Monday, July 18, 2005

Working things out

This weekend Adam's 2nd tooth popped through, so now he has his two bottom front teeth. Saturday morning I went to a few yard sales trying to find some deals. Found a few clothes and toys for Adam, 2 shirts and a skirt for me, a shirt for Joe, and one of those bug catcher cage things for Brendan, and one of those huge suitcases on wheels with the handle that pulls up. It is even a name-brand one, and I got it for $10. A great deal, in my opinion, considering the much smaller one I have that style was $25.
Then Joe worked most of the day after that, so I was home with the boys. Saturday evening I went out with some ladies in the moms group I'm in for our monthly Mom's Night Out. We ate at Macaroni Grill, which was pretty good. It's always nice to go out and be able to have a little break with friends.

On Sunday Joe & I were talking and some of our frustrations about things came out. So, I said, okay, I've been upset with you because you don't help enough around the house, and you've been upset with me because I don't stress about money like you do, so let's work together on both issues and figure something out. I still didn't tell him everything that's been bugging me, but I pointed out a few simple ways he could help me to make things easier, such as throwing away his own trash! (you'd think that would be an obvious one, wouldn't you?) He has a bad habit of leaving empty soda & beer cans, wrappers, used napkins, etc in the living room & kitchen, instead of just tossing them in the trash can. I don't think it's too much to ask to have him toss his own trash! I really don't even mind doing everything around the house as far as chore-type stuff (dishes, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning, etc), it's the fact that not only is he not helping, but he's making it harder for me to do those things by leaving everything everywhere and I have to pick up after him & the boys before I can even begin to do household cleaning. I'm not even asking him to help with indoor chores, just to NOT make it harder on me than it already is...I just do not have any free time already to do things that need to be done. I don't even have any time to myself at all, as I take the boys to daycare every day on my way to work, and then pick them up before I go home, so every moment at home is with kids. At least he has quiet time to & from work, and a half-hour of time after we leave in the mornings before he leaves. If I had that, I would be in heaven! lol

But getting back to Sunday, he did help clear off the kitchen table, which is a huge problem for us. (In FLYlady terms, this is our biggest "hot spot"). It is right there when we walk in the door, so it is where all the mail and such gets put and piles up. A long time ago I had assigned Thursdays as the day I clear it off, (in addition to putting junk mail directly in the trash every day), but I never know what to do with his stuff, so I leave it for him to deal with...but he never does. His pile just gets bigger & bigger and before I know it the table is covered again. So, he cleared it off Sunday. But I'm trying to come up with an idea for all the time of what to do with the stuff that isn't junk mail, but isn't ready to be filed & needs to be taken care of. A bulletin board on the side of the frig? A stand up file thingy? What would work? I don't know. Joe decided that he would go along with my weekly Thursday table clearing and clear his stuff on Thursdays too, so we'll see if that helps.

Then we turned to what's been bugging! Joe is very anal about money issues. I am not. I do not stress out about money. I also do not spend a lot of money, and I do not need or want expensive things. But Joe treats me as if I do. If it isn't something HE would spend money on, then he thinks I shouldn't either. It's very annoying. He gets upset that I want to take a vacation every year. When I say vacation I do NOT mean a big expensive 5-star luxury resort! I always search for affordable places to stay and we do free or cheap activities. I do not like to pay full price for anything, and I make plans for any trips as bare-bones as possible. But he still freaks out anytime I want to go somewhere. To me, it is one of the only ways to get a break from the daily grind, and I need my spirit refreshed once in awhile so I don't go insane! To him it is not important, therefore he gets upset if I want to spend money on that. I work full-time too, in fact I make more money than he does, so I feel like I should be able to do things that I think are important too. After all, this is my life too. Anyway, this has been a re-occuring argument for us. We also want to put an addition on our house soon. He thinks that we should do NOTHING but work until we can save money for the addition. I say we need a home-improvement loan anyway, and we can't just do nothing but work for 15 years in hopes of someday having a life. I want to live life NOW every day, and enjoy it. We need the addition within the next 5 years, the sooner the better, and there's no way we could possible "save up" for it- it would never happen. That's why they have home improvement loans. Yes, of course that would be ideal to be able to save up, but it's not realistic! So anyway, we sat down and wrote down our monthly expenses & income, and looked into ways we can reduce our bills. We already practice cost-cutting, money-saving habits, but there's always room for improvement. So, we figure we'll do little things like being better about turning off lights & such when we're not using them, and we're gonna look into getting a different cell phone plan. (we hardly ever use the cell phone, yet we're paying almost $40 a month for it!). We already do not have cable tv, so that's not an issue. We also discovered that we spend about $700-$800 at Wal-Mart each month. Granted, that is for all of our groceries as well as the other Wal-Mart type stuff, so it isn't all that bad. But, we're gonna try to spend less at Wal-Mart. In November, my car will be paid off (his is already paid off), so we'll have that extra money then too. And then next year, Brendan will start Kindergarten so we'll lose his daycare cost, and when Adam turns 2 his daycare cost drops a little. That means in a year and 2 months we will have over $700 fewer expenses each month! More than enough to be making payments on the home improvement loan. SOOO...I think this has eased Joe's mind a little that there *is* light at the end of the tunnel, and that within a year we will be able to do the addition. Although I will have to be the one to actually get the ball rolling or he will not move forward on the things we need to do to get the addition (plans, etc). He's not one for just "jumping in" or taking a leap of faith! Not at all! lol That's where I come in handy! heehee.

So, all in all, I think we have begun to take steps towards working some little issues out. Hopefully we will both be less stressed and talk more instead of letting resentment build up. Don't get me wrong, we have a very good relationship for the most part, there is just some underlying annoyances from both sides :)

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