Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Dear Temple,
I hope this note finds you well and happy. Yesterday I got my AMC Gremlin car. I really like it. It runs, although not well. A little bit of elbow grease and a lot of cleaning and I'll be zipping around town in no time. I think this car is really cool - pretty much exactly what I want in a fun project car.  The car was really inexpensive since the guy I bought it from had to clean up his property or get evicted. Don't worry, I didn't take advantage of him. He told me the price - it was so low that I didn't even try to talk him down.
But you know what? I feel pretty bad about owning it. Not bad because I think the price was too low for what I got. Think scrap metal prices. I called the guy last night to tell him the car was here and he was happy and thankful for the deal. What I feel bad about is spending the money on something selfish when it could have gone to other things.
This feeling I have is palpable to those around me. Your Aunt Crystal likes the car too and she doesn't really understand why I'm kind of upset about it. She says we never buy each other anything substantial - ever - and she also wants me to have something to do when she leaves town for conferences. It's good to be busy. Especially someone who broods as much as I do. Better to brood over drum brakes.
Here's my issue. I have another kid coming, two little ones that are going but are expensive, a van to purchase and bills to pay. Shouldn't I be spending my money more wisely than a old car? The answer is a resounding Yes and No at the same time. The answer Yes makes the most sense to me at this point in time. I could easily make a profit seven times what I paid for the car if I put it on craigslist today. The guy who brought the car to me said he got five offers while it sat in his driveway overnight. It's not that I'm behind on payments on anything or that this car will lead to our financial ruin (it's the kids that will lead to our financial ruin:) It's just not a 'smart' purchase. Does that make sense?
I don't need this car.
I want this car and I'm worried my wants are getting in the way of focusing on my needs.
Crystal thinks I'm overthinking this, but I don't know. There's also the obvious that I'm a stay at home dad and am not bringing in any money, which makes this purchase seem ultra selfish. Crystal thinks that ridiculous and it is, but it's still on my mind. I bet that every parent that stays home thinks this way from time to time. It would be nice if my agent sold my book so that I could bring some scratch to the table.
What I do know is that I'm going to try and listen to your Aunt Crystal and enjoy the car. If I brood over it too much it will annoy everyone around me and we didn't spend the money to make me conflicted. We spent the money on a cool car. We spent the money on a healthy hobby that will give me something to do outside of wiping butts all day. We spent the money because sometimes it's nice to ENJOY the fruits of labor instead of taking care of needs and socking away the rest for when you're bedridden at seventy-five.
I also think your Aunt Crystal will steal the car from me when it's done. It's that cool.
I love you much and miss you always,
                  Uncle Justin

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