Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I was an enabler.

Torsten and I have a credit card with a $560 limit that we haven't used in over two years, since its introductory 5% back rewards period ended. The other day we got a letter informing us that the card was now going to charge an annual fee of $60, waived if we spent over $2400 per year on the card. Which: ha ha ha ha NO.

So, since I manage our finances and logistics and all of that stuff, I called them up right away to cancel the card. Only to be told that since Torsten is the primary cardholder, only he can close the account. Even though I set it up in his name. Even though we're married. Even though I had every bit of information they required to verify my/our identity. Even though I have to tell him what his social security number is.

You know, this has happened before. Sometimes I lie and say that I'm Torsten. The name is just unfamiliar enough that it could be a girl name, like Hayden. But most of the time I feel bad doing that and tell the truth.

This is the part where I'm an enabler. We signed up for a one-month Experian membership awhile back, to find out our credit scores? And by "we" I mean "I," because I entered all the details and got the information I was looking for. And then I called up to cancel. And they wouldn't let me cancel Torsten's account.

So did I make him call back later? No. I called back later, myself. Then I walked upstairs to Torsten only for the two seconds required for him to verify a bit of personal information. I held the phone to his ear while he said what was required. Then I finished the call. I could not possibly have made it any easier for him.

So, this time? I didn't do that. I handed over the card and the letter and told him to call them. I intervened halfway through his dialing when I realized that OF COURSE he would dial the first number he saw on the back of the card, which is the ATM locator, instead of READING and seeing that he actually needed to call the SECOND number on the card for customer service. And then I let him have at it, all by himself.

And he had to enter all his information multiple times. And he got busy signals and he got disconnected. And he had to be transferred and wait on hold. And it took him quite awhile to do something very simple that seems like it should be quick.

And he got very grumpy about it. There were a lot of sighs and groans and muttered expletives.

And I? Well, apparently I'm the unsympathetic type of wife. I've gone from enabler to cold-hearted in the space of one phone call. Because I deal with that stuff on a regular basis. I have lost hours of my life to holds and transfers and flawed speech recognition software. And all the while, my husband is working away in his office, blissfully unaware of the frustration.

So, when I listened to my husband get increasingly, impotently infuriated? I swear to god I actually cackled gleefully. I feel much more appreciated and understood now, you know?

Because of course there's stuff he does too, like kill bugs. But I KNOW how hard that stuff is--that's why I don't like to do it. And now he knows how hard the stuff that I do is too. And THAT makes me happy. Is that so bad? At least I'm not an enabler anymore.


  1. 1) I used to work for a credit card company and let me tell you I would get some ANGRY wives calling me :)

    2) I love making my husband do things. I pamper him like you wouldn't believe but I take such happiness from making him vacuum (only the bedrooms are carpeted and I sweep the hardwoods which is easily bigger square footage-wise), take out the recycling (every other Wednesday) and take out the trash (Fridays). All of these things are so super simple to remember to do (at least they are for me) but when he actually remembers on his own accord I feel like a very accomplished wife. :)

    And all of these things are paying off b/c he volunteered to get the oil changed in the cars! I almost fainted from the shock :)

  2. I get perverse pleasure out of things like that, too. I think it's important for John to learn/remember every once in a while that some of the stuff that he takes for granted- like getting the car fixed, or calling the cable company- is actually a pain in the ass.

  3. haha - this post cracks me up. I don't blame the cc companies for requiring the named person to provide information. I'm quite certain there are a lot of angry wives out there who are up to no good, if you catch my drift. But, the fact that you found innate pleasure in watching Torsten squirm makes me giggle.

    I take on a lot of the financial responsibility in our house because, quite frankly, I have flexibility in my day to make a call here and there. When Sweets is in the operating room, it's a little less OK if he takes a break to make a call. =)

  4. Ha! I love it! This is kind of like the rare occasion when my husband makes dinner and the kid takes one bite and spits it on the floor. Me, I would say, "Okay, dinner's over," because this happens every, single night. Him, "YOU'RE GOING TO EAT THIS!!" Ah, vindication.

