Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy birthday to me (and only me)

Just a quick note to commemorate this day, my 29th birthday. I will, in the future, have complex feelings about this age and all the things that are going to happen this year. I'm willing to bet that it will be amazing. One for the record books. But this year is going to start right were I am today: pregnant, with my thesis due today, and a bad night's sleep punctuated by a very detailed dream about being in premature labor because the baby doesn't get that it's my birthday and not his.

Luckily that's not the case, and his only problem today is that my blood pressure is unnaturally high due to anxiety. But the quickest fix for that is the best fix for everything else: finish writing my thesis and send it to the printer. So that's the plan, and I think it's going to be great. A PhD is a really nice thing to get myself for my birthday. And then I have the rest of the year to think about all the other components to my world. Including the squirmy baby who had to survive this last week with me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I hate that I am obsessing about this

Prepare yourself for the lamest, first-world, fertile “problem” ever. I want to buy a $1000 chair. The bottom line on it is that although I could buy a used Dutailier glider for basically nothing, I hate how they look and haven’t found one that’s particularly comfortable. Nothing I could imagine choosing over my couch when it comes time to breastfeed my kid(s). I only like the look of the fully upholstered ones, but the swivel bases make me seasick. So the top of the line Dutailier upholstered recliner ones (which are insanely, absurdly comfy) are basically the only thing that’s appealing.

But in general, spending $1000 on a chair is not in line with my financial values. So I have spent ages on Craigslist and ebay trying to find what I want at a reduced price ($1000 is the super sale price for a new one). It just doesn’t exist. These particular chairs haven’t been out for very long, and no one who has one sells it to a stranger. So it’s basically between getting a super cheap used glider that is totally functional, but not as comfortable and not really what I want, to use just until the kid (or the last one assuming we have more) is a little older, or getting the ridiculously spiffy one and keeping it forever as a recliner once it moves out of the baby’s room. Potentially relevant to the time frame is the fact that we plan to have more kids, and that my husband loves the spiffy chair and would totally use it as a reading chair for the rest of our lives.

It is essential to mention here that we don’t really buy furniture, and we certainly don’t buy nice furniture. We don’t own a home, and may not be in this area long term, so having to move nice furniture is just silly for us, and since it’s hard to imagine what we will need in the future it never feels like a good investment to me. However, those arguments don’t really apply to this chair, so it’s not like I couldn’t make an exception to my self-imposed cheap/free furniture rule. Everything in our house at the moment is a hand-me-down (good stuff) or from the lower end of Ikea, with the exception of our mattress. I have never thought twice about spending $1200 on our mattress because it brings us so much joy. I know this approach to furniture is slightly bizarre, but it works for us on the whole.

I had been intending to buy a new (high quality) twin mattress for the baby’s room that I could sleep on when he’s really little and needs a lot during the night, and then it would become a guest bed when we move into a bigger place. I had expected to spend around $750 on this, or maybe a little bit more. This is instead of buying a bassinet for our room, which won’t necessarily fit, and will allow us instead to have one person sleep through the night and the other be up with the baby. But I figured that if it was hard to find a used glider I want but easy to find a good used mattress, maybe that was the better way to go. Yesterday we picked up a totally fine mattress from a woman on freecycle (no bedbugs – don’t worry). And on Friday we’re hoping to get another one and a box spring and frame. So we can choose the better of the two mattresses, and then we’ll be all set for that major piece of “nursery” furniture.

So on the whole we’re really not spending much on baby stuff (again, depending on your perspective). We’re incredibly lucky to have lots of family who want to give us the things we need, and we just don’t need that much. So far the plan is Ikea crib, ikea or craigslist dresser, and a chicco carseat. We won a stroller in an online contest, so although I anticipate that we may eventually need to buy a cheap, light one to complete our stroller needs, we should be covered for as long as we want to be.

All of this is to justify that most of the bigger purchases aren’t going to cost us a lot of money. Enter the emotional component of this story, which is why it’s an obsession at all.

