The road to hell is paved with justified purchases

By Mir
October 31, 2007

You know what today is, right? No, no… not Halloween. I mean, yes, it IS Halloween, but that’s not what I’m talking about. OBVIOUSLY it’s Halloween, and I know that mostly because I spent three hours last night finishing Monkey’s costume, because I am nothing if not a champion procrastinator.

Today is the day our new dining room table and chairs are available for pick-up!

Oh, did I not mention that? About the dining room furniture? I totally meant to. I mean, inbetween NOT buying any furniture because THE MONEY, OH GOD THE MONEY and then HOORAY! IT’S ON SALE NOW! and this other big thing which was potentially going to cost a bunch of money and had me sulking around the house all I JUST DON’T GET TO HAVE ANYTHING NICE BECAUSE I’M A STUPID LOSER (yes, it IS hard being me, why do you ask?) and then that thing turning out to not happen—which sort of felt like FOUND MONEY—we then decided to buy the furniture and I totally meant to tell you about it.

Okay, I think I started that wrong. Let me try again.

Hi! We bought a table and chairs. They are pretty. We can pick them up today. Except, of course, we’re not going to, because it’s Halloween and we will be busy fielding child meltdowns out on a dark street.

The thing is, I really need some powerful motivation to spend a chunk of money. That’s just how I am. A tightwad. I love to shop but I hate to spend. And to spend more than $10 or $20 on something I need to have AN IMPORTANT REASON. Like, children are starving in Africa! Or, I have no pants that fit my ginormous ass! Or, people are coming to dinner!

Last year Otto and I attended an “orphan faculty” Thanksgiving thing at one of his colleague’s houses. This couple doesn’t have children so of course they have both the money and lack of destructive in-house forces that combine to make a house look like a freakin’ museum on the inside. And I don’t mean that it was austere, because it wasn’t, at all. It was just BEAUTIFUL. I want to LICK their decor. The furniture was gorgeous, the various wall art and knick-knacks were all breathtaking and perfectly coordinated, and they hosted something like twenty people with ease while we all walked around and said, “OH MY GOD YOUR HOUSE IS AMAZING.”

(Later we went back to Otto’s house, where the television was sitting on a crate, and still later I went back to my home, where the wall decor consisted mostly of fingerpaintings. Big difference, is what I’m saying.)

Being as how this is the first time that Otto has lived in a place big enough to potentially host a large group of folks for a sit-down meal, he asked me quite a while ago if I’d be up for us hosting the orphan Thanksgiving this year. I had said “of course” immediately, because there’s nothing wrong with having a bunch of people show up at your house with food. But as it got closer and closer to Thanksgiving, I started to worry.

“Um… where are we going to PUT everyone without a dining room table?” I asked.

“We’ll just pull out the kitchen table, and then we’ll set up my table in the dining room,” Otto replied. His table is currently in the corner of the dining room. I will get in trouble if I make too much fun of Otto’s beloved table, but let’s just say that it came from a store that starts with “K” and ends with “Mart.” Perfectly suitable as a kitchen table for a bachelor (which is what it was at his old house), yes, but not quite the impression I was wanting to give for Thanksgiving dinner.

“We’ll just throw a tablecloth over it!” he would insist, seeing my expression of concern.

And maybe it’s shallow (okay, IT’S SHALLOW), but I just couldn’t see having Thanksgiving here and seating folks around two smallish tables, with mismatched chairs, in a room where the previous owners painted some questionable colors OVER the wallpaper, to eat their sweet potato casserole off a wobbly tabletop made of particle board.

(Redoing the dining room walls is a project for next year. I just thought that maybe a nice dining set might divert attention from the walls.)

So we went back and forth. We should buy some furniture! We should wait to buy some furniture! My table will be FINE, Otto would insist, and I would remind him of last year’s Thanksgiving and THAT GORGEOUS HOUSE and how could we have all of his colleagues over to eat on that crummy little table? FINE, he would say, muttering things about my elitist leanings under his breath, LET’S JUST BUY A NEW TABLE. On and on it went.

Finally, I remembered something. I had the money from selling my old dining set, which meant that THEORETICALLY our out-of-pocket expense was that much less. And I really couldn’t stomach the whole Thanksgiving thing without a proper table to put folks at. And the set we wanted went on sale. So we bought it and I only hyperventilated a little when I saw the total.

But we were HAPPY! Because we’d have it in time for Thanksgiving!

Well you’ll NEVER GUESS what happened next.

Otto came home yesterday with a big list of responses to our Thanksgiving dinner invitations. These folks are going out of town. Those folks have relatives coming. This one has plans already. The other isn’t sure what they’re doing, they’ll let us know.

