My new roommates, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and I had our first successful Pay Day Party. The first one didn't work so well. At least we tried again.
Has anyone ever noticed that talking about money among loved ones is almost certain to cause a little friction, maybe a defensive attitude, maybe a shouting match or slamming doors? Or driving away with the checkbook? Okay, it doesn't get that bad at my house (though it used to). Talking to my daughters about their financial obligations sucks. Either one of them will shut down, or become defensive and leave the room with strained mumblings of, "not today, Mom." They need some assistance, if nothing else, at least in the ability to sit down and look at the figures, hopefully to get in the habit of regular financial maintenance for their lives. In an attempt to instill some life habits I set up the Pay Day Party.
On Pay Day we have a party. It comes with food and drink, a calculator, bank statements (most up to date printed) and bills. The first time I announced a Pay Day Party no one took me serious. And then they got upset because they had other plans to hang out with friends. "Oh, Mom...." the television got turned off as they singularly and together left the house to go "hang out". I tried again.
Last night we had a wonderful, delicious, actually funny time at our party. When I got home from work the television was already turned off. Frozen pizza (baked of course) and a couple shots and then we talked numbers. We talked Christmas gifts (calculator). We talked transportation and food (calculator). We talked old bills hanging over our heads and how to get to the other side (no calculator - just keep it on the back burner, but turn it up, tabled for next time). It was really pretty cool. Everyone has a plan of action for the next week (including me). We will report back at the next Pay Day Party in two weeks on how each of our projects went. There's an implied code of silence between now and then, but I get the feeling the silence will break when the projects get tackled successfully. We'll see. We all sat happy at the table when these lively money conversations became exhausted. Thing 1 said, "Yep, Let's do this again."
And then the girls started in on me. I got a dressing down as I haven't had in quite some time. "Mom, we need to do something about your hair." (I'm between cuts - I don't know if I should keep growing it or not...I dunno) "Mom, can we go shopping for you? You really shouldn't go shopping without a second opinion." "Mom, you're so young - you need to look it. I'm gonna make sure you do." "You've got to update your wardrobe, really. There's stuff there that shouldn't be." Thing 1 comes up behind me and starts telling me how to get my hair cut. "It's too full in the back. Really, let's lighten it up back here. And then the front let's swoop it down this way. It's not meant to be behind your ears. It frames your face beautifully, let's use it this way." She's running her fingers through my hair - re-shaping everything about it.
I was being tag teamed. I was being corralled. There was no stopping it. They were on a roll. I was merely a pawn at the table while they fussed and feathered. Good thing I'd had a few drinks. It was fun, it was loving. Except that this morning I'm feeling a little wounded. Or bruised, or something. I have a maybe-I-should-go-hide, kind of feeling. This is foreign to me.
One should not let two very young, very beautiful ladies tell one what works and what doesn't. What doesn't work is probably what one is doing.