Cheapness

BR is a little funny when it comes to his wealth.  On the one hand he can be extraordinarily generous – he gives to multiple charities – and on the other hand he can be extremely cheap – although I guess the polite term would be “frugal.”  And I don’t even think it’s because he wants to be cheap.  It’s because he can’t help it.  It’s purely psychological.  He can’t bring himself to pay for something if he even suspects he might be getting ripped off.  Like bottled water in hotel rooms, for example.  Unless they are free, I’m not allowed to drink them (which I totally do anyway, but he gets really mad).

Now, it really isn’t any of my business how BR chooses to spend (or not to spend) his money, but over the years I have learned that his cheapness tends to have a direct effect on the “quality” of our lives.  And no, I’m not talking about Prada bags and Gucci shoes.  I’m talking about all the other stuff that actually impacts your day and prevents you (or him) from functioning like a normal person.

Me: BR?  Have you picked a flight or a hotel yet?  You’ve been in bed looking at Kayak for eleven hours.  And you’re still in your underwear.  And you’re all sweaty… and googly-eyed.

BR: I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I just can’t bring myself to pull the trigger.

Me: But we’re supposed to leave for our ski vacation tomorrow.  With your entire family.  Everyone keeps calling me, they want to know what’s going on.

BR: Just tell them to pack and wait for my call and be willing to leave for the airport at a moment’s notice.

Me: Umm… ok.  I don’t really think that’s going to work for your sister and the kids, they kind of need to have an actual plan…

BR: Blondie!  Just tell her to pack for the kids and be willing to throw them in the car at a moments notice!  Kids like that sort of thing.  It’s adventurous for them.

Me: No, actually they… ok.  Have you at least narrowed it down?  To a city?

BR: Not exactly.

Me: Why don’t we just go to Aspen like we talked about?  Can you pull the trigger on Aspen?

BR: Blondie!  The flights to Aspen and the hotel have gone up in the last 48 hours.  I can’t book something now, knowing that it was cheaper 48 hours ago!

Me: Then why didn’t you book it 48 hours ago?!

BR: BECAUSE… I thought it was too expensive.  So I thought I would wait and see if the prices went down.

Me: Well that was an unfortunate gamble, because now the prices have gone up.  And it’s 11:00 pm, and there are eight of us who are supposed to be going on a family ski vacation tomorrow!  Pull the trigger!  

BR: I can’t!

Me: Just pick SOMETHING!  For the love of God, YOUR MOTHER KEEPS CALLING!

BR: I’m just waiting for the right flight and the right hotel to magically appear on my computer, and then we’ll all go on a nice family ski vacation together.  Ok?

Me: You look crazy and you’re making me nervous.  And I really don’t think the Aspen prices are that unreasonable.  Why don’t you just book it?

BR: Blondie!  What are you, some kind of GAJILLIONAIRE?  Do you think I’m going to let you throw my money away all willy nilly?  The airlines and hotels are already giving me an ANAL RAPING!  Is that what you want?  Do you want to give me A BIGGER ANAL RAPING?!

Me: I’m calling your family and telling them that you’re insane, and this trip is cancelled.

I remember the first time BR and I went to Florida for the winter.  BR had a very difficult time picking a house for us to rent.  Not because there wasn’t an abundance of them, but because he thought they were all a little too “pricy.”  As it turns out, a lot of people rent houses in Florida for the winter, so the longer you wait, the less available properties there are, which in turn makes prices go up.  That’s basic economics BR – you of all people should know that.

So is it practical to arrive in Florida with a horse trailer, six horses, three months worth of clothes and two standard poodles with no place to stay?  No.  It is not.  But that’s what ended up happening because somebody couldn’t pull the trigger on a rental property.

Luckily the horses and the trailer were staying at the barn, and a lady who cooks for us was gracious enough to take the dogs while we looked for a place.  But that still meant finding a real estate agent and looking at numerous properties, while in the mean time staying at a hotel.

Only it wasn’t a hotel, it was a motel because BR wanted to spend as little as possible until we found something permanent.  And it wasn’t a “nice” motel (if there is such a thing), it was a ghetto motel off the highway, beside a gas station.  So obviously the first thing I did when we got into the room was check under the bed for dead hookers.

Me: Ok, well there are no dead hookers in here, so that’s… positive.

BR: Blondie, stop acting so spoiled.  It’s only for a night or two.

It was not for a “night or two”, it was for a week and a half.

