Monday, December 16, 2013

Highlights and Low Blows: Trying to Stay Securely Fastened to the Roller Coaster Car

Peak, meet Valley.

A few weeks ago, I led a free coaching call all about overcoming overwhelm and pulling yourself out of a funk. Although I felt like I'd pretty well navigated my way out of the slump I'd been in after moving, I've been reminded over the last week and a half that—like with flying—it's best to keep your seat belt buckled because you never know when turbulence will hit.

Low: Having both of our flights cancelled to visit Mr. W's mom and stepdad in Tampa.
High: Getting rebooked, free of charge, on a different airline and a direct flight!

Low: Accidentally throw-spilling my glass of chardonnay all over the table the first night at dinner with Mr. W's parents, drenching Mr. W.
High: Grabbing the glass before it went into Mr. W's stepdad's lap. And, of course, being thankful it wasn't my very first time meeting them. Mr. W would have probably never taken me back.

I was hoping the frost might freeze the gophers who have destroyed our lawn.
Unfortunately, that's not how Mama Nature works...

Low: Getting hit by very unexpected frost and having most of our nice winter veggie garden decimated. Fingers crossed that the young avocado tree will recover...
High: Salvaging a handful of beets and watermelon turnips and eating them in a lovely salad last night.

Veggies in this picture are much smaller than they appear. Poor little winter runts.

Low: Having a sick cat who thinks the whole house is his litterbox.
Lower: Finding out sick cat is actually in the beginning stages of kidney failure.
High: Getting some unexpected monetary love in the mail to help cover some of the vet bills. (And allow for some post-Christmas shopping at Banana Republic, perhaps.)

Low: Driving to the pet store and having to invest in more paraphernalia to try to help the sick cat.
High: Running into a live and very boisterous rooster at the checkout counter.

I heard him long before I saw him...

High: Finally getting the Christmas tree set up!
Low: Finding that half of our lights didn't work... Thank goodness Rite Aid stays open late...

Wrapping presents while watching White Christmas Friday
was also a high for sure.

Low: Discovering the Christmas tree stand is leaking this year.
High: The dryer got hooked up today! I lay thyself at the altar of Maytag.

Tomorrow I shall officially induct the dryer into the family with
some smelly clothes and dirty sheets.

Low: The new checks for our joint account finally arrived...with the wrong address on them.
High: We got to go check out our sweet next door neighbors' house and spend some time with other people from the area. Our first party invite in town!

Like anyone else, I totally dig the highs and try to maintain a sense of humor through the lows (sometimes I fail miserably). I suppose the trick is just continuing to try to stay focused on the ups. And maybe hope for some more flat patches on the roller coaster track.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Taking the Next Step: Semi-Combining Finances

I vividly remember the first time Mr. W told me that his "future wife" would have to sign a pre-nup. We were on our first trip to Napa together after a year of dating and I'm sure I was fishing around for information to see if there was ever going to be a ring in my future. He said nothing about a ring but made sure to mention that pre-nup.

Fast forward two and a half years, and there we were exchanging vows with no official pre-nup to be found. Instead, we have a verbal agreement that goes something like this, "Don't ever cheat on me or I'll take you for everything you're worth!"

In addition to the absence of any sort of written financial agreement, we newlyweds also chose to forgo setting up a joint account.

This was mostly my decision, as I thought it would be very easy to split all the bills down the middle. And for awhile everything was pretty simple. But the past year and a half has been an interesting real estate ride, and with it has come an increasingly convoluted financial management system (i.e. a wicked Excel spreadsheet that I've taken over and can't ever seem to get balanced quite right).

With multiple mortgages and a slew of utilities bills—and far too many dinners out that have ended up split on two credit cards—we finally decided it was beyond high time to open a joint bank account.

So Friday we went to one of the local banks and consummated our financial relationship.

And it was beautiful.

Afterwards, we drove straight to a tasting room to drink wine.

We don't have our debit cards yet and neither of us has set up an online banking account, so it doesn't totally feel real. But very soon we'll be putting deposits into that puppy and paying shared bills out of it. Just in time for all the big scary expenses that will be coming our way when we start renovating the house next spring.

And speaking of renovation, we are *this* close to getting the gas line installed which means I'll be able to unsheathe this powerful beast from her plastic and bring her in the house where she belongs. And all will be right and properly dried in my world again.

As part of the prep, Mr. W had to do more work on the gas line trench this weekend.

Which meant I got to take on the extremely important job of hanging the Christmas lights. I only know one other woman who hangs her Christmas lights. I feel that I've entered a new class of cool.

I also took the opportunity to do a little Christmas decorating...which mostly amounted to placing shiny balls all around the house. Yep, it was a weekend for balls. Christmas balls, dirt balls, and my wannabe financially independent balls finally getting neatly tucked into Mr. W's purse where they belong.