Tiny Decisions and Big Acknowledgement

For several weeks, you (my ever-patient readers) have put up with my whining about explaining some instances where indecision drove me batty.  (Well, I was already nuts, but let’s not split hairs.)

Over the last couple weeks, things have started to fall into place.  We have found a contractor to do some work on our house.  He is a friend-of-a-friend, but this still doesn’t stop me from worrying that he will run away with our down payment (after he does the demo work, of course), or that he will do the work, but not correctly. 

It also hasn’t prevented me from obsessing over finances in general because I don’t like spending large sums of money.  (In case you were wondering, “large sums of money” is anything over $50.)  I get tightness in my chest twice a month when I pay bills (especially the mortgage) and my knuckles ache as my hands clench my checkbook.  If you think that’s bad, you should have seen me when we bought our car.  I felt physically ill and didn’t know who to call first – the ambulance or my work to call in sick 🙂

Decision #1 – After combing through home improvement stores and discount stores, we managed to piece together our shower tile selection.  Can you believe it – we actually agreed on the tile color and texture?

Even though we found discount tiles, the purchase still hurt. If you think I felt empty without this decision lurking unmade in the back of my mind, let me set the record straight.  I have filled that worry space with another concern:  “Did I buy enough of the different tile sizes?”

Math is not my strong suit.  (I majored in Psychology for a reason).  I did the measurements and calculated the square footage.  I figured the tile needs based on responses on Yahoo! Answers.  Boy, I hope these people weren’t just having some fun, or playing a cruel April fool’s joke.  (Note to self:  check the date of the responses.) 

Decision #2 – We came to an agreement on our dishes.  We chose….none of our original selections.  That’s right.  We bought dishes, but it was neither of the patterns mentioned in the post I linked to in the first paragraph.

We went to a Corelle outlet store over the weekend and they had a great sale.  The 16-piece box sets were still expensive, but if you bought 20 or more individual pieces, they were 50% off.  Great; more math. 

I pulled out my cell phone and used the calculator to figure out the cost of eight plates, salad plates, and bowls (we didn’t need the mugs.)   Since we could get these pieces for less than the cost of one of the 16-piece box sets, we bought them. 

It feels good to get these major minor decisions made, but I’ve come to  realize I owe a long-overdue apology to my dad.  <sigh.>  Here goes:

“Dad, you were right.  I’m sorry I didn’t believe you when you warned me I would use math in my daily life.  I thought you were tricking me; like when you told me being an adult was hard.  Joke’s on me. Ha, ha.”

Do you make decisions easily, or do you research them to death?  As an adult, what advice from your parents have you found to be true?

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36 thoughts on “Tiny Decisions and Big Acknowledgement

  1. timweaverwrites July 5, 2011 / 7:27 AM

    I often take a long time to make a decision about a purchase, especially if it’s something I don’t need, but want, and more especially if it’s something “electronic”. When cell phones first came out, I spent six months analyzing whether I should get one or not. Finally my wife said “Just buy the $(*& thing already!”. I still do this over-analysis, though I am getting better. 🙂

    For the tile, I would had added 10% to whatever calculations I came up with, as I’d rather spend a little too much than have to waste my time going back and buying more because I didn’t calculate correctly. That really torques me to have to do that. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 9:11 PM

      I added 20% and ‘a little bit’ to the tile purchase, but if my measurements are completely off, it may not matter! I want to have a few extra tiles, but if I have a bunch, they will let us take the unused ones back. I dislike multiple trips to the store, too.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who over-evaluates purchases. We have a dinosaur-age TV right now (it’s like 3-feet deep and weighs 400 pounds). I dread the day it quits working because then I’ll have to begin 2 research projects: (1) to find the best quality model and (2) to find it for the best price.

      Thanks for your comment, Tim 🙂

  2. Debbie July 5, 2011 / 7:39 AM

    Oh, Janna, it sounds as if we’re cut from the same cloth! I, too, worry over BIG decisions til I’m weary. And spending big money ranks way up there on my most-worrisome list. My dad assured me I should take a “typing” class, promising me I’d need it one day. I refused, but look who’s “typing” every day now! Our dads just really were that smart, weren’t they?! BTW, love your new dishes!

