Saturday, April 24, 2010

Abnormal Psychology

Penny pincher

All words that have been used to describe me- even to the extent of being told today “I squeak when I walk”. From a very young age I started over valuing every dollar in my possession- for field trips when I would be given $20 to spend lavishly, I would try and compare the worth of every object I desired to the amount of work my parents would have put in to earn that dollar- regularly I came home empty handed and returned the hard earned money to its “rightful owner“.

Still to this day, I can not come to accept the idea of giving an hour worth of pay for one t-shirt, two hours for a pair of shoes, or what brought on this whole idea- 5% of my monthly income for a cell phone bill. What makes it even harder to swallow is the fact that my hard earned money is going towards a service, not an object- I cannot go to the store to touch and analyze the quality of phone minutes, I can not choose the color, texture, size, or shape. In fact, I can hardly choose the quantity by which I purchase- it either comes in gas station register like quantity or in Costco sized bulk appropriate for a family of 10! Since when do cell phone companies have the right to tell me what phone I can or cannot buy? The cable company doesn’t tell their customers what TV they have to purchase to obtain a specific service plan, (I am not included in that group since we thrive on bunny ears and netflix in my home), Internet service providers do not require the highest quality Internet if you chose to have a high end computer, and I didn’t have to buy the Tempur-pedic mattress set with my designer bedroom furniture. Yet, cell phone companies require you to pay an additional $15-$30 a month if you would like to purchase a non-shoddy phone . I have been through the “free” phone instance before and, as we all know, quality, reception, battery life, and even speaker volume are the sacrifices you are making. This puts us in quite a pickle- stay with the dreaded Sprint for service (not a desirable option at all- their customer service is quite atrocious), switch to Verizon or AT&T and enter into a contract being told what I HAVE to buy and be near robbed monthly (would I choose this relationship option when picking friends? Hmmm), or boycott the industry all together with NO ONE standing by my side? Oh, the dilemma’s of life and adulthood :)

I spoke extensively about my issue today with the person it affects the most- Jason. I started the conversation by informing him to not be judgmental, but that I really felt as though there is something major wrong with me and that I might need psychological help. After a moment of laughter, I walked him through Bed, Bath, and Beyond and pointed out about 40 items I would love to own ranging from $1.70-$30, but then explained every thought in my mind as I rationalized each item out of the cart- some because I have similar items at home, (good reason, right?), others because once I divided up what they would cost per month vs. the benefit I would receive from using the item- it was deemed not necessary, (starting to sound crazy, I know), and the cheapest item, a pack of gum (which was desperately needed after an onion filled lunch) was nearly vetoed because we have gum at home, (even eliminating the onion odor I was emitting nearly didn’t happen!). Getting to the point, in the end, I left with three items- the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter (it will truly save a bundle on tomatoes this summer), a blind cleaner, (only after figuring up how many hours I currently spend cleaning blinds by hand and what else I could use that time for), and the pack of gum, which Jason sincerely thanked me for.

In all the ways these choices affect my life "negatively" (mostly just according to others), it is gratifying and offers a great since of security going to bed each and every night knowing we are near debt free (a near payed off car and mortgage weighing on me), are invested in a growing 401K, live off of only one of our incomes, and have a nice nest egg in the money market. I asked myself all day long- Do I in fact need to seek out a psychological analysis? What is important to us? What in fact are our priorities? Where do we want our money to be going? Is Dave Ramsey crazy and are we just cult-like followers?

In the end, I concluded that I knew the answers all along- I am doing what makes me happy. Once a cheapskate always a cheapskate, even if I do squeak when I walk.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vacation, vacation, vacation!

Since our last post, Jason and I have done quite a few things with the time we have actually had together. Best of all, we were blessed with time off and used it wisely to squeeze in two wonderful vacations.

