Sunday, December 20, 2009

JP's Present

We spent 8 hours at various car dealerships yesterday and I cried at one of them.

Not because I was pregnant and tired and hungry (though I was all of those things) and not because I had entertained a toddler for 8 hours (though I'd done that too)- and not even because JP had been playing one dealer off another for hours and couldn't make up his god damn mind about which car he wanted. No, it was because of his answer when I walked him over to a corner of the dealership and demanded to know which car he wanted. See one had fancier features than the other- it was the first car we saw (at a different dealership), the only one he test drove, and I knew he loved it. But the other one, which was also very nice, had been bargained down to a ridiculous price that would have cost us $3,000 less over 6 years. I no longer cared about price, it was 8:15 and I wanted to go home. But he looked at me, so torn, and said, "I can't do this to my family. I can't make us pay more just because I like the upgraded car."

I blinked at him a few times, a million things flooding into my head as to why he could absolutely ask us to pay an extra $40 a month so he could have the car he loved -- things like the fact that he always deposits his birthday and Christmas money into our account and then never spends it; that he hasn't bought new clothes or shoes in four years; that he eats a PBJ at home every day rather than buy food at school like I always did; that he goes out with friends and doesn't drink to avoid a bar tab, saying he can have a much cheaper beer at home; that he never, ever questions my purchases even during all the years that he worked and I didn't; that even before we were married and I lived off him and our money really was his money, he never once referred to it that way; that he never asks for anything... But mostly I thought of Chicago and how he worked such long hours and had a 60-90 minute one-way commute and he still got up with Landon every other time he woke up. Even though I was a student and I could (and did) skip class and sleep. Even though he woke up early to swim at cheap pool that was 30 minutes in the wrong direction. Even though there were mornings that I was so exhausted I'd stay in bed and start to cry and JP would get up and do another feeding even though he was even more tired than I was. And then he'd go to work for 12 hours and come home and get right back in the rotation with me. He never once referenced the fact that I was a student and he was working full-time and I was the mother and I had more free time- he just did it. Because he was the other parent and why wouldn't he?

I thought of all that and started crying (I'm crying again now typing it out)-- then gave him a hug and spent 2 minutes trying to tell him through my blubbering that we were leaving to go back to the first dealership and driving home in the fancy car because it had everything he wanted but wouldn't ask for. As I was choking that out, JP was looking at me like I'd lost my mind, Landon was looking worried, and I started to laugh because my nose was running and I had no kleenex and I was a ridiculous mess.

An hour later we drove home in this.



We ended up with a pretty good deal since even though I no longer cared how much it cost, JP did, and he called up dealership #1 on the way over to tell them how low we got dealer #2. They knocked off another $1,000 and JP felt better. I was just glad we could finally go eat dinner.

But it is a beautiful car and JP is so excited. The first thing he did this morning was go into the garage and then run back into our room to tell me the whole garage had a new car smell. We drive our cars forever (before last night both of our cars were more than 10 years old) so he better soak up that smell while it lasts. But it is nice to have a car made this decade and to know it's under an all-inclusive super extended warranty for 6 years.

And mostly, it's nice to know one of the most amazing and giving husbands and fathers I know got something he so wanted and deserved. Even if I had to make a fool of myself in front of ten random car salesman to get him to understand that.

38 comments:

  1. How sweet! What would we do without our wonderful husbands, you know? Ryan sounds a lot like JP and I keep trying to convince him that it's ok if we buy him a new car too because he was so generous and got me exactly what I wanted and now he's driving a tiny, very unmacho car.

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  2. Awww! Congrats on getting the new car — it will be great for both of you. :)

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  3. Oh, what a lovely story - and what a wonderful husband! It sounds like you have the best Christmas present of all in JP. :)

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  4. Wow, it's incredibly depressing to me that the weekend the Copenhagen negotiations end people would still go out and buy a car like this. Especially smart educated compassionate people like you guys seem to be. Makes me feel like there is no hope left.

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  5. brazil-shut the fuck up.

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  6. Wow, Brazil. That was really rude.

    LL, congats on the new car!!!

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  7. Brazil, WTF? They bought American, what more do you want?