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 9:20 PM

      Another worrier – looks like I’m in good company 🙂 To add to the mix, we had to get new tires for my car this weekend. Tires. That’s exactly how I dream of spending several hundred dollars. (Not really.)

      I took a typing class, but I’m not very good at it. I can’t type numbers without looking at the keyboard. (I must have a thing against numbers :))

      I’m glad the dishes get your vote, Debbie. I just love them!

  3. Carl D'Agostino July 5, 2011 / 8:00 AM

    Math is pet peeve topic for me. In Miami Dade schools they expect these kids to have mastered algebra 1 leaving the eighth grade. The upper levels of math then come early on in high school. They have every one on a college tract and not everyone can do these upper levels. I can’t do algebra 1. So they are increasing the drop out rate as too many cannot keep that 2.0 for graduation because of this. I have tried to get the county, the state and even wrote to Sec of Ed Arne Duncan to make bookkeeping and accounting math credits and to bring back consumer/business math to no avail. My skills to manage the household are adequate. A little plane geometry is helpful to find area sq footage for carpet and such and a little solid geometry is useful to measure volume. But for the rest of it – what’s the use? Non of us are going to work for NASA !

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 9:25 PM

      I don’t have a mathematical mind, but I do appreciate the educational system making the attempt to cram the basics into my brain. I do handle our finances but use a calculator, since counting on my fingers gets tiresome.

      I’m impressed that you have taken so much time to plead your case for alternate math skills. Maybe someday, someone will hear you. Good luck, Carl!

  4. dorcas July 5, 2011 / 8:57 AM

    I love math… always did and still do… might have to do with mom being a coll math professor :).

    Anyway, paying any bill hurts, despite the love for math.. 😦

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 9:27 PM

      I wish I loved math. Really, I do. But it was never my type.

      At least we can relate on the painful bill paying, Dorcas 😉

  5. Carol Ann Hoel July 5, 2011 / 10:00 AM

    I hate making decisions. I also have found that without math, I’d be at a loss in managing life. I really like the pattern on the dishes you purchased. Great choice at a great price! Yup, spending money makes me nervous. Yet, God has been faithful to provide our needs. He promises to give us what we need. I know what your’re thinking. I think the same way: But what do we really NEED? It’s never as easy as it should be, is it? We do our best and trust God. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 9:43 PM

      Sometimes (rarely) decisions come easy – that’s when it’s fun. God has provided more than I need. In fact, most of our recent purchases wouldn’t count as necessity. That puts in perspective. The remodeling changes will make our home more comfortable, although we could live without them. We are cutting costs where we can and are certainly not trying to keep up with (or outdo) the Jones’!

      Thanks for sharing your insights, Carol 🙂

      • Carol Ann Hoel July 6, 2011 / 4:38 AM

        I see it looks like I implied you didn’t need the remodeling. Improving your home is a wise thing to do. Making your lives easier to manage is also wise. I was thinking of myself, not you, when I wrote that stupid line. I’m glad that you have enough to make wise improvements. Blessings…

        • jannatwrites July 6, 2011 / 8:41 PM

          It wasn’t a stupid line at all, Carol. I’ve been sorting through the wants and needs for some time now. We are only able to do it because we aren’t doing much of anything else by way of eating in restaurants or vacations. (Except camping….we still manage to fit that in :)) When I get apprehensive, I remind myself that these lilttle improvements are much less expensive than buying a larger home (which I don’t want to do because the cooling gets so expensive in the summer.)

  6. nrhatch July 5, 2011 / 12:07 PM

    Beautiful dishes. Good luck with the remodel.

    A little advice . . . DO NOT EVER build a home from scratch.

    Some people are cut out to make 3 million decisions about hardware, handles, faucets, tubs, tile, carpeting, decking, square footage, patterns, footprints, wall finishes, paint colors, plants, trees, etc.

