The Décor Snowball

Last time, I confessed how my spending can snowball and suddenly I’m diving back into the mess I just dragged myself out of. Well maybe no that bad.

Today is another snowball; some artistic licence has been used to tell this story but the order of events is very accurate!

It all started with painting the baseboards.

“First, we must do the stair railing,” I said.

With a shrug ML agreed.

“Not white, though,” I Continued,

“You’ll never know I worked at it!”

 

Together we looked at the chips and found the perfect colour:

A soft green that goes so beautifully with that painting in the hall.

 

“I like it!” ML announced while I hemmed and hawed.

“Too light? It looks off white.” I declared

“Let’s do the baseboards a slightly different colour.”

With a shrug ML agreed.

 

Together we looked at the chips and found the perfect colour:

A mint green that highlights the railing and flows beautifully.

 

“I like it!” ML stated.

“Me too! But those doors are looking sad.”

I stared balefully at the offending off white.

With a shrug ML agreed.

 

Together we looked at the chips and found the perfect colour:

A deep teal that will make it feel tropical.

“I like it!” ML professed.

“Too dark for all the doors though,

Can we paint them all a different colour?”

With a shrug ML agreed.

 

Together we looked at the chips and chose all the colours:

Cousins of the teal that make me feel like I’m surfing a wave.

 

“I like it!” ML announced.

“Me too! But the bedroom doesn’t live up

To the promise of the door. Should we add?

With a shrug ML agreed.

 

I went to lunch today,

$120 I spent on lunch:

1 duvet cover, 1  mirror, 1 curtain.

“I think I should stop.”

“Definitly!” ML agreed

 

All because the baseboards needed some love.

 

Hitting a Slump

I haven’t been posting a lot because I’ve spent the last couple of months hiding from my budget.

My frugal re-set over the course of the last few years has worked in the sense that I always seem to have a bit after my paycheque even if I exceed my budget. However, I have been spending on things and then not wanting to hold myself accountable.

Here’s an example: I would like more summer dresses. The season is so short and I’d like to really enjoy it when I can.

Step 1: Pull out all my clothes and assess the number of outfits I have. It turns out I have a lot of casual, weekend dresses  but only a few work appropriate dresses

Step 2: Figure out a realistic number of dresses that would help me fill the gap. To wear 2 dresses/ skirts per week I would need 5 more dresses.

Step 3: Set a budget. I thought $75 would be good as one good work dress at a big box store at the mall ranges from $70 – $120.

Step 4: Hit the thrift store.

This all sounds great, right? If the cycle ended here it would be alright.

Step 5: Find lots of dresses and have a bill that goes up to $99.36. That $0.36 counts as my goal then became spending less than $100.

Step 6: Avoid looking at my budget as $75 was already tight in the budget but the extra $24.36 is making it worse.

Step 7: Since I haven’t looked at my budget, completely forget that I had already spent my entire fashion and miscellaneous lines so I spend a little extra at the grocery on some seasonal items.

Step 8: Find the Thrift Store bill and resolve to not look at my budget but also not to spend another cent.

Step 9: Forget the resolution and buy Bunny the jumbo version of her pet food and throw in the jumbo version of birdseed for the outdoor families of birds, chipmunks and squirrels that raid the feeders.

I’ve only done half my budget so I’m not actually sure where I’m sitting right now. That’s a job for tonight.

My only resolution at this point is to re-instate my weekly budget dates!

 

Change and Rebirth

I recently returned to work full time. It is wonderful but exhausting and I realize I’m not the person I was before the concussion.

That woman couldn’t wait to have lunch with friends, enjoyed staying an extra thirty minutes to finish tasks, and was patient. The person I am now craves that hour alone to read or nap, is ready for the end of the day, and is much quicker to snap at any mild inconvenience.

Needless to say I’ve been in a foul mood for the last few weeks as I’m not me yet. Last night I had a bit of a revelation: that woman is gone. She needs to be mourned and acknowledged but I need to stop trying to be her. Instead I need to tune in to the current me.