    LL - Have you ever considered turning Mormon and taking on other wives? You should share that husband... ;) I was also thinking that it's too bad that you couldn't have had your meltdown at the first car dealership - perhaps it might have helped get a lower deal? ;)

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  8. I second Brazil's comment.

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  9. Wow, I can't believe this is a debate. <> Just like in the real world, if you ahve nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

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  10. Aw, LL, you are so lucky to have a man like JP in your life! You guys make a great team and give hope to those of us who are still looking for companionship, that there are amazingly good, supportive men out there :) Enjoy the new car - you guys both deserve it!!

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  11. Yay! I'm glad that even though it wasn't a planned expense he got a fancy new toy that he really deserves! Maybe he can drive the in-laws around in it for a loooooong car ride when they arrive

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  12. Brazil and Anon 4:58,

    There are so many things I could say in reply to you. I probably shouldn't reply at all as it lends a weight to your comments that they do not deserve, but since I thought about them all the way through my shopping trip at HEB earlier (a shopping trip in which I used our canvas bags, if that brings any hope back into your dark, angry little worlds), I suppose I should write it out.

    We are a family with two large dogs and soon-to-be two large car seats. We frequently have guests and have to use two cars to get around town whenever more than one person wants to accompany us. Therefore we wanted a car with a third row. I am also planning to replace my car with a smaller, more fuel efficient sedan next year, so wanted JP's car to have enough cargo room to haul around the various large items we buy throughout the year. The Tahoe is actually one of the smaller, more gas-friendly options in the large SUV category. It is no Prius, but it is not a Hummer either. The environment matters to me. We bought an energy star home and all energy star appliances. I use canvas bags whenever I shop, every light in our home has CF energy efficient bulbs, we have all LED Christmas lights. We recycle everything possible, and our trash can is never more than 1/4 full at the end of each week.

    I'm sure none of that will matter to you because after all, my purchase of a Tahoe (to replace a 10-year-old SUV that actually got far worse gas mileage than the Tahoe does) has already sucked all of the hope out of your world. So I'll simply say that if I were to meet you I'm certain there are things I would not like. I'm human, I judge, and given your evident rudeness, you are far from perfect. However, because I am a "smart educated compassionate" person who was raised well, I would keep all of those negative comments to myself. And I am certain that if you had just relayed an emotional story about your husband and how he is truly a perfect life partner and co-parent in every way, I would probably leave the conversation feeling more hopeful about the world and the people in it -- how sad that you missed that entirely.

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  13. Don't post pictures about your giant SUV if you don't want people to comment about it. Your comment was actually far more mean-spirited than either Brazil's or the earlier anon's comments were. Congratulations on your giant car. But that doesn't mean that you should expect applause from everyone having to breathe your exhaust and stay more dependent on the middle east should applaud you just because your husband is a nice guy (and it sounds like he is).

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  14. i think i might copy portions of you post to echo the sentiments to my own husband. i don't know how i'd get through law school without him. have a very merry christmas. :)

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  15. I think you missed the point. I'm not asking for applause. If you annoyed me, I would not applaud you. But I would stop myself from being overtly mean or rude to you. But people often act differently when they're anonymous.

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  16. Fair enough - I doubt people would say this to your face if they knew you. That doesn't mean, though, that SUVs are a good thing, notwithstanding your carload of stuff/people/animals.

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  17. I think you're missing Anon 638's points. (S)he is simply saying Brazil was kinder in his/her comment then you were back. We know you've had a very hard week, and I'm sure some of your defensiveness is due to that, but if your blog is open to the public (which I'm sure all your readers who follow you appreciate!), then you have to expect that not everyone will agree with your decisions and sometimes write comments indicating this disagreement. If you only want positive comments posted, moderate them!

    And, btw, the first comment by Brazil was not anonymous, but given the way you ripped his/her head off for disagreeing with your car purchasing decision, I'd be (obviously) hesitant to post a named comment.

    We all (even the judgemental types) make compromises when trying to balance our life with environmental concerns, and it sounds like you definitely made a correct and thoughtful choice!

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  18. There are polite ways to express concern about the impact of someone's actions if you absolutely feel compelled to do so. "Your choice makes me despair" with an added passive-aggressive twist of "And you seemed so smart" - really isn't one of them.

