My husband doesn’t buy me flowers.

Which is one of the things I really appreciate about him.  You see, he is a hopeless romantic and would happily waste hundreds of hard earned dollars buying me flowers monthly, weekly, daily if he thought it would make me happy for him to do so.  I, however, think the cost versus benefit ratio is too small for extravagances like that.  They last, at most, 10 days and don’t look very good for the last three or four anyway.  So way back when we first got together, I explained to him that I am not a flowers person.  It was very hard for him to understand, and it took a few instances of disappointments and hard feelings on both our parts for him to truly understand my position.

I am a very practical person.  When I see something, I look at it in terms of usefulness.  Does it save time?  Does it use minimal, or no, energy compared to its usefulness?  Is it something I will actually use often enough to justify the purchase?  Or, in the case of many of my seasonal gadgets, is it something that saves so very much time and energy on the occasions it IS used that it justifies the purchase?  Or is it just a space hogger, a dust collector?  Is it just one more thing to clean and take care of?  I know this sounds very narrow, but these are the questions burned into my mind over a lifetime of being ummm…not middle class.  Poor.  And the child of parents who also asked these questions of us when we wanted things as children.

One of my quirks is that I actually value things like good cookware, linens, and furniture.  So one of the most romantic things my husband has ever given me, in my opinion, is a dryer.  When we first got together, we had a washer but no dryer and as we were living in a rental we had nowhere to put up a line even were I willing at that point to hang our undies out along a main thoroughfare.  And with three smallish children to keep clothed, it was important to have that dryer.  It meant a lot to me, and I thought of his generosity every time I used it.

We inherited a house worth of items when my husband’s grandfather died; much of what we inherited is furniture, cookware, and various gadgets/appliances built before 1960 and in some cases before 1940.  I loved Oscar but I never met Ursula, who died in the early 80’s yet I use many of her pots and pans daily, and treasure the hand operated appliances/gadgets she had collected.  I think of her every time I use them and I’m grateful she and I obviously shared the desire to have reliable, quality tools.  I think she and I would have gotten along well, even though since Mr. TF is my second husband, it would have violated her Catholic and conservative views. One of the things I treasure the most is the mantel clock Oscar and Ursula were given when they married in 1929.  It’s electric, and no longer keeps proper time, but it’s a thing of beauty.  I plan to take it to the local clockmaker to see if it can be repaired.  If not, we will still keep it for the simple reason that it’s a family heirloom.  I know, if it’s broken and no longer useful it’s a space hog and a dust catcher….nobody can be perfectly consistent all the time.  Besides.  It really is a beautiful clock; it’s classic Craftsman type workmanship with clean lines and wonderful details.  Sometimes beauty is useful in itself.  Sometimes.

These are the things I value.  I like the sense of continuity in using things handed down.  I like and appreciate the quality apparent in things that are well over 50 years old and still fully functional.  And I love that my husband respects this in me, even though he’s still willing to waste his hard earned money to buy me frippery.

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