After being together for so many years and going through the same purchase patterns, it amazes me that Adam still can't understand why one woman would need so many of dresses, shoes and purses. His frustration with my overabundance was further punctuated when we were lying in bed one night and heard the wooden rack in my closet split in half and crash to the floor under the weight of too many clothes.
It was so loud in the quite of the night that we both jumped up out of the bed. My heart slowed down when I realized someone didn’t break into our house to try and kill us, but his heart only beat faster with fury. I told him I would go through and get rid of some things but that we had to turn our spare bedroom into a walk-in closet for me. There was just no way between the hundreds of pieces of clothing and pairs of shoes that I had, that I could make anything fit in the closet that was clearly just too small.
He agreed. And it was perfect timing to make the change. I was just about to go away to the Bahamas on a girl’s weekend for my friend’s 40th birthday. I would use this closet cleansing as a way to see what I could potentially buy while I was away (a new fun dress? An authentic island bathing suit? A cute pair of flip-flops?) and to pick out what I was going to pack.
By the time I was done, I was impressed with myself. Everything was organized – dresses on one wall, skirts and shirts on another. Shorts and tees in one section and sweaters and leggings in another. Six tubs of shoes and an armoire of pocketbooks and one special spot for my cowboy hat - the one I would wear once a year to the obligatory Bon Jovi concert - the staple summer event for every Jersey girl.
The kids came into “mommy’s new room” and we all marveled at my stuff. They were playing “mommy” by putting on my high-heels and bracelets.
Even Adam was impressed with the purging and organizing of my wardrobe; oblivious to the fact that I left just enough room for any new purchases, whether while I was away or from one of my impending online orders. With my new closet room, I was confident I could disguise my ever-expanding collection but I was warned.
The day I was set to leave for the trip, he cautioned me to “watch my spending”. It irks the shit out of me when he reminds me of that before I set off to do something enjoyable. I never say that to him. And I guess I should.
My girlfriends and I were in Bahamas for five days. We had a blast – spending! - on food, drinks, and more drinks. We went to the town market and I absolutely had to buy things. First, it was near impossible to walk past the women selling their goods and following me with attractive offers. Second, my tourist dollars could help stimulate the economy thereby doing a huge service to keeping the island a promising travel destination for years to come. I was really doing a good thing, right?
By the time we were packing to head home from our trip, I had to buy a new carry-on bag that would better accommodate my purchases. I rolled into Newark airport with five dresses for me, two for each daughter along with two wooden turtles for the girls and a t-shirt and baseball hat for Adam.
I pulled up to our house and was slightly hurt that Adam and the girls seemed to be out since his car wasn't in his usual parking spot. As I turned to head into the house, I heard incessant honking from an unfamiliar blue car that was barreling toward our driveway.
As it pulled in closer, I realized it was my little family. Adam was smiling ear to ear as he popped his head out the window and asked if I liked his new car. What the fuck!? I have to worry about buying a dress or two and he buys a freakin’ automobile while I am away?! My emotions went through a range before anyone could take off their seat-belt. At first I was pissed because he always lectures me about money. Then I was amazed because this was never discussed as part of a near-term need. After that, I was offended that he didn't even want my opinion for such a big purchase. And finally - holy shit – I felt smug. Because he could not say a thing to me about my purchases.
I took a drive in the new ride and had to admit it was pretty nice. I would look damn good in my new sundress in our new car. And even though I did think it was a great deal and the kind of second car we needed, there was no way I wasn't going to milk this a bit. I drummed up an argument, taking the position of being offended that I wasn't part of the process for buying the car and that I even felt hurt. This made Adam feel bad and he apologized. I told him that it was fine but that I was trying to be good with money while I was away and so I needed to go out and buy something to both make me feel better (retail therapy is my favorite therapy!) and to feel validated. He begrudgingly agreed and before I could unpack (and hide all my new dresses), I pressed “confirm order” on a swimsuit I was eyeing prior to my trip. Done deal.