18 February 2005 by Published in: in my life 1 comment

This week is Kurt’s and my wedding anniversary. We’ve been married eleven years. I think of this as a pretty long time. I don’t ever want to not be married to Kurt, which may not sound terribly romantic, but which I think is about as good a thing as one can say about their partner. We’re so broke that we’re not exchanging gifts this year. We’ll consider what we will pay the babysitter and what we’ll be spending on lunch out and a movie (a matinee) to be our gift to each other. We gave each other pretty large gifts last year, on the decade mark, so it’s all good. I like our anniversary because it’s like our own personal holiday that no one else has any business intruding on, and most people aren’t even aware of. Christmas, birthdays, any other holidays might get you well-wishes and gifts and even demands for your time from others, but no one celebrates your anniversary with you (unless it’s 25 or 50, in which case your kids might throw you a party). Once every 25 years it’s probably ok to share the day. For the most part, though, a wedding anniversary is like this secret special day, which is only about the two of you. I think that’s right and good.*

Also this week we had a sudden, unexpected, very large monetary expense with my car. It went on the credit card, of course, which we are now (as of the first of the year) officially not paying in full every month. I hate that. It has been many years since we’ve carried any substantial credit card debt. When we first got married we used our credit cards in order to eat, and that was unpleasant, but better than not eating. In that case, as well as the case of the car, at least we have the option to have yet more debt in the form of credit cards. Up to our eyeballs in debt. Having more houses than you need does that, specially when the houses are – strictly speaking – larger than you need them to be. About that latter problem, the current house is much better than the former house, with much less square footage and all of it better organized. At any rate, the car repairs would fall under the category of an emergency, and we had options in terms of what we could do in an emergency. Not everyone does, and that’s a little frightening. Worse than piling on debt is not having the credit card at all, I think.

That brings me to a recent there-but-for-the-grace-of-God story, which is the news that fully half of personal bankruptcies in this country turn out to happen to mostly middle class people in the aftermath of a health issue. There’s your stereotype of irresponsible spending given a little perspective. One serious illness and the primary breadwinner in your family could be unemployed. Lack of employment is usually concordant with lack of health insurance, so if you lost your job, you probably lost whatever was helping you through the health issue in the first place. To be both sick and destitute has to be worse than only being sick or only being destitute. That this happens to about two million “stable” middle class families a year in this country seems not only horrifying but wicked.

* This is not meant to cast aspersions on whomever sent a card, wished us a happy anniversary, etc. If you’re inclined to take the above paragraph personally please stop, take a deep breath, and turn your mind to other subjects. It’s just a rumination on the joy of a private celebration.


Mon 21st Feb 2005 at 6:21 am

when you think it is time we can pick up some of the house notes — there’s SS you know :-)

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