Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Love Story: Chapter Three

When I left off I had just given Mr F (a mere acquaintance no less) a valuable piece of advice. So did he take it? Read on...

About a week or two after talking with Mr F in the dog park, and after our dog training had ended, I ran into him at the park. When you tell a 30-something man, that you hardly know, that you don't think his relationship is meant to be, you are taking a serious risk that you might in fact scare that person off. Also I felt, pretty strongly, that someone who needed to be told that indecision about a move-in four years into a committed relationship was probably a red flag... probably wasn't someone who was going to heed my advice. So when I saw him in the park it was almost with a sense of resignation that I even brought the subject back up.

During this time period, August 1999, I had been dating someone else from the dog park (it really is a romantic hot bed all you singles out there). Someone with whom I was becoming quite certain there was absolutely no future with. His incessant need to either talk about himself, or suggest I ask him questions about himself, was getting old and I was getting ready to move on. I only mention this because really, really, I had no ulterior motive in counseling Mr F, nor real interest in whether or not he decided to take his relationship to the next level, other than just plain old fashioned curiosity.

When we ran into each other there was the typical dog park chit chat and it wasn't until we were walking out of the park that I asked him about the move-in.

"So did you make a decision about moving in?" Mrs F asks having already answered her own question in her mind.

"Yep." was all Mr F said, a man of maddeningly few words at times.

"Oh... So you decided to move-in then." Mrs F concludes.

"No. We broke up." Mr F causually replied.

Well my jaw nearly hit the ground I was so surprised. Four years of commitment and it was over like that. "Do you want to live with me?" "I'm not sure.... let me ask the girl at the park... no I don't.... in fact I don't want to be with you." (I'm sure it was a bit more in depth than that but you get the gist) Hmm... I kind of felt badly for his girlfriend.

To Be Continued...

From Bad To Worse

Baby was up all night SCREAMING her head off and standing up. Looks like we've got us an ear infection.

I really will be back.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sucking It Up

I've noticed a trend around here... maybe you've noticed it too... every couple of weeks I hit a wall. I feel overwhelmed and tired. Then I feel a great push to get back on track. Then I get my mojo back. Then I start baking. Then I get tired and stressed. Then I hit a wall. Sounds familiar right? (And yes I'm fairly certain this cycle has at least a little to do with my... um.... cycle.)

Well, I know I've said it before, but enough is enough. I'm sick of the rollercoaster ride. You know when I didn't feel this way? That's right when I was losing weight. Why? Because I didn't let anything sway me from sticking to my diet and exercise routines. Not hormones. Not holidays. And you know what? I felt great. I had energy. I was proud of myself. I was.... a.... BADASS. Damn I miss those days.

I'm not "technically" trying to lose weight. Although I should say that instead of having a weight range of 109-112 I have found myself hovering at the VERY top end of that range (so yeah not exactly a range)... which might explain why my stomach looks pouchy in all my videos! And my body fat % is actually up and stuck at 22% which means those extra couple of pounds are pure fat. And we all know where I like to store my fat! So I guess I am technically trying to lose fat. And that isn't happening (in fact clearly I'm gaining fat) doing things the way I've been doing them.

I'm getting back on board. I'm going back to square one. I'm cutting out Mc Donald's, soda (yes I've had a couple this week), and baking like it was a full-time job. I'm going to (not just try to) get in 5-6 hours of cardio a week. And I am going to (not just say it but do it) to do two 30 minute pilates routines. If I bake (and even though I say I do it for the kids... I inevitably eat 8 of 12 muffins) I am going to limit myself to 2 servings of said baked good per day. I am going back to precise calorie counting (not guesstimating because I'm lazy or tired).

I'm not starting next week. I'm starting today. Right now. By June 7th (my birthday) I plan to be 20% body fat and a steady 109.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Things On My Mind

#1 Wondering when I'm ever going to pick up where I left off with "The Love Story" saga?... soon, very, very, soon. You can look for Chapter 3 sometime this weekend.

