Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Care Packages & Retail Therapy

I've gotten alot of care packages in my day, and plenty of interesting stuff in 'em.

No this is not one of those stories...

Now, there were a few times in Iraq when one of the guys would get a care package containing a DVD. In a scene somewhat reminiscent of Jarhead, the squad would all gather around the screen, pop in the disc, and wait for it to start up. One knucklehead would invariably make a comment about the the movie and girlfriend who sent the home video, and all hands would have a chuckle... followed by a few quiet moments and perhaps a cricket chirping. The Marine who got the video was generally most relieved to prove the guys wrong. To tell the truth, I was kind of relieved for the guys, as well.

We did have a few guys that got 'Dear Johns', but they were just letters, or more often, correspondence from buddies back home and family, describing the actions of the now 'ex'.

Shortly before my last deployment, Lovely and I were going through our finances.

We figured out that she could live of her paychecks and we could use mine to pay off some bills. We hadn't gotten into our vehement anti-credit card mentality, but it was most definitely on the horizon. We were planning to save up for a house and start with the kiddos sometime in the future, so my checks would be a nice way to attack some of our debts and even save some at the time. Attack, heck, the math said that our card balances would all be paid off by the middle of the deployment.

Good plan, right?


See, this was where I got introduced to the phrase of, 'Retail Therapy'.

I do have to admit that she is a 'good' shopper, usually going out of her way to find some neat stuff at good prices. There were even a number of times when she would stumble onto something that friends or co-workers were just gonna toss out, so she picked it up for a song.

I would normally open up the care package and fingerfu- er - poke around all the assorted books, candies, cds, singing hamster dolls (why were those things so popular in care packages, again?), until I got to the photos and letters. First came letters, then pics, then came sorting out which stuff I'd use and which I'd donate to squad buddies.

Usually toward the very end of her letter would be when she would explain why the schedule of paying off our bill were starting to lag, 'just a wee bit'. They usually involved complex descriptions of family coming over to visit, car issues, and whatnot, all legit sounding and somewhat reasonable. Reassurances were made that, despite lagging, she was determined to put my checks, almost all... the overwhelming majority... probably most of... about half... whatever she could, anyways... next paycheck, to the bills.

She'd put photos in with her letters.

After many long, long months, photos of Lovely were much appreciated, but I did notice a theme to said photos, after a while.

When I'd look at the photos - and no, they were never that kind... dangit - I'd think to myself, 'self, she sure is looking good... in that new outfit... in front of that unfamiliar but nice coffee table... that's in the foreground of the new entertainment center.'


I kind of knew where it was going, from about then on...

To her credit, she'd normally put little notes on the backs of the photos (probably 'cause she figured I'd freak out) like, 'got this one from one of the girls at work, or, bought these shoes on sale, and for a really great price!' (notice the lack of actual, you know, price.)

One photo she put into a package she did purely because she thought she knew the reaction that I'd have. She was wearing a pair of trousers that I'd commented several times made her uh, 'assets' look particularly nice. She went over to some function at a friend's house, and said friend's hubby agreed to let her pose, seated on the motorcycle. Brave, brave man...

I damn near had a heart attack when I saw her on the Harley, because I knew there was no way in hell we could afford that.

1 comment:

chris in se tx said...

Murph, don't feel bad. I went to work in Africa for a little bit. While the credit cards DID get paid off, and we (my wife) DID manage to have a savings of $10 K, she also managed to spend about $40K just on her and my daughter IN SIX MONTHS!!!! In late nineties!. Granted, we had some nice furniture when I got back, but I was a little bit surprised, as well.... Oh, well. I never got any of "those" picture, either, but I really couldn't because I was in a Moslem country. She sometimes MMS's them to me now though!!!!! :)