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"One thing that did stick out is the constant reference to asking the wife for permission to buy some new hardware as if she were an ogre or something. Just a thought..."
Heh, you must not be married.
Try spending a couple grand on the credit card without asking permission first then watch that lovely, beautiful little women that you dedicated your life to, turn into a mean slathering wilderbeast once she sees the unmentioned bill.
I've done it once before, and I've learned my lesson.
*ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION FIRST*