Today has been an emotional rollar coaster.
Do you remember that game "telephone" from when we were kids? In Girl Scouts, we used to sit in a big circle and one person would say, "I don't like my dog" and by the time everyone whispered the message into the next person's ear, the last person announced that the phrase was, "I won't write or draw" or something totally different.
The point of the game is this: if you don't hear it from the horse's mouth, you may not get the right information.
Last night, I was talking to a friend about my list of 101 things that I want to accomplish in the next 1001 days. (technically, it's now 1000 days, but no pressure...) As I went through the list, she teased me about having high hopes for someone whose husband is unemployed. Ha ha, laugh laugh, but I was quick to point out that not only do have nearly 3 years to do all of these things, many of them don't cost a dime.
We were scrapbooking while our husbands were watching college football, and when we all came together again in the kitchen to play a board game, the "innocent" taunting started again. "Hey Mike, have you seen your wife's list of 101 things yet? You're gonna be paying for an awful lot of vacations, so you'd better start saving up..." (hahahaha) This is about the time that I walked into the room.
And so the harassing began. From all three of them. "You know, Katie, a lot of your goals are going to affect your husband..." "...you should really have discussed this list with him before putting it together..." "...he's already under enough financial pressure as it is..." "...do you even have 'travel' as a line item in your budget?" "...how do you expect to do any of these things with no income?" "...you really need to rethink some of these things because they're totally unrealistic..." "...I know you think your list doesn't affect Mike, but many of the things on there totally involve him..."
(Do you hear that POUNDING? Listen closely. That's the sound of people stomping all over my hopes and aspirations. How dare I have goals? Why should I dream big?)
Let's really dig into this concept, shall we? (not that I'm feeling defensive or anything...no I'm not...no I'm NOT!)
3. Complete the never-ending project I’m doing over our bed - FREE - I already have all of the supplies.
5. Have another baby - granted, NOT FREE - yet I still want more children
6. Take 2 weekend getaways with my girlfriends - ALMOST FREE - I can save my pennies to contribute to a couple of long weekends at my friend's condo in Flagstaff, as we'd planned
7. Take a short vacation with another couple, no kids allowed - again, if planned well, this could be really cheap
9. See the Grand Canyon - day trip
10. Take a trip back to Kansas City - I haven't been to KC in 3 years...I think it's fair to want to go back sometime in the next 3 years considering all we'd pay for is airfare
13. Organize the sports equipment in our garage - minimal cost if planned right
16. Go on a cruise - we've discussed doing this for our 10 year anniversary in 2010 OR my in laws have been discussing taking us on a cruise for a while now...not an unrealistic goal in my mind
17. Put wood floors in my scrapbook room - FREE - a friend has extra wood and he has offered to put it in
24. Sell my old bedroom furniture that I had as a kid - HELLO! This is MAKING money.
28. Go to San Francisco with Mike - again, just the plane tickets, we would stay with friends
31. Put cabinets and counter tops in my craft room - I'll admit this could be costly, but I plan to scope out discount stores that sell discontinued cabinets for cheap and could ask for $$ for this project for holiday gifts
42. Add ads to my blog to help bring in a little income - again, MAKING money...
52. Pray for Mike every day for a month - yeah, this would totally affect Mike...in a positive way!
55. Color my hair back to blond again - I use $6 boxed hair color + coupons
56. Purchase overstuffed chairs and a large ottoman for our living room - yes, this is expensive and likely won't happen until we sell a rental house
57. Get the broken dining room chair fixed - CHEAP - buy wood glue
58. Hang curtains on the office window - FREE - I have the fabric and plan on begging my MIL to sew something simple sometime in the next couple of years
59. Install crown molding in the bedroom - not cheap, again...a girl can dream, can't she? If we sell a house and Mike gets a job, I want this on the wish list
61. Get an amazing $1000 camera - again, I'm thinking birthday and Christmas money could be used to buy an amazing second-hand camera
63. Research buying contacts online to save money - Does anyone else see the word "SAVE" in this sentence?
64. Start using 100% homemade household cleaners - More savings, people!
65. Make vegetarian meals 3x a week for a month - Meat is expensive, saving more money here, too
75. Take a hot air balloon ride - this likely won't happen, but it would be so fun!
80. Buy a van with a DVD player for long car trips - this is only if we have another kid...we can't fit 3 car seats in our little Hondas
93. Plan an international trip with Mike - it says, "plan," not "go on"
This little mini-intervention last night caused a major rift. Most of the day today, we bickered over finances. It's interesting how one person's "teasing" over a highly sensitive issue caused so much tension in my marriage. (lesson: be careful what you say)
The good news is that Mike agreed to put together a "budget." (though we need to call it something different because he can't fathom the concept of a budget not balancing to zero when there's no income) AND, after much begging, pleading and negotiating, we agreed that I will start using a cash envelope system to pay for certain budget items. This is going to give me a little freedom to shuffle money from one envelope to another if I do really well on groceries one month or win a little money at Bunco another month. Otherwise, it just goes into the bottomless pit of "we don't have any income so spend as little as possible" which was really stressing me out.
It sounds selfish to Mike, but I need some breathing room. If I have a friend selling girl clothes for $1 apiece and I have an opportunity to buy some will-fit-her-this-summer outfits for Kaylin, I'd like the flexibility to do that. I saw cheap, cheap, cheap after Christmas stuff that I wanted to buy for next year. I could buy it now for $10 or next November for $40. Hmmm...I'd rather re-write the meal plan with cheaper dinners for a few days and shuffle some money into a spending category so I can save our family money in the long-run. That's how I operate.
Mike still hasn't read my list, but at least now I feel like we won't argue when he does. And I'm excited about the envelope system because I won't feel like I'm being interrogated every time he asks a simple question when a shopping bag enters the house. I'll get an already-tight amount of cash on the first of each month to buy groceries, clothes for the kids, to get my hair cut and anything else I consider to be must-haves. Period. The end. No questions asked. Can I get a HALLA???
After all of that drama, Mike and I took the kids hiking. It is a bee-utiful day today and I will look back fondly on this memory. I carried Kaylin piggy-back most of the way (and got a great workout with the extra 30 pounds of weight up the mountain!) and Ryan told the other hikers, "Happy New Year" each time they passed. The mountain was filled with parents and kids, which was cool to see.
SO I'm thrilled that an emotionally draining day will end well. The kids are going to my in laws for a sleep over tonight while we go to a grown-up party. And now that Mike and I are on the same page, I'm not nervous for the teasing about my 101 things to continue. Because it will. That's how my friends roll.