This person has some great qualities, she:

  • enjoys long walks
  • doesn’t binge watch Netflix
  • Takes her time to cook
  • goes to be early
  • doesn’t drink nearly as much ( I didn’t drink a lot previously, under the recommended amount for women but I’m now a one glass of wine a week gal)
  • significantly cut sugar (no more dessert for lunch)
  • is not addicted to caffeine
  • Still reads like crazy

I haven’t blogged a lot since getting hit and I wondered if this was another interest I had lost, if my mind just was not letting me focus. I don’t think so. I think blogging is harder for me now as I no longer want to be near a screen as much.

While I haven’t been posting, I’ve been reading. It takes me longer to formulate my thoughts, which in turn make me feel like I’ve missed a window to jump into a conversation. I will return to blogging but I suspect I’ll make it a weekly post for a while as I slowly get my feet back under me.

The concussion was hard, not as bad as some but worse than others, and it definitely changed me. Some of that change was immediately good, while other pieces need to be accepted. This is how I feel:

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Which is much more powerful than waiting to return to the person I was.

Photo from here.

 

 

Spring Cleaning

Spring is here and I know it because that urge to tidy and clean up is strong right now. It may be more pronounced since an acquaintance recently put her home up for sale. Of course, being a slightly nosy person I went to the real estate website to check out how her home looked.

It looks fantastic!

It of course got me on a kick of checking out other homes that are for sale in the area. One of the things I noticed is that a lot of the homes seemed staged. I could be wrong maybe they live with perfect light, fresh flowers, and perfectly accented furniture all the time. If they do that’s fantastic and frankly how I want to live. There are loads of tips on how to but the most consistent tip was: make it look like you have lots of space by packing up as many of your belongings as possible.

The aim is to pack up your excess things so it looks like you have more space. Like this:

Image result for before and after staging photos closet

 

Since embracing the life-changing magic of tidying up and minimalism I’ve found my outlook on my space has changed. While I do wish we had more built in storage, this desire to have my home feel like a fantastic oasis has resulted in me attempting to make the staging goal of having 30% of cupboard space clear my reality.

This resulted in two boxes of household goods and clothing being delivered to a charity shop, a large garbage bag of items dumped, and a few things being gifted to friends and family members who were interested in them.

It’s amazing how much a good a decent scrub and tidy can do for our home. My hosting schedule has taken a hit as I don’t have the energy to have people over. Since the house is feeling more welcoming I’m wanting to invite people over even if it’s just for some snacks and conversation.

Has the spring cleaning bug gotten you yet for the year?

Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals

Yesterday, I went public with my crazy goal for 2017/2018.

This had me reviewing my BHAG for 2017 as they’re definitely in need of an update now.

Here’s how they’ve been adjusted:

Goal 1: Save for new kitchen

2018 is going to be our 10th wedding anniversary.We’d still love to throw a big party. In fact that’s what got the kitchen ball rolling. When we looked into a what we wanted to do we realized it was going to cost us at least $10,000.

That money seemed better spent on a kitchen, we could then host 120 people in our home for an anniversary open house. We’re willing to forgo the vacation if we can get a fantastic kitchen that allows us to entertain and actually enjoy cooking together.

Goal 2: Home Improvement

This will be the year that we fix the sinking driveway and update our light fixtures. I feel that these are two realistic goals that can easily be achieved and will make our home seem much more welcoming. I’ll give myself until May before I think about the driveway properly since it’ll be either snow or rain covered until then. The light fixtures we can begin our search in the new year. There are at least 4 that must be replaced with a couple of others that would be nice to have done.

Other Goals

While I would still love to work on my emergency fund, I’m not going to throw all my additional money into it. The aim is to not use any of the money in it for the new kitchen.

 

 

17 for 2017

Carol recently did a post that asked a surprisingly hard question: What is on your 2017 list that is fun stuff, not about debt or work etc?

I left a brief comment that I really had to think about and really doesn’t make me feel really joyful. I want a list that makes me feel like this

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I don’t know about you but everything seemed to come back to some sort of goal, whether it was finance, fitness or friend related. I also have a bad habit of turning fun lists into chore lists ( reading a magazine – check!) but this time I swore it would be different.