    - Anonymous who drives an ecologically friendly foreign car but doesn't recycle

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  19. I think LL you are finding this too easy to dismiss.
    These are really valid important points to be made. Climate change is not some political discussion void of emotion- at root it is about millions of millions of people literally dying, of drought, starvation, disease, and much else. Driving SUVs to many is akin to a much, much worse version of blowing cigarette smoke into someone's face.
    I too am in a similar position to you (as a law school 3L about to start her career) and I too have an amazing husband who makes everything possible and is incredibly kind, but that doesn't mean I think he is in some way entitled to by a gas guzzling SUV, with no regard for who that endangers.
    I too have a kid and many pets, bit if for one second I felt that my future kids, and pets meant that I had to alter my life style to the point I would be buying a Tahoe as a second car, I would carefully consider what my options were and where I was headed. (we have one car, not two).

    My main area of environmental expertise is about personal choices people make in their lives and one of the biggest concerns is that people feel they are 'doing thier bit' by using canvass bags, recycling and using LED lights. These actions whilst slightly helpful don't amount to very much in the scheme of things you could be doing and are easily wiped out by airline travel, automobile choices etc. It is a huge problem.

    All I can hope is that you will give this some thought. This is the world Landon will be inheriting from you, and I know that is certainly something that keeps me up at night.

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  20. Also this is my own "dark angry little world"
    http://www.ghf-geneva.org/OurWork/RaisingAwareness/HumanImpactReport/tabid/180/Default.aspx

    Not in any way to put it all on you, we all can and should do much much more, but please don't trivialize.

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  21. I just have to jump in here after reading some pretty strong comments on what is normally a very troll-free, pleasant blog.

    It seems like for some reason a few people picked this post to pour scorn on LL (under the guise of environmental awareness) in response to her happiness, love for her husband, and pride in being able to purchase a new car for him and for her family.

    I don't know if it's coming from a place of jealousy and envy, but it sure sounds like it. People can be curious - it's amazing how a person can find satisfaction in rejoicing in bringing another person down once she sees that that person has succeeded in some way or otherwise done something to be envied.

    I will stop hogging your comments section now, LL. But in closing, I will say don't let these negative folks get you down. As an avid reader of your blog, I can tell that you are an exceptionally talented and aware individual who is gifted with an ability to make wise decisions and judgments for herself and for her family. I thank you for sharing your story with us and I'm sorry if these people killed the moment for you and/or JP in any way.

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  22. LL, you also live within 10 miles of your work. i know so many self-righteous Prius owners in the Bay Area who live 30+ miles from work.

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  23. Wow. It's amazing which posts generate the most comment.

    Just stopped by to say - LL you write so well! This post was right up there with Malcolm Gladwell, IMHO (and that is high praise from me - he's my favourite writer, and you my favourite blogger).

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  24. kym-your comment is one of the silliest things i've ever read. do you really advocate limiting the number of children and pets you have so that you can buy a tiny little tin can car? i've always thought that the most beautiful thing about this country is the ability to make personal choices, you can choose to believe what you want and buy your prius, LL can choose to have more beautiful babies and adopt dogs in need of a loving home and buy a car big enough to haul them around. you can also choose to leave these kinds of comments...and i can choose to say to you that you sound like every other annoying, self-righteous lunatic out there and that your attitude really turns me off of the environmental cause. as someone who remains undecided in this climate change/global warming argument, i can tell you that your attitude does much, much more harm than good and detracts from the message you are trying to send to the lesser beings that inhabit this earth right alongside you.

    LL-I can't wait to see the car and get JP to take me for a spin.

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  25. I wonder how many of the "critics" have ever tried to travel in a compact car with a family? With 1 kid, a sedan works, but once you have 2 kids, a sedan really is not very much room. Right now, we have 2 giant carseats in our car and whenever we have even one houseguest, we automatically have to take two cars wherever we go. I have regretted purchasing two small cars since the day we drove them off the lot. They are simply not practical. With baby #3 on the way, we actually cannot fit three carseats in a row in either of our cars. So, we will be trading in our smallest car for a minivan with a third row seat.

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  26. This has me in tears, too! What a blessing to have a husband like JP. Merry Christmas, LL!!

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  27. Sweet guy you've got there. I think he deserves a Mexican Cheesecake really soon!
    -Desimom

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  28. Very sweet post, LL.