#2 Yes I'm still really, really, tired. Baby is still very sick and even with my special friend, Unisom, I still feel like I'm about to hit a wall.

#3 Purging continues. My goal is to get rid of at least one thing a day. So far so good.

#4 I have been up late reading this blog. I cannot stop. This ongoing retirement home saga is strangely fascinating... and addictive. I've gotten through February and I won't rest until I'm up to date. I've actually had dreams starring this motley crew of retirees. For real.

#5 I've fallen off the diet and exercise wagon... again. I'm hoping to pull it back together as soon as we work through this "no sleeping" glitch. I think I've got to go back to square one. I felt better feeling in control than I do eating muffins. I may have more to say on this front tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Bait and Switch

Can you tell I'm really tired these days? Well I am. I'm here... but it is taking almost every bit of mental energy I have left to type these three sentences.

So what topic should I throw out today? Hmmm... let me think.


Tell me are your in-laws everything you hoped for and more? Or do you dodge their phone calls like you might an unsolicited telemarketer's?

I think it is no secret that my relationship with my in-laws is... well... strained. That isn't what I wanted. I had always hoped to marry into a *normal* family. The kind with big family reunions and Christmas parties. The kind with a funny loving mom and dad that always had a pitcher full of Margaritas at the ready.

I married into a family of repressed Catholics.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Thank You, Thank You

I've got all my belated thank you notes weighing (heavily) on my mind these days.

I'd like to know if you write them and what rules you follow if you do. Do you send them to everyone? Do you send them out within two weeks? Do you even bother at all?

Post-Op Update

I should have put this up on Monday...

We had Kid's first post-op check up this week. The surgeon was THRILLED with the results. Kid (who does often wake up with her left eye turned in) showed great control of her eye and passed all the tests with flying colors.

She was able to get a 20/20 reading with her right eye (with the use of her glasses) but only a 20/30 with her left. She has been losing vision in her left eye over the last year. They ended up dilating her eyes and giving her a full exam. This is obviously time consuming but she was very patient. This was the first exam where she got to have some control over the result (she was able to say if she saw better out of one lens or the other). The result is a new prescription that she CAN see 20/20 with out of both eyes! Yay! It appears that her cataract has changed her astigmatism in her left eye enough that a new prescription was needed... and not that she was losing vision.

So that is that. We are thrilled on both fronts.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Money Talk Tuesday

Who Have You Hired To Manage Your Money?

When Mr F and I got married I didn't really have any idea how much money he made. I was under the impression that it was enough. When we bought our house a few months before our wedding we bought a house that Mr F said he would be able to pay the mortgage and utilities of with his income, knowing that I would not be working once we had kids. When we moved to Ann Arbor Mr F put all the utilities in his name and paid all the household bills. I stopped working but still paid my own credit card bills and medical bills from some savings I had. I always paid my bills in full. I just assumed Mr F did too. We didn't talk about it. Mr F was running his own business from home and he had all those bills to deal with so it just seemed to make sense that he would just throw the home bills in with that too.

Mr F is 8 years older than I am. He had been running a *successful* business for years. He had been living on his own for years. I had only been out of grad school for a couple of years. He made a significant amount more than I did as a social worker. It just seemed natural to let Mr F take over all the bills. He was older, more successful, independent, and he was the man. He was the natural choice... right? It never occurred to me to ask how he paid his bills... you know... on time?... in full?

It took me a few years to realize that maybe Mr F wasn't the best choice. Nothing was said but I was starting to pick up on a *stressed* vibe from Mr F. Still I didn't take over the finances. At this point I felt overwhelmed and like I wouldn't be able to figure it out. To be honest I just didn't want to pay the bills... does anyone? By this point Mr F was now hiding things and becoming defensive and more more reluctant to turn over the finances. Red flag anyone?

