2012 State-of-the-Union

Since President Obama issued his State-of-the-Union address yesterday, I’ve been feeling like having one too.   And, having visited the financial planner yesterday, it seems no better time than to make some bold statements about 2012.

1. I will find a source of income this year.  After all, I now know that with the financial plan we’re working on, given existing income sources and adjustments for income, my kids will be able to go to a decent college, eating in a fancy dining hall, and sleeping in a dormitory that’s probably nicer than home, all with a hefty subsidy from mom & dad, but we will spend retirement eating ramen-noodles from our walkers wearing the same clothes I wear now. Seriously, I’ve always known I needed to return to work. I’ve wanted to return to work. I’ve tried to find something that suits me. But now it’s time to buckle down!  I don’t mind the ramen-noodles really (see below), but I’m gonna want to buy myself a nice pair of boots, or dear g-o-d, take a vacation to someplace warm when I’m old!

2. We will plan our expenses carefully. This is a tough one.  I am married to mr. spontaneity who’s alter ego is mr. end-cap (as in he shops from the promotional end-caps despite my advice that better deals are found deeper in the aisle).  I do usually benefit from his spontaneity.  The end-caps? Ah, we really have enough cereal.

I will make an effort to fix more things rather than replace them, whenever possible. We must plan our vacations far enough out that we budget the expenses. We have this sailboat we must equip for it’s first season (what was I thinking?) and now we must plan out what we want to spend and not just spend it all in the month of June as we launch it.  I will attempt to purchase items from craigslist — I really do need a new desk, but maybe not a brand-new desk!

3. I will try to like cooking.  After all, if I like it,  won’t I want to do more of it? And that will lead to fewer meals out.  Really, I have to learn to cook like I’m a working mom. You know, cook a big meal on the weekend and package it out as a few meals and freeze.  Perhaps a little less of “oh, what can I pull together now that it’s 4:30 and I have to feed my kids”. I really miss my single days where eating a bowl of couscous in front on the TV at 8pm was dinner. No prep. No forethought. Virtually no dishes. That was the life.  And it was 15 years ago, so really, it’s time I got my sh** together.

4. I will continue to exercise and keep myself healthy.  A cortisone shot on Friday might make this seem more doable.  But really, no excuses.  If we’re going to have to work until we’re 70 years old (which we will) then we’d better be healthy.    So on days when I don’t feel like navigating icy sidewalks to run, let me remember that I have to make this body last a long time. Next time something doesn’t work right, I’m going to see a doctor rather than just wait it out. I’ve learned a painful (literally!) lesson with this rotator-cuff.  Feet hurt? See a doctor.  I don’t want to be 70 and crippled with arthritis while I’m trying to run the cash register at the grocery store.

5. I will unclutter our lives to make it easier to live the simple life we want.  It seems a never-ending job.  Yesterday, I pulled out a box of my grandmother’s teacup collection from the basement.  If these teacups made me happy, I’d have them on the shelf. They are, instead, part of a vast collection of dead-relative memorabilia.  It occurred to me yesterday, that if I got rid of my dead-relative collections, we might have room to display our own special memories from my own special family. Nuff said.  I plan to learn unclutter AND make money by selling stuff on ebay and craigslist.  I think I might be able to make a dent in my annual income by clearing out so much stuff.

6.  A little more discipline, maybe? So, how do I make all this happen? I will have to spend less time RIGHT HERE with my friend the computer.  We have lunch together, snack, spend many days listening to music and window-shopping.  Time to get a little distance, my friend. No offense.

I’m feeling hopeful and a little bit overwhelmed.  One day at a time, isn’t that the mantra?

 

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If Dad Could See Me Now…

Russ and I took the girls on a drive yesterday. We drove down to Lake Champlain, taking the back roads, dirt roads we’d not taken before, just to make it more interesting. We were headed to a marina. To look at sailboats for sale.

It was a trip I’ve taken hundreds of times in places all along the east coast with my own parents.  Growing up, Sundays were often “mystery trip” days.  At first, my folks wouldn’t tell us where we were going. Sometimes even my mom wouldn’t know.  But over the years, we saw the pattern: all roads led to a boat yard. Seriously, we visited boat yards everywhere we lived, from New Jersey  to Maryland to North Carolina all the way to Florida. Continue reading

Pig-Headed Do-Gooder Sports

“You are the volunteer of last resort” my husband chided me this weekend. I’m just not sure how to take that!?  The truth is, I am reliable and I commit cautiously, but fully.  Those qualities make me a perfect glutton for punishment. And in the world of parent-volunteerism, there’s plenty of punishment to be had.

What makes matters worse, however, is that I have two other qualities that delude me in my volunteerism: “do-gooder” and “pig-headed”.  Those are the more common names for my qualities. I tend to refer to them as my lofty-dreamy-isms and my love of the sport of running-down-the-slim-odd.

So altogether, you have a girl who believes she can make the world better, is not deterred by the odds, and who will do the dirty work, even if no one else will.  Seriously, I am a cause’s wet-dream! Continue reading

The Place Where Everything Changed

I happened to mention my Train-Wreck metaphor for our life to Russ yesterday. And I just sorta slipped in that I posted something on this blog. I wasn’t sure he cared much for this.  But I cushioned the news with the retelling of the intro — that I love our life but that it makes me crazy sometimes. Yeah, something like that.

He had sort of a bemused look on his face. I thought it best to ignore it. Continue reading