Archive for the ‘Money Stuff’ Category

I’m beginning to realize just how terribly responsible Hal and I are with our finances. Our attitude about money is what I would call, “healthy.” We don’t feel entitlement to material comforts (nice cars, nice furniture, new appliances) and luxuries (cool clothes, going out to eat or to the movies, cable TV, any TV). We do feel pretty happy about being able to make all our bills and live off of 80-100 bucks a week on groceries. We aren’t too proud to ask Hal’s family for help, or take the help they offer to us. And when we do get help from Hal’s family, we are very responsible with that money, too.

We know that this financial tightness we are experiencing is temporary and all we have to do is hold out until I’m able to work full-time. I like staying home with my kids. Hal thinks it is important, too. It is so important to us that we would sell our home and live in an apartment if we needed too, just so that I could be with the kids. Kids don’t care if they live in a house or an apartment, they just want the love of their parents. We are not about to sacrifice this precious amount of time with our children for the sake of owning a home. And this time is precious. Our kids will NEVER be kids again. All we have is right now. We are not about to squander it. We recognize the privileged position we are in and are taking advantage of it for all the right reasons. It isn’t easy. But I’m pretty sure we’ll survive without the latest technology in TV and telephones.

We are also very mindful about using our credit cards. We haven’t always been responsible in this way. Hal and I have racked up some considerable debt together and on our own. Once again, we are lucky that I was able to eliminate a 20,000 dollar credit card debt. Well, unlucky in that I developed rheumatoid arthritis, but lucky that I signed up for the credit protector plan on my card years prior to being diagnosed. Had I not developed this disease, had I not [unknowingly] signed up for the CPP, we probably wouldn’t have our children (that is a whole other long story in and of itself) and if we did have kids… I would have to work full-time or we would have needed to sell our house to pay off my debt and afford to keep me as a SAHM. I can hardly believe that having RA has allowed us so many advantages.

These days, we don’t use our credit cards except in the case of emergencies. An emergency for us was: vet/hospital bill for Oscar, replacing tires on Hal’s car, ect. We do not consider groceries or gas in the car to be a reason to use our credit cards. And, we each only keep one card – so as to not fall into the illusion of financial capability when there really is none.

I plan on teaching my kids very early on about money, how it should be thought about, how to responsibly use credit, and how to prevent debt. I don’t want my kids to learn the hard way and on their own, as I did. Not blaming my parents, I mean how could I? Credit was new to their generation and I know their parents didn’t have to deal with credit cards like they did. With each new generation, more is learned and more is taught.

Whether they have a lot of it or not, I don’t want my kids to ever feel their lives are on hold or limited because of money.

We feel limited in some ways. Our idea of being financially comfortable has to do with being able to go out to eat a few times a week, being able to go out to a movie a couple times a month (and enjoy the popcorn at the theater), and spend a couple hundred bucks at the grocery store without batting an eye. We’ll be in that position one day… a few years from now. But wouldn’t it be nice if those weren’t our desires? Maybe! I’ll never know!

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Pretty dull week.

Last night was the first birthing class in a series of eight classes that my doula, Nancy, is teaching for the birthing center patients. I missed it. I totally forgot about it until this morning when I looked at the “reminder” paper stuck to the fridge that didn’t do its job in reminding me. Oh well. I’ll go next week. I’m not sure I really need to go since I’ve been through it once already. But, I’m thinking it can’t hurt to take some refresher classes. I’m certain I don’t remember everything about labor. Plus, it’ll be nice to hang out with Nancy and contribute to the class. I may even meet some kewl people there.

This week I’ve spent most of my free time working on re-financing our home. I’m bringing down our percentage rate which will bring down our monthly mortgage and give us some breathing room for the impending home insurance rate increases that will happen next year. State Farm Ins. will be increasing their rates almost 70 fucking percent. Who the fuck can afford to live in this damn state anymore??? My home insurance is currently 1,600.00/year. This is just outrageous. God forbid some greedy CEO at the top of the insurance chain doesn’t make his million dollars next year for signing papers. I absolutely HATE the whole system of insurance companies. They are the worst business proprietors in existence. The pharmaceutical companies are a close second.

Through this process of refinancing, I have come to terms that unless Hal and I can afford to buy a condo to retire in, we will stay in our current home until death do us part. It doesn’t matter where we move too; we won’t find a house as large and nice for what we paid for this house. Plus, having two, possibly three (yes, I said that) children born here makes the attachment to this space very strong.

Now, I’m really starting to plan what I want to do with this space.

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I went out to Marina Jacks in Sarasota today with Max. They have a great park with an even cooler water park right next to it. FINALLY, Max’s face lit up and he laughed while running through the mini geysers – for an entire hour! Needless to say, we will be going back there as much as possible – weekly would be ideal. I forgot my camera but will make certain to have it with me next time.

While there I spoke with two new moms and ran into one I knew from a playgroup I use to attend at the local hospital. P is really very frank about her transition into mommahood and about her life in general. Her son wasn’t planned in the least of ways (which would be how Hal and I conceived Max – “Hey, let’s go make a baby.” “Okay.” Two weeks later we’re prego). So when she found out she was pregnant it was literally a disappointment. She had a career and loved to hit the bars at 5pm every night. She was a self proclaimed bar fly. All throughout her pregnancy she was certain she would go back to work ASAP and stick (her word not mine) her son in daycare. The first few months she hated motherhood and pretty much thought she had the ugliest baby ever. Let me just insert here that her son is beautiful – like model beautiful. But then, something happened. She fell in looooove with her new baby boy. Like many women who have a *choice* in the matter, she decided to stay home and be the primary care taker of her child. Now, she is a SAHM and is currently trying with her hubby to have baby #2. She kept saying how jealous she was that I am pregnant and can’t believe it is taking her soooo long to conceive when she is actually trying this time around. Heh, Hal and I know how that is. It took us four months of trying before we made this baby baking in the oven. When the fourth month rolled around, everday Hal got home from work I was like, you better be walking up those steps nekked, buddy.

P was was cracking me up the entire time we talked. We get along really well and have plans to get together next week with the kids. I love open and honest women.

Hal told me one time that he gets envious of my life as a SAHM. To him it seems dreamy to have play dates and nap during the day. I must admit, that part of it is dreamy. I’m really enjoying this process of making new connections while being open to genuine friendships. I also love being able to take naps since I NEVER get a full nights sleep. And, yeah, I like having a flexible daily schedule and no boss. But, overall, the word dreamy is a far stretch from how I would describe my life. Staying attentive to my needs and how I’m interacting with my son is the hardest and most exhausting work I have ever taken on.

We talked a lot about his perception and I shared that I have the same feelings about him being able to go to work every day. To leave the responsibility of direct parenting behind for 8 full hours in order to focus on an amazing career (he’s a reference librarian who also works in the kids department) seems dreamy to me. Not to mention, he has a nice little built in social life with his colleagues. To get a full nights sleep and come home to either dinner on the way to the table or a wife who lives for take out, shit, sign me up! What’s that saying… the grass is always greener on the other side. Yep, tis true. But, given the opportunity – I wouldn’t switch jobs with him because I love what I’m doing. And he wouldn’t switch with me either – he fully admits he couldn’t handle doing what I do… just as I couldn’t stand following the rules of the work world. I think what it boils down to is we both have an appreciation for the work that one another does.

About these morning outings… the downer for me is I loose my opportunity to take a nap. If Max falls asleep on the drive home he rarely can be moved into bed without fully waking up. I do try every time but today, no luck. He’s actually taking a nap now, at 5:30pm, during the time I need to make dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have to make dinner but since we are really in the poor house if I want to eat I’ve got to cook. Otherwise, because Hal is usually too drained when he gets home from work we end up ordering take out. I told Hal he has got to go grocery shopping with me because he is a much more frugal shopper. I’ll just throw what-ever I damn well please in the cart adding it to my list as I go. If I keep shopping like that I’m going to grocery shop my way right through our savings. We are all out of our “convenience foods,” like the Boca products, and I won’t be restocking our freezer with them for a while. So it’s all about the whole foods. Not the store.

Since I’m at last out of the rough patch, aka: the first trimester, my home focus is to keep the TV off. I am starting to feel guilty about all the Sesame Street and Barney Max watches.

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