We saw the glider and wanted it, but couldn’t really feel like we could justify spending that much money on a chair rather than on the nanny or a college fund or retirement, etc. For the record, my husband is willing to go either way on this, and I’m sure would be happy with either choice. I was leaning towards the “cheap short-term used” route when I went to visit my parents a few weeks ago. I mentioned the conundrum, and they were definitely shocked that I would consider spending that much money on a chair. I’m usually the cheap one, and they had never even heard of these kinds of gliders and couldn’t believe anyone would spend money like that on baby furniture. But last weekend my mom came to visit and we took her baby shopping to get her advice on a bunch of other stuff. While there, we had her check out the chair, and she was immediately convinced that the chair was worth it. She talked me into buying it by pointing out how much we were economizing on everything else, and even helped us pick a color and stuff. Since my parents had offered to buy us a stroller before we won the contest one, she said they would chip in for this instead, and my father-in-law had already given us $200 for a stroller that we could put toward this too. We didn’t buy the chair on the spot because I’m cautious like that, but it made me feel much more comfortable doing what I wanted to.

I’ve been feeling really good for a couple of days about this decision and got to work finding the mattress on craigslist to make myself feel even better about the choice. But this morning my mom called to tell me that my cousin has a glider I can have for free (but have to transport from New York), and that my aunt thinks it’s stupid to buy a new one when we’re only going to use it for a few months. I see that perspective (I’ve HAD that perspective), but it threw me that suddenly the roles were reversed and now I was talking my mom into the idea that I should buy it. It’s worth mentioning here that for the last 4-5 days I’ve been crazy hormonal (like, clomid bad!) so anything approaching other people disapproving of me has the ability to send me into a tailspin. I just can’t handle the idea that my mom, or my aunt, or my cousin would think I’m doing the wrong thing about this “big” decision. I know that sounds absurd, but I’m a lot better at standing my ground when the decision actually matters than in stupid stuff like this. My aunt is pretty judgmental, and definitely has no compunctions about saying what’s on her mind, so in my current hormonal state I just can’t handle a conversation about how she thinks I’m doing the wrong thing. Hopefully it won’t come up, but I’m just overwhelmed thinking about how I can possibly defend my decision to spend so much money just because I want to. So at the moment the emotional parts of my brain are at war with each other over a very childish “but I really want it” and a similarly childish “but I don’t want anyone to yell at me.” Neither of which should really be the basis for the decision.

Ok, rant over. What do you think I should do? On the one hand, splurging on something that’s going to make me happy seems like a reasonable thing to do in the context of good overall financial decisions. On the other hand, I can’t tell if this is just too much of a splurge and goes beyond the bounds of a reasonable financial decision.

To my favorite mover and shaker

Hey kid,

You are so much fun right now. Moving all over the place, and poking out various appendages in dramatic and amusing ways. It’s kind of distracting, since you’ve been so active in the last few days and all I want to do is sit and marvel. But we have also accomplished a lot, so that’s good too.

Hip pain, heartburn and exhaustion are all fun tokens of this time, but luckily the hip pain hasn’t continued to increase. That was a scary night when I couldn’t roll over or walk! We do a lot better when you stay higher up and out of my pelvis, so please try to keep it up.

We bought you a bunch of stuff this weekend at a rummage sale. You have quite the pile going now! A bunch of clothes (to add to the ones your grandfather and step-grandmother got you) and a play mat and a crib set. Added to the hats and rattle and blanket and other things they bought you for “Christmas” you have a ton of loot now. It’s pretty cool. Although we’re going to hold off on buying the crib until you’re close to full term, to avoid the worst of the superstitious fear. But we’re making pretty good progress for non-shoppers.

I’m sorry about the baby shower drama, although my guess is that you’re responsible for the hormones that made me cry so much this weekend. I think the plan we’ve got going now where your grandmothers and aunt are going to host it and it will be at our house is a good one. It certainly satisfies the control freak part of me and especially the “not putting anyone out” part. Should be a fun time, although we still have to work out the guest list. So many people already love you : )

And we REALLY love you. It’s miraculous and marvelous and amazing all at the same time. Your dad’s Fatherhood 101 class said he needed to work at bonding with you, but I think he’s pretty much a goner already. He hasn’t gotten to bond with you over baseball yet, but the day will come soon enough. And you’re going to get to attend your first Red Sox game before you’re even born when we go on my birthday. I’ll still be holding a grudge that that’s what we’re doing for MY birthday by your 3rd one : )

We can’t wait to meet you! But please take seriously the pep talks we’ve been giving you and hold out until you’re full term and 8ish pounds, ok?