Saturday, October 30, 2010


Ahhh, the annual pumpkin carving. Except for the first time, at my house. And an ever changing guest list. And no real idea how many people are coming. And really, that makes it pretty hard to know how many pumpkins to provide, to those sweet sweet people coming over for carving. And coming over meant, in many cases, driving more than an hour and a half to get to my house, and just for the one night (although invited for longer than that!).

In the end, we bought 17 pumpkins for the 13 people who came over. Someone didn't carve though, because we still have 7 untouched pumpkins this morning. Exactly how that happened, I'm not sure....

So now I have 7 extra pumpkins, and absolutely zero desire to take the back where they came from and ask about their pumpkin return policy on the day before Halloween. Really? I think the demand is going down and that they won't really want them back. My wallet, though, after only two of the 11 who should have paid for their pumpkin actually paid, is hurting, and returning those 7 pumpkins would really be the best thing.

Which brings me to needing a little bit (ok, a lotta bit) of accountability. I am not good with money. I like to buy pretty things, new clothes, stuff for my house, and treats for my friends. I like to buy these things whether or not I know I can fully pay off my credit card balance each month, which is a new problem for me, because I used to be pretty sure of exactly how much I had available at any given time. I have moved into denial. Serious denial. Denial to the tune of "I spent 3 times as much as I knew I could afford this month and may have more than depleted all emergency savings". Which is not good, when I make a pittance as a teacher and dear sweet hubby who loves to see me happy with my friends at the house and a party underway and pretty things on the shelf and feeling confident about my clothing is a full time students, extremely part time interpreter. He makes enough each month to cover his cell phone bill. Which is a great help, but also indicates how broke we are.

We have made a couple of teeny tiny changes to help us out financially, but really, we need to do so much more. We changed alarm monitoring companies, which will save us about $17 a month. We found out about a discount on hubby's cell phone, which will save hubby about $15 a month. I am on the cusp of giving in and canceling the home phone line, which is a hard thing for me. I grew up with a home phone line and having one seems sort of like a security blanket for me. But I don't really see why I should pay almost $40 a month for a phone line that is mostly used for the alarm system, and at only $10 more a month I could change the alarm system to use the internet line....For a net savings of $30 a month. All in all we're talking a teeny tiny change that is really hard for me, and for no good reason, either.

What's really a challenge is that we don't really have very many places where we can make cuts. I personally made a few risky decisions financially within the last month -- buying new furniture for the living room, and some new clothes (some were actually necessary for school), and going out of town a couple times, and hosting a pumpkin party....But for the most part, we are pretty solidly frugal. We buy store brand food 95% of the time. We hardly ever eat out, and when we do, we almost always have a gift card or some kind of special deal (like happy hour at Sonic, or 2 for 20 at Appleby's) to help keep us spending less. Neither of us have a daily vice to give up, like a starbucks a day, or anything where our $3 could add up throughout the month. We've been pretty consistent about not going to Target just to walk around, and only going when we have a 10% off card AND coupons to use on our list. So what is left to do? I'm not really sure....Maybe we're supposed to not go in ANY stores, until Christmas. Which is really hard, since there are presents that need to come from somewhere before then....

Oh, me, oh, my. What have I done?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

una tarde para mi

Pensé que estuviera dando una hora de tutoria, pero por suerte revise mi telefono para ver un mensaje diciendo que la niña no necesita ayuda otra vez esta semana y que si me necesita, me llamará en el futuro. Estoy un poco triste que no me necesita, por la perdida de plata, pero desde la primera vez que me junté con ella, pensé que solamente necesitaba estudiar un poco más, y no necesitaba tanto a mi ayuda.

También recibí una llamada de mi mamá, que ella no iba a ir a la clase de yoga que normalmente asistemos juntas, y decidí que no iba a ir yo otra vez sin ella, siendo que me quedé despierta una hora más tarde que normalmente me acuesto y anduve todo el día con mañas hoy.

Decidí, en vez de ir a yoga, pasar a la biblioteca. Busqué algunos libros de autores que por suerte leí la última vez que fui a la playa (antes que este fin de semana) y me puse a ver "The biggest loser" cuando llegué a la casa. La conejita se acurrucó conmigo en el sillón mientras lo veía y disfruté tanto de su compañía que del programa.

Ahora mismo, esposito está preparando la cena, y dentro de la hora estaré acostadita en mi camita, calentita para dormir.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

fall break....

It's mid October, and fall break at the local university, so even though I'm only peripherally a student there, I am on fall break with some friends. Well, it ends today. I'm back at the beach for a brief vacation with the girls...Only by some funny error of planning, half of the group came and left a day early. So the three of us who ran the 5K together had a fun night yesterday -- shopping, eating German apple pancakes, and drinking woo woos.

I also took fall break the weekend before -- visiting a college friend and her little family, to help unpack, organize, and paint parts of their new home. It was great to see an old friend and talk and paint and be productive in someone else's home, and to see her parents (somehow we almost always manage to visit each other's parents), and to go to a farmers market and IKEA.

Oh, IKEA. How you tempt me. I had volunteered to simply stop by and pick up a couple things that hadn't fit in my friend's car, and on my trip through the entire gargantuan store, I managed to decide that I should invest in a shoe cabinet, two bookcases, and a dresser and wall bridge for my living room. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but my bank account is not very happy.

I called home, talked to my sweet hubby, and convinced him to measure our space. I wrote down all the details I thought I would need about the furniture I liked, and then moved one for the weekend....

Sunday afternoon, I sat down before leaving my friend's house to head home and worked out the measurements. If I had added correctly, the furniture I wanted measured exactly 1/2 inch more than the wall space we had available.

I'm a smart girl. I think so most of the time, at least. So amid jokes of this combination of furniture working out well if the wall is made of sponge, I decided to go for it anyway, and worry about that 1/2 inch later.

Sunday night, when sweet hubby saw all the boxes of that flat packed IKEA temptation....He said, "Let's put this together." I said...."Only one thing tonight, and I'm going to bed."

We put together the shoe cabinet, which will not, by the way, hold shoes. It will hold my school bag, his keys, wallet, phone, and a variety of other random things that will fit well in a shoe cabinet but are not shoes. We did not, however, fix it to the wall, since I was still a little unsure about where that extra 1/2 inch was going to come from.

A good and handy friend (who makes excellent german apple pancakes) came over on my Monday-off and helped my sweet hubby put the rest of the furniture together. I would have helped too, but had decided that stocking my freezer with grab-and-go lunches was also on the schedule for Monday, and IKEA typically doesn't require three people for furniture assembly. Two bookcases, a dresser, and a wall bridge later, we have what looks like a new living room. Oh, the available storage space. Oh, the mess that my house has been for so long. Oh, the time that it will take to make the stuff on the beautiful new IKEA furniture look presentable....

That extra 1/2 inch? It eventually came from the difference in length between the wall to wall measurement and the moulding to moulding measurement at the floor level. That shoe cabinet has a slight lip that sticks out into the wall, but its little feet aren't squished -- it fits JUST RIGHT. And in a house as old as mine, for a combination of IKEA furniture that was my first choice of IKEA furniture to fit exactly the way I want it to? Just what I needed on my one day off of school in October.