Posted in marriage, writing

A Writer’s Desk

I wanted it as soon as I saw it.

Solid oak wood, and roomy.  With all the shelves and drawers, I could eliminate the shelf next to my current desk entirely. I could fill the built-in file cabinet with all the writing files I currently have stored in plastic file totes. Why, I could imagine myself a world-famous writer sitting at that desk.

The girls and I attended several garage sales yesterday.  At the very first one I immediately found a couple of brand new toys ideal for Abby’s 7th birthday in July, along with two stacks of magazines for her. (like their mother, Abby and Katie love magazines) I even found several computer games priced at a quarter.  And then, I saw this desk.

“How much?” I asked, and the woman said she and her husband had paid almost $700 for the desk a few years ago, and they couldn’t take less than $150.  My heart sank. How could I even think of paying $150 for something I didn’t really need when there were plenty of things we did need.  Sure, I’d made a decent amount at my own garage sale the week before, and yes, this was the desk of my dreams, but $150?  How could I rationalize spending that amount on myself?

I called my daughter Beth.  “I’m at a garage sale, lusting after a desk. Talk me out of buying it.”

“Okay, Don’t buy it.” she obliged. “What’s it like?”

I started to describe it, but when I got to the “solid oak” she did a little ohhing and ahhing of her own.

“But you should have it.  You’re a writer.” she said,”Think of it as your Mother’s Day gift to yourself.”

She was no help.

I tried calling David, but he didn’t answer the phone.

$150 is a lot of money.  I knew I should ask him first. We’d tactically agreed a few years before that we would always consult each other on large purchases, but hadn’t exactly detailed what amount would constitute a “large” purchase.  I talked to my son Dan and his response was that if I truly wanted it, then I should already know what David’s response would be. It would be yes.

I was surprised Dan would think that.  Was I so spoiled that I got whatever I wanted?

But in the scheme of things, there is so little I do want. I’m not really a high maintenance woman.  There are no furs in my closet, no jewels to insure. I color my own hair, and often cut it myself. I’ve never had a manicure or pedicure. Still, I wondered if Dan was correct in his assumption that David would want me to have my heart’s desires.

And before they delivered my desk (the deal-breaker in my decision is that the owner offered to deliver the desk to our home) I asked David if that was true, and he nodded in assent.  Here’s the kicker~ he never once asked how much I paid for the desk. There was no scolding me about wasting money or questioning  if I really needed a desk. It was only this morning I realized he’d thought I’d paid $300.  And he still hadn’t questioned my purchase? I was happy to tell him that it was half that.

Would you believe there was a time when we would argue over my buying a pair of $1 jeans at a garage sale? A period in our lives when I would not have bothered to even share exactly what my heart’s desires were?

What happened to us?

What happened was cancer.

Since David’s bout with cancer in 2006, our marriage has improved 100%.  Because of our shared journey through cancer we have become true partners in life.  David wants me to be happy as much as I want the same for him.  Perhaps that is the secret behind a rewarding marriage; putting our spouse before ourselves.

Now, I share everything with David.  He knows how much my writing means to me. He has seen, first-hand, how much happier I am when writing.  I’m not kidding myself.  I know I didn’t need this desk. A beautiful desk won’t make me a better or more prolific writer.

But my husband’s support will.

Author:

Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Reporter for the Manchester Press newspaper and popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015.

3 thoughts on “A Writer’s Desk

  1. Oh, Mary, I am so glad you got that desk. And I know how it feels to see something you really want, but yet to hesitate because of the price.
    I do the same thing, question if I really need something and hesitate to spend money on an item that I don’t need. Sure, there have been times Dave and I have had enough money to buy what we wanted, within reason. But there have also been times we didn’t have much money, and just paying bills was a daily struggle. Those memories stay with me, and I am afraid sometimes to spend money on something I don’t need.
    Since I had to quit work a few month ago, it’s been hard to keep ahead of the bills. Between my quitting work, and David taking a lower paying job -our income is now about half of what it was a couple of years ago.
    That’s why, when I had a chance to buy my special bicycle in March, I couldn’t decide what to do at first. I knew that with my arthritis getting worse, and not being able to walk as much as I wanted- I needed some form of exercise I could do, and bicycling is a good way to do it without harming sore joints. I couldn’t ride a traditional bike because of balance problems, and so was looking at a “trike” which was $700 used! My husband didn’t hesitate to tell me, “get it”.
    Even though he is worried about money, he is more worried about me. He sold his motorcycle to pay some medical bills, and there was about $800 left. So I got my bicycle, even though I was horrified at the cost! I wanted it, because I knew it would give me the feeling of being normal again as I pedaled it down the road. My husband knew that too.

  2. I Loved this story. The love of husband and wife is a magical thing. I had to go through 2 bad marriages to get to the one that made me appreciate what I had.
    And yes, David “IS” wonderful : )

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