A couple years later and Mr F (with the help and encouragement of his fantastic therapist) was finally ready to reveal the truth. Mr F had made some pretty big financial mistakes that resulted in something close to 35K in avoidable debt. Why do I say avoidable? Well because it could have been prevented. Of course had I known what we could and couldn't afford I might have made different choices... but more importantly because most of the debt with incurred simply because Mr F was just bad at paying bills. He didn't pay attention and paid them late. He racked up finance fees and bounced checks. We filed our taxes but he didn't send the payment. Why did he do all these things? I'll never really know. He felt overwhelmed with the burden of running a business and the house for one. And he has ADD. And he kept thinking he'd get it all under control next month... which just kept getting pushed to the next month, year, years... you get the picture.

I was shocked by Mr F's admission. I was dumbfounded that he just hadn't told me after the first year managing our household expenses. I was sick to my stomach and furious both with him and with myself. Why hadn't I stepped in? Why didn't I ask more questions? Why was I so comfortable taking a back seat? Within days we had acquired a loan so we could pay off all the miscellaneous outstanding debts. I took away all of Mr F's credit cards. And I took over paying all the bills. All of them. In the last few years I have never once bounced a check, or racked up any finance fees. It took us a couple of years but we were able to payoff the loan in full (while paying less each month than Mr F had been trying to manage the debt).

The lesson we learned from this is that the person who manages your family's money is performing a major job and you need to hire the right partner to do that job. When I think about Mr F's skills and his deficits it is almost laughable that we hired him for this position. I blame myself as much as I blame him for the debt he acquired. So my question to you is who pays your bills and why? Did you consciously *hire* one of you over the other or was it a more passive decision?

I've put a poll up in my sidebar today. Please, please, take a few seconds to answer it.
Pop on over to Smoochiefrog's Money Monday post. This is her third post in her debt series documenting her journey back from bankruptcy.

Monday, March 31, 2008

This Week The Plan

First, let me say that I just opened up our credit card bill and it was a whopping $500 less than usual. Good news especially since our auto insurance bill came today as well! Anyway I'm feeling super, super, hopeful that we can knock down our spending without ever even feeling it. Yay!
Second, I scrubbed the kitchen floor (on my knees people!) and washed all the downstairs wood floors on Friday. There is no point to that other than the fact that I did it and need to put that out there.
Third, Mr F and I have started another blog to document our purging process. You can find it HERE.

Okay onto this week..


Monday - Chicken & Broccoli w/ Garlic Sauce

Tuesday - Brown Sugar & Ginger Salmon, Stirfry Veggies & Springrolls

Wednesday - Kid date night

Thursday - Sesame Scallops w/ Peanut Noodles & asparagus

Friday - takeout

Saturday - Chicken Caesar Salad

Sunday - Tomato & Meatball Soup w/ crescent rolls

Diet & Exercise:
I'm ready to buckle down. I've been tired and I feel like I'm lagging behind my goals every week. I'm not sure how much energy I have to put into increasing my cardio (I'm really tired people) but I am going to focus on increasing my pilates workouts (finally). I'm also going to go back to serious calorie counting and stick to 1850 calories. I've gone back to mindless eating and I really need to rein it on in.

Wondering about last week's walking backward challenge. I did do it. You can watch me HERE. I will say I was sore in the knees for a few days afterward but not in a "I pulled something" sort of way but in a "I just used some muscles I've never used before" sort of way.

Errands & Chores:

Monday - eye doctor, laundry

Tuesday - grocery shopping, vacuum

Wednesday - grocery shopping, vacuum stairs

Thursday - clean sink & stove, post office

Friday - clean bathroom

Saturday & Sunday - PURGE

We're not dead

Had an eye doctor appointment all morning/early afternoon.
Just got home.


Oprah is doing another debt show today! Hurry set your Tivo!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Purge Baby Purge

I'm ready. I'm feeling it. It is Purge Time!

Unfortunately, despite Mr F's "yeah let's do it", he is having a very hard time letting go. So I've come up with a few purging steps.