Yeah. So far NO ONE has said “Why YES, we would love to come have Thanksgiving with you on your pretty new furniture, how nice of you to invite us and also to SPEND ALL THAT MONEY so that I can come to your house and eat in a modicum of style!”

Can you believe it? Hmph.


  1. Kimberly

    I’ll come to your Thanksgiving ;) I’ll totally be an orphan, too, since mine was last month and all :)

  2. birchsprite

    I’ll come…

    … oh wait I live in England!

  3. Elizabeth

    Last year, I did Thanksgiving for 16 people, and I was so glad that we bought the big dining table with the extra leaves to make it even longer. We sat 10 adults at that table with no problem.

    This year? We’re having Thanksgiving dinner at the Cracker Barrel with my Dad and Stepmom, and that is all kinds of sad.

  4. liz

    Given the choice to have Thanksgiving with your family and have Thanksgiving with my family, I’d pick yours any day. Unfortunately, it’s not really my choice to make. But I’ll be eating at your new table in spirit, while I swig bourbon straight out of the bottle while squatting in the wet bar.

  5. Therese

    I’ll probably have about 40 for Thanksgiving this year and would be glad to send them your way to enjoy your pretty new dining room furniture. As these are my husband’s relatives, they are always up for a free meal.

  6. Leandra

    Yay! You got the table and chairs! I’m so glad you did. Even if nobody comes you’re still THAT much closer to have decor that somebody might want to lick!

  7. Megan

    Dang you’re cool. Last time I hosted a more-than-one-family-worth-of-friends dinner was… oh god… yes, it was indeedy in 1995. Um. But I have a really crappy dining table (now) so it’s totally not my fault!

  8. Burgh Baby's Mom

    Hmm . . . drive six hours to spend Thanksgiving with the in-laws OR drive slightly more hours to spend Thanksgiving with the Mirspawn?

    What time should we be there?

  9. LuAnn

    Who cares!? You have a great new table! :p We’d descend upon you, but our family tornado is already swinging through Texas and Utah in the next two months and they kind of expect me to show up at work every once in a while. ;)

  10. jamie

    You know, even tho we already had thanksgiving here, I would LOVE to come and eat on your fancy pants table!

  11. Chelle

    Congrats on your new purchase! I love me some new furniture, but also hate the expense. Are pictures forthcoming? Dave and I are orphans for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year we couldn’t be happier about it! Family get-togethers make me want to set my hair on fire and run barefoot down a gravel road. Yes, they are that bad.

  12. Stephanie Chance

    I have sworn to never plan parties again because things like that ALWAYS happen to me. It seems the more time and effort I spend on planning it, the more disasterous it turns out to be. But at least you will enjoy the table. I just got a new bedroom suite, myself, and I love it!

  13. All Adither

    Yeah, but you ultimately bought it for YOURSELVES, right? Winkity, wink.

  14. Jess

    Hey, I’ll come! (Then I could get out of our current plans to go see the in-laws…)

  15. Ani

    It being the “orphan” party and all, you’ll end up with some people whose plans change, or who couldn’t make it, or who just plain like you.

    And hey, new table. What’s not to like?

    Isn’t it amazing how furniture can make us feel more like we live in a home instead of a house?

  16. Aimee

    3,000 miles is probably far to come for Thanksgiving dinner with someone I only know through the internets, right?

    Still, it’s tempting.

  17. jennielynn

    But it’s yours! And it’s new! And you can lick it all you want! Hooray!

  18. Catherine

    the two smallish tables with mismatching chairs would have been “bistro style” – at least that’s what we call it at our house :)

  19. shannon in oregon

    We tend to always host what we call Stragglers Thanksgiving. My guests are lucky if they get any table! :) Although this year, with our lovely eat in kitchen…those stragglers are going to start wanting cloth napkins, too.

  20. Doreen

    Pictures, we want pictures!

  21. Not The Mama

    Aww, I’ve been the orphan many times, so I have a special place in my heart for orphan Thanksgivings. (In fact, this is the first year of my adult life I’m NOT on my own for Thanksgiving. Wow.) Anyway, I think it’s great that you plan(ned) to host one, and I think it’s a perfectly legitimate reason to buy the new dining room table you’ve been drooling over. I’m also the type of person who needs justification to spend money. The fact that you may wind up without guests this time? Not important — just think of it as an investment for your next dinner party. (Which I would totally attend, btw. Anyone who turns down an invitation to your house is crazy, I say.)

  22. elizabeth

    whoa, dining room furniture! I am so jealous.
    I’ve always hated hosting parties or holidays. but I have a feeling you’ll do just fine. whoever decides to make it.

  23. Marie

    I will come. Georgia is not to far from Tennessee. And I wouldn’t have to listen to my MIL nit pick about my cooking.

