Yesterday when Ivan came home from work, he said, "I have to show you what Monica gave me."
"Who is Monica?" I asked.
"A co-worker," he responded, "and a--what do you call it?--'couponer.'"
He proudly brought over five coupons for Barilla brand pasta and warned, "They're only good for a couple more days. At Giant Eagle." Apparently if we were to buy any two boxes of Barilla pasta, we could save $0.55. Five times.
I didn't really take him that seriously. I vaguely wondered how this had come about (Did she bring them specifically thinking he would want them? Did she have them and he expressed interest?), but truthfully was tired from a long day and it didn't seem important.
"So should I go to the store and get them?" he asked hopefully.
"What? No. Ten boxes of pasta? Are you insane?"
He seemed surprised. I continued, "Besides, I guarantee the store brand we buy for a dollar and like just fine is cheaper at full price than Barilla pasta is with these coupons. In fact, I would put money on it. Which seems ironic."
"Oh, okay," he said with a hint of disappointment. "I just thought it would save us some money."
Looking back, I think I was not very charitable in that conversation. His financial habits have often been a point of contention in our relationship. I'm the one always suggesting ways to save money. I'm the one giving lectures about cutting back, doing without. And while it seemed strange to want to buy ten boxes of pasta when we only eat it on occasion and out-of-the blue to bring home coupons, this was a genuine attempt on his part to please me in that way. I should have been kinder.
Sophia, however, was excited to come across the little stack of colorful papers that were now on the end table. She carried them around the rest of the evening, and added them to her collection of colorful paint swatches that she like likes to pull in and out of the little drawer of her table and the microwave of her play kitchen. At bedtime, she grabbed her favorite two blankets and two stuffed rabbits, and then rushed over to scoop up the coupons. She often takes random things to bed with her. Since she's so good about her bedtime and can chatter to herself and play happily for as much as an hour if she's not yet tired, I didn't think anything of it.
This morning she brought all the coupons back down to the living room with her, and when it was time to go she grabbed those, too. "Honey, why don't you put the coupons on the table and then you can play with them again when we get home?" I suggested. She smiled at me and carried them over and tucked them into the little side pocket of the bag I was carrying. I laughed.
So. Here I am. With the capacity to purchase 10 boxes of discounted pasta, sitting at my desk.