Last night we bought new, matching dishes. We have never had 8 (8!!) place settings of matching dishes. Our dishes have always been thrift-shopped and garage-saled, and charmingly mismatched before, but, somehow, in the last few months, the mismatched-ness of the dishes has gotten less charming and more lame, so we had to make a change. I also organized the silverware and utensil drawers last night, which are now more less crowded and much more sensible.
I purchased Quicken Delux 2004 at Costco, and I am planning on setting up the New Budget Tracking Tool™ on the computer this weekend. I am alarmingly pleased about this. Tracking our spending habits! Seeing if we really do spend $400 a month on groceries! Oh, the excitement!
We're also considering buying a new, larger TV. The unending whirlwind of drama is certainly dead as a doornail at my house! And yet, I am pretty happy with my boring little life. Odd.
I am also going through the intensely boring and paperwork-heavy process of changing to Our Last Name. I have some feminist guilt about this, like I’ll be called into the boardroom and have my buttons snipped off, and my umbrella turned inside-out by angry women, growling “How can you give into this repressive patriarchal tradition?!”, but I’m afraid I don’t feel repressed by this at all, just tired of filling out paperwork. I really like the idea of a family name, and TH is my chosen family, so, eh, I’m changing.
Annoying Neighbor, who lives next door, is moving out, probably at the end of June. TH & I (and our roommate) would like to move into her apartment.
Annoying Neighbor has a larger apartment, on the corner of the building that’s away from the street. The bedrooms in her apartment are along the outside wall, so bedrooms don’t share walls with another apartment’s living space. (In our current apartment, our bedroom shares a wall with our other neighbor’s living room. He’s not too loud, but it would still be nice to have our bedroom not share a wall with someone else’s apartment.) Neighbor also has a much larger basement storage space— large enough that TH would probably want to fix it up & move his office downstairs, which would be nice for him (to have a completely dedicated working space, rather than a dedicated desk in our living room). And if TH had a separate space, he might let me get a dog— something I have wanted for years, but TH wants to have a designated dog-free space for himself before he agrees.
Neighbor’s apartment is still carpeted, although the other apartments have had the carpets removed (hardwood underneath!). I know the landlord intends to remove the carpet from Neighbor’s apartment too, and I’m hoping that he’ll allow us to paint the whole place while he’s doing that. We started painting our current apartment, but we got bogged down by the wedding. Since it’s so much easier to paint an empty space, I think we could get Neighbor’s apartment completely painted in a couple of weeks, and then move in to a fresh, colorful, new space!
It seems a little superficial, but it’s looking like TH & I are starting to get things going in a good direction— we’ve got a new budget that will help us meet some of our financial goals (paying down debt, saving some money, etc), TH has some new freelance projects in the offing that may make actual money (gasp!), and it just generally feels like we’re right on the cusp of some good stuff. Moving into a new space would be great, and, more importantly, moving into a new, inexpensive apartment that we’re 100% happy with (we’re about 90% in our current one) will help remind us that we’re making our choices for good reasons.
TH was freaking out a little bit at the end of last week, and seriously considered applying for a middle-management position just to make money. TH is a web designer, and he's been chipping away professionally for the last 3-plus years. We've made a lot of deliberate sacrifices and adjusted our post-college expectations a great deal in order to keep TH on a satisfying (if not financially prosperous) career path, and I don't want to throw that away lightly. I think it would really help us keep to our chosen direction if we were really, truly, okay with staying in our current living situation. You know, so we can say “It would be okay to stay here forever!”, and really mean it.
It’s important to me that we make major compromises in a considerate way—for example, I am strongly opposed to having TH take the afore-mentioned middle-management job, because he would end up working 45-55 hours a week at the lame job, and would want to keep at least one freelance project, which would mean he’d be crazy-busy for about 99% of his waking hours. I estimate that this state of affairs would make me seriously miserable in 1-3 months, on the outside. Plus, TH would lose the forward momentum that he’s been slowly building professionally, which would be bad for him—and it would make me feel that my personal efforts in this direction (namely, working full-time and being the primary breadwinner for 3 years) was a wasted effort. All in all, it’s just not worth if for the money he’d make. If we need more money (which would, admittedly, be really nice), TH can almost certainly find a more congenial part-time job, and work 20 hours a week or so somewhere while keeping all of his freelance stuff going, and still have free time to spend with me. This sounds like a much better solution, to my mind.
The danger is, of course, if we made a major compromise for short-term reasons—for example, to become financially able to buy a house in the immediate future, as opposed to “sometime in the next decade”—I’d be concerned we’d get tied up in house payments and car payments and life in general, and it would become hard to go back. Right now we maintain a fairly modest standard of living—one car, an inexpensive apartment, etc—and I’m almost entirely comfortable saying “We can stay at this level if it means we’ll be really happy”. Shifting to the larger corner apartment would solidify that, especially if we could get it all painted! Because, honestly, while having a nice place is important to me, having a nice life is even more important. And, certainly, if it was a choice between a genuinely miserable existence vs. going back to banking, I’d go back to banking, but if it’s a choice between having a fulfilling-but-low-paying-job and a nice apartment vs. a high-paying-but-awful-job and a nice house, I’d rather have the fulfilling job and the apartment.