There are two words that every parent dreads hearing from their children, no matter what their age. They are, "I want …." usually followed by a pleading face and hopefully a please.
I can always tell when my kids want something. They try to butter me up first, give me a big smile and then they hit me with their request that usually involves money.
Within the last two weeks, Melissa got me for three things; $25 for a jersey for her school tennis team, $55 for her school afternoon moving up dance and another $25 for a Gaga tournament. I asked when she'd pay me back. She cheerfully reminded me that she didn't have a job. She did say that at the end of the summer, after she gets tips from her Counselor In Training (CIT) job at camp, she would give me $125. I'll take it and be happy.
Michelle has been at her job a little over two months now and pays for half of the increase that we got for putting her on the car insurance. She knows that come September, when she is driving the Altima full time, she has to pay the full amount.
I told her the other day she has to be responsible with her money and learn how to budget. What does she do? She spends $125 on two concert tickets for the Jones Beach Theatre. Sometimes I feel like I'm just banging my head on the wall.
I remember as a kid doing the same thing to my parents, but back in what I call the "good old days," things didn't cost as much, and I'm not that old. My father used to take me to Merit's Department Store when we lived in Poughkeepsie, NY after I got a good report card. I always wanted to add to my Aurora electric car collection, Matchbox cars or Hot Wheels. I still have the Aurora set; I regret giving away the Matchbox and selling the Hot Wheels. Those were originals, Made in America, not overseas.
I don't do that for my kids, since their monetary needs are more consistent and expensive. How about this one: Michelle said "I want" to apply to four State University of New York (SUNY) schools at $50 each; she had no intention of attending two of them. She wanted to attend New Paltz; she wasn’t accepted. The second choice was Oneonta, third Plattsburgh and the fourth was Buffalo. When the only one she got accepted to was Buffalo, and she didn't want to shuffle off to it, I told her she was paying me back the $200 in application fees.
Since she knew I was right, she agreed without any argument. Now let's see how long it takes her to earn the money to pay me back.
At work, I hear those two words all the time and not just from kids. I feel bad for the harried husbands who have to listen to their wives whine about size, color, comfort and will it fit or look good. Most of the time they are thinking, "Geez, make up your feeble mind already so we can get out of here and I can go home and watch the game!"
I can tell from the looks on their faces how tortured they are.
Right now, Marcy and I are planning a bathroom renovation. We learned a lot from the kitchen, but it's still a game of who wants what. So far, we've agreed on many things, but we still have a long way to go.
All I want is peace and quiet.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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