    I actually kind of hope you have stopped reading comments on this post. But I will say this ... sweet post and very sweet response you gave above. To those other commentors - don't mess with the intelligent, compassionate peoples of the world, you will be greatly out-gunned. Too bad that some people just can't seem to get over themselves.

    Now you, LL, go give the two incredible men in your life a hug. And then go do something special for yourself and ignore the whiners and detractors. Massages are always nice...

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  29. Congrats on the new vehicle! We are also the sort who drive our cars for 8-10 years and that would be one of my #1 financial bits of advice for someone just starting out. Cars are such a waste of money, no matter what you drive or how you look at it!

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  30. Wow...what a lovely story! I don't know what grinchiness caused Brazil and the other anons to get self righteous for no reason - but in my humble opinion their comments were not simply 'expressing a differing viewpoint' but downright passive agressive and bitter. I'm an evironmentalist too, but posting nasty comments on someone's blog about their car choice is not really the sweeping energy change that needs to happen to save the planet - and any attempt to pretend it is is simply disingenuous.

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  31. I've read here for a long time (but rarely comment) and just had to jump in here and say how beautiful your writing and choices are. I so appreciate you writing a public blog, because on many occasions it has brought me great joy and hope and giggles. :)

    You really are a gift to those of us who have read you for so long. Thank you for that. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.

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  32. Bengali Chick12/22/09, 9:12 AM

    How sweet!! Your husband sounds so lovely. This post made me feel emotional and I'm most definitely not pregnant! Happiest Holidays.

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  33. Every American leaves a pretty effing huge carbon footprint no matter how fuel efficient their vehicle is. We should certainly choose the most fuel efficient vehicles that we can afford/fit in, and recycle, and conserve energy, etc. If the problem was simply one of reducing emissions through increased fuel efficiency, that would be an easy solution. But it's not, so it isn't.

    So, no raining on LL's (or JP's) parade -- they finally got to buy a new vehicle after years of hard work and higher education-induced poverty, and LL gave a beautiful sentiment for a happy moment. If you feel that offended by their purchase that you really must rain on their parade, I suggest instead boffing a tree in protest.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AEZbWtELQI

    (Yes, that's tree prOn. Thank you, Greenpeace.)

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  34. Huh. And to think this is Christmas season. How about a little peace on Earth here folks? Sheesh.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, LL!

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  35. BiologistMomOfThree12/26/09, 7:27 PM

    Oh, so THAT's what was said to stir up all the trouble. I just replied to your most recent post without going back to read all of this controversy.

    Let me say as a climate change specialist (no lie) that if every American behaved the way you two do and actually thought and cared about the actions they take in their daily lives, we (the US) would be in a much better position to lead the world as we should be doing towards a more sustainable future. Alientating those who want to do more is the WRONG way to go about creating change.

    Your purchase of an SUV does not make you bad people. If you spouted rhetoric about environmentally-friendly living being a bunch of liberal nonsense, then perhaps being on the receiving end of such vitriol would be warranted.

    These folks are angry about the fact that half of Americans (down from 70+ percent last year)now think anthropogenic climate change is BS thanks to conservative talk show hosts (who likely barely passed high school science classes) telling the world that CC is a conspiracy of some sort. That is absurd given the multiple lines of evidence to the contrary.

    Ignore the misdirected anger and continue to do your best.

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  36. I thought this post was based on the fact that JP is a great husband and you were able to buy a new car....Whats up with the bashing?

    Geez people its just a car. I would hate to see what some would say about my family if I posted a pic of our car...

    LL, congrats on the car and a great hubby!

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  37. I am just now reading all the comments on this...WTF? You have giant dogs, a tall husband, a kid, and a baby on the way - you are the family that is supposed to have a car like this! We try hard to live a "green" lifestyle and currently drive two subcompact cars, but our next car is going to be bigger because it will be the car we still are driving when we start having kids and at that point two subcompacts won't work.

    I hope JP loves his new ride. :)

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  38. Wowza, it's pretty unfortunate what anonymity will do to a person.

    Anywho, this is one of the sweetest posts. :) JP is a rockstar, and I'm glad you were able to get a car that will work for your family AND that he'll get to enjoy.

    Happy New Year!

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