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December 11, 2006

"Why I Love My Alpha Wife"

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There was a slight glitch that took place in our lives last year, and if I'm going to be honest the year before that, and the year before that, and a couple of years more than that besides. I was finishing up a novel I had been finishing up, or had been nearing completion of, ever since we've known each other. Actually, I had been working on this project for the last 17 years. I guess I fell in love with the research and always felt I had to do more.

I had written it and rewritten it (at one point it was 2000 pages), edited it and re-edited it, asked for help, then lashed out when I got it.

That's just the way things go.

Unfortunately, it put an enormous financial burden on our lives. My end of mortgage payments, utility bills, food, clothes, car payments, insurance, birthday presents, Christmas presents, walking-around money, going out to eat, you name it, all going on my credit card(s).

Having a steady paycheck, she was taking care of most of our responsibilities, but still.

"We've got to talk about your finances," she kept saying.

I would go into a huff.

"Joel, we need to sit down and make a budget," she'd say, in retrospect, calmly enough.

"You don't understand," I would shout. "I'm not like you. I don't get a paycheck. There's nothing to budget."

"No, you don't understand," she would insist. "Our money is running out. You are putting yourself, your children, me, us, at risk."

I would storm off, sulk, snap, crackle, pop, refuse to talk another word with her, leave the room when she came in.

She is a remarkable woman. As small as I am, she is large. She would never lash out at me. She would let her anger be known, but she would not pick me apart, not in this way.

And eventually, I was able to come to my senses.

Thanks to her, we own two beautiful homes. I am good with my hands and love to build and fix and repair, but she is always doing budgets and planning. When it comes to finances, everything must be known, in her opinion, and she works assiduously so that she always knows where we are in terms of money.

I love her.

We sat down, and we made a budget.

Every payment, every expenditure was written down. I told her I was $100,000 in debt with $20,000 cash advances on my cards still available to me.

She did not flinch, she did not condemn. She wrote the figures down and we went on. She said we could refinance the house, take out X amount of cash, pay off a big portion of what I owed. She said this will help you out for the time being, this is the window in which you can operate, but — and it was a big but — come April we are done, financially speaking. We will lose a lot of what we have built together.

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