Step #1: Write down the things you are saving and are non-negotiable. This is to be done from your memory... not while sorting through a box that had been sitting in your basement storage room for 7 years. If you know what you are saving and have a purpose for saving it then so be it. If you are ready to go all out this is the only step you need... Mr F is not ready for that yet. I know for us the stuff we are intentionally saving is a very small percentage of what is down there.

Step #2: Write down the things you are saving that you know you would like to get rid of. This is also to be done from memory. I find that many things are hard to toss once I see them even if I was ready to purge them.

Step #3: Exchange lists and sort out the "keepers" and the "giveaways" for your spouse/purge partner. What you don't have to touch or see you don't have to be effected by. That might be the last step if you were really in a hard core purge zone. Everything else that wasn't accounted for could be trashed or donated.

BUT that is a bit extreme for us so we're going to move on to....

Step #4: ALL the stuff that was unaccounted for shall be assessed. And hopefully sorted by category. Trash and obvious giveaways will be separated. The remaining items in question shall be reviewed by their owner/s and then re-stored.

Step #5: In two months repeat Steps 1-3 with the remaining items.

This whole process may need to be repeated several times but in a few months you will only be keeping things you consciously and objectively want to keep. Your partner is only removing the things you said to remove and discard, you are still in control of your things. You are enlisting their help only to remove the "oh now that I see it I remember how much I really like it" aspect of hoarding. Everything that remains after the first 3 steps you must look at before you re-store it. You don't have to trash it or make a decision but you do need to assess everything that you are keeping so that you can be effective in carrying out steps 4 & 5 in a few months. This, my friends, could work.


Last night we sat down to make our lists. Here's what we've got so far...

Keepers - Mrs F:
2 saris I got in India
Nana's oriental plate collection & silk dining room curtains
Social Work books
Couples Therapy paper
crystal candlesticks
Nana's antique pitcher set
Silver Coffee Urn
Copper Chaffing Dish
our extra everyday dishes
box of frames
sewing machine
sewing cabinet
wedding cake stuff
hand-me-downs for Baby
American Girl doll armoire

Keepers - Mr F:
baseball pennants

Giveaways - Mrs F:
social work papers
high school art portfolio
cake plate & server set
misc candles & candle holders in bin
vanity table from Kid's room
old American Girl clothes
all magazines
G'dad's old model train
old humidifiers
CD jewel cases

Giveaways - Mr F:
sports jerseys
old portfolio pieces
laundry hamper

The Ways In Which I Have Been Wronged Today

So let me start this off with a gentle reminder that I had been up with Baby ten freaking times last night. Believe it. Damn teething has started up again. And so I DESERVED to be able to sleep in a little bit this morning... in fact sleeping in a bit was imperative.

Okay Baby got up at 9:15 AM. Blurry eyed and wobbly I wake up Mr F and hand off the sleepless one. I stumble back in bed. Apparently Mr F decided to play with her at the bottom of the goddamn stairs (or as close to the stairs as humanly possible). This resulted in a very restless sleep for me as I was constantly being woken up by her delightful shrieks.

We had a brunch date at 11:30 AM. Having been woken up for the umpteenth time I look at the clock. Shit. 11 AM. Well obviously there was no point in rolling back over. I dragged myself out of bed. I manage to descend the stairs without falling (a considerable feat... I'm really that tired). When I get downstairs I find both girls still in their PJs. No big surprise but it pissed me off none the less. We have to leave in less than half an hour and they aren't dressed. Thanks.

Channeling Kate, I tell Mr F to get them dressed "RIGHT NOW" and proceed for the shower. Hmm... no hot water... not exactly rejuvenating. While I'm getting dressed I hear Kid having a melt down "I want Mom to do it!". I poke my head out. A thought occurs to me (I don't want to believe this could be true but I ask anyway)... "Did you feed them breakfast?". "They didn't want any." was Mr F's lame ass response.

They didn't want any breakfast?!?! Kids who are tantruming about tights are hungry kids. Period. Thanks for nothing.
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