Here’s a guest-post from my cousin, Mrs. Darling. She previously shared information on how to raise a family on one income (here’s part two). The third part to that series will appear here in August.

It’s another gorgeous morning filled with birdsong.

It’s also the beginning of another busy week. We spent all Sunday afternoon running from store to store in search of a TV. Now we didn’t just go out all willy-nilly. Oh no! My husband has a charted plan in his complicated head every time he shops for something. He already knew exactly where the sales were from pouring over the paper. You say, “Oh yeah, he looked at the Sunday paper and pulled out the ads.” No my friend, he looked at months worth of Sunday papers. He’s been all over the internet. He’s stopped many times on his way home from work to check out sales. That’s how my husband shops!

So we went to Best Buy for a great deal on a 30″ HDTV. He actually may have bought that TV, so convinced was he by his research that the TV and price were superior. But you see he took me along. I don’t want a 30″ TV. I want nothing less than a 37″ model.

Our downstairs living room is strange, comprising two sets of glass sliding doors, the hallway door, the door into the front entry, a brick wall for the stove, and openings on both sides of the brick wall that lead into another room. Do you see where I’m going with this? There are no walls to put any furniture on! The only full wall in that room is on the opposite side of the room from the TV.

Our little 26-incher is hard to see from across the room. I’m always trying to compensate by moving the furniture in a circle around the TV. It looks ridiculous to say the least.

Now of course, we’re getting a new TV for other reasons than just that it’s too small. Oh my, yes. The size of the TV would never warrant a new one in hubby’s book, although it’s more than enough reason for me. Nope, the real reason he’s looking for a new TV is because this one is 24 years old and the light is going out on it. It has a sensor that is old and aged.

You can’t watch the TV in a dark room because you cant see the pic. Daytime is usually fine but even with the lights on in the evening the TV can suddenly decide it doesn’t want to work. The other night I wanted to see Primetime so badly that I watched the entire thing with a flashlight pointed at the sensor to fool the TV into thinking there was more light in the room. Now that, my folks, is primitive!

Oh yes, we have a 52″ HDTV upstairs in the family room but it gets the satellite dish and hubby was watching a show so I couldn’t use it. So, having established months ago that we need a new TV, we leave the store without one because I refuse to be comforted by a 30″ model.

I knew that by not agreeing to the size, I was delaying the purchase of a TV by many months. But my dear husband also knew that I have always said we needed to go bigger in that living room. So why did he spend all his time researching the 30″ ones? I’ll never know!

We left Best Buy without a TV. God forbid that we should just buy a bigger one that was on sale too. He had not researched the bigger ones, and in high definition the pic quality lessens the bigger you go, or so says my husband. We dare not purchase something without further investigation.

So we leave to go to G.I. Joe’s. My husband is looking for a bike rack for the back of the Expedition. Ah, now you’re thinking he just decided to buy a bike rack instead of the TV? Wrong. The bike rack had been researched almost as much as the TV and you guessed it: bike racks were on sale at G.I. Joe’s. He knew this. He had checked the ads! After wiggling the bike rack back and forth and examining the welding and the screws hubby pronounces to no one in particular that he could make a better bike rack than that.

That was the end of the bike rack for that day. He will wait for another sale or make his own. No one’s work is on the same par as my husbands! I used to think this was all in hubby’s mind until he built 1400 square feet onto this house and every inspector that showed up gasped in amazement at the craftsmanship. So I no longer doubt that his work is superior. However there is a problem with him doing it himself. He never gets it done! Sshh, that’s our secret.

My darling lives on his own timetable. He marches to a different drummer than most anybody I know! It’s now been eight years since we started the remodel, and the old part of the house lies in various degrees of “undoneness”. If you mention this to him he blinks like a groundhog seeing daylight in February! He’s certain time is holding still for him to finish.

I want a tree-fort built for Peter. I’m worried. Folks, he hasn’t even started researching it! The research could take months because of course he will never just build a Huck Finn-type tree fort! I remind him that he can’t take eight years to build it or poor little Peter will be 13 years old and no longer in need of a fort!

Where was I? Oh yes, at G. I. Joe’s, and now the kids are looking at helmets so they can ride four-wheelers. Daddy looks at them with the kids, but you guessed it — there’s no purchase. Why not? Lets say it together, “He hasn’t done the research yet!” Good. You’re getting the idea.

On the way out, I spied some darling camp chairs in cute little football and soccer ball shapes. I knew better than to mention a desire to have one for the kids. I determined to come back later and buy them with my own money. They were only $29.95 a piece! (I saw them later at Walmart for $17.88!)

Out we went without a single purchase: no bike rack, no bike helmets, and no camping chairs. It’s on to Walmart! My sweetheart has seen a good deal on a bigger swimming pool for the kids, so we go to check it out. While we’re there he checks on bike racks and TVs for good measure!

Gas is $3.19 a gallon. It would cost one dollar to come back if one happened to lose track of why one had really gone to the big city to begin with. My husband never gets distracted by all the bright colored patio dishes on sale, or the cute little kids swimsuits and sippy cups. He’s on a mission and never loses sight of what he came for. We left Walmart empty handed, too. Well, not totally empty handed. His money was still carefully fisted away in his wallet so one could never use the term empty handed.

From Walmart we continue to Costco. My husband is hitting all these stores in the order they come. That’s right. You’ll never see him going back-and-forth like a bat in broad daylight. His course has been carefully charted at the kitchen table in such a way that he saves both time and money. No matter how I try to take it all in order, it never happens, but he accomplishes it.

At Costco we check the swimming pools again. The pool he wants is 18′ in diameter and 4-1/2′ deep. It says so on the box! And we’re in luck. One of the pools of just that size is set up as a floor model. Now I trust what the box says. Dont you? I mean if it says it’s 18′, then I assume it’s 18′. Not my husband. I hear him muttering to himself, “I cant believe I didn’t bring my tape measure. Eighteen feet. I wonder if that’s exactly 18 feet.” I walk away. My sanguine, impulsive self has seen too much today.

We leave Costco without a swimming pool and without the cute playhouse the kids wanted so badly or the big fluffy beach towels I had drooled over. Three hours after leaving the house we are back home.

My husband’s money is safe! No frivolous purchases have been made. No sirree! In fact, no purchases have been made period.

We have been shopping for three hours and we have only spent one dollar, and that was on gas! Is it any wonder that with only one income, everything we own, including our house, is paid for in full?

We get in the door and hubby walks to the table and rechecks the ad on the bike rack. He hates false advertising and this was a sure case of it if he ever did see one: cheap, flimsy, bike rack. He’ll make one of his own. It will be beautiful and every weld will be perfect. It should be finished in roughly two years…if we’re lucky.

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