Most of the time, the acquisition of stuff doesn't appeal to me, because I'm blessed with everything I need and almost everything I want. Still, there is one material thing that I would love to have, that I have coveted for years, and that I have resisted buying: a KitchenAid Mixer. I love to cook, I cook well, and people are stunned to find out I get along without a stand mixer.
At first I didn't buy one because my husband pointed out that we had his grandmother's old stand mixer. It was probably a great, sturdy, well made mixer. But I didn't want to use it because it had caked-on layers of grime and hardened cake batter from 1948. Also, I wanted a KitchenAid, because they are the best, and I didn't want to settle. I buy my clothes at discount stores, I get my hair cut at the walk-in place, I choose generic ketchup at the grocery store. But I wanted the stand mixer of my dreams.
A better, more industrious young wife would have lovingly cleaned and polished the heirloom mixer and placed it proudly on the kitchen counter. I resented it for three years before donating it to Goodwill.
Then we had a kid, and then another kid, and those kids kept requiring an astonishing amount of equipment like cribs and playpens and food. It didn't seem prudent to spend money on something I wanted when there was so much they needed.
Of course, the bigger they got, the more they needed. And while we had money in savings, it never seemed wise to part ways with it just for something that, after all, I had already gotten along for years without.
And then it was 2008, and the economy absolutely tanked, and people were losing their jobs left and right, and it seemed really stupid to spend the money on a mixer, even a really dreamy mixer with a pasta attachment and a dough hook. It wasn't that we were living hand to mouth; thank God, we weren't. But even though we had a little discretionary cash, it seemed really wicked to spend it on just myself with the near-daily appeals from children's hospitals and food banks and soup kitchens showing up in the mailbox.
From time to time, I tell myself: that's it. I'm just going to go out and buy one. Once I have it at home, it will be just another thing we've bought. And I would make the family a big batch of cookies with it, and they would be glad I had it.
No sooner do I think these thoughts than someone makes a trip to the ER or I need root canal. And I think to myself, well, next month. And next month. And next month.
There are two problems here. First, I can't spend the money on the mixer because I'm worried that the moment I do, we'll plunge into financial ruin because of my profligacy. The second problem is, I can't quite bring myself to believe I deserve to spend money on something that I simply want. Hell, I even feel guilty about the things I don't want, like the root canal.
Let's stipulate that the mixer costs about $300. I didn't have a problem with my husband spending that amount on a basketball hoop for my son. I wouldn't have a problem with him spending that amount on, say, a golf club or two for himself. But I would absolutely break out in hives if he bought me the mixer I've wanted for over ten years. Or if anybody else did. Because of the guilt, of feeling like I don't deserve it, like I can't repay it.
I should speak to a therapist about my issues. But two or three sessions would cost about the same as a really badass KitchenAid mixer. And therapists don't make cookies.