Drum roll please! Here’s my Fun 17 for 2017:

  1. Sit around and do nothing or something (reading, daydreaming, meditating, knitting)
  2. Experiment with the funky liqueurs that I got as gifts
  3. Pamper myself – bath oils, hair treatments etc
  4. Do a tour of the national parks within a 4 hour radius
  5. Once summer comes, eat outside
  6. Sing, out loud, whenever the feeling strikes me
  7. Dance when the mood hits (that crazy woman dancing to Britney in the grocery store might be me!)
  8. Open the curtains on bright days
  9. Light candles on dreary days
  10. Keep up the zero waste goals – I feel like a rockstar when we we don’t put out lots of garbage
  11. Stay in bed as late as I want on weekends (also don’t overbook my weekends)
  12. New recipes
  13. Tea with Bunny!
  14. Aim to blog at least twice a week
  15. Hang out with ML doing something fun, last year it was walking
  16. Say no to things that  I know will be draining (yes I adore you, no I don’t want to go out)
  17. Because it is actually fun for me: see if I can increase my fun fund by spending less than I budget

How about you? What would make you crazy Kermit happy?

GIF from here

 

The Problem with Boredom

“I’m bored!” The complaint of kids and bratty adults. Unfortunately, I’ve been one of those bratty adults. Unable to do a lot of the things I really want to or numb my mind in  the usual ways, for the first time in a long time I’ve been bored.

I didn’t realize how much boredom I was taking care of by catching up on Supernatural, One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries, Murchoch Mysteries, Archer and the like! It’s a bit disturbing actually. My other time ‘waster’ is reading, I average 2 books a week. Lacking the concentration to indulge has also put me out of sorts.

With the concussion, knitting and driving have also gone out the window. Learning new skills with all my time is also not recommended as my free time is supposed to be spent resting my brain.

It turns out my life, while I adore it, isn’t very restful for my brain.

I was a little nervous about checking my budget because my solution has felt like this

giphy.gif

Great in the moment but not so great when those bills are gone and I can’t remember what I spent them on!

The plus side of tracking is that I can see what I spent money on. I combated boredom by eating out more than usual with ML. Since it was all healthy food I can’t be too upset at myself. In my ideal world working less hours this month, cancelling all social plans, and basically being a hermit would provide the silver lining of more savings.

While I have spent less than I budgeted, the great savings I should have seen were literally eaten.

While I was originally upset with myself (I could have gotten at least 1 small cabinet for the kitchen!)the money has gone to meals out with ML. It has been a great opportunity to date him at a time when our relationship could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

He’s been an absolute gem but I’ve been completely dependent on him. We have a division of labour that works for us that has been destroyed by my concussion. While I can, and do, manage housework I can’t take myself to appointments, get groceries, and do the numerous errands that I usually run.

I generally run my life like this:

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So having to step back and say, ” I can’t do this right now. Can you help me?” Has been a huge change. A colleague went so far to say, “You’re always doing so much. Maybe this is the universe telling you to slow the f*** down.”

Maybe, apparently I have a hard head so the universe is really driving the point home!

How has your week gone?

 

My absence

Post Concussion Syndrome Word Cloud Concept with great terms such as brain, injury, trauma and more.

I was in a minor accident this month and was concussed. In fact, I still have symptoms which has resulted in me not being online a whole lot. It’s been an awful and wonderful experience. Awful as I experienced some terrible medical care at the local leve and a concussion is an awful thing to have! Wonderful because my work place has been fantastic,my family has been great and my family doctor is an angel.

The recovery process is slow and excruciating to someone like me who loves to have projects on the go! I feel like a child who has been grounded. I’m typing the majority of this with my eyes closed as it’s eating into my concentration. granted, I shouldn’t be typing at all. I should be resting my brain.

I will,soon. I’ve missed blogging and I’ve missed chatting with all of you. So much has happened! I ‘ve had so many  “Aha” moments through this process that I’ve been wanting to document. This is partly to share but also because I use THE blog as a way to remind myself of my life lessons. I’m less likely to re-read the journal I’m currently keeping.

