Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chrome-plated love

I wanted to get my wife something romantic for Valentine’s Day. So I bought a faucet.

Some will be shocked that I’m not sleeping in the basement after giving my wife a kitchen faucet for such a romantic occasion. But she isn’t starry-eyed, is practical, and doesn’t need to have flowers or a big dinner out or constant reminders for proof of how I feel. Yes gentlemen, ladies like that are out there. And I got me one.

She wants us to contribute evenly to household expenses; when I think something needs replacing and she’s not in a financial place to contribute, I’ll sometime buy it and call it a gift; it’s fine so long as I don’t play that card too often (that’s our little secret).

The old faucet worked OK, but it was non-descript and it sometimes dripped if the valve wasn’t closed just so. Our sink also featured the ubiquitous black sprayer that didn’t have high-enough pressure; the new one has a built-in pull-out sprayer, which means better pressure and hands-free spraying. But that’s not all! We also got a soap dispenser which fits the old sprayer hole, so that means one less bottle on the counter.

While she was away for a few hours (on Valentine’s Day in fact), I broke out the tools and the Teflon tape, pulled the old faucet, and installed the new one (with my limited plumbing skills, it was a three-hour job (that’s why I waited until she was out)). We could have lived with the old faucet for a long while, it still dispensed both hot and cold water on command and we’re not that hung up on aesthetics of fixtures. But sometimes something looks tired or doesn’t work as well as you want it to; you get to the point where you need a change. I feel a little guilty, un-green even, for replacing something that still had life left in it; in the end I’m glad I did, and I was Mr. Home Improvement for an afternoon.

But why now? Why didn’t I wait until the faucet broke? Or make it a Christmas present instead? Like many people, I delude myself into thinking my buying decisions are generally rational and well-thought, but if I scrutinize them later, they often aren’t (as anyone who has seen some of the crap on my CD shelf would attest). What I’m trying to get at is that buying a thing can do something for a purchaser that goes beyond meeting the obvious need. Why and when I finally take the purchasing plunge is a jumble of whim, procrastination, price, plus a few other urges I’m not quite in touch with yet. I’m scratching an itch I can’t quite define; examining these impulses/needs/drives is the reason I started posting, so this will be a recurring theme. In the end I want to know why I buy, and use that knowledge to make better decisions.

This Valentine’s Day I proclaim my love for my wife through plumbing. For next year, I’m thinking the TV in our bedroom is looking a little dated.

1 comment:

Elise said...

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