Dave considers anything bought within 24 hours of deciding you need it – an impulse buy. Every purchase must go through extensive research, mind numbing price comparisons, and an infinite amount of second guessing. To me, an impulse buy is every purchase I have EVER made in a mall – the sweet wedge shoes that had to be cut off my feet, the wide leg palazzo pants that the salesgirl assured me would “balance out your wide hips” – evil b@#ch, the skinny jeans that cut off circulation so my body went numb below my waist – and not in a good way! So making any kind of joint purchasing decisions in our house is fraught with inherent dangers.
I have since worked out a comprehensive 10 step algorithm for making joint purchases that now gives me about a 57% chance of success – which is really as good as I can hope for at this stage of the game. This is how the algorithm works – and please feel free to insert wife/partner/significant other, for husband in this scenario:
Step 1: Decide on something you want to buy (oh lets just say patio furniture)
Step 2: Casually bring it up in a non-threatening manner making very few sudden moves – drop it into conversation like – “Wasn’t it nice to hang out at the So-And-So’s last week? The weather was really nice and their backyard is beautiful”. Another time you may say something like “We really should use our patio more often this summer”.
Step 3: Now – and this is important – drop the subject for a while. Don’t, under any circumstance, mention the outdoors, patio, furniture, entertaining, or any combination of those 4 terms.
Step 4: When you think you’re done waiting – wait another week.
Step 5: Casually mention meeting Mrs So-And-So at the grocery store and how she said we should really get together and how it would be a good idea to return the favor and invite the So-and-So family over for a meal.
Step 6: Plan the menu – include fruit, veggies, chips, and then casually ask – “what should we do about entrees?” Allow your husband to make suggestions – and then find reasons that none of them will work – make your own tacos (too messy), pizza (too casual), chicken curry and rice (bloody hell, ummm, I’m all out of this one spice that is made from roots of trees in the forests of Arunachal Pradesh and are only picked on the 2nd Tuesday after a full moon – I regularly make up a lot of shit like this).
Step 7: A week later, and this will require you to exercise your thespian muscles, say “how about we grill some burgers and hot dogs”. Really drive home the beautiful simplicity of this idea – the ease of clean up, the kid friendliness of the meal, the relatively hassle-free prep required.
Step 8: Prepare your husband’s favorite meal and get the kids all excited about eating on the patio picnic style. Allow your husband to compliment you effusively and be humble – this takes quite a lot of effort on my part since the frequency with which I cook is matched only by the frequency with which I exercise. Now, VERY CASUALLY [I cannot stress this enough], mention how nice it would be to eat outside when the So-and-So family come for dinner. Allow your husband to bring up the lack of furniture on the patio and how we can’t expect our guests to sit on the floor.
Step 9: Strategically lay out brochures you have been collecting about patio furniture along with sales flyers. I suggest laying these out where your husband can see them – so I usually just put them in the one Glamor magazine from June 2003 in our bathroom – it seems to work!
Step 10: This is the most excruciating step, accompany your husband to hardware stores and exclaim at the quality and variety of patio furniture. Debate the merits of aluminum frame vs. steel frame – all the while gently steering towards the wicker. Suggest, that in addition to WONDERFUL and EXCITING stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot, you may want to look at Pier 1 – just for the comparison. If all goes well, by the end of the day and only 12 short weeks from when you started Step 1, you have purchased a beautiful wicker patio furniture set from Pier 1.
Or – as it happens 43% of the time – you end up going store to store with an increasingly stubborn husband and decreasingly patient children, can’t agree on any furniture, and find yourself getting all choked up and teary in Pier 1 while your husband asks in the most exasperated tone of voice – “I can’t believe you’re crying over patio furniture!! Get a grip woman!!”
Anyway, its been too hot to sit out on our patio this summer – maybe next year.