I’ll leave you with one meaningful piece of information I discovered: post – concussion care is a fairly good way to live my life. THough it really does upset me I’ learning that all the things I should be doing now are things I really need to incorporate once I’m healed:

  • meditating for at least ten minutes a day
  • limiting my screen time
  • having  less caffeine and sugar (I’m currently banned these treats)
  • Drinking loads of water ( I was doing well but really need to keep it up)
  • Giving myself breaks from my desk and from tasks
  • Easing my way through my day instead of treating each day like a race

I won’t be around much for the next few weeks. I’m trying to limit my online presence to ten minutes a day. My doctor is allowing me to return to work part time as I fear that I’ll go crazy if forced to stay home. She indicated that this will slow my recovery but balance is also neccessary so if a few hours at work helps me come home and rest then she’s allowing it.

I’m grateful for that.

I hope you’re having a great January and a less adventuous start to your year!

I look forward to being back with you properly soon and catching up!

Child Filled Weekend

So the fun weekend with my favourite kid was a hit!

I’m an awesome non-parent. Children who don’t try new things, pick up their toys or refuse to take a break from screen time are totally different beings in my home.

It must mean one thing: I would be the perfect parent! (Kidding!)

I do feel extra sorry parents because kids are on their best behaviour at other people’s homes. So it’s easy for us to feel as though people who attribute untidy homes or difficulty budgeting to kids are making outrageous excuses.

With the exception of groceries we spent $0. Instead we played video games, board games, read books, did some housework and cooked a tonne.

Here’s the thing, I love having my friends kids come over and hang out. It was wonderful to have someone to play with (I re-discovered my Wii!) and encourage me to relax. There’s no way I would have a friend over and not hang out with them so of course I do the same when kids come.

The benefit of my munchkin guest is that he had no interest in going to a bar, going out for breakfast or killing time at the mall to find a new game. Instead when we planned the day the goal was, “Let’s play games!”

Everything was a game: from chores to actual games. I even got a better workout in as once he realized what I was doing he wanted to join. Once he joined his energy kept me going when I would have quit.

Frankly. his boundless enthusiasm made him a much better coach than a lot of people I know. He was honestly thrilled that I was doing anything and just wanted to do things for fun.

I had a great weekend and it served as a fairly frugal reset which was wonderful. It also helped me focus on joy again and the importance of making sure my days are balanced. I’ve had an extra busy time recently and this weekened was just the vacation from my life I needed.

ML & I are still not having kids. While a weekend is fun, easy, and allowed us to feel like we would be rock star parents it is also a reminder that the life we have chosen works really well for us. The heartbreak we would be forced to endure attempting pregnancy as well as the sacrifices that we would have to make to become pregnant and once the child was born are not things we are willing to do.

I think this is the first time that I’ve had a child over in a long time and not felt a twinge of sadness when they left. It was lovely to realize that I’m truly happy with me life.

 

 

Family & Money

Based on comments my post about house and pet sitting  I was able to take some money from my parents without feeling strange. My major hangup, I realized was that I make good money and have a steady job. So while the money is nice to have it isn’t necessary. Plus since they also brought me back multiple gifts and gifts for ML, I felt we would be even. Covering my costs felt like excess and that I was taking advantage.

I left them invoices and took money for the true extras that were only incurred because I was living in their home:

  • groceries I purchased to make them a welcome home meal ($10)
  • Gas for the car ($35)
  • Parking permit that my mum needed and I picked up ($35)

I was adamant that I wasn’t going to take money for the car repair, but my  mum really felt that was unfair. So we struck a deal: if they allow ML to pay for the items he had asked them to pick up and offered to pay for, then I’ll accept car money.

Much to her annoyance I refused to tell her how much I spent to feed myself, and apparently a quick check of the pantry had her convinced that I hadn’t eaten enough of the food they left. God forbid, I confess that I brought my own wine and didn’t dip into their stash!

In my original post, I mentioned feeling a bit strange about them leaving money for me. I probably wouldn’t have reacted as well as I did to last night’s financial power struggle if it hadn’t been for a colleague, who has a daughter a bit younger than me, who shared:

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re your parents’ kid. They can still see the little girl running around and the urge to provide doesn’t go away.

That resonated with me. Suddenly I could see how insulting it would appear that your child doesn’t think you can provide them with some basics.

Thank you so much Rachel and Lauralynne for sharing your thoughts and helping me out on this!