As a young married couple, my husband and I decided to pool our money into joint accounts at one bank. We live our fabulous thousandaire lifestyle this way. (Sometimes, depending on the month, hundredaire.) I know couples who handle their money differently, and let me be the first to say that whatever works for you is GREAT. Keep on truckin’.
Where a joint account DOESN’T work is around any holiday requiring gift giving. I check my accounts online almost daily, I mean, it takes two minutes, I still write *gasp* checks, and I like to make sure that the money I wired to my long lost relative in Nigeria (who is going through a VERY hard time) did, in fact, get to him. (SO glad Ndugu found me through my Yahoo account!) Now, I know that some of you probably have solved this gift buying problem using CASH let’s say, but we just never seem to get it right.
So, this year my husband was traveling for work during the week of my birthday. Surely he would get me a gift during his travels…in East Jesus (or thereabouts), West Virginia. Perhaps a thimble or collector spoon from the local Cracker Barrel. Nah, on second thought, maybe he bought me something before he left? Well, according to habit, my little fingers checked the bank account two days before my birthday, a Thursday. I didn’t do it to “check” to see if he had bought me something, I honest to goodness like to be surprised by gifts. I used to get angry when my sisters would tell me what I was getting for Christmas when they would find the gifts, as if on some sort of reconnaissance mission. I checked the accounts out of habit and quickly realized I had made a big mistake.
There, on the top of all the transactions…was a charge for $57.97. Now the way my bank works, until the charge goes through, it just tells you the total pending charge and the physical location of the transaction, not the store. There it was in all its glory: $57.97 pending in Russellton, PA. I surely hadn’t bought anything in Russellton, PA the day before, and my husband was out of town. Oooo, my gift! But what’s in Russellton? A pizza shop, a Dollar General, a funeral home, the Owl’s club…a florist. A florist! Awww, he had bought me flowers! And he was having them delivered to my work the next day: Friday.
See a month or so ago, we were discussing the act of sending flowers to a person’s place of employ. We held an impromptu Geneva–or shall I say–”Gardenia” Convention on the rights and treatment of flower senders and receivers.
It’s OK under these circumstances:
- You are a new couple who are grossly and sickly in love with each other (enjoy *that*)
- The sender has done something very, very bad and the flowers are a very public act of contrition to the receiver
- You are self-employed, have your own private office–with no co-workers, support staff, or clients
- It’s a biggie (40, 50, etc)
It’s NOT OK under these circumstances:
- The receiver is a sadist who enjoys making everyone around her/him feel like complete shit (and momentarily unloved) and therefore sublimate his/her partner’s shortcomings by displaying the bouquet like a big floral fuck you for everyone to ooh and aah at out of sheer politeness
- You decide to broadcast the fact that you got flowers All. Day. Long. to anyone who will listen AND through various forms of social media
- You sent them to yourself
Now of course, some of my Gardenia Convention tenets were formed by bitterness. No one (read: MY HUSBAND) had ever had flowers delivered to my work. But to be honest, I never wanted to be “that girl” who had the flowers delivered to her. (Hushed conversations: “What did HE do wrong to send her THOSE?”) Plus, honestly, I think flowers are a major waste of money. (But, oddly, I sometimes like to buy them for myself.) He joked he would do it. He would send me flowers at work. I balked at the idea. (My depression-era grandma instilled the simple living in me.) I finished the conversation with a warning of getting seriously pissed off if he ever did this. But, awww, he was going to do it, he was going to send me flowers for my birthday…
So, I woke up on Friday (the big day of the delivery) and to my dismay, one of my kids was throwing up. WHAT! But I HAD to go to work to get my flowers. My husband’s plan would be foiled. I couldn’t stay home and take care of my child. My flowers would sit there in a cold, empty office ALL WEEKEND. So, I feverishly called my in-laws and asked if my son could stay there for the day. “Oh, I’m sure he’s not contagious…just wash your hands a lot.” They agreed, no problem.
Now here’s where the first of many sad and pathetic parts of the day begin (well, aside from the real first one, I guess: pawning off the sick kid). I walked into work, opened the main door into the big open foyer and peeked to see if the flowers were there at the guard’s desk. Nope. Awww, the guard must’ve brought them up to my office, how nice! So, I trudged upstairs and slowly turned my office doorknob with a silly grin on my face, sheepishly said good morning to my office mates and peered over to my desk, just waiting for that big bouquet. Hmmm. Nothing. Must be a late delivery. So I decided to go out to lunch with the gang…it would be a fun surprise to come back to the flowers, gorgeously arranged in a tasteful vase. I came back, opened the door…nada. Around 3:00, I had given up on the “work delivery” theory: he must’ve had them delivered to the HOUSE. Of course!!! I made the long drive home, and instead of going into the house through the normal route (the garage), I went in through the front door. The floral delivery driver probably left them there, on the landing. Nope.
Then my husband came home. I hadn’t seen him in a week. Sure I was glad to see him, but why wasn’t he carrying a big vase full-o-flowers? WAIT, the florist screwed up. He needed to be told. He had gone to all this trouble, and they never delivered my flowers!
Now, I hate surprise parties, but I’ll bet there’s nothing sadder than a person going around thinking that someone is going to throw them a (non-existent) surprise party all day long. That is…nothing sadder than someone who “doesn’t want flowers,” pawns her ill child off at her in law’s to take receipt of the (non-existent) flowers, and then expects to see said flowers around every corner ALL DAY LONG.
Well, I ended up getting a really nice Penguins hoodie (for the game we were going to the next day), and I checked my bank account later. The $57.97 from Russelton…it was an online lunch payment I had made for my kids a few days earlier.
Who wanted flowers anyway, not me THAT’S FOR SURE.
Lets go Pens.