    You do NOT seem to fall into that camp. 😉

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 9:55 PM

      Thanks, Nancy! I like the dishes because they are durable, too.

      I don’t know that I would ever choose to design/build a house. Our house was a new build, so when we bought it (14 years ago) we had to make some decisions (exterior paint colors, carpet, tile, landscaping) but other things were standard (interior paint color, faucets, lighting fixtures.)

      The funny thing is, we’ve been gradually changing these things but it’s not nearly as overwhelming as it would be if we had to decide everything all at once (like with a new home.) Some of the choices have come easy, because we agreed right away. Others have become blog post subjects 😉

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 9:56 PM

      Aw, thanks, Widdershins. You are too kind 🙂

  7. SAS Fiction Girl July 5, 2011 / 12:50 PM

    Depending on the issue to be decided, I’ve found that the decision-making process closely mirrors the grieving process, especially when large sums of money are involved. Let’s use recent car repairs as an example.
    1. Shock and denial: “My car needs new tie rods or else the wheels will fall off? That’s crazy! I haven’t felt any difference in the driving! They must be wrong about that!”
    2. Pain and guilt: “If only I hadn’t driven over that same pothole forty-thousand times. I should have swerved around it instead. It’s all my fault.”
    3. Anger and bargaining: This is the point where my service advisor has told me how much the repairs will cost and I treat her to a basketful of all the swear words I know that don’t begin with the sixth letter of the alphabet, all the while knowing this is not her fault. Then I ask if there is a less costly alternative. Answer – “yes” in the short term, “no” in the long run.
    4. Depression: I know I’m going to have to pay the bill and watch my bank balance contract. Deep sigh and freely flowing tears. Also, I may have to rent a car which is always a total ripoff.
    5. The upward turn: My sister will drive me where I need to go for the weekend. No car rental needed.
    6. Reconstruction and working through: This is where I reason that repairing an old car is still waaaaay cheaper than buying a new car. Starting to feel better now.
    7. Acceptance and hope: I get my car back with the hope that it will be another full year before a major repair is needed. Since I’ve replaced nearly every part at least once, I figure I can keep her going for another 13 years.

    Oh look – I just vented on Janna’s blog! Sorry, Janna! 😉 -Jen

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 10:20 PM

      Oh. My. Number 3 had me laughing out loud! I’ve been through these steps – decision-making which involves spending large sums of money and grieving do follow the same process 🙂 I hope your car does last another 13 years. Feel free to vent here any time. I almost feel like I should make your comment a dedicated post 🙂

      I have to ask – where does ‘paralyzing indecision’ fall in the process – between 3 and 4? Several years ago, when my car burned through its second transmission (first one was replaced under warranty, but with 120,000 miles, the second one wasn’t,) I couldn’t decide whether I should sink the money into a new transmission. Especially since I also knew of another repair that was going to cost about $1,000. I felt like I was sitting at a Black Jack table staring at a King and a Two, with a sinking feeling that uttering “Hit Me” would bust me with a Ten. Since I’m not particularly lucky, and I’m not the gambling type, I cashed in my chips and got a different car while I still had money for a down payment. (I skipped steps 4-7 and went back to 1).

      I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this decision-making process, but your comment was thoroughly entertaining. Thanks, Jen!

      • SAS Fiction Girl July 7, 2011 / 2:09 PM

        Hmmm…yes…Paralyzing Indecision may be 3a. In the grieving process, that’s the part where you’ve been given the task of choosing the coffin for your dear departed relative. Do you go with the mahogany casket with the plush satin interior and anti-decomposition airlock (for those times when the family wants to dig up Uncle Fred for a visit) or do you choose the balsa-wood box and pocket the difference, knowing that Uncle Fred may haunt you forever as his revenge?

        As for the car, I can see how you would choose to go with a newer model, since you’re driving kids around. It’s about safety and convenience. If I had kids, I would not be driving a car this old. For one thing, it does not have child safety locks on the doors. All a kid has to do is fiddle with the handle, the lock pops up, and the door swings open. In your case, it sounds like you made a good choice. 🙂

        • jannatwrites July 7, 2011 / 9:40 PM

          The casket example is hilarious 🙂 I’ve always wondered why they make them so ornate…it kinda creeps me out.