Did it smell weird?  Yes.  Was the comforter made out of some strange synthetic material that will likely cause cancer later on?  Yes.  Was the television from the eighties?  Yes.  Was I afraid the pizza delivery guy was going to murder us?  Oh yes.  Was that the worst of it?  No.

Sometimes when BR travels he gets these horrible IBS attacks that cause excruciating abdominal pain.  They can last for around 48 hours.  I’m not sure if it was the stress, or the flying, or the crappy food… but regardless, as soon as we settled into our “room”, he got one.

BR: Blondie!  Blondie!  I’m in a lot of pain Blondie!  I need some nursing!

Me: Umm, ok.  What can I do for you?

BR: Uuugghh, I don’t know!  I need some chicken soup.

Me: Ok, well that’s going to be a little tricky to get here.  Would you like a gingerale out of the vending machine or something?

BR: A popsicle, Blondie.  I need a popsicle.

Me: Ok.  Let me put the television on for you first, maybe it’ll help distract you.  Oh look, this channel’s coming in sort of clear…  Ok, I’m leaving the safety of the room now and going outside to the vending machine.  Please come and find me if I’m not back in 5 minutes.

BR: I’ll try.

So I made it back to the room alive with the popsicles and gingerale.  But BR was getting worse.  He asked me to run him a bath.  So I went into the tiny, stark white bathroom, turned on the extremely bright florescent lights, and began to fill the very small tub. Now I’ve never actually been in an insane asylum, but I imagine that this is what the bathrooms would look like.

Me: Ok BR, your bath’s ready.  Come on, let’s get you in it.

BR: Oh my god.  I must be really sick, Blondie.  I’m green.

Me: No no, it’s just the lighting in here.  We’re both green.

BR: Blondie, turn the lights down!  They’re making me nauseous.

Me: Well I can turn them off.  Would you like me to turn them off?

So BR chose to keep the sickening lights on and managed to (sort of) squeeze himself into the tub.  There was a lot of moaning.  There would have been more thrashing, but honestly, he didn’t have the room.  The tub was uncomfortable.  The lights were bothering him.  He was in pain.  He couldn’t get any soup.  The covers on the bed were itchy.  The television was broken.  And there was probably a dead hooker hidden in the room somewhere.

BR: Blondie!  Uuuuggghhh!  I’ve really let my cheapness get the better of me this time Blondie!  Uuuuggghhhh! I’ve made a terrible mistake!

A what?  Oh no, this was not a “mistake”, BR.  This was an EPIC FAIL.

Eventually BR got better, and we were able to start house hunting.  Now I won’t go into detail about just how many houses we looked at, or how many frustrated real estate agents we went through in a week, but in the end, in true BR form, he found us a cute, very reasonably-priced house on Craigslist.  It just happened to be in the ghetto.

It took three years of renting in Florida before BR finally bit the bullet and bought a place.  And it’s in a great location and I’m not worried that I’m going to get murdered every time I walk the dogs.  The house itself needs a lot of work and of course BR wants to tear it down and rebuild it from scratch… in the shape of his face or something.  Or at least that’s what I’ve overheard while he’s been hiring and firing various architects.  I’ve also overheard him say “menacing”, “shark pit”, “wall of fire”, and “fortress of despair”… so it should eventually be a nice little beach house.  Cozy, I would imagine.

Anyway, in all the time that BR and I have been together (since BR does not like to be told what to do, and is typically not one to listen to reason) I’ve had to learn some passive-agressive, very subtle, “mind control” techniques in order to try and manage his cheapness and other crazy tendencies.  Basically I have to make him think that everything is his idea.  Is this exhausting?  Yes.  I spend approximately eighty percent of my day doing this.  Is it optional?  No.  Because otherwise I will murder him out of frustration.

BR: Where did you get that top?  It looks expensive.  Too expensive.

Me: You got it for me, remember?

BR: No I didn’t.

Me: Yes you did, you even picked it out.  Remember that time at Saks?  And that funny gay guy was helping us and you picked out this top all by yourself and it was on sale and he said you had fantastic taste in women’s clothes and he called you a fashionista and a super-genius and we all laughed and you high-fived him?  Remember?

BR: Oh yeah… I sort of do remember that…

Me: See?  You’re super smart and super fashionable.  It’s like you’re some kind of super human.

BR: That’s right.  I am totally all of those things.  You’re lucky.

Yes BR.  Very lucky.

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