| LifeTakes |

Of Nest Eggs and Chickens

All the things I’ve been begging for, planning for…. The things I’ve been dreaming about, the Oorah auction tickets I’ve invested in

I was determined not to lose my head over this. I would stay calm, clear, and focused despite the incredible ramifications. I would not get carried away.

Former president Donald J. Trump had just signed on a second $600-per-person stimulus package, and he’d promised to fight for more than triple that. But I wouldn’t count my chickens before they hatched. I’m more practical than that. I would just go with the minimum $600.

We’re a family of nine. Do the math. Actually, don’t; I’ll save you the ordeal. That’s five thousand and four hundred dollars!!! Do you know what I could do with that amount of money??? I did. Trust me.

All the things I’ve been begging for, planning for…. The things I’ve been dreaming about, the Oorah auction tickets I’ve invested in. It’s all listed in a locked note on my phone.

I could replace our faded flooring. We could get the new couches I’d been pining for. Or finally buy a long-overdue, badly needed dining room set. Or what about… renting a bungalow for a month! Going on a family vacation! A honeymoon to Eretz Yisrael!

The options seemed endless. Hire an organizer? Build a mudroom? Get trendy window treatments? Repaint? Travel to…?

Okay, so maybe I was getting a little carried away. But how often does this happen? Free, unexpected money — and lots of it! In the days following the announcement, I walked around humming to myself. The floors no longer irked me, and I could actually look at the dining room chairs without cringing. I wasn’t even bothered by the plastic blinds — they were on the way out anyway! I kept my plans to myself; I didn’t want to share until I had a better idea of exactly how I was going to spend this incredible windfall.

On Motzaei Shabbos, my husband called the bank on speaker. We’d gotten it! $5,400 had been deposited into our account. My chicks had officially hatched, and now I could start planning in earnest. I opened a spreadsheet. Item, price, pros, cons. I added a column for comments. Sisters, friends, coworkers, I invited them all to weigh in.

Finally, I boiled it down to two options: Family Vacation versus New Dining Room Set.

A physical purchase, or a special experience? Something mundane like a table and chairs, or priceless family bonding time? A vacation that would last a week, or furniture that would, hopefully, last a lifetime? (Or maybe that should be furniture with a limited life span versus memories that last forever?)

My head was spinning as I tallied everyone’s votes, but it was the dancing kind of spinning, as I gleefully went through the numbers.

Remarkably, I found a few quiet moments to sit down with my husband for a coffee. We sipped in companionable silence, and suddenly I realized that in all my excitement, I’d forgotten to ask for his opinion! I made the spontaneous, magnanimous decision to count his one vote as ten. After all, he would to have to live with my decision.

Eyes sparkling, I started. “I’ve been having so much fun thinking about our stimulus checks,” I said.

His eyes sparkled right back, perhaps even a bit brighter than mine.

“Me, too!” he practically sang. “I just used every bit of it to pay off our entire credit card bill.”

Oh.

My chickens had flown the coop.

Anyone know of a second-hand dining room set for sale?

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 737)

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