In praise and defense of impulse

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I am an impulsive person.

Sometimes, this means that I come home with a new pair of unintended shoes.

Other times, it means I come home with something a little bigger, like this:
edgar.jpg

I know that some people, such as my mum and my very dear friend the Domestic Goddess, find my impulsive decisions unnerving, and although they may not think I understand their concerns, I really do. It's just that impulse has served me very, very well, lo these many years.

Many of my friends thought it was crazy to marry Dr. T as quickly as I did - we were married about nine months after we started dating. Here we are, 16 years later, and so far, the leisurely repenting is working out - and working out better than the subsequent marriages of a few of the friends who thought we were too impulsive.

We bought the first house we looked at. We tried to be "practical," telling ourselves that impulse buying might be OK if you're looking at a great pair of Nine West platform pumps, but impulse buying a house was ridiculous. So we diligently visited a slew of other listings in our price range, and hated them all. We gave up, and went with our hearts. We're still living in that house, and loving it, and it's tripled in value, just to keep the non-impulsive crowd happy.

Change of career? Impulse - and now I am tenured, working on a Masters in Education, not to mention a couple of fascinating projects, and loving my job, which, I think, I am pretty good at (prepositional sentence-ending notwithstanding).

Children? Impulse - and here, we count our blessings, because we know from vicarious experience that it's not always as easy as it was for us to conceive, and our kids are smart and funny and fun (most of the time :)

Animals? Impulse - Heidi was brought in from the cold, quite literally, over 13 years ago, and has turned out to be the bestest kitty ever. She was tolerant with babies and toddlers, to say the least, and is a tiny, furry ball of affection, despite the Clint Eastwood glare. Mehitabel, whose story is recounted below, came home after a five-minute conversation with the Domestic Goddess (she may have actually thought Mehitabel would only be with me for a couple of days, but I knew better).

And now, Edgar.

About a week and a half ago, Colin came home from school and announced that he would like a pet - Robert already has Drago, the Bearded Dragon (an impulse buy last November).

Now, this wasn't as simple as "let's all hop in the car and stop at the SPCA." Robert is allergic to dogs (and horses, which is less of a problem), and he's allergic to cats and dust, so we're already overloading him in our cat-filled home by the highway. Colin didn't want his own lizard, because that would be unoriginal. So I said we could research hypoallergenic dogs, and see if there was a pooch out there for us.

There was. Edgar is a six-month old Standard Poodle whose previous people didn't have time for a dog. After a lot of Internet research, and a few phone calls to dog-owning friends, I had settled on the Standard Poodle as our breed of choice - hypoallergenic, good with kids, cats and other dogs, big (no purse puppies for me!), relatively calm indoors, and very smart and trainable.

I sent out applications to a few local rescue operations, and started trolling kijiji, which is where we found our boy. I contacted the owner, and on Tuesday evening, we went to meet Edgar, and judge whether or not Robert was reacting to him. To her eternal credit, despite her own misgivings, the Domestic Goddess drove me and the boys to meet Edgar, and ultimately bring him (and his multiple accessories) home.

Edgar is now settling in nicely - he's licensed, my vet had judged him to be happy and healthy, he's had his first clip (and last one at that groomer, but that's another story), he's scheduled for the Big Snip, and the whole family is enrolled in a training class.

Here's the thing about being impulsive. When I decide something is a good idea, I want to make it happen now. That said, I also am conscious of the consequences - so while Edgar's homecoming seems to be wildly impulsive, it was, in fact, based on a lot of research and reflection. Yes, he's nominally Colin's dog, but I know that Dr. T and I will be taking care of the dog more often than not. Yes, a dog is a lot more work than a cat, but our lives are settling down in terms of careers and school, and we are prepared and willing to take on the responsibility. Yes, this is a commitment - but every big commitment that I've made, I've made on impulse. So far, so good.

There is a downside. Ironically, the downside is the little impulsive things - those Nine West shoes, or the quick stop in the bookstore, or the just a little browse through Etsy. Those are the little impulsive decisions that add up to rather unpleasant credit card bills, and I know that Dr. T would be happier if I were less impulsive sometimes. But then, he was an impulse decision too, so he has no reason to complain ;)

1 Comment

I'd say Edgar lucked out with his new family. Good for you.

ps You are not impulsive - you're just really good at making correct snap decisions. It's a gift, is what it is.

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This page contains a single entry by Maggie published on June 13, 2010 9:17 AM.

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