Flora Church won Maddie Day's WHEN THE GRITS HIT THE FAN and Susan won Edith Maxwell's CALLED TO JUSTICE! Please contact edith at edithmaxwell dot com!
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I'm going to sound like a woman in an annoying commercial, but I've just bought a new stove and I love it. It was delivered yesterday. It wasn't the basic stove or the marked-down floor display model either; I got the stove I wanted, with all the bells and whistles I've been saying I've needed for a decade.
Here's the thing: this is the first stove I've actually purchased. Our starter house came with a stove, as did our 200-year-old farmhouse. (It also came with a genuine 1950's refrigerator, but that's another story.) When the stove we inherited from the previous owners died, we were the fortunate recipients of a free stove from acquaintances who were remodeling. Which is why, at age 55, I'm buying my first ever stove. And let me tell you, it makes me feel very Grown Up.
I don't recall feeling that way with other large appliance purchases. Ross and I are on our fourth dishwasher, third washer/dryer set and we'll be taking delivery of our fourth refrigerator. It could be because cooking seems like a serious business. I suspect it's also because for the first time, I'm not getting an appliance simply because it's the CONSUMER REPORTS Best Value choice (although you can bet both the new stove and the upcoming frig were highly rated by CU.) I find myself at the stage of life when ALL extra money doesn't automatically have to be routed towards my children, meaning I can purchase that double oven with warming tray and expanded range top elements! In stainless steel! Even the new frig, which is as basic as butter because of the size constraints in our kitchen, will be stainless steel. Yes! Only 17 years after the trend started! Look at me, adulting like a pro.
How about you, Reds? What are the purchases that made you feel like you'd finally arrived at adulthood?
INGRID THOFT: This raises an interesting question: Do I even feel grown up? I suppose I do, mostly because I’m aging! I’ve bought a house, a car, and trips to the other side of the globe, but I think the “purchase” that makes me feel most adult is paying taxes. It’s not necessarily a happy adult feeling, but I do feel like a grown-up when I send in my return.
The happy adult feeling comes from making choices with my money: flying non-stop even though it’s more expensive; ordering in because I can’t bear the thought of cooking; buying a pair of earrings just because they caught my eye. Here’s another thought, and it may seem morbid, but I think when I have to pay for a funeral (mine, ahead of time, or someone else’s) that I will well and truly feel like an adult.
HALLIE EPHRON: Funeral? Yikes, that is morbid.
Paying OFF our mortgage a few months ago made me feel... old. Writing a check for thousands for a root canal? Yup. Adult. And our Alaska cruise? Paying first class airfare for the first time EVER definitely made me feel, ahem, mature.
JULIA: Hallie and Ingrid, it's like that scene in FRIED GREEN TOMATOES where Kathy Bates rams a car saying, "I'm older and have better insurance." The ability to pay for what you want is a definite plus of adulthood.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: When I was going off to college, my mom took me to the department store, and told me she was going to treat me to all new makeup. (I know, different times.) When it was all piled on the counter, Mom said to the salesperson, "Okay, great, we'll take it". And--I remember this so clearly, I said: "Don't you need to know how much this all costs?" And Mom said, "Nope, and I don't want to know." I thought--HOW can you buy something if you don't know how much it costs first? And now I do that all the time. (I eventually ask, but not first.)
Buying my first car? Renting my first apartment on my own! Going to my father's funeral. And doing responsible things, like the laundry, or making my bed when I really don't have to, but I do anyway.
JULIA: Oh, no! Going to a parent's funeral is quite possibly the worst thing about adulting.
JENN MCKINLAY: The other day Hooligan 1 informed me that Kevin Hart was doing one of the voices for the upcoming animated Captain Underpants movie. I got so excited I achieved vertical lift. In my defense, I did a six year tour of duty as a children's librarian and the Captain is one of the most challenged books in the public library according to the ALA, which is ridiculous because if you want boys to read these are the books to give them, but I digress.
Anyhow, the Hooligan looked at me with one eyebrow higher than the other and a voice full of sixteen year old wonder and declared, "I am being raised by an eight year old. It's all coming into focus now." So, yeah, still waiting on that whole adulting/grownup thing to kick in. Not gonna hold my breath.
RHYS BOWEN: I don't want to grow up, ever. I really don't. If I see a chain across a path my first instinct is to hurdle it. I have chased my grandchildren over the play equipment at the park to the dismay of other responsible adults there. I love swimming, snorkeling, wading in water. In fact play is important to me. But I have done my share of responsible things: paid off mortgage, buy sensible cars instead of Porsche I was lusting for.
And with household appliances, I've found they always die in threes. If the dishwasher goes, the dryer and fridge die at the same time. It's a fact of life. But I have learned to treat myself lately: first or business class on long flights. Nice hotels in Europe. AND clothes that are not on sale occasionally. Oh, the sin of it!
JULIA: Rhys, that's exactly what happened to us! Our stove died, then the frig, and then we needed expensive repairs to the water heater. Fingers crossed it doesn't expand to the Rule of Four...
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Julia, there is nothing quite like picking out the kitchen appliance you actually want!! We replaced our ten-year-old dishwasher--which had never actually washed the dishes, but that's another story--a few months ago, and I still feel that huge sense of pride every time I open the thing.
But the first purchase that ever made me really feel grown up was buying a NEW (my cars were always used and mostly truly hated hand-me-downs from my parents) and totally unsuitable car. That was a fire engine red Honda Prelude, bought with my first big book sale money, and I absolutely adored it (at least until the warranty ran out and I had to start paying for parts and repairs...)
LUCY BURDETTE: So interesting to read what you women have written! Is it a gas stove Julia? that is the ultimate! Hallie, hooray for you springing for business/first to Alaska. It's such a long trip--you will not regret a penny. And Jenn, you are hysterical--those boys are so lucky to have you as a mom... Debs, I always had the worst hand-me-down cars from my father too. Buying a brand new Honda Civic with a car payment was probably it for me. Though taxes, ugh. John's been nagging me to do mine. It's always worse anticipating than the actual work turns out to be.
JULIA: I wish it could have been gas, Lucy, but we're out in the country and it would have meant installing a propane tank and line. So, electricity for me. How about you, dear readers? Has there been a purchase that made you finally feel all grown up?