  24. Angela

    Nice! Thats hilarious! Ok I’m totally loving the fact that there might not be anyone there at this point with that brand new table sitting there expectantly!

  25. lotus07

    I have the same mentality….with computer components and auto parts.

  26. carrien

    I’m sure your church could furnish you with thanksgiving orphans if none of your regular ones can attend. That’s one of my favorite things about thanksgiving. Every one in our family gets to invite one other person who has no one to spend the holiday with, and the random assortment of people is always odd, and fun and there’s no stress about perfection with such a motley crew in attendance, at least for us.

  27. prophet

    typical. gotta love it. grin! Well. . . . enjoy the table!

  28. Ree

    Eh – well, there ARE other things to do on a new dining room table, right?

    I’m just saying.

  29. ScottsdaleGirl

    Yeah I was going to go the dir=tay route with the table but two others beat me there.

    You did jump up on it so see the “angle” before you bought it right?

  30. Cera

    Hehehe… Our thanksgiving was last month, but boy are we having halloween! I was asked the 22nd if i would host this months get together. Usually 3 moms come….

    I am having EIGHT moms and close to 20 kids.

    There is no table room, no floor room, no room anywhere big enough for this.

    Can I borrow your table?

  31. angie

    A dining room is always a good investment! Now you and your family can eat Thanksgiving in style, and you can even entice other relatives to come for the holidays.

  32. kidzmama

    I am sooo frugal too! I get a gift card for my birthday and I stare at it for a long time. Then get on the web and see what I can get. If I ever get to the store I browse and browse. I know its “free” money, but I need to make the best of it. Complete stress!

    Forget all those orphans. You eat on that table despite them!

  33. jean

    Oh Thanksgiving. The step child of all holidays. We used to go to an aunt’s till she was put in a nursing home. Trust me, you’ve never eaten a real meal till you’ve had her matzo stuffing. It was Gross. (They are obviously Jewish while we are Catholic). And I love turkey with mayo but I couldn’t have it there. Now my sister gets to handle all the fun. Poor thing. But since she has the dining room furniture and I don’t, it all works out fine. And I get to have mayo with my turkey!!

  34. Heidi

    You have the best of both worlds–a gorgeous new dining set, and you don’t have to feed a bunch of people you don’t know. Anti-social? Why, yes I am, why do you ask?

  35. saucygrrl

    OMG! Sean was the same way with his bachelor furniture. Why? WHY are they so attached to that stupid black sofa and those hideous 3-for-$20 particle board desks and tables?! Never in my life had I seen a man so attached to furniture before.

    Oohh… that felt a little When Harry Met Sally-ish.

  36. Wendy

    You do realize you jinxed yourself by buying the dining room set. If you would have just decided to do it on the old table, everyone and their brother would have shown up.

    I say send out a letter saying that you have decided to not have the party, because you are still getting the house done just after moving in. Then everyone’s plans will suddenly disappear.

    And hey, if there is turkey and mashed potatoes involved I don’t care if I have to sit on a milk crate while balancing my plate and cup on my knees. Then I will be overcome with the turkey drug and pass out on the porch. It wouldn’t be a Southern Thanksgiving without it.

  37. Daisy

    I’ll come! Oh, wait, I’m hosting the family at my house this year. I’d better stay here; the stuffing won’t be the same if Husband cooks it.

  38. Flea

    The best Thanksgiving I ever had at MILs was the year we brought friends (unknowns). Everyone behaved and no one got rip roarin’ drunk. It was also the LAST Thanksgiving there, when we realized how miserable all the other years had been. Here’s to leftovers!

  39. Jen

    ya never know – i’ll be in the area that week, and after 4 days with my in-laws, i just MIGHT be an orphan and need a place to go Thanksgiving day! watch out! ;)

  40. Chookooloonks

    We’ll come. My family will all be in Trinidad this year, and Marcus’ family are all in England. We were planning on cooking a ginormous turkey for just the three of us, but what they … what time’s grub?

  41. Brigitte

    Ah, but at least now the purchase is DONE. I started pricing the kind of table I wanted not long ago, and almost immediately gave up in dispair when I saw the prices. My house will continue to look like a dorm room for the rest of my life, I’m afraid.

  42. tori

    You can have my family for Thanksgiving. We are leaving on vacation the day after Thanksgiving, and yet still I decided I would host it. If you want, I can direct everyone to your house so I won’t go completely insane trying to clean up before we leave…because I just can’t leave my house messy when I leave for vacation!

  43. Katrina Stonoff

    Oh, no! What a shame!

    But I’m with Brigitte. Guests or no guests, you have a lovely dining set to enjoy for Thanksgiving. And after.

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