In January, Jason's first trip staying in Florida and visiting Disney World. This was quite an experience, as we were there for the record low temperature in Orlando, then even better, beat it the following the day. Due to the weather forecast predicting 60-70 degree weather for our trip, we were most definitely ill prepared for the cold- as a last resort, we ended up catching a taxi ride to the nearest Walmart for some warm attire. Needless to say, these were not the best additions to our wardrobe since everything warm was picked over and near non-existent. We had quite a few great laughs at "creative" layering. We also found much humor in the "extreme weather photos" the news stations were broadcasting of kids poor attempts at building "sleet men" and people scraping their windows. Even better was the news anchors attempt at educating the public as what sleet actually was. But with cold weather in Florida, the perks are on high in Disney World- with short to non-existing lines and minimal crowds, we were able to experience most everything in the park. Aside from the visiting all of the parks, we really enjoyed our resort being in the Downtown Disney area which is home to many specialty restaurants and shops. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and we look forward to visiting again someday with our family. To see all of our pictures:

Most recently we were able to make a road trip to New Orleans in late March. This was by far one of my favorite trips I have blessed to be able to take with Jason, even when I take into account the near 14 hour drive. New Orleans is such a wonderful place- full of treasures, phenomenal history, and intriguing diversity. All of which I am a sucker for. When you arrive you truly feel as though you are in a whole new country and more than once have heard that a passport should be required to visit. We invested in a Visit-Ticket, which grants admission to 40+ museums/attractions, which I would highly recommend for any first time visitors. Some of the inclusions we visited:

A guided French Quarter walking tour and Ghost and Spirit walking tour
Cruise the Mississippi on the Steamboat Nathez

Visit Oak Alley and Destrehan Plantations for a taste of Southern plantation life
Attend a Creole cooking class for a sampling of local cuisine
Visit the various Mardi Gras/art/historical museums
Antique shop on Magazine St where we purchased two beautiful 1940's armchairs
Spend an afternoon at a local art fair in one of the many historic parks
Walk through Audubon Aquarium of the America's- one of the countries best
Take a guided boat ride through an alligator inhabited swamp

We had a wonderful time and cannot wait to return and experience the inspiring "southern hospitality", wonderful food, and beautiful locale. The link for that album:

We have much enjoyed over these last couple of years living life "vacation to vacation" and are very much looking forward to planning one last big trip this year in September when our schedules permit us to both be away for another week :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I resorted to searching quote websites for a witty and clever quote about time to use as an excuse as to why I can never seem to find enough of it to actually write blog posts, but I had no such luck. In fact none of them I found actually worked in my favor. Here are few that I like quite a bit:

Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.

Time is the cruelest teacher, first she gives the test, then teaches the lesson.

Time is but a handful of sand- the tighter you grasp it, the faster it runs through your fingers.

For disappearing acts, its is harder to beat what happens to the eight hours that are supposedly left after eight hours of work and eight hours of sleep.

Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.

This last quote hits close to home for us as of late. For the last year and a half Jason and I have gone a minimum of twelve days a month without seeing each other at all due to my required night scheduling and Jason's ever so unpredictable retail work schedule. I have truly come to love working night shift- it comes with great professional autonomy, the guarantee of few to no visitors, on site parking, and a wonderful shift pay differential. With that said, I have recently been offered the opportunity to transfer to working day shifts, which many of you know, I have chosen to accept. I truly feel as though I am starting a new job as the shifts are "as different as night and day"- (you can all thank Jason for my "punny" wording). But, with all things in life, I have to weigh the sacrifice versus benefit, and in the end my home and family life will always prevail and win. As many of the experienced nurses eloquently stated- Jason and I are one of those "lovey dovey" couples that actually still like each other and desire to spend time together. As much as I dislike the idea giving up the pay, working with all new staff, and catching a shuttle to work, I know I will be very happy with decision once I adjust.

Back to time being an issue, it is now 4am and tired has hit. I best be heading to bed so that I don't sleep away my Saturday. I vow now to to take some time, in the midst of my planned spring cleaning frenzy, to blog and update on the time lapse from my last post to this point.

Good night!