          I’m crossing my fingers this car has low maintenance costs. I would like to go without a car payment for as long as possible. It may not be that long though, since I put around 20,000 miles a year on it 😦 Car payments stink, so I hope you get to keep your car for a long time (no more expensive repairs!)

  8. crumbl July 5, 2011 / 3:20 PM

    Like the bath tiles a lot … good choice. Like the plates … also good choice. Agree with Tim Weaver about buying a safety cushion … slip a decimal point in your calculations, slippery fingers and a tile breaks … go back to the store and they’re out of stock, or the batch they have is a little off the colour of the tiles you bought … or 10 years from now you need to make a minor repair, and … oops! Complete do over.

    There are things about which I can obsess … my cell service provider recently ticked me off and I kicked them to the curb … researched every plan from every other provider, for a $20 service. Then, I have my impulse moments … guitars and cars follow me home. Fortunately, girls don’t follow me home … a) I can’t afford them; b) understanding about my quirks as she may be, I doubt LRGH is quite that understanding.

    Seems like, to answer your question, I tend to sweat the minutiae but leap into the deep end of the pool without fear. Spending hundreds or thousands (or hundreds of thousands) seems easier for me than spending $20 a month for a cell phone service with which I’m satisfied.

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 10:28 PM

      Crumbl, you’re the first person to comment on the bath tiles. I was beginning to wonder if they were ugly 🙂 (They do look a bit darker in the picture than they do in real life.) I may pick up a few more of the six inch tiles just in case my padding isn’t enough.

      It’s interesting that spending larger sums of money doesn’t bother you. I can relate to the shopping around when a company irritates you. It becomes a matter of principal at that point. I hope you were able to find a cell service provider with a plan that worked well for you. Oh, and good thing girls don’t follow you home. I don’t know of many any women who would be cool with that 🙂

      • crumbl July 5, 2011 / 11:17 PM

        If it’s any comfort, JT, LRHG agreed that your choice for the bathroom surround looked great. She may not play along (I type, and cook, better than does she), but she reads over my shoulder. She’s more the people person … much better social skills than do I possess.

        Yes, thank you, we both have new phones, a better package for half the price, and you’re absolutely right … if they hadn’t irritated me (and I did give them fair warning not to go there), it went from annoyance to a matter of principle.

        Trust me, LRHG is safe. A) what she sees in me I dunno, but I ain’t asking a lot of questions; b) unless I’m walking by the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) and they’re going my way, no girl’s likely to follow me home; c) I’m not shoppin’, so … no sale!

        • jannatwrites July 6, 2011 / 8:32 PM

          I just noticed I used the wrong ‘principle’ in my response to your last comment. Must be too many conversations with the principal at the school 😉 Oh well….

          I’m glad LRHG liked the tile, too. It’s days later and I still like it a lot. I’m also happy that you guys were able to get a better cell phone package. Sometimes it pays to get annoyed.

          I always like to hear about dedicated couples, especially in a time where it seems like many people are satisfied with temporary relationships that last until they find something better. Good to know you’re staying away from the market…don’t sell yourself short, you must be what LRHG is looking for or she wouldn’t stick around 🙂

  9. pattisj July 5, 2011 / 5:28 PM

    I tend to research items we may need/want to purchase, and watch for sales opportunities. My hubby is extreme about details/analyzing. I agree, buy a bit more. It takes us a long time to complete our DIY projects and we’ve experienced the same issues mentioned above, lot numbers, etc. The tile pattern and tiles are very pretty, and I’m glad you found dishes you both could agree on. Math…I got the flu the year I took geometry and missed the theorems. I never got caught up again. But I love bookkeeping/accounting, balancing the checkbook.

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 10:34 PM

      Yay! Another vote for the tile. I think it will look nice once they get it installed.

