A broom, a tree – it just never ends

By Lori Clinch

My dearly beloved spouse is nothing if not frugal. He likes to pinch his pennies, count his coins and save for a rainy day.

The idea of doling out dollars for unnecessary items makes the poor dear shake in his overused work boots.

Therefore a trip to the supercenter is just about Pat’s least favorite task in the whole world. Quite frankly, he would rather have a root canal (if it was free, of course).

To the tune of, “Hey, I hate it too!” I made him accompany me just the same.  Pat didn’t squawk much about the gallon of milk or the dozen eggs I put in the cart, but he wasn’t happy when he saw how much I have been spending on pumpkin spice creamer for my coffee.

Yet, I didn’t pay him much mind. ‘Tis the season, you know.

I tossed some cereal into the mix, rounded the corner through the soup aisle and made up for the expense of my meal replacement bars by buying cheap soup.

It wasn’t until I stood in front of the brooms that Pat decided to pitch a fit.

“Whoa!” he called out as he took in the situation. “What are you doing?”

Thinking to myself that my sizing up the broom display would make it apparent, I replied sarcastically, “Well, I think I am buying a new broom.”

“But we already have a broom!” he stated as he pondered this hit to the old wallet.

“We do,” I said as I looked over the selection, “and it is completely worn out.”

“Maybe I can fix it.”

“Maybe you can,” I said as I put the broom in the shopping cart, “or we can just spend eight bucks on this little guy.” With that I walked away.

“You spend money like it’s water,” he said as he followed me through the produce. “It doesn’t grow on trees,” he added as I threw in a loaf of bread.  “Breaking the bank, that’s what she’s doing,” he mumbled as I headed to the checkout.

“We’ll get you some therapy,” I said as I put the broom on the conveyor belt.

Loving him as I do and knowing how he was struggling with this unwarranted expense, I patted the poor man on the back.

I know it must sound horrific, but Pat survived the broom expenditure and I was hoping we had swept the situation under the proverbial rug. He almost seemed to forget about how frivolous I am with cash until last Sunday when I announced we would have to spring for a new Christmas tree.

“What did you do with the old one?” he asked referring to the one we had for 20-plus years. His eyes were wide and beads of sweat were forming on his brow.

“That old geezer took a digger last Christmas,” I replied. “Its branches had gone bald, the limbs were saggy and the topper looked down to the ground as if it was begging to be buried.”

“I’ll bet I could have fixed it.”

“You could have,” I said.  “But I disposed of it last January.”

Pat grumbled all the way to the store, mumbled things about an arm and a leg, breaking the bank and money to burn.

He still hadn’t collected himself as we strolled into Santa’s Workshop and when he saw the sticker price of $169 he exclaimed, “You’ve got to be kidding me! This is armed robbery!”

Loving him as I do, I once again patted him on the back, told him we could make up with the expenditure by cutting back on name brand cereal and helped him load our new “high dollar” tree into the car.

As we pulled into the garage, tree in tow, my brother-in-law called and I put him on speaker phone.

“What are you guys out doing?” Rick asked in his usual and happy voice.

“We just got done buying Lori a Christmas tree!” Pat grumbled.

“Those things ain’t cheap!” Rick exclaimed.

“Tell me about it!” Pat replied. “And last week, out of the blue, she bought a new broom!”

Time has passed and Pat seems to have collected himself a bit, but he’s still not saying much. Money talks and I would give the man a penny for his thoughts, but quite frankly, I need to save up for some new ornaments.

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her by sending an email to loriclinch2010@gmail.com.