You’re catching the Large Man on a good day. There is very little mischief dancing around in my head, limited angst, and remorse is nowhere to be found. I’m feeling blessed by a good life, a mostly healthy family, friends that at least act like they like me, and an outlet to express it all.
Yesterday, after years of consideration, shopping, studying, and comparing, and most importantly; convincing my wife, I upgraded to a flat screen TV for our living room. Yesterday was a great day.
On Friday, when I decided to finally pull the trigger, I asked my over sensitive 9-year-old boy to go on an adventure with me, and I told him what we were doing. Just to make it more fun, I told him that it was a secret, and that we couldn’t tell the girls (my wife, and our over sensitive 11-year-old daughter). His ice blue eyes lit up more brightly than my most recent birthday cake. Later that evening, he mentioned to his mother and our neighbors around our Friday night camp fire/happy hour/jam session (at least 3 times) that “me and my Dad are having a Man Day tomorrow. We’re getting my hair cut, and having lunch.” Then he would turn to me and give me a huge smile and a wink that required the use of his entire body. Nod of the head…dip of the shoulder, and then a jerk back. My over sensitive 9-year-old son has not exactly developed his poker face yet.
So we rise and shine early Saturday for the quest…an hour in one direction to get a TV stand that my little Mrs. fell in like with a few weeks ago; then 35 miles in another direction (we’re a bit remote) to get the TV, lunch and a haircut. I found the TV I wanted, a nice little 32” job, it had the specs I desired, and a price my wife was willing to let me pay. I showed it to Poker Face and said, “I think it’s this one, Jack. What do you think?”
Jack looks at the set, looks at me, then the shoulders drop…and the head looks at the floor. “Really? I wasn’t thinking of something THAT small.”
Hmmm…he’s only 9 years old, and he dips potato chips in ketchup, but my spawn makes a good point. It really was small.
Now I left the house with a very clearly defined budget, because the TV is not the only upgrade taking place in our 100-year-old home. But Jack, our baby, is disappointed. A disappointed Jack is the key to finding extra money in any budget situation at the Large Man headquarters. He is Mommy’s boy. Now I’m excited!
“Well Jack”, I replied, “what size TV were you thinking we should get?”
He takes a look around the show room. Very carefully considers about 3 or 4 of the … ahh…larger models that were available. Go big, or go home – that’s my boy! I love it!
Unfortunately, a 50” TV wouldn’t fit anywhere in our house, and certainly not in our living room. I directed him a little further to the left of the display wall, and he found a nicely appointed, very conservative, and highly regarded 37” model. “How ‘bout this one?” he asks.
For only (roughly) a car payment size chunk of change more, we could upgrade our upgrade to a larger, higher defininitioner, more better TV. OK, I’m thinking…this could work. A compromise has been struck! A deal was done. We get a bigger better TV, and it was Jack’s idea, so nobody’s gonna be in trouble. The college money used to pay for it won’t be missed for at least 7 or 8 more years, so everybody will be happy. Right?
I perspired most of the 30 minute drive home while my 9-year-old, over sensitive, non-poker face wearing, freshly sheared, mama’s boy, wiggled in his seat with absolute delight. He wore my hand out with high fives. “Thank goodness I was with you”, he exclaimed. “You almost made a huge mistake!”
Yeah…let’s hope so.
Everything’s gonna be alright, I thought.
…and it was. It was all fine. It was fine, because I came in and made it clear that I was the bread winner in this house, and if I wanted to provide nice things for my family, that’s the way it was, and I wasn’t gonna take any shit over it. Well…it was sorta like that. What I actually said was, “Honey, when we looked at the 32”, it just seemed too small. I hope you don’t mind, Jack really wanted something a little bigger…I know we agreed, but this is a better fit for us”. That’s what I actually said, but she knew what I really meant.
I followed up my forceful proclamation with a request for assistance, “because you’re better at putting this stuff together than I am”. I’m thinking if I seem helpless and vulnerable, my punishment might be lighter…it’s hard to beat a pathetic, worthless man when he’s down. Also, she actually is better at putting stuff together than I am – she uses the directions.
So an hour later, we have the old TV out, the new TV hooked up, and Sponge Bob looks better and more defined than ever before. It was a nice upgrade. The cherry on the sundae came when Poker Face headed off to bed, he asked the girls (my wife, and daughter) if they “had anything to say” to him before he left. They responded with only a quizzical look.
“How ‘bout a Thank You for saving the day. What if Dad had bought that little TV?” He told them. They thanked him, and sent him to bed feeling like he just cured athlete’s foot.
All said, it was a great day… one on one time with my boy, the joy of a new gadget, and an upgrade. Other than an ice-cold beer to celebrate the day, what more could a person ask for?
I’m having a Smutty Nose I.P.A. right now, so I ask for nothing.
Thanks for reading, there will be more Chronicles on upgrades over the next few days.
The Large Man