There are two reasons why I’m writing this post. First, I’ve kept the secret of Dustin’s 30th birthday gift a surprise for a couple of months now and doing so is eating me up inside. There’s an ulcer with a bow and balloons growing in my stomach. I suck at keeping surprises I’ve planned, so in writing this post I sort of get to talk about it since my husband won’t let me blow my cover (yeah, I’ve asked, borderline begged him to let me spill the beans).
The second reason is once it goes public, I will feel the immediate need to justify such a gift. Whether we are pals via the interweb or we know each other in “real life”, if you’re reading this you’ve likely followed our struggles over the past 11 months, in particular our financial struggles. This leads me to feel the need to explain the how and why behind such a gift.
And if you think that I’m being silly, then try to remember that not only have we struggled, we’ve received donations from family, friends and strangers to help dig us out of our medical bill hell. I never want to be looked at as the person who received help while somehow living the high life. (Believe me, we SO aren’t, and not a dime from donations went towards this expenditure).
So why did I break two of my cardinal rules of finances (don’t spend money you don’t have, and only use credit cards for the most extreme emergencies)? This all goes back to Dustin’s 29th birthday. On December 5, 2013 Dustin left work early to bring me to yet another doctor appointment. We were already on edge because we knew any day we would be admitted to the hospital to have our son. Even though I was on 90% bed rest, I wanted to give Dustin a fun and stress-free birthday by meeting up with some friends at the Big Thrill Factory (an arcade for adults) that Dustin had been wanting to try.
As Dustin was turning into our driveway some moron behind him tried to pass on the shoulder, then changed course, and Dustin had two choices – either get rear ended at 30mph or drive himself into the ditch. I was shutting down my work computer when the front door flew open with a flushed and furious Dustin, explaining that his car was ass up in the ditch…and that the driver glanced in Dustin’s car, saw he was OK and then SPED OFF.
I ended up having to help shovel snow and push his car out of the way far enough so we could take my car to the doc. While we were gone Dustin’s mom called Triple A to have his car towed. The doctor appointment didn’t go well and I was sent to the hospital for observation. I was sick, swollen and had ever climbing blood pressure, so we decided to cancel his small but much needed birthday party.
We ended up at home around 9 or 10p.m., and 8 days later I was admitted for good, and 10 days later Ben was born.
And then the last 11 months happened. NICU. Surgery. PT. Helmet. Isolation. Working multiple jobs. And so on, and so on. It’s been rough.
Which is why I wanted to give something to Dustin for his birthday that he really wanted, but assumed that given our situation would never happen. I listened to him when he talked, and think I planned a GREAT 30th birthday gift.
Here’s where my “mistakes” came in. At the time I set this up, Dustin was working what would have been a third job doing web work for my part-time gig. I wanted SOMETHING of all our hard work to go toward more than medical bills and groceries. I felt – and still feel – that Dustin deserved it. I also “knew” that we would have a few thousand dollars coming in from this web project and we could find a way to spare $300 for this gift, so before we got paid, I bought the present.
And then, after Dustin did the work, the site was live, money was made, the invoice was due…the company backed out. Yeah, that one still stings.
So there you have it – a justification on how we came to be celebrating Dustin’s birthday in the way which we will be celebrating. I promise to post details once the date and gift come to fruition. Should I have bought this gift? Logically probably not. But is a charge on our Visa that I regret? Not even a little, and that’s coming from someone who hyperventilates daily about debt.
But Dustin, once again you have proved that you truly are my only exception. What I would never do for me I would do for you in a heartbeat. It’s as if I love you or something. Funny how that works.