice, and it's true that all of my towels are at least 7 years old and starting to look a bit frayed. Getting new ones was not at the top of my priority list, but I figured if it would make Mom happy, and make her LEAVE, I'd do it! She wanted to give them to me, but I figured I'd let her have the fun of helping me pick them out and then just not let her pay for them, as I would prefer she just save her money. So by the time I get out of Macy's I've spent about $300 on towels, sheets, scented candles, etc. She also wanted me to get matching soap dishes, Q-tip holders, liquid soap dispensers, etc, but I drew the line there, especially when she showed me the part of the set that was a tray that goes on top of the toilet tank to hold all this stuff-- the tray alone was $54.
Unfortunately, when we got home, the towels we bought turned out to look totally different in my bathroom light, so they're going to end up being returned.
My mother should really hire herself out as a decorator. She enjoys this stuff so much, and she is good at it. I found a beautiful set of bedding that I fell in love with, only to discover that the duvet cover didn't come in the same pattern as the sheets-- but mom said, hey, no problem: buy two flat sheets and I'll sew them into a duvet cover for you. This made me really happy, as it allows me to have exactly what I want, save a bit of money on it, and give her an outlet for her generosity and desire to help me out.
But there is still all the other stuff... should I spend thousands of dollars to buy curtains, rugs, a bed, a bookcase, more closet shelving, and lamps, just so my mother will feel like her work is done and go home? It is really sad, actually. My mom wants very few things out of life-- she wants to live in a nicely-decorated home and take care of her husband and children and grand-children, basically. We all are conflicted about appreciating her efforts and being driven crazy by them. The worst of this is with my dad, and it's really hard on both of them when they try to live together. When my mother had her apartment, it was kind of an ideal situation-- she lived a few blocks away, so she could look after him while having her own space. Unfortunately, she blew it by wasting a ton of money and getting into so much debt that she couldn't afford her apartment anymore. Having bailed her out twice, my dad now feels like what used to be "their" house is now "his" house. So now, it's as though she's almost homeless-- she bounces around from living with my dad to her mother's house, to her sisters' houses, to her daughters... it's just depressing, because it is a problem that could easily be solved by money, if she had some of her own and knew how to manage it. But I'm afraid she never will.


Boston Gal said...

Hum... A Mother who won't leave - that is a real problem. Anyway you could talk your Father into selling the family home and purchasing a nice two family instead? That way they could live together while still having seperate apartments...

peachy said...

Maybe you could suggest to your mom that you really can't spend all that money at once, and if you make a list and buy a few more things she'll be happy and leave.
I can tell she's passionate about making your house beautiful, but it is your house.

moneymonk said...

Mothers are like that, give her what she wants.

You probaly wanted something when you was young and your Mom could not afford it and maybe she sacrifice to get it. BUY HER THAT TRAY.! and give her a little kiss....

Nancy said...

wow - that was a gorgeous and raw post all at once. You gave your mom something wonderful - the opportunity to be your mom, in her home-decorating-mom way, and to exercise her talents. You also maybe gave to you, too ... ANY chance that life will feel qualitatively a little lovelier with your new acquisitions?
(at what point do we decide live is to be Lived, in tension with care about spending?)

On the other hand, I was struck by the fact that your mom could be one of the women who are homeless in my neighbourhood - I live on a quite well-off street, oddly juxtapositioned against one of Canada's poorest neighbourhoods. Many of the women (and men) once had a 'life' but like your mom, didn't quite have a handle on some important things, but unlike your mom, had nowhere to go, or no-one willing to help.

Thanks for the poignant post.

Tiredbuthappy said...

Wow, you are so much nicer than I am. How long has she been there? Weeks, right? I start to twitch when my family stays longer than, say, five days.

It sounds like you're finding balance as well as you can, but I'd think about setting a limit in your mind on how much more you're willing to spend to satisfy her desire to see you living a beauty-filled life. Plus, I'd check in with yourself again and see what you are going to buy in the next six months regardless and use her presence as a motivator to just get it done. Bed? Buy it. Bookcase? Buy it. Towells? Maybe it was a blessing they had to go back.

debbie said...

laugh...hang in there!

mapgirl said...

Yikes. She's still there? I love my folks, but 48 hours is all I can stand and they don't like visiting me since I have a small apartment (courtesy of them no less.)

Man, I don't know what to tell you. It's nice having a pretty place to live, but I'm never home and having so-so surroundings hasn't bothered me since I'd rather have cool experiences in life than have more stuff that matches. It's hard to break that mentality if it's been working for her for so long.

I think I get a little of my eclectic decorating style from my mom. The bedding doesn't match entirely. Some of her towels match, but never an entire set. I did have full matching bedding in college. My mom was super nice and sent me off with a really awesome set, but as long as it's 200+ threadcount percale cotton, I'm happy.

More power to you! Chin up! (And bummer that you have to go back and return stuff but maybe you'll find something on sale you like better!)

Good luck on the bed purchase!