      I’m with you on watching sales. It only makes sense to do that so you don’t pay more than you have to. Like you (and despite my math deficiencies) I don’t mind keeping the checkbook in order. I use a calculator, of course 🙂

      Thanks for your comment, Patti!

  10. chlost July 5, 2011 / 7:43 PM

    Actually, I am very impressed with your choices. The most impressive part of the entire post is that you and your husband really agreed and you went ahead with the purchase.
    My husband and I rarely agree (he just cannot seem to acknowledge that I am right), and then we end up doing nothing. Even when we do agree, we often put off the entire thing because one of us-guess which one-is not ready to do it, because he still needs to think about it a little longer.
    I have made it through nearly 32 years of this, but sometimes I would like to be married to an impulsive person. Just to appreciate what I have.

    Oh, and Jen-the stages of grief riff-fantastic!

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 10:39 PM

      You’re funny, Chlost. I wonder why your husband can’t figure out that you’re right and just go with it? We’ve had plans die from indecision, but in this case, we had to make a tile selection. They will be here in less than two weeks to start working on it. The dishes – those were just an added bonus 🙂

      I’m glad you stopped by today. Your comment made me laugh!

  11. mairzeebp July 5, 2011 / 8:56 PM

    I LOVE the note to your Dad. I too am not a fan of math. Truth be told, I can barely add. Measure the length of the sides of a triangle, no problem. Figure out a percentage, there isn’t a blackboard big enough for me to show my work.

    I have the hardest time on making the simplest decisions. Picking dinner from a menu has gotten so bad that my family or friends have to say, “next time the waitress comes over we’re ordering and that’s that so figure it out.”

    Good luck with your decisions. If it helps, I like the tile, the colors and the plates. If all else fails, I can move in? Right, it doesn’t help :).

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2011 / 10:52 PM

      I’m glad you like the note to my Dad. I could never say it to his face because admitting, “You were right” may result in “I told you so,” and I can’t handle that 😉

      I still count on my fingers. It’s embarrassing. I’m wondering if we’re related somehow – I end up ordering the same thing whenever we go out because I can’t decide if I want to try a new dish or not. After the waitress comes back a third time, I have to blurt something out because I’m holding up everyone else’s order.

      Thanks for your ‘thumbs up’ on the selections, Mairzeebp! I *almost* feel like I can decide anything right now 🙂

  12. Sankalp July 5, 2011 / 11:39 PM

    My father is a banker so you can imagine how amazing he is at doing complex maths and pulling out decimal digits out of thin air. Like at 8.75% of some amount.That was back 10 years when banking was not fully computerized. And I cant calculate 10% leave alone 8 and the added .75 😦

    • jannatwrites July 6, 2011 / 8:35 PM

      That must’ve been difficult, Sankalp. Did your dad ever get frustrated when you didn’t exhibit his math skills?

      I couldn’t figure out 8.75% either….10% is about the only one I can do in my head. Numbers people do fascinate me though, because it’s almost as exotic as speaking a foreign language!

  13. Tori Nelson July 6, 2011 / 5:09 AM

    LOVE the tile. And what is it with this Numbers, Numbers Everywhere nonsense? I can’t escape the dreaded math either 😦

    • jannatwrites July 6, 2011 / 8:46 PM

      Yay! Another vote for the tile 🙂 Thanks, Tori!

      I’m so tired of math right now. At work today, my calculator started messing with me. (Bet you didn’t think that was possible.) When I cleared it, the display showed an “8” instead of a “0”, and when I added 3+2 to test it, the answer displayed was “6”. 3+4 equaled “9”, too. Someone else witnessed the craziness before the calculator started working properly again. I have no idea why????

      • crumbl July 7, 2011 / 12:30 AM

        You’re probably too young to remember, JT, but several years ago, PCs had a bug … enter 1+1 and it would return 3 as the result, so the joke became that 1+1=2, except for higher values of 1. 🙂 Now there’s some arithmetic I never learned in school.

        • jannatwrites July 7, 2011 / 9:10 PM

          Nice….No, I don’t remember that, but it is an interesting piece of information. Math is hard enough for me, that little but may have done me in!

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