I don’t mean to drone on about the old man’s obsession with ‘my spending’, but it became blatantly apparent to me this week that he has a problem. With my problem. I could justify it as yet another symptom of middle-aged, spousal intolerance, but simply put, there really is nothing attractive about a tightarse, so I have decided that he needs help.
Often with these mental health issues, there is an underlying problem that causes under-stimulation of certain processes in the brain. But fortunately, the brain can to be re-trained, through learned behaviour. I am hoping that eventually the old man will develop a kind of immunity to the negative feelings he obviously experiences around my shopping habits so that the physical reflux reaction he seems to get when he spots my expenditure on his precious housekeeping spreadsheet, will ultimately stop.
An analogy can be drawn here with vaccines created for children’s ailments, such as chicken pox, whereby a strain of the diseased cells is injected into the child’s body to build immunity against the disease. By exposing the old man directly to to some self-imposed acts of ‘over-spending’, those naughty, begrudging feelings of his, will be int theory be replaced by goodwill.
The HSC Queen teen has been helping me in my search to find the best treatment solution for the old man. As much as we both would like a quick fix, we have decided to begin with a less invasive course of treatment, initially, as it has become increasingly more apparent just this week how serious his issues are becoming. When he suggested the other day, (tutting and shaking his head in that ‘disappointed Victorian father role that he does so well), adding a new column to his spreadsheet for the increasing number of medical bills the rest of the family is incurring, I reached my tipping point .
From that moment, we began our ‘meaness to niceness’ campaign in earnest.
The HSC Queen teen and I had been begging permission, recently, to be allowed to take a mini-break in Noosa to celebrate the end of her exams in November. I see it as a kind of alternative Schoolies, (she obviously doesn’t). We felt it was a justified break. The old man and the ADHDer recently returned from a ‘bonding’ 5 day skiing holiday (where no expense was spared), so I assumed that if we kept our little break budget-conscious, we’d get it through ‘finance’.
Apparently, HIS trip was a ‘parenting mini-break’, a duty-call, organized to give ME a break.
Every time our break was suggested, a low-level grouchy growling ensued from either the old man or the dog, I’m not sure which.
But for the sake of his recovery, we decided to ignore his ridiculous reasoning for us not to have some fun, (because we know that in situations regarding money, he often just needs a ‘stewing period’, a time to calculate and pontificate). And if you unleash the Mastercard at that point, while he’s in mid-stew zone, it’s probably your best chance.
So we did.
I admit to feeling a twinge of remorse as I finally hit the Virgin ‘pay’ button, but reassured myself that I was doing it to help the old man and I had, after all, saved him money by only taking hand luggage, (and shoes alone for four nights weigh 7kilos).
But it’s simply just not in his nature to let it go, to enjoy ‘giving’. The money has gone from OUR bank account, the deed is done, the HSC Queen and I are going to Noosa, but like some evil bald Chucky doll he just can’t give it up, can’t let us savour the moment.
‘I still can’t quite believe that you two are going to Noosa,’ he has begrudgingly whined several times at the dinner table, with that look of incredulity and hurt on his face; the look of a man betrayed and defeated.