Sunday, February 13, 2011

Biggest Regret

I recently read an article about Donald Rumsfeld’s biggest regret (not pushing Jr. hard enough to accept his resignation after the Abu Ghraib abuses came to light), and it got me thinking about my biggest regret.

For many years my biggest and only regret was getting the arms on a leather jacket trimmed too short.  I liked to think that this was a nice only regret because it meant I didn’t regret any of my other life decisions, like the woman I married, the house and car we bought, having kids etc.

But I recently had to move a bunch of dishes and glasses given to us as  wedding presents.  It made me realize that my biggest regret was registering for wedding gifts. 

I appreciate the folks who came to the wedding and spent their money on us, but I regret not talking to more people about the whole idea of registering.  I’m sure I would have found out before it was too late that if you don’t register for gifts people will just give you money.  Register for a few gifts and they’ll give you a few gifts and a bunch of money.  Register for a lot of gifts and you’ll get a lot of gifts and a bit of money.   Get a lot of gifts and you’ll need to store a lot of gifts.  As a consequence I now just give money for weddings whether people have registered or not.

How this happened is, we went to the Bay and they handed us three things:

  1. A cardboard wheel on which you rotate a circle to the number of guests you plan to have and it tells you the number of table place settings and total dollar amount for which to register.  I seem to remember it suggesting 16 place settings.  I don’t remember the total dollar amount.
  2. A list of things that constitute a place setting.  From the gifts we received the list must have been:
    1. A soup bowl
    2. A salad plate
    3. A dinner plate
    4. A dessert plate
    5. A white wine glass
    6. A red wine glass (still can’t tell the difference)
    7. A martini glass
    8. A water tumbler
    9. A champagne flute
    10. A salad fork
    11. A dinner fork
    12. A knife
    13. A dinner spoon
    14. A tea spoon
  3. A bar code reader with which you run around the store scanning the things you want to add to your registry.  If you want 16 of something you don’t even need to scan it 16 times, you just enter ‘16’ on the scanner and scan once.

These are your “good” dishes, not your everyday ones.  This means you have to store it all somewhere separate from your everyday dishes.  Which is the situation we’ve found ourselves in.  What do we do with a dozen wine glasses, a dozen martini glasses and a dozen champagne flutes?  Store them.  Move them around the house, carefully.  Use them once every 6 months.  In short, manage them in a high cost, low benefit manner.

So, for Jebus sake, don’t register for much, or anything, for your wedding.

I’m only in my 30’s so maybe I haven’t lived long enough, or had a high powered enough career to have a significant biggest regret.   I certainly  haven’t been the CEO of a multiple companies, or defense secretary of the U.S., so I probably won’t have regrets on the level of Donald Rumsfeld.  (Seriously, how does he sleep?  On a pile of money surrounded by many beautiful ladies.)  But I hope to hold on to this current regret as long as possible.

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