Monday, January 28, 2008
  I'm such a brat.
A spoiled brat. Really.

See, Valentine's Day is coming up. Saturday Chris announced that he knows what he's going to get me, and do I want to know now or do I want him to keep it a secret. I gave him a look. The look meant, of course, I wanted to know but that he shouldn't tell me. He told me anyhow. And it's a laptop! Yeah, it's not a very Valentine's-y Day gift, but that's my Chris. I really need a laptop, and it's a holiday, therefore... It's an excuse to get me this thing that I need. At least, that's how I interpret it.

The only problem was that I wasn't expecting this. Well... he did say something maybe hinting to it the other day, but it was by no means concrete. So in the meantime, I've been checking the Dell website, trying to figure out which computer I would buy for myself. I don't have much money, but the financial aid did finally come in, and there's really no getting around the fact that I need a laptop.

Anyway, Chris's way of doing things is not always mine. Now, Chris is by no means cheap. Seriously. He's about the least cheap person I know. I'm pretty used to it now, but... to think of an example, when we went to Universal, he paid, and he didn't even mention it. That's $140 in admission fees. Plus breakfast and dinner, and a $5 caramel apple with nuts. And he doesn't bat an eye. But he never spends money where he doesn't have to. This is why he drives a '96 Corolla to work. This is usually quite amusing...

But we're definitely different there. Example is that when I was in the market for a bike a few years back, I bought one on sale from Sports Authority, a respected brand name. Sale from $400 to $240. When he wanted a bike, he went to Toys 'R Us and spent $70. "It's all you need." And he's right; he's perfectly happy with his $70 bike. It has wheels. It propels him forward. Of course, his bike is something like eight months old and it's making funny noises already, a fact which I like to point out when he reminds me he could buy three of his bikes for one of mine (and mine is 4 years old and still running smooth!). (For the record, I ain't saying my way is superior... In some instances, I definitely have wasted money; Chris's mindset is actually a very good one to emulate on many subjects.)

So I asked which laptop. He responds: "The cheapest one!" You know, the cheapest one they offer. Um. Then he said something about the fact that it's a depreciating asset. But, um.. um.. I've never had my very own computer before! Well, not since that desktop I had in high school. So I want it to be a decent one! His logic, which does have merit, is that he is going to get the cheapest one, because it will do the job. This means, you know, it's a laptop - I can do my homework on it, access the Internet, etc. "Good enough," is how he puts it, I think. Of course... But... but.. this is going to be my computer, you know? Not saying I need the top of the line, but I also don't want to be worried that I am lacking in RAM when an upgrade costs something like an extra $50. Not to say that the cheapest one isn't going to be good enough, but I don't want that to be the one and only deciding factor for it being chosen, so...

I immediately went to work on the Dell website to see what I was in for. I yelled out questions to him in the other room, like am I going to have any problems running Photoshop with 512 MB of RAM. (I know nothing about computers, but I know Photoshop takes FOREVER to open.) I decided that I really would have chosen a different computer for myself, if I were paying for it even, but then I said to myself, "Okay, this is a gift. Be grateful."

So I got up from the computer and said, in a cheerful voice,"Well, the cool thing is you can get it in green!" They make it in my very favorite color of green - cool.

His response was: "Nope, that costs extra. You're getting it in BLACK!" He may have been kidding.. It's all of $25 extra! Oh please let him have been kidding.. But probably not. He's a boy, so he sees $25 'puter paintjobs as pointless.

At this point, shot down on such a small thing, on my VALENTINE'S GIFT, I got annoyed. It's $25 extra. I said this, and then told him he was cheap, and I'm pretty sure I used the f-word to do so. And then I stopped talking. I mean, c'mon -- $25?! I don't think I have to explain.

Then we had dinner -- pancakes, which he made, because we couldn't find an IHOP when we left Orlando (it rained when we parked, so we didn't get to do Animal Kingdom - bummer) and I had to have Taco Bell for breakfast. And would you believe, that HELLISH place didn't even have seven layers? What kind of Taco Bell doesn't carry seven-layer burritos? I was disgusted. Anyway, so yeah, Chris made me blueberry pancakes for dinner. Yes, he is a good boy, and yes, I am spoiled.

Then afterwards, we looked at the computers again. He gave me the green light to go up $100. We first checked out a different computer, with more RAM and more memory. Then I figured out if I went back to the original computer, I could add that extra stuff à la carte for that same $100. And THEN I realized that they had it all bundled - for the $100-more package on the computer he originally wanted to get me, you got $300 more of stuff; a better processor, more RAM, lots more memory, a built-in webcam, a longer-lasting battery (and we're ordering a spare), etc. And I can get it in green. All for that extra $100. Well, an extra $124, with the color. :) (I'll write a check for the $24, if I need to.)

So now I'm really excited about this computer coming. But also, am I a jerk?

I asked him if he thinks I'm an ingrate. He said no. But still, I feel a little like one.

I dunno. I think I would've been satisfied with the one he was going to buy had I not already been researching. Had it been a surprise. But I had time to give some input, you know? Maybe I just should have shut up and been happy and said thank you and that'd have been the end of it.

At the same time, I'm really, really excited about this computer now, and I think I'll be a lot happier when I receive this, and all it cost was an extra $100. So maybe it's good we talked about it? I dunno.

Spoiled brat, or choosy consumer, even when it comes to stuff her lovely boyfriend is buying her?
The first thing you said...

You can just buy a green skin thing to go over the black one. They aren't too pricey.

But congrats on the comp!
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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