We keep appliances until they are absolutely, positively dead. The Betty Crocker toaster finally croaked, and we were trying to remember when we bought it. Was it when we lived in South Carolina? Mount Pleasant? If our memories are correct, that would make it about 25 years old.
The toaster has served us well, and now it’s time for a new one. This is where Dale and I take completely different paths. Although he sometimes lacks motivation to get other things done, he is Johnny Mission when it comes to replacing broken appliances.
I was gone all day, but Dale immediately went out and shopped for toasters at Bed, Bath & Beyond. He didn’t buy one, though, because he thought I’d want a vote … which is a polite way of saying he figured I wouldn’t like whatever it was he bought.
Dale does not appreciate my approach to purchasing new appliances. I get online and do research. I check Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping and The Wirecutter. Oh, and Amazon reviews. I want to know test results, best overall, best value, unusual quirks.
My process served me well when our hand blender died, because I learned the biggest and baddest would not have worked for my small-batch mayonnaise. A simpler and smaller model was perfect.
I was like this before I retired, but now I’m more zealous than ever. I liked being in charge when I was working, and I guess I still like it. Dale also liked being in charge when he was working, and I don’t think he appreciates the idea of reporting to me. Sometimes in marriage and in life, you will lead, and sometimes you will follow. Retirement is an opportunity to work on the follow part. I’m getting there.
We had the toaster discussion last night. He said I know you. You’ll get online and try to find the perfect toaster with all the bells and whistles. And then I surprised myself. I said, yes, that is what I would normally do, but I’m not going to do it this time. The toaster is in your court. Whatever you choose is fine with me.
Really? Yes, really. And when I let go, I felt good. It’s just a toaster, but it’s my husband’s free will. I mean, that’s how we ended up with a red food processor, and life hasn’t come to a screeching halt. Let him be the natural born predator that he is. Set him free to hunt it down, kill it with a credit card and drag it home.
This morning I asked him about the toaster he liked at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Did it come in colors?
OK, what colors?
White and chrome.
Which one did you like better?
I was thinking chrome, but I kept my mouth shut. We will soon be celebrating the arrival of a brand-new white toaster of unknown origins. I have nothing to do with it. Just following along.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.