  5. I love you even more after reading this post! I'm an enabler too, and I've become a Mean Wife since Madeline was born because I just can't do it all myself anymore. I get a special kind of glee seeing him get frustrated because it's like: "THERE! It's NOT so easy, is it?"

    (Despite the fact that there are things he does that I never have to do, like taking out the trash and mowing the yard blah blah blah...) :)

  6. hehehe! I have encountered this very problem because everything is in HIS name even though I set it up and actually DO everything. Such a pain.

    And I KNOW it's mean, but I get a wee bit gleeful when I have to go somewhere and he has a hard time with the kids. ;)

  7. Hahahaha. That is not bad at all. Of course, I am sitting here racking my brain for a similar tale with my husband and I can't think of any! That is not because I pamper him, it is the other way around. Hmmm. I've gotta have some...

  8. You just wrote a post about me and my husband. :)

    Especially the part about going from an enabler to cold hearted...


    Love your blog, btw!

  9. I love this story! I'm not even married and I do stuff like this for D. I booked our airline tickets after scouring dozens of sites for DAYS to get the best deal. All he had to do was write me a check for half the amount and show up with his suitcase. I book our eye doctor visits because he just won't and hello, taking care of your eyes is important. The list goes on and on. If he didn't cook every meal that goes into my mouth, I'd feel like it was a totally unfair situation.

  10. Ah, that moment where you are suddenly appreciated and understood better for what it is that you do. I love it!

  11. Good for you!

    I have literally spent DAYS on the phone with our mortgage company (who finds new and exciting ways to mess up our account), and Jason never understood the stress and hassle. Then his credit card got messed up and he wanted ME to call. I said no way, fix it yourself, and walked away.

    (He still hasn't called them.)

  12. I used to work with a woman that handled everything that you do, and she used to also just give her husband's name as if it were her. It was also a foreign-sounding/unique name, so they didn't really question her. LOL.

    Good job getting him to do it! You're not a bad wife at all, good idea!

  13. All this gets more so with children. I'm going away next week for work. It's ONE NIGHT. But I am looking forward just a leeetle bit to my husband having to get up with the baby. He has been TOTALLY off the hook for nighttime wakings since Calum was 2 months old. Seriously. I do ALL the nighttime wakings. Mostly because I breastfeed but STILL. It's good to walk in each other's shoes every once in a while.

  14. This made me laugh. I'm an enabler, too. I learned it from my enabling mom. And I enable more than B - my sister hates making phone calls, I've been known to call on her behalf. Ridiculous.

    Have you noticed the CC companies freaking out lately, though? I received a notice yesterday that because I don't use my entire credit limit and don't carry a balance on my card, I'm getting my credit line reduced. Which, reduces my credit score since that's based on your debt to credit ratio, which we keep very low to get an excellent score. But if I spent money I didn't have and didn't pay it on time, I'd bet I'd be offered more credit. So frustrating!

    And that ends this tirade. Bad day to talk about CC companies, I've been on the phone with them all morning - maybe I should have B pretend to be me and give me a break!

  15. Oh, and I can absolutely pay with B's credit card, debit card, call on his behalf any day because his name isn't recognizable. Amazing, isn't it?

  16. Ha ha ha. I'm Torsten in my relationship (last month my husband handed me an organized list with phone numbers, account numbers, account types, etc., so I could finally get my 401k from my previous employer and a handful of similar accounts converted to a single company. I had had it on my to do list for MONTHS.)

  17. I don't see anything wrong with enjoying the moment where your husband learns to empathize with you! And I absolutely bet he will be more appreciative that you take care of these things for him (even if he appreciated it to begin with!).

  18. You rock. I love those little "Aha Moments"!

  19. If that had happened in our house Will would have been CONVINCED that they were worse to him ON PURPOSE and still insisted that I didn't have that hard of a time with it.

    But I TOTALLY get the "how do YOU like it?!?" feeling! :)