I just got off the phone with an old friend. She heard I had just come back from another trip — this one to Pittsburgh (to visit family, mostly my 76 year old sister, who lives in a nursing home) and then on the Connecticut to visit with Jim’s children.
It was good to spend the afternoon with my sister. She had a stroke 5 years ago and is paralyzed on her left side. She’s not a good patient and reaps her own reward per the nursing and aide staff. But that’s another story. Her son, his lady friend and his daughter, along with Jim and I, and my sister had lunch together in the nursing home dining room. They left to get back to work and I took my sister out to sit in the fresh air. She doesn’t get to do that very often. I felt bad leaving her.
We left the next morning to drive to Connecticut. It was an all day drive and we didn’t arrive until evening. His daughter was out of town on business and wouldn’t be getting in until the next day around noon. We were okay with that as Jim’s son-in-law is a pretty neat guy and so are Jim’s grandchildren. Turned out, she got caught up in the radar breakdown over the Washington D.C. snafu and at 4 p.m., she was back at the airport to pick up her luggage after procuring a rental car to drive home to CT. She didn’t get in until 10 p.m.
For the next couple of days, we had a great time hanging with his family. The last time he was with them was last Thanksgiving. We see my family quite often, but they’re only four hours away. I’ve impressed upon him that’s it’s much more convenient for us to go see them as we have nothing but time on our hands. They don’t necessarily want to spend their precious vacation time coming to see him all the time. So we’ll be going to CT and Kansas more.
Which brings me to the gist of this post. I got a call from a friend who wanted to talk about my trips. No, not that kind of talk. She and a few other friends had been talking about where I had found the money to be taking all the trips Jim and I have taken this year. WTF? Who cares as long as I didn’t ask her for a loan?
Why did I feel I had to justify? What business is it of theirs? I would always rather spend money on trips, than on furniture, clothes, etc. I reminded her that I drive an 11 year old car with 175,000 miles on it. They all have new or newer cars. I don’t spend much money on clothes. Most of what I wear are things my daughter has given me as gifts. She has a wardrobe to die for. Neither Jim nor I have cable.
I have such wonderful memories I’ve gathered on trips. I don’t feel that way about a single sofa or car. I did have that one outfit I bought when we were visiting my son in college. I was a knockout in it, but it itched like crazy. And I have that one piece of sculpture by Sergio Bustamante that I got in Cancun. That will go to my granddaughter when I die. She was the only one to ever get excited by it. When she was an infant and saw it, her little legs would just bounce and bounce.
So — am I right to feel ticked by the conversation? Once again, I wish I hadn’t felt the need to justify. Are they jealous or just nosy? I can’t think of a single time when I ever felt compelled to say anything to anyone about how they spend their money. Except when I told Jim to stop spending his money on everything he sees on eBay. Why would anyone care? They can all spend money on trips if that’s how they feel.
Okay, my rant is over. Got it off my chest. I would love to hear how you feel about it. Would you be ticked like me? Or would you let it just roll off your back?
*I just read an email update on an acquaintance who was horribly burned in an accident on her farm. Why am I even wasting any of my energy on being ticked about an insignificant issue when Martha is fighting for her life? Life is definitely too short. I intend to